Category Archives: Through A Hunter’s Eyes

A life spent in the great outdoors can provide a unique perspective on the world. Do You See what I See?

Hunting in North America

The Biggest Small Game – Young Boys and Bushytails

 

A Vntage Photograph of a Boy With A Shotgun and a Limit of Squirrels Taken After a Morning of Squirrel Hunting in Maryland. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
Fixins For Some Squirrel Pie!

 

My friend and my brother and I used to hunt squirrels, and other game, on a game-filled property in the heart of the Maryland farm country. Things with wings were the main attraction, like ducks or mourning doves. Canada geese, however were the real lure that brought us there, and populations were on the upswing in the early 1970’s. The shooting was often truly extraordinary.

The goose hunting was more than satisfying for our fathers and their friends, but not always enough for us. We were, after all, young boys bursting with inexhaustible momentum, and guns, and we badly needed something to do when the morning flights of Canada Geese had ended and the birds had laid up to rest.

For me, it was not just a way to pass the time until the late afternoon hunt. Goose shooting is thrilling, and fun, but squirrels…now that’s a young hunter’s big game.

 

A Grey Squirrel On Alert Among The Branches of a Tree

 

Fortunately, the hardwood fingers between the cornfields and the backwaters of Chesapeake Bay were absolutely jammed with the elusive bushytails. We spent a lot of time still hunting through the autumn leaves, sharpening our eyes behind the rifle sights and practicing our future whitetail hunting skills. Squirrels fell all around us, though I doubt that we ever really put much of a dent in their numbers. They are, among so many things, a restless and boundless survivor in the long-term scheme of things.

I miss those days spent within that colorful cathedral of canopy, slipping soundlessly around the trunks of tall trees with my chin pointed to the sky. Patience is a virtue in this game, as is focus and sharp eyesight. A flash here and a flash there was sometimes all you got, but sometimes, if you were lucky or good, you got a little more too. A squirrel’s head is a tiny target, and you could fancy yourself quite a marksman if you could drop one cleanly and quick.

Long ago I graduated to hunting much bigger and more glamorous game, in places where the terrain and scenery could not be much more different from that gentle land. But those squirrels of my youth have never journeyed very far out of mind, and that is a good thing.

I long to hunt squirrels. I crave those simple and rewarding days in the land of sassafras and scolding bluejays. Some are quick to say that the world moves on, and that you can never really revisit a time gone by. Perhaps that is true, but certainly not in all things. I would like to think that squirrel hunting is one of those.

I feel a well deserved squirrel hunt coming on, and some Brunswick Stew to go with it, wherever they may be…

You?

By Michael Patrick McCarty

You Might Also Like Our Post The Promise of Deer HERE

 

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Recipe By Hank Shaw

 

Squirrel Pie

 

There are a number of hacks and subs you can do here. First, you can use any white meat for the filling. Rabbit, turkey, pheasant, quail, partridge and yes, chicken would all be fine. Next, you can skip the acorn flour and just use a whole wheat or some other darkish flour your like. Third, you can use regular walnuts for the black walnuts… or use whatever nut makes you happy.

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves9 pies
AuthorHank Shaw
Ingredients
DOUGH
  • 1/2 cup acorn flour
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour, or regular AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup duck fat, lard, butter or shortening
FILLING
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • cup minced yellow or white onion
  • 3/4 pound shredded and chopped squirrel meat
  • 1 cup diced apple, peeled and cored (I use Granny Smiths)
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped black walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cavender’s seasoning, or black pepper
  • 1/2 cup warm stock, squirrel, chicken or something light
  • 2 teaspoons sorghum syrup or molasses
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere, emmental or jarlsberg cheese(optional)
Instructions
MAKE THE DOUGH
  1. Mix the flours, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a small pot, heat the milk until it’s steaming, then turn off the heat. Stir in the fat until it’s mostly melted in; a few bits that aren’t melted are fine.

  2. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with a fork until it’s a shaggy mass. Knead this all together until you have a smooth ball, then shape it into a cylinder. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

MAKE THE FILLING
  1. Heat the bacon fat in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the cabbage and onions. Saute until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Salt this as it cooks. Add the squirrel meat, apple, walnuts and Cavender’s seasoning (or black pepper), stir well and cook for a few minutes.

  2. Stir the sorghum syrup in with the stock until combined, then pour this into the pan with everything else. Stir this well and let it cook another few minutes so the ingredients absorb the liquid. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool.

MAKE THE PIES
  1. If you have a tortilla press, get it out and cut a heavy plastic bag apart to make two plastic sheets that you’ll use to keep the dough off the metal of the press. If you don’t have a press, lay out a work space and flour it well.

  2. Cut the dough into anywhere between 8 and 10 pieces, trying to keep them about the same size. Put half the pieces back in the fridge. Roll a piece into a flat, disc and set it on a piece of plastic on the press. Put the other piece of plastic over it and squash the dough into a thin disc. I find that I do one squeeze, then adjust the dough so it’s perfectly centered in the tortilla press.

    If you don’t have a press, roll the dough balls into flat discs about 1/8 of an inch thick.

  3. Remove the dough from the plastic and put about 1/4 cup of filling on one side of the disc. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top if you’d like. Fold over the dough to make a half-moon and seal. Crimp the edges with a fork and set on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

  4. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Move to a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before you eat them. Best served hot, but they’ll keep for a week or so in the fridge and are pretty good cold, too.

NOTE: I start with meat shredded off squirrels used in making stock. You can do this, or braise squirrels in salty water until tender, or you can just cut meat off the bones of raw squirrels and chop that up. All methods will work. 

 

You Can Find The Entire Article Here

 

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You Might Wish To Pick Up A Copy Of:

 

A photograph of the front cover of dustjacket of All About Small-Game Hunting in America Edited by Russell Tinsley

Looking For That Flash of Tail

 

“Sure, the usually available squirrel is fine game for the beginning hunter. No game animal will give him better training in hunting fundamentals – stalking, concealment, woodsmanship, and shooting and gun handling. And should he become so fortunate that he has a chance at them, those early lessons will serve him well on this continent’s most prized big game animals…Frequent jaunts to a convenient squirrel woods season the long and colorful careers of many of our most famous hunters…

The hunter pussyfooting through the squirrel woods is not seeking a trophy animal, is not concerned about the behavior of an expensive bird dog, nor is he attempting to impress a hunting partner with his wingshooting. He is in the hardwoods for the pure joy of hunting…”By Bob Gooch, Found in All About Small-Game Hunting in America. Edited by Russell Tinsley.

For Sale:

All About Small-Game Hunting in America. By Russell Tinsley

Published by Macmillan, 1984. Very Good condition in Very Good Dustjacket.

Feel Free To Email Us At huntbook1@gmail.com for Details.

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting: Everything You Need to Know to Hunt This Popular Game Animal (Hardcover)

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Squirrel Call. Imitates fox squirrel, gray squirrel and baby squirrel distress calls. Works in any weather.

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Like Father, Like Son

Born To Hunt…

 

Bowhunting For Deer. By H. R. Dutch Wambold, The Stackpole Company, 1964. Jacket endorsement blurb by Howard Hill; Preface by Fred Bear. A Classic Book On Hunting The White-tailed Deer. From The Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty, Publisher of Through a Hunter's Eyes
Bring On the Deer

 

Veteran’s Day, Any Year

 

It has been said that hunter’s are born, not made, and perhaps this is true. Far be it for me, to disagree.

Hunter’s eyes are born of blood, and I, like my father, and his father before him, would seem to prove that out. Well-worn deer trails, mist-filled bogs, and oceans of pitch pines and blackjack oaks were always a large part of our daily landscapes. I cannot help but think that we were all so much better off for our youthful visions.

Just below is a long forgotten photo of my Dad’s first white-tailed deer, taken with a hand-me-down shotgun in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. As you can see, it was a good one too. He was sixteen years old.

I never did hear the story of that first buck, but I have no doubt that it was a big adventure of some kind. Or at least I would like to think so, knowing my father’s penchant for getting the job done. South Jersey was still a wild place in the 1930’s, and a boy could really stretch out and do some roaming. I surely would have loved to have explored it all back then.

Below that is a photograph of my first big game kill with a bow & arrow, taken not very far away from where my father stood for his photo.  I was also sixteen at the time, and I could not have been more excited, and proud.

The doe may have been small, and the picture is now tattered, and faded, but the memory is not. I remember everything about that hunt as if it was yesterday, and it remains a thrill that has not nearly begun to wear off after all of these many years.

There are far worse things in life, than to be born a hunter…

Good Memories!

 

A vintage hunting photograph of a Teen-Aged Boy Carrying a Buck White-tailed Deer Over His Shoulder Which He Harvested With a Shotgun in the Late 1930's in Southern New Jersey. The deer hunter is Mark A. McCarty Sr. From The Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
Mark A. McCarty Sr. With His First Whitetail Buck. Circa 1939

 

A Teen-Aged Boy and a White-tailed Doe, Taken with a Bow & Arrow in the Mid-1970's in Southern New Jersey. From The Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
Michael Patrick McCarty With His First Bow Kill Whitetail. Circa 1974

 

*My father became an avid bowhunter in the 1950’s, and I am sure that he would have hunted his first deer with archery tackle, if he could have. New Jersey did not hold its first special bow & arrow deer season until 1948, only ten years before I was born.

 

See Some of the History Of The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Here

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

You Might Also Like The Gift

 

 

A Vintage Hunting Photograph of Mark A. McCarty Sr. With a Harvest of Several white-tailed deer Bucks, Taken During Shotgun Season in Southern New Jersey in the 1930's. From the Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty, Publisher of Through A Hunter's Eyes

 

“A Bowhunter is a Hunter Reborn – Forever…” – Michael Patrick McCarty

“There is much mystic nonsense written about hunting but it is something that is much older than religion. Some are hunters and some are not.” Ernest Hemingway, An African Journal, 1972

 

Bowhunting For Deer by H. R. “Dutch” Wambold, Stackpole, 1964,  remains a timeless classic on the subject of hunting for white-tailed deer, and I have always thoroughly enjoyed the read. So did Howard Hill, apparently, judging by the jacket endorsement blurb, and by Fred Bear, who wrote the preface. If it was good enough for them, than it is certainly good enough for me, you might say.

We generally have a copy in our used and rare book inventory, if so interested. Please email us at huntbook1@gmail.com for details.

 

 

A vintage hunting photograph of Mark A. McCarty Sr. from southern New Jersey, circa 1953, holding shotgun. Location unknown

In Memoriam

For Mark A. McCarty Sr.,

United States Army Airborne Ranger

Who Fought and Bled, for Us, in World War II

May You Find Good Trails to Follow

 

 

A Silk Commemorative Scarf, Cut From My Father's Parachute and Custom Sewn in Europe After His Last Jump in World War II. It Includes Patches of The 504th and 507th Parachute Infantry Divisions. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
A Silk Commemorative Scarf, Cut From My Father’s Parachute and Custom Sewn in Europe After His Last Battle Jump in World War II.

 

A Custom Sewn Silk Commemorative Scarf, Cut From a Parachute, Showing The Parachutist’s Badge and Paratrooper Glider Patch
The Parachutist’s Badge and Airborne Paratrooper Glider Patch

 

"Thunder From Heaven" - The Airborne and Special Operations Patch of the 17th Airborne Division, Which Was Over the 507th Parachute Regiment During World War II
“Thunder From Heaven” – The Airborne and Special Operations Patch of The 17th Airborne Division

 

The "All-American" 82nd Airborne Division Patch, Earned While Serving With the 504th Parachute Infantry During World War II
An Airborne and Special Operations Patch From The “All-American” 82nd Airborne Division

 

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey (Images of America) (Paperback)

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey cover 22 percent of the most densely populated state in the country. It is the largest stretch of open space between Boston, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia. It reaches across 56 municipalities and 7 counties. The name came from early settlers who thought the area was a vast wasteland, but it is anything but barren. Underneath this incredible natural resource lies almost 17 trillion gallons of some of the purest water on earth. Stands of pitch pine gave birth to the charcoal industry, and its acidic swamps were used first for bog iron and later for cranberry production. Many firsts came from this area, including cranberry sauce, cultivated blueberries, and grape juice. Numerous industries have risen and fallen over time. Remnants of forgotten ghost towns bear witness to that history, but the real stories come from the people who lived and worked there.

New From:$21.99 USD In Stock
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The Way It Ought To Be – Elk, Boys & Men

A Close-up Photograph of Elk Tracks in the Melting Snow - A Hunter's Dream
Something Big Dead Ahead

 

FOLLOW ME…

 

Today was a special day in my hunter’s world. It began like most Rocky Mountain winter days, but by evening I had acquired an elk for the freezer and two new hunting buddies.

Elk meat is a prized commodity in our household and one elk provides satisfying meals for many months. Hunting buddies, on the other hand…well, they are a gift of a lifetime. I am extremely fortunate to have several and I cherish them, but hey, I’m happy to add some others.

My new buddies just happen to be brothers, and like many good hunting companions they innocently possess unbridled enthusiasm, a refreshing ability to gaze upon everything around them as if for the first time, a natural wide-eyed curiosity, and the willingness to do anything required of them to make for a successful outing. Of course, like most people they have their own unique personalities and levels of hunting skill. In this case, they happen to be smaller than most and have some trouble in deep snow or rough country. They are named MacKenzie and Connor, and they are six and eight years old. They already love elk and elk country. In fact, they live in some of the best elk habitat that Colorado has to offer. But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself…

I have known these two since they were born, and I’ve known their father, Pat, for a quarter century or so. Pat and I have shared a lot of elk camps together, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for a lot of money, unless of course I could use it to go on more hunting trips with him. He is one of the finest hunters I know, and he is lucky to be blessed with a wife who understands his passion, and surely knows that she could not stop him anyway. Certainly it’s no wonder that “the boys” as we call them, take to the outdoors as naturally as elk bugle. Pat tells me that there was a time he could leave the house without them tugging at his coat tails, but he can’t really remember when that was. It’s just the way it should be, I say.

Call it a genetically inherited instinct, or say, a natural affinity for the wilds, these boys love the mountains and it is an uplifting thing to see. Pat has trained them right, of course, having brought them along whenever he could even when it meant carrying them. He’s patiently endured the myriad challenges presented by a partner who can’t tie his shoes or zipper his own jacket. He has always been the unwavering teacher in the face of emergency potty breaks, snarled fishing reels, and miscellaneous meltdowns. It’s just the way it ought to be, says he. I love and respect him more than ever for that.

Always happy to lend support over the years, I’ve done my share and have been quick to offer whatever advice a four-year old can comprehend. Mostly, I’ve never missed a opportunity to ask them an important question. Something like, “Hey Boys! – I just want to know one thing – Are you going to pack my elk? It became our personal joke and was always a great question to ask at parties, causing them to fly off with hysterical giggles and laughter and to repeat it to their young friends who do the same. It’s not often that you get a chance to train a group of small ones in the proper order of hunting priorities. After all, middle age now stares me squarely in the paunch, and frankly, I’m gonna need the help.

Today, we are wholeheartedly engaged in what can only be called a “meat hunt”. We know that there is a small herd of elk not far above the house, and it is late afternoon before everyone is gathered and we prepare to sneak up and over the ridge. The boys have geared up like old pros, which of course in many ways they are. They have watched a multitude of elk from their picture window, probably before they were interested in much else. They know the elk trails and the difference between a yearling and a big cow and where the herd is likely to run if they are spooked. Connor is next to me when we start off, and he does his best Indian imitation while pointing out tracks along the way. He shows me where he last saw the elk, and as we near the top of a small rise we see the oh so typical head up frontal view of a smart old cow. We’re busted, and I’m wheezing up through the oak brush and slippery rocks for position.

 

A Small Herd of Cow Elk On Alert During a Heavy Winter Snowstorm In Western Colorado. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

The first group of cows is moving and I wait, hoping for a better shot and about to lose my opportunity. Luckily, a mature cow is bringing up the rear. It’s not the easiest shot in the world, nor the toughest, but I’ve not been shooting well for a couple of seasons and I take some extra time to draw a bead. I squeeze the trigger and she drops in her tracks. “Nice shot Mike”, I hear from my six-year-old guide. Sweet words to be sure when your luck has been a little off for a little too long, and out of the mouths of babes at that.

We stand around the downed animal and I am truly grateful. Pat heads off to help another member in our party, and I am left alone with the two boys and a beautiful sunset in a clear, cold December sky. The boy’s seem quite content to hunker down in the snow and watch, and help. I become aware of the fading sky and the mountain peaks over their shoulders and think that they are exactly where they want to be. They wear these mountains like a warm woolen blanket, and there is room underneath for me, and for us all.

I stand before the elk and bow to the four directions and give thanks, party because it is something I have come to do to show respect, and partly for effect, as I know they are watching. What are you doing, they ask? Why did you look in that direction first? It’s obviously time for me to answer some questions.

I decide to quarter the cow for easier handling, and when my knife comes out they really become interested. Something about boy’s and knives, I guess. “Why are you doing it that way, they say?”. Where did the bullet hit? How many teeth does it have? How old is it?  Mike, your elk tooth wedding ring is all bloody is it going to be O.K.?” And so on and so on.

I warn them several times to stay clear of my knife in case I slip, but they never miss an opportunity to touch or prod or examine in some way this elk. Their mother has sternly warned them to not ruin their cloths, and both their father and I reminded them more than once. For all the good it does. They want to be close, to smell its’ smell and lay their fingers on its teeth. Even in death, they want to become part of its life. These two are hunters, make no mistake, and I’m proud to be with them on this mountain at this moment in time when two young people chose to join us all in the adventure that we love.

They were quiet for a while, and I was working to beat the darkness. I saw their heads come up and they smiled and looked at each other like they had a thought at the same time. “Hey Mike!, they say proudly. You know what?…we’re gonna pack your elk”.

I stare at them for a moment, and then clandestinely wipe a bit of moisture out of the corner of one eye. It is not an easy maneuver to perform with a heavy backstrap in one hand and a sharp blade in the other.

“That’s right, I say. I’m sure glad you guys are here”.

Just the way it ought to be, I think.

 

A Solo Big Game Hunter Packs Out a Heavy Elk Hindquarter in the Snow in Western Colorado. Photograph by Michael Patrick McCarty
Just A Few More Yards To Go For Dad

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

You Might Also Like To Read:

A Man Made of MeatJim Kjelgaard: Patron Saint, or A Pheasantful of Memories 

 

Take A Child Hunting Today!

 

A Young Boy and His Father Race Through The Snow To Get In Position As a Pack of Beagle Hounds Pursue A Running Cottantail Rabbit. A Vintage Lithograph Poster From The Game Art Collection of the Remington Arms Co. Inc. Artist Bob Kuhn. From the Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
The Beginnings Of A Lifelong Pursuit

 

Should You Have Any Doubts, You May Wish To Read:

 

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Paperback)

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in-and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation-he calls it nature deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (Add), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they’re right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual. What’s more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and Add. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Features:  Great product!
By (author):  Richard Louv

New From:$9.98 USD In Stock
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Through A Hunter’s Eyes Recognized As A Top Hunting Website

Acknowledgement of hard work is always appreciated, and we are proud to announce that Target Tamers has recently included us in their list of top hunting websites. – Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Top 59 Hunting Websites You Should Check Out Today

By Simon Cuthbert

I am sure you would rather be out hunting, but every now and then (when the weather or time is against you) you have to resort to the next best thing – losing yourself in the glory of a fellow hunter’s stories! With that in mind I have tracked down 59 of the best hunting websites packed with videos, pics, stories and podcasts to take your mind where your body can’t be – into the wilderness on a hunt. Here they are in alphabetical order and whether you are a deer hunter, trophy hunter, beginner or expert, there is something for everyone.

The Meat Eater

Meat EaterA popular website that has a mixture of posts & podcasts on all things hunting. With a name like ‘The Meat Eater’ it comes as no surprise that you can find some great, meaty recipes here too. Steven Rinella also hostshttp://meateater.vhx.tv/ and is active on social media.

Website Link:http://themeateater.com

The Will to Hunt

The Will to HuntWill’s blog is about his hunting experiences and learning from others to become a better hunter. You will also find some reviews and Guest Posts on this website.

Website Link:http://www.thewilltohunt.com

Through a Hunters Eyes

Through a Hunters EyesMichael’s blog is all about his hunting experiences which include fishing, rabbits, deer and more. There are a stack of great articles here!

Website Link: https://throughahunterseyes.com

White Knuckle Productions

White Knuckle ProductionsTodd’s website is mostly product for sale, there are plenty of dvd’s you can buy. There is also a link to the White Knuckle Web Show and that has a heap of great videos that you can watch free here –https://vimeo.com/whiteknuckleproductions

Website Link:http://www.whiteknuckleproductions.com/

Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open SpacesIt does not matter if you are a dove hunter, fisherman or deer and big game hunter, this website has you covered. Lots of videos, posts and great information on all things to do with hunting and the wilderness. They have a very solid following on facebook and twitter also.

Website Link:http://wideopenspaces.com

By Simon Cuthbert

You Can See the Full List By Target Tamers HERE

 

We Can Also Recommend:

Field and Forest: Classic Hunting Stories (Paperback)

For hunters, listening to the accounts of kindred spirits recalling the drama and action that go with good days afield ranks among life’s most pleasurable activities. This newly updated volume – with an introduction by editor Stephen J. Bodio — contains some of the best hunting tales ever written, stories that sweep from charging elephants in the African bush to mountain goats in the mountain crags of the Rockies, from the gallant bird dogs of the Southern pinelands to the great Western hunts of Theodore Roosevelt.
Stories include:
  • The Wilderness Hunter by Theodore Roosevelt
  • Tige’s Lion by Zane Grey
  • Lobo: The King of Currumpaw by Ernest Seton-Thompson
  • My Antelope by Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson
  • The Alaskan Grizzly by Harold McCracken
  • Wolf-Hunting in Russia by Henry T. Allen
  • Hunting on the Turin Plain by Roy Chapman Andrews

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The World Record Stag of The Woodlands

 

“I wriggled silently through the swamp, carrying bow and arrow in my mouth. The marsh was broad, the water icy cold, and there was no cover in sight.

Slowly, soaked, invisible, I crawled within range. The reindeer were eating; they grazed the juicy moss without concern, till my arrow sank tremblingly deep into the bull’s side.

Terrified, the unsuspecting herd hastily scattered, and vanished at the sharpest trot to shielding hills.”

– Aua (Igulik Eskimo Man, Lyon Inlet), From Reindeer, Eskimo Poems From Canada and Greenland, 1973, Material Originally Collected by Knud Rasmussen

 

A photo of the former world record woodland caribou shot by Dempsey Cape, found in the 1993 Pope and Young bowhunting Record Book
A Rare Set of Antlers – The Dempsey Cape Stag

 

May 20, 2015

 

48-Year-Old World Record Shattered!

 

By M.R. James

 

Jeff Samson had been thinking more about tasty blueberries than record-class caribou antlers in early September of 2013. But as Jeff and his wife searched for patches of ripe berries in the Middle Ridge area near Gander, Newfoundland, the sudden sight of a giant woodland stag feeding nearby snagged their attention. One look was enough. Jeff hustled home to grab his bowhunting gear.

Several frustrating stalks later, everything finally fell into place when Jeff managed to slip within 15 yards of the browsing bull. A single well-placed arrow dropped the caribou and in due time rewrote the Pope and Young Club record book.

See Original Article About the Samson Stag by M.R. James

 

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THE McCARTY BULL

 

Michael Patrick McCarty

 

World class animals of any species of big game are hard to come by, and the taking of a world record animal can make some big news in the bowhunting world. Obviously, this is old news for some, but I have only recently discovered it.

I must tell you, it really sent me back in time.

My father, Mark A. McCarty Sr., was an archer and a bowhunter before it became more widely popular. The art and challenge of the sport truly appealed to his character and can-do attitude. He was a rifle and shotgun hunter from an early age, but put them both away for good after killing his first white-tailed deer with the bow & arrow.

He fell in love with the idea of Newfoundland after meeting legendary sportsman and filmmaker Lee Wulff. Mr. Wulff was known primarily as a fisherman, but he was also the first person on the island known to have killed both a caribou and a moose with archery tackle. It was not long before my dad had made the first of several bowhunting trips to Newfoundland.

He fished and hunted for moose, black bear, and caribou, but it was the Woodland Caribou that enthralled him. He very badly wanted to take one home.

He did just that in 1966, and oh what a caribou it was. In fact, it would have been a world record animal had it not been bested by the stag taken by Dempsey Cape and two other bulls killed at about the same time, though I am not privy to the exact chronology of the events. Apparently, 1966 was a very good year for Woodland Caribou hunting in Newfoundland.

I remember how excited he was when he returned home. His success created quite a stir among his friends and his taxidermist, who was also an official Pope & Young Club Scorer. The news of the Dempsey Cape bull or any of the others had not yet reached him, and from what he could tell he had just taken the new world record.

I remember his astonishment when the word came down, and I would not be honest if I did not report that he was just a little deflated when he realized that his accomplishment was so short-lived.

Such is the nature of records, I suppose…

 

A Custom-Made Leather Hip Quiver, circa late 1950's (Maker Unknown), Carried By My Father on His Woodland Caribou Hunt . Pictured Here Alongside Some Vintage Arrows From Bear Archery. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty
A Custom-Made Leather Hip Quiver, circa late 1950’s (Maker Unknown), Carried By My Father on His Woodland Caribou Hunt . Pictured Here Alongside Some Vintage Arrows From Bear Archery. Photo by Michael Patrick McCarty

 

Nevertheless, he was happy for the hunter and more than willing to give credit where credit was due. After all, he knew first hand what it took to get the job done in that wild and hard-won country. He had quite a difficult hunt himself.

The story goes, as I remember it, that he had returned to hunt caribou here for the second or third time. After several days of hard hunting and several close calls, he and his guide spotted a bull that really got their attention. It was tough going, and no mater what they tried the stag remained just out of range for several hours. The moss and muskeg took a heavy toll on their legs, and he was just about done-in when he finally worked his way into position.

He said it was quite a long shot for his Black Widow Recurve, but it was that shot or nothing and he had to try. He launched a cedar shaft with a  Hilbre broadhead at about 65 yards, and was elated to see the bull react to what was an obvious hit.

Unfortunately, the celebration was rather short-lived too, as he soon discovered that the arrow had hit towards the rear of the animal and was now lodged in the hindquarters.

The bull was obviously compromised, but far from ready to give up easily. Knowing the toughness and moral constitution of my father, neither was he. He told me that he stalked this bull for another mile and more, and even watched helplessly as it swam across a good-sized lake.

But the bull was beginning to tire. Finally, after working their away around the lake, near the end of a long day, he was able to  get another arrow into the boiler room from a distance of forty yards. And, as they say, the rest is bowhunting history.

I have lived with that story, and others, for nearly fifty years. It is one of the reasons that I became a hunter, and more to the point, a bowhunter. It has led me on many outdoor adventures, for game small and large across North America. I would not have had it any other way.

I have yet to see this magical place called Newfoundland, but I want to, in fact yearn to, and it is at the very top of my bowman’s bucket list. I doubt if I could ever come across a stag as fine as Mr. Sampson’s current world record, or one as special as my father’s. But that won’t keep me from trying.

Bowhunting means everything to me, and it is the thrill of the chase and the sheer magnificence of the Woodland Caribou that keeps me going. In my time I will hunt one up in honor of those who have come before me, and for all of those who can’t wait to get there too!

The stags are waiting…

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty


 

a photo of the top entries for woodland caribou in the 1993 Pope and Young Bowhunting Record Book
A List of Giants – Click on Photo to Enlarge

 

*I have used the 1993 record book as an example, as I do not have the most recent record book in hand at this time. As you can see my father took his bull at King George IV Lake. I believe that this area may be now closed to hunting, but I am not sure of the details. My father passed along several years ago, and the mount of his caribou was lost in a fire. I did, however, have a good long look at it. It remains stored in a good place, right at the forefront of my archer’s dreams.

Anyone know where my father’s bull stands at this time?

 

You Might Also Like Our Post About The World Record Elk of John Plute

 

a photo of the front cover of the dustjacket of the Pope and Young Club: Bowhunting Big Game Records of North America 1993 Edition
The Book To Be In

 

We have a selection of big game record books in stock and for sale. Please email huntbook1@gmail.com for more information.

 

*Painting at top of post by Walter A. Weber.

 

We Highly Recommend Any Of Wulff’s Several Books, Including:

 

In The Eyes Of A Pigeon

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

a vintage photo of a boy watching his homing pigeons exercise their wings after being released from their catch pen
Come Home Soon!

A willing and observant person can gather some extraordinary insights about the natural world in the most unlikely places. It can happen in the short time that it takes to blink an eye, no matter if that eye belongs to you, or to something else. Nature abounds with beneficial lessons and the teachers of true meaning are everywhere. I just happen to gain some of my clues from the clear-eyed and attentive stares of my backyard pigeon flock. You can learn a lot from an otherwise ordinary and common creature.

I spend a fair amount of time with this captive audience of one hundred in their outdoor aviary. I am their provider, and their lifeline from the outside lands. I supply them with their daily ration of grains and clean water, irregardless of the weather or the many other duties or time constraints I may have. I fill their pickpots with grit and minerals. I break ice from their bowls in the winter, and suffer the same stinging snows and biting winds of the day. I clean their flypen and pigeon-house, and keep a sharp eye out for the telltale signs of distress or disease. I study them closely, and through it all, they watch me too.

I am a constant in their lives, and a spoke in their wheel of life. I have come to know of them and their world just a little bit, and they of me. It could be said that they would rather prefer that I was not involved at all, but I am a necessary intrusion they must tolerate, at least for a brief time.

Yet, they wait for me each morning and afternoon, the anticipation building as I drive up to the entrance doors. They mill about excitedly as I approach, ready to perform just for me. I touch the door handle, and they begin their wild jig, dancing like ecstatic puppets on hidden strings. They hop about and swirl their wings like crazed whirligigs, or slap their wingtips smartly as they launch from their perch for a short flight across the pen.

They chant their pigeon talk and coo even louder as I step in through the inner doors, to become completely surrounded by frantic birds, eager to fill their crops before the other’s. They push and shoulder for each speck of grain as if their life depended on it. Perhaps they bicker and fight to establish or maintain some imperceptible pigeon pecking order, or maybe just to remind themselves that life can be a struggle. You would think that they would know by now that their will be enough food for all comers, but it is a wild ritual that they simply must abide for reasons known only to the pigeon.

We have repeated this madcap scene a few thousand times and more, the pigeons and I. It has become routine, with little deviation from the usual suspects. That is until yesterday, when our normal interaction abruptly and inexplicably changed.

It was immediately obvious when I pulled up in my truck. The absence of sound or flashing wings struck me first, and what pigeon heads I could see sat on top of outstretched necks, alert, with searching eyes. They crouched in the classic manner of all prey, with feet tucked under their bodies, coiled and ready to spring out and away from impending danger.

A close up photo of a common pigeon with eye

The birds stood frozen and paid me little mind as I entered and searched the ground for an animal intruder. I investigated the pigeon houses and the nest boxes and found nothing. I checked every nook and cranny of their limited world and came up empty. I paused to scratch my head, and ponder this puzzling circumstance.

Hand on chin, I stared at the closest pigeon and wondered, determined to discover just why he would not fly. And then he cocked his head, and I saw his eye focus on something high as he grounded himself more tightly to his perch. At that moment I spied a wide, dark shadow moving across the dirt floor, and smiled. I knew exactly what belonged in that kind of shadow, as did my fine feathered friends. All I had to do was look up, to see just exactly what it was that had struck such all-consuming fear in their hearts.

I had no doubt that the shadow maker was an eater of birds, but there were several possibilities in this category. A red-tailed hawk maybe, or a gleaming eagle from the nearby river. In this case the black shadow belonged to an animal of equal color, with a distinctively naked neck. It was not what I expected to see.

The Turkey Vulture, or Buzzard as it is sometimes called, is quite common to the American West and many parts of North America. A six-foot wingspan casts a long shadow across the land, and he covers a lot of it as he travels. That great red and bald head is immediately recognizable from afar, and known by all. His sentinel like posture and hovering demeanor create and perpetuate his iconic image. It is a form often associated with death, and it is a meaning not entirely lost on my domesticated, but anxious, pigeon flock.

The Vulture is classified as a bird of prey, after all, even though he finds most of his meals by smell after they are already dead. I suppose that it is a distinction utterly lost on the brain of a pigeon.

His generic name is Cathartes, which means “purifier”.  It is an appropriate name, as the Buzzard is the sharp-beaked “tearer”, and recycler of flesh and feather. He is part of nature’s cleanup crew, and a perfectly ordained sanitizing unit. His kind is often referred to as “carrion eaters”, as if it were a derogatory term used to define the sordid parameters of their defective character. Nothing could be father from the truth.

I, for one, am a defender of this homely yet beautiful animal. The manner in which he makes his living should not be used to demean or degrade his standing in the larger scheme of things. His shadow may strike terror in the souls of countless scurrying and furtive creatures, but he has not come for them. Not now. He is where our lifeless bodies might naturally go, may we all be so lucky. There are far worse fates to suffer than those borne through the belly of a bird.

Still, it makes me wonder about the sensibilities of the pigeons in my charge. None of this buzzard business should be of any concern to a bird so far removed from a natural environment. It may be true that their only protection from flying marauders is a thin, nylon mesh that forms the roof of their cage. But what of it?

Most of my birds have never known anything else than the limited boundaries of the aviary. They were hatched here, reared by their parents and brought to adulthood without having to worry about danger and death from above. They have never enjoyed a truly wild moment in their lives, and I doubt if the thought of escape and a different kind of life has ever occurred to them.

Likewise, their parents have grown up in much the very same way, as did their parents, and their parents, and so on and so on. In fact their domestic lineage goes back for thousands of years, to the days when the first man-made his first hopeful departures from the relative safety of the caves. They are mankind’s first domestic animal partner, and their history is our history. One would think that very little of the wild would be left in the soul of a pigeon. On the contrary, it would appear that the thin margin of safety above their swiveling heads provides little comfort.

It makes me wonder about the level of domestication in the so-called domestic pigeon. How much wild is left in an otherwise non-wild creature? What does he remember of his life on the cliffs? Is it some latent genetic memory, or something else that keeps him looking skyward? Something tells me that there are some wild yearnings left behind, and that it might not take them very long to surface if given some small opportunity.

Truth be known, the story of the vulture and the pigeon is a tale as old as time and one not so easily forgotten. Each has something to tell us in their own way. Their interactions remind us that the primordial spark of life burns on as brightly as ever. They beckon us to live fully while we are alive, no matter the circumstance or the crosses we bear.

They tell us that danger is but a heartbeat away, though we try to deny it by surrounding ourselves with shallow and petty distractions. The realities of life and death lie closely behind the delicate veil, no matter how hard we may try to separate and protect ourselves from the natural world with the cages of our own clever designs.

The Turkey Vulture occasionally wishes to feel like a master predator on the wing, and a hunter of live prey. Perhaps he flies over our birds to feel the power of his blood and history. He dares us to be watchful, yet hopeful, lest we gain the finality of his steady gaze. We all must eventually return to replenish the elements of the earth. We are needed, we are welcome, but perhaps not today.

The great purifier embraces the rising thermals and circles ever upward, hanging on the edge of consciousness to remind us that a little bit of wild remains in the most cowered and tamed of the earthly realms below. We shall all have plenty of time to rest, and to watch, in our time.

 

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) riding the air currents while searching for prey or carrion and something to eat
Patience Is A Virtue For a Vulture

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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https://steemit.com/homesteading/@huntbook/in-the-eyes-of-a-pigeon-observations-of-an-amateur-naturalist

Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan … And the World (Hardcover)

Why do we see pigeons as lowly urban pests and how did they become such common city dwellers? Courtney Humphries traces the natural history of the pigeon, recounting how these shy birds that once made their homes on the sparse cliffs of sea coasts came to dominate our urban public spaces. While detailing this evolution, Humphries introduces us to synanthropy: The concept that animals can become dependent on humans without ceasing to be wild; they can adapt to the cityscape as if it were a field or a forest.

Superdove simultaneously explores the pigeon’s cultural transformation, from its life in the dovecotes of ancient Egypt to its service in the trenches of World War I, to its feats within the pigeon-racing societies of today. While the dove is traditionally recognized as a symbol of peace, the pigeon has long inspired a different sort of fetishistic devotion from breeders, eaters, and artists—and from those who recognized and exploited the pigeon’s astounding abilities. Because of their fecundity, pigeons were symbols of fertility associated with Aphrodite, while their keen ability to find their way home made them ideal messengers and even pilots.

Their usefulness largely forgotten, today’s pigeons have become as ubiquitous and reviled as rats. But Superdove reveals something more surprising: By using pigeons for our own purposes, we humans have changed their evolution. And in doing so, we have helped make pigeons the ideal city dwellers they are today. In the tradition of Rats, the book that made its namesake rodents famous, Superdove is the fascinating story of the pigeon’s journey from the wild to the city—the home they’ll never leave.


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A Traditional Triad For Today’s Archer

Like many things in the world of sporting gear, the choice of a proper fitting bow, arrows to match, and the appropriate accessories to make it all work well together is a highly selective and personal choice.

It can also be a bit intimidating, for the combinations available in today’s bowhunting world are virtually limitless, if not mind-boggling.  One person could not possibly try out even a small fraction of the more popular products, though it would surely be a whole lot of fun to try.

So what’s a conscientious and inquisitive bowhunter to do?

Well, my strategy of late has been, in many ways, to return to the archery days of my early youth. Mine was the days of Fred Bear and Frank Pearson, to name just a couple of the more obvious icons. It was long before Mr. Allen, or Mr. Jennings, appeared on the scene.

To be honest, I had already given up on those things with wheels a few years back, along with many other items of the mechanical kind. Not that there is anything wrong with that type of equipment, and power to you if you prefer the compound bow and some miscellaneous gadgets. It’s just no longer my particular cup of tea.

Still, it took me several decades to fully and unapologetically embrace the fact that I simply love the elegance and simplicity of the stick and string. In my view, archery has always been much more about art and intuition than science, or physics. Pull it back and let it go, I say, and watch the arrows fly.

Today’s modern recurves can offer all of that and more, with some remarkable engineering to go along with it. They can also be shot with surprising precision.

Lately, my current setup consists of a 60″ Hoyt Satori Traditional Recurve at 50# draw weight, Easton 340 Axis Traditional carbon shafts (with three pink 4″ parabolic cut left-wing feathers and Fred Eichler Custom Cap Wrap from Three Rivers Archery), and a 200 grain Helix Single Bevel Arrowhead (in left bevel to match the left-wing feathers).

I chose a Selway Archery Quick Detach Quiver to complete the package.

The Satori is available in several riser and limb configurations, and in this case I selected a 17″ riser and a shorter limb package which works very well in the confines of a  ground blind or tree stand.

If pressed, I might agree that the 50# draw weight may be a little light for a big game animal like an elk, but then again, perhaps not.

I am a big believer in the use of heavy, weight forward shafts. With that in mind, I have attempted to compensate for any draw weight deficiencies by adding a 75 grain insert up front, with a big chunk of steel on the pointy end. The end result is about 610 grains of quick and unadulterated death.

However, as you might guess, it is pretty slow by compound bow standards, and it is definitely a close range affair. But in the end it is very stable, quiet, and target bow accurate. It also hits very hard, with penetration to spare.

As you can see from the photos below, first hand experience has shown me that the combo is very effective on big game from pronghorn to elk, for example. Both of these animals were literally dead on their feet when the broadhead hit them, and were recovered within one hundred yards of the shot.

I could ask for nothing more…

Good Hunting!

 

A Hoyt Satori Traditional Recurve, Easton Axis Traditional Carbon Arrows, And The Helix Single Bevel Broadhead By Strickland's Archery. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
A Deadly Bowhunting Combination

 

Easton Axis Traditional 340 Carbon Shafts . Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
Nicely Colored – And Even More Effective

 

An Easton AXIS Traditional Carbon Arrow, With 3 Pink 4" Parabolic Cut Left Wing Feathers, and Fred Eichler Custom Cap Wrap. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
A Lot Of Tradition In This Traditional Shaft

 

The Single Bevel Helix Arrowhead By Strickland's Archery, In Left Bevel. In This Case, Matched With Easton Axis Traditional Carbon Arrows And The Hoyt Satori Traditional Recurve Bow. Photography By Michael Patrick McCarty
A Broadhead That Means Business

 

A Hoyt Satori Traditional Recurve Bow, With Easton Axis Traditional Carbon Arrows, Helix Single Bevel Broadheads, and A Selway Archery Quick Detach Quiver. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
Something to Hold Them – A Selway Archery Quick Detach Quiver

 

A Bull Elk Harvested During Archery Season In Western Colorado, Taken With A Hoyt Satori Recurve Bow, Easton Axis Traditional Carbon Arrows, Helix Single Bevel Broadhead, and Selway Arrow Quiver. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
There’s Nothing Better Than Bowhunting Success!

 

A Bowhunter Poses With A Pronghorn Antelope Harvested In The Red Desert Of Northern Colorado; Taken With A Hoyt Satori Traditional Recurve Bow, Easton Axis Traditional Carbon Arrows, Selway Arrow Quiver, And A Steelforce Broadhead
A Perfect Setup For Pronghorn Too!

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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“If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an ‘artless art’ growing out of the Unconscious”.

Eugen Herrigel

 

Zen in the Art of Archery By Eugen Herrigel
It’s all About the Zen

We generally have a copy of this keystone archery title in our bookstore stock, if so interested.

Easton Axis Traditional Arrows with 4″ Feathers (6 Pack), Brown, 340 (Sports)

Easton axis shaft made specifically for the traditional archer. Constructed of high strength carbon-composite fibers with a wood grain finish. Straightness tolerance of +-.003″. available in sizes 600 (7.2 GPI), 500 (8.1), 400 (9.0 GPI), and 340 (9.5 GPI). includes x nocks and hit inserts. Factory fletched with 4″ feathers.

New From:$80.68 USD In Stock
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Forever Humbled – An Elk Hunter’s Journey

“For the wild animal there is no such thing as a gentle decline in peaceful old age. Its life is spent at the front, in line of battle, and as soon as its powers begin to wane, in the least, its enemies become too strong for it; it falls.”

– Ernest Thompson Seton, Lives Of The Hunted, 1901

 

Two Bull Elk Fighting in an Open Meadow, with One Bull Goring the Other as Cow Elk Look on. Painting by Walter A. Weber
A Most Serious Battle

 

There is a place I have been that many elk hunters must eventually visit. The mountains may shine amidst spectacular landscapes and it may look like typical elk country, but somehow things are different there. It is a land of mystery and natural forces inaccessible by horseback, jeep or other conventional means. Inward rather than outward, it is a journey of the heart on a path unique to each individual. It is a place you only know once you get there.

I found myself in such a place some years ago, while archery hunting in the high desert country of northwestern Colorado. Elk hunting had been my passion for a couple of decades, more often than not with bow and arrow as the weapon of choice. I’d hunted more than a few of Colorado’s limited-entry units with a fair amount of success. And my overwhelming concern had always been the pursuit of the big bull – the bigger the better.

He filled my dreams and consciousness and became part of my daily motivation for living and working in Colorado. I would find him, and I would launch a broadhead deep into his chest. Of course, with that event, fame and fortune would soon follow.

I have always paid attention to “The Book”, and to who shot what where. I wanted very badly to be one of those fellows with the 27 record-book entries, who had just returned from Montana or Mongolia, or that private ranch many hunters drool over. You know the ranch of which I speak, the one with a Boone and Crockett bull on every other ridge. I wanted all of it, the recognition from my peers and the life that would come with my great success. The more entries the better and as fast as possible. I ran for the goal and rarely looked back. I can’t say nothing else mattered, but by god it was close.

Then, one long-awaited day, I found myself hunting a special-permit area in Colorado. It was indeed the land of the big bull, a trophy area of epic proportions and about as fine a spot as one could hunt without paying the big money. The animals were there. I had a tag, and I would fill it. I would take what was mine and move on.

I hunted a grueling 10 days. The terrain was rocky and mostly open, with occasional brush patches and stunted cedars. It looked like a moonscape compared to the timbered high country I was used to hunting. Getting close enough for a shot was tough, yet I was able to pass up smaller bulls and often found myself within arrow range of elk that would make most hunters light-headed. They made me light-headed. They were the biggest-bodied elk I have ever seen, with towering, gleaming branches of bone. They looked like tractors with horns.

As so often happens in bowhunting, however, something always seemed to go wrong. I made so many stalks and had so many close calls, the events are just a blur. I eventually missed not one but two record-book animals. Each time a shaft went astray, I screamed and wailed with self-pity, cursing my rotten luck and the useless stick and string in my hand. The prize was so close, yet always so far away.

Toward the end of the season, I glassed a small herd a couple of miles below me. Two were big bulls. One had cows, and the other wanted them. They were bugling back and forth and generally sizing each other up. I hurriedly planned a stalk and rushed downhill toward my dream.

I stalked and weaved and became enmeshed in a moving, mile-long skirmish line. More than once I slipped between the two animals as they worked their way through the brush and cedars. I saw flashes and patches of hide but was never able to loose an arrow. I knew that within  few minutes a monstrous set of headgear would be laying at my feet. I felt I had been waiting for this moment all my life.

Soon the largest bull swung into the open sagebrush a couple of hundred yards below me, followed closely by a small herd of cows. Words cannot describe his magnificence. He was one of the finest specimens of elkness I have ever seen, with muscles that bulged and rippled under his skin. He was a bull of unique and exceptional genetics with a massive and perfect rack that appeared to stretch behind forever as he laid his head back to bugle. He was certainly at his absolute prime and, if the truth were known, perhaps a bit passed it and didn’t know it. He took my breath away. Then I remembered why I had come.

Meanwhile, the smaller and closer of the two bulls had become even more vocal, and soon it became obvious he would pass very close to me on his way down the hill. He was not quite as large as the old bull, but he was big enough all the same. My bow was up and my muscles taut as I began my draw – and suddenly he was running and he was gone. I watched spellbound as he broke into the open and headed for the elk below us.

It was one of those unexplainable moments when time stands still, and you become something more than yourself. I could have been a rock or a tree or an insect in flight. I was at once both an observer and participant in the great mystery, a part of something far larger than myself.

The air was electric and my body tingled as the two warriors squared off. The cows felt it, too, and crashed crazily over the ridge. It was as if they knew something extraordinary was going down and wanted no part of it. The bulls screamed and grunted wildly at each other from close range, with quite a bit more intensity than I had ever witnessed. And suddenly they were one. They would have made any bighorn ram proud, as they seemed to rear up on their hind legs before rushing and clashing with a tremendous crack. I watched as they pushed and shoved with all their might, a solid mass of energy and immense power surrounded by flying dirt and debris.

They showed no signs of quitting. Soon it dawned on me that they were too preoccupied to notice what I was doing, even though there was virtually no cover for a stalk. My legs carried me effortlessly over the rough and broken ground, and I was giddy with the exhilaration of the end so close at hand. The larger of the two was obviously tiring, and I remember feeling a pang of sorrow for an animal that would soon be beaten, probably for the first time in a very long time, and would now have to slink off humiliated and cowless.

They pushed and they struggled and, for a few moments, seemed to have reached a stalemate as I neared bow range. The old bull hesitated, then pushed, and when the other bull responded, the old bull spun like a Sumo Wrestler, took the uphill advantage and charged. I stood dumbfounded as the two hit the top of a shallow ravine and disappeared from view.

When I reached the edge of the drop-off, the fight was over. The old bull crawled slowly out of the ravine, managing to keep the only two trees between us all the while. He moved sorely and looked like he had just survived 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. I was probably the least of his problems.

I found the other bull where I knew he would be. I sent a shaft his way and ended what remained of his life, although his fate had already been sealed. A very long tine had done its job as well as any arrow ever could.

I collapsed by the side of that marvelous creature as if I were the one who’d just been beaten, and in a way I had. I stared off into space, confused, a little angry, and barely able to grope around in my pack for a gulp of water, half laughing, then crying. I don’t know how long I remained there before a distant bugle brought me back into the moment, reminding me of the work at hand and the long uphill walk back to my truck.

His head hangs in my den now, and I still stare at him in wonder and amazement. When my friends and family ask why I didn’t have him officially scored for the record book, I usually mumble some vague and incoherent answer, as the right words never seem to come.

For some reason, antler measurements have ceased to matter to me. It has something to do with realizing animals are much more than the sum of their parts. Hunting and the hunted remain a significant part of my life, but my reasons for hunting, and my life in general, have changed in some way I have yet to fully understand. Perhaps more than anything, I realize just how much I love to hunt. And that in itself is more than enough reason for doing it.

The bull’s proud head on my wall will always serve to remind me of that special place I have visited and hope to never forget.

I am, and will always be,  forever humbled. Perhaps you have been there yourself.

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

——————————————————————-

 

“Elk hunting runs deep. Not that it’s always fun, because it isn’t. It’s a contrast in superlatives, ranging from agony to euphoria, and it will stretch your senses to the limit. It raises you higher, drops you lower, deep into your body, mind, emotions, and soul. You may like elk hunting, you may not, but definitely you won’t forget it”. – Dwight Schuh, Game Country, October, 1989

 

“A Bowhunter is a Hunter Reborn – Forever…” – Michael Patrick McCarty

 

 

A Limited Edition Print of Two Bull Elk Fighting With One Bull Goring The Other With His Antlers. Artist Unknown. From The Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty
Death Is A Most Serious Business

 

——————————————————————

 

Unknown Artist Signature
Unknown Artist Signature

 

Unknown Title
Unknown Title

 

Directly above is a photo of an original print from my personal collection. I have owned it for several years, and in fact found this at an antique store not long after I wrote this article. As you might imagine, it means a great deal to me.

I am unable to translate the title, nor identify the artist. I would love to do both, and also give proper attribution to the artist.

Can anyone help?

 

——————————————————–

 

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Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things (Hardcover)

This is not your father’s venison cookbook. Buck, Buck, Moose is the first comprehensive, lushly photographed, full-color guide to working with and cooking all forms of venison, including deer, elk, moose, antelope and caribou.
Buck, Buck, Moose will take you around the world, from nose to tail. The book features more than 100 recipes ranging from traditional dishes from six continents to original recipes never before seen.
You’ll also get thorough instructions on how to butcher, age and store your venison, as well as how to use virtually every part of the animal. Buck, Buck, Moose also includes a lengthy section on curing venison and sausage-making.
Peppered throughout are stories of the hunt and essays on why venison holds such a special place in human society. Venison is far more than mere food. It is, in many ways, what made us human.

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Fedora Bows – More Than A Match For Any Game

A FEW WORDS ON MY WEAPON OF CHOICE

 

“A custom made, traditional bow is like a fine musical instrument in the hand. And no, not all recurve’s are created equal. Targets or game, just ask any Fedora shooter”.

 

A 560 Hunter Takedown Recurve by Mike Fedora of Fedora Bows. A Fine Example of a Custom Bow for the Archery and Bowhunting Enthusiast.
A 560 Hunter Takedown Recurve by Mike Fedora

 

Not all hunting bows are created equal, and that can certainly be said of my 64″ 560 Hunter Takedown Recurve built to order by Mike Fedora more than 20 years ago.

A friend who is a martial artist and fellow archer was duly impressed when I handed it to him last week. He realized immediately that he was holding something special, but what he said was not what I expected. He called it a “bow of war”, which gave me pause since I had never looked at it that way. I tend to evaluate it along more artistic and romantic lines, but I suppose I can see what he means. There is no doubt that this bow means business, and it has the look and feel of a serious broadhead delivery device.

Close-up View of the Bear Razorhead Broadhead, with Insert. A Go To Bowhunting Broadhead for the Traditional Archer.
The Razorhead by Fred Bear – My Bowhunting Broadhead of Choice Since 1969

With a draw weight of 73# at 29 1/2″, it is in fact somewhat of a battle to get it back to anchor point. As you may know, recurve’s do not break over to a lesser hold weight as you complete your draw, as do most modern compound bows. What you’ve got is what you get, right to the end, and anything over 70# can really get your attention. I also tend to stay at full draw before releasing much longer than the average bowhunter, an ingrained habit left over from my target shooting days that really does not make shooting it any easier.

So, at the risk of stating the obvious, you might say that I am a bit over-bowed at this time in my archery life. It’s not the bow’s fault, however, because it draws smoothly and doesn’t stack. The real problem lies in the fact that it was built for a much younger, and stronger man – which I no longer am. Still, I can manage to get by if I work my way up to it by staying in shape and shooting some lighter bows during the year.

It’s particularly good at mid-range and longer yardages, and for me it is point on at a more than surprising 70 yards. It casts a heavy arrow too, and very few recurve’s are capable of delivering that kind of punch downrange.

It is a joy to carry in the wide open spaces and rugged terrain of the west, and to be frank, it has become an old and trusted friend. Most importantly, it also tends to hit where you are looking, more often than not.

It just may be the perfect recurve for a mountain goat hunt, or big bears, or moose, or whitetails too.

I can’t wait for my next bowhunting adventure. In the meantime, I think that I will order a second, lighter set of limbs – just in case…

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Built For Business - More Than A Match For Mountain Goats and Bears. The Custom Fedora Hunter Takedown Recurve, the custom choice of traditional archers everywhere.
Built For Business – More Than a Match For Mountain Goats and Grizzly Bears

I should also take this time to give credit where credit is due, with heartfelt thanks and some long overdue praise. Mike Fedora has been a master bowyer for more years than most in his stock-in-trade, and I won a lot of tournaments with his target bows in the 1970’s too. I simply can’t say enough about the man and his line of archery products.

If you are looking for a traditional bow of beauty and unparalleled quality that will stand the test of time, than look no further than Fedora Custom Bows. You will be so glad that you did.

You can contact them by clicking on the link here.

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

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Bear Archery Traditional Bows: A Chronological History (Hardcover)

To the Bear Archery traditional bow enthusiast and to the archery community at large, this book Bear Archery Traditional Bows: A Chronological History (1949-2015) represents a singular compilation of the chronological history of Bear Archery traditional bow production through the Bear Archery Company’s full timeline. This illustrated reference manual not only preserves the history and heritage of Bear Archery traditional bow production since 1949, it serves as a helpful reference to any and all archers interested in collecting and dating their vintage Bear Archery traditional bows. Each chapter covers a detailed chronology of factory production specifications for each specific bow model or group of related models. It includes photos of bow models for almost every year. The best part is this: at the end of each chapter, there is a table that allows readers to search out the characteristics of their bow by year, AMO length, riser material, medallion, limb glass colors, overlay colors, limb tip colors and where applicable, the two-digit serial number prefix.


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The Gift – A Young Deer Hunter Joins Up

“Something is only given in nature, never taken.” – Richard Nelson, The Island Within

 

 

A Trophy White-tailed Deer leaving a field, and like most whitetail bucks, never very far from brush and cover.
No Sound. No Mind. No Time

READY OR NOT

 

The young whitetail buck bounds proudly into the field of newly planted winter wheat and stops, and I know that I must remember to take a breath. Just moments before it had magically appeared from the heavy shadows at field’s edge. I saw first its jet black nose, then it’s eyes, followed by searching ears, and horns.

For some mysterious reason I had been staring intently at this very spot amidst the tangle of heavy vines, the bright green leaves of sassafras trees, and the yellow of remnant persimmon fruit hung on bare branches. It is as if I already knew, somehow, that I would see a deer this morning, and was simply waiting for its arrival. It’s a huge moment when you are thirteen. Why it’s as big as the world.

Just before daylight I had wedged myself into the crotch of an old, dead tree on the more open side of a small, protected field. It was more than cold with a biting, mid November wind, but the tree was big, protecting, with thick, comforting limbs radiating from its base. It was like a fort, and it was great fun just to sit there, hidden, listening.

Morning in the eastern deer woods has a rhythm and cadence all its own. Once heard, it remains indelibly recorded on the heartbeat of your mind  I can still hear the stirrings of squirrels and small creatures in the dry leaves and forest duff below, the twittering birds, the scornful proclamations of Blue Jays and wandering crows above. I miss it so.

 

A Gray Squirrel Noses Around The Leaves And Pine Needles and Forest Duff For Food; A Common Sight For White-Tailed Deer Hunters Across America
Now Where Did I Put That?

I remember feeling that the buck knew I was there, would be there…watching. Perhaps he had seen a small, slow movement from me, or perhaps he just, …knew. Will he come? Even If he suspects nothing there is little reason for him to continue across an open field on a bright, sunny morning during gun season, with plenty of heavy cover in the trees of the wood lot behind and around him.

I wait. The buck hesitates for a brief time, an eternity, and then trots calmly and purposely along the edge of the trees towards me. I am paralyzed. Though mostly ready, I’ve not yet had time to assess the situation or remember my role in it. My feet are only about six feet from the ground, and I know that he will see me and swap ends quickly if I move too fast. Still, I feel that he knows I’m there and can not change his course, and can somehow see himself moving, thru my eyes, as he crosses in front of my stand.

It’s now or never, and in one motion I come from behind his track and start to swing my shotgun bead towards his shoulder. He stops as if on command, as if this is his part in the choreography of a primordial dance, and this is the selected spot to place his feet. His body is perfectly broadside, with his head turned towards me and up, his nose shining in the sky.

There is no sound, no mind, no time, just our breath frozen in the air as I settle behind the gun. He waits patiently, gracefully, and completely at peace with what is about to come his way. Both parties share something all-knowing yet incomprehensible, without judgement. It is agreed. We have done this before and may do so again, god willing.

I don’t remember pulling the trigger, yet It ends as it must if you are a hunter. A life taken. I am too young to comprehend the full meaning of the act, yet somehow I know there is something more. It is an end, perhaps a beginning, I do not know. The circle complete, we are bonded. It is a gift of the deer and it is sacred.

I pray I will not forget, both then, and now.


“No Sound. No Mind. No Time…A Hunter’s Mind” – Michael Patrick McCarty

A Vintage photograph of a Young Boy Hunting Near a Woodpile
Wait Long Enough And They Will Come

 

*Few moments in my hunting life have held more importance, my first whitetail buck – a sleek 6 pointer. It was 1971, and I was Thirteen. A hunter, I am.

 

A Vintage Photograph Of A Taxidermy Mount Of A Young Buck White-tailed Deer, Taken In Maryland With a Shotgun Slug In the Early 1970's. Photograph By Michael Patrick McCarty
A Boy’s Best Memory

By Michael Patrick McCarty

 

“As I reflect on the experiences of yesterday and today, I find an important lesson in them, viewed in the light of wisdom taken from the earth and shaped by generations of elders. Two deer came and gave choices to me. One deer I took and we will now share a single body. The other deer I touched and we will now share the moment. These events could be seen as opposites, but perhaps they are identical. Both are founded on the same principles, the same relationship, the same reciprocity. Both are the same kind of gift…Something is only given in nature, never taken.” – Richard Nelson, The Island Within, 1989

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Summit Treestands SU81119 Goliath SD Climbing Treestand, Mossy Oak (Sports)

The original big-man stand, the Summit Goliath SD remains a huge favorite among hunters, and with good reason. Featuring the same comfort-engineered design as the Viper SD but with a wider top, the Goliath SD allows larger-framed hunters a little more room to move—with only a minimal gain in weight. At 21 lbs., the Goliath SD is still lightweight and portable enough to go everywhere you go and also boasts a larger, more comfortable seat. PROVEN RELIABILITY: Built to last, the Goliath SD Tree Stand is covered by Summit’s 5-Year Limited Warranty. DEADMETAL SOUND-DEADENING TECHNOLOGY: Critical parts of your tree stand’s platform are filled in with a custom-engineered expanding foam to reduce unintentional noises. QUICKDRAW CABLE RETENTION SYSTEM: The simplest, fastest and quietest cable attachment system ever invented, no fumbling with pins, knobs, nuts or bolts necessary. Size the cable to your tree’s diameter, insert the cable into the retention bracket, and the QuickDraw trigger locks securely in place. Pull the “trigger” to remove the stand from the tree. SUMMITLOKT STRUCTURAL ENHANCEMENT: High-quality extruded aluminum and precision welds provide maximum rigidity and strength. Each joint is “locked” into place before welding and designed so that stress its welds is minimized, for a stand that’s strong, safe, secure and silent. RAPIDCLIMB CLIMBING STIRRUPS: A standard feature on all Summit climbing stands, RapidClimb stirrups are easy to use and adjustable to fit any boot. Designed to keep your boot securely attached to the platform, these ergonomic stirrups allow you to quickly and safely climb to your desired height. Four-Point FAS (harness) with safety strap and attached SRS strap

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