Sometimes They Fly More Than True…Photo by Rocky Tschappat.
For Those Who Love to Watch the Arrows Fly
“Nothing clears a troubled mind better than shooting a bow”. – Fred Bear
“Archery is the practice or skill of using a bow to propel arrows. The word comes from the Latin arcus. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat. In modern times, it is mainly a competitive sport and recreational activity. A person who participates in archery is typically called an archer or a bowman—and a person who is fond of or an expert at archery is sometimes called a toxophilite”. – Wikipedia
“Archery may not be the Sport of all Kings, but Archery is the King of Sports”. – Howard Hill
The Ultimate Archery Bibliography and Reference
A Bibliography of Archery: An Indexed Catalogue of 5,000 Articles, Films, Manuscripts, Periodicals, and Theses on the Use of the Bow For Hunting, War, and Recreation, From the Earliest Times to the Present Day.
By Fred Lake and Hal Wright. The Simon Archery Foundation, Manchester Museum, England, 1974, 501 pages.
We sometimes have a copy for sale. Please email for quote.
A fine pair of Mule Deer bookends, taken near my ground blind while on a bowhunt for Pronghorn Antelope in Northern Colorado.
“From that day on I have been a lover of mule deer…They were my first love and still remain my strongest…Somehow he sight of an old mule deer buck, head high, antlers lying along his broad back, returns me definitely to my childhood and the day I first felt the mystery of wild game and wild country”.
Jack O’Connor, Game in the Desert, Revisited, 1977
For the last several years I have been fortunate enough to figure out how to hunt a pronghorn, somewhere, to start off my annual bow season. It’s a fabulous way to warm up for elk, or mule deer, or whatever else that you may be after.
They are one of my very favorite animals to bowhunt, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, if you hunt them over the right waterhole, under the right conditions, you can just about be assured that you will have a fine old-time.
Set up correctly, and it is generally not a question as to whether you will have a shot, or not, but more of a question, as to when. It will probably be a chip shot too.
I have spent a considerable amount of time in my bowhunting career looking over many a good buck, looking for just the right one. There have been years when I have been mighty particular, and that mostly means that one will be spending a lot of time in a very hot, uncomfortable blind.
I’ve learned a lot about them, up close and personal, and I never grow tired of watching them. They are a magnificent creature, and for them I have nothing but great respect.
With that in mind, I can tell you that my opinion as to what qualifies as a great buck has come a long way too. For now, I can make a case that any buck’s a good buck, in my humble opinion.
Why do I say that, you might ask?
Well, the answer is quite easy on that one – and I’ll come right to the point. Just stick a fork in one sometime and you’ll know all about it too!
It is my very favorite of all big game meats, and I can almost never wait to get some tenderloin spattering in a hot, heavy pan.
“Long ago I learned that my hunting is not just for meat, or horns, or recognition. It is a search for what hunting can give me, an effort to win once again that flash of insight that I have had a few times: That swift, sure intuition of how ancient hunters felt and what real hunting – honest-to-God real hunting – is all about. It is a timeless effort to close that magic circle of man, wildness and animal”.
Once I was a kid set loose to stalk about the northeastern deer woods, and I learned very early on that one did not even think of hunting up a whitetail without first finding a proper tree overlooking a well used trail.
I miss those days completely.
Lately, I have been spending some quality time on a comfortable cedar limb within a few downward yards of freshly laid elk tracks.
With luck, I will find an elk standing in a print of its own making very, very soon.
It has reminded me just how much I enjoy communing with the birds, and it definitely opens up some new challenges in my elk hunting world.
Can treestand hunting for elk be effective?
You bet, under the right set of conditions.
And one thing is for certain when all things come together. You can rest assured that you will have a shot, and it will be a good one. After all, it’s where you place the broadhead that counts the most, and anything that you can do to make that happen is a good thing.
I have not been able to unleash an arrow just yet – but I will certainly keep ya posted when I do!
What do you do when the mosquitoes are thick as thieves and larger and meaner than a pterodactyl on the prowl?
How do you hunt when wearing your headnet merely slows down the number of bugs trying to find a way down your throat?
Well, the answer is easy, my friend.
And the word is “Deet”. Maybe you’ve heard of it.
It’s about the only thing left when all your bug suit does is make you hotter and more miserable than your already are.
Unless, you choose instead to go running madly though the trees, screaming at the top of your lungs in a state of full-bore linear panic (I stole that from the great outdoor writer Patrick McManus by the way).
Effective, for sure, but awfully hard on the ol’ noggin…I wouldn’t recommend it.
It’s Deet alone to save the day, I say – 100%…
Watch your back, though. If you’re not paying attention you may even find an elk trying to get close to you to find some relief for himself.
Disclaimer: I surely did not mean to imply that Deet was an edible product. Ingestion would be hazardous to your health, and may cause certain body parts to melt inappropriately. Be careful what you spray it on too – it’s some mighty powerful stuff!
*To be doubly honest, I also borrowed “The Breakfast of Champions” title from Kurt Vonnegut, after his book by the same name. Hell of a writer there, may he rest in peace. (The work explores the boundaries and meanings of “sanity”, and “mental illness”, which somehow seemed so appropriated in this case).
We usually have a copy in our bookstore stock, as well as many of his other books, if so interested.
Bowhunting for elk brings along its own very special set of joys, and mostly pleasant miseries, and my hunt so far this year has certainly been no exception.
The weather has been hotter than Hell’s own glowing brace of hinges; the lack of moisture unprecedented. Add to that an unusually voracious and seemingly endless raft of pterodactyl-sized mosquitoes that descended from the devil’s own desert, and you can begin to grasp the parameters of this particular flavor of outdoor fun.
Still, my summer scoutings and game camera recordings have been fruitful and very enlightening, and increasingly hopeful. The elk trails had been well-worn, and you might say that I felt that I had their fairly regular patterns pretty well dialed in, at least as well as anyone can when it comes to out guessing an elk.
That was, of course, until opening day of this years Colorado archery season, just a very short time ago.
All tracks and other elk sign evaporated completely about one week before season, leaving me completely dumbfounded and at a loss for words. Still, I had faith, and as many of you know one thing an elk is really good at is covering a lot of territory.
After all, they would be back.
The first few days were elkless, and I returned home for a short, but restless break.
Then, on the night before last, I left the house at a much too early hour and arrived at my hunting area in time to change out my footwear, grab my gear, and gain a comfortable perch in my favorite tree stand. I could barely contain my anticipation as the shadow light of the moon waned and the day transitioned to that magic hour known so well to bowhunter’s everywhere.
Blame it on the blood-sucking horde, my sleep deprived eyes, or my too-heavy-for-an-older-man-pack, but it was then, and only then, that I discovered why I had felt so unsteady and disjointed on the rocky trail.
Looking down, I was more than shocked to find but one boot on my left foot, and silly me, a low topped walking shoe and mismatched sock on the other. No wonder I had felt like I had wanted to make a circle as I stepped along, with one leg shorter than the other, however slightly. I don’t believe I have ever done that before, and if I had, I surely would not admit it now, pride being what it is and all.
Well, thought I, if that was the worst thing to happen this day than I shall howl into the oncoming day, but not just now anyways. Time to get ready for my upcoming 15 yard broadside shot, though the elk packing might prove a little challenging under the circumstances!
I knew from monitoring my game cameras that the elk would show by 8 a.m. or not at all, and my full length bug suit did it’s best to preserve some blood in my body as I waited valiantly on. But, as you may have guessed, it was simply not to be.
So it was back to camp for breakfast and a refreshing jug of iced coffee. Time to shelter up from the relentless sun and live to fight another day. But first, I decided to make a slight detour and check the camera at my other ground blind location.
Truth be told this particular setup was my favorite among the two, and my hunter’s intuition had told me to hunt it this morning. Never doubt the “spidey sense” is my motto, and I do my best to honor whatever premonitions are graced my way.
Unfortunately, the morning wind would not cooperate, blowing steadily from the north instead of from its more usual southerly direction. Facts are facts, and one of the most important of them all is that you will never fool the nose of an elk.
Hence, the tree, for me…
And of course, no doubt you have already guessed it. The elk had already arrived, four or five bulls and a cow for sure, just an hour before – and gone, and I would have had a lovely shot, had I been there, one boot or not.
I knew of this big bull too, and there is a snapshot or two of him in my in my growing photographic collection. He’s a handsome specimen – most obviously big, and heavy on the hoof.
I would surely love to see him again, under slightly different terms and conditions. The season’s young, though I am not, and maybe, just maybe, we shall cross our paths again before the end.
Only the fates can say.
If so, may the arrow fly true and sharp, and the elk and the glory of pursuit live on forever. Yet, for now, what can one do, but lay the head back, and laugh. For after all, I am bowhunter – and I’m used to it.
I will, however, make doubly sure to be fully dressed, …next time.
Early August is scouting time in my big corner of the Rocky Mountains, for as many of you know the Archery elk and deer season is just around the corner and coming fast.
Placing and monitoring a pack of game cameras is one of my new found loves. You just never know what just found image awaits. For a hunter it’s like Christmas and birthdays and all things good beckoning from the end of the rainbow.
And all it really takes to claim your prize is just a little boot leather to get there.
Works for me…
Good Hunting, and may your arrows fly sharp and true!
by Jewett, John Howard First edition. Hard cover. Dodge Publishing Company (1909) Very good. No dust jacket. Signed by previous owner. With gilt decorations on front cover and spine. Bound in red cloth, with some light wear at edges. Internal crack. Quite scarce in any condition, particularly in First Edition
Ray Seelbinder of Western Colorado has recently completed the North American Deer Slam with his latest trophy – A Columbian Black-tailed Deer from Oregon. More impressively, he did it all with traditional archery tackle and a bow that he built himself.
It looks like a good one too.
Congratulations Ray! You are an inspiration to us all.
– Word Just In – It looks like this buck might just make the Pope & Young Record Book by about 1″ (green score). Hopefully, it won’t shrink much during the P&Y required waiting period. I’ll cross my fingers for Ray!
*The North American Deer Slam includes the fair chase harvest of a mule deer, white-tailed deer, coues deer, black-tailed deer, and Sitka Deer.
**”Two forms of black-tailed deer or blacktail deer that occupy coastal woodlands in the Pacific Northwest are subspecies of the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus). They have sometimes been treated as a species, but virtually all recent authorities maintain they are subspecies. The Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) is found in western North America, from Northern California into the Pacific Northwest and coastal British Columbia. The Sitka deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) is found coastally in British Columbia, Southeast Alaska and Southcentral Alaska (as far as Kodiak Island).” – Wikipedia
For an excellent reference on the deer of North America, you might wish to purchase:
Mule and Black-Tailed Deer of North America: A Wildlife Management Institute Book. Edited by Olof C. Wallmo.
We usually have a copy in stock. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You Might Also like to read a little about his latest Coues Deer buck at Coues Head Soup.