Monday, March 22, 2010

Jers Framed

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Late Archery Hunting ramblings

Hello Fellow bowslingers

I have to apologize for the lenth of time between now and my last posting. I have been busy developing a new website and didn't get back here to check on what was happening. I had set up a couple posts and I thought I had them set to post automatically but alas, they didn't. I am new to all of this computer techy stuff and I learn, forget, relearn only
to find out that something has changed. So, SORRY ABOUT THAT.
Back to bowhunting deer and all it entails. It is late November and
the pacific northwest weather is definitely in late season mode. In this
state, we have two archery hunts for deer and elk. One is the early season
in September and then the late season in Nov/Dec.
I have talked about the early archery hunting season, with all the sunshine, berries and all but not to much about the late season. The archery hunting late season is like a whole different world in the mountains. It mostly rains with intermittent episodes of drizzle below 3,000 feet. I usually hunt deer and elk in the south cascade mountain region of western Washington. We can see Mt St Helens from our favorite elk hunting area. Because of the wide spread devastation and following regrowth activity in the area, it has the largest elk herd in the state. In fact, I read an article I found from the Washington Dept. of Fish and Game that talked about there being to many elk and over 170 animals perishing due to the lack of browse. Hard to believe.
Our bowhunting deer season and bowhunting elk season overlap where we hunt so for those who haven't filled a tag, we are hunting both. Most years, we still like to tent camp but I have a old camper we use from time to time. It is small but dry. I also set up a cabin tent for supplies and to use as a drying room. I purchased an inexpensive drying rack that is freestanding and will hold two sets of clothes. I have a propane heater that I set on low and we hang our drenched clothes on the rack to dry for a day so we always have dry camo. Even so, good gore tex rain gear is invaluable.
Late bowhunting season starts on the day before thanksgiving and goes through Dec 7th this year. I have been busy putting my late hunt paraphenalia together and plan on leaving next Tuesday morning to set up camp. Archery hunting in this part of the world is a lot like hard work sometimes but I enjoy every minute of it. I have actually made it to the gym about
3 times a week for the past couple months and I feel ready. The walking is either uphill, downhill or sidehilling on ground covered with wet slippery fallen branches. Even with all that, I find archery hunting and camping to be a blessed event. Every year I thank our creator for allowing me to partake of the majestic splendor of our hunting heritage. Until next time, good hunting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bow Hunting with a good scent eliminator

Hello fellow bow hunters,

Well, now I have spent a few days bow hunting elk and bow hunting deer this year. I have to say that I enjoyed every minute of it even though my tags are still not notched. I am now at home in the pacific northwest sitting with my laptop computer in the back yard. We are having absolutely splendid fall weather. It is 67 degrees, calm and the sun is shining. It just seems surreal that a few days ago I was high in the mountains, far away from and out of touch with civilization.

I had mentioned in a previous blog that one of my hunting methods is what many hunters refer to as still hunting. Still hunting is tricky but can be effective. It is a time when you put all your senses on high alert. I will usually walk very slowly for about 20 to 50 feet and stop. I am listening very carefully for any sounds and when I hear something, I try to identify it. For instance, a common sound in the mountains in the fall is a sudden thump. When I hear a sound like that I always listen for another one. The sound usually happens several times and I have spent time in the past trying to find it and I have. It is usually the sound of a large, heavy pine cone hitting the ground. If you listen closely, many times you'll see the red squirrel busy at work cutting down the cones from high in the tree. I will stand perfectly still for a couple minutes and do a 360 degree visual scan looking for anything that appears out of place. A good example is a light tan spot in the middle of a patch of ferns. Occasionally, it turns out to be the only visible part of an elk or deer. This happened to me last week.

The biggest problem for still hunters who are bow hunting deer, or bow hunting elk is their scent. When still hunting I try to walk into the wind as much as possible. The problem is that the wind doesn't like to cooperate and will swirl or switch directions quickly. If you are close to any game animals and they catch your scent, you most likely will not be close any more. This year I tried a new scent eliminator product and it seemed to work very well. I was impressed with it which is saying something. I was still hunting in the early evening when I saw a light tan color in the ferns and bushes. I stopped, I watched for any movement or sound that I would recognize. After about 3 minutes, I heard the sound of hide moving along a evergreen branch and then the sound of leaves being pulled off a bush or tree. I sensed that I was very close to several animals. After another couple minutes, the tan spot that had caught my eye moved. A few seconds later, I could see a large cow elk pulling leaves off a berry bush. Next I saw a calf elk move in behind her. There was an even larger elk than the cow standing in the trees but I couldn't make out the head.

I was about 30 yards from the closest animal and I noticed the wind had shifted and a slight breeze was blowing from behind me directly to the game. They continued to feed and walk downhill. I could not find a shooting lane. I was standing behind some 40 foot evergreens and looking through the branches. By the time I moved myself into a better position, the elk walked down a steep trail and were farther away than before. Due to the nature of the terrain, I just could not get in a clear shot. I didn't get a shot that time but it wasn't due to my scent. They never smelled me. I had sprayed my clothes and bow and arrows with Primos Silver XP Earth Blend scent eliminator and it worked.

The colloidal silver particles in Primos Silver actually destroy bacteria that causes odors. It also attacks odors caused by smoke (think camp fire), and food. Also it has a cover scent that smells very earhy. The combination of scent destroyer and cover seemed to work very well. I am going to be using it and I recommend you try it out on your next archery hunt. Check out Cabela's and Gander Mountains scent eliminator products Now, you will not be sorry.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bow Hunting Unseen and Dry

Hello fellow bow hunters

Well, I'm presently back from an extended stay in the mountains. I have been sleeping in a tent and traversing the hillside for many miles. The first couple days it was windy and raining which made it chilly camping. I had brought along a 5 gallon propane tank and a Mr Buddy heater which got used for a couple nights. It is amazing how comfortable a person can get in a tent. We used our king size air mattress and a great king sized sleeping bag. With the heater running on low all night, it almost got to warm.

My wife came along for the first 3 days so she could pick blueberries. We had our camp tucked between some noble firs and more full blueberry bushes than you could shake a stick at. Unfortunately, she had to wear rain gear the first two days but she still picked berries. The bow hunters would get up before daylight and head out so as to be in a good area for the first hour of daylight. She would sleep in and then when she felt like it, walk around the camp and pick berries. When she got home, she froze about two gallons of berries in zip lock bags and dehydrated about four gallons and sealed them in quart jars. We will have blueberries until next year.

Bow hunting deer and bow hunting elk takes some physical conditioning, certain skills, some good luck and proper clothing helps. If you're out in the woods all day and you get wet and cold, you are less likely to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Believe it or not, I've actually heard other archers use profanity to describe such a hunt. I have been there, done that many times.
This trip I brought along some camo hunting clothes that really worked. Any one that has spent time hunting or hiking in the mountains knows the difference clothes can make.

There is a big difference between water resistance and water proof. If you are hunting elk and still hunting, you are putting a lot of time on your feet. You automatically start looking for a good place to sit a spell from time to time. I have done that while wearing water resistant pants.
I was comfortable and warm until I sat on a fallen tree and rested. When I got up, my backside was wet and became cold. It changed the hunt.

This time, I wore water proof pants with Gore Tex. Not only did I remain warm and dry, but camouflaged and hidden as well. The other thing I especially liked about the camo pants is the fact that they have a front zipper. I never did like having to pull my pants down for number one while standing in the driving rain. Take it from a fellow bow hunter, buy yourself a good pair of water proof boots and pants. They may be a bit pricey but they will last for years and probably save you money in the long run. I have tried several brands over hundreds of miles and many years and the Gore Tex has always outperformed. I bought mine at Cabela's and I recommend that you check them out now, while your thinking about it.

As always, have a safe, warm and enjoyable outdoors experience.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bow Hunting and Wilderness Access

Hello fellow bow hunters,

I'm getting sort of antsy. Bow hunting deer season opens tomorrow in Washington state. I have commitments so I can't head into the woods until Saturday. We plan on heading out on Friday to set up camp. We'll get up early Sat. morning so as to be in prime deer hunting area by first light. Archery elk hunting opens on the following Tuesday so we will be finding out, hopefully,where we want to be early Tues. morning.

I live on the left coast so our hunting areas are tenuous at best. Every year we have more and more forest access cut off by gates. It seems as though the large land owners in this part of the world are in sync with our flavor of politicians. Bow hunters, at least, are being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas. Its interesting, the pamphlet shows the areas to be open for bow hunting but when you get there all the roads are gated and locked. This is extremely frustrating. I can spend several days scouting and planning in an open area and then when archery season rolls around the roads are gated. They also add signs saying no motorized access. When I call the number on the sign to ask what my options are or when the road will be opened they rarely have an answer other than I can walk in.

Invariably, the gates are located miles downhill of where the elk and deer play. I don't even like to ask as to WHY we are denied vehicle privileges. The excuses, explanations, we get are sometimes quite hilarious. Last year the gate was open to our favorite hunting area. We have been hunting there for over 25 years and know the area very well. We were excited that we got to our favorite place and had camp all set up with opening season for bow hunting elk starting the next day. We spotted a small herd of elk about 1/2 mile from camp just before dark which included a royal elk. We were pumped.

It had been raining for the past 3 days, the ground was saturated and quiet. It continued to rain so our scent wasn't an issue. Just as we were heading into the woods, a truck drove up and 2 guys got out. They said they worked for the lumber company and that the gate had been left open accidentally by a logging truck operator. The area was closed to bow hunting due to FIRE
Danger. Even though I asked the 2 guys to show me how to light a fire using the blow torch I had sitting by the fire pit, they concluded that it would be difficult. To make a long story shorter, We ended up having to break camp and find a new area on opening day. Obvious to everyone, there was NO fire danger but the dictum had come down from above.

I would be interested in hearing if others are having problems similar to ours. I feel like we are losing more and more freedoms every year and unfortunately most people don't care unless it affects them personally.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bow Hunting, Broad Heads and a Water Break

Howdy fellow Bow Hunters,

Wow, I sure love this time of year when it comes to outdoor activities. This past weekend I decided to leave the bow and arrows alone. Bow hunting deer opens in my state on September 1st and bow hunting elk season opens 1 week later. I think that I am all set except I decided to switch broad heads this year. I am going to use 100 grain muzzy broad heads. I had been using 125 grains for the last couple years. That of course means I have some sighting in to do again. I am going to go for a slightly flatter trajectory. I'll get back to that in a moment but first I wanted to relate my weekend to you outdoor enthusiasts.

I have been hearing that the salmon were in the Puget sound for the last few weeks. I just had to go out fishing at least once before archery season. Every other year, we get a run of 'pinks' along the west coast and in the rivers. This year the run has apparently been excellent. My brother and I decided to take my boat out rather than go scouting. We usually miss the big runs of coho salmon because they come in during the bow hunting seasons. The pinks,however, are here now. We launched the boat at 9:30 am and motored about 4 miles to one of the Tacoma waterways. It turned out to be a spectacular day. The sun shined all day and we had a slight breeze which made it down right comfortable.

The water was sparkling with the city of Tacoma to our west and a shiny Mt Rainier to the east. We were using pink buzz bombs and jigging off the side of the boat and casting. It was fantastic as the fish would swim at times with their dorsal fins out of the water all around us. This is when the locals say "the water is boiling with fish". The average size is 4 to 6 lbs and they put up a nice fight when hooked. We used our trout poles with 8 lb test which made bringing them in a lot more colorful. Even though we could see fish that fact didn't mean that they were biting. We went through some long slack times when nothing was biting. Then all of a sudden, we would get bites and be very busy for a few minutes. We kept 6 fish in the 5 lb range and grilled one the next afternoon. It was awesome. My wife canned the rest and we will be eating salmon at deer camp. I think it tastes better than our store bought canned tuna.

Back to the subject of bow hunting. I have taken deer with broad heads weighing 145 grains and 125 grains in the past. I was told by a local 'expert' that the heavier weight tips could go
through hide and bones better for more knock down power. I have read several articles that supported that theory. I also, however, have read some interesting articles by archers who swear by the lower weight hunting points. The latter claim that with lower weight broad heads, the arrow has a flatter trajectory and greater speed. These factors make the 100 grain arrow tips more favorable for shooting in heavy timber. Your arrow has less chance of arching into a low branch and deflecting before contact with the deer. That is exactly what happened to me 2 yrs ago. I spent a good 30 minutes calling in a 5 point elk. The elk was only 35 yards away when I released the arrow. I didn't see the twig hanging down until my arrow was deflected. I can still feel the agony of defeat when I think about it. There is a lot of information to consider when taking a shot in the woods and I want to give myself the best odds possible.

If anyone has any good information on the subject, I would love to hear about it. I have come to the conclusion that as long as the blades are razor sharp they will do the job. I've switched my field tips to 100 grain and am in the process of re-sighting my bow. I am heading to the range now so until we meet again, good bye and good hunting. J G

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bow Hunting Deer-a learning experience

Hello Bow Hunting friends,

I may have gotten a little carried away on my last blog with my personal camping preference but
I was reflecting on my early years. When I went on my first bow hunting elk and bow hunting deer camps I didn't have a clue. I really didn't know or care what to bring along so long as I got to hunt. It wasn't until I harvested my first elk, when I realized that I was not prepared. Since then I have learned a great deal and I am always learning more. I have shared deer camps and elk camps with people from all walks of life. I've hunted with longshoremen, welders, carpenters, lawyers, medical doctors, dentists, nurses, unemployed and the list goes on. One thing we all have in common is our love of nature, camping and the hunt. Each and every one of us seems to learn from each other and enjoy each others stories while any social barriers seem non existent.

These blogs as well as articles and other sportsmen,s sites are a great way to help and inform as well as entertain. Beginners can pick up tidbits that may improve the quality of their hunting trip. Some of the camping equipment and hunting accessories I talk about make the whole experience just a little better. Being prepared for the best as well as the worst, can make the difference between a great trip and a complete disaster. Like the time...

It was a beautiful fall morning. The sun was still behind the mountains but there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was already almost 70 degrees out at 06:30. Several of us at work had decided to go on a backpacking trip with our bows and arrows. We picked out a place on the green trail map where we would meet. It was on the Pacific Crest Trail in the central Cascade mountains.
I picked the 65lb back pack out of my rig, attached my bow and a quiver with 8 arrows. I had 2 20 oz. water bottles and some energy bars handy. I had never done this kind of hunting before and had spent the last week going over everything that I thought I would need. I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. All I had to do next was carry myself and the pack up 4 miles of switchbacks from an elevation of 1200 feet to an elevation of 5,000 feet.

The other archers had left the day before. I had to work on the day they left so I hiked up by myself and joined them on top. I found them in their camp about 5 hours later. They had set up a makeshift archery target and were having a friendly competition. I was in agonizing pain. About three quarters of the way up, my thighs were burning so bad that I hardly noticed the blisters forming on my feet. I hadn't taken the pack out on any trial hikes so I had no idea of how heavy that pack was going to be by the time I got up there. If I had, I probably would have noticed that my hunting boots were not the ideal footwear for uphill walking with a load. Just one more time that I had to learn the hard way. One of the other bow hunters was a emergency room doctor and had brought some mole skin pads and ibuprofen. I had neither and gladly accepted both.

We all had a great trip and saw many animals in a near pristine, road-less and awe inspiring countryside. The scenery and vistas were breathtaking, especially during sunrise and sunset each day. Because of that, I endured the blistering pain of walking for several days. I now know to wear comfortable hiking boots with 2 pair of socks. I also know that when I feel a hot area on my foot, to take my boots off, cool my feet and apply some petroleum jelly to the area which
decreases the friction. Since that time and to this day, I carry moleskin pads, small petroleum
packets and a pill fob with pain pills for emergencies in my fanny pack.

Until we meet again, J G