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Tag Archives: Deer Hunting

New Yorkers Stripped of Rights, Freedom

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

It wasn’t about guns, it was about freedom and New York State residents awoke Tuesday morning stripped of it.

The free people of New York are disarmed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Sate Senate orchestrated a closed-door deal, ramming secret legislation through under the dark of night. The result: an over-reaching bill that strips New Yorkers of their Second Amendment rights.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms is no longer the law of the land. New York has been infringed upon – thanks to a dictator named Cuomo and a class of clowns knows as the State Senate.

All rumored to be burried in this bill…

The number one selling rifle in America is now illegal in New York State. Thousands are manufactured in New York’s Herkimer County, but its people are now not free enough to own one.

Having a magazine with a capacity of eight rounds or more is now illegal in New York. The max is a seven round clip. Yeah, the Ruger 10/22 you bought to take your son or daughter squirrel hunting is now useless without its 10-round clip.

Oh, and if you need to purchase bullets for that .22, good luck.

10 Round Clip

10 Round Clip

All law-abiding citizens are now subject to a background check when purchasing any type of ammunition – and there are limits on the quantity you can purchase. Good luck getting through the line at Bass Pro or Wal-Mart the day before deer season.

Those who possess a hand gun permit will now be forced to be recertified every five years. Can you say money grab?

The so called ‘mentally ill’ will now be stripped of their guns. That next knock at your fron door could very well be the State Police demanding your weapons.

The question that begs to be asked is what exactly defines mentally ill? Is Johnny Joe considered mentally ill because he was prescribed an anti-depressant following the death of his 6-year-old son?

All of this legislation comes from the same man who decriminalized the use of marijuana while criminalizing gun owners – In the same speech!

Is this America or Neo-Nazi Germany? The last time I check this was The Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave. At least half of that statement remains true.

Let’s face it though, this wasn’t about guns, it’s about freedom – or the removal of it. And let’s not forget Mr. Cuomo’s 2016 ambitions. Coincidence? I say not.

New York State ratified the Constitution in the year 1788. It died on January 14th 2013.

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AHT “Shoot 25” Archery Training Program

It was a shot I took with the same confidence as a two-foot par putt – that’s the only reason I let that arrow fly. The 46-yard shot ended up true to its mark and helped me arrow my biggest buck to date.

Never before has archery equipment provided such capabilities to effectively shoot big game animals at distances once scowled upon by archery purists. And the only way to become more proficient at shooting those distances is to practice until your comfortable with them.

I wanted to create a way to practice, and track my progress, at shooting shots longer than normal. Headed into this year’s hunting season, I wanted to feel comfortable shooting well beyond my normal “comfort zone.”

I feel confident in that being the case before September 15 rolls around.

After a few modications, it’s my pleasure to share with you AHuntersTales.com Shoot 25 archery training program. The video blog entry will help explain the program too (nevermind the bald guy shooting so poorly).

The 25-shot program is simple. You shoot five arrows at 60 yards and measure the total number of inches away from the target you’re aiming at (for all five arrows).

[AHT Shoot 25 Program Scoring Sheet]

Then, you shoot five arrows at 50 yards and measure again. Next, shoot your five arrows at 40 yards, etc. You end up following the routine at 30 yards and 20 yards for a total of 25 arrows.

The downloadable scoring sheet shows how you take each of the cumulative inches away you are at each 10-yard increment, and multiply it by the respective number on the sheet (x1 at 60, x2 at 50, x3 at 40, x4 at 30 and x5 at 20).

Simply put, the program is much easier to shoot than it is to explain!

The primary goal of the program is to have fun, but it’s also designed to track progress over the time you shoot the program. My goal is to shoot it a minimum of three times a week over the next three months. Ultimately, I’d like to feel extremely comfortable shooting distances out to 60 yards.

Give it a try – and let us know how you’re progressing.


Hunting: An Impervious Bond

Editor’s Note: It’s been too long. And I’ve missed writing. The new year brought with it a lot of change in your favorite blogger’s life – almost entirely good change. Hello to a great new job, goodbye to a great old job. It all added up to a short break on the blog. We’re back now, and excited about a number of fun things going on for the blog in 2012. Here’s hoping it’s the greatest year of all, filled with many memories afield.

Making lasting memories with fellow outdoorsmen - and great friends

There are very few things that bond people like the camaraderie of the field. Time shared in the outdoors has a certain knack for binding people together as a brotherhood, a flock of kindred spirits in a world filled with forces that tend to crowbar people apart at every corner. The amazing thing about my favorite sport isn’t just how it connects one hunter to another, rather how it fastens communities together.

I was recently reminded of that in a way that I was simply not expecting: at a heartbreaking funeral.

Over and over again, the memories shared of one of those being remembered during the service, included time at the hunt club, or time together on this or that hunt. And with each memory, I found myself thinking that those stories sounded very much like the ones I imagine my family and some of my closest friends sharing. I could certainly relate to those moments.

Often times it’s hunting that binds together the people of the small, rural towns like the ground I grew up stomping in Allegany County, New York. It’s not just the actual hunters who share in the connection to hunting. Wives and mothers cooking, kids sharing stories about their dads at school and families sharing stories all year long about the hunts of seasons passed.

Those small towns exist all over this great nation, with hunting representing that local culture’s glue.

A friend who visited my neck of the woods made an astute observation that he shared with me year’s ago. He said that meeting people in most places of the world usually means some conversation about the weather.

“Beautiful today, isn’t it?” or “Big cold front headed our way.”

Not in Western New York. There, you’re always asking about deer.

“Did you get your buck yet?” or “Been seeing any good ones?”

You rarely even have to mention you’re talking about deer. For the town where I grew up, that is already known. Everybody knows.


‘The Shed Buck’

'The Shed Buck' & His Sheds.

by AHT Contributor Greg Johnston

It’ll go down as one of the more memorable hunts in my hunting career, and certainly one of my most coveted accomplishments. ‘The Shed Buck,’ roams no more. He now rests in peace on my wall!

This, like many other hunting stories, started with a single trail camera photo. At the end of the 2010 hunting season, I placed my cameras back out into the field to take inventory of what deer had survived the New York hunting season(s). I was pleasantly surprised when a 2.5-year-old 9-pointer made a cameo in front of my Moultrie.

I knew who this deer was and, in fact, had watched him all through the summer months in a bachelor group with several other bucks. The odd part was that I’d never encountered him through the entire 2010 season and, to be honest, had forgotten about him by season’s end. Never the less, he was alive and that was a good thing.

'The Shed Buck' appears.

I closely monitored the one camera the buck seemed to frequent most. The plan was to try and capture as many photos of the deer as possible [I captured dozens] and, if at all possible, recover both of his sheds. It worked perfectly as on Feb. 6th the deer arrived sporting only the left side of his rack. That meant the right side wouldn’t be far from the camera location. Even better, I captured another photo shortly after which showed the buck had dropped his left side, too. I was very confident I would recover both of his sheds and begin building a history with this deer.

The buck appears with his left antler only.

I made several attempts at recovering the antlers, but the deep snow made it a difficult task – especially with my then 3-year-old son firmly placed on my shoulders. My luck changed as the snow began to melt in late March. I was able to recover both sheds approximately 20-yards apart. I was thrilled.

Fast forward to the summer of 2011 as I glassed my normal honey holes in search of this one specific deer I’d dubbed, ‘The Shed Buck.’ Try as I did, though, I never located the deer through the entire summer. I began to wonder if the deer had been hit by a car or if he had just moved out of the area as many younger bucks do. On Oct. 23rd I was given a glimmer of hope when I grunted in a handsome 8-pointer to within 30 yards. The deer locked up and presented me with a bad shot angle. I elected not to take the shot, but I began to wonder if I had just laid eyes on ‘The Shed Buck?’

I had a similar experience with the deer in early November as he chased a doe in from behind me but, as I reached for my bow, he caught movement and walked off in the opposite direction. I was sick. I noticed that night, though, that the buck had a fairly significant injury to his right leg. He walked – or hobbled – very slowly.

I hung several new stands in the following days hoping to get a crack at this big 8-pointer with archery tackle. Things changed on Nov. 18th when I harvested another one of my Hit List deer. This meant I’d have to wait until shotgun season to try and kill the big 8. In New York, hunters are allotted one antlered deer for archery season and then another antlered deer for the firearms season.

The first opportunity I had to hunt the area was on the afternoon of Nov. 23rd. It was unseasonably warm and a touch windy, but I headed out to one of the new stand locations I had recently hung. I climbed the stand only to discover I had forgotten my safety strap in a tree from the previous days hunt. I made the decision to climb down and hunt from the ground. I quickly formulated a ‘Plan B’ and began to maneuver myself about 100 yards to the south where I would have a good view of a natural travel corridor. It was the best I could do, given the circumstances.

As I walked down a mowed path on my way to the travel corridor, I glanced to my right and saw my number one Hit List buck appear out of nowhere. There he stood at 100 yards looking at me through the thick goldenrod. I raised my Remington 1100 .20 ga., centered the cross hairs and let a Winchester fly. The deer whirled at the sound of the shot and began to move in a northerly direction.

I took off running hoping to get a glimpse and another shot off at the buck, but when I got to where he should have been, I couldn’t find him. I figured one of two things had happened – either I killed him and he was lying dead, or he never exited the goldenrod field because of that bum leg. I slowly climbed onto a nearby dirt mound to get a better view where I saw the buck standing a mere 20 yards from me. Another shot from the 1100 anchored the buck for good. As it turned out, I never hit the deer on the first shot. His injured leg just prevented him from running too far.

A perfect match.

Only one question remained unanswered now and that was, was this indeed ‘The Shed Buck?’ I went back home to retrieve my 4-year-old hunting buddy, the sheds and the tractor. A quick comparison of the sheds to the deer left no doubt, that I had indeed, just killed ‘The Shed Buck.’ I couldn’t believe it came together the way it did.

Looking back, I think this was just one of those hunts that was meant to be. Earlier in the day I had contemplated hunting another property, but decided against it. You take that, coupled with the fact that I forgot my safety belt, and the deer’s injured leg slowed him down enough, which allowed me to get a second shot off.

The deer has a 19" spread with 8" G2's.

There is no more gratifying feeling for a whitetail hunter than to establish a history with a particular buck and then successfully kill him. It was one heck of a week in the deer woods for me, killing two of my Hit List bucks in six days – one with a bow and one with a gun.


Roots of Hunting Passion Linked to Turkey Day

My brothers and I were among the less fortunate youth who grew up in New York State waiting until we were 16-years old to legally chase whitetails with a gun. Most states are far more accommodating to introduce youth to hunting deer at an earlier age – and I applaud New York for finally starting a youth mentoring program that gets kids hunting earlier.

Many years after those initial hunts with my dad (far right), my family still hits the field. This picture, from 2008, is only missing my oldest brother, Bud, from our core group.


In hindsight, that long wait years ago helped introduce me to archery and bowhunting as it afforded me the chance to get into the woods earlier. For that I am thankful.

But one of the things I’m most thankful for during this time of year, is that my dad let me accompany him on a special Thanksgiving Day hunt when I was just a little tyke.

Each year, dad would keep me held in suspense until after the tryptophan had nestled itself deep into our bellies before he’d invite me to join him, my two older brothers and my uncles for an afternoon hunt on Thanksgiving Day. I’m sure there was a bit of constant nagging by me leading into those moments, but being able to join made me look forward to that day more than most others during a calendar year. During those years, the season opened on Monday and the it was only four-days old each time we went afield.

It mattered none that I walked and sat next to my dad unarmed. To me, I was hunting. And you needed to look no further than the solid blaze orange hunting suit I wore to know I dressed the part!

I think I was a solid good-luck charm too. Very few trips to the woods ended with someone not finding luck on those hunts.

Something about those Thanksgiving hunts planted something in me that no amount of drugs can tame. Perhaps it was the anticipation of the hunt alongside my family. It very well could have been the opportunity to share something with my dad. Maybe it was a reclamation of my hunter roots. It might have had something to do with my birthday always falling somewhere near that day. More than likely, though, it was a combination of all of those things.

Regardless, the passion for chasing whitetails that those early hunts instilled in me runs deeper than the roots of a century-old oak. For that, to me, is something to be thankful for.

Cat Tales: With a little boy expected to join the world any day now, this marks one of only a handful of years that I’m unable to hunt with my family on our farm in NY during the opening days of gun season in New York. Obviously, it’s a lot easier to take when the reason includes such an awesome blessing as having a child enter our family. There will be many more “openers” in the future – and I look forward to sharing them with my kids. For starters, though, I can’t wait to take them on Thanksgiving! In fact, I’m likely going to take my little girl “hunting” (which will consist of a short walk in the woods) later this week here in NC. She has been asking to go all season!


Earning an Outdoors Degree

Some degrees in academia take two years, some take four. Apparently, getting your degree in the outdoors takes a heckuva lot more than that.

I’m still seeking my diploma in the Outdoors (concentration whitetails) after more than 20 years in search of America’s most sought-after game animal.

Can you find the buck in this screen shot? This buck played the role of teacher last week in my search for an outdoors degree.


And this week was another lesson that professor Nature provided, leaving me as a stumped pupil hoping to not make the same mistake twice.

My hunting buddy Kenny and I made our near-annual trip to Western New York to chase whitetails with bow and arrow. It was its normally fantastic trip, yet neither of us were able to connect with a giant northern deer. I came the closest, yet never flung an arrow thanks to a minor hiccup by your faithful veteran blogger.

Let me set the scene.

It was chilly – a crisp morning with temperatures locked in the mid 20s. For any deer hunter who relies on their senses for how good a hunt could turn out, you would understand when I say it felt like a “deery” morning. Shortly after 9 a.m. I noticed a single doe standing in the woods. I decided to video her.

Shortly after I hit the record button, she made the all-too familiar glance behind her that signaled she was not alone. Was it a buck? I noticed another three deer walking toward her and figured those deer were the subject of her interest. I kept the video recording.

It was then that I heard the sound of a buck making a single, quick grunt. I quickly transitioned into hunter mode, pushing my camera arm out of the way in exchange for a clear lane to draw my bow. I kept the video camera recording, but the it was pointed at the tree I was perched in. As I reached to the other side of the tree for my bow, I could hear deer running toward me – a clear sign that this buck was bumping at least one of the does. In just a few short seconds, several deer went from 60 yards behind me, to being within 15-25 yards of my treestand.

By the time I turned back around with bow in hand, a doe and the buck were glancing my direction. I was busted. And he was a shooter – A chocolate-horned heavy eight-point with an “ain’t happening” stare.

I knew my opportunity was gone. There would be no way to get my bow drawn and make an effective shot on the buck at that point. I decided to reach for my camera arm and try to steer it toward the buck to catch video of him before the doe and he took off. I was able to capture just a couple short moments of video. And it was over.

I knew at that point, because our trip to NY was so short, that this might be my last opportunity at a good buck this year with my bow. And a rookie mistake of not anticipating a possible buck being with those does ended up costing me.

Lesson learned. And there will be many more before this hunter receives his diploma.


When Deer Attack …

Among the several reasons I share for hunting deer, I can honestly say “self defense” has never been one of them.

After an unusual deer:human encounter last week in Preston, Idaho, I think protecting citizens from deer is a fine enough reason to hunt.

The screen shot shows the corn field where a struggle with a muley took place (image borrowed from localnews8.com)

AHT reader Jason Shell sent along the following story.

According to LocalNews8 in Idaho Falls, jogger Sue Panter was attacked by a shady mule deer as she ran alongside a corn field. She knew right away that something was unusual about the animal as it walked parallel with her as she made her way down the roadway. Could you imagine the fear?

Thankfully, for Panter, Michael Vaughan and his 17-year old daughter Alexis were able to play the roles of hero to make sure the buck didn’t kill Panter in the freak accident. And according the report, it was Alexis who should most be credited with going to combat against the muley.

The story is well worth reading. Click here for the written and video stories. Perhaps a rut-crazed young buck? Idaho officials are in search of the deer to try and figure that out.