Sunday, December 9, 2012

Not your usual whitetail deer habitat

When we think of whitetail deer habitat we think of lush river bottoms, hardwood ridges or farm lands, and yes these are prime whitetail deer areas. When I arrived in the southern interior of British Columbia with its rolling hills and open ranch grass lands I thought of mule deer, black bears, cougars and perhaps populations of grouse in the scattered aspen and brush pockets.

Anything but whitetail country but yet they are there too, not in the numbers you typically would see elsewhere… but they are there and the numbers are growing each year. Whitetail deer are adaptable to almost any terrain between the swamps of Florida and the alpines of northern British Columbia. It is this adaptability that makes the whitetail deer one of the most successful wildlife species in North America.

The southern interior of British Columbia is well known for its good population of trophy sized mule deer bucks and attracts hunters from all over the province. Over the last few years we also see more and bigger whitetail deer bucks been taken. Just last week, while sitting in Tim Hortons with my wife a truck drove onto the parking lot with a massive whitetail deer in the pack that the hunter shot just outside Merritt.

It takes a special strategy to hunt these whitetails here. Forget treestands, ground blinds or sitting on deer trails. Here we hunt whitetails like mule deer, glassing the distant slopes, ridges and edges of aspen pockets. If a buck is spotted we try to stalk close enough for a shot. I say “try” because unlike the more docile mule deer the whitetails ever vigilant nature makes stalking in open country much more difficult. Unlike mule deer a whitetail will not stick around for a while or only jog a little distance before they stop and look back at you. (This often can be their downfall as it provides a hunter the opportunity to get a quick shot off.) No, if a whitetail becomes aware that it is been stalked it gets up and runs, never to be seen again.

For me it was a big learning curve to hunt whitetails any other way then from treestands or ground blinds but now that I am getting the hang of  stalking them I’ve to admit, it is great fun.

Here's a link to an article I wrote for one of Canada's leading hunting magazines on how to effectively stalk whitetail deer with a bow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Elite Reveals New Bow For 2013

© By Othmar Vohringer

Over the past few years I am getting more excited about Elite bows and even plan on making my next bow purchase an Elite. The reason for this excitement is that, although I never shot one, I keep hearing how satisfied bowhunters everywhere are, that made the switch to Elite bows, with quality and no frills approach of Elite bows.

With that said, when Elite announced their new release for 2013 I was eager to read all about it. The new bow, the Elite Hunter, one of the most successful models of that company, has been redesigned for 2013 with a wider range of draw length, an all-new riser, cam and module system and an even smoother draw than the previous model.

Elite Archery’s President, Peter Crawford said. “We are able to build our smoothest drawing bow to date and not lose any efficiency or speed. The 2013 Hunter is exactly what Elite customers are looking for in the field.” In addition to the incredibly smooth, yet efficient draw cycle, the 2013 Hunter’s limbs are more parallel creating that “dead in the hand feel.” As a bowhunter I like a bow with a “dead in the hand feel” when it is drawn. It makes concentration on the shoot much easier, especially when you have to hold the bow drawn longer than usual as you wait for the shot to present itself. Another feature I appreciate is the generous brace height of 7 ¾ inches that make the bow so much more forgiving for the less then correct archery stances we bowhunters are often presented with in the field. I’ve often said and keep repeating it; Bowhunting is not target archery and it always good to hear when bow manufacturers see that point and produce a bow with features that are important to hunters, not archers.

The 2013 Hunter is available in draw lengths ranging from 25” through 31”, both right and left hand, in Realtree AP, Realtree Max-1, Realtree AP Snow, Ninja and the color combinations of Ninja riser with camouflage limbs or, new this year, a camouflage riser with Ninja limbs. Winner’s Choice Custom Bowstrings will be standard on each 2013 model bow, and the cams, modules, cable rod and suppressor rod will have a matching Cerakote finish, a look unlike anything else the archery industry.

The Elite Hunter specifics are:
Axle to Axle: 31 ½” +/- .125”
Brace height: 7 ¾” +/- .125”
Weight: 4.3 lbs.
String: 54 7/8”
Cable: 36 7/8”
Centershot: 7/8” – 13/16”
Peak Draw Weights: 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 80 lbs.
The Elite Hunter is available in right and left hand.

For more information about the Elite Hunter, or to find a dealer near you visit the Elite Archery website. 

(Images courtesy of Elite Archery.)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

When Only One Treestand Will Do

© By Othmar Vohringer
Before I followed my heart and moved to British Columbia, I owned many different treestands. At last count I had 24 hang-on models, 2 climbing stands and 3 ladder stands. By the time hunting season rolled around I had most of the stands in place and ready to hunt, keeping the two climbers as “run-and-gun” stands. Over the years I got a lot of practice setting up stands and with that became quite fast (and safe) at it too. It seldom took me more than ten minutes to set up an average hang-on-stand.

By now you may ask; “Why own and use so many stands?” The answer to that is quite simple really. I scout for the perfect location to ambush a deer with bow or rifle and not the perfect tree for my stand. The perfect ambush location may not always mean that there is a perfect tree to hang the stand too. To accommodate whatever shape and form a given tree was I had a treestand for it to fit. However, when I moved to Canada the expense to ship all the stands seemed nothing short of ridiculous. There would have been also additional fees, quite a hefty ones too, for "bulkiness" and "import" fees. I decided to leave all my stands with a good friend of mine back in Illinois.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Watch Out For Deer Crossing Road Signs

 © By Othmar Vohringer

Hunting Tip Of the Week:

Deer crossing signs alert drivers to be careful of deer crossing the street. Usually such signs are posted where over the years several deer/vehicle accidents have occurred.

For hunters these sign have an additional meaning. It means that the stretches of road where such signs are set up are traditional deer travel corridors. Such places are a good starting point to look what’s on either side of the road that makes the deer cross on that particular place. It is not uncommon to find some type of food source and structure that are hot deer magnets.

Before you run off and start scouting make sure it is not private land, if it is, get permission before you set foot onto the property. Over the years I had good luck discovering deer hunting hotspots by starting to scout at deer crossing road signs. While some of these traditional deer crossings are active all year others may just be used by the deer at specific times of the year. In any case, the areas near a deer crossing road sign are always worth a closer look.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bowhunting Is still One Of The Most Popular Hunting Methods

© By Othmar Vohringer

According to an article, published on the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Website, bowhunting is a popular pastime for millions of Americans.

The National Sporting Goods Association reports that more than five million Americans hunted with bow and arrow in the year 2010. This was roughly the same as the number of people who went water skiing that year. With the inclusion of crossbows into the archery season in many U.S. states the number of bowhunters is likely to increase in the coming years.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Summit Treestands Recalls Crush Treestand Series

© By Othmar Vohringer

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Summit Treestands, LLC, announced today a voluntary recall of the following consumer product.

Name of Product:

Crush Treestand Series Models: Perch, Stoop and Ledge hang-on model treestands.

Units affected from this recall: About 2,900

Hazard: The treestand’s hanging strap assembly could dislodge from the treestand or fail to restrain or hold properly on the tree, posing a fall hazard. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Description: The recalled treestands have the following names and item numbers:

Crush Series Perch, number 82069.

Crush Series Stoop, number 82070.

Crush Series Ledge number 82071.

The treestands include the main stand platform and seat with a green cinch strap and a tan tree stand hanging strap assembly, which consists of one nylon strap with a hook and an adjustment portion with a metal buckle and a matching nylon tab and a hook. This hanging strap assembly has the recalled item numbers printed on the safety label attached near the buckle.

The recalled products are old at: Hunting stores and in catalogs such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and others across the U.S.A. and canada from July 2012 through August 2012 for between $70 to $100.

WARNING: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled treestands and contact Summit Treestands to receive a free replacement hanging strap assembly.

Consumer Contact: Summit Treestands, LLC, toll free at (855) 373-9808, anytime or website click on the Recall icon for more information.

(Image courtesy of Summit Treestands)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting in Bowhunting Shape

© By Othmar Vohringer
This is a column I wrote a few years ago for Whitetail Deer Passion, however the message it contains is timeless.

Last year has been very busy and I didn’t plan on bowhunting so I never took the time to head to the archery range. This year is different. We finally have moved to our new house and most of my seminar engagement dates are finalized. Time to sit back and think of the upcoming bowhunting season. With the season opening on September 1st. it is high time to head to archery range and practice.

On Saturday evening I drove the short distance to the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, wondering how my first bow shooting session in a year would turn out. Will I have the strength to pull that string back on the bow? Do I still know how to shoot a bow?

I stepped up to the 20-yard target set an arrow on the string, pulled back, aimed and released. Swiiiish –Thud it went. "Would you look at that!!" I heard myself saying. The arrow stuck perfectly in the center of the target. Well that is easy. I thought as I nocked the second arrow and two seconds later it joined the first arrow less than an inch from the first arrow. After five rounds I was confident that – surprisingly to me –it seemed I hadn’t lost my ability to shoot my bow. Although a faint muscle pain in my back and shoulder reminded me that I need to do a lot more bow shooting to get the muscles back into shape too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hunting Success Is The Result Of Learning

(Originally published in the Merritt News - Othmar Vohringer The Outdoorsman)

© By Othmar Vohringer

Over the years the one thing I’ve noticed about successful hunters is a trait they all have in common: Knowledge! Successful hunters have spent many years perfecting their skills and have studied the habits and behaviours of animals. They have learned how wild animals use the landscape features to navigate around in their territory and because of this they know what features to look for that enables them to encounter wildlife. Knowledge permits the hunter to make an educated decision on where to go and at what time of the season and day, and if he should be in a particular spot in the morning or afternoon.

Hunters who lack knowledge will have to depend on luck. Luck, however, is fickle. Sometimes it comes to you the very first time but more often than not it ignores you for all of your life. Is there a shortcut to becoming a successful hunter? A way to shave off years of learning by trial and error? Yes there is! By learning from successful hunters that are willing to share their “secrets.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Make that Shot Count

© By Othmar Vohringer

On Saturday a bowhunter from Ohio sent me an email in which he asks. "Where would you aim at on a deer when your stand is 15 feet high off the ground? ” This is not much to go by to give a sound recommendation.

There are two variables to consider, besides stand height, in estimating the point of aim. How far from the stand is the deer? How fast is the bow you’re shooting?

Regardless of stand height and distance of the deer from the stand, I always recommend aiming low. There are two reasons for that suggestion. Shots that are taken from any height always impact higher than the same shot taken form the same level as the target. Second, if the deer "jumps the string" ( deer actually do not jump the string they drop to the ground) the impact will be higher again. It is a fact that most deer are missed high shooting from treestands. Go figure.

The best way to learn where you have to aim is to practice with your bow from various stand height and target distances. Once you have established the aim point difference you either can adjust your sight pins accordingly, or do as I do and commit the aim point to memory.

Here is where I genearlly aim from my average stand height of 15ft and the deer at 15 to 25 yards from the stand.

And here is a chart of what my practise arrow(*) imapcts look like with the same point of aim and target at the same distance from the stand but different stand heights. (Click image for larger view.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Crossbow Saga Continues

© By Othmar Vohringer

Without fail every year when hunting season approaches a heated debate about crossbows unfolds. These days it is becoming even more so as each year more North American jurisdictions declare the crossbows legal for all hunters, not just the physically challenged.

It never ceases to amaze me listening to the arguments from those that oppose crossbows as legitimate archery or as an ethically unfit hunting weapon. It is interesting to note at this point that when I ask those that are against the use of crossbows, “Have you ever shot a crossbow?” the majority answered with “No”. This makes me wonder how these people “know” that a crossbow is not archery tackle if they never shot one.

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