Archive for Archery

Idaho, Montana seek OK for hunting of wolves

The Associated Press

State officials sought Tuesday to revive gray wolf hunts in the Northern Rockies, even as they entered talks with environmentalists whose lawsuit restored the endangered status of the animals. On Tuesday, Montana asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to commit by Sept. 10 to the state’s plan for “conservation hunts” beginning this fall.

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War Rages On

Montana’s “Fish, Wildlife & Parks” [FWP] director, Joe Maurier, spoke yesterday to a group of Conservationist and other groups stating that Montana has “a recovered wolf population and we will appeal.” The statement to appeal is a result of the August 5th district court ruling that returned the region’s recovered wolves to the federal endangered species list.

Director Maurier advised attending groups that “Montana will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by Sept. 5,” a 30-day deadline mandate under the current appeals process.

Currently, 525 wolves reside in Montana. The FWP had intentions of reducing Montana’s population to about 450 dogs by years end using a combination of methods, including hunting.

Under the recent ruling though, Montana’s efforts to maintain authority to manage the wolf population has been halted.

“The endgame for Montana is to regain state management and a delisted wolf species,” Bob Lane, FWP’s chief legal counsel stated. “We are committed to come out with state management and we won’t concede that point.”

Lane also said FWP will petition the USFWS to allow for a conservation hunting season; to provide authority to remove wolves in some areas where they are impacting other wildlife populations; to provide for a more aggressive response to livestock depredations; and to down list wolves from “endangered” to “threatened” in the northern portion of Montana.

Knives: How to choose which is right for you!

All hunters know that a quality hunting knife is worth its weight in gold. It is a vital piece of equipment that must not be over-looked. A quality hunting knife is normally heavier [though not always] in weight than a traditional kitchen knife and usually come equipped with a sheath or pouch to carry it. Most hunters will carry a combination of knives afield as blade shape plays a vital role when field dressing an animal.

To determine which knife is correct for you, we must begin with the type of hunting you will engage in. A knife suitable for cleaning a rabbit may not as easily dress out an Elk. I personally carry along a kit [one of many offered] by Outdoor Edge.  It contains all the blades necessary for game preparation.

Once we determine what species we will hunt, we consider the blade design needed to field-dress the animal. For example, a moose will not only require a “caping” blade to make surgical incisions, but will also require a “deep-bellied skinning knife equipped with gut hook” and also a “bone saw” or “cleaver” for quartering the carcass. Remember, when decision making, that the knife needed afield may not be the knife needed at home when preparing the “quarters” for final packaging and storing. While it is possible, a “caping” knife is hardly suitable for “boning/filleting” or a “skinning” knife considered acceptable for “carving” roasts, when a butcher’s knife is the wiser choice. Plan to purchase knives for both afield and for home preparation.

In addition to the design of the blade, the butcher should consider the entire knife’s design as well. The knife should be well balanced for easy wielding and the handle should be made to fit the hunter’s hand. The tang should run the full length of the knife, including through the handle. Other style knives are double edged stabbing design. Gut hook knives for “zipper-like” hide separation. As well as assorted Bowie, skinning, and drop point knives. A good hunter identifies the type of knife that best fits their needs and uses them correctly.

The hunting knife comes in many shapes and sizes and can be useful in variety of jobs. When buying a hunting knife, the hunter must choose the one that best fits the needs of a hunting excursion. They are important pieces of gear that should accompany every outdoorsman into the wild.

Habits of Western Deer

Why would we want to have an understanding of deer habits you might ask? Answer: the male “Buck” is the trophy all hunters covet when deer hunting. A quick look at harvest rates across the country indicate the majority of deer taken annually are bucks. The female “Does” are managed very carefully, state by state, and only a limited number of them are legally harvested each season, and for good reason.

Learning the habits of deer will certainly increase the chances of you “filling” your tag. Generally speaking, if you plan to just walk into the woods knowing little to nothing about the animal you stalk, you will likely spend a peaceful quiet day enjoying the surroundings but failing to bag, or even spot, a deer let alone harvest one. To increase odds in your favor, you must observe habits that deer exhibit which will likely increase your chance of a successful hunt.

First and foremost, we need to find where the deer community dwell. We want to locate areas more heavily populated by Western Deer and avoid the areas they do not. Before ever stepping foot into the forest, I like to research areas that I believe will have higher concentrations of deer. I do this at home from my computer. Water is an essential all deer yearn for. When I know which “Big Game Unit” I will be hunting, I locate that units topography on websites such as “Google Maps” and search the landscape for water sources shown from aerial views. If you can find a water source, you can be certain wildlife drinks from that source.

Western deer require adequate food sources, shelter, coverage for hiding and areas uninhabited by human activity. Learn what diet Western deer adhere to. Research what foods in the area they consider enticing then locate the area where those foods are plentiful. Areas of shelter and coverage can be researched from your computer, similar to your search for water. I also find that speaking with the local forestry and/or DNR personnel result in tips and locations to the whereabouts of trophy animals.

Next, we need to learn the Western deer’s schedule. Deer perform certain activities at different times of the day. Grazing in fields and pastures predominantly occur during dusk, late evening and/or dawn. On lowlight days under heavy cloud-cover, deer tend to be spotted in wide-open areas as opposed to their presence in the same location on a bright and sunny day. Deer conduct watering activities under cover of darkness. They do this to avoid human contact and predators. Western deer will likely repeat their habits over and over again provided no unsuspected interference.

Find scrapes and rubs. Deer season, in most parts of the country, occurs coincidently with “the rut”. Bucks create “scrapes” and/or “rubs” to attract does. In addition, some claim it to be a sign to warn off other bucks. During the rut, bucks are mainly interested in mating, often going without food, water or rest for long periods of time. Keep in mind that a “scrape line” will be checked by a buck several times a day.

Throwing together all the knowledge you have gained through research and visual cues should greatly improve your odds at harvesting the deer of your dreams!

Hunting with camouflage or not?

When hunting for wild game, all hunters should strive to conceal themselves as effectively as possible to avoid being spotted visually by the particular animal they are seeking to harvest. A vital factor in choosing the pattern clothing that a hunter should wear is the ability to emulate the surrounding environment so as to deceive the animal/s that they stalk. That is the primary purpose of choosing camouflage clothing.

Most wild animals are easily spooked by the presence of humans that have entered their natural habitat. It has been proven that by choosing to wear camouflage clothing that mimics the surroundings, the hunter improves his probability of harvesting that animal.

Two points of concern when choosing your hunting attire is the “quality” and “comfort” of the garment. Cheap materials tend to fade faster, tear and fail to hold their stitching more often than a quality, well fabricated material. I tend to avoid materials such as “cotton” when choosing my layers of clothing. While cotton does provide for warmth, it fails to pull moisture away from, or wick sweat, away from your skin which leads to cold moist skin. Furthermore, this can increase the chance of rapid chilling, or worse yet, hypothermia. A better choice of fabric would be polypropylene or for warmth, polyester fleece, which allows moisture to escape the material and evaporate away from your skin. Comfort is a must when choosing hunting apparel. The material should not be irritating or itchy and must allow full freedom of movement. If the fabrics binds, pinches, or drags against your skin, avoid buying at all costs.

There are many options available to the Outdoor Sportsman such as hats, gloves, shirts, pants, under-layers, socks and more. Many of these items are available with scent-lock technology built into the fabric. Scent-lock technology is a process of the materials ability to retain our human scent between our skin and the fabric, eliminating human odor which animals in the woods are very receptive to. This technology is specifically designed to mask the odor of the hunter so that the prey is ill-afforded the hunters presence thereby remaining undetected.

In closing, please remember that the three P’s [prior, proper, planning] is as important as the actual hunt, for without proper preparation the hunt will be just another unsuccessful day in the field.