Friend and owner of Hardcore Huntin' Music, Steve Conover says it best in a song from his Hardcore Huntin' Hits CD entitled Real Tree Hugger. "Rise, kill and eat. That's good enough for me. It's a tree huggin' way of life."
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When considering hunter ethics, the most important element beyond the scope of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation is shot placement. Good bowhunters understand this critical ingredient and practice year round to ensure their prey receive nothing short of best efforts from confident, ethical integrity-minded sportsmen.
Cold weather bowhunting offers great opportunities to see and harvest some of our nation's finest trophies in some of the most pristine environments on the planet; however, doing so comes at a price. Do you have what it takes to stand up against brutal subzero conditions? Hunting deer in some of Montana's most brutal, bone-chilling environments, where survival is dependent on preparation and on the fly decision making has taught me some valuable lessons. Here are the top seven:
We snuck around the outcropping of mesquites then froze in our tracks. I looked back at my huntin' buddy and put my finger to my lips. Shhhh. Slowly pushing through the briars brought us to a clearing where our prey its destiny. My buddy stayed behind me, holding onto my shirt to keep his balance. I steadied my bow and came to full draw. I could feel my buddy's excitement building as he wringed the back of my shirt. Thwack! The jackrabbit ran frantically through the briars but escape was futile; he piled up a short 15 yards away. I turned and fell to my knees as my buddy rushed in for a high-five, "Congrats, dad!" The hug that followed was a reminder of one of few bigger-than-life reasons we fight so fiercely to protect our outdoor heritage.
I knew I was going to be hunting there and had the time to go. He even invited me to help check stands, etc. but I declined; I was simply too busy. The result of my inability to "make time" was the excruciating hunt I describe for you below.
Cooler temperatures are finally upon us, marking the beginning of what is sure to be a memorable hunting season for scores of hunters, myself included. And, if you are an avid bowhunter, chances are you plan to spend time with your bow in hand even during rifle season. Hopefully, your time afield prior to this season has afforded you ample opportunities to scout your hunting properties and layout your hunting spots after considering a few key concerns; the greatest of these are scent control and wind direction.
A Lesson in Bowhunting Ethics and Wildlife ConservationBy Kevin Reese
I just returned from my central Texas honey hole where I encountered a good population of deer amidst one of the Lone Star State's best examples of our great outdoors. A cold front last week had whitetails of all ages out frolicking in the crisp morning air; it was quite a sight to behold. I watched longer than I should as I stayed at the ready, longing for them to make their way down the trail a mere 20 yards to my front; unfortunately, they never did find that trail; I'm not sure why, the wind was perfect as I sat patiently on their downwind side. I had to remind myself of my wife's favorite saying, "It's called hunting, not killing."
Using archery equipment to bag the buck of a lifetime, or any mature buck for that matter, is no small feat. Great time and energy is focused on ensuring a broad array of variables come together at just the right moment. But, when it does happen I can scarcely think of anything that compares to the flood of emotions and sense of achievement a bowhunter experiences. I've often sworn if that unspeakable excitement, adrenaline and feeling of accomplishment fails to wash over me upon the release of my arrow, I'll stop hunting. Two weeks into this archery season and several close calls (and great memories) behind me, I recognize more than ever that my passion for bowhunting is destined to outlast me.