Dream Deer Season Ends with a Giant

Kyler Moppert is not just my business partner. He is one of my best friends. Getting the text yesterday evening that he had “shot a monster” ignited an excitement that I was going to be able to write a story about someone I know personally. Someone I can attest to how hard he hunts, how much he scouts, how long he sits and how much he loves bow hunting!

I asked Kyler’s wife Elise two questions this morning. Two questions that I already knew the answers to, but I wanted you to hear it from someone that sleeps next to this man every night. I first asked her to describe Kyler’s relationship with deer hunting:

“He’s passionate, he’s dedicated. He’s pretty much obsessed.”

She chuckled. Secondly I asked, out of the last 90 days how many times has Kyler been in the woods? With zero hesitation she laughed and said:

“Is 91 an acceptable answer?”

Kyler is a native of Baton Rouge and is what some would consider new to bow hunting. But by doing his homework and spending countless hours in the woods he has surpassed some seasoned hunters who have had less success with decades of experience under their belt. He won’t brag about what he accomplished this year, but 3 bucks and 3 does is a pretty amazing feat with a bow. Especially when you consider this trophy public land 10 point and a nice 8 in the mix.

Kyler and his buddy Garrett Ramsay made a trip to Tunica Hills WMA this weekend for one last hoorah. They both hunted hard all weekend.

“Garrett had some pretty nice bucks on trail camera in this area. A big 7 point, the buck I shot and a nice 8 that I let walk early in the weekend. Saturday morning I mistakenly set up within 80 yards of another hunter. After the sun came up I climbed down and moved 200-300 yards away to a different ridge top where I found tons of sign. I ended up seeing 4 does that morning before I climbed down for a break and a few slices of pizza.”

“I did a little more scouting mid day and found a great spot.” A west wind would be worst case scenario for this spot but the sign was too good. He had to give it a shot.

“I found a tree with a big fork in it. I got busted earlier by getting in a tree that showed my outline too easily. That was not going to happen again.”

“Hunting Saturday evening and Sunday morning produced multiple deer sightings but not the buck I wanted to spend my last tag on. He was gonna have to be big to be worth dragging him out of this place. We had already made a pact before the hunt not to shoot a doe. The terrain in there is a nightmare.”

Sunday evening, what was to be Kyler’s last hunt of the season, he braved the West wind and got in the go-to spot around 3:15 pm. Around 4:30 pm a flock of 7 turkeys walked in making tons of noise. At 5:15 pm Moppert described how he watched them roost eye level with him just a few yards away.

“We were hunting really close to the river. Shortly after the turkeys went to roost I text Garrett as a tugboat passed commenting on the diesel smell that was inevitably covering up my scent.”

“At 6 pm I could see the rack. I saw him at 40 yards and immediately knew, ‘That is the kind of rack people make logos out of; heavy wide and symmetrical.'”

“He was slowly making his way towards me but as I shifted my foot on the stand the back of my boot caught the support cable and made a twang! The buck froze and looked dead at me for what seemed like forever. He took one step and looked at me again. He turned to his right to walk down the hillside.”

Kyler drew his Prime Impact and anchored for the shot.  “I had my 25 yard pin behind his shoulder. I released and watched my arrow pass through and stick in the dirt on the other side.”

The Gold Tip velocity and Wasp Drone did their job. “He turned to run the way he came in and went down hill. I immediately text Garrett, ‘I just shot a monster.'”

Unsure of exactly where he hit he walked over to the arrow to inspect the blood. He found light airy blood and a missing vane, a great sign of a lung shot. Wanting to give the deer time to expire and not risk pushing him he backed out and waited on his hunting partner to arrive.

“I sat on the bank of the Mississippi River waiting on Garrett and watched the sunset. It was pure bliss. It was if that sunset was made just for me. It was so peaceful.”

Garrett arrived and they began to track. Here’s what happened next:

The buck ran 90 yards along a steep embankment and collapsed. The public land bruiser weighed 158 pounds field dressed and boasted at nearly 21″ inside spread. That made for a long half mile drag to the 4 wheeler but an even longer trail of memories that will definitely last a lifetime. Congrats my friend. You earned it!

 

 

What Have We Become? A Reflection on the State of the Outdoorsman

Have you ever heard someone say the phrase, “They don’t make ’em like they used to?”, or “Back in the good ole’ days…”. What about, “Things just aren’t the way they used to be.” Of course you have. These idioms can be reflected on a number of particularities in our lives. The deviation in generational cultures range anywhere from the quality and care in which products are made, how companies treat their employees, how we view our families and friends, to the inflated view our ourselves. Sure things change. Change is a good thing though… right? In most cases it is. And in the case of the outdoor industry it must be.

The Birth of a Giant

The outdoor industry, particularly the archery side, as a whole has transformed itself into a multi-billion dollar industry. But this change didn’t happen overnight. It started in the early 1900’s with the mass production of archery equipment by the now world renowned Bear Archery Co. Another drastic leap happened in the 1980’s with the introduction of cutting edge camouflage systems from the makers of Realtree, Mossy Oak, and TreeBark. Then came the Saturday outdoor shows on TNN. Who can forget watching Bill Jordan and David Blanton alongside famous MLB and NASCAR celebrities shooting bigger bucks than we ever knew existed? Hot on its tail was the Monster Buck VHS tapes. From those videos the likes of Michael Waddell, T-Bone, and other now household names were introduced to the world and so on and so on.

Fast Forward to 2016. Social Media has completely changed the way we perceive ourselves and each other; particularly when it comes to hunting. It has been undeviating in giving every human in the world a metaphorical microphone and a podium. While social media supplies us with so many great opportunities to share and keep in touch it has also fanned the flame of human nature to self indulge; and that wasn’t on accident. Facebook and the like feed off of our need for “Me.” To make matters worse a growing number of outdoor companies are hopping on the narcissist train by “employing” field and pro staffers who have never once used their products. A 15% discount off a product you’ve never used gets you a title, and a reason to start an “athlete” Facebook page or claim you’re the new “owner” of a company. The companies that are exploiting the selfish by completely destroying the once proud title of Pro Staff are as much of the problem as the hunters who have nothing good to say about anyone but themselves.

Not all Pro Staff’s are Bad

I personally am on a few of them. I take pride in the companies I represent and do what I can to hold up my end of the deal. I recently signed on with OnXMaps. That staff lead by Edward Gramza is what a pro staff should be like; carefully picked team members who are familiar with and use the product, involved in personalizing the product based on real life and live data from the field, and participates in marketing, media, and sales. True experts on what they’re representing. I saw a post on Instagram just today that a company I have never heard of proudly displayed a picture of a “field staffer” with their first buck. I’m not saying everyone has to be a  PRO. In fact the “pro” in pro staff means “promotion”, NOT professional. But what is a person doing representing and attempting to sell a piece of equipment that has never succeeded at doing what the product is intended for? And what value does a company find in someone like this?

Not all Self Starters Are Bad

Team Hardcore Hunters. Team Backstrap Hilly Billy. Team Dead Eye Duck Hunters. Yeah there are some really dumb ones out there. (I swear I picked those names at random. My apologies if you’re offended) But it seems like everyone feels the need to be on a team, or own their own brand, or be on a staff or film and narrate every little thing they do. It’s pretty annoying at times. But a lot of these guys and gals are just enjoying what they love to do to the Nth degree. That is perfectly fine and pretty American if you ask me. I can’t help but question my own motives for starting Louisiana Bowhunter when writing something like this. But it keeps us in check. It keeps me humble and focused on making a difference and giving back. It’s not about me, or anyone else on the team. It’s about promoting ethical bowhunting and encouraging others to be proactive with the relationships we make and the decisions that we execute in the woods that will affect our deer herd and our children for generations to come.

Change Can Happen… Again

With negativity and hate around every corner why not be the difference maker? If you really wanna stand out stop doing what everyone else is already getting pretty good at. Encourage! Do you remember how it was when we were little? No cell phone pictures, no big buck contests, no prostaffs to add to our non existent social media profiles. Hunters gathered around the campfire to joke and laugh and pick, and brag. We didn’t gather in chat rooms or forums to bash and hate, and condemn each others hunting practices. No one cared how you killed your buck, or how many inches it was. They just slapped you on the back and said “Its about time you found one dumb enough to walk by you.”

PC: Gem Ceaser

It’s time we get off our high horses, and promote comradery instead of promoting ourselves.

It’s time we began building each other up, and encouraging each other and being real with ourselves and our fellow hunters. It’s time we started hunting because we love to hunt. Not because we love to take pictures of ourselves and post them on Facebook. It’s time we got back to the basics. Hunt the way you want as long as its legal, ethical, and leads to a positive change for your local herd.  Volunteer to help your local WLF instead of constantly critiquing the decisions they make. Have positive conversations with hunters who do things differently by asking questions and trying to understand why.

Hunt for YOU. Not for anyone else. Take pride in building other hunters up, not yourself. Either build up the image of the sport and the people that participate in it, or take up tennis.

 

Micro Hunting: Success in the Small Things

I’ve never been able to sit still for very long. At least, not until I started bow hunting. Training yourself to move your eyes before your head is not easy. Keeping your movements close to your body is not easy. Timing your draw without being detected is not easy. But then again, if bow hunting were easy then everyone would do it. It’s about the challenge and close proximity more than the weapon. You can have 10 acres or 1,500 acres.  As a bow hunter, most can only hunt a 50 yard radius at once which can be both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. I call this “Micro Hunting” and refer to the property I hunt as an “Arena”. Who will win this round? The deer are in the lead.

A lot of my rifle hunting friends tell me about how many deer they see when they go. “I saw 18 does and 4 spikes before 9 am”. I’m happy for them, but that does nothing for me. I would be foolish to compare the number of deer they see to what I see. I can’t see further than 50 yards in my woods.  I would rather see an old doe at 22 yards that is actively looking for me, than 22 deer at 200yds in a clearing. Currently I see deer one in every four hunts and am successful one in every ten hunts. With stats like that you have to learn to appreciate the small things about each hunt. Did I get busted? No? Small victory.

Does this resonate with you? If so, you get it. You know how much consideration and self-awareness is behind every single move you make. Scent control, which path you took to your stand, and which stand the conditions allowed you to hunt are all an important part of the hunt. Yes, killing a deer is the ultimate victory, but I’ve left the woods many times feeling accomplished without ever drawing back my bow. When you hunt where the deer are, you must remain undetected. That may sound obvious, but when you hunt the same parcel of land repeatedly it is an art to not push the deer into the nocturnal abyss. Being non-disruptive is paramount and should be your ultimate goal. If you want to kill your target buck outside of the rut then your best chance is to not alert him of your presence. Find sign, be mobile, hunt correct winds and cut as little brush as possible. Often times doing less is the best thing you can do to boost your chances. If you ever get the feeling that you are pressuring your area, then leave it for a week or two to allow the area to normalize.

Micro Hunting is not about to the size of your property. It is about you and your decisions. It is about possessing a heightened sense of self-awareness. I do not believe in chance or fate. I believe in positioning. Good things have the opportunity to happen every day, but you have to position yourself to be able to take advantage of them. Anyone can kill a big buck once and get lucky, but can you do it over and over again?

If you are new to bow hunting, new to deer hunting in general, or are a convert from the land of rifles and box stands, I am excited for you. I hope you get busted. I hope you get blown at. I hope you get the white flag waved at you. But most importantly I hope you get hooked. Because success without failure is boring. If failure is not a motivator for you, then bow hunting may not be your sport for very long. It’s a humbling experience, really, because you never actually get good at it. You just get less bad. No matter what you do you still smell like a human and you are still hunting the deer’s living room and they are better at this game than you. But, I learn to play the game a little better each year.

 

 

Kyler Moppert- LABH Brand Manager

 

 

Bow Hunting 10 Commandments “Thus Sayeth Fred Bear”

There is a hunting resource around every corner these days. No shortage of sentiment from self proclaimed experts and thousands of deviating ways of accomplishing the same objective. But something we can all agree on is that no one other that the late Fred Bear deserves the title “The Father of Modern Bow Hunting”. Watch his videos from half a century ago and it becomes apparent just how far ahead of his time he was. From shooting a running Bengal tiger while perched atop a palm tree or standing face to face with a Kodiak bear at 20 yards, Fred Bear has done it all. These are his most noteworthy hunting tips with a little discourse to help implement it to your particular situation.

 

1. Don’t step on anything you can step over.

  • Being a bow hunter is about paying attention to details. That sentiment resonates throughout these guidelines. Whether it be a log, a puddle, branches or dry leaves, if it is going to make noise when you touch it, don’t.

2. Don’t look for deer, look for movement (and remember, it’s what they’re looking for, too).

  • Experienced hunters have trained their eyes to look for things such as the flicker of a tail, the crossing of moving legs through a thicket, or the turning of an ear. Focusing on movement instead of trying to catch an entire silhouette will increase your sightings and help you see them before they see you.

3. Always approach downwind. In the cool of the day, move uphill; in the heat of the day, move downhill.

  • Thermals, and the difference in ground and air temperature in certain parts of the day play a major role in air currents and ultimately the direction your scent travels. While it’s not a huge deal in most of Louisiana it surely can make or break a hunt in a more hilly terrain.

4. The best camouflage pattern is called, “Sit down and be quiet!” Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat. Think about that for a second.

  • Mossy Oak, First Lite, Sitka, Realtree. It doesn’t really matter what you have on. If you can sit still, you will be fine!

5. Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, and smarter.

  • There’s nothing more frustrating than having to leave the stand early because you’re cold, or thirsty, or hungry. Either train your body to do without these things for a few hours longer or make sure to bring them with you. Easy solution. (Your cell phone dying is not a good excuse to go back to the truck) #c’monman

6. A rainstorm isn’t a reason to quit the hunt, it’s a reason to stay.

  • Weather changes can be some of the most rewarding times to hunt; especially if there is a major pressure change involved. Just make sure you dress accordingly to stick it out.

7. Camouflage your appearance, your sound and your scent.

  • You are the apex predator. Own that fact. Unfortunately we have been out of the woods for a long long time and have lost a lot of those instincts. The more “ninja like” you become in your stalking and hunting the more successful you will be. Treat your quarry as if they are hunting you also. That will change the way you do everything from stand approach, scent control, and sound control.

8. Be sure of your shot. Nothing is more expensive than regret.

  • We spend so much time waiting on the opportunity at a clean kill. As hard as it is, don’t rush it by a minute or two. Don’t try to thread the needle and squeeze that arrow between 2 branches or take an angle shot you haven’t practiced. It is inevitable that after hunting long enough you will lose or wound a deer. If at any point that situation becomes anything other than gut-wrenching you need to check your moral compass and decide if you are hunting for the right reasons.

9. Hunt where the deer actually are, not where you’d imagine them to be.

  • I know I’m guilty of hunting a spot because it’s “pretty”. If you’re hunting mature bucks don’t just look for deer sign. Look for big buck sign!

10. Next year’s hunt begins the minute this season’s hunt ends.

  • Some of your best scouting comes in the late winter when everything is dead or close to it. Trails are easy to see, browse has become limited and rubs and scrapes stick out like a sore thumb. Next year’s hunts should always be in the back of your mind, even now.

The Deer Disappearing Act

By the time December rolls around the rut is pretty much over for most of Southwest, Central, and Northwest Louisiana. One of my fellow lease members said just yesterday, “I haven’t seen a deer in the last 7 hunts!” Does it seem like the deer just disappear after the initial rut is over? It sure does on our 2600 acres of pine plantation, clear cuts, and hardwood creek bottoms in central Beauregard Parish. I’ve contemplated pulling out mementos from my past successful hunts or sacred family heirlooms to conjure up the hunting god’s good graces to grant me some late season luck. Instead I’ve gone with the traditional, less inspirational approach: Research and Facts. There are a few factors that play into this disappearing act that happens year after year.

Pressure

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when hunters have hit the woods. And it’s no secret that deer are very in tune with their surroundings, especially when we start invading their space. A casual walk through the woods will show you obvious traces of human presence: cut limbs, tire tracks, corn sacks, thermacell bottles the list goes on. Mature bucks are well aware of the locations we venture to and frequent. They have since moved! Most public lands and leases have had the sounds of ATV’s, victory yells and gun shots ringing out for over 2 months now. The deer are indeed “in hiding.” It’s a task you’ve been burdened with as a bow hunter to remove your comfy climber or lock-on and go deeper. Away from the noise and stench.

Exhaustion

Ever tried to get the attention of a girl you liked for weeks or even months? She was the only thing you thought about. You missed meals, lost sleep, ran her all around town trying to impress her and keep her entertained. Remember how tired you were once it settled down? Multiply that times 100 and that is what whitetail bucks are feeling right now.  They have skipped many meals, and have literally been running non stop for 2 weeks straight. The boys are tired! Really tired! Right now their focus is on regaining strength; mostly by resting in the thickest cover they can find and locating easy-access, highly nutritious meals.

Change in Food Source

With recent rains and limited frosts the acorns are beginning to sour and green browse may indeed have freshened up even more. But don’t fret! A hard freeze is on the way. The point is, their food sources have changed, which means their travel routes have changed; not to mention they have their sense about them again and are thinking about ever present danger once more.

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So how do you change you luck? You set up an ambush. Get between the thickest cover you can find and and the closest food source. It may be a late season, secluded food plot they haven’t started hitting yet, or the edge of a clear cut that has sprouted a plethora of native forage through the summer and fall months. Whichever you choose only hit it when the wind is in your favor. Try and catch them returning to bed in the mornings, and on the way to food in the evening. This strategy may require you to perch in areas you aren’t accustomed to. It may call for you to sit in close-quarter areas with no more than a 10 yard shot or to even break out the ghillie suit and give it a go from the ground. Don’t be afraid. Doing something different may be just the game changer you need to surprise that wary buck that has successfully avoided you so far. Attempting to spot a buck out for a mid day snack isn’t a bad idea either. Just remember, cover and safe and easy access to food is key. Get the right wind and make your successful late-season ambush!

 

 

 

 

Who’s To Blame for That Lost Opportunity?

Recently on a hunting trip to Western Kentucky I rattled in a nice 140″+ 8 point. He was standing over 300 yards away on the opposite side of a standing soybean field.  I slammed the antlers together immediately beckoning him to snort furiously and begin running in my direction! He gave me a broadside shot and once I settled my pin I pulled through my release sending my arrow towards his vitals. That instant is the moment I drove 14 hours for. It’s the moment we work for all year; the chance to see and get a shot on a nice mature buck. My enthusiasm and jubilee quickly turned South as would I, empty handed in just a few days. “Crack”, was the first sound I remember hearing after I watched my arrow hit what I knew was not its mark. I had hit him square in the shoulder blade. As he turned to run my fears were confirmed when I saw a good 20″+ of arrow that failed to penetrate the thick bone of the old buck.

Did I hold too high? Did I flinch? Did he duck? Is my bow out of tune? Are the broadheads flying true? All these questions are asked when we come to the end of a blood trail where no deer lies; probably hundreds of yards before the end actually. If you have been bow hunting long enough you have without a doubt missed, or even worse wounded a deer. It is a sickening feeling in either instance. What should you do to ensure that the next shot opportunity has a different outcome? Here are a few tips:

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BLAME YOUR EQUIPMENT

The easiest thing to do is the simplest issue, or non issue, to fix. There is no way this was a mental error or misjudgment of yardage right? The first priority is shoot your bow at a practice target. Shoot it through paper if it is available. Prove to yourself that it was indeed NOT your equipment. You must be confident and certain that when you release, your arrow will go where you willed it.

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BLAME YOURSELF

Now that you know it was not your bow, arrow, broadhead, release, rest, or whatever else you tried to blame it on focus on the real issue: You (ME). Recreate the shot that went awry. Too many times we are guilty of either not practicing from elevated positions during the off  season or forgetting that trajectory changes the higher we climb.  Two things to fix this: practice from a similar height and stand at home, and remember the higher you are the lower you’ll need to aim due to the trajectory of the arrow. Most modern range finders have this “angle adjustment” feature in them so when you’re in a tree it will tell you the actual yardage of the animal and more importantly the yardage you need to shoot for in relation to your height in the tree.

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BLAME THE DEER

Deer are crazy fast. Let’s face it. They have lightning fast reflexes and the ability to duck your arrow whether you like it or not. A few tips to help over come this are Get a faster setup. Obviously the faster the arrow, the less time the deer has to react. Aim a little low. When the deer ducks, he will hopefully be dropping right into the line of your arrow. Aiming where you want to hit may result in hitting the animal high. Lastly don’t give them a “meh” unless you absolutely have to. Doing so stops them, yes, but it also puts them on alert. A deer that didn’t just hear a foreign noise is much less likely to duck than one that is already stopped and waiting on another sound.

 

Situational practice is the best remedy and knowing where to aim can be the final solution. When you make a poor shot don’t give up. Although it seems to be the easiest choice at the time. Practice these remedies to regain your confidence, change your strategy on where you’re aiming and go redeem yourself!

A Little Luck Goes a Long Way

Stephen Rachal Jr. of Flora, and an LEO in Natchitoches Parish, has had his share of bad luck lately. In fact, the last person he pulled over decided he had better things to do than go to jail that night. He ended up putting Stephen in the hospital and on disability for months. As an avid bow hunter he’s chomping at the bit seeing all the kill photos come in of great Louisiana bucks while being confined to the house. Trust me, I know! When Stephen was shown a trail camera picture of a brute that roamed a local private lease and was given an opportunity to hunt him this week his answer was quick and easy. YES!sr-buck-2

 

“He had this buck on camera for a few years now. I got in the stand at 3:30 that afternoon. A 130″ 8 point came by 5 minutes after I got in and settled good… he was just out of range.”

For the next 3 hours Stephen sat and thought how nice it was to finally be back in the woods. At 6:38 PM the action started, and it escalated quickly.

“At 19 yards I first saw him step out of the thicket. It looked like a turkey because all I could see was movement next to the ground. Then I saw the rack! He stopped behind some trees and I couldn’t get a clean shot. He was walking from my right to my left. When I drew back he stopped behind another tree.”

“I had to wedge my bottom cam on the edge of my stand to help me hold it that long. I held it like that for at least 2 minutes.”

This strategy worked for Stephen but please don’t try it at home. The buck finished his evening stroll into an opening and turned to walk away. Stephen blew at the buck to make him turn broadside. It worked and he presented a perfect shot at 24 yards. He jumped the arrow and tried to duck and run. The buck was hit high and back but quartering away so Stephen felt confident that he had connected with vital organs.

“I trailed him over a mile. When I walked up on him while he was still alive. I continued trailing blood while keeping him in sight. He got hung up in some vines and died there.” The buck was recovered nearly 3 hours after he was shot at 9:15 pm. “First thing I said was, “Thank You Lord.” It was a long night for Stephen and his hunting buddy Corey LaCombe who made it back to the 4 wheeler after 11:00 pm.

“I owe it all to God and Corey for inviting me. He just wanted a hunting partner. This spot was his wife’s spot. He had been hunting this particular deer for 2 years. Another buddy had been hunting it for 4 years. My second hunt in this spot ever and I killed him. My first buck with a bow too!” Word is Corey’s wife is mostly happy… a little ticked, but mostly… but still a little ticked.

Stephen also noted how understanding his wife is. “She let me skip our date night to go on this hunt,” he chuckled. You owe her Stephen! He also wanted to thank Randall Dunn, his friend and Archery Coach at Northwood High school for making his custom strings fit to his Mathews Z7 Extreme.

This buck is estimated to be 7-8 yrs old. An official score has not been taken.sr-buck-1

– Justin Lanclos LABH 

If you or someone you know has a great kill story or a topic suggestion email us at info@louisianabowhunter.com

You Never Forget Your First… Bow Kill

Bow hunting is not for everyone. It takes patience, attention to details like wind direction, stand approach, and deer movement patterns. Not to be overlooked is the ability to sit completely still for hours on end in a lock-on or climbing stand. Sometimes beginners luck comes into play and new hunters are in the right place at the right time and score in their first season. Other times it comes with a lot more trials and tribulations attached.  We have noticed numerous first kills with a bow or crossbow this year and decided to share a few of them with you. Rosalyn’s came fairly easy. Chris, not so much. Here are their stories:
IMG_0573“I have been watching this same buck on my camera since July. It was amazing to see his rack grow almost weekly. The night before bow season I went to a friends pig roast and a guy that hunts near the lease I hunt showed me this 8 point in velvet on his camera. I recognized it right away but didn’t say anything. I had been tracking his pattern for 3 months.
The next morning I was walking to my stand at 5:40AM. When I was almost to my stand I saw a pair of eyes in the distance. I knew it was either a bear or a deer. The closer I got I knew it was a deer due to the height of the eyes. It was “him.” The 8 pointer in velvet. We were face to face staring at each other. Those 5 seconds felt like 5 minutes! I gained my composure and turned off my head light and stood still praying I wouldn’t scare him off. I then proceeded to walk slowly to my stand on a different path. Once I got in my stand a million thoughts began running through my mind.
“Did I scare it? Will he come back?”
I never heard him run off so I was hoping he didn’t go far. At 6:50am I saw him in a distance, about 70 yards away. I had a clear shot but knew it was too far. I watched as he stood on his back legs and reached for something in the tree. He then moved slowly into the woods. I knew if I had patience he would come back. At 7:24am he appeared in my food plot. I took the shot and hit him perfectly. He ran about 40 yards and fell. I was so excited that I got the deer I had been tracking since July! Not to mention it was the first deer I ever killed with my crossbow!”
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26 year old Chris Ellis of Deville, LA, took a little more time connecting with his first deer. He began bow hunting in 2010, 6 years ago. He confessed that towards the end of each unsuccessful bow season he would break out the rifle to try and ensure some meat in the freezer. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to connect on a deer in 3 years with either weapon.
“Bow hunting looked cool on TV so I asked my uncle to borrow his bow. I started bowfishing first and immediately got hooked so I was determined to get a deer with a bow.”
“I just wasn’t seeing anything bow hunting. Ever. I had been hunting a local WMA near my house.” But recently his luck finally changed as he recounted his eventful weekend.
“I got busted that morning by a doe at 9 am. I was on my phone and she caught me before I saw her. She started blowing. Game over I thought so I changed trees that evening. A hog walked out 20 minutes after I was in the stand. I smoked him. That was the first animal I have killed with a bow ever. The next morning around 10:15 I was climbing down and I noticed three deer where coming in. First shot went right under one of the does. I was ticked and happy that I had at least shot at a deer. Sunday morning came and I got in my stand at 7:30, well after daylight. My buddies never showed so I contemplated just going home. But I figured since I’m here I might as well get in a tree. At 9 am I heard some coons playing. At 10 am I spotted the doe. She stopped at 20 yards and gave me a percect broadside shot. I thought I missed because I saw the arrow fly crazy, but it ended up being a clean pass through. She ran another 20 yards and stopped. That was my last arrow because I had already missed one and shot the hog earlier in the weekend. Before I knew it though she started wobbling and then she fell. I sat down for 20 minutes trying to regain my composure because I was shaking and so excited. I ended making a heart shot with my Bowtech Assassin and some old Muzzy Broadheads.”
Two completely different stories and experiences, one common denominator: Killing an animal with a bow is the ultimate high in the hunting world. Congrats to both the hunters and to the rest of the new Louisiana Bowhunters finding success for the first time in the woods this fall.

– Justin Lanclos LABH Founder

If you or someone you know has a great kill story or a topic suggestion email us at info@louisianabowhunter.com

Shot Placement for Short Blood Trails

We have seen desperate calls for the increasingly popular Blood Trailing Dog to retrieve our deer on the rise recently. No doubt well-trained blood dogs are a huge asset and have saved us from dire circumstances; circumstances sometimes out of our control. But the rising need for dogs begs we ask the question: Have we have lost the ability to trail a deer on our own? Or is it possible the blood trails are not what they should be due to poor shot placement? Honestly, both are likely culprits. With technology creeping into our lives more and more we seem to be losing our survival instinct, the ability to fend for ourselves. Mechanical broadheads is a prime example. We have been told over and over that a bigger cut is better.

“No way I’ll lose a deer if I shoot a certain head. I’m supposed to be able to watch ’em drop.”  Right?

Wrong! Shot placement is everything. Don’t get me wrong. I too shoot mechanical from time to time, and I’m in no way attacking them. There are some really unique “creations” on the market. But, our ability to pass those razor sharp blades at the tip of that carbon missile through the game we pursues vital organs is not just a necessity. It is our ethical responsibility.  I’ve heard one too many TV hunters claim they can make a bad shot and still retrieve their deer using the broadhead of the company that gives them free stuff. This behavior not only encourages a lack of practice and necessity to perform, it makes us impatient. Any experienced bow hunter knows “impatience” is the enemy of success in the deer woods. From your shot timing to your stand choice, patience plays a key role to your level of success. Being a bow hunter is the pinnacle of hunting challenges. It does’t make you better than other hunters, but it sure makes it you work harder! Attention to every detail, persistence and patience in every aspect of the pursuit of your quarry is imperative to success with a stick and string as your weapon. That is why our patience when a deer shows itself must improve.

There are many hunters putting down their guns completely or picking up a bow or crossbow to extend their hunting season. There are other hunters that simply have not had the experience of the contrasting short happy-ending blood trails and long, spotted, endless ones that lead to a knot in their stomach that is seemingly life-long. Proper shot placement can fix some of these issues. A bow is obviously not a gun. Your point of aim with an arrow instead of a bullet should not be treated as such.

When you’re gun hunting and a deer steps out the hunt is practically over. When you’re bow hunting and a deer steps out, the hunt has just begun.

You must wait for the perfect angle where you have a clear shot straight through the heart and or both lungs. Patience. A perfectly broadside shot is paramount. Give your game ample opportunity to present that to you. A clean pass through should always be your goal.

Your next most favorable shot is when the deer is quartering away. This will place the deer’s rear end closest to you and the head facing away. (See angles C & D) At this angle the entry path is even easier for your arrow as you can slip the arrow behind the rib cage. Notice how far back the entry points seem in the chart. You must also take into effect the exit which may or may not lead into and hopefully through the front shoulder blade. You must visualize the entire path of the arrow through the deer to insure that you most importantly hit the vitals, but a close second is miss the far shoulder blade which can stop the arrow from penetrating the opposite side. An exit hole shouldn’t be something you hope for. It should be something you wait until you can confidently produce.

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Aiming points for successful quartering to, and away shots.

 

 

The only other angle experienced bow hunters should attempt is quartering to. (Seen in the chart above on angles A & B) This shot is not for everyone and the only other angle we recommend. This angle presents itself when a deer is walking towards you, but at a slight angle. This shot requires the most skill and and has the most hurdles to overcome of the 3 shots we have mentioned. To get a pass-through here the arrow must miss the shoulder blade and penetrate a massive amount of muscle or “brisket”. The shot may also result in hitting the guts on the way out of the torso giving the arrow the false reading of a gut shot. Having guts on your arrow and on the trail can definitely hamper your tracking ability.

Remember, your aiming point will move from left to right depending on the position of the deer. Also know that we never recommend shooting a deer that is directly below you, walking straight at you, or bedded as the vitals are much more protected in these scenarios and probability of wounding and or losing your animal is greater.

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Incorrect aiming point for shots not broadside.

Being successful with a bow is no easy task. It takes time and patience, practice and persistence. The best thing you can do is practice different angled shots at home. Wait on a broadside shot if possible and only take shots you are confident in and have practiced.

 

 

– Justin Lanclos, LABH Founder

 

Father Daughter Duo Proves Deadly

I don’t know if you have noticed but the number of Louisiana ladies with bows in their hands is on the rise! Not only that but the “huntress” is the fastest growing demographic nationwide in hunting participants right now.  From bow hunting to setting up stands, feeders and food plots, the ladies are out to prove that they can do anything a man can do. The story of Grace Amar’s first buck with her bow is no different.  Here is her story in her own words.

 

I actually missed a big 9 point Thursday night and my dad was really upset. Not mad but upset with himself for not telling me to use my second pin. I told him it was probably meant to be because I would shoot one today (Friday) I was right!

This morning we got to the stand 30 minutes before daylight and Dad was on a lock on above me. He said the deer were going to be early this morning because they were gonna be walking back to get some sleep. He also said they were going to be real quiet because of how the wet the ground and grass was. He was right about both. At exactly 7:00 am, we both looked up at the same time and saw two bucks quickly moving towards us.grace-amar2

He told me to get ready to shoot the one in front and by the time I did, it was time to draw back. I drew back and not 10 seconds later dad stopped him and I shot him with my Mathews Mission bow and Thunderhead broadheads. It was the most perfect situation and it all happened under 45 seconds or so.  I can’t imagine it happening any other way. We waited about 45 minutes after I shot. We got down and found half the arrow in the high grass with a lot of blood on it. The other half we assumed was still in the deer;  that it was. 100 yards away we found the 260 pound, 8 point buck. My first buck with my bow. I’m still in awe and can’t believe it. It was a great hunt both Thursday night and this morning. Two hunts I will never forget and definitely a great time with my dad.

Brandon and Grace Amar are from Hammond, LA and have been hunting together for years. Her first bow kill was a doe, exactly 3 years ago, on October 14th. Her buck scored a rough score of 133″. Grace gives all of the credit to her dad for her bow hunting success. Brandon shared his big 8 point with Louisianabowhunter.com last week; still in full velvet. I’d say these two are off to a great start!

 

– Justin Lanclos LABH

If you or someone you know has a great kill story or a topic suggestion email us at info@louisianabowhunter.com