Benefits of Practicing to Hold a Full Draw — ON TARGET in CANADA

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If you practice shooting your bow all spring and summer by casually flinging arrows at a target from 30, 40, and 50 yards, you should be full prepared to shoot a tight group into a 3D target by the fall. But if you want to get yourself hunt-ready, you have to practice for hunting scenarios: […]

via Benefits of Practicing to Hold a Full Draw — ON TARGET in CANADA

Bringing home the bacon

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It was another Saturday morning at the bike shop, coffee brewing, the smell of donuts and gasoline in the air, and the phone ringing. Only this call was not from a customer but a friend. My friend Lannie explained to me that the helicopter pilot Keith had shot and killed a nice wild hog on one of his properties, and they were checking to see if I wanted it. Well not being one to turn down free food (especially if it includes a wet and muddy recovery effort) I agreed that I would recover the pig and salvage the meat.

Needless to say, the bike shop closed a bit early and I set about getting my atv’s ready. By the time I got loaded and gassed up it was already afternoon. I took one of my employee’s with me for backup just in case I got stuck in the 2+ miles of mud I would have to get through and set off.

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Allen and I arrive at the property a short while later and found a place near the hiway to park the truck. I nearly got stuck in the mud just pulling off the pavement. The weather here in central Oregon has been cold and very wet for the last month. We have had snow and frozen ground, followed by many days of rain and temps near 50. This in combination with the fact that the antelope area is known for it’s deep sticky mud, means we are in for an adventure.

We offloaded the atv’s, and gathered our things. It was spitting rain and to the south was a black wall of misery, that was surely headed strait for us so we had rain gear, necessary supplies for dressing out the swine, a tow strap to hook to the winch if one of us sank, and a six pack of Budweiser for luck.

We were using my ATV’s, two older Polaris. One a big boss 6×6 and the other a sportsman 4×4 so I was confident we would have no problems.

Finally ready we set out. When we were within sight of the area we stopped and scanned with binoculars, but no sign of more pigs. I had brought along my Sam Yang big bore air rifle just in case we got a chance at a second hog. There were cows grazing all through the area, but no wild pigs.

We proceeded into the meadow and noticed that the entire valley was running about an inch deep in water, which meant that the areas that would normally have water were a couple feet deep. We did our best to stay on the high ground as we made our way to the lower end of the meadow where we were told the pig would be and after about a mile of dodging deep spots we found it.

Now the work begins. The hog was a boar with impressive tusks for this area and a live weight approaching 300 lbs. We parked the ATV’s nearby and got to work dressing out and loading the pig on the 6X6.

The ride out went much as the ride in had. Dodging deep spots and mud holes.  The damage the hogs had been doing was obvious to see, large patches of ground overturned, bushes bent and broken from rubbing and chewing. What a mess, and some of those holes they had rooted up were more than a foot deep. That should be fun to drive through with a tractor come summer when the ground is dry and hard.

When we got back to the truck we loaded the ATV’s and tied everything down, then enjoyed a well earned beer before heading back to town.

When we finally got the pig skinned and hung up headless, it weighed in at 128 lbs. Not huge but a good pig and well worth the effort.

When I cook up some pulled pork from him, I will let you know how it was.

Until then, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in the field one day soon.

Snowshoe rabbit season

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Okay, technically rabbits have no season in oregon but I like to wait until the showshoes start to turn white before I start hunting them.

So today I decided to check and see if they had begun to turn, unfortunately for them, they have.

Snowshoe rabbits, or technically hares are classified as unprotected mammals in oregon and are therefore huntable all year around and with any weapon, so they are perfect airgun quarry. I like them best during cold weather when they change their color from gray to white.

The change in color is triggered by the amount of light they are exposed to rather than the color of the environment they live in, so this time of year (just before the snow falls) you get a few of what I call earlybirds. Some of the rabbits go white before the snow, which makes them much easier to see.

Cedars

Today I was hunting cedar thickets near Mt. Hood in the national forest. Snowshoe hares live at altitudes higher than 4000 ft. Although I have seen them lower in places, generally they are up pretty high in the mountains.

My stratagy for today was to find a likely looking patch and scout for signs of rabbit activity, then if I think they are there, wait for them to come out just before dark.

Well I waited as long as I could, then started stalking around the edges of the thicket. I never could sit still for very long. So after spooking 3 hares without getting a shot (they were still gray and very hard to see in the shadows), I came across a white one sitting under some brush 20yrds away. I had to aim a little low as my Hatsan AT44S long is sighted in a 50yrds, but I squeezed the trigger and Mr. bunny is in the bag.

I continued this tactic until dark then headed back to the truck. I spooked two more gray rabbits with the same results as earlier, and near the truck another white one, but this one was headed for Canada, he took off and never stopped. Smart bunny!

Well at least I got one for the pot, and I know where to look for more once the weather turns. I can’t wait to hunt them in the snow. Then it will be more tracking and spotting as they are nearly impossible to see in the snow.