Red squirrels are loud, deer are quiet

I had my first hunt yesterday. I started trekking out there a little after 5 AM, the northerly that was predicted was really a southerly, which was not what I wanted as it would blow my scent downwind towards the deer,  but I have but my one stand and it was my first time so I pushed on.

I don’t know what flashlight protocol is,  I used one and wondered if every animal in the area was aware that an intruder was in the house.  Many moons ago, when I was in the army the flashlights came with colored lenses to reduce the likelihood of being spotted. I may try that next time.

A lot of things came to light that could use improvement. I could use a small pack as my pockets are full of stuff. I have to figure out a better way to play the wind, are flashlights a good or bad idea, etc?

In the treestand

I also discovered that red squirrels are loud and deer are quiet.

Red squirrels are a noisy bunch, you can hear them scurrying through the ground cover, in the trees and if they get to chattering, oh my god, cover thy ears. If you are a newbie like me every crack and crinkle in the forest is the monster buck of a lifetime about to present himself in fact it is really an ultra hyper 4 inch long red squirrel after his daily nut.

I spotted a doe out in the distance yesterday, not a sound, just appeared, totally silent.  That’s my current working theory anyway.

Speaking of silence, the other visitor I had yesterday was a cat, a cat out in the middle of the woods. What?? As far as I know cats are domesticated beings that live in houses and around them, not this cat. He was on the hunt too. Appeared silently out of nowhere (probably heard the red squirrel chatter) and about 8 yards from me. I could see him sniffing around, I was sure he’d made me but didn’t see me. My scent seemed to freak him out enough that he slinked away through the underbrush to other hunting grounds.

My last animal sighting was a raccoon. I was pretty excited about this one as he was big and fell under the huntable category unlike meow mix earlier. He was also but 8 yards from me, also sniffing around but never saw me. He then climbed a huge pine not 5 yards from me and when he got to my level, he sniffed around some more, I’m sure he knew I was there. Then climbed 75 feet or so up the pine to his resting spot, he was very interesting to watch, hunting wise he’s out of season.

Raccoon, sniffing me out!  (you can click on this to make it bigger)

So go my hunting experiences,  more soon…

Treestands – my first

Sunday, I purchased a tree stand, I got the type you hang not the ladder type, I half wished I’d gotten the ladder type as setting it up would have been easier and in the end  cheaper as you don’t have to buy screw in rungs or climbing sticks to get up there, but I wanted to make it as low key as possible so went with a hanging type.

Ladder tree stand

It took me far longer to install than I thought it would, first to assemble the stand then to scout for the right tree on my property, lastly to set it up. I had bought screw in rungs, which screw into the tree, setting these up to 18 ft or so takes a bit, I had an actual aluminum ladder out there with me to help with the process.

Hanging the actual chair was a little less dramatic than I expected but all of it is working at enough height that if you took a fall you could hurt yourself badly. With the chair came a harness and as soon as I could set up a safety line up there, I donned it and climbed up and just sat for a while.

You may know by now that hunting and hunting stuff is new to me so I wasn’t ready after laboring for the respit the stand provided, and how quiet and beautiful it can be up there. I’m guessing half the guys (and gals) are there for the introspection and the hunting is just incidental.

The climb down was a little awkward as I had to do the rung thing and slide the safety prussic knot down as I descended, made me wonder what going up there in the dark was going to be like. There will certainly be a lot of new and firsts in the coming weeks. I’m excited to experience it.

More to come..

Bowhunting Whitetails – Getting ready

The archery deer hunting season starts in Maine on September 27th which is a scant four days away, it has taken me a bit by surprise, I thought it started in October! I will have to get into high gear to be ready.

Fortunately I have been scouting the land around my house for months and months, I’ve also been asking for advice from hunting neighbors, reading up, and just getting in the flow of the season, as I’ve mentioned before I am new to hunting so everything is fresh and eye opening.

One of the fascinating things I’ve discovered in the hunting world are trail cameras, for those that don’t know they are motion sensitive, weatherproof cameras that you can mount in areas where you suspect activity and gain valuable information about the movement of your quarry.

I went well intentioned to buy the cheapest available a week ago, about $ 65.00, but was successfully talked into a bit of a better model by the hunting salesfolk, spent about twice what I had planned, $ 140.00, then also had to get accessories, memory chip and batteries, another $ 30.00 or so.

You pre-set the time and date on the camera then hang it in the woods, it comes with a strap that you can put around a tree and then you’re ready.

The totally captivating part of all of this are the photos of course:

My first picture!

A lot of does around my area.

The photos provide date, time, temp and moon phase. Here is a daytime picture, same location:

If you look carefully there are two deer in this picture, one is on the very left edge of the frame, hidden in the foliage. You can click on the photo to get a bigger image.

I don’t have a tree stand as of yet, thinking I had more time so this morning I’m off to do that. Then scout for a good location for it.

More to come..

Jamey Willis – Archery Coach

While in Colorado Springs for my cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago, and with some free time on my hands, I looked into taking an archery class.

I had been having issues with my release and suspected some flaws in my form and wanted to improve.

I’d been practicing at Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut and asked them about it. They referred me to Jamey Willis and although he was down in North Carolina doing an archery program with vets, he took a little time to talk to me and we made an appointment for that Monday when he’d be back in town.

We met at the range and I felt I was in good hands from the get go. Jamey was relaxed, easygoing and a comfortable in his own skin type of guy.

He helped me with the release issues and also took time with improving my shooting posture, back tension, relaxed bowhand and some mental tips.

Jamey is also a competitive shooter, after the class we spent time just sending arrows downrange. Here are some pics of Jamey in action.

I would not hesitate to recommend Jamey. He is very capable and an easy to get along guy, if you’re considering coaching in the Colorado area he can be reached at:

pettitwillis(at)    – just substitute (at) with @ and you’ll be all set. You can also call him at 719.213.5503

Shooting the Stickbow by Anthony Camera – A review

A couple of weeks ago I ordered “Shooting the Stickbow” written by Anthony Camera or for frequenters of Archery Talk and other online archery forums he may also be known to you by his handle “Viper”.

I for one have been the recipient of his sage online advice and thanks to it have saved myself going down many a wrong path, so I am thankful and was pleased to get more of Mr. Camera’s thoughts on archery via his book.

“Shooting the Stickbow” can be purchased from many sources to include the author’s website which also has information on tuning, arrow selection, free downloads, pictures and a classic bow reference amongst other good info.

Amazon, Lancaster Archery, Three Rivers Archery and others also stock his book.

Everyone who is interested in classical archery should consider owning this book. The cost is very reasonable at $19.95, and in exchange you get encyclopedic knowledge delivered thoroughly in a well thought out and straightforward tome.

In the first part, the author walks us through the basics of archery – equipment, setup, shooting form, tuning, and common errors.  This first section is what most beginners will need to get going with proper form and well tuned, appropriate gear.

He then gets more detailed in the 2nd part of the book by focusing on equipment, to include “how to” areas on building bows, bowstrings, arrows, fletchings and more.

The 3rd part of the book is an in depth explanation of the different components involved in making the shot to include aiming, back tension, physical fitness and the mental side of archery. I am simplifying the amount of content in my short review but I want to make sure that you understand that every detail is covered whether it be grip, breathing, shooting in wind, training tools, drills, bone structure, mind, coaching, etc.

The 4th part of this manuscript is titled “Memories and Musings” and explores the history of Earl Hoyt and Hoyt bows,  as well as the author’s reflections and excellent information on buying, repairing/refinishing vintage bows, purchasing gear from Ebay, and a picture section of classic bows and their components.

The author ends the book with a very complete technical Appendix section as well as resources for the archer, archery books to read, a glossary and a Frequently Asked Questions Appendix.

Although I’ve read many of the chapters straight through, I am getting great use of the book as a reference book. The book lends itself to it and is a fine addition to any archery library or to any archer who in the middle of their shoot wonders why they are plucking the string or are puzzled by how to use a clicker correctly, the answers are all there.

I’d love if a future edition of this book had an index which would help in finding all those golden nuggets that Mr. Camera has put in this book, otherwise this book is a well thought and thorough treatise on shooting stickbows. I highly recommend it!