Vacation – Stretch band!

I’m just back from a couple weeks of vacation with my family. Prior to leaving ,the thought of bringing my bow, briefly crossed my mind, but it really wasn’t practical, and bringing it, would have very likely detracted from the memorable family adventure we ended up having.

I did have some concern about losing ground on the work I’d been putting towards my form though, so I packed a stretch band.

Stretch band in hand 2 (1)

This turned out to be a great solution, It took minimal space, was light and it allowed me time in front of a mirror in the early mornings to practice. I discovered that the mirror/stretch band combo gave me good feedback, and helped me identify posture issues and inconsistencies in my draw.

photo 3

Me, while on holiday, looking a bit serious for the camera.

On the travel end, we didn’t check any bags, and I carried it onboard in my backpack with no issues from the airport security folks, although halfway through the flight I did consider tying up one of my kids with it…

Kiddos aside, the stretch band worked well for me, I found it helpful and an easy peasy solution to a bit of archery in your bag, travelling or otherwise.

C.

 

The hunting puzzle

It has been heart lifting to be outdoors lately as the temps have been warm and the fall foliage is in the full throes of its seasonal metamorphosis. I often forget how a little time in nature can re-charge one’s batteries and reset your outlook if you’re finding yourself a bit skewed by life.

The fall foliage is of course the most obvious change this time of year but there are others, for example the great amount of mushrooms to be found in the woods this time of year. they are interesting to see and find, like gnomes hiding in the woods.

The oak trees are turning and dropping acorns, which in turn feed the forest to include deer, squirrels and other critters.

The area I live in is oak full. Which in my view is a plus and a minus. A nice boon because it is a food source for deer which means that they’re around, but with so many oaks it is difficult to pinpoint where they’re feeding and where to locate them.

Oak

Acorns – all over the woods behind my house right now.

On the hunting front I’m starting to figure out why the call it hunting and not “getting”. Fortunately for this greenhorn there is a lot more season ahead to make up for the steep learning curve.

I did have an interesting experience while in my treestand in the pitch with just some moonlight out, as I sat,  I spied  green eyes digging at something in the ground a mere 12 yards away. The green eyes had a very faint glow to them, surely reflecting the bit of moonlight out. I thought back to the trail cam pics and how two does frequented this area at about this time, I could barely see the movement of bodies down there, too dark to tell, also not legal shooting time even if I could see. I stood stock still waiting for daylight only to find that they had slipped away in the darkness.

When I climbed down from the stand, I went over to the spot where they’d been and found a mostly nibbled mushroom. Interesting info in my education of whitetails.

Mostly eaten mushroom

I’ve also been finding some signs of a buck in my area. There is an area of saplings that has rubs on it from previous years but I also found some new rubs, see pic.

Rub!

What I’ve found about hunting so far is that it is very puzzle like.There are hints all over the woods left for you to decipher in order to put together a picture of what is going on. How successfully you form that picture and the decisions you make in reaction to your information plays a big part in how you fare out there.

I would also say that this puzzle solving process is an enjoyable one and it constitutes a big part of this endeavor. I’m new to this but I would venture to say that preparing, practice,  research, scouting, interpreting information, then setting up situations based on the knowledge gained is most of the experience. I would put the rest of it as waiting or being patient, good hunters are a patient bunch. The actual encounter with an animal is the smallest part of this, probably falls in the minutes and seconds category for most.

I believe this equation probably changes with experience and technology. A trail camera for example can be your eyes while you’re running your life. Someone who has hunted the same patch of woods for 30  years probably has a lot of accumulated knowledge of the habits of their local quarry and can shorten the process if they so choose.

You can also hire knowledge in the form of a guide or an outfitter if your time and access are short. With our busy lives I’m sure this makes sense for many.

Lastly there is luck, always plays a part. I just need it to play it’s part for me before the season is out!

Fall, walk and scout.

I worked Saturday, so missed a chance to give hunting a go again.

Sunday in Maine is a closed day to chasing critters, it also rained which was threatening to keep me home all day, which given enough time would probably make me a crank, so after some calls to friends I got permission to stroll through their properties, look around, hone my new found scouting skills and just be outside in these early fall days.

Beaver dam area

Because I was in a beaver area, 1st thought was beaver tracks but not convinced yet.. any thoughts??

Turkeys

Turkey scat

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

Colorado and Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut

I’m just back from Colorado Springs where we visited family and attended my cousin’s wedding, although by this writing she and her hubby are somewhere in Mexico, sipping cold drinks and enjoying newlywed bliss.

While there we spent time exploring, hiking, catching up with family and getting some mundane tasks done that I never find time to do in my regular working life, like buy shoes, etc.

The family at Helen Hunt falls

Of course, I took my bow along. You can see a picture of my custom bow case below.

Custom bow case

I was glad to see everything in the “custom case” traveled fine and after reassembling the bow and getting my kit in order I looked around for an archery range. What comes up on the web right away is Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut, so I grabbed my bow and went.

Bill Pellegrino’s is on the east side of Colorado Springs, just east of Powers and Platte. I walked in and was impressed right off, the shop is clean, well stocked with bows and archery accessories as well as having a knowledgeable staff and a service pro shop where they were busy tuning bows for customers. I paid for range time which is a good deal at $ 7.00 for all day shooting. Your 7.00 bucks includes a paper target, your choice of style. I picked an NFAA indoor blue face target and walked out to the range.

The range is large with 29 lanes, quality Block brand target butts, floor quivers and plenty of bow racks, 10 yard, 18 meter and 20 yard lines are clearly marked. I could also see 3-D animal targets on the side of the range, so I imagine they have indoor 3-D shoots in the off seasons.

Well appointed 29 lane range

There is a separate section on the opposite side of the range where there are 4 close-range target butts. The staff is constantly using this area to paper tune bows, measure draw weights and help clients.  I also spied a chronometer set up in that area.

I was allowed to use this space (during a break in the action) to  blind bale practice, as I’ve been working on smoothing out my release and follow through.

A customer paper tunes his bow.

They also have a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program on Saturday mornings 8-10:00 for $10.00 per session. Which by the way is a good deal for JOAD.

A young lad gets set up with a new bow, dad is in the background looking on.

Staff helps a client fine-tune his sight.

The shop appears to primarily be a compound bow shop. They absolutely have recurves and other types of bows and accessories for them but their bread and butter seems to be the modern compound bow, which makes sense given the popularity of compounds for target and hunting, which is huge in this area.

Overall my impressions were very good, this is a clean, well organized shop, with a great facility, reasonable prices and knowledgeable staff. They are definitely worth checking out if you either live or find yourself in the Colorado Springs area looking for a good shop.