Sunday, November 14, 2010

Being Prepared, Scouting Your Hunting Area

For many of us, hunting is not something we do for one week or one month a year, it is what we look forward to each year that sort of defines how we conduct ourselves the rest of the year. Every time we drive down a back road or go for a hiking expedition in the state forest we are thinking of the time we are going to be out hunting for our favorite type of big game. For this time of year, we are daydreaming of the time when our plan comes together and we are actually successful. As we spend this time daydreaming or thinking about it, a plan is hatched on how we are going to accomplish it. Perhaps the best way to put this plan into motion is by scouting our hunting area so we are not guessing when that opening day finally arrives.

While walking into your hunting area will give you an idea or two about where you want to hunt and how, if you take your scouting trips seriously, it could possibly tell you a whole lot more. I treat my scouting trips more and more like a hunting trip each time out during the year so that I can learn such things as travel patterns, food sources, favorite trails, etc. To be truly effective doing this without changing their patterns requires me to be constantly aware of my scent, the commotion I make, and how close I get to my quarry. Instead of my focus being on getting close to the game like it is during hunting season, my focus is on staying back and observing the game without being detected.

Optics can play a vital role in your scouting as they allow you to get close to your quarry without physically trampling through their trails and bedding areas. A quality spotting scope is one item that can help to accomplish this. By finding a good vantage point and setting up your spotting scope on a tripod you can spend hours observing wildlife without being detected. It is also good to take along a small notepad to take notes on what you observe. You never know when you may notice something significant such as escape trails or how a buck may use the road less traveled to skirt an open field. Depending on when you observe this movement, you may forget about it later when you need that information most.

Another way to make a record would be through the use of a trail camera. With the time stamp and date on every picture you will be able to observe how patterns change as well as the old mossy horn that you had yet to see with your other scouting. Placing your cameras can get tricky because you really have to be careful not to spread your scent around too much in your area, or it could change the games movement.

With the use of optics, scent blockers, and common sense, your scouting trips will quickly become a vital ingredient in each and every hunting adventure you have. Knowing your area and the game within it, is just as important as knowing how to hunt. The best thing about scouting trips is it helps to appease your desire during the off season to be out in the woods hunting.

Bob Darrah, hunting and outdoor enthusiast. For a great selection of spotting scopes and other hunting gear, visit

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Bow Hunting Elk

Bow Hunting Elk - An Undertaking That is Fit for the Most Hardy
By Verlyn Ross

Hunting elk has never been considered an easy task but bow hunting elk can offer that highest level of challenge that many hunters are looking for.

Assessing the terrain, getting close, bugling and getting a good shot all have their place for those who choose this method of hunting.

One must be able to combine a number of variables in a very short period of time in order to ensure success. For example, knowing how to quickly choose an appropriate location from which to take the perfect shot requires great skill.

One must also know the capabilities and limitations of their equipment. They must devote many hours of practice to making the particular broadside shot that will bring down this massive animal.

The hunting of elk with a bow requires that hunters get much closer to their quarry than those hunting with a rifle. While some hunters prefer to move in toward their target, others like to get close, bugle and then move away, mimicking a cow on the move and leading a bull into a certain location.

Many find it is easier to set up and wait for the animal to make an entrance than to sneak up on this creature known for its ultra sensitive ability for detecting danger. The shot must be made with special arrows strong enough to pierce the thick hide, cartilage and into the internal organs of large game animals.

Because one must get so close when hunting elk with a bow, being able to recognize a solid location in which to take a shot becomes extremely crucial.

Many hunters do not realize just how large an elk actually is until the animal is upon them. Not only are elk larger than life, their behaviors, mating rituals and distinctive bugle have been known to outright intimidate even the most experienced hunters.

Whether the animal is timid or aggressive, it is important to never put oneself in a bad position just to get close. The unpredictability of hunting is the number one reason safety plays such a major role in this sport.

The hunting of elk with a bow requires that one understand the necessity of what is called a broadside shot. Although an elk may bolt for a number of yards, this type of shot placed just behind the shoulder ensures that both lungs will be pierced eventually taking the animal down.

Many seasoned bow hunters decline the straight on chest shot for fear of hitting only one lung and losing their quarry when it bounds off. When this happens, many find that by the time the elk is tracked down, the meat is of no use.

All of the above is why so many bow hunters find that the use of a bow in hunting elk may be the greatest challenge they have ever faced in hunting.

Verlyn Ross owns and operates a website dedicated specifically to the enjoyment of hunting. It includes a wealth of free articles in which you may have an interest. For a great place to get answers, go here! Freely explore it and visit our Blog ENJOY!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Choosing a Hunting Scope

When choosing a scope for hunting there are a lot of things to take into consideration. First what caliber of rifle will you be mounting the scope too. What animals will you be hunting with that particular set up. And the power of the scope as to the conditions you will be hunting. Last but not least is your budget, get the best scope you can afford. Its not worth it to put a twenty dollar scope on a five hundred dollar rifle.
Caliber, if using a.22 for squirrels, a 2x - 6x scope should perform well, because most shots are from 20 to 50 yards. For a larger calibers like a.243 - 30-06 a 3x to 9x will perform for most hunting situations. If you are into varmint hunting or long range shots, you can go all the way up to 24x. Now certain manufacturers have BDC type of scopes ( Bullet Drop Compensation) Which takes a lot of the guess work out of hold over for longer range shots. Once set up for the caliber you are using you aim using the built in range compensator dead on and fire.
Also take into consideration what conditions you will be hunting, will it be dense forest, or open plain. If dense forest a lower power scope is best. If open country a higher power scope is best. I prefer variable power scopes so that you can adjust them for the task at hand and gives you more versatility.
Always zero and practice before going into the field, you owe it to yourself and the game you pursue. For smaller caliber rifles a 50 yard zero is what works best for me. For larger calibers I like to be two inches high at 100 yards. When you can consistently can hit what you are aiming at at the range or a controlled shooting area your ready to go hunting.
Good luck and always hunt ethically.
Todd Inman, Owner of Western Outdoor Supply a e-commerce retail web site that sell the finest in Outdoor Gear, Hunting equipment, optics, camping gear, marine electronics and GPS.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scouting Plays a Major Roll in Successful Coyote Hunting

By Todd Sullivan

I know it seems silly to tell you that if you're hunting in an area that shows no signs of coyotes, the chances that you'll be successful in this area are not very good. You can be the best caller there is and do everything perfectly but if there are no coyotes in the area you won't call any in. Scouting is no less important for predator hunting than it is for any other game.

When scouting, you not only want to look for signs of coyotes such as tracks and scat; you also want to study the lay of the land. Being familiar with the area you plan to hunt will save you plenty of time, possibly allowing you several set up options depending on things like wind direction and natural barriers.

Some hunters, including myself, use satellite technology such as Google Earth and preplan setups in the areas that have coyotes.

One of the best activities for you to do in the spring and summer is seek permission for land access. This is the best time to start talking to land owners. I even have business cards prepared with different themes.

I have one card for deer hunters who might want some predator control from "fawn killers." I have another card for farmers and ranchers who want help with "livestock killers" and another business card for pet lovers who are afraid of losing Fluffy to "pet killers." I'm sure you get the idea.

You always want to be respectful of land rights. When you plan to hunt an area you should contact the land owner in advance and tell them when you will be there. If you're successful, take the time to show them the kill. They usually get very excited when you do this.

You should talk to the people who deliver rural mail and school bus drivers. You should talk to deer or turkey hunters. Most deer and turkey hunters do not like coyotes. I've gotten permission to hunt some great spots every year by taking the landowners out and teaching them about coyote hunting. If you do get this chance, make every effort to get a coyote. If you are successful the landowner will look forward to having you out every year. Of course you don't want to teach them everything; they might not invite you, "the expert," back every year to help "thin out the coyote herd."

I try to get the landowners' email addresses and remind them when it's time to get after those coyotes.

Late summer is a good time to get the howler out and visit the areas that you have received permission to hunt. This time of year is when you can get the parents or the pups to fire off with some yips and howls. All you need to do this is your favorite howler and a good knowledge of some basic coyote vocals.

I consider scouting to be the most important aspect of coyote hunting, so put as much time and effort into scouting as possible. It's best to get all of your legwork done in the spring and summer so when it's time to hunt you can get down to business.

I've seen a lot of guys give up on hunting coyotes because they think they don't know how to use a call. What you do before you blow that call is far more important than what you do after you blow it. Without some good scouting you'll get frustrated and spend a lot of time out in the field just making noise.

Todd Sullivan (dogbreath) is a diehard coyote hunter and author with over 12 years of coyote hunting experience. He is also the author of a free beginner's guide to coyote hunting. If you would like to learn more about coyote hunting please visit

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