Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Licking my chops

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS editor

Here I am halfway through my first deer sabbatical and I have little to show for it.

Best thing to happen, er, two best things to happen were I found a friend's bolt he lost while hunting with me behind the house and uncovering a hind quarter at the bottom of the freezer.

I admit, I'm a little discouraged. Not the first time I've been down during the bow season.

There were also some good times as well early into past archery seasons. But then others have gone like the 2010 one.

I'm a big believer in the theory that one good buck can change a season.

Might not come during bow.

Occasionally it happens during the gun season or not at all and then I'm just happy to fill a couple doe tags.

I know this: I am definitely ready to loose an arrow at deer, let alone at a buck.

This blood lust can be dangerous at times, usually in the form of me standing over a small deer that is just plain embarrassing.

True, they do cook up well but are more hassle than they're worth to process and I do all my own deer.

So I must be vigilant on watch.

Then again on years where I have embarrassed myself with a midget deer I have often gone on to knock down a nice buck later in the season. Seems to be a good omen.

Some of this slow action is on me.

I don't know if I took the dairy farm I was deer hunting on for granted but nothing lasts forever it seems. Unless, of course, you own the property. But I'm a long ways from being there.

What I should have been doing was looking for another spot or at least doing a little scouting on the known spots -- private and public -- near my house.

That's all behind me now so there's no use ruminating over my past failures.

At least I'm seeing rubs at a couple of the setups and some does here and there.

I know that if and when a deer does step out in one of the shooting lanes it's gonna be in trouble.

Just a matter of time. I need to have more faith in myself and the Man above.

Now if only this stupid wind storm would get down the road, the deer would be more apt to come out and play.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gettin' there

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS editor

The last time I was out bow hunting, Saturday, Oct. 16, inspired me with new-found vigor.


That crisp, cool fall day -- amid spectacular yellows and oranges -- had a buck on his feet at 9 a.m.

It shifted the gears in my head and now I know I need to get out as much as I can bear in between work and watching my kids.

Soon though I will have the first installment of my deer hunting vacation. Eat, sleep, drink deer hunting. Oh, yeah.

The buck I saw was slowly milling through the pines where I hunt along the edge of an open maple and oak woods and a conifer canopy I affectionately call "cathedral."

And noticeably the does that were in the area a couple days before were absent. That means the buck has 'em scattered from chasing them while in search for an estrus ladyfriend.

If you're an archery freak like I am, this is the time of year you live for.

Despite losing a great farm spot for hunting deer early in the season, I have many acres of public land at my disposal -- in some instances a short walk from my house -- and I think I can pull off another good score this season.

No, the 6-pointer I took would be scoffed at by most of those big-league deer hunters I mingle with on Facebook, but for public land, he was a beaut. I was proud of him.

He ended up standing as the only buck I took last year because the only other bucks I saw were 6-points and I was holding out for a bigger trophy. Plus, the firearm season hadn't even started yet.

After getting anxious about another spot near my house of which issues I won't go into other than to say a neighbor is posting land that's not his, I'm returning to normal. Some of the mojo is circulating in my blood again.

Which is what I need and any bow hunter needs when pursuing big game.

Confidence is key in all areas from being able to hit your target to knowing you can get what you want.

I'm not sure what the heck my problem was. I mean I achieved a long-sought goal in September, which was taking a fall gobbler.

(For pictures and article of Mac Arnold's fall gobbler, log on to

It's already been a good year.

So let's quit being wishy-washy and get on with it, shall we?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Waiting for change

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS Editor

Michigan's deer archery season is slowly taking off for me.

I wish I could say I'm geeked and in the stand almost every chance I get, but that would be an untruth.

The predictable lull is on.

After the first few opening days of the bow season until about Oct. 20, there seems to be little deer movement. At least in the areas I hunt.

But I'm growing wiser in my old age.

Instead of burning out on days with low percentages of seeing deer, let alone getting a shot on a nice buck, I turn to other activities, such as waterfowl, turkey and upland birds.

Some hunters might respond with a "hrrumphhhhh" to such talk.

I totally understand this.

The never-know principle is in effect and you certainly won't take a deer while searching the skies for geese with an over/under in your grasp.

As I've said in "Mac's Tips," hitting the deer woods now is what I see as a dry run for when the moment of truth occurs -- Mr. Rutting Buck appears like a ghost under your stand.

So far I've been out three times. This would be unheard of five years ago or possibly even three years ago.

The wiser-calmer hunter will eventually emerge from under his warm "fire" blanket, I promise.

What I've found is the change is sudden, where the woods behind the house was once vacant of deer, the switch will click on and the chasing begins in a frenzy.

Lately, the weather has been "Indian summer-like," even reaching 80 degrees earlier this week.

Mr. Big Buck barely stirs in his bed in such heat.

That makes two of us.


One thing that did get my adrenaline pumping was helping out a fellow hunter track a deer he shot last night and couldn't find in the darkness.

I so wanted to help Brad find that deer today. He is a "newbie" deer hunter, armed with a crossbow.

Apparently he hit it a little too far back, missing the liver and other vitals with his bolt.

The blood thinned to specks and then none at all at 250 yards.

He'll have to get on another one, my best medicine for such an occurrence when it happens to me -- either losing one or flat-out missing the target.

While driving away I almost felt as if it was me who lost one.