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Corripe Cervisiam
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Discussion Starter #1
We see so many new guy posts....it might be helpful for some of the stone cold killers here [and there ARE many, though they mostly lurk] to chime in on some of the things that put them over the hump.

I see guys at our range shooting on flat ground at 20,30,40,50 and they shoot ok. In talking with them they say they are trying to shoot their first deer. I don't know them at all...or well enough to give advice....maybe the anonymity of the internet can actually help with that.

Its been a long time since I got over that hump...so I will be less of a help here. I do know that at some point I realized the difference between shooting at targets...and shooting live animals takes a little different skill set. I see a lot of guys rifle hunting with a bow in their hand....that rarely works.

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Discussion Starter #2
So Cmon;

5 miles, Slim9300, Mez, Mtnoyster, Tradchef, Maxxis, MT Wyatt, Bullhound, Trophyhill, Elknut, Fulldraw, No Limit, Spike camp, Bojangles, Bowhunter 64, Da white shoes, Duramax diesel, Williboat, Ocho 505, Hunter hew, Widnert, Centershot, Cnelk, Trial153, NM Bowhunter, Beersndeer, Carcus, Bob Muley......


And a whole bunch I can't think of at the moment [my apologies for anyone I left out] .....what got you over the hump...made you deadly with a bow?
 

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My Elk Hunting Home
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I see a lot of guys rifle hunting with a bow in their hand....that rarely works.
IMO there's only one reason to be hunting September......and that's because of the elk rut. Otherwise ya, you're just carrying your weapon around like a rifle hunt........boring.

As for being deadly with a bow......I haven't found many weapons that I'm not extremely accurate with.......except maybe a shotgun. So aside from shotguns, it just comes natural for me. I don't ever get worked up enough to become non-functional like some guys you hear about. If there's a shot opportunity, I'm executing it. The only question at that point is whether I estimated range correctly. But I'd rather have them a little further out than real close. It's hard to narrow down a hair to shoot at when all you see is tan fur.
 

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A guy once told me "a confident hunter is a dangerous killer". I take that to heart everytime I shoot my bow. Whether at the range, or in my backyard shooting my 3d targets. Then I take it along with me on my hunts and it's paid off! The man who told me that back in '09 or '10 goes by "the shoe" Da White Shoe
 

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When I first started hunting with a bow I muffed several shots in the beginning,..........2 words “FOLLOW THROUGH” was my biggest problem, finally I caught myself looking for the arrow at the shot instead of keeping focus on the exact hair I was aiming at until the arrow made contact with the animal, when I realized that it was over, combine that with a well tuned bow and work a little on covering your scent and staying down wind and you can become a natural born killer,
Staying focused all the way through the shot until arrow contact was the biggest factor for me.
 

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RJ
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Hate to say it, but I don’t practice with my bow all that much. I started shooting this year a few weeks ago, shooting a few times a week throughout the summer. I’ve never been to a 3D shoot/course but they do sound fun. When I do practice, it’s from all sorts of hunting situations/positions, from my knees, shooting between trees, over deadfall/blowdown, uphill, downhill etc. My hunting bow set up (currently a Darton) is always tuned to the nuts and will put my broad heads where my field points hit out to 40 yards. Yes, I practice out to 50 but I don’t launch an arrow at a standing elk past 40. That said, similar to what 5MB mentioned, I do not get shaken up when I get within bow range of an elk, haven’t for decades. Guess that comes from years of successful hunting? I only draw when I know the critter won’t detect my movement (well, unless he’s coming straight at me, under 25 yards and its me or him) and am always 100% confident my arrow will find the mark. A hunting tip for new archery hunters? Try to watch the arrow hit your target/animal “spot” through your peep (not actually possible if you’re employing good bow shooting techniques) but, that one small performance measure will help you with a good release when you’re in the kill moment. That’s all I got for ya tonight Bruce 🙂.
 

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I like it Bruce.

Getting shots inside of 50-60 yards at elk (most inside of 40) has always been easy for me, capitalizing on them has always been my problem. For years I believed that I needed 3 shots/shot opportunities to kill an elk, despite outshooting everyone I know on the range. It didn’t stop me from killing many elk over the years, but it also caused me to miss a ton of them. I simply cared too much about elk hunting I guess, and when it was coming down to the shot, I would lose my mind. A few years ago I started talking to myself as the opportunity materialized and as I prepared to draw. Then as I was aiming. (I first heard this advice from Aron Snyder.) My ‘mantra’ starts off by telling myself that it’s just an elk and that it’s no big deal, the elk is going to die. Then moves into telling myself to take deep breathes. Then repeat. If a hunter can talk to himself in the moment of truth, he is in control of his mind. Being accurate on the range is sooooo easy in my opinion with a compound bow. Being accurate and making good decisions in the heat of the moment can be very hard. Most guys are lucky to get one shot opportunity per season. Hopefully this will help you capitalize on that opportunity.


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I like elk!
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I’m just appreciative to have made the list!
For me, it’s a combination of stuff, so hopefully this isn’t to rambling!

Like elkjunky said...confidence is huge.
I like to push my limits in practice. Stretching the distance, or taking long and steep shots.
I rarely shoot under 50. Typically it’s 50-100.

I became much better of an archer, once I built a sweet 3d home range with all kinds of long shots, quartering to, away, cliffs, etc with multiple elk targets along with moose, deer and bear.
Taking 85 yard, steep shots off a cliff at a hard quartering elk target over and over through tight trees, will definitely hone ones skills.

That, coupled with meticulous tuning, and as 5mb mentioned, natural abilities definitely come into play...I’ve always been a good shot, too. Rifle, shotgun, air rifle, bow... When I was young, I could shoot flying birds out of the air with my RWS pellet rifle lol.

Repeatable form is huge, imo. Just being spatially aware. And again as 5mb mentioned, keeping buck fever under control and not falling apart.
Not only the fever, but just being calm when in and amongst animals.
I’ve seen dudes lock up, even just trying to get into a position to shoot.

I’m reminded recently (even today) at how far I’ve personally come in archery, as I’ve just set up and am teaching my 65 y/o neighbor how to shoot. It’s eye opening, how much you know and what has become totally second nature, after so many years, when working with a newbie.

Oddly, all that stuff that helps me kill elk doesn’t directly translate into killing Whitetails.
That’s an entire different activity( although, I have access to great private ground, fwiw).

There isn’t a single activity in my life that’s been all encompassing for over three decades, like archery and bowhunting has been.
And once I moved out west and discovered elk hunting, it just took off from there.
 

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Back in the day I had a good spot just out of town to Elk hunt. I used to call bulls into 10-15 yards all season long and just look at them. After a while it's just another Bull and you don't get all twisted up when they come in. Shots were easy. Now, call ins are further between and the nerves can get amped up. If you can take a second, which is easy to forget, and just think about what you're going to do it helps calm things down. Pretty much what slim was saying.
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Discussion Starter #10
I've been doing the pre shot sequence thing for so long...I forget how important it is....but you guys are right, its a bigge.

I shoot targets and 3D all summer but then about a month before the season I worry less about scoring rings....and more about making that one shot. I try to imagine every shot as if its an actual shot on game. I hit the couple hot button things for me....with 'pick a tiny spot' always the last line. Then after doing this in practice....the real thing becomes just another sequence.

I do find that I get more amped on stalks...like stalking hogs...or in a tree stand seeing a buck coming my way. I suppose its because we have too much time to think about it.

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I mostly hunt big boar hogs and deer with my bow in steep coastal mountains. The "humps" for me were (1) staying calm and collected as I hear them coming through the woods, (2) ranging a series of landmarks (trees, rocks, clearings, etc.) all around me, so I can be prepared when they show themselves, (3) making sure I'm on steady ground before I draw, and (4) Not hesitating when I clearly have the shot at known range.

I once was standing on a narrow strip of game trail on the side of a wet hill. I heard a bunch of pigs coming up the hill. When they got in range, I drew back and my feet slipped from under me and I fell flat on my back, bow drawn. Pigs scattered, lost opportunity, bruised ego. I also used to hesitate until the shot was absolutely perfect in all aspects or trying to stalk to 20 yards, and lost quite a few animals by spooking them. They don't wait around for ever, and a 40 yard broadside shot is typically a good one. My .02.
 

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Experience in the field helped me most, after I got my first few deer I got picky about what I wanted to shoot and learned more about hunting deer when I stopped trying to kill everyone I saw!

I also like the one shot practice, when I had a range in my yard I would leave my bow out on the deck and just randomly pick it up and shoot a single arrow.


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I've been doing the pre shot sequence thing for so long...I forget how important it is....but you guys are right, its a bigge.

I shoot targets and 3D all summer but then about a month before the season I worry less about scoring rings....and more about making that one shot. I try to imagine every shot as if its an actual shot on game. I hit the couple hot button things for me....with 'pick a tiny spot' always the last line. Then after doing this in practice....the real thing becomes just another sequence.

I do find that I get more amped on stalks...like stalking hogs...or in a tree stand seeing a buck coming my way. I suppose its because we have too much time to think about it.

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This is great advice. I shoot a single arrow per day nearly 7 days per week (maybe a few times per day when I’m not busy). I have an elk at 60 yards, a Mule deer at 50, Grey Wolf at 40 and Whitetail at 30. Normally the elk or the Mule deer gets a single arrow first thing in the morning, at lunch or after dinner. I tell myself that this is my one opportunity for the season and if it’s a ‘miss,’ I go home empty handed. It’s funny how you never seem to miss the vitals when you take a single shot, not to mention your level of focus is much greater.


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There came a point for me, after several elk encounters, that things slowed down. I quit staring at the animal and started trying to anticipate it's route, picking bushes or trees that it would go behind where I could draw my bow. I guess, as Slim said, I do kinda talk to myself. My feet kind of go into auto-pilot and start shifting to line up for the shot. Seems like everything goes into slow motion, when I touch the release it seems like the arrow takes forever to get to the animal.
When I got to that point, my confidence soared!
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Discussion Starter #15
There came a point for me, after several elk encounters, that things slowed down. I quit staring at the animal and started trying to anticipate it's route, picking bushes or trees that it would go behind where I could draw my bow. I guess, as Slim said, I do kinda talk to myself. My feet kind of go into auto-pilot and start shifting to line up for the shot. Seems like everything goes into slow motion, when I touch the release it seems like the arrow takes forever to get to the animal.
When I got to that point, my confidence soared!
Good comment^
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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Discussion Starter #16
Don't you guys think that killing animals....getting some animals under your belt helps with all of this?

I have a buddy that has passed animals for years...."he says, "You can't kill a big one if you shoot the little ones"...which is true of course. So he goes 4 years without actually killing anything....good shooter....but he muffs a shot at a big bull last year. I don't know the exact circumstances [not something I want to probe] but something tells me he was out of 'killin practice'

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Don't you guys think that killing animals....getting some animals under your belt helps with all of this?

I have a buddy that has passed animals for years...."he says, "You can't kill a big one if you shoot the little ones"...which is true of course. So he goes 4 years without actually killing anything....good shooter....but he muffs a shot at a big bull last year. I don't know the exact circumstances [not something I want to probe] but something tells me he was out of 'killin practice'

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I'm a firm believer in that. I rarely pass cows and never pass raghorns in otc units.
 

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Don't you guys think that killing animals....getting some animals under your belt helps with all of this?

I have a buddy that has passed animals for years...."he says, "You can't kill a big one if you shoot the little ones"...which is true of course. So he goes 4 years without actually killing anything....good shooter....but he muffs a shot at a big bull last year. I don't know the exact circumstances [not something I want to probe] but something tells me he was out of 'killin practice'

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I hunt whitetail in south TX on a ranch that is really managed well, so seeing big, mature deer is fairly common on most hunts. Just seeing a lot of quality animals really helps me stay calm when it's time to shoot.
 

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Good Idea for a Thread Bruce!

I feel the same as most about confidence, I've had years when I've had less due to not being able to shoot as much as I would like and years I knew I was dialed, my confidence is way higher on the years I practice a bunch. With that said, I always go into the woods with the attitude that I am going to find an elk and get an oppertunity every single time, I know I will have oppertunitys to fill my tag every single year if I capitalize on them. I think the one thing that has helped me the most is having the mentality that most bulls I call in are going to walk, my goal is a 6x6 bull, larger than my last and so far I have held true to that goal. For me what this means is I get to watch a lot of bulls come in and walk away, this has led me to be so much calmer than when I had the attitude that every bull was going to be a shooter.

Another thing I think is huge is knowing what you can get away with with an elk, where they will approach and how they will approach as well as not moving when they are looking at you. Two years ago we dove into a deep canyon after the bull I ended up killing, we chased him for several hours before getting him to turn, I had already told my buddy I was only shooting a 6 point bull that year and I was going to pass anything smaller so to be ready. Anyway this bull kept walking away from our bugles all morning and then finally we got down to the river bottom about 1.5 miles up the river from where we dropped in and he decided he had enough. We heard him turn and scream at us followed by some breaking branches, it was open timber with a lot of rock so I stepped onto a bench between a cliff above and rock cropping below where there was about a 20' flat spot with a trial going down it, I figured he would step into the bottom end of the bench for a shot and had it ranged at 45 yards. A few seconds later he ripped off one more bugle and started up our way, I saw him hit the trail facing and looking straight through me, I had my release on the string and bow pointed toward him, he continued walking without taking his eyes off of me (or my buddy bugling 20 yards directly behind me) he continued on that route until he came to a small downed tree a little less than 10 feet from me. There was nothing between us at all and all of the surrounding trees were 6-8" lodge pole, he stood there staring a hole through me for a couple minutes and decided he didn't want to walk though me but around me, he super slowly started to step off of the trail but as soon as his eye went behind a small tree he immedeatly yanked it back to look at me, he did this a few times before finally talking a step. As soon as I saw him step I drew back and he jumped forward a couple paces to about 10 yards and stopped, I let an arrow fly, the arrow connected with a small limb he happend to go behind and stuck in the tree right above him nock first. The bull dropped off the rock cropping and kept circling headed for my buddies bugle, I knocked another arrow, stepped onto the rock cropping and drew, I watched him calmly walk into my sight picture and I released a good arrow with that shot, the bull stopped looked around, turned in his tracks and walked back off down the trail he had come up and expired about 75 yards down the trail. Right after I released I looked over and my buddy who had been calling was at full draw and said if the bull would have taken one more step he would have release. I feel like if I would have moved at all with that bull coming at me like that he would have blown out of there, I have learned to squint my eyes and just freeze with elk close to me, I have a ton of videos in the summer sitting in meadows surrounded by elk, these experiences have gained me a ton of knowledge about elk behavior. I've had elk stay and feed 20 feet away sitting on a open hillside dressed in a neon orange nike shirt and bright blue shorts as long as I didn't move they stayed, every now and they I would get one super close, like 5-10 feet and they would smell me and jump but would go right back to feeding after a minute. I am 100% convinced that elk will not see you unless you move, I've had cows walk up and sniff the bill of my hat while sitting on an elk trail calling, they just sniff me, step around me and continue down the trail. I wear zero scent control either and use menthol gold bond powder to keep my boys dry:)

I have seen so many people put theirselves in the wrong spot with elk coming in, I like to find a wide open spot and stand in it, this gives me the best shot oppertunity if a bull comes in. Back a long time ago I put myself in poor positions a lot and ended up missing some great oppertunitys. One year I called in a bull for my wife, I heard it bark and start running our direction (spike) I told her to sit on the edge of the meadow and I would walk over to the pond and call, that bull came in, stopped in the meadow and walked into the middle of the pond and sat an splashed water about 25 feet from me, took a drink and walked back out of the pond. The whole time i was waiting to watch an arrow come zipping through the bull, after he walked off I went up to the meadow and my wife was nowhere to be found, I called for her and here she came out of the brush, she said she was afraid the elk would see here so she moved behind the brush, she never even got a good look at him. Same thing happend this fall with a good buddy, we spotted a couple 5 points and a rag horn feeding below us, we set him up on the trail and called the bulls over, me and my hunting partner backed off and called, the bulls walked right down the trail and less than 10 yards from him, he saw them coming so he slid behind some brush and then couldn't get a shot, after the bulls passed him they dropped down the hill and the rag horn walked right to where I was standing on a wide open hill side with zero cover, he stood there at 20 yards for probably 5 minutes while my hunting partner continued to call to try to get the bigger bulls in. My adivce is do not put yourself in a place you cannot shoot from ever, theres no reason to stop or ever even call from a spot unless you can shoot from it, you never know when a bull may come running in.

Another thing is being agressive, I have messed up so many oppertunitys from not being aggressive enough. On last years bull we spotted him out in the sage brush, we ended up walking past him before he bugled and he and his cows were on a wide open hillside when we found them. My hunting partner circled up drainage to keep the wind and kept the bull bugling while I moved in on the bull. The first time I ranged him he was over 100 yards out, I told myself if I could put myself at 60 I would take a shot, I slowly stood up and inch by inch walked straight at the bull. When the bull or cows wouldn't look I would slowly move and freeze when they looked, the biggest thing between us was a barbed wire fence post and about 10" high brush. This went on for quite a while, I would pick a spot and move to it, range, pick another spot and get closer. Once I got to 70 yards the cows had me pegged and were looking at me, then at the bull and then at my partner bugling, it was like they were watching a show or something, I picked a spot and told myself when that bull put his head back in the brush he was next to I would move to it and even if the cows ran he would walk out and present a shot. As soon as he put his head down I took a few quick steps to the spot, nocked and arrow and ranged him, the cows took off up the hill and he came walking out of the brush to see what they were doing. I let out a quick bark with my reed and let one fly, after circling over to where that bull died I ended up bumping another 25 cows our of the draw behind him. So he was a herd bull with 30ish cows and there is no way we were going to call him down away from those cows, being aggressive and taking a chance was our only shot and it paid off.

I feel like I know way more things that will mess up an oppertunity than help out. I think as long as an elk only catches you with one sense you are OK, if he sees you then you can get another shot, if he smells you, you can normally wait a big and get back on them but if he sees you and smells you your SOL. Shot follow through is huge, I have missed a ton of shots at animals due to trying to watch may arrow and dropping my bow, there was a span where I killed 3 animals in a row on my second shot because I shot under them all on my first, nocked another arrow, told myself to concentrate on the shot and made a great shot.

The mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life is one I made a few years back, we were hunting in a snow storm and came to a meadow that had to have 100 rubs in it, we got to the far end of the meadow and my partner which had killed a nice bull a couple days prior ripped a bugle. He was instantly answered with a scream that sounded like a dinosaur and brush crashing, my buddy took off running and dove onto the ground about 30 yards from me right at the bull stopped in the meadow 15 yards from where I was standing. That bull started ripping screaming bugles one on top of the other, I slowly pulled an arrow out and nocked it and figured at that range I could just pull back and wing one, well I drew and he spun back into the brush, I held at full draw for well over a minute while that bull continued to bugle and rake trees just out of range. Finally I let down and moved, he popped back out a few yards away and I drew again but couldn't get a shot through the brush, the entire time that bull was either ripping trees almost out of the ground or bugling. I drew and let down probably 5 times, the bull knew I was there and kept an eye on me, finally he circled and I had a perfect opening at 40 yards. I drew and watch him through my peep, he stopped about 4 feet from the opening, his body was exposed but there was some overhanging branches between us, I settled my pin behind his shoulder and released, at about 20 yards my arrow hit a small tamarack branch and went into outer space. The bull walked back into the brush bugling and raking some more, I nocked another arrow and got right next to the brush he went into, I really tought about sending one through the brush, buck brush is what we call it and sapling, I was only about 15 feet from him as he was shredding trees and ribbing the most raspy bugles I'd ever heard. After about 5 minutes of that the bull finally walked back into the timber where he came from never stopping bugling. I remember the entire time as I was staring at this giant frame telling myself it was just and elk and to calm down, after he walked off I walked over to my buddy and sat down, I was a mess, so shaken up I had to put on my puffy and have a cigar (normally i don't smoke) that bull tore me down like nothing i've ever experineced before or since. We figured he was 350"+ and we were in a OTC Oregon unit, if I would have just been paitent enough or known to look for over head branches at the time I would have had a bull of a lifetime. Those are very hard but valuble lessons.
 
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