Archive for the ‘Bow Hunting’ Category

Eastern Colorado Archery Deer

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It was two weeks before Christmas and I found myself on a plane flying to Colorado.  Early in 2011, Trevon and Adam contacted me and extended an invitation to join them on their annual Colorado plains archery deer hunt. I was honored that they would invite me on a hunt that has been their tradition for many years. This was a no brainer as I had watched heir 2009 footage many times and was very impressed with the bucks they were chasing.

Born and raised in  Nevada my passion is spotting and stalking in the sagebrush country the Great Basin provides. This Eastern Colorado plains hunt would be a little different than what I’m used to and I definitely was up for the challenge.

My first look at the country was on opening day. With the first rays of the golden sun hitting the landscape the thermometer bottomed out at 15 degrees. All I could see around me was wide open cut wheat stubble, cut corn, and CRP fields. With such little cover we could spot deer for many miles but getting to them would be the true challenge. This late season archery hunt was taking place after three gun seasons, making the animals very much on edge. Anytime they would see a vehicle moving they became very skittish and if the vehicle stopped they were high tailing it out of the country with ears pinned in the back position.

The first morning out on the plains, a day before Adam could get away to join us, Trevon and I spent most of the chilly morning in his truck moving from one vantage point (more like a slight rise in the road) to another where we would fix ourselves to our window mounted Nikon spotting scopes picking out every detail that was out of place.  We would have to spot deer from a long way away and make a plan to get in close on foot.

Mid day found us pinned to the side of the road watching a large main frame 4 point muley moving through the cut wheat with another buck and a whitetail doe.  The only reason we saw this bruiser buck was his mid day stretch got him to stand and reposition  When the deer bed in this cut wheat little is left in the way of landmarks to follow except for the tips of their tines peaking out from the tan stalks.  We only had the antler tips as a landmark above the rolling wheat stubble.

While we watched this four pointer, another group of deer rose from their beds at the report of a phesant hunters shotgun.  This herd was about 400 yards away from the big four and bedded under the sprinkler lines in the middle of the pivot.  We marked their position so as not to blow them out of the country when we went after the big four.

Trevon and I parked the truck downwind about a half mile from the deer and out of sight, and the stalk was on. With a rise in the landscape we were able to reach the edge of the pivot without being seen, but from then on it was on hands and knees belly crawling the rest of the way.

The wheat in this particular field is topped off at about 18″ and is extremely loud and crunchy. Although we didn’t have any wind that was steady but the occasional gust of wind would cover the sound of our approach and prevent being detected by the radar ears of the deer.

With bow in hand I was followed by Trevon running camera and getting everything on film.  It was extremely slow going but we were steadily closing the distance.  Keeping our eyes on the buck’s antler tips we weaved our way closer, occasionally having to sit still and wait in one spot for the breeze to pick up before moving again.  One of these silent waiting periods was interrupted by another pheasant hunters’ shotgun report a couple miles away.  Again this alerted the closer herd of deer and they stood to investigate. The biggest buck in the group stood for just a few seconds, giving us a quick look before repositioning to bed back down. Soon he was followed by the others as a calm came over the herd.

The wind started shifting and the herd was now down wind of the big four point buck we were originally stalking.  We knew there was a decent buck in this closer group and if we kept going straight for the big four we would surely blow them out of the country and eliminate any opportunity to hunt them in the coming days.  Sometimes, as a bow hunter, you have to except the gift you are given.

Being 150 yards from the herd and 300 yards from the big four, my strategy changed.  I turned to Trevon and told him we were going to go after the big group bedded under the sprinkler pivot.  They were in prime position and if we could get through the wheat and close the distance we would have an opportunity to fill a tag and have the first kill on film for the Outback Outdoors show.  His nod in agreement changed the game.

Trev stayed on my heels as we closed the distance.  The buck I wanted bedded near the 5th tire on the pivot sprinkler line, all I had to do was get to the 4th tire and I would have a 60 yard shot.  Those last 100 yards was utterly nerve racking. Wheat stubble cracked under my hands and knees with every shift of my body.  Seventy yards away and I was on my own as Trev stayed back with the camera to capture the events as they unfolded.  There was 30 yards left to cover while avoiding the eyes and ears of the deer on the perimeter of the herd.  I could see bodies and ears through the thin openings in the wheat stubble which forced me to slow my pace further.  Finally making it to my goal and the 4th tire up line from the buck, my nerves calmed as now the waiting game began and I was in prime position.

Our timing on the stalk was perfect, almost scary perfect.  Within three minutes of setting up, the smaller bucks and some doe started to stand and mill around.  Surely he would rise at any time and join them for an evening feed.  I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. As though it was a choreographed dance, I came to full draw as he stood and he gave me the two steps forward that I needed for a clear shot behind the shoulder.  The small window of opportunity was all that was needed as a clean release sent the arrow 60 yards to its mark.

First day, first stalk, first shot and we had a buck down.  There was no need to track the crimson sprayed wheat as we watched the buck fall less than 30 yards from his bed.  With my 2011 Colorado deer tag filled I the next 4 days found me returning the favor and running camera for Trevon and Adam.

What a great experience, having the opportunity to stalk mule deer in the flat wide open country of Eastern Colorado.  I will take the many lessons learned and strategies acquired and apply them to all my future hunts in the hope to become a better bow hunter.  I believe, both in hunting and in life, no matter how successful or accomplished you are, you can always learn and better your future performance.

Dave Beronio – team Outback Outdoors

Wyoming Elk, Stalking Strategy put to the Test

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

We needed to cover over three hundred yards in the wide open if we wanted to catch up to the herd.  The ankle high sage would only cover our Kenetrek boots so now it was time to put our gear to the test.  With three of us in a line perpendicular to the elk we used a Montana Decoy “Cow Elk III” as a shield.  The herd was 400 yards away and we were in plain view during the time it took us to cover 300 yards of open ground. 

My Camera man Chris Callinan was the lucky recipient of a Wyoming archery elk tag.  On this trip, I was running camera while Chris was hunting. Joining us on this adventure was good friend Wade McCammond who took care of the calling.  The Red Desert of Wyoming is not  what your ideal elk country looks like and anyone who knows the area can attest it is more like typical antelope country.  Surrounded by flat rolling hills covered in low sage there was  not a tree in sight.   With the lack of good cover our Montana Decoy played a key roll in the success of the hunt.

I’ve had bulls come in while using the decoy and it has helped in many situations.  Its main use has been to entice a bull into range or help animals feel secure.  Now, using it as a shield, I have another tactic to use for closing the distance and helping my success as a bow hunter.  Chris, Wade, and I were shoulder to shoulder sneaking through the sage with the decoy leading the way.  Hiding our silhouettes and sending out the occasional lost cow call we covered ground with ease.  The herd gave us little attention as we skirted our way to a pre designated hill which we would use to make a calling set.  Now in position a little ahead of the herd Wade started calling and the monarch of the prairie came charging in to 60 yards.  Although this set didn’t produce a shot it was proof that using a Montana Decoy as a shield opened up another opportunity that we wouldn’t otherwise have had.

A couple days later this strategy would pay dividends as it would get us in on another herd.  Using two Cow Elk III decoys we jockey with the herd until our position would allow us to pull away a satelite bull and with camera rolling Chris slips an arrow behind the shoulder of a Red Desert Bull.

I know you will enjoy this show as you watch us use the decoy to stalk and entice this bull into bow range. It’s my hope that you too have the opportunity and enjoy the thrill of using  this strategy to get into position and slip an arrow into a trophy of your own.

Dave Beronio – Team Outback Outdoors

SNEAK PREVIEW – California Archery Black Bear – Dave Beronio

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I thought I’d wet your whistle with a preview of one of the most exciting webisodes we have ever had on Outback Outdoors. You wont want to miss this show as Dave Beronio and cameraman Chris Callinan spot and stalk big bruins in the high country of the Sierras in California. After months of trail cams and scouting Dave and Chris get up close and personal in this heart pounding and physically demanding bowhunt.

 

Californa Bears Hit the Ground

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I am still suffering from adrenaline overload from this years California spot and stalk bear hunt.
What an exciting hunt with all the highs and lows associated with bow hunting. Our spring and summer scouting provided us hundreds of bear pictures, increasing our excitement and anticipation for the upcomming season but as we all know, things change in the field.

Opening weekend came around and we hit the mountains hard. I spent hours pinned behind the glass of my Nikons searching every nook and cranny only turn up sows and cubs. This was special in its own right as it allowed us opportunity to watch nature at work and kept us on our toes. One situation in particular put us 12 yards from a sow, with her two cubs under 10 yards, her bluff charge raised the hair on the back of our necks and as Fred Bear said, “it is a feeling that will cleanse the soul”.

Heading back to work for a couple days, I gave Chris a couple days off from running camera.  He used this time for scouting, but with bow in hand he found himself 18 yards and at full draw.  Chris took advantage of this gift and filled his tag with a nice California bear.

 

I was still with an unpunched tag when the hard work and dedication finally paid off.  Spotting a great bear with the first rays of light our stalk would be fast and the final seconds even faster. Forty yards of berries and steep High Sierra country kept us from the bear, but only clean mountain air separated my Goldtip arrow from his thick chocolate coat . With camera rolling, my first shot hit the mark. The bear hit the deck, regained his footing and sprinted uphill only to realize there would be no more up. This is when the real fun begins. Without giving away too much, I leave you with this; My first shot was at 40 yards, the second was at 7 yards and I never moved my feet.

 

With Chris Callinan running camera and me behind my Hoyt CRX 32 we have gained memories that will last a lifetime. We hope you enjoy watching this hunt as much as we had bringing it to you.

We will see you where the white rocks and the green trees meet the blue sky.

Scouting Update for California Bears

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Just shy of six weeks from the opening day of the California bear season and the bruins are reading the script to the story perfectly. However, until first light on opening morning I will not know which animal will play the leading role. We have a number of contenders but the unpredictability of animals is a factor left in Gods hands.

Chris Callinan and I have been documenting all aspects associated with scouting and preparation for this hunt. Many hours of video footage, still photos, and trail cam pictures are the appetizer to what should turn out to be another great Outback Outdoors webisode. We’re excited to share this adventure from start to finish.

July 1st found us high in the mountains trying to avoid the high 90° temperatures that lurked back home. It wasn’t only the air temperatures that were hot; our trail cameras were on fire. Staying out of the area for a few weeks, this was our first trip back to check on them and the new locations were turning out to be extremely productive.

Tucked into a small basin, the mountain spring boils out of the hillside and weaves its way slowly through an aspen grove only to disappear into the sage flats below. With no opportunity to glass the area our scouting is comprised of reading the many signs on the ground, gauging the marks on trees, and viewing nearly 1700 trail cam pictures from this one camera alone. This honey hole is turning out to be our most productive set to date. This headwater serves a dual purpose for the bears in the area. Pooling up under a natural grassy bank, the small gravel tub is both a water hole and a wading pool to soak their thick coats.  The water is constantly moving through the pool so there is always clean drinking water or a freshly drawn bath.  This location will make for a difficult hunt but with the number of bears in the area, it offers great opportunity. 

Here are just a couple of the trail cam picts we enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on to one of the other cameras later in the evening we were stopped in our tracks as one of the bears from my original post, “Scouting California Bears”, lumbered out of the willows. Bandage is a very distinct bear with a white blaze chest and a bandage like stripe across his nose. With camera rolling Chris and I contemplated strategies on how we‘d stalk him as he feed through an open park just a couple hundred open yards away.  I’m hoping this situation replays again in six weeks as it would have made for an exciting hunt. 

DIY, Know Your Equipment, Hoyt CRX32 Setup

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

My new Hoyt CRX 32 hit the front porch a few days ago and another

New Winners Choice strings

 package containing my Winners Choice strings.  Now what?  Do I drive an hour  to Reno and go to one of the archery shops that I have no relationship with or tuck into the garage, with my Bowmaster press that I picked up from Sage Creek Outfitters years ago, and put my Winners Choice strings on myself? 

One of the most important tools an archery hunter can possess is knowledge of how your equipment works.  There are some awesome archery shops out there with a knowledgeable staff that can setup and tune your bow for you.  But what happens when you are in the back country and slice your string with a razor sharp broadhead?  Chances are, there will not be an archery shop anywhere close, leaving you hours if not days absent from the field.

I choose to take on the task myself.  I am not a bow shop nor do I claim to know everything about how a bow works, but if something happens in the field, I will be better off than 90% of the guys out there.  There is no professional bench mounted press in my garage either, I use exactly what I take on my hunts, (usually left in the truck) a cable Bowmaster press.

The Hoyt CRX32 was extremely easy to work on and tune.  I start a string change session by first marking the limb position on the cams.  Then I take pictures of the cams from both sides and one picture of the cable guard.  This comes in very handy when reattaching the string, control cable, and buss cable.  I learned this when changing one of the first strings on my own and running a buss cable the wrong way.  Yep, I couldn’t draw the bow.  A few frustrating and humbling minutes later all was fixed and a lesson learned.

Bowmaster press

The Winners Choice strings I put on this jet black CRX are a speckled blue and white.  Although red and black strings would look sharp matching the red highlights on the bow and on the RipCord rest, I feel that Red, White, and Blue are better and you cant go wrong with those colors.

The factory strings that I removed go in a plastic bag and marked.  This will stay with the bow press as a backup should anything go wrong.

With the Winners Choice string in place I could now draw the bow and check timing.  The CRX was easy to tune and tuning procedures explained simply in the owners manual.  I added a few twists of the Buss Cable and now the Control cable stop and the Buss cable stop hit contact points simultaneously.  I was also pleased to see the marks I made on the cams were in the same place as when I received the bow from the factory

Ripcord rest setup

With the timing of the bow set, I installed a Ripcord rest and attached the release rope to the Yoked Buss cable.  Perfect position, and the rest fell with the letdown of the draw.  No bow is complete without a Spothog Sight.  I  picked this one up many years ago from Sagecreek Outfitters.  This is the fourth bow it’s been on and I believe that is a testament to its dependability and durability.

TightSpot Quiver

The final touch was a Tight Spot quiver to house Gold Tip arrows.  The design of this quiver makes it adjustable to anyone’s preference.  The Tight Spot can be moved up or down with a couple set screws but the seller for me is its adjustment in tight or out away from the bow and or be removed completely with the use of a dovetail clamp. 

Full Setup

Time to paper tune and sight in this killing machine.  In a few weeks I’ll follow up with a performance report on the CRX32 and the other equipment on the bow.

In the end, I performed the string replacement and tuning with a portable Bowmaster press.  It is a comforting feeling knowing that if anything happens in the field that needs fixing, I wont have to rely on finding a shop.  Know your equipment and your confidence in the field will increase.

Hoyt CRX 35 Gets Dialed In

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Spring is a great time of year because that usually means setting up my new bow for the year. This year I decided to shoot the new Hoyt CRX 35. I am old school and prefer a longer axle to axle bow and I am NOT concerned about having the fastest bow in the timber. I rather shoot a longer more forgiving bow than a short rocket ship. That is just my opinion.

I have heard a lot about this new bow and look forward to carrying it on all my hunts this season.

First thing I did after tearing open the box like an 8 year old on Christmas morning was to order a set of Winners Choice strings. While patiently awaiting for them to arrive I put on my Rip Cord rest and Spott Hogg sight. A few days later the strings were on it as well. Like I said I am from the old days and I like to have a kisser button on my string also. I want to have 3 points or reference when I shoot. A kisser, string on the tip of my nose and a peep. These 3 make sure I am consistent every time I draw back and get locked in.

I headed to my local archery shop in town and put the bow in their home made version of the Hooter Shooter. The cam timing was set and the center shot found. I took a few shots through the paper machine and was pleasantly surprised with the smooth draw. I set my bow at 68 pounds and that along with my Gold Tip 75/95 shafts make for a lethal tool in the woods. I shot close to 75 arrows out of it and went back to the machine to re check timing. As usual the strings did not creep or stretch at all and the peep stayed in perfect alignment.

I will continue to shoot the set up the way it is and work on getting my pins dialed in. I like a 5 pin sight with yardages from 20 to 60 yards on my hunting set up. This will prove to be an efficient hunting set up for any animal that I will chase this year.

On The Road

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Well the end of my 2010 hunting season went alot better than the beginning! I guided a few hunts for Trophies West Outfitting Co. in Montana and did 3 appearances for Under Armour at Cabelas across the country which took up most of my time in the latter part of the hunting season. After guiding my last client to a toad of a Whitetail on the Bighorn River I skinned, caped and boned out his trophy, loaded it up for him and I was packed up and on the road to Kansas to meet JT at Marl Elpers, of Outdoor Connections, farm. I left Montana at 10 AM and drove 16 hours arriving at the farm at 2:30 AM. JT had me up and rollin an hour and a half later and I spent the next five days in a treestand alternating hunting and videoing JT as well as witnessing some awesome rutting action and alot of bucks! I had a blast and am now hooked on bowhunting whitetails in Kansas after taking my first Pope and Young ten point on the last evening!

Saturday morning found me headed home and right into some of the worst weather we have seen in a long time. An early winter hit Montana and along with a blizzard, above average snow accumulation and below zero temps, the roads were absolutely treacherous! With cars off the road everywhere I decided to stop back at the Trophies West Lodge and help out with the last few clients and spend Thanksgiving with my guide buddies. Craig Hueter, owner of TWO, called and told me to go ahead and hunt for myself the last couple days if I wanted to. After trying to access some of our ranches in the terrible weather I finally decided to take a very old and very ugly buck that was still rutting this late. We take management very seriously at Trophies West and by killing a few management bucks like this every year as well as letting the young up and comers live we have taken trophy mule deer for years! If you are interested in hunting with Trophies West holler at me. I was happy to kill a cool old buck and do my part.

What a nice way to end my season. Its time now for the NFR in Las Vegas and then the holidays. January brings us the Hunting Industry Shows and my PBR season kicks off with a bang! From all of us at Team OO, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

On The Road

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Saturday April 3rd was the opening day of Turkey Season in the part of Texas where I happened to be staying between PBR events. My good friends down there are die hard Turkey hunters and invited me to go along in the morning. As I sat there with a Shotgun in my lap and the decoys out in front of me an hour before light, listening to the intermittent gobbling of roosted birds, I was reminded of the Turkey hunting I did with my Dad when I was young in Upstate New York. Where I was raised Turkey and Deer hunting were the only “big” game we had and we took it pretty serious. But what really came back to me on that crisp Texas morning was how much fun Turkey hunting with a shotgun was. Since moving to Montana 11 or so years ago I had only been hunting birds with my bow, and almost always out of a blind. I realized I missed the old school run and gun style of Turkey hunting and really enjoyed the shotgun!

I recently read an article by an outdoor writer and personality whom I have alot of respect for. However I was bothered by one of the points in his article and it has really caused me some distress since. The author basically stated that a hunter who started out his hunt with archery equipment and then switched to a gun part of the way through the hunt to harvest an animal was “giving up” or “cheating”. I have a real problem with this. This particular author is a pure bowhunter, and a great one. He personally chooses to hunt only with a bow and for HIM picking up a gun would compromise HIS principles. Thats great! I admire him for this, but my problem is that he is pushing his choice of weapon on other hunters and judging them for their choices. Consider this-maybe the hunter that switches to a gun from a bow during a hunt wanted to try to challenge himself by using archery equipment but at the end of the day he is a guy with only two weeks of vacation and he really spread himself thin to pay for this hunt. I’m sure he will get just as much satisfaction out of taking home his trophy with a gun. We are under constant attack in the hunting world by uninformed zealots who would love to make what we love illegal. We need to stick together as HUNTERS to make our sport and heritage show a strong unified front. I dont think now is the time for role models in the hunting industry to form little sub-groups based on weapon preference. I love to hunt with a bow but I am not a bowhunter, I also love to hunt with a rifle or shotgun but I am not a gun hunter….I am a HUNTER. I love to hunt. I love the traditions and camaraderie passed down to me by my father and I love the sights, smells and sounds of the woods and the mountains. These things have absolutely nothing to do with what weapon I may be carrying. So to this author I say, please don’t draw lines in the outdoors my friend, we are all in this together enjoying what God made possible for us. We may all share a campfire together one day and I don’t want to be embarrassed to show a picture of a buck I killed with my rifle or a Turkey I killed with my shotgun. Again these are just my thoughts and I mean no disrespect. This author has done alot for the hunting world and I would even consider him a friend, but our strength is in numbers and we are all in this together. Whichever your weapon or weapons of choice who among isnt a HUNTER?

On The Road

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Texas Turkeys, Hogs and the PBR…..I am leaving Montana this weekend to head south. After a stop at Trevon’s house in Ft. Collins to set up and tune our new Hoyt Maxxis’ and give him a hand moving, I will be headed to Texas to do two back to back PBR events.

The great thing about Texas this time of year is hog hunting and an April 3 opener for Rio Grande Turkeys! My next two weeks look like this: Work a PBR in Palestine, TX, spend the week with some friends chasing hogs around with my bow, Work a PBR in Stephenville, TX and then hunt the first 2 or 3 days of Turkey season. Life on the road can be tough, but I sure love it!!

Keep checking back for updates from the place I like to call my second home, TEXAS! Hopefully I’ll put some hogs on the ground with the new Maxxis…