Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Elk Update

Our action has started to pick up a bit, but it is still hit and miss. We are still running into groups of cows all by themselves.  I have typically found that somewhere between Sept 15th-20th the big bulls start to get real serious about finding all the straggling cows, and those days are magical when you hit them.

After those magic days, when the bulls have their cows, they don't want a thing to do with another bull. They'll bugle back until they lose their voice, but each bugle gets further and further away. Once that happens you'll need a jetpack to keep up with the herds. If you can get out now, get out now!

My brother has amazed me twice this season. I'll tell you how.

Danny, his girlfriend Ashley, and I snuck our way in front of a group of elk last week. We heard the bull bugling from an aspen ridge in front of us. We quickly hurried around them and got on the back side of the ridge, where we figured they would be going. We were right. The bull bugled a few more times allowing us to get set up in the perfect position. Danny and Ashley sat together, and I was 50-75 yards off to their right. Ashley only has a cow tag this season.

Danny and I each gave a few very soft cows calls, not to call the elk in necessarily, but hopefully just nudge them in our direction. It worked like a charm. Within a few minutes Danny and Ashley had cows milling all around them. The bull was rounding up the back, and he was a dandy. Ashley started to get out of Danny's way so he could take a shot at the bull. 

This is the first time Danny amazed me. He did it with his selflessness. That bull was a stud, as big as the one my Dad killed this year. A massive 6 point. We've hunted our entire lives, and we are finally good enough to play this situation exactly right and get a bull like that in shooting distance. When Danny saw Ashley getting out of his way he instructed her to stay put and take the first shot that presented itself. The bull and a cow both started walking into an opening 20 yards away. A shot at either or both was imminent, and Danny told Ashley go ahead and shoot at the cow. 

I was out of sight of all of this, so all I heard was the thundering of hooves. I waited a few minutes and made my way over to them. Ashley was visibly dejected, she missed. I got the whole story, and before Ashley could apologize again Danny cut her off and said, "Hey, it's just a stupid elk, don't worry about it". Amazing act of selflessness. 

And now for the second time that Danny amazed me this season.

The following day we had some rain and fog roll through. The perfect time to get out all day. Danny was hunting by himself and planned on hitting a few aspen ridges that the elk frequent. 

As he was sneaking his way through the forest he stepped on the smallest of branches. Movement from his right caught his eye, and as he looked he saw a huge rack swinging around. A big bull was bedded just 20 yards away, facing the opposite direction. Danny was pinned down, but thankfully a giant log was covering him from the bull's view. All Danny could see were two big antlers poking around both sides of the log. He was in a compromising position but he held still. Danny glanced at his watch, 5:05pm. He never really believed that shot would present itself. The wind never holds out, and the bull obviously heard him step on that small branch. But finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the big bull turned his head and looked the other direction. It was now 5:35pm. That bull did not move for a full 30 minutes.

Danny slowly brought his feet together and did a few small knee bends to get the blood flow moving again. He worked an arrow out of his quiver and took a step to his left in order to get a good view of the bull's body. He studied the bull for a few minutes. Initially, he didn't think that a shot was available. But after closely looking at the bulls position he saw where he could place an arrow. Ever so slowly Danny contorted his body in order to get his bow back.

I mention Danny's shoulder a lot in this blog. It's been 3 years since he has had a functioning shoulder. Twice, in his awkward position, he yanked on his bow string to try and get his light weight compound pulled back. Finally, on the third try, he painfully got the bow to full draw. The bull took a long time to get to his feet after the shot, but once he finally did there wasn't a tree or stump big enough to slow him down. The bull ran through EVERYTHING to get out of there.

Danny glanced at his watch again. 6:10pm. It took him another 35 minutes to get an arrow out, take a step, study the bull, and get a shot off. Over an hour after he first saw the animal. 

A short bloodtrail later and Danny found his elk. But it was too big to move with one arm. So he made his way to an area with reception and called our Dad and me to come give him a hand. Three and a half hours after his phone call we hit the closest trailhead and started our long night of cutting and packing. 

Danny's selfless act, and his ability to slip in on a big bull in his bed, have added to his legend in my mind. My little brother always blows me away in the woods.

A big thanks to Aron Snyder and the guys at Kifaru for getting Danny and I set up with new packs this year. A hind quarter never felt so easy! I still love my Hornehunter, like what my Dad is using in the picture above. But I am a small guy and the Kifaru fits me properly. I never would have guessed what a difference it would make.

I drop my wife and kids off at the airport in a few hours, they are going to visit my in-laws in Wisconsin. Since my Dad and brother have both killed nice bulls this season, and my family is out of state, there ain't a force on earth that will keep me out of the woods for the remainder of the season. Good luck everybody! I sure hope to have one more good story this elk season.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Big Bulls on Opening Weekend

I'm going to share my version of the events of the opening weekend. I'll try to talk my Dad into sharing his version at some point. I want to know what was going through his head, what he thought and felt, and get his story in writing. I'll leave out the details of the shot and the moment of truth so that he has the chance to write it himself.

It took forever, but elk season finally arrived. Last winter my brother, Danny, made a comment that he was going to live on the mountain this summer trying to find the biggest herds of elk, and of course the biggest bulls. He wasn't lying. Danny had the elk pretty much pinned down throughout the summer. He got pictures of around 15 different BIG bulls, and countless smaller bulls.

Danny looking for elk at around 12,500 ft.

The mountain below is one of our favorite scouting perches. This summer we saw a lot of big bulls where I was standing when I snapped this picture.

Thursday evening my cousin, Chad, our buddy Blake, and I drove up the mountain so that we could be in position to do a little scouting on Friday morning, the day before the season started. We were not let down, we saw around 90 elk between two of the mountains that we were planning on hunting.

One group of 30 elk was on the mountain that my Dad planned on backpacking into with my Mom. Blake had his eye on a close by spike with super long tines that he wanted to fill his tag on, but Chad and I couldn't take our eyes off of the herd bull across the valley. He was impressive. All morning he would run around the cows with his head tilted back. Of course we were too far to hear him bugle, but we watched him stretch out his neck and cut loose every few minutes. 

Chad, Blake and I hurried off the mountain so we could catch up with my Dad before he packed in. We got out our topo maps and showed him where the elk were. The cows all bedded down in the wide open, but at 9am that herd bull got them on their feet and pushed them through a saddle. Since we have hunted this area quite a few times in the past we knew that on certain years the elk get in a pattern where they pass through that saddle twice a day. My Dad knew exactly where to be the next morning. We all wished each other luck and headed out to our separate camp sites for the following morning's hunt.

Opening morning came, Danny and I headed to the drainage where we saw the majority of the big bulls throughout the summer. Chad, Blake, and two other hunting buddies headed to another drainage where we saw 60 elk the day before.

Danny and I crept through this beautiful area with that morning's elk sign all around. We must have barely missed them because we didn't see a thing and nothing bugled near us.

We all carry Garmin Rino GPS/Radios with us these days. It is fun to be able to check in with each other, or get coordinates to another's position with the push of a button. We all agreed that we would check in on the hour if it was convenient, but that we would make a real effort to check in at noon.

With the morning hunt mostly over Danny and I found a beautiful spot to take a break and eat a few snacks. 11am rolled around and I turned on my GPS to see if anybody else had theirs on. I was just about to turn my unit off when I got a half a second of static. I called back, anybody out there? A garbled message came back, something about a "bull behind the shoulder". I looked at my GPS, it was Dad! 

"Come again Dad, what did you say?"

"I hit a bull right behind the shoulder. I thought it was a heart shot but I don't see any blood. I'M FREAKING OUT!".

My Dad asked how far away we were, and we told him it didn't matter.

I asked back, "Was it the big bull, and do you need any help?"

"Yes the big bull, and yes I need help."

Danny and I gave each other a big high five, we were PUMPED! Dad is color blind and cannot see red hardly at all, so him not finding blood didn't concern me. We gathered our things and started walking. We had a long, long, looooong way to go. 

A half hour into our walk and we could finally see the mountain that dad was on. 

Here's a zoomed in shot of the picture above. You can see the small saddle that the herd went through.

Five hours of straight walking, 1,000 ft down, and 2,000 ft up later, we walked up to my Mom and Dad taking a nap. My Dad just shook his head and said, "You guys are studs". I told him I didn't feel like a stud, and as I set my bow down I lurched to the side so I could yak in the bushes.

My Dad apologized for making us walk that far. He couldn't find any blood and spent the previous 5 hours zigzagging through the trees looking for tracks, blood, elk, anything. He said it was the biggest disappointment in his hunting career, and that he was flabbergasted. He thought that the shot was perfect, he saw the bull run away with only a small bit of his arrow sticking out in the crease of the front leg. 

Even though Dad was bummed out I knew that we were going to find him. My brother is special, he has a sense, he has uncanny woodsmanship, and he's a total bloodhound on the trail.  I said, "Don't worry about it Dad, you got Danny here now, we'll find him". 

My Dad told us the entire story and showed us the last drop of blood, if you could call it a drop. 

Danny found a scuff mark a little ways down the hill from the blood. "Here you go Dad", he says. My Dad didn't think it was from his bull and told us that the herd ran the other way. Danny insisted on following the track. He reasoned the next few steps and walked through some bushes. "Here's another speck of blood!" Danny called out. Unreal, he doubled back?

Danny finds another speck of blood and then turns the corner around some trees, and there he was. My parents were napping within 50 yards of the elk. The bull didn't even make it 75 yards from where my Dad shot him.

Talk about going through some highs and lows in the span of a few hours. My Dad went from the excitement of knowing that he killed the bull of a lifetime, to confused at the sign, then utterly disappointed, and then back to elation. 

My Mom was 3ft behind my Dad when he shot the bull. I'm so glad she was with him.

The bull as he lay.

My Dad did shoot this bull right through the heart. You can see the entrance in the picture below, and the exit in the next. In the entire 75 yard long track we found a total of 6 droplets of blood. He just didn't bleed through the legs like he obviously would have if the arrow went through his ribs.

The tip of the VPA Terminator was just barely poking through when we rolled him over.

This guy has some great mass.

Me, Danny, Mom and Dad

Danny was within 50 yards of the biggest elk he's ever seen, twice. The season has just begun and the best stuff is all ahead of us. Good luck everybody. More stories to come!

My Mom is TOUGH. It took us 4 hours and 45 minutes to walk back to the truck that night, mostly in the dark (we walked out to call for help for the packout). We kept having these nasty little storms come over the mountain and hammer us with sideways rain and hail. She had a hard time walking through all the rock fields and busting through the stunted pine. Not one time did she ever make a comment about how difficult it was. I was miserable, so I know that she must have been too. 

Here's a parting shot of a sweet 7X7. I hope we can find him again!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2014 Nebraska Turkeys

We drove out to Nebraska for the opening weekend of the turkey season. We always get out there and invade my cousin Chad's house to chase birds.

Friday afternoon we rolled into town. The scouting report was good! There were hundreds of turkeys, still in their big winter flocks, hanging out on the property we have permission to hunt. We didn't bother them that evening, instead a couple of us built a gate and some fence for our rancher buddy, and the others chose to try and get on a few of the birds on some nearby public ground.

The only turkey we managed to call in was this hen. I could have reached out of the blind and touched her. She hung out for an hour, and I thought surely this live decoy work out perfect, but a bearded turkey never materialized. No biggie, the next morning was going to be epic...or so I thought.

We got into the field in the pitch dark on Saturday morning. We sat in the blind making coffee. I was waiting for the thunder of 100 gobbles that should have started any second. I waited, and waited, no turkey sounds. What the heck? It was finally light enough to see the main roosting area, about 700 yards away. I pulled up my binos, no turkeys. WHAT THE HECK! Where do 400 turkeys go?

Come to find out, the landowner was chasing some trespassers that he saw on his property. They must have walked right under the roosts that night, as the birds had been in the same trees every night for a few months, and were now gone. 

I busted out the new Avian X strutter decoy...unfortunately I never got to find out how it worked.

My brother was set up a couple hundred yards away. At about 2pm he finally saw his first turkey of the day. The tom was not interested in his calls or his set up, but still happened to walk within bow range. Well...compound bow range anyway! ;)

That is Danny's most killenest arrow. He killed an elk, two deer, and a hog with it. He missed another hog and lost the arrow, only to have it found by another group of Colorado hunters the next week. They found it by chance on a 20,000 acre ranch. Finally, after all that action, the arrow was broken by this turkey.

My cousin, Tyler, brought his wife and two young boys out with him a few miles to the north. They had a great time, and Tyler made a fantastic shot on this gobbler. Ty's wife had to put her hand around their younger son's mouth as the turkey came within range. Good times! Ty shot him with a Chargin' Bull recurve.

Tyler's brother, Chad, was with Andy to the NW of us a few miles. Chad and Andy had a great morning. These guys are killers, two shots, two dead turkeys.
Andy shoots a Bob Morrison recurve. Chad shoots a Chargin' Bull recurve that he makes.

Here's a video of Andy's tom. Great shot! (shot at 2:42)

Now don't get me wrong, our group killed four turkeys on Saturday, but it wasn't the turkey shootathon that we thought it would be. With all of the birds gone Kelly and I drove to one of my public land honey holes for the next few days. There were lots of turkeys but they were using completely different fields and different roosts than I've observed in the past. The first day we heard them all around us, but never got anything to commit to our calls. We were always on the wrong end of the field, wrong side of the creek, etc.

Monday morning's forecast called for brutal winds. We've hunted this area enough to know where the turkeys go to protect themselves from the wind. Kelly and I got all set up on the edge of a milo field with a bluff behind us. 

The weatherman was right. The wind was crazy! Our spot at the base of the bluff protected us from the hardest winds. Several hours into the morning we had yet to hear or see a turkey.

The day before, in this exact spot, a group of hens started yacking up a storm. Six gobblers coming from every direction were soon strutting in the field. That got me thinking...Ten of me couldn't make as much noise as the real turkeys were making the day before. But by God I was going to try! 

I got my box call in my hand and put my diaphragm call in my mouth. Over the next five minutes I got to work! YAP! YAP! YAP! I HAMMERED AWAY, as loud and hard as I could. I had to penetrate the wind.

Ten minutes later I got bored and picked up my box call. YAP! YAP! YAP! I looked out into the field. Uh-oh. I'm calling like an idiot and there are two big ol' toms in full strut just 50 yards away.

I set the call down and got my bow ready. The two toms were perfectly content to just stand where they were. Over the next hour the toms made their way to the base of the bluff behind us. They just sat there, strutting, occasionally gobbling, but making no hint at moving towards our decoys.

The birds were only 15-20 yards away, but behind a a mess of branches. Kelly started telling me that there was an opening. I said no way. Kelly insisted that if the bird took three more steps to the left that there was an opening. I studied the branches, he's right! I got my bow ready.

The turkey took the three steps we were hoping for. As I reached full draw I completely lost focus on the bird. My eyes studied the branches, I aimed for the opening, I could still see the turkey in my blurred vision. This is going to work!

The Snuffer on the end of my cedar arrow barely fit through the tiny opening. I missed the branches completely and the arrow zipped right through the turkey. The tom ran up the bluff and out of sight. After a very short search we found him underneath a cedar tree, dead.

The turkey was about in the middle of the frame when I shot.

Chargin' Bull recurve, cedar arrow, Snuffer broadhead.

My first double bearded tom (you have to look close but that second beard is there!)

4 Key Strategies employed on this hunt:

This is mostly common sense, but hunting usually is. Observe animal behavior under the conditions, and use those observations to anticipate their future location/mood/vocalizations/etc.

1) Knowing an area is invaluable. Having observed turkey behavior in high winds, in this area, we had a good idea where to intercept a tom. The bluff we were set up on is long, maybe a half mile. We knew we had to be patient, they'd be somewhere along this bluff for sure, and eventually they would be near us.

2) Patience: The turkeys came to my calls at 11am. I am willing to bet that, even with the high winds, they were within ear shot of my calls before that. Toms are not going to leave their hens early in the morning. Knowing this gave us the patience and confidence to sit tight. Turkeys are quite pattern-able in this area at this time of the year. If they know you're there, they will usually come check you out at some point.

3) Make adjustments: On the first day in this area we positioned ourselves in all of the "right" places, based on previous experience. This year was different. We observed the turkey's behavior and adjusted for the following day. I've killed a bunch of turkeys in this area, but never from this spot. It is usually not a good place to be. We put ourselves where the turkeys were.

4) Calling: Everybody has their own thoughts on calling. The day before we heard hens calling IN FORCE from this corner of the field. We observed toms congregate on their calls. As a matter of fact, every single year we hear hens going crazy wild early in the season. We called like the turkeys call. Our calling was insane, loud, and long...exactly how live birds call this time of the year. Will I call that way in May? No. But in March? You bet!

I wish I was going back out this year but I've got a baby girl coming soon. It's time for me to stick close to home. I should have one or two more good stories from the RMSGear crew though. Good luck turkey hunters!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


One of the great parts of this business is the conversations that we get to have. We learn so much from our customers, and we are constantly immersed in our passion.

 A customer recently asked my Dad, Tom, about a particular bow. I thought that his response was worthy of a blog post, because there is some good information here, but more than anything, it is an interesting read. 

Everybody has an opinion of what they are looking for in a bow. Here is a short outline of Tom's opinions.

Excerpt from Tom Clum's Email:

I have been thinking about your question about bows since I saw your first email this morning. Here are MY opinions. There are a very large number of really good bowyers out there now that are putting out beautiful and great shooting bows. 

 Most all of the knowledgeable bowyers know how to make a fast bow. They add more reflex, they push the handle back, etc. BUT, most of the attributes that make a the bow fast, make it loud. Too much reflex and handle setback makes the bow unstable, and exaggerates your mistakes (not forgiving). 

They know how to make a bow quiet. They deflex the riser, have little or no string contact with the limbs, etc. BUT the bow is slow. 

The great bows are a blend that keeps the bow snappy, fairly quiet, and forgiving. I like short bows, longbows, and physically light bows, but I can't shoot these types of bows at long distance with consistency. Darn, there are always tradeoffs. 

I have short bows for niche situations, like when I know things are going to be tight (when I am in a ground blind and will have short shots). But I now mostly shoot a 62" bow, with a "kinda" heavy riser, I am a short guy with a 28" draw. I can really put them in there at long distance with this kind of hunting recurve. 

Some bowyers really focus on one aspect of a bow i.e. quiet or fast, and there is a market for the guy who will buy based on one aspect. But to get a bow that is whisper quiet, super fast, and very forgiving, is in my opinion an impossible order. You can however get a high percentage of each of these attributes in the best bows. 

My first dis-qualification for a bow is probably grip. You just cannot have a grip where your hand slides to the side, or a grip that "makes" you squeeze in order to keep it straight. For me the bow grip has to be fairly flat so that I can line it up on the life line of my palm quickly and in the same spot every time. It will just sit there without me having to hold onto it. I had Ben Graham grind a flat spot on my Hummingbird when I went to see him a couple years ago. I immediately shot this bow with improved accuracy. The Hummingbird Kingfisher recurve is an example of a bow that combines a bunch of great features. It is NOT like the Tree's bow in that it has a heavy riser, but it is like it in regards to speed and performance. I have Keith Chastain finishing a bow for me right now, and he has instructions to call me so that I can go over to his place to finalize the shape of the grip. I have Mike Beckwith (Hawk Bows) making a set of limbs for me now for the riser that my boy's gave to me for Christmas. Mike has the best grip in the business. 

If you want the best performance (speed) out of a longbow, get an A&H. As you know, Larry Hannify is a fine gentleman and builds a fine bow that will outshoot anything around, as far as speed. If your form is great, these bows will make you better, but if you torque with your bow hand, they may exaggerate your mistakes. I can get perfect hand placement on his take down bows every time. I would shoot them, but I shoot my recurves (with more mass weight in the riser) better at distance. 

I do think that a guy has to find that match for himself and I think that this is true if only because of the variety of size in human beings. I am short and hunt big animals, so I might look at speed a little more that a guy with a 30" draw. A big guy might focus more on a quiet bow, because he has no worries about speed. As far as arrow speed goes, an inch of draw length is equivalent to 10 lbs of draw weight, and I can prove it on a chronograph. 

The Denver area is the only place that a guy might be able to shoot ten different types of custom bows right next to each other anytime of the year (how is that for an un-disguised advertisement).

At one time we just happened to have about ten different custom bows of almost identical weight. We found it very interesting that among those bows, there was not more than five feet per second difference between them all. All were big name bows, including our local guys, and all except for one used conventional materials. The only design that I can prove that equates to measurably increased arrow speed is the ACS limb design, like in the A&H bows. 

Well there you have it. I have just confused the issue, and not given you any kind of definitive answer. And, opinions are like belly buttons. 

I still enjoy the discussion.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Pigs: Death From Above

I enjoy hunting, a lot. And I really like elk hunting, it's got to be my favorite. However, I'm not sure I've ever had a better time than we did in Texas last week. I was laughing from the moment the guys got in my car until the moment I dropped them off. 

We returned to the same ranch we hunted last year (story here). A group of us from RMSGear headed south, met by my cousin Chad and some of his Nebraska buddies.

The weather was pretty chilly for Texas. When we got there we had a little bit of blowing snow and high temps in the 20's. The pigs moved later in the day, but that didn't stop us from getting out early the first morning. Everybody went out, but nobody got shots. We calmed down the next few days, and like the pigs, slept in a little bit before starting our onslaught. 

The country in this part of Texas is made especially for bowhunters. I love the brush down there, open enough to spot the animals but dense enough to get your sneak on. 

I thought that the pig sign last year was impressive, it was nothing compared to this year. The pigs are taking over, and their presence is obvious around every bush and tree.

Stalking in this country cannot be beat.

We didn't see see the sky for the first two days, but on day three we were treated with a really nice sunset.

Even though the first morning started slow, by early afternoon the arrows were starting to fly. My brother and I were making our way through my favorite area from last year when we spotted a group of pigs heading towards us. We quickly found a hiding place and waited for the pigs to come. Danny was up first. He didn't waste his opportunity. Danny's arrow hit the pig with a loud whack and dropped him where he stood. The other pigs ran up to see what was going on, and before the dust started to settle my cedar shaft was in the air. 

The same time Danny and I were dragging pigs to the truck Blake was skulking towards this nice boar. Blake got a little too close, and the pig got nervous when he saw a figure in the grass just three yards away. The pig started to move away, but Blake made the best of it and drew his bow as the pig was trotting off. The big boar slowed down just enough for Blake to make a perfect shot.

Blake used a Chargin' Bull recurve. 60", 55@28. Blake and Chad started building bows a year ago, they are fantastic. He's shooting CX Heritage arrows, his quiver was a smorgasbord of broadheads. 

We found three pig nests with little babies. How can something so cute turn so ugly? Mike and Tab killed a few pigs each, these guys didn't play around.

On the second evening of the hunt I discovered pig paradise. I grabbed my cousin, Chad, for the following day. We crept along the edge of a bluff above the Brazos river. Since the time we were little kids, Chad and I have always got into the animals. Chad killed his first deer with his 13 year old cousin at his side (me), and the following year I called in my first bull elk to Chad. To this day whenever we hunt together we are in the thick of it. In no time we spotted two groups of pigs below us in the brush.

We let the wind choose which group of pigs to sneak up on. These have to be the perfect bowhunting animals, good enough senses that you need to be sneaky, but blind enough that a guy has a great chance of success on each stalk. 

I brought my 21st Century longbow on this trip. I've had the bow for 5 or 6 years but never took it hunting. I was a little worried about stalking with a 64" bow (I usually like 'em short). It's not a pretty bow - weird green color, Holmegaard limb profile, brush nocks, and 63 pounds. This bow only has about 8 inches of working limb, and I love how it throws my arrows fast and hard. My concerns over length proved unfounded, Chad and I were easily able to crawl on our stomachs to within bow range. The only difficult part about the stalk was avoiding all the pig poop, it felt like crawling through a dog park. P.I.G. P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E!

After I killed the first pig we wasted no time in getting back on top of the bluff. It didn't take long to find another group with a bunch of big ol' hogs. Chad slinked in, the smallest pig of the group stepped into an opening. Chad made a chip shot and the pig didn't run 30 yards before falling. It was the smallest of the group, but the biggest any of us killed on the trip.

Chad used a Chargin' Bull bow of his own making. His bow is 60" and 57@28.

There isn't anything on earth more fun than razzing the guy who has had the worst luck. On this trip, that just happened to be Del. In three days of hard hunting Del had yet to shoot an arrow, and he only got a small glimpse of a pig. 

Before this trip the Nebraska guys didn't know Del other than by the crazy elk hunting stories we told about him. Del's lungs and legs are a thing of legend, and he kills more than his share of elk. On day 3 of the 4 day hunt, the Nebraska boys started to call him Tebow - all hype and no show. Del got a good laugh at himself, and being that we were pig hunting, I started calling him Teboar.

Chad, Danny and I decided to show Del some mercy and teach him how to hunt pigs. We brought him to our perch, and in less than two minutes we spotted a lone boar feeding near the water's edge.

Zoomed all the way out, the pig is in the center of the frame.

Zoomed all the way in.

After spotting the pig, Chad and Teboar (Del) got off the bluff and started their sneak. Danny and I stayed above to watch the show through our binoculars.

True to form, Del did pretty much the opposite of what I would have done, he took his boots off so he could move silently in the water. When he got close to the pig he got on shore. His bare feet falling on the mud made, quite literally, no noise at all.

Del closed the distance on a totally unsuspecting boar. Del's Spirit longbow launched a Carbon Express Heritage arrow, tipped with a scary sharp Bear Razorhead. Danny and I had the second best view of the whole thing from our vantage point on the bluff.

Internet, get ready for a new meme - Teboaring (I know, I know, that's so 2012).

We cut up the pig and returned to our outlook high on the bluff. Chad and Danny headed South, Del and I headed North. Del and I sat down to drink a Mountain Dew before searching in earnest for our next stalk. It didn't take more than a minute to spot another lone pig on the river's edge. Del and I crossed the river and made our way to the bank, directly across from the boar.

I looked over my shoulder and gave Del a droll smile before lifting my bow to shoot. He smiled back. This was serious fun. My arrow zipped through the pig in a blink but it wasn't an ideal shot. Del was Johnny-on-the-spot with a follow up shot, driving his arrow straight through the boar's chest. The boar ran down the river a very short ways before falling over in the water.

This picture is taken from where the pig was standing, looking at the spot where Del and I peaked over the grass to shoot. 

The pig hardly had time to run before Del's arrow buried in the dirt, not at all far from mine.

We made our way back on the bluff and spotted another pig immediately, a true giant. With daylight running low and swirling wind, I did the best with what I had. I was peaking over the grass at the last place I saw the monster swine, ready and expecting to ease my bow back at any moment. But the big pig was gone. He must have smelled me, my only blown stalk in four days of non stop action. Not bad odds, I can't wait for next year!

Email me,, for the contact info for the ranch. It's 22,000 acres of pig hunting madness. You can bait roads, sit on feeders, or do like we did, and get in the pig's bedroom to stalk them. Jay runs the hunts, he's a traditional bowhunter who treats us the exact way I'd hope to be treated. Just bring a lot of arrows when you go. We put 14 pigs in the barn, and I fully expect that we kill more next year with our new method of hunting them from above.