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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 Ways to Wreck a Hunting Trip

Bad News. Big Trouble. Here are a few mistakes and actions that should be avoided at all costs.  
The Big Buck  called "Whaletail" that was
illegally tagged by a hunter. 


All 5 are guaranteed to ruin your day.


#1 – Being “less than truthful” with a Wildlife Fish and Game Officer


These men and women have a difficult job.  When you encounter these folks, be straight up because it is the right thing to do. They also have plenty of experience to know fact from fiction. 


A friend and his buddy came across a big buck that expired for unknown reasons and was at the bottom of a creek bed. Our friend had the only buck tag between them and they agreed to use that tag for the monster buck they had just found. According to the Game Laws in Pennsylvania, you can’t just tag a buck you didn’t shoot.  It’s illegal but our friend didn’t know that. Word spread about the monster buck on the Internet and weeks later, our friend was questioned by the Game Warden after a lengthy investigation. He told the truth exactly as it happened. The antlers were confiscated and our friend received a minor ticket but did not lose his hunting license or receive additional citations. The Game Warden disclosed that our friend’s absolute straightforwardness went a long way in making his final determination.


#2 – Losing your Hunting License


Yep – the night before the hunt, the license that was attached to the backpack yesterday is gone. If you hunt in an area where a hunting license must be displayed, be sure that the license is secured by 2 or 3 fasteners so it is not lost when bushwhacking through the brush. You can’t hunt without your license and tags and as simple as it sounds, keeping track of your license is an absolute must.


#3 – Shooting a Damaged Arrow



We learned of an instance where a hunter shot his crossbow and the arrow came apart at the shot and resulted in two pieces flying through the air.  Needless to say, the deer escaped unscathed and the hunter was wondering what happened.  Here’s the answer.

On every arrow, there is warning info that says “Flex Before Each Shot.” The guidance is to prevent a shooter from using a cracked carbon arrow. Flexing will reveal any cracks in the carbon shaft. There is so much force in modern vertical bows and crossbows, that the arrow will come apart at launch if it is damaged. It can be particularly dangerous in a vertical bow where the forearm is very far forward holding the bow at the riser if a damaged arrow is in use.


Here is a scenario:


Sam was leaving for his morning hunt. His backpack with a quiver of arrows was on top of the freezer in his garage. As he was getting his gear together, his grunt call rolled off the freezer top and was now on the floor behind the freezer. Sam leans over the freezer (with his body weight on the backpack and the quiver of arrows) to retrieve his deer call and unknowingly, his body weight cracks his #1 arrow. Remember the arrow is held very rigidly by the quiver --- and later that morning, Sam loads a damaged arrow without checking it and the rest is history.


#4 – Booking a Hunt with a Substandard Outfitter/Camp


The best course of action is to speak directly with hunters who have recently hunted at a camp to verify the type of hunting and experience you think you will be getting.  It is hunting – there are no guarantees – but once you are 14 hours from home and sitting in a camp where the objective seems more about moving hunters through the camp each week rather than providing the quality hunting experience that you signed up for, it is too late. If harvest statistics and references are fuzzy, run away fast.


This happened to us only 1 time over the years. We failed to check references. It was just horrible. By Day #2, the head guide (who was an honest gent) bluntly disclosed the real facts about past hunting success rates and how the operation was being run by management….and how he was hoping to turn it around. At that point, the best you can do is to make the best out of a bad situation.


Use a good outfitter – do your homework – talk to other hunters – and beware of the smooth talking operators at the trade shows.


#5- Failing to Understand the Operation of Your Equipment


We make Crossbows at Kodabow. Once or twice a year, we will receive a frantic phone call where a hunter has failed to fully understand how his/her crossbow works and says something like, “My crossbow is cocked but it won’t shoot and I can’t get the bowstring lowered.”


(In this case --- the hunter pulled the trigger on the crossbow without an arrow in place and the trigger group now requires a “reset” by reattaching the cocking rope and rotating the Safety back to SAFE from FIRE.)


Manufacturers put a lot of great info in their Manuals. It is rare that any answer in not in an Instruction Manual. So whether it is the new Climber Treestand, Laser Rangefinder or that new Crossbow …. you will find higher satisfaction if you take the time to read the Manual.


Just like Game Wardens, outdoor equipment manufacturing companies have a tremendous amount of experience under their belts and should know their equipment backwards and forwards. Be straight up with your communications and it will work out smoothly.