Western game...on your own!
Here at Pine Ridge Archery, we love watching our customers be successful. We recently interviewed Jake Rush, Manager of the Outdoorsmans in Phoenix, Arizona. The Outdoorsmans sells a line of high-end backpacks and tripods designed for hardcore hunters so it is safe to say Rush knows about bowhunting western game. Rush uses the Pine Ridge Nitro Vanes and recently tagged a nice Arizona buck. One of the keys to his success is shooting almost every day of the year. “I shoot my bow almost daily. Even if I don't have time to spend 30-45 minutes shooting, I walk outside and shoot one arrow before leaving for work. Practicing this way helps boost my confidence and after a while, the bow feels like an extension of myself,” Rush explained.
PUT IN FOR LIMITED DRAW TAGS
Many hunters believe the only way to tag a nice buck or bull is by paying an outfitter. Jake and many like him know that is not true. He puts in for limited draw hunts in units where larger animals live. “This was a draw only tag. Much of Arizona is open for OTC archery deer starting in August every year. Typically I hunt the desert units closer to home. This was my first time putting in for a draw only archery tag and hunting deer in the pine trees of Northern Arizona.” Putting in for a limited draw hunt requires extra time and effort, but the payoff can be huge.”
Once Jake had the tag in his hand, the scouting and hard work began. “I spent a few weekends up in my unit getting a lay of the land and looking for areas I thought may hold deer. This time of year, the deer move quite a bit so even though I had seen deer in the same area, this was the first time I had seen this group of deer.”
Many people who hunt out west spend most of their time running and gunning. They cover as much ground as possible in search of a big buck or bull. Jake and the guys at the Outdoorsmans spend a lot of time glassing instead of running and gunning. They let the optics do the job for them. If you spend a lot of time glassing, you will want high end optics and a good tripod. These two things can drastically reduce the odds of getting eye strain and make the glassing experience more enjoyable. “Optics played a huge role in this hunt! I used the Swarovski EL 12x50s mounted to the Outdoorsmans tripod system for glassing the open areas where the bucks would come out to feed in early in the morning and evening. When I got into the thicker forested areas, I switched over to a pair of Leupold BX-4 10x42s for finding deer bedded in the shady areas.” Spending a lot of time glassing paid off for Jake.
Jake wasn’t extremely worried with how big the buck was he; was more concerned with meat. “I don’t know the score yet. All I know is that it made a good amount of snack sticks and breakfast sausage,” Rush exclaimed.
For many hunters, going on a Western bowhunt is a dream. The dream can become a reality if you hunt in units that offer over-the-counter tags or if you start putting in for limited draw hunts. I have been successful on limited draw hunts and have filled tags without breaking the bank. If you dream of hunting big bucks or bulls, start applying for draw hunts. Learn more about the Outdoorsmans by visiting www.outdoorsmans.com
BY TRACY BREEN