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Old October 20, 2007, 02:32 AM   #1
Desertfox
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First Freedom- Ammo Dump Bow Hunt

Just checking to see if you are all geared up for the bow hunt FF.

I have been sticking arrows in a bag nightly for a couple months now. I am gaining confidence in the recurve daily. I still will limit myself to 25 yards probably. Is that reasonable? I imagine 10 to 17 yards will probably be the shot. I am practicing out to 35.

Are you using a ground blind or tree stand? This is my first time going, and am wondering if a climber is possible or maybe just a leaning ladder? I do have the ole double bull ground blind if that is what is needed.

Just fishing for your opinion.
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Old October 20, 2007, 09:51 AM   #2
FirstFreedom
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McAlester AAP hunt

Hey DF,

1. I'm going Nov 2-4, you?

2. Sigh....I'm still *awful* at my recurve. I am practicing only at 20 yards. Last night I thought I was going to get something going, when, after a little warmup, I got 7 out of 9 arrows into the pie plate/kill zone, twice in a row, right?...then, the very next "sets", I got 2 of 9, 4 of 9, and 3 of nine in the kill zone. Horrible. So I dunno - it's really frustrating. I'm pulling somehow occasionally - mostly my arrows are hitting left or low left, and only 4 or 5" out of the pie plate, BUT I'll get fliers in ALL directions, and sometimes like 2 feet off - it's absurd. I'll definitely have to limit my shots to 15 under ideal conditions, or 10-12 yards under windy/weathery conditions.

3. I'm not going to use a treestand. I was told by those who should know - some guys that have been and bowhunt a LOT, that the deer there all KNOW to look up at tree stands, because everybody does it. They will quickly pick out your stand unless it's extremely well-hidden. I'm going to use a ground blind possibly, or more likely, just sit on the ground in a folding chair amongst some small trees or something. I'm going to take my popup doghouse blind on my back and pack it out, but if I cannot find a spot to completely conceal it well, then I'll just sit in a chair. I'm also concerned about the scent coming off of my blind, so that's a factor against setting it up. I don't know what a leaning ladder is. If you do use a stand, you can go out the day before the hunt and hang a strapon or place your climber. Of course, you can't really use a climber with oak trees, but I dunno - there may be some bottoms with cottonwoods that you can use - hell, for all I know, there may be pine stands that allow for climbers.....I'll find out for you.


4. Aong the lines of the deer being educated, I was told do NOT use any estrus or doe pee scent - the deer avoid that like the plague supposedly, since everybody does it out there.

5. I'm going to get more info on this hunt today, here in a couple of hours, from a guy who knows a ton about it.

6. So out-of-staters can draw in for controlled hunts? You sumbich...
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Old October 24, 2007, 05:24 PM   #3
davlandrum
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FF - regarding your #2 issue, give this a try.

Shoot 2 sets, taking plenty of time between shots. Then walk away. Go get a cup of coffee, or read the paper - whatever. Give your muscles a chance to recharge. Then go shoot 1 set, repeat cycle.

Sounds to me like your muscles are getting just fatigued enough to mess you up. It is like when I go to the driving range and hit too many balls - they start spraying, so I hit more, which spray more - vicious cycle.

Remember, in a hunting situation, you are not going to be shooting more than 1 arrow (hopefully). You just have to make that one count. It is nothing like standing there and shooting 50 arrows in a row.

Arrows hitting left is a sign of bow arm issues (I am assuming you are right handed). Try relaxing your grip so the bow almost falls out of your hand when you release the arrow (that is what a wrist strap is for). Other thing is to check if you are "hyper-extending" your bow arm so the elbow is actually past "straight". If it is, it will push the bow to the left when you let go of the string.
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Old October 26, 2007, 03:25 PM   #4
Desertfox
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Well, I am not an out of stater. I moved to Poteau area 2 years ago. Powerplant job. gotta go where the generating is happening.

Yep, double that on the bow arm getting tired and grip too tight for the going left.

Fliers suck, but they are also a fatigue problem usually. Roll that string off of your shooting fingers. Easy to say, I know.

Nov2-4 me too. I will take my ground blind and probably still take my climber.
A leaner or ladder stand is exactly that, a small cammo'ed ladder with a seat atop and you lean it against a tree, 12 to 15 feet usually for store bought ones. Good for oaks and trees with limbs in the way of climbing.


No doe pee for me. I prefer to blend into the natural environment instead of trying to make the deer do something different. I will be sitting on a good trail I hope where a number of trails intersect. That is my idea of location. Maybe a creek crossing or opening in a fence. Natural or man-made funnels.

I prefer to spend the year scouting my hunting area but day before will have to do. I hope to see ya there. Good luck if I don't see you before you let that arrow fly thru the vitals of a 175 in. buck.
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Old October 26, 2007, 05:13 PM   #5
FirstFreedom
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Desertfox, we need to talk beforehand... I will PM you with my phone #.

*IF* you have a double cab pickup or SUV with a back seat, then you can be designated a driver - if so, then we ought to ride together with me as one of your tag alongs - then we can both set up in that hole in the fence - it's supposed to be a really good spot - I've got several good spots mapped out - they will be on my GPS.

Have you done this hunt before?

Wow, hauling a 12 foot stand into the woods seems like a lot of work, but ok, maybe worth it....

Both of you guys - yes, good pointer on the taking a rest - I think it definitely is fatigue. But it takes several sets of warmup before I settle in to shoot halfway decent, and by that time I'm starting to get a little fatigued. Gonna shoot a lot this weekend.

I have heard that there are very few pine stands, and the oaks of course are hard to use a climber with, so I'm not hopeful for your climber. But there may be some large oaks with no branches until you get way up, and may be some cottonwoods.

I'm gathering up a bunch of eastern redcedar limbs this weekend to put in my clothes bins and rub all over my doghouse popup blind and chair.

I'll just be happy if I can SEE a deer like that in the wild (like the kind they do have down there) - If I get a shot at it, that's just a bonus.

You can take 1 buck and 1 doe, but be SURE not to shoot a "doe" unless you're positive that there's not buttons on it, because if there is, that's your buck - tough luck.
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Old October 26, 2007, 05:36 PM   #6
Fremmer
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First, I'm no arrow-shooter, but I was just thinking....

Could the pulling shots be caused by lifting your head, or changing posture/stance, when you release that arrow? Perhaps you're moving (maybe in an effort to see where the arrow hits), which is causing the arrow to deviate from point of aim. I've done this with a handgun/rifle before. Maybe if you force yourself to freeze when you release the arrow, it'll fly more consistently. Or maybe your stance/release is not consistent for each shot.

Sorry, I'm probably wrong; like I said, I leave the hard stuff (bow hunting) to guys like you who have more agility and hand-eye coordination (and patience) than I do. Just a very remote possibility; I hope that you have a good hunt, and please take some pics and give us a field report! Good luck!
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Old October 28, 2007, 10:54 PM   #7
Desertfox
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FF I put in this hunt with a number of guys from work. 4 of us got drawn. I in fact am riding with one of the guys from work. He has been drawn before and has 4 in the truck.
I will talk with him tomorrow.

I will probably bring the climber and a ground blind. I was told tree stands are good in areas but the deer see them alot. With the ground blind, you must shove them deep into a cedar and camo the rest with limbs. They get a little goofy when you cut too many branches so it is a crap shoot on the stand. At least with the ground blind, you can be comfortable. The mosquitoes are bad this year and they got on me tonight bad as well.

I am narrowing in on a nice buck here at home with the muzzle loader. I have seen him twice during bow season and will try to hammer him before Wed.

No PM's yet. I will keep checking.
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Old October 30, 2007, 01:42 PM   #8
FirstFreedom
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Thanks for all the help everyone - I've got little time to post. I will say that yesterday I was finally able to hit the 1.5" bullseye 4 times in 1 hour at 15 yards, and I hit 8 out of 9 practice arrows into the "pie plate / kill zone" three different times at 15 yards, although 6 or 7 out of 9 was the norm. I never could get 9 of 9 - very frustrating. I did also "double up" yet again (3rd time this year and 2nd time this year with a recurve) - running out of arrows here! Also, on Fri and Sat, at 20 yards (which I find to be infinitely harder than 15 yards), I was able to put 3 arrows in 2 days into the 1.5" bullseye, which was one of the most satisfying feelings I've ever had. In any event, I'm definitely going to limit my shots to 15 yards, or maybe 16-17 if it's a trophy and the conditions are favorable.

Anyway, on the hunt, DF, I pm'ed you finally - I talked to another guy that did the hunt last year and he said he thinks tree stands ARE a good idea, provided you hang them high. I'm just going to sit in a chair on the ground with a 3-d camo suit on myself...no blind or anything. I hear that you should get there by 7:30 or 8:00 ideally on Thurs morning to get a good camping spot, if you're bringing any sort of RV - I'm bringing the popup camper, so I'm going to stay overnight Wed night at some public campground nearby I suppose. I dunno - I'm shootin in the dark here, and going at it alone - I drew in individually. Anyway, gimme a holler....
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Old October 30, 2007, 02:03 PM   #9
davlandrum
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Good Luck FF - I know you have been working on this hunt for a while.
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Old October 30, 2007, 02:15 PM   #10
Charles S
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Good luck...When you are done let us know how it goes.

BTW....most important. Have fun!
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Old November 4, 2007, 10:15 PM   #11
Desertfox
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Live and learn. They take 300 people and turn them loose on Thursday for 5 hours to scout and hang stands. You cannot hunt Thursday. The hunt area is the south and east perimeter of the base, The center of the base is heavy hard woods. The 300 people scout and walk the property down and chase the deer into the non hunting area. Some of these people were wearing the clothes they traveled to the area in. Human scent everywhere. Long bow or recurve only the rest of the weekend.

They do this with 300 people 4 weekends in a row. The deer exit the area and do not return until Tuesday for a few days to browse and leave again when the people show up on Thursday. This was the 3rd weekend and it was during muzzleloader season.

They have a 9 percent success rate. That is 9 percent of the people take a deer, any deer.

Tough hunting, I probably will put in for a different draw next year. Like say... Woodward area rifle hunt.

Sour grapes maybe, sorry for the rant. Things that make sense go down easier with me.
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Old November 7, 2007, 09:25 AM   #12
FirstFreedom
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DF, sorry I didn't get to meet up with you, being in the different area - I was either hunting hard or beat tired or prepping for next day the whole weekend. It was all I could do of an evening to get some grub and get my gear ready for the next day, and give myself a "sponge bath" with baby wipes - ha.

I agree, I was disappointed - it was tough hunting and not nearly as good as it was hyped up to be by my acquaintances. Except for the dozens of deer you see along the road on the way in and out each day (where they know they cannot be hunted), I didn't see a single deer on Friday at ALL. I only saw 3 on the scouting day (Thurs) while scouting. I did see 5 on Saturday thankfully, and heard three more blowing/wheezing at me or some other hunter. I again saw NONE on Sunday. One of the 5 I saw on Sat. was a little spike buck that I passed up. I say "passed up" - but not sure I couldn't have hit it because it came up behind me to my right (worst possible spot for a bow shot), and stared at me from about 5 or 6 yards away and snorted a few times, trying to get me to move. I thought it was a doe, so I was trying to figure out how to stand up and turn around in NO wind (absolute still and quiet), and then I noticed it was a spike, not doe. I stayed very still, and he decided I was "nothing", so he went and bedded down about 10 yards from me. I watch him for awhile, and then hit the doe bleat call again to make him leave and it worked - he got up and stared at me again a few yards away, and then mosey'ed off in a large arc. The other 4 I saw Sat were all Gump deer (they were running) - jumped them up. Oh yeah, get this - I did see one VERY nice buck - one of the three I saw on the scouting day, but it was INSIDE one of the restricted area - about 50 yards inside - all I saw was some big thick antlers above the brush. Can't hunt in there though.

On an absolute scale, it was a good experience and enjoyable time, but relative to my expectations, it was not a good experience. Never took a shot, so all that numbness that I STILL have in my middle shooting finger was for nothing, except the experience itself. Anyway, no, I think I'm done with that place, and done with recurves. These hardcore traditional guys are definitely a breed apart. I love my compound bows, but I just cannot get into the recurves/longbows in earnest. It'd be one thing if Pope & Young had a special category of recognition for a traditional (no sights) hunt (do they? I don't think they do), but it's quite a bit harder than using a bow with sights, and the McAAP is not what it's cracked up to be IMO.... as you say, live and learn - was worth a try. I had other "issues" with the whole hunt setup and restrictive rules, and my particular Murphy's law problems I had over the weekend (PM me if interested - got sick, etc.). But it was good to talk with DesertFox on the phone, and see what the McAAP was all about. I would consider trying to draw in again if and only if (1) I drew in with several other guys in a foursome (it was a bit lonely by myself), and (2) if they started allowing compound bows with sights again like they used to years ago.

P.S. Actually, I LIKE recurve bows a lot because you can draw completely silently, and you can "short draw" and fire more quickly in a pinch at close range, and the lack of the letoff is not too great of a hindrance once your strength is built up. BUT, what I severely dislike about the rules of this hunt in particular, was the prohibition on sights and releases. I would love to have a recurve set up with sights and use a release. Then I wouldn't have this numbness in my fingers and I could be deadeye dick like I am out to 30 yards with my compounds - so that in the very unlikely event I DID get a shot at one of those huge bucks in McAAP, I could actually hit it where I wanted with near certaintly, rather than just "more likely than not".

P.P.S. I believe they do 6 weekends in a row - the last five weekends host 275 hunters per weekend, and the first weekend hosts something like 100 disabled hunters, IIRC. No one in my pickup that rode together each day got a deer. Two of them did say that they passed up small bucks and/or does. But I find it hard to believe that they passed up does, since by doing so, they forfeited their "quality pass" to come back automatically the next year. Who knows...

Last edited by FirstFreedom; November 7, 2007 at 11:29 AM.
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:32 AM   #13
davlandrum
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FF - glad you had a good time, sorry it wasn't quite as advertised.

Over the years hunting a lot of military posts you encounter quite a wide range of rules and opportunities. Worst one I ever encountered was Ft. Detrick, MD. It is a very small post with a lot of deer. They try to manage the herd with bowhunting. Problem is it is mostly open fields with a few stands of trees. The hunters kinda have to stick to the trees and all the deer stand around in the middle of the field while there are hunters in the trees. There were some wall hanger bucks in that herd.

Best hunts on military land were places that had big training areas where you could get out in the woods - Ft. Drum, NY, Ft. Lewis, WA, Ft. Polk, LA, etc. Once you cleared Range Control so you knew which areas were open to hunt and then go hunt.
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