Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Still bowhunting…at age 89!

Bowhunter Claude Jones

We all hope we’ll be as active at age 89 as Claude Jones, a retired radio-station owner who lives in Lewisburg, W.Va.

Jones still hunts. In fact, he still bowhunts. In fact, he still bowhunts with old-fashioned recurve bows, which require considerably more muscle to draw and hold.

My full-fledged feature story about Jones is here.

My guess is he’ll get a buck before the current season ends.

Massive whitetail might be new Wisc. record

Inda (right) with friend Craig Carpenter and the big buck (Inda photo)

Wisconsin might have a new state-record archery-killed buck.

Bowhunter Brian Inda shot the 12-pointer last week near Wild Rose. The behemoth green-scored 198 2/8 gross and 188 2/8 net.

Paul Smith, the uber-talented outdoors editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, tells the story of the kill as few others can. It’s a fascinating read, especially the part that tells how Inda and friend Craig Carpenter became focused on the buck after finding last year’ s shed antlers.

NJ archers can now hunt closer to homes

Coming soon to N.J. backyards!

The latest hunting-related news out of New Jersey certainly is interesting.

Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill that will allow bowhunters to hunt within 150 feet of residences. The previous law had required a 450-foot buffer.

The law is a little controversial, as one might expect. Proponents say it will increase recreation, help small businesses and help aid wildlife management. Opponents claim it will jeopardize homeowners’ safety in the densely populated state.

The Morristown Daily Record has details.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher at the Outdoors Pressroom.

A different approach to preseason bow practice

Mark Jarrell at his backyard practice station

This week’s Sunday Gazette-Mail lead outdoors feature takes a look at one man’s rather unique approach to preseason bowhunting practice.

Mark Jarrell believes in practicing the same conditions he’ll likely encounter when he hunts. Since he hunts from a tree stand, he found a place in his back yard that allows him to shoot downhill at 3-D deer-shaped targets. Since he always  gets excited when he sees a deer, he runs in place to get his heart pounding before he takes his practice shots.

It’s an interesting approach, and it serves him well.

Morgantown considers urban deer hunt

citydeer.jpgLike many West Virginia cities, Morgantown has a lot of deer running around inside it.

The town’s political leaders are trying to decide whether to hold an urban deer-hunting season. Division of Natural Resources biologist Steve Rauch gave them some advice: Don’t go crazy with restrictions.

Rauch said, in essence, that the idea of having a season is to reduce the size of the deer herd; too many rules, regulations and restrictions make it hard to achieve that goal.

Methinks Rauch might have had Charleston’s experience in mind when he gave that advice. Charleston’s city fathers opened a bow-only urban season three years ago, but they restricted hunters to tracts of land more than 5 acres in size and charged them a hefty fee to participate. The Charleston hunts have yielded only a handful of kills each year, and have yet to make a dent in the whitetail population.

Weirton, Wheeling and Barboursville have enjoyed much better success with their urban seasons by imposing fewer restrictions.

turleyelk.jpgYou don’t necessarily have to hire a big-time guide and hunt on posted private land to kill a trophy elk.

Case in point: Jason Turley of Charleston, who recently killed a 270-class bull on a do-it-yourself hunt in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest.

Sound like high adventure? It was, especially considering that Turley was recuperating from recent surgeries to his shoulder, elbow and hip. Read my complete feature in the Sunday Gazette-Mail.

Sharpen your broadheads; bow seasons open soon

bowhunting.jpgOne-half hour before sunrise this Saturday, West Virginia’s annual archery season for deer and bears will begin. Biologists for the state Division of Natural Resources expect it to be a good one.

Bowhunters should find bears concentrated in small pockets where acorns are relatively abundant. Deer, pushed out of the woods by an overall lack of beechnuts and acorns, will most likely be found along field edges.

My recent feature in the Sunday Gazette-Mail describes how DNR officials view the season.

Wisconsin bowhunter bags 30-point buck

30pointer.jpegThirty antler points. A 20-plus-inch inside spread. A live weight estimated at 225 pounds. When Wayne Schumacher of Fond du Lac, Wis., bagged the whitetail known locally as “The Lucky Buck,” he also claimed the creature’s long list of superlatives.

More on the story from the Appleton Post Crescent.

Hat tip: J.R. Absher in The Outdoor Pressroom.

chasdeer.jpgCharleston city officials think they’ve finally found the solution to the city’s deer problem.

Under a compromise reached earlier this week between the city and the state Division of Natural Resources, hunters who take part in Charleston’s annual urban deer hunt will be allowed to kill up to seven whitetails. The previous limit had been two.

The more liberal limit certainly should encourage hunters to take more deer. But it won’t have nearly as great an effect as the doe-buck ratio prescribed by the limit.

Previous city hunts were “hunter’s choice;” bowhunters were allowed to take males or females. Most hunters, dazzled by the opportunity to bag naive, city-dwelling trophy bucks, sat patiently in their tree stands and let does and smaller bucks pass by unharmed.

Under the new regulations, five of the seven-deer limit must be females. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction.

As a DNR biologist once explained to me: “When a hunter kills a buck, he kills one deer — the buck. When a hunter kills a doe, he kills the equivalent of three deer — the doe and the two fawns she would have borne the following spring.”

DNR officials have long said the best way to control a deer population is by killing females. It’s good to see Charleston’s city administrators finally aiming that direction.

Bowyer’s work makes patriotic statement

thunderbow.jpgThe Wichita Eagle has a nice feature story about Dave Beeler, a part-time bow maker who recently fashioned an “American Thunder” bow (see photo) to honor members of the U.S. military.

The red, white and blue bow features a medallion of a bald eagle inlaid into one side of the riser, with a dogtag inlaid into the other. Pretty cool if you ask me.