Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Keepin’ bowhuntin’ simple

bowhunt.jpgToday’s sportsmen tend to overcomplicate things.

That’s why Bill Winke’s recent article in Petersen’s Bowhunting magazine is such a breath of fresh air. Winke’s treatise on “Bulletproof Bowhunting” is a primer on how to avoid the zillions of things that tend to go wrong when the buck of a lifetime comes within range.

Winke’s philosophy of “keep it simple, stupid” should be emblazoned on the limbs of every bow, and his article should be on every archer’s reading list.

birchbuk.jpgIt’s good to be Carson Birchfield.

The long-time hunter hit the whitetail jackpot in 2007 when he bagged a 14-point Logan County buck that scored 164 3/8 on the Pope and Young Club’s big-game scoring scale.

The buck’s heavy-beamed, high-arching rack caused eyeballs to pop wherever it was exhibited — and it’s still being exhibited nearly two years later. Two national magazine articles have been written about it, and Birchfield has shown the buck at several shows.

It’s a fun story, and you can read it here in the Sunday Gazette-Mail.

Ex-trooper: Poaching rampant in So. W.Va.

kensmall.jpgSince I’m a Logan County native, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on just how widespread deer poaching is in Southern West Virginia.

A recent interview showed I don’t really have a clue.

The interviewee, George Kennedy (pictured), lives in the McDowell County town of Iaeger. He and his brother, Wells, have an 800-acre hunting lease, and they battle constantly to keep poachers out of it.

It helps that George is a retired state trooper. When he moved back to Iaeger after his retirement, he couldn’t believe how much spotlighting went on. “Every night sounded like the Fourth of July,” he said.

He started patrolling his property. He caught three spotlighters in the act — carrying  rifles, spotlights and with deer blood on their hands. Since then he’s had at least two other poachers prosecuted.

Sad thing is, he believes he’s only scratching the surface.

“I’m going to say this because I’m an ex-state trooper,” he said. “For every 700 to 800 deer checked in around here, there are maybe 200 to 300 that aren’t checked in. And of the 700 checked in, maybe half aren’t bow kills. They’re rifle kills passed off as bow kills.”

If true, that doesn’t bode well for the future of trophy buck hunting in the southern counties. Until Division of Natural Resources officials increase the law-enforcement presence down there, it appears poaching will remain rampant.

So many toys, so little time…

While in Indianapolis last weekend for the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s mid-winter Board of Directors meeting, I took an opportunity to wander the floor at the Archery Trade Association’s annual show a few blocks from my motel.


The show featured enough goodies, gadgets and gewgaws to keep even the most acquisitive gearhead satisfied for months. I’ll feature a few of the coolest new items in this Sunday’s column, so keep your eyes peeled for it.