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Keith Rowden
Keith Rowden • 10/9/2013 • Maries Co. Mo. • Bow

Highslide JS
Brian Smith
Brian Smith • 2012 • Muscotah , KS

Big Buck Central

Big Buck 411 Blog

Entries for December 2010

28
Tag Soup Seasoned by New Oklahoma Record

When my outfitter friend Jay Jack suggested I go to his personal spot that afternoon, where a trail camera had photographed a world-class Typical numerous times, I felt as if I’d been given the key to Buck City, Okla.

He’d placed a folding chair behind an uprooted and denuded mesquite tree about 120 yards from a stand of cedars where deer bedded. He hunted it at every opportunity. The one day he didn’t go is when the buck passed by the trail camera during daylight hours -- at least twice in the same hour.

Jay’s self esteem was as flat as a run-over cow patty after that.

Sitting behind the skeletal tree, I could see far beyond rifle range. I watched distant buffalo grazing on the slopes of the Wichita Mountains, the high-fenced national wildlife refuge flanking the 3,000-acre tract we were hunting. I also saw numerous wild hogs, but not the elk or deer that coaxed “Oh my gods” out of my breath while hunting the other side of the ranch.

“This place ... seeing all those great animals on the refuge side of the fence ... will make you cry,” Jay told me the first time we met. He was right.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

“Just keep walking toward that peak, and you’ll see the (low) fence. As soon as you see that, look to your left, and you’ll see the Oklahoma Sooner chair,” were the directions Jay gave me to his stand. He was going to climb a mountain of boulders -- no doubt a castle for dozens of denning rattlesnakes -- to glass the opposite side of the pasture.

[Read the rest of this article...]

20
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain

Thirty calendars have gone to pulp since I pulled my first mail-order “Eddie Salter” grunt call out of the box, put it to my lips and urrped. I still vividly remember the first time I tried it in the woods, while looking at a bunch of does. They ignored it, which astounded me.

I’d fully expected the gals to run. But instead of spooking, it put them at ease.

I was a stalk hunter back then. I prowled the edges, even the hearts of young pine plantations with a Remington 1100 stoked with buckshot. My deer encounters were close. Because I played the wind, they often heard me before seeing or smelling me.

When I started carrying that grunt call, my success improved greatly. Whenever I jumped deer that only heard me, I’d grunt, and many would come right back into my lap.

When I was publishing a hook-and-bullet tabloid years later, I became acquainted with numerous experts and, for the first time, began grunting as a means of attracting deer rather than soothing them. I remember that first attempt as well.

I was still-hunting the property of a wildlife artist I’d met. After urrping off and on for about 10 minutes, admittedly feeling like a fool for possibly alerting every deer in the county to my presence, the woodlot echoed with more urrping. I thought I was surrounded by other hunters. I almost called out to them.

[Read the rest of this article...]

13
Sweet Nothins

For the record, I’ve never heard a doe talk to a buck. I’ve seen them stand up and slap ’em upside the head. I’ve heard them talk to their fawns. But not once can I remember hearing a grown doe whisper or shout sweet nothin’s to a suitor.

It would logically follow that I wouldn’t put much stock in bleating, eh?

Call me illogical.

I’ll admit I was slow to accept the premise and even slower to try it. Sounded like pure gimmick to me, figuratively, and like a goat, literally. But then Jerry Peterson, creator of Woods Wise Game Calls, invited me to bowhunt in Illinois. Although I was a bit red-faced over the thought of making such a stupid noise in the woods, I felt I owed it to Jerry to put his new call to the test.

The very first time, my bleating persuaded a 6-pointer to do a 180 and return within bow range, where it bedded down for the rest of the morning. The next year, I arrowed a record book 8-pointer in Nebraska that I also turned by bleating.

I’ve enjoyed numerous encounters with whitetails since adding a bleat call to my personal bag of tricks. But none compare with what happened one year while I was bowhunting with Mike Nickels in Kansas.

After four and a half days of playing musical stands and seeing very few deer, I was ready for a change of scenery. I wound up spending the last afternoon in a new stand about 150 yards deeper in the woods.

Alas, as the first sun I’d seen in a week began slowly to disappear, I decided to go to ground a bit early in hopes of seeing deer in a clover field at the edge of the pasture I had to cross to return to my car. I moved cautiously and silently toward the woods’ edge and soon saw deer feeding in the clover.

[Read the rest of this article...]

06
Attracting the Bull of the Woods

If you’ve heard the joke, bear with me. If you haven’t, I hope it tickles your fancy. I’ll get to the point afterward.

Three Hereford bulls were discussing a rumor that the rancher was bringing in a new bull.

“I’ve been here for five years and have earned my keep,” snorted the first. “I service 100 cows, and won’t be giving any up to some newcomer.”

“Well, sir,” the second drawled, “I’ve been here for three years and have 30 cows to keep happy. I’m doing a good job, and I don’t need any help.”

The third and youngest chimes in: “Well, even though I’m the new kid on the block, y’all have allowed me 10 cows, for which I’m grateful. But I’m not inclined to share any of ’em.”

Moments later, the guys hear the rumble and air brakes of an 18-wheeler’s arrival. In short order, off thunders the biggest, meanest, strongest Angus bull the three had ever seen.

“Well, maybe 100 cows are too many. I’m getting along in years and could stand a break. He can have 50 of my cows,” says the first.

“I’m still young and want to fool around a bit,” added the second. “Fifty cows are not worth dying over. He can have 20 of mine.”

The whippersnapper says nothing; just lowers his head, starts snorting and pawing the earth like a dirt-hating, snot-slinging demon. The eldest looks at him and says, “Are you crazy? He’ll kill you and take all your cows!”

[Read the rest of this article...]

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