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Columnists : Rick Philippi
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Thoughts of a Bowhunter
By Rick Philippi
Nov 2, 2006, 09:35

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  This will be my thirty-sixth year to bowhunt. It seems like every year that passes by the more I appreciate the fact that I still have the right to bowhunt. I think when I was younger I took it for granted. Itís amazing when we get older how we have a different perspective on things. It may be called maturing.

In the next thirty days, our bow season will start here in Texas and I must admit that I am as excited about this yearís season as the first one back when I was 15 years old. If I lose that enthusiasm, I guess it will be time to hang it up. When younger, I was a very competitive and an over the board intense hunter. Always putting pressure on myself to try and get the biggest deer or whatever it may have been I was pursuing. The last five years I have learned to relax and again I feel that has to do with maturity. When you hunt for the pure enjoyment, it is amazing how you enjoy what youíre doing. To bad I could not have realized that thirty years ago. Now, some of you reading this may think that this sounds crazy and you have always enjoyed yourself while in the woods. If this is truly the way you feel, I admire you. The point I am trying to make is donít be so intense that youíre not having fun. Like that old saying, make sure to smell the roses.

A facet of our sport that all hunters must take serious is safety. Always, and I repeat always, wear some type of safety harness. For years I never wore one and itís unbelievable I did not kill myself. When I first started bowhunting there was no such thing as any safety harness to put on while tree stand hunting. To be honest, I did not even think of safety. There was an incident years ago that made me a believer. One afternoon a friend and I went to put up a deer stand. He wanted to put a stand up about thirty feet up overlooking a heavily traveled deer trail. He was just about ready to secure the chain on the tree when a limb that he was standing on snapped and he fell and landed directly on his back and head. It happened so fast that momentarily I went brain dead. I immediately leaned over my friend and noticed that his eyes were rolled back in his head and I momentarily thought he was dead. Scary!!!!!!!!!!! I knelt down and said ďJohn, are you okĒ. Knowing he wasnít. Thoughts went through my head like, who is going to call his wife and kids and tell them that their father and husband is dead. Realty set in and man, I was nervous and scared. I knelt down for five minutes thinking my friend was dead when he let out a faint moan. I immediately told him to lay still and not move. I then asked him if he could move his arms and legs. He raised his hand and there was slight movement in his legs which gave me some relief that he was not going to be paralyzed. He must have laid there for an hour before he tried to sit up. He finally sat up and in moments he slowly made it to his feet. To make a long story short, he broke a bunch of ribs and did not have any internal damage. He was a very lucky man. The point I want to make is never and I mean never get into a stand without wearing some type of safety device. There are many different safety systems on the market and I suggest you pick one that you feel comfortable with. Last year I went to Cabelaís and bought the Hunter Safety System. What sold me on this safety harness is the simplicity to put it on. Four buckles and thatís it. What ever safety harness you choose, just make sure to make it as much a part of your arsenal as your bow.

Another factor that is important is shot placement. Patience is the key here. Donít rush your shot. If the animal does not give you the right angle, you are better to pass. This is easier said than done. I remember a few times where I rushed a shot and was kicking myself later. We owe it to the animal to make a quick and humane kill. You may think that only new bowhunters who are inexperienced may be the ones that are prone to forcing a shot, quite the contrary. To this day there are still instances where I have to practice some self talk to calm my nerves. Believe me when I say itís a constant battle. As my mother used to tell me ďpatience is a virtueĒ.

Thirty Six years ago the thought about controlling my scent never crossed my mind. I did use a cover scent which was skunk urine. The first time I used it my mom was not real happy about the smell when I came home from a hunt and walked into her kitchen. . Years had gone by before I had given scent control any thought. I started paying attention to scent control when hunting in Texas twenty four years ago. The deer on this particular lease were totally unforgiving. If you had a drop of sweat on your body, they would snort you from the next county. It was unbelievable!!! I started washing my clothes in baking soda. After washing them I would hang them out on the clothes line, and then put them into a trash bag. That sort of worked. But there was still a real problem with walking to my stand and trying to control my odor. I used to get to my stand, dripping with sweat, it was brutal. Then there were some various sprays that you could spray on your clothes to help contain your scent. They worked pretty well. Then scent control evolved into clothing that you could wear to help contain all scent. Awesome!!!!! I bought one of the first scent lok suits that came out came out on the market. It was made by a new company called Scent-Lok. I met the owner Greg Sesselman at a show in Dallas, Texas and he was telling me about his new product. I thought if this stuff works the way he is explaining it, itís all over for what ever I am hunting. Now, I always wear Scent-Lok when out hunting deer. I also bathe and spray my garments with Wildlife Research products. I have been using these products for years and I will tell you that I am only snorted a couple of times a year. I have actually taken scent control to a new level this coming hunting season. There is a company called Elimitrax. They have a boot system that fits on your legs like hip boots. You strap the leggings to your belt and you are virtually odorless. They are water-resistant and for the most part indestructible. On their web site they said Elimitax has been documented to be undetectable to both game animals and trained bloodhounds. I do know from my coon hunting days if you can fool a houndís nose, you are on to something. I canít wait to use them. By the way, they are very light and easy to walk in.

I also ordered two new bows from Bow-Tech. I got the Allegiance and the Tribute. I shot the Allegiance the other night and it is smoking!!!! Smooth shooting and fast as a rocket.

I can not wait for opening day. I went to Cabelaís today and some of my friendís were watching me shoot. They could not believe the speed and how quiet the bow was.

In summary, I hope all reading this has a great 2006 bowhunting season. And remember to enjoy each and every minute the good lord gives you in the wild. Now that I am older, it is amazing looking back at how all the bow seasons have passed by. Last but not least. If you do not have a safety harness, make sure you get one before opening day. I do not want opening day to be your last day.

Good hunting,


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