Nov 23 2014
By Clay Newcomb, BHM Publisher
Southeast Arkansas Doe Hunt - Tuesday
I was able to take my two boys with me to Southeast Arkansas to hunt with my friend, Lee Walt on Tuesday. Lee is a member of a hunting club that is on a strict trophy whitetail management plan. Part of the plan is a heavy doe harvest. Lee invited the boys and I down to partake in the action. It was cold for SE Arkansas in the morning and the boys froze out pretty quick with the 18-degree temperatures. However, in the afternoon it warmed up a bit and we climbed in the stands around 2:30 p.m. Lee took my oldest son, Bear, and I took Shepherd. Bear is a veteran whitetail hunter with four deer under his belt. Shep had yet to take a deer.
Lee spared no effort in putting Shep and I in a prime location overlooking a 17-acre turnip foodplot. We were in a Redneck blind and the view was tremendous. When we got in the stand there were deer in the foodplot. Over the course of the evening we saw about 45 deer and several bucks that I would have spent my entire season hunting in the mountains of Northwest Arkansas. This club grows some tremendous deer. Just before dark a doe made the mistake of coming within 30 yards of our blind. Using a youth model .223 that Lee let us borrow, Shep made a killing shot on the doe. This was his first deer ever. The boy was proud and excited. (Yes, he is wearing a black bear beanie.) When we arrived back at camp we saw that the old veteran, Bear, had killed a big doe too. What a great evening of hunting with the boys. Thanks Lee for the invite down to Lincoln County!
As it turned out, Shep’s doe weighed three more pounds that Bear’s doe. This made Shep happy….
Western Arkansas Bear Hunt - Friday
On Friday while I climbed a step rocky bank in pursuit of an Arkansas black bear I had a brilliant flash of self-perception – I enjoy doing things the hard way. As I look back on my life, a key identifier for my wife and I both is that the journey is very important. The pathway to our goals validates the end product. To shortcut the journey is to shortcut the satisfaction of accomplishment and invalidate the apprehended goal. My appreciation of the “hard way” isn’t out of stubbornness but rather to obey an internal standard. Hunting the mountains for bear in Arkansas is hard.
*My Huskemaw 10 x 42 binoculars were great for this type of hunting. Lightweight and rugged.
I hunted again this week in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas’ Zone 2 for black bear and whitetail. The forecast called for rain and it didn’t let us down. I was able to take my father-in-law, Steve, with me on this trip. We left at 3:50 a.m. and arrived at our hunting destination about thirty minutes early. The overcast skies shielded the November sun, keeping the woods dark an extra thirty minutes.
*The First Lite Fusion camo is perfect for the terrain of the Ouachitas. I felt like a ghost. The Merino wool kept me warm while I was damp on my legs from the rain. My Stormtight Boundary Jacket kept me dry up top.
On the drive down I used an aerial view map to show Steve the route that I thought he should take on his hunt. I would drop him off and we would meet back at the truck at 2:30 p.m. We hunted in the rain most of the time and I did see one deer. No bears or bear sign was seen. I am planning on going to a totally different area about 10 miles away this week.
Hunting for bear in the National Forest is simply a game of covering enough ground until you finally bump into one or find some concentrated sign. Honestly, I wasn’t happy with what I found last week, even though I did find some fresh bear sign. I may end up going to back to the area, but I have a feeling that if I get a bear it will be the first time that I go into a place. I’m trying to increase my “first time” hunts this fall. The season only last until November 30th so I don’t have much time. I love this type of hunting and I know it will pay off. Only time will tell when it will. Look for an update from me next Monday on my hunting this week.
Have a great Thanksgiving and be safe if you are hunting.