Early western bowhunting success

Autumn's early archery seasons are off and running for a variety of big game species across the West.

And already, the H365 e-mail inbox is filling up with pictures and reports of successful stick-and-string adventures across North America.

Here are a couple of those stories:

Wyoming Spot-and-Stalk Speed Goat

No stranger to most hunters, Under Armour pro-staffer Cameron Hanes, the editor of Eastman's Bowhunting Journal, is up to his old bowhunting tricks again.

Namely, knocking over record book Western big game animals with his Hoyt compound bow.

This time, after an August do-it-yourself public land hunt filmed in Wyoming, Hanes has his fourth Pope & Young pronghorn antelope destined for the wall.

And he did it the hard way.

"Most guys sit water to find bowhunting success on eagle-eyed and cat-quick pronghorn," Hanes reports.

"I not only lack the patience to be a good waterhole sitter, but more than anything, I love the art of spot and stalk.

"It is one of bowhunting's ultimate tests."

While no green score has been reported to Headbones, Hanes' speed goat is a record book candidate — and them some.

"While this guy is not my tallest buck, with all the mass, he will score very well," the Oregon bowhunter said.

"Mass trumps length nearly every time when scoring antelope."

Cowboy State Whitetail

Staying in the Cowboy State, Realtree.com writer Brian Strickland sent this photo of a heavy framed buck that he arrowed last week in the shadows of the Devil's Tower in northeastern Wyoming.

"I saw hundreds of deer — they were everywhere," Strickland said of his hunt with Solitude Ranch and Outfitters last week.

"In every field, even in the middle of the day, there would be a dozen deer feeding in them — at one point, I counted 41 deer in a field.

"It is probably the most visible hunt you'll ever have."

Even so, despite numerous close calls, Strickland said that getting into bow range of these bucks wasn't necessarily a slam dunk.

"You're hunting early season food patterns pretty much," he said. "You had to try and get them coming to and from the alfalfa fields."

Typical of early season food pattern hunts, Strickland set up a few hundred yards off the feeding fields in the morning hoping to catch a yawning buck on the way back to his bedding area.

In the evenings, he would set up in staging areas where the bucks would congregate prior to moving out into the fields to feed as darkness approached.

After a week of fine tuning his stand placement, Strickland's shot opportunity finally came calling with one day left in his hunt.

"I was on a point of trees that led out from this particular part of (a) canyon that I thought the bucks would be using," said the Colorado Springs lawman and bowhunter.

"There was a giant eight pointer out there when I killed this buck, but I didn't think he would come to me, (so I took the shot at this one)," Strickland said.

Don't be surprised if you see Strickland's smiling mug here later this fall — he's a dedicated buck slayer with a Kansas and Iowa bowhunting tag in his back pocket.

And since he's already got meat in the freezer and a nice set of horns, well ... Midwestern big bucks beware.