Follow along on Josh’s exciting, once-in-a-lifetime archery mountain goat hunt in Utah. Watch as he gets it done on opening day!
Follow along on Josh’s exciting, once-in-a-lifetime archery mountain goat hunt in Utah. Watch as he gets it done on opening day!
I never felt so tired! It was 4:30am on the nineteenth morning of my Utah bow hunt. Whenever I lied down to sleep my mind swirled with strategies to outsmart the giant, velvet-clad buck I called “Big 5.” But he always managed to stay one step ahead of me.
I spotted Big 5 on the fourth day of the deer hunt. He was feeding in a thick, oak brush-covered hillside, and I raced to get ahead of him in the fading evening light. Just as I was closing in, the wind shifted and blew him out of the canyon. I spent the next week searching surrounding canyons and exploring other parts of the unit, but couldn’t turn him up. Although I saw plenty of other bucks, none compared to the amazing Big 5. At that point I decided to devote the rest of the season to hunting this one buck.
Just before dark on the twelfth day, Big 5 reappeared in the canyon where I first saw him. There wasn’t enough light for a stalk, but I returned to camp with newfound hope.
My mind buzzed with excitement as I lied in bed anticipating the morning stalk. But wouldn’t you know it, over night a great herd of elk moved in and pushed all the deer out. I spent the next three days searching for him, but to no avail.
During this time I joined forces with two elk hunters—Brian and Mike—who were hunting in the same general area. We had an agreement: I would keep tabs on any big bulls, and they would keep an eye out for Big 5.
Just when I was beginning to lose hope, Mike spotted Big 5 crossing into the canyon at dark on the fourteenth evening. The next morning I sneaked into the deer’s primary feeding area, but ended up busting him out again while still-hunting through the thick and noisy oak brush. This was the lowest point of my hunt.
Bowhunting is a low-odds venture to begin with; things don’t work out most of the time. As a rule, bowhunting success comes from having multiple opportunities, and the fastest way to limit your success is by hunting for one deer exclusively.
To keep hope alive, I wrote a list of positive affirmations in my hunt journal. Of particular note was a reminder that not only do I have 27 years of bowhunting experience under my belt, but I’ve been down this road before: Hunting for just one deer. Only this time was different. I didn’t have three years to get the job done!
Hope returned on day 16 when I discovered a new buck—a massive, old, wide-racked 4×4 I called the “Tank”—in an adjacent canyon. He wasn’t as impressive as Big 5, but the longer I watched him the more I fell in love. He was a magnificent deer, and if nothing else he served as a good backup. The season was half-way over after all, so I was relieved to have another target on my very short list.
So you can imagine my disappointment when, the very next morning, I found that Tank and Big 5 had joined forces! They were now feeding together—along with a few smaller bucks—in the bottom of the canyon where it all started. And just like that, all my eggs were in one basket: Bust one, bust ‘em all.
Desperate to make a stalk, I threw down my glass, picked up my bow and scrambled to the bottom of the steep, aspen-choked canyon. But just as I was closing in, the wind changed and blew one of the smaller bucks out of his bed. I turned and backed out immediately to avoid further damage.
The next morning, in complete darkness, I snuck to the bottom of the canyon hoping to get in front of the bucks before first light. But once again my plans were foiled when I glassed up the bucks feeding at the top of the canyon! As morning dragged on, the bucks side-hilled out of view and disappeared. Once again they stayed one step ahead of me.
By day nineteen I was at wits end. At some point during the restless night I hatched a plan to get ahead of the bucks. I knew from experience that big bucks get big by being unpredictable. So if they fed at the top of the canyon yesterday, perhaps they’d be at the bottom today. Again, in the cover of darkness I dropped down the canyon. And wouldn’t you know it, the bucks stayed high! This time, however, I wasn’t letting them out of my sight.
Immediately I ascended the aspen ridge between us, and then watched as all three deer—Big 5, Tank, and a smaller 3-point—fed along the ridge top and eventually bedded beneath a couple big pine trees. I pulled out my notebook and drew a diagram of the bedding area, noting landmarks that I could use during the stalk. But first I’d have to wait for the thermals to stabilize.
I returned to camp and was just about crawling out of my skin waiting for the south winds to prevail. Finally, at noon I set out on a low-odds stalk towards the bucks, knowing that one false move could blow the bucks out forever. Surely they were growing weary of my chase.
The midday sun beat down on my face as I crested the ridge fifty yards above the bedded bucks, but thick oak brush obscured my view. Must get closer.
Hot, south crosswinds carry away my scent and the sound of my footsteps amongst the loose gravel on the hillside that grows steeper with each step. A frightened chipmunk shrieks and scurries away. I freeze for a minute, then take a range from the lower limbs of one of the trees: 45 yards. I slowly load an arrow and continue forward. Everything must be perfect now.
Each footstep is timed with the occasional gust of wind or the raspy sound of flying grasshoppers. I take another range: 35 yards. I wince as the wind continually dips down, then rises again. My heart-beat quickens; sweat beads up across my face. I take another step and look up again. Fuzzy antlers are suddenly bobbing through the oak brush. Big 5 is up and feeding, but only his head is visible.
I slowly raise my bow and scan ahead for a shot window. The situation unfolds in strange contrast: the natural world flows lazily along, but my mind is frantic as I try to manage a myriad of details in a heightened state of awareness. I’ve been here before; I know the odds. “What happens next? How does this end?”
The buck slowly feeds towards a little, two-foot gap in the oak brush. It’s all a blur as I draw my bow and track the buck with my 30-yard pin. He finally steps through and my arrow is off. There’s an audible “thunk,” and then pandemonium as all three bucks explode down the mountain. Seventy yards out, Tank and the smaller buck regroup and look back, but Big 5 continues out of sight.
Twenty minutes later I begin tracking down the mountainside. There’s blood right away, and for the first time in weeks I feel a sense of relief. A little further down the canyon and there he is. In my haste to shoot, the arrow hit forward in the neck, but did the job.
Like a dream, I reach down and grasp the buck’s sprawling antlers in my hands. I feel strangely numb. Whatever elation I’m supposed to feel has been cancelled out by the rigors of mountain, dampened by loss of sleep, and swamped in disbelief. Sometimes a hunter gets lucky; other times he earns it. In this case, the only luck I had was seeing the buck in the first place. I gave this hunt everything I had; I paid full price for my trophy.
Long ago, in a personal attack fueled by jealousy, an old “friend” once said to me, “I don’t have to shoot the biggest deer on the mountain to prove I’m a man!” I don’t disagree, however it does prove other things: That you have a special skill set; that you are a provider of meat; and above all, you are the top predator you were meant to be. And that, my friends, puts you one step ahead of the rest.
After nine years of chasing turkeys with my bow, I finally got this fine tom on public land in Utah during the general season.
Even better than an early Thanksgiving bird was all the wild places I’d visited and the memories I made over the years.
Watch through to the end for an epic slideshow chronicling my turkey adventures. Enjoy!
When I first started hunting turkeys, someone said they were very similar to elk. This sounded absurd considering the two animals are practically complete opposites. However, nine years later I have to admit that turkey behavior during the spring rut is very similar to elk behavior in the fall.
What this means is that any hunter transitioning from turkey to elk, or elk to turkey, will already have many of the necessary skills and knowledge to hunt the other creature.
In this article we’ll explore both the similarities and differences between the two animals.
Now that we’ve examined the various similarities between elk and turkeys, let’s take a look at the major differences.
On the surface, turkeys and elk might seem like completely opposite animals. But hunting them can be very similar. Hopefully the above comparisons will help you transition between the two animals. The majestic bull elk are considered by most hunters to be the most exciting animal to pursue out West, but any dedicated turkey hunter will argue that the lowly thanksgiving bird ranks right up there with him.
Compound bow technology has come a long way in just the last few decades. The brand of bow doesn’t really matter much anymore because any bow manufacturer still in business has to work hard to keep up with advancements in efficiency and reliability. Some of the more popular bow manufacturers include Mathews, Hoyt, Bowtech, PSE, Bear, Prime, Elite, and a few others. In this article we’ll look at the most important considerations when purchasing a new or used compound bow.
You can expect to pay well over $1000 for brand new bare bow. If you’re on a budget you might consider a lightly used bow for half the cost of a new one. When parallel limb technology took off in the mid-2000s, bows became much quieter and more efficient. Therefore, any used compound bow manufactured after 2008 or 2009 should work fine, so long as it hasn’t been damaged in some way. Over the years I’ve bought a few great used bows on EBay or local classified ads. Older bows from the 80s and 90s with vertical limbs and round cams are much less efficient and noisy. This often results in animals jumping the string.
Modern compound bows are powered by either single or dual cams. Basically, single cam bows are easier to tune than dual cams. The major drawback to single cams is that they produce slower arrow speeds than dual cams. Dual cam bows (aka speed bows) are faster, but more difficult to tune because, a) both cams must roll over in perfect synchronicity, and b) extreme arrow velocity accentuates imperfections in shooting form, bow tuning, and broadhead design.
Tuning issues have been largely reduced in newer bows, but in my experience dual cam bows are still harder to tune. This has more to do with blistering arrow speed than bow tuning. The faster an arrow flies, the more it is negatively affected by poor form or wind planing.
There are two major factors to consider when choosing a compound bow: Draw length and draw weight.
Draw length is basically the distance from your extended palm to your face. The easiest way to measure your draw length is by holding a yardstick in your palms straight out from the base of your throat, and then measure the distance to the tips of your middle fingers. Alternatively, you can measure your wingspan by holding your arms straight out and measuring the distance from the tips of your middle fingers. Then divide this number by 2.5.
The draw length of your bow needs to be within half an inch of your measured length. You can get away with a slightly shorter draw length, but if your bow’s draw is too long it will throw you off balance.
As for draw weight, you should pull as much poundage as you are comfortable with without straining your shoulders or fatiguing out after a few shots. Drawing a bow that’s too heavy can also lead to shoulder injuries that will shorten your bowhunting career.
Also, if your bow is too heavy it can be impossible to draw back when you are cold or fatigued. This is something I’ve experienced personally while hunting in wintertime. That being said, a bow that’s too light won’t transfer enough energy to the arrow and will result in wide sight pin spacing and less accuracy. It can also result in less penetration or pass-through shots.
Aside from draw weight and length, the bow’s carry weight should be considered. As they say, “a heavier bow is a steadier bow.” However, an extreme backcountry bowhunter might consider a lightweight carbon bow. Carbon bows are more expensive than aluminum, but weigh as much as a pound less. If you are stuck with an aluminum bow you can always reduce weight by choosing lightweight accessories made from carbon fiber or other composite materials. My current hunting bow is aluminum, but I keep it light by using a composite quiver, stabilizer, rest, and bow sight.
Another consideration when purchasing a compound bow is the axle–to-axle length (or ATA). If you have a long draw length—basically anything over 28 inches—a longer axle-to-axle bow is more forgiving of form issues because it has a wider string angle. The only drawback to tall bow is when hunting in wide open or low brush country where a taller bow will be more visible as you raise or draw your bow. Unless you have a very long draw length (say, 30 inches or more), I recommend a shorter ATA between 28-30 inches.
No matter what bow, arrow, and broadhead combination you shoot, just remember that shot placement is more important than speed or anything else. You don’t need a pass-through shot to drop a big animal. If your arrow is placed in the right spot, then speed and kinetic energy are secondary factors.
Sooner or later every bowhunter will have to deal with a poorly hit animal. An ethical hunter must do whatever it takes to follow-up and recover wounded game. Arrow-hit deer rarely go down immediately, so every hunter needs to understand the basics of blood-trailing. In this article we’ll look at some tips and tactics for tracking wounded deer.
An arrow kills a deer differently than a bullet. Bullets rely more on shock and devastating tissue damage, whereas an arrow kills either by massive blood loss due to arterial damage, or through asphyxiation by deflating the lungs.
A third and much less effective method is septic shock. Septic shock, or blood poisoning, is the result of gut-shot animals slowly dying as their stomach contents and bacteria gradually overwhelm the blood stream. Basically the deer dies from a full-body infection over the course of several hours or even days. Oftentimes the animal is lost because it bleeds very little and covers lots of ground.
Unless the animal goes down within sight, you need to give it some time to die. Even if you’re confident in a heart or lung shot, you should still wait a half hour minimum before tracking.
If you suspect a gut shot, wait at least two or three hours before tracking, and then proceed very cautiously while glassing ahead. If it’s very cold out, it would be probably be fine to leave it over night.
Whatever you do, don’t go barreling in on the deer. Arrow-shot deer sometimes don’t realize they’ve been hit and will only run a short distance before bedding down. You do not want to bump the animal, but if you are able to stalk close enough, try to get a second arrow in the animal to put it out of its misery.
You do not want to leave a mortally hit animal sitting for several hours in hot weather. Even a marginally hit animal will slow down and stiffen up within a few hours, so possibly bumping him is still better than letting the whole animal spoil overnight. Just use your best judgment based on the conditions you’re dealing with.
In rainy or snowy weather you should hasten your tracking job. Water will quickly wash away any blood, and snow can cover it up.
Immediately following your shot, mark the spot you shot from with orange tape, and then mark the place where the deer was standing. Next, see if you can find your arrow and inspect it carefully. Bright red, bubbly blood is usually lungs. Any green smears or foul smells indicates stomach, and very dark blood can anything from muscle to heart or liver. Heart shots are obvious as they tend to bleed profusely.
Once you’ve determined the quality of your hit, try to pick up the blood trail. The secret to successful animal recovery is moving slowly, as if you are still-hunting. Make very little noise and glass ahead frequently. If at all possible, move with a favorable wind.
While blood-tracking, plan on following both blood and tracks. Sometimes a deer will bleed completely internally, in which case you will rely more on tracking than blood-trailing. Fortunately running deer tend to leave very deep and obvious tracks accompanied by torn-up ground.
Inevitably you’ll get stuck with a very sparse or problematic blood-trailing job. If the blood trail is very light, you should follow these guidelines:
Contrary to popular belief, wounded animals don’t go directly to water, nor do they run directly downhill. Rather their first inclination is to put as much distance between you and them as possible. Given enough time the animal will eventually seek out water, but don’t count on it.
As for direction of travel, I’ve seen mortally wounded animals run uphill or downhill. But more often they side-hill or slant downhill over very long distances. Once again, every shot situation is different, so use your best judgment.
On rare occasion a deer that seems mortally hit will escape and make a full recovery. This happens a lot with high hits in “no-man’s-land,” as it’s sometimes called. Other times the arrow may have only contacted muscle tissue. Either way, you’ll likely never catch up to the animal. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try; it just means there are times when you must throw in the towel. Only experience can tell you how to proceed.
Buck fever is a state of panic brought on by an intense hunting situation, followed by a huge adrenaline surge. It’s basically your body’s fight-or-flight reaction. If you’ve never experienced buck fever, then you either haven’t seen a 200-inch buck up close or you’re just one cool customer.
For the rest of us, buck fever is a very real and formidable foe. It still haunts me today! When that long-awaited moment of truth comes, when that giant buck finally steps into the open, I feel like a little kid trembling in my boots. This intense excitement is why I love bowhunting so much. Unfortunately it’s also the reason I still miss shots on big bucks.
On my second archery hunt back in the nineties, I had a true monsterbuck step out broadside at 35 yards. Sure enough I came completely unglued and proceeded to send my arrow into the dirt at his feet.
Today’s bows are consistent tack drivers. Unfortunately we let ourselves get in it the way of their performance. The ultimate goal in archery is to eliminate yourself as a variable, and the best way to do that is through diligent practice.
These are the best methods I’ve found to practice and prepare for buck fever situations. Buck fever might be an incurable affliction, but it also means you’re passionate about hunting, and that’s a good thing.
Good luck out there!
As a dedicated bowhunter, the thought of driving dirt roads and looking for deer runs counter to everything I love about deer hunting. It took a dreary year like 2020 to push me to such detestable methods.
I beat myself ragged trying to find a buck in Utah that season. My usual public land area was swarming with stir-crazy city-folk fleeing the pandemic. All that commotion in the mountains drove big bucks back to their private land haunts and my hunt ended in failure.
When the hunt ended I turned my attention to Idaho where five years earlier I took an incredible trophy buck. With high hopes Esther and I loaded the truck and headed to Southern Idaho for last two weeks of bow season.
Upon arrival I was dismayed to see my beloved deer unit overrun by thousands of sheep. Severe drought and waves of sheep had decimated the deer habitat, and for ten days I couldn’t to turn up a single good buck. With only three days left and desperate for meat, I decided to take a doe.
I’d seen plenty of does running around, and I expected an easy, one-day endeavor. Boy was I wrong. On the evening of the 28th I hiked up a ridge with plenty of deer sign. A group of six does appeared feeding on a steep, wooded slope.
Just as I entered bow range, a woodpecker flew into a dead pine tree next to me. There was a small crack, and then a large branch came crashing to the ground next to me. Not surprisingly, the entire doe group spooked out of the area.
No problem, I still had two days left.
In the morning I headed back up the mountain. I was slowly picking my way through a patch of dry brush when a group of does appeared in front of me. I crouched down quickly and pulled an arrow. The wind was perfect and the does were oblivious to my presence.
Suddenly, the whole herd exploded in all directions and ran away. Flabbergasted, I stood up to see a pack of coyotes filtering through the brush. I was enraged and I launched an arrow at one of the intruders, but my arrow skipped off a branch and missed.
Perhaps I was trying too hard. It’s just a doe, after all! That evening I set up ambush on a roadside waterhole. Earlier in the hunt I’d seen deer near the water and figured it would be a good ambush spot.
The mountain was falling into shadows as I sat motionless 30 yards from the water’s edge. The pond was surrounded by trees, so a deer could approach from any direction.
I was lost in thought when I heard a light crunch behind me. Slowly I turned my head and saw a big doe pop out of the trees just 10 yards away. Before I could raise my bow, the doe snorted and bounded off. Of all the places to sit; what terrible luck! With only two hours of light left I called Esther to pick me up.
No more mister nice-guy; desperate times call for desperate measures. Creeping around the cruel woods and sitting water had proved fruitless. It was time for some good old-fashion road hunting. Everyone knows that deer are much less concerned by slow-driving vehicles than camo-clad hunters.
We pulled onto a side road next to a big mud puddle left over from a past rainstorm. I didn’t think much of it because there was a camp full of drunken miscreants nearby blasting hip-hop music over their smoky campfire.
You can imagine my surprise when I spotted a lone doe standing on a hillside 100 yards away and looking longingly at the water. Clearly she was waiting for darkness to make a quick water run. With this in mind, we drove a short distance up the road. Once out of sight I hopped out and instructed Esther to drive further up the road and wait.
Racing against nightfall, I dropped into the timber and backtracked towards the water. It was so quiet that I couldn’t even shift my weight without crunching pine needles. Now I was stuck. I balanced my feet on two dried cow pies to muffle my footing and waited.
With only minutes of light left I began to wonder if the doe was going to show. Suddenly she appeared, silently weaving through the trees 15 yards in front of me. In a steady, slow movement I raised my bow and drew back.
The doe caught the end of my draw and jerked her head up in fright. Before she could whirl, my arrow was off, catching her in the shoulder. She spun around and crashed headlong into a Christmas tree, then got her feet and bounded away.
After confirming a good blood trail, I radioed Esther. Before I could get a word out she told about a doe she just saw by the truck.
“I don’t care about that, I just shot one! Come help me track it.”
The doe ran away so fast that the blood trail petered out quickly. The dug-in tracks led through the sagebrush and then crossed the dirt road, it’s hooves touching only once in the dust on the road before disappearing in some rocky terrain.
Three hours passed as we continually backtracked and crawled forward on hands and knees trying to find the next track or sign. We split up and wandered in ever-widening circles, but to no avail. How could this mortally hit animal elude us?
There was no choice but to back out and return in the morning. Coyotes howled in the distance as we walked back to the truck making me uneasy about leaving the deer overnight. Esther suddenly stopped and asked, “Hey can we just check one thing first?”
“I wanna check where that doe popped out by the truck?” Could it be the same deer, she wondered?
I was doubtful, but the timing was uncanny. We turned around and walked back to the truck turnaround spot. On the way I interrogated Esther. “What was the deer doing? Was it running? Did it look hit?”
“No,” she replied, “It just walked out of the trees, saw the truck, and went back into the trees.”
“Well, we better take a look.”
A minute later we arrived at the flat spot where Esther had parked. She showed me where the deer was standing, but there was no blood. Discouraged, we began walking in circles and you can imagine my surprise when I nearly tripped over the doe lying less than 20 yards from where she’d parked. What were the odds of my deer running 300 yards and expiring right next to the truck?
It’s been a long time since I’ve been proud of taking a doe, but that deer got us through the winter and was just what I needed after 37 fruitless days afield. As it turns out, adventure can be found just off the side of the road. Perhaps I won’t be so quick to disparage the fine art of road hunting in the future.
In 2016 I switched from a fixed pin sight to a one pin “slider” sight. That year I harvested a bear, deer, and an elk. I was sold on a one-pin sight, and for good reason. (Here’s the link to that article).
Then, in 2017, halfway through the deer hunt, my slider broke. The gears simply stripped out. Thankfully I had my backup bow in camp and was able to swap back to my old multi-pin sight.
When I got home I bought a slider sight and used it for a while, but it didn’t stick. Eventually I went back to my fixed pin sight and never looked back. In this article we’ll look at the pros and cons of using a fixed-pin (multi-pin) bow sight.
Now for the cons.
There are pros and cons to using single- or multi-pin bow sights. The decision should be based on the type of hunting you do, your personal bow setup, and most importantly the sight you’re most comfortable using in real hunting situations.
In tournament or target shooting, I prefer a slider. In open country where long shots are the norm, I would definitely go with a slider. But in heavy cover or backcountry use, I’m more comfortable with a multi-pin sight.
Six years ago I swore I’d never go back to a fixed pin sight, yet here I am. What’s the lesson here? Never say NEVER.
I’ll never forget. Ten years ago I rounded a large fir tree and spotted a 180-class buck bedded in some deadfall at thirty yards and facing directly away from me. But before I could even pull an arrow, a nearby squirrel lit up with a world-class barking fit. The buck instantly stood up and walked into the deep woods without offering a shot. Since then, I’ve had innumerable stalks thwarted by these cursed tree rats, some ending entire seasons in failure by a single squirrel.
Aside from using other deer as sentinels, big bucks use a myriad of other forest creatures for safety too. As you travel through the woods you might notice that squirrels, chipmunks, and a variety of birds are continually announcing your presence. They do this to warn their own species of danger, but the deer pick up on their calls and use them to their advantage. Big bucks, especially, are completely aware of their surrounding and pick notice anything out of the ordinary.
If you’ve had the chance to observe many deer in the deep woods, then you’ve probably noticed that every time a squirrel fires up, the deer will stop whatever he’s doing and stare in that direction. Squirrels don’t bark randomly; there’s always a threat, even if it’s just another squirrel in their territory. Either way, if you agitate a squirrel, then just know that any deer within earshot is now looking for danger. Conversely, squirrels bark at deer as well as people. Several times I’ve found deer in places where I’ve heard a squirrel fire up. So don’t be afraid to investigate random squirrel barks.
Like elk, big bucks enjoy the security of bedding in thick, over-grown conifer forests. The problem with conifers is the abundance of squirrels and chipmunks that inhabit them. Like most animals, squirrels are territorial. Long ago I noticed that the whole conifer forest is gridded in squirrel territory. When you leave one barking squirrel behind, you’ll likely run into another and another as you move through the woods.
Squirrels aren’t too noisy early season, but it gets progressively worse in September as the squirrels begin to amass food stores (pinecones) for winter. In my neck of the woods, August 25th is the beginning of mayhem.
If you have an abundance of chipmunks in your area, you might notice they’re equally bad, erupting with a myriad of alarming noises that deer pick up on. One time I stumbled upon a crabby 4×4 buck feeding off a trail at 15 yards. Immediately, a cantankerous chipmunk situated between us erupted into a machine gun-like, high-pitched chirping fit. The buck stopped feeding and spent the next five minutes scanning the woods for danger. Eventually he marched nervously away. Just last year my eight-hour, once-in-a-lifetime mountain goat stalk was nearly blown by a single chipmunk who threw an alarming fit in a nearby tree.
Knowing that squirrels and chipmunks are such threats to bowhunting success, what do you do? I’ve tried everything, but here are a few tried-and-true techniques that might help you.
Unless you are sitting in a fixed ambush position, your best strategy is to just get up and move. Once out of sight, squirrels will soon shut up and go about their business. Fortunately, not all squirrels are bad. Some will even allow your presence, like if they’re too busy gathering pinecones to notice you.
A second option is to wait the squirrel out. Squirrels will generally bark for 30 minutes or less, during which time no deer will enter the area, guaranteed. After 30 minutes squirrels will tire out and go back to their business. Another effective technique is to walk directly towards the squirrel’s tree. Most squirrels will get nervous as you approach and shut up—but not always. Some just get louder! Fortunately chipmunks are more skittish and scare easily.
As a last resort, feel free to shoot the wretched beast. You don’t necessarily have to kill him, just whiz an arrow past his head. When he realizes he’s in danger, he’ll likely run off. For this reason, I always carry a cheap, aluminum “squirrel arrow” in my quiver—because you’re not likely to get your arrow back; believe me, I’ve shot at a lot of squirrels. My Spanish name is actually Squirlero! Okay, it’s not, but it should be.
Again, it depends on the squirrel you’re shooting at. Some just climb higher and bark louder. For this reason, a more lethal method might be in order. I know one hunter who carries a lightweight BB pistol in his pack…just in case.
If you hunt long enough, you’ll inevitably have an entire hunt go down the toilet thanks to a random tree rat. So be prepared by using the aforementioned squirrel-avoidance techniques. On a side note, I’ve actually eaten more squirrels than the average person. It was a long time ago, but eat them I did. They’re actually quite tasty; like chicken but with a nutty overtone. Bon appétit!