You know that feeling in the summer when just feel like you need to shoot your bow? Yet target shooting gets extremely boring because you always shoot from the same distances. Well there is a solution and that is that you need to go bowhunting groundhogs, yeah use your bow not that old .22 sitting in the gun cabinet for the past 3 months since squirrel season closed, your bow!
These pesky things are probably bothering that farm that connects to your property. They eat the crops and dig holes that make it hard to take machines through the field.
You ask how this is possible? Well keep reading to find out...
Bowhunting Groundhogs Spot and Stalk Style
Spot and stalking groundhogs (Woodchucks) is the most common way to hunt them with a bow. You need to spot a groundhog, get a gameplan on how you'll stalk it without getting busted, then stalk it, and make your shot (and make it count.
Where to find them
Though woodchucks are extremely versatile in the places they call home, burrows are generally located in close proximity to agricultural vegetation. By simply walking field edges, hunters can often locate dirt mounds and entry holes a few feet inside the field’s border cover.
Thick fencerows and brushy wood-lines provide the perfect concealment for escape tunnels to be dug just a short distance from the dinner buffet. In areas with a high concentration of groundhogs, scouting observations can sometimes even reveal large semi-circles of sheared off crops- an obvious indicator of a nearby burrow. Hunters should consider these locations prime areas of interest to target during a hunt.
Breakfast and Dinner
Woodchucks are most active prior to 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Though some will feed during mid-day, they seem to prefer to be out when temperatures are cooler, and the sun isn’t baking everything to a crisp. Post-rain periods are also preferred since chucks get a large portion of their water intake through residual plant moisture.
Groundhogs love clover, soybeans, and alfalfa, and they will even eat corn in its soft milky stages. Cover these areas early and late in the day, and don’t be surprised to occasionally find a treed woodchuck nibbling the succulent leaves off low-hanging branches. They will do almost anything for a satisfying meal.
Gaining the Edge
As you probably know, woodchucks have excellent vision, so concealment is a must. In many states, law requires a solid blaze orange hat to be worn at all times. But hunters should also wear camouflaged clothing to match the surrounding vegetation. This could range from greened-up camo patterns to even khaki pants when hunting recently plowed fields. Whatever the scenery, try your best to blend in.
Upon spotting a feeding groundhog, try to use the lay of the land to create a natural barrier between yourself and your target. This could mean tightly hugging the field edge. Or even slipping quietly into the cover and approaching the field from a different angle.
When feeding, chucks tend to lift their heads to survey for potential threats every couple of seconds. Try to cover as much ground as possible when their heads are in the salad bowl. Then freeze each time they look up. If they don’t suspect anything, they will go right back to feeding. And you can close in for an easy shot.
It's go Time
When stalking any animal, hunters are bound to get busted once in a while. If this happens, don’t worry. Just because a groundhog starts hightailing it for cover doesn’t mean all is lost. For some reason, chucks tend to pause for one final look before going down their holes. If you are within range, prepare yourself for a quick shot, and make it count.
If a groundhog pulls the old shoots-and-ladders trick, sliding right down his escape tunnel, get close to that hole as quickly as possible, and stay ready. Most will poke their heads back out to take a cautious peek within a few minutes. Timing your draw just right is imperative; as soon as you see the hint of a nose, make your move.
If you can thread the needle, an arrow into the ear-hole will provide a quick, clean kill. Otherwise, be patient. Many woodchucks will re-emerge to feed again once they feel the threat of danger has passed.
Do you get bored shooting your bow in the summer? Bowhunting groundhogs sounds fun!
Must have Gear
While bowhunting groundhogs your arsenal should include a laser rangefinder, as guessing distances in open terrain is always a challenge. Older, expendable arrows are preferred, as I can guarantee you will miss from time to time. A snug fitting, quiet hip quiver is great for quick arrow access on often-needed follow up shots.
You will need some kind of broadhead so probably I would go with Judo points if you don't want to lose a bunch of arrows and a nice kill shot. Go get that here.
Comfortable, mobile footwear is essential for the amount of ground to be covered on a spot-and-stalk hunt. Long pants will ward off poison ivy and ticks, while a quick spray of insect repellant will help keep the bugs at bay.
So that's Bowhunting Groundhogs and a few tips to bowhunting groundhogs! The most important thing to remember when your bowhunting groundhogs is to have fun!
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(Blog post written by son of Troyer Websites Owner.) (Joni Troyer)