I first spotted this buck at over a mile away at first light and quickly decided to put a plan together to close the distance. He was with two other bucks, 6 does and 4 yearlings; I knew it wouldn’t be an easy task. At 8 am, I was inching myself along a shallow draw with a few hardwoods when one of the does caught my movement. After a 45 minute standoff, she decided to take the group out of that part of the country even though she didn’t know what I was. The next 4 hours played out much the same; I tried to close the distance for a shot but kept coming up empty handed as there was not a lot of concealment to get me within range. Spot and stalk turned into cat and mouse as I kept moving around in the rolling hills trying to catch or get in front of the group. I knew I had one last chance, the sun was dipping low in the sky and this would be my last chance for the day. My goal was to stay a step ahead of the group and be where they were going to be as they moved across the grassy pasture. It all finally came together and I spotted antlers coming over the hill and into the same shallow draw that I was in. Panic set in as there was little concealment and not much to hide me. I noticed an old badger hole on the side of a small bank with brush above it, the only chance of me being hidden was to get to that location. I crawled 75 yards and was in position as the deer approached 90 yards, still moving my way. All the while the buck of my choice was leading the group until they were within 70 yards, then he fell to the back. The rest of the group was passing by me and closed the distance to 30 yards before they pinned me down and tried to figure out what I was. I didn’t think there was any chance as I knew they would blow out of there as soon as I moved….the buck finally stepped into an opening. I was holding my rangefinder to my eye the whole time as to not move as much as possible. He was 62 yards, feeding and not having any idea his friends had already found me; luckily, they let me get my bow to full draw as I settled my 60 yard pin and touched off the trigger. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better shot; the arrow passed through both lungs, right behind the shoulder and the buck ran a short distance before expiring!
He is an old monarch. Missing teeth and what was left was wore to the gums. I am putting him at over 7 years old according to teeth charts.
Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren
Editor’s Note: Jared Bloomgren of Rapid City, South Dakota, a member of the pro staff for “Ultimate Outdoor Adventures,” a local TV show, loves bowhunting for any type of game in North America. Last season, Bloomgren hunted turkeys with the PSE X-Force Axe 6, the X-Force Omen Pro and the X-Force Dream Season EVO. This season, he’ll be hunting with PSE’s X-Force Omen Pro, the X-Force HF and the X-Force GX.
PSE’s Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren’s Trophy Turkeys and His White-Tailed Buck
Jared, how did you do last turkey season?
Last year, I took the top four turkeys in Safari Club International (SCI) with my bow. Currently, I hold the first, second, third and fourth places for non-typical Merriam’s turkeys taken with a bow for SCI. I took an antelope in South Dakota that scored 83-1/8 inches up and down. I also took a whitetail last year that scored 175-7/8 inches and a mule deer that scored 180 inches.
Tell us about the white-tailed deer you took.
I’d noticed this buck for the last couple of years in the Black Hills. I had a really hard time finding this deer and didn’t see him until the rut started the first week of November. Finally, I spotted him one day going to his bed with a bunch of does. I put up a stand on the trail he used to go to the bed and planned to take him the next morning when he came out to feed. The does came out first, and he followed. When the buck was at 50 yards, he saw me. I shot, and my arrow went right over the buck’s back. One week later, I was able to spot and stalk that buck, while he was chasing a doe, and he came past me at 18 yards.
How did you get that close to the buck?
Here in the Black Hills, we have a lot of Ponderosa pines, scattered trees and open areas. So, I moved through the trees until I spotted him. I kept inching along, only moving when the buck was moving. I figured out the direction he was traveling, got around in front of him and let the buck come to me. When the buck started moving toward me quickly, I went to full draw before he got within bow range. When the buck reached 20 yards away, I grunted with only my mouth. He was chasing a doe but then stopped at 18 yards, giving me a perfect shot. Most of the shots I take average about 40 yards. So, any shot within 40 yards is almost a guarantee. Because I practice out to 100 yards, the 18 yard shot was a chip shot. My closest pin was set for 20 yards. I was able to aim dead on, and the PSE X-Force Omen Pro delivered the arrow right behind the shoulder of the buck. The good news is that the buck scored 175-7/8 inches. The bad news was that I was hunting on public land 2-1/2 miles away from my truck. Thankfully, I had a game cart. I left the deer where he fell, without following up on him after the shot. I returned to my vehicle to get the game cart. When I returned to the spot where I’d arrowed the buck, I trailed him about 150 yards, loaded him on the game cart and rolled him back to my vehicle.
Jared Bloomgren Crawls to Take a 83-1/8 Inch Antelope with His PSE X-Force HF
Jared, tell us about the monster antelope you took.
I’d chased this antelope for several years. This past year, I saw him the first part of September and tried to decoy him, but it was a little too early for decoying to work. The day I took this antelope, I spotted him at first light, and 6-1/2 hours later, I was stalking through knee high grass trying to take him at 72 yards. This buck was with 12 other bucks that day.
How did you get in close enough to get a shot with 12 other bucks looking for you?
I did a lot of belly crawling and tried to stay under any contours in the land that would hide me, which were very minimal. I used some scattered sage brush to break up my silhouette when I crawled up the small rises out in the field. I crawled about 1 mile. I’m full time in the Army National Guard, and my soldiering skills have taught me how to crawl without being seen. When I was at 72 yards, I had to study the group to pick out the buck I wanted to shoot. There were several bucks in this herd that were very respectable. Once I knew which buck I planned to take, I waited until all the bucks had their heads down feeding. I used a Nikon RifleHunter 550 Laser Rangefinder to get the exact yardage. Then I rose to my knees, came to full draw, put my 70 yard pin on the buck I wanted to take and aimed just a little high. I released the arrow, and the arrow went through both his lungs. The big antelope ran about 85 yards and then piled up. My PSE X-Force HF had done its work. This antelope scored 83-1/8 inches.
PSE Pro Jared Bloomgren Takes SCI’s Number One Non-Typical Merriam’s Turkey
Jared, can you explain the Safari Club International (SCI) non-typical category for Merriam’s turkeys?
Non-typical means that the turkey has more than one beard. I didn’t know there was a turkey like this in the area where I hunted. I’d set up a turkey decoy along a travel corridor where I’d seen a good number of turkeys. I also had a ground blind set up. Late in the afternoon, I started calling. Three gobblers answered my call, and as I kept calling, I could hear the turkeys continuing to come closer, while strutting and strumming. I used a Primos Power Crystal Friction Call and an Eastman Smart Air ground blind.
The gobblers came in behind my blind, which wasn’t what I expected. Once I looked out of the back of the blind, there were three gobblers only about 10 yards away. When they came around the blind, I picked out the biggest gobbler and took the shot at 12 yards. When I went over and looked at my turkey, I saw he had three beards. The first beard was just a little short of 10 inches long. The second beard was 6-3/4 inches long. The third beard was 4-1/2 inches long, making him the number one archery kill in the Safari Club International’s non-typical Merriam’s turkey archery category.
PSE’s Jared Bloomgren’s Monster Mule Deer
Jared, tell us about the big mule deer you took.
I was hunting Wyoming back country and was high up on public land. We were a little over 12 miles in, camping at 10,000 feet. I’d spent the first three days of the hunt scouting and found several spots where big bucks were feeding. The first buck I tried to take was a big non-typical buck and would’ve scored about 220 points on the non-typical Pope & Young scale. However, he gave me the slip when my cameraman made an unexpected move. We went after another buck I’d named Too Tall that we’d spotted while scouting. We moved our camp about 5 miles away to reach another mountain to try to hunt this buck and take him before daylight. We reached our set up before first light and moved up the ridge another 1,500 feet to where that buck had been spotted the previous morning. When we saw him again, he was with two other bucks. Normally, I would come from above a buck to try to take him, because mule deer don’t usually expect a hunter to come from above them. These three bucks moved through a patch of pines on an open faced ridge, and I was able to get to some pines to try to take the shot. I only could get within 50 yards of the buck, but as I was sitting and waiting for a shot opportunity, the bucks decided to turn and head back down the ridge to their bedding area.
When I first ranged the bucks with my range finder, they were 30 yards from me. I decided to take a shot. However, as I prepared to draw the bow, the big buck turned his head and started walking straight toward me, giving me a quartering shot. So, I didn’t want to take that shot. I waited until he turned broadside, before I decided to take the shot. I held my shot until the biggest buck came within 23 yards, and then I released the arrow. When the buck took the arrow, I ranged the spot where he was standing at 23 yards. The buck went running, and I heard him tumble down the mountain. I knew I had made a fatal shot. Once we reached the buck, we field dressed him and then boned out the buck. On the first trip from the mountain, we carried out all the meat, including the head and the cape. After the animal was taken care of, we came back the following day, broke down camp and carried it out. In 2 days, we’d hiked 36 miles, but this fine mule deer buck that scored 186-7/8 inches was definitely worth all my effort. I took that buck with my PSE X-Force GX.
PSE’s Jared Bloomgren Hunts for Chuckles the Elk
Jared, tell us about the elk you took.
This hunt happened 2 years ago in Wyoming. For a couple of years, my brother had been chasing a big bull in this area with his rifle. I was lucky enough to draw a tag in the same area and thought I’d try my luck at taking this bull. This was another back country high hunt, and the area we hunted had a deep drainage. I hiked in 4-1/2 miles and set up camp. I didn’t know whether the bull had been in this particular drainage that year or not, but I hoped he’d be there. Since this bull never would make a full bugle, we identified him by his bugle. He’d always chuckle at the end of it. Sometimes he’d only chuckle, instead of bugling. We didn’t find Chuckles until the second day of the hunt. Although we never saw him, once we heard him, we tried to move in close enough to take a shot. We moved a couple of times but were unsuccessful. At the same time, we did have another bull only slightly smaller than Chuckles come to within 50 yards of us.
However, that afternoon, on the way out of the area, I stopped by a small open meadow that I’d hunted in the past and took a stand by some small jack pines. I used the Primos Hoochie Mama Cow Elk Call to call a couple of times, and within about 2 minutes, I heard a bull elk’s antlers hitting tree branches as he approached. When he stepped out of the dark timber at 120 yards, I had no idea that this was Chuckles. As I watched him, he started coming across the meadow and stopped at 88 yards. He took in a deep breath, let out a bugle and then started to chuckle. I knew then that this was Chuckles. He kept coming right to the jack pine where I was sitting, and when he was at about 20 yards, he bugled again. For a minute, I thought he would come to that jack pine and start raking his antlers right in front of me. I was behind only a little pine, that was so close to Chuckles that I knew he’d see me if I drew my PSE X-Force HF bow. With the next step he took, I would have to come to full draw. When I did, Chuckles turned sideways and gave me a broadside shot at 18 yards. I made a double lunged shot, and the bull took off running. I started cow calling. The bull stopped at 65 yards, turned, looked back, tried to bugle again and tipped over right there. That bull scored 372-5/8 inches.
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