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Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

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Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby DIY_guy » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:09 pm

I begin writing this story on Feb. 21st in my hotel room in Kona which is on the the Big Island of Hawaii as I kill time before my flight back to the Island of Kauai. We spent five days on Kauai and I planned to spend two days hunting on the Big Island. The goal for this hunt was Vancouver bull (Wild, feral steers) and if the opportunity should present itself, Polynesian boar. This is a hunt I had long dreamed of doing and finally the time was right to make it happen.

I began gear planning for this hunt in November of 2017. I found a guide and then began building my dual wall, aluminum arrows with a finish weight of 700 Grains, tipped with a huge, 3 blade, Rothhaar Snuffer. I also hoped to evaluate a new drop away arrow rest I spent the last year designing and developing. The new rest was not yet in full production so I was using a 3D printed prototype I had made in my shop. I was also testing two, 3D printed camera mounts I designed and made that would attach to my bow in an attempt to self-film the adventure.

As a life long Wisconsin resident that spent 53 years at 1000 foot elevation and the week prior to the hunt, at sea level, I had my concerns about spot and stalk hunting at 8,500 feet in the saddle between the mountains of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and the rugged terrain there since the bulk of my bowhunting was on dairy farms, using ladder stands. As I type this, the bottle of Ibuprofen sitting near my laptop is not big enough. Its very clear I was not physically prepared for the elevation or the terrain.

The view before landing

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On the morning of Feb. 20th, my guide, Kevin Nakamuru of Patrick Fisher, Hawaiian Safaris, picked me up at the hotel at 5:30 am. With him was Dave (or Kona Dave as I came to call him because later that morning we met up with Ranch hand Dave). The drive from sea level to the hunt destination was one and a half hours up the mountain. We discussed the plan as my ears were plugging and popping with the elevation rise. We discussed gear and the hunt plan and safety.

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Kevin explained that this cattle ranch was a new lease to Hawaii Safaris. They only recently had the rights to guide hunts there. This is a working beef cattle ranch and gaining access does not come easy so a guide is required for several reasons. Kevin Explained that they had never guided a Vancouver bull hunt here and nobody had ever killed a wild bull with a bow on this cattle ranch. If I heard it once, I heard it 100 times. "These bulls are no joke. We have to be very careful." I learned that an Alaskan bowhunter was recently killed on the Island of Molokai while hunting Vancouver bulls so Kevin was obviously concerned for all of our safety.

The plan was to drive up the mountain to the roughly nine thousand acre ranch and meet ranch hand Dave who would show us the property and where the wild bulls had been spotted. This is a beef ranch that specializes in only certain breeds and they do not want the blood line of the wild Vancouver bulls mixing with their cattle but the wild bulls get in and need to be removed, not only to protect the blood line but to protect the cattle and ranch hands from the aggressive bulls. The neighboring property was undertaking a wild bull eradication and the bulls got wise and came onto this ranch, making their problem worse .

When we arrived, Keven pulled out a Broadhead target for me to make sure my bow survived the 4,500 mile trip and we introduced ourselves to Ranch hand Dave who is a huge man. Thick and strong. I took some shots and ranch hand Dave Saw what was going on and began laughing. Ranch hand Dave spoke Pidgin English which is many different languages, including Portuguese, Native Hawaiian, American English, and other languages of the people that worked the sugar Cane plantations long ago. Dave Spoke fast making it difficult to understand much of what he said. Despite that, I was able to make out his concern with my archery gear.

Its hard to write exactly what Dave was trying to convey as many expletives were used but between the laughs at our expense. I understood, "Brudha, you going up dare wit a bow? Are you *&#$%^ crazy? Dem Bulls Gonna &*#$% you up. Day gone kill you. You Neva gone get close enough wit a bow. If you do, day gone kill you." This did not boost my confidence in this enterprise. Dave showed us where a bull had rammed his side by side ATV. He also expressed concern for our safety because of the wild Polynesian boars in the thick understory. Because of this, Dave always traveled the Ranch with 4 dogs that looked like pit bulls. The breed was explained to me but I had not heard of it, nor can I recall the breed. There are many old dogs on the Island that travel in packs, killing animals and these dogs were a strain of that breed, small but muscular and fearless since they are willing to take on wild bull and boar.

All the dogs wore a thick leather collar that was about six inches long and protected their necks from their ears to their shoulders as that is the area most vulnerable to the sharp tusks of the Polynesian boars. These dogs were not Dave's pets, they were his protection on the mountain. They protected him from both bulls and boars. Knowing all this, the plan was for Keven to carry a 30-06 rifle and Kona Dave to carry a 12 Gauge during our time hunting. The Daves and the dogs piled in the side by side ATV and Kevin and I in his Truck. The ride up the mountain can best be described as a prolonged car accident that spanned nearly a half hour. The Volcanic rock and deep gouges from the heavy rains and recent flooding and the lack of a road made for an jolting ride. As we climbed even higher, the smell of the hot clutch of his manual transmission was proof of the difficult climb. At one point Dave spotted a huge, Red Vancouver bull that was more than 200 yards away. It looked like the Brahma bulls I had seen on TV rodeos minus the back hump. Ive not seen such a large bull on any Wisconsin dairy farm. He was massive and muscular.

As soon as the bull spotted us, he began to run. This made Dave drive faster to catch up with where he knew they would cross into the safety of the deep ravines. This made Kevin speed up our truck to keep up as Dave waved for us to hurry. This magnified the intensity of the rough ride. I was holding my uncased bow which repeatedly beat me about the head and legs as we bounced and bottomed out the truck. At one point I took a solid shot to the lower lip with the upper cam of my bow.

The rust colored bull ran as fast as a deer despite its huge frame. We never caught up to it before he crossed into cover. In fact we never got closer than 100 yards. Even a hunter with a rifle could have made no use of this encounter but I was able to see first hand, what we were up against and it was huge. I suddenly felt under bowed at 64 pounds draw weight.

From that crossing we could drive no further with the truck. The side by side could navigate the steep terrain but the truck had reached its limit. Ranch hand Dave explained that we were only a couple of ridges and ravines from the neighboring property that was culling the wild bulls. He cautioned us not to cross the tree line at the highest ridge and that every bull we encounter was a wild bull and no animals belonging to ranch were present in this area. At that point Dave and his dogs left us.

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The view from this elevation was amazing. We were a few thousand feet below the snow covered summit and view below was equally fantastic because the weather was so good. The sky was blue with no clouds in sight and a slight breeze that we had to factor into our hunt as the bulls were like any other wild animal that used their nose for protection, although it was clear these bulls had no natural enemies. While they only eat vegetation they are still at the top of the food chain since nothing in it's right mind would dare mess with them and yet that's exactly what we had in mind.

Since Kevin, Dave and myself had never walked this land before, I was thankful that Kona Dave had the smarts to bring his GPS. He entered the location of the truck while I gathered all my gear for the day. Kevin Packed in Water and some food and we set off in search of bulls. For the most part, the rolling terrain was lush and green with sharp rises and deep ravines, some of which dropped straight down 20 or more feet with undercuts filled with large rocks, fallen trees, ferns and the bones of one very large bull that made as his final resting place. Perhaps he found a way down but no way back up or he fell in, either way, Dave carried the massive skull and two huge, curled horns out of the ravine. We hung them high in a tree although I don't think there was anything on the island that was interested in eating them like squirrels and porcupines eat deer antlers in Wisconsin. The bones had clearly been down there for a very long time.

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As we made our way, we would spot bulls but only because they were fleeing the area having seen us before we saw them. We slowed our pace and glassed and waited and watched. At one point we sat in the shade of a tree to drink and rest. Kevin and Dave ate. They offered me food but I was not feeling up to it. It may have been the elevation as I am not prone to refusing food. Suddenly, above us appeared the most massive bull I had ever seen. He was with two smaller bulls. The smallest of the three was black and without horns the next larger was red with a white face and small horns. The largest bull was double their size and sported no horns at all. Other large bulls we spotted, also were without horns.

This gigantic bull had no neck. His head seemed to protrude directly from his massive shoulders. He was dark brown with a dirty white face and a dark patch around one eye and an obvious hump on his shoulders. His ears hung low as the three stood 168 yards from our spot in the shade. I know because I ranged them on more than one occasion. I had brought along with me a digital camera with fantastic zoom capability and at that distance all I could do was take photos and video of this monster. Had I been using a rifle, my day's hunt would have likely concluded then, even though he sported no horns. This bull appeared to be the grand daddy of them all. Again, my bow seemed inadequate for such an animal. I doubt a single rifle shot would have brought him down either.

Aside from taking a few bites of grass, these bulls never stopped watching us. Of the three bulls, at least one of them was in a starring contest with us at all times. There was no way to make a move on them as they were above us with little cover between. With 3 sets of eyes on us they would have either fled or rolled down on us like a freight train. Eventually they ran off and got on the other side of a deep ravine. We saw them again briefly as they ran out of the area.

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At one point, after coming out of a ravine, I spotted black movement over 100 yards away and then another black bull came into view. I signaled to Dave and Kevin but Dave had already spotted them. The rolling terrain, large fallen trees, vegetation and the wind in our face made this a likely opportunity for a stalk. The two black bulls with white faces were busy grazing as we closed the distance. The footing was lush and green and very spongy due to the recent rains with the added bonus of no crunchy, November leaves underfoot that I am so accustomed to in Wisconsin, it made the stalk very quiet.

The bulls were in a rather open area with only mature standing or large dead trees between us. The branches hanging with a sort of Spanish moss. The bulls were slightly above us but feeding just over the crest so when their heads were down to feed, only their backs and shoulders were visible . The larger of the bulls had a wide and heavy set of horns and he seemed at ease as he feeding in my direction. To avoid the commotion of three people trying to close the distance, Kevin and Dave stayed back with guns ready. They would advance with me but from further behind.

When I sighted in my bow for 700 grain arrows, I was unable to make use of all five sight pins. Had I known then what I know now, I would not have set my pins at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards but those distance filled the entire range of the sight ring and its what I had to work with. I would have been better served setting the pins from 30 to 60. Despite my pin limitations I had sighted my bow knowing the bottom edge of the sight ring was equivalent to 60 yards.

When the bulls lowered their heads to feed I would advance as quickly as the footing would allow, making sure to keep one or more large trees between us as cover. I would range with each advance. When I reached the last tree between myself and the largest and closest bull I ranged him at 46 yards. After spending a lifetime bowhunting deer and estimating yardage based on that body size, its easy to misjudge the distance of an animal that is eight times larger and they appear far closer than they are simply due to their large frame so in this case the range finder was something I relied upon heavily. The wind was perfect, the bull unaware of my presence.

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I know that as bowhunters we want our aim to be true. We want a one shot kill and for our quarry to pass onto the next life as quickly as possible and to launch as few arrows towards the animal as possible. Its what we all aim for. But we live in the real world of the situation we are dealt and things like altitude, fatigue, Adrenalin filled, excitement, human imperfection and animal movement between the release and arrow impact and while we aim overcome those things to execute the shot we spend so much time practicing, things don't always work out perfectly.

When the time was right, I stepped from behind my cover tree, I drew my bow and took aim between the 40 and 50 yard pin as the bull stood broadside. I released the arrow and on impact heard a loud crack of a hard bone impact. I had put the large Snuffer squarely through the middle of one of the bulls massive ribs at the back of the lungs and through the diaphragm and likely the liver. The energy it took to pass that three blade snuffer through that kind of bone robbed the arrow of penetrating through and the bull ran off with about 10 of the 30+ inch arrow protruding his side. The bull lunged forward and then turned sharply to it's right and then down the ravine below.

The bull ran less than 50 yards before stopping at the bottom of the hill and while I'm sure the guide was not happy about it, I ran after the bull if only because Id lost sight of him and hoped to see where it was headed. I was shocked to see he had stopped so quickly below us. The bull was standing but very much quartering away. While I think the first arrow would have brought him down if given the time to wait him we discussed getting another arrow into him or if need be a rifle shot into him to bring him down as fast as possible to prevent a charge or him running off or down into one of the deep gorges but it appeared that he did not have the wind for running. Clearly he was hurt bad.

I was able to get to within 60 yards but the other bull with him was getting nervous and had the 2nd bull run off, the wounded bull may well have run off with him. They were getting further and further from the truck and deeper and lower into the property. There was a lot of tree growth between the bull and myself and I had to factor in the large arch of such a heavy and slow arrow at 61 yards but I was able to position myself with what I hoped was enough of an opening to thread the needle to deliver the arrow. I drew, released and again the arrow met with a loud crack. The bull bucked both back legs and tried to run off but only ran ten yards and then slowed to a walk up the next grade with his companion along side. My hit was high with about 15 inches of penetration.

I loaded another arrow because the bull was not running off and I wanted to get him down before his companion grew tired of us or they left the area. The bull walked the steep grade and stopped slightly above me with his front legs higher than the rear as he climbed. Again he was hard quartering away. As I stood there watching him I noticed his left rear leg was injured. Directly above the hoof was ball shaped mass about the size of a gallon milk jug. The bull may have bedded there and expired if given the time but so long as he was on his feet and I had a shot, I would take it but I had my fill of hard bone hits and at this angle the ribs would be overlapping. I ranged him at 65 yards and aimed in front of the near side hind quarter hoping to slide an arrow up through the flank and forward into the lower chest hoping to avoid all bones.

I held the bottom of the sight ring on his back and watched as the entire arrow disappeared, into the bull. His legs buckled and he slipped and tripped as he tried too run. It was clear the first hit had taken its toll and he was not long for this world. It was at that point his companion left him and headed over the next ridge. I made my way down the slope and lost sight of the bull who had made it over the top of the next. Not knowing where the bull would be as I climbed the rise, I made my way slowly while looking for the top of his back. When I was nearly to the top, I spotted the bull, bedded and facing away from me but with his head. I looked back to find Kevin and Dave and when I spotted them they had their hands raised in the air, celebrating that the bull was finally down.

Even though the bull was down, he was still very much alive and didn’t want to prolong his end any longer than possible. Because he could not see me, I positioned myself broadside at 20 yards and delivered an arrow to the white feathers into both lungs and after a minute, he was still. This took far more arrows that I had planned for but plans are only plans and in the real world you do what it takes to put and end to the animal to the best of our ability. If someone would have asked me to estimate how long it took from the first arrow until the bull was on the ground, my estimate would have been way off. It seemed to take an eternity. It wasn't until I reviewed the time stamp data on the camera that I discovered the entire event spanned just 9 minutes.

When Kevin and Dave arrived, they congratulated me and we discussed the events then Kevin told Dave to drag the bull to a better location to take pictures, then laughed since there was no way all three of us would be able to do anything but move the head. We took pictures of the bull as plans were made for the long work of skinning and packing the meat back to the truck which was many ridges and valleys away and at a higher elevation then we were so it was literally going to be an uphill battle that would include many trips.

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Kevin hoped to reach ranch hand Dave to see if it was possible to get the side by side to our location but didn’t have the battery power so Kona Dave and his GPS headed to the truck. Kona Dave was able to reach Ranch hand Dave by phones and the two met up before Dave could make it back to the truck. Soon after, both Daves and the dogs were back at the bull with the side by side which would save us hours of back breaking hauling. No sooner had they arrived when the dogs disappeared down the slope and all hell broke lose. Both Daves ran out after the dogs. Kevin was skinning the bull and said the dogs were onto hogs and that I should grab my bow and catch up. As soon as a bull hunt ended, a Polynesian pig hunt began.

I grabbed what few arrows I had left, including some that I had extracted from my bull and was putting them into the hip quiver as I made my way down the slope as fast as I could. While trying to navigate the terrain and attaching my release strap to my wrist, I went down hard, rolling my ankle. The dogs and the hogs were in one of the many deep depressions that were basically large holes filled with lush ferns and fallen trees so thick you could not tell dog from hog. Ranch hand Dave did his best to call them off yelling at me, "don’t shot my dogs."

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I loaded an arrow and waited until the dogs were out of the pit. Dave said, if you promise you wont hit my dogs, to shot. I could not see well. I could not tell if the hogs were facing me or facing away from me but I could see two black forms moving in the ferns. The distance was about fifteen yards and steep downwards. I was straddling a fallen log as I drew and aimed at center mass of the closest hog and released. It was a direct hit.

I drew another arrow from the quiver which turned out to be one I had pulled from my bull, I took aim at the other hog and released. The impact caused a great deal of oinks and grunts and suddenly three hogs busted out of the ferns with the dogs hot on their tails. I noticed the largest hogs ear was barley hanging on by a thread. Dave, shouted that I had shot the (La-ho-lay) Kona Dave confirmed that I had shot the (La-ho-lay) and with that they were both off in search of the dogs and hogs.

I made my way down into the pit hoping there were no more hogs hiding in the ferns because I could see both lighted nocks in the shadows. One arrow was badly bent but the other was only blood soaked. I collected them and limped my way towards the sound of hounds. Ranch Hand Dave was urging me to get there faster but my ankle limited my speed. The dogs had the boar backed into another pit. I got to within ten yards and delivered another arrow into the hog and once again it busted out of the pit with the dogs on its tail and the Daves behind.

When I made my way to the barking dogs I was down to one remaining arrow which was a good thing because the hog was already dead. Ranch hand Dave again said that I had killed the (La-ho-lay). I asked and he explained that he had caught this wild boar when it was young and he cut off his “batteries” (his term for testicles) and then let it go. That makes them lazy and they get bigger and fatter than a hog that has not been castrated. In the process, he marks the hogs buy cutting the ear so it hangs making it easier to identify them from a distance should he encounter the grown, wild hog at a later date.

He was very excited about about getting this hog and was high fiving me and celebrating and congratulating the dogs for their good work. when he told me that two of the hounds were pups that had never been on the mountain and had never encountered a hog he was even more proud of how well they performed. He asked “You takin da meat?”. I said no, that I was flying home and would not be able to take the meat. This made him celebrate even more with another high five explaining how good this meat would be. The Daves dressed the hog while commenting on how much fat he carried.

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Here you can see the best darn drop away rest around. I spent the last year designing and prototyping it. In fact this hunt was done with 3D printed prototype parts I made in my shop since the production parts were not available when I departed.

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No sooner had they finished and the dogs were of and barking as they ran. With only one remaining arrow, I was happy to learn the dogs had found the other hog I shot and it two was dead. The second hog was a sow. They estimated the weight of the boar at around one hundred, forty pounds which is big for a Polynesian boar but its size was due to Dave removing the “Batteries”. The sow was about 90 pounds.

Now we had the difficult task of getting these hogs back up to Kevin and the side by side. Ranch hand Dave walked up the few hundred yards back to Kevin and the Side by side in hopes he could find a way down to us. In the meantime, Kona Dave and I dressed the sow and brought the two pigs to the same location. A hog does not have a handle to grab so moving the large boar was a difficult task. At one point, Kona Dave grabbed the boar and flung it over his shoulder and started marching up the grade, carrying the boar. He had the strength of youth on his side.

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After moving the hogs and stopping often to catch our breath, we could hear Ranch hand Dave and the side by side above our location. He got as close as the terrain allowed and the rest was brute force, hog dragging. Once loaded we climbed back to the downed bull. By the time we reached Kevin he had skinned the bull and removed the meat from one side. We bagged the meat in what looked like oversized pillow cases and the first load was transported back to Kevin’s truck while the remaining meat was removed. This allowed me time to do a bit of an autopsy on the arrow impact points. As the sound indicated. My first arrow was a dead center hit trough a rib. Kevin used the gutless method so the arrow I slid up into the vitals will remain on the mountain.

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I wear a size 13 boot. Compare that to the shoulder blade of this bull. I did my best to avoid hitting that massive bone.

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Here you can see where the first arrow went through the dead center of a rib and still continued on through.

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And here is the size of the Snuffer head used. Big Animals need big broadheads.

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On the left is the Rothhaar Snuffer I used for this hunt compared to a Slick Trick Magnum

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I rode back with ranch hand Dave and the last of the meat and the head of my bull as he explained that within 3 days, the hogs will have eaten the remaining carcass, bones and all. Nothing goes to waste in the wild. Dave said that it would be a good place to shoot the hogs that would come to feast. Back at the truck it was time to skin the bull’s skull for shipping and Kona Dave and I set about pig skinning. Ranch hand Dave wanted to take only boneless meat from the mountain. Once skinned, he removed one entire side of meat as one continuous piece from neck to ham. We flipped the pig and he repeated the process. All the while, the four dogs feasted on the bulls jaw and the tongue meat.

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During butchering, the clouds rolled in and the wind increased. In no time, the visibility was less than one hundred yards and the temperature rapidly dropped. I had never experienced such a weather event. Kona Dave skinned the boar skull and was attempting to remove the bottom jaw. I told him that was not necessary and that I wanted the entire skull for the mount. He looked at Kevin and then me and explained that it is a custom or tradition that Ranch hand Dave would take the lower jaw only as this was the first hog for two of the hounds and that Dave would display the tusks. They asked if that was ok with me to surrender the skull to him. I gladly agreed because without the dogs there would be no hogs killed and without Dave's Side by side, we would be hauling beef on foot for several hours. I was happy to surrender both the pig meat and anything else he wanted for all he did for us.

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By the time we were finished with the meat we were back to blue skies and sunshine. As quickly as the clouds rolled in, they moved out . All the meat was bagged placed in the vehicles with the bull skull and we began our decent from the mountain along with the bumps and jolts and burning clutch smell. Kevin stopped several times to glass for sheep and turkey and other game he would return to hunt with other clients.Back at Dave’s camp we said our goodbyes and I tipped him for all the hard work he had done for us. We thanked the dogs and headed down the mountain and back to Kona.

This was a once in a lifetime adventure for me. I say that because I doubt I will ever return to the big island for Vancouver bull. This hunt took its toll and Im not getting any younger. I accomplished what I had set out to do and in the process, put the new drop away arrow rest through more of a rigorous test than I could hope to put it through on Wisconsin Dairy farms. It functioned flawlessly as did one of the camera mounts. The other still needs improving.

I hope to return to hunt with Patrick Fisher Hawaiian safaris but it would be for sheep and/or goats. His operation is top notch and I would eagerly recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure. To learn more about Patrick Fisher Hawaiian safaris, Check out his web site at

https://hawaiisafaris.com/

Before I would head back to Hawaii for goats, I'm headed to south Texas for a Water buffalo bow hunt, in fact prior to flying back to the mainland, I placed an online order for Grizzly, two blade, single bevel broadheads since the water buffalo I hope to encounter there, have ribs far more difficult to breach than this bull and I will need the increased penetration of 2 blades and single bevel. I wish I would have used them on this hunt. I think far fewer arrows would have been required to get the job done.

Mahalo for reading.

Here is a video of this Hawaiian Adventure.

[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axEL9ld1e-Q[/video]
The joy is in the planing and doing.
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby jeffhalfrack » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Fantastic ! Great story ,,,,I felt like I was there! I'd like to hear more about the rest too! ,,,,I just learned how to shoot a compound too :oops: good job thanks jeffw
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby Jim Casto Jr » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:46 pm

Indeed!!!

Thanks.
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby Yohon » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:45 am

WOW, that was cool!!!
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby Stykshooter » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:17 am

Good story...thanks
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby marc » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:18 am

Wow what an amazing day! Congrats and good luck in Texas.
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby MOUNTER » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:38 pm

Looks like a good time! CONGRATS!!!
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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby DIY_guy » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:35 am

I'm making progress towards getting the bull skull clean and ready for mounting.

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Re: Hawaii Vancouver Bull and Boar Bowhunt (pics and video)

Postby jeffhalfrack » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:38 pm

Looking good can't wait jeffw
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