Getting Covered Up The Right Way
A Message From PMI Cover Systems
We have been working on development of our products for about 4 years now and feel that what we have learned from customers and field-testing has brought us to a fine point. PMI Cover System has been transformed with the introduction of our new patent-pending Camouflex limbs. The new limbs offer a memory wire technology, which allows for each leaf to return to its precise position repeatedly. We combined this with a new printing process that pushes the color through to the backside of each leaf, added screens for a more natural appearance as well as a lighter weight overall, the PMI Cover System now works in all hunting situations.
With the versatility of our new Camouflex limbs any hunter will find them useful. Whether placed on a treestand, attached to the tree behind, a single limb used on your bow-mounted quiver for immediate breakup or worked into your ground blind, they can easily be positioned for maximum cover.
I equate our current position to that of Scent-Lok and climbing tree stands. Each faced the hurdle of educating a very traditional audience to a new way of thinking and operating in the field. Today some of our converts have come from all the major hunting arenas; waterfowl, deer, elk, and turkey hunter's have told us of their uses for camouflex. -- David Pitman, PMI Cover System President
I got the chance to try out a new concealment unit last fall and had some rather remarkable results. Being a bowhunting guide in New England I have a variety of stands and stand locations. I've used portable ground blinds in the past, with mixed results. We've had much better results on the ground, quite frankly, when using crudely built stick-blinds. Some of our treestands too, are in less-than-ideal locations, such as in defoliated trees. It always meant getting even higher up, to avoid detection.
I first saw PMI's The Cover System demonstrated on a TV show on the Outdoor Channel. I believe they were hunting turkeys, at the time. I'm an avid turkey hunter also, and a turkey-hunting guide each spring. In any case, I contacted PMI's David Pitman and arranged to get one of the units to try out. The Cover System is a lightweight construction of camo leaves and branches, which can be shaped to suit your purpose. It can be used to conceal a treestand or also used with a special ground spike for ground hunting.
Being a Primos Prostaffer, I do a lot of calling of deer, turkeys, predators, etc. I received The Cover System in mid-July of last year and immediately gave it a trial run, using a Primos deer bleat on some of our Vermont doe whitetails. I didn't even bother to wear camo clothes, to see JUST how well this stuff would conceal me and my outline. I'm not small either, at 6' 2 and about 235 pounds!
I called deer to within 5 to 10 feet of me the first time out, and without getting pegged either! I was very impressed.
Our Vermont black bear season opened September first and using the Cover System, I took a nice bear, from the ground, at 21 yards. I was wearing full Advantage camo, head to toe. I had ordered the Cover System in that pattern as well. Three days later, on opening day of the Massachusetts black bear season, I repeated my Vermont feat, again taking a very nice bear, at close range, from the ground. Again, I was using Advantage camo and The Cover System.
I was sold, and had just the treestand to put this stuff to the test, come our Vermont archery deer season in early November. This was a 10-foot ladderstand, on the edge of a swamp near my home. I installed The Cover System on the tree, to hide our outline. Between my wife and I, we took four deer, two bucks and two does (the VT annual archery limit) from this one, low stand! The furthest shot was about 14 yards. On several occasions we had deer right at our feet and we never got pegged!
During the Vermont December muzzleloader deer season I was again in that same stand. A buck, jumped by other hunters evidently, ran in from behind me. It stopped dead behind the stand and was coming no further. I had to stand, pivot & turn, to even see the deer, which was barely 8 yards from the stand. The deer heard the movement, but thanks to the Advantage Cover System, it simply could not pick me out, even with all that movement! I was able to part the branches of The Cover System, with my left hand, while aiming through the gap created, and make the shot!
I'm not one to plug a product very often. Perhaps the fact that my friend and noted bowhunter Bob Foulkrod endorsed The Cover System was the reason I was willing to even try it out in the first place. I think I recall telling David, If Bob Foulkrod likes it, it must be good! In any case, I won't go in the woods without The Cover System now, where concealment is a key factor! It has greatly expanded the locations I now feel confident to hunt.
There has been far too much written and even more supposed "facts" bandied about on hunting videos about bear hunting. Keep in mind, that the majority of any bear hunting you'll read about or see on TV is done near a bait pile.
How bears react around an area where someone is continually feeding and shooting at them, and how they react "normally," are two very seperate topics. I've been hunting for black bears in New England for many years and have successfully guided hunters for bears at non-baited sites.
For the most part, we tend to hunt bears near natural feeding areas, in what I term "loafing areas." These are the areas chosen by the animals to hang out, before actually feeding and they can change from day to day. Weather conditions, especially heat or rain, seem to be the biggest factors which influence where bears hang out.
Scouting is a crucial factor to successful bear hunting, in my opinion. I tend to watch for just what local foods are being used by the bears, on almost a daily basis. The majority of New England states have hunting seasons which open early. In Vermont here, it is generally on September first each year. Most years (and I emphasize "most") the bears are still eating primarily wild cherries and berries at this time. Last year this was not true, as drought conditions forced the bears from their normal mountainous regions into the river valleys earlier than normal. There wasn't much for cherries & berries either and the bears were in the corn well before the season opened.
I seldom put up treestands for hunting near corn, as the trails used by the bears to enter or exit the fields can change from day to day. We like to simply set-up back from the field edges, on trails that are evident enough to show use, and near where the freshest looking bear damage in the fields can be seen.
I used "The Cover System which is a lightweight, easily carried concealment unit which sets up in a minute or so. It is a flexible set of camo branches and leaves, which can either be attached to a tree or used with a ground stake. I wear head-to-toe camouflage clothing as well, and with The Cover System, was all but invisible to the game. I had bear, deer and wild turkeys within FEET of me, while using the system on the ground last fall and this past spring. I'm sold on it! For more information on The Cover System see their website at www.coversystem.com
In any case, weather played a big role in the first day's hunt last September first in Vermont. The weather had been quite hot, but a midmorning rain had dropped temperatures and quieted the woods considerably. My friends Rick Stancliff and Peter Reed hunted with me that first afternoon. Early morning hunts near food sources for bears are, for the most part, a waste of time. At best, you'll hear the bears leaving the area well before daylight, as you walk in and spook them out! Bears hear VERY well, by the way.
We set-up near a rather large corn field in Northcentral Vermont on that day and elected to get into the woods VERY early that afternoon. I was certain that due to the rain and cooler temperatures, the bears would elect to feed well before their normal dusk feeding. Pete and Rick elected to bring rifles, and set-up where they had a decent vantage of two or more trails which entered the field. I had my usual Mossberg 835, a turkey gun really, in 12 gauge 3.5 inch magnum. I still had the turkey choke in place and was loaded with 00 buckshot. This combination is more than deadly, out to about 50-60 yards.
I chose to set up on one of the lesser-used trails, on the North side of the field. But instead of being near the field edge, I climbed back into the thickets a ways. I set-up The Cover System three feet in front of me. I had a large beech tree to my right, as well as a blow-down that I could see through somewhat. The only "open area" was right behind me.
We all had two-way radios to keep in touch. Once I got settled in, I got on the radio to be sure the others had found their spots I'd picked out while scouting and that all was well. After checking in, we all settled back to wait.Whether turkey, bear or deer hunting in this manner, I always bring a portable, folding stool to sit on. It's much more comfortable and also affords a MUCH better view, than sitting with my back to a tree, on the ground. Besides, I WANT to be able to see what's right behind me.
It was now about 2:45 PM and I settled in to wait, figuring I'd have a good 2-3 hours before anything happened. I was wrong! I caught movement off to my right and below me, almost immediately after talking to the other boys on the radio! I figured it must be a deer, but kept my attention in that direction. Then I saw a definite BLACK section of woods move slightly, down there. I slowly raised my shotgun, while keeping my eyes glued to that area.
Then the bear emerged from the brush and began slowly walking up through the thickets to my left. A slow and careful scrutiny of the situation and area showed it to be an adult and definitely alone,...not a sow with cubs. My own ethic is to NOT shoot sows with cubs or cubs. This bear looked pretty big ( for Vermont) and it was a shiny, almost neon black in color.
I just sat motionless, as the bear moved closer. When the animal was about even with me, it turned to it's left and began walking my way. This is VERY common behavior in bears near corn fields, by the way. Though they may not enter the field to actually feed until much later, they often parallel the fields, usually to check not for hunters, but for other bears in the vicinity. Some nasty fights between bears can occur over food and most like to size-up the area before moving in to feed. The spot I chose to sit that day was chosen for it's A) thick cover...and B) distance back from the corn. Bears like thick cover, when just hanging-out before feeding.
I just happened to have picked the right side of the corn that day to set-up on. The other guys were watching better trails, overall, but on this afternoon and at this early hour, it was I who was in the right place at the right time.The bear cleared a small blowdown to my left and stepped into a small opening that I later paced off at 21 yards away. One shot from my Ulti-Mag to the neck and it was over. No video-fame "death rattle," no growling or flopping about either. Just one, instantly dead bear lying there. It was barely 3:00 PM and my Vermont bear season was over.
After tagging the bear, I immediately left the area quickly and quietly and went back to the logging road where the truck was parked. I also had alerted my buddies as to what had occurred and where I'd be. We'd recover and drag the bear out later, after dark. I got out of there, so as not to influence the other guy's hunts.
As luck would have it, both Pete and Rick ended up with bears near them, right at dark. Rick said if he'd had his shotgun and NOT a rifle, he'd have scored as well, as a bear came within ten yards of him in the corn, right at last light. Most rifles and scopes just aren't meant for that kind of close-in action.
The bear later was weighed-in in Morrisville, VT at Water 'N' Woods sports shop, at a dressed weight of 185 pounds. Not too shabby for this part of Vermont.
One more note: Just three days later, in Western Massachusetts, I took almost a TWIN to that bear, again using The Cover System on opening day down there! My set-up was almost identical and I again had a bear down and dead by 4:00 PM. In this case, due to state laws, I was using my single-shot .280, however.
Bear hunting from the ground isn't all that difficult or technical. Sitting motionless, in good, clean camo, using some sort of concealment, and perhaps a call or two can pay off well. Choosing the right location to set-up is vital, however. Both preseason and inseason scouting will keep you in the right areas.