I just wanted to provide a brief update letting folks know that there will be some delays fulfilling orders through the end of the year. If you have a current order and need an update, or need to place an order for shafts but need them fast, then give me a call and we can see what can be done.
Right now, I just got back from a short Elk Hunt (no arrows loosed, but a big 5x5 did well to tempt me to test my archery skill (Short hunting story below)). Feeling refreshed and recharged from time in the mountains, I arrived Monday at the shop with big plans, but immediately hit a stumbling block right out of the gate, when I discovered the laser line generator on the gang saw was out. It had been getting dimmer as of recent but now it was done. A replacement laser has been ordered, but with shipping delays, it looks like this will set Surewood back another week, possibly two on fulfilling most current orders. I will be working to flitch up a lot of wood during this down time as well as beginning a build of a new point and nock tapering tool for the shop.
Looking ahead, my goal for this fall and winter is to focus on a couple of key improvements to two different machines as well as a complete redesign of the big shaft sander, all in addition to putting up a good amount of wood. Please expect some delays during the remainder of the calendar year. These improvements to the nock and point tapering tool as well as the big sander should significantly increase efficiency in fulfilling custom taper shaft orders, while improving the quality and consistency of tapers. Ultimately, the goal is to get back to 1-2 business turn around time on all orders while maintaining or improving overall product quality.
Elk hunt 2021 Notes
These are some unedited notes from the first day of a Day hunt in Eastern Oregon. Typed up on my phone notes app in the field.
Came up over knob to look into north facing saddle. Spotted movement and tines just 50 yards ahead. Thought a little spike fork, turned out to be decent 5x5. A real trophy with a yew bow and fir shaft. I dropped to a knee and slipped off my quiver, binos, and bugle when his head went back down to feed. Wind was perfect. In fact, I smelled him just a second before I saw him. I was lucky to get caught in a nice dark shady spot with good cover. He looked to be feeding up my way. Old Zwickey tipped fir shaft was nocked and my confidence was high. A very nice 14 yard shot situation off to my left had good potential to develop. It looked a mighty likely path of travel. He paused behind a good clump of fir trees and I decided to stand in case a longer shot, maybe just inside 40 yards, was about to present itself. It did, but the 40 felt long and tough, sometimes they don't. I thought hard about it as he presented a stretched quartering away broadside shot, stretching to listen back and down hill...that big taught tan side looked really good from that angle, but I just got here with no stumping practice in and only very little recent practice at home inside twenty, so I sided with patience and he soon went back to feeding. With his head down and chewing bear berry and grouse berry I decided to crouch back down and nestle my feet into the ground. Perhaps this was my undoing, as I crunched a little too long clearing the dry twigs and little tamarack cones from underfoot, his head raised and ears flagged towards me. Not too concerned, but not taking chances, he listened for a bit before back to browsing. Another bull sounded off in the downhill direction this 5x had been occasionally surveilling. I say that crunch was perhaps my undoing because now he fed off slightly away, erasing my dreams of that 14 yard shot, but maybe I was damned either way as had I not cleared the crunchy ground at my feet he surely would have heard me when passing that 14 yard window.
So now with him feeding farther and farther away along the edge of the knob, I had to move. But in moving he heard a little too much and crunched off a short ways. As every elk hunter does when they watch that beautiful rack slipping out of their reach, they grab their cow call and blow. Except I couldn't get my call from my pocket so I let out a couple plaintive mews just my voice. He crunched off even further. I advanced to the nearest cover and finally got my call out. One calf like mew from that call and he busted out if the country. These heavily hunted bulls don't let you get away with anything.
So here I sit typing this up on my phone, letting things cool off before I try to entice the heard bull we heard in. Though he certainly heard the 5x getting out in a hurry, it will be a hard sale.
And I say lucky when I was caught in the dark shade, but really it was good practice. Humping up the 800 ft of the south side of the hill, I naturally stayed to shade to stay cool, but was also reminding myself to pause only in the dark shady spots, because you never know.
The striking and most enormous of extant woodpeckers, the pleated just lit on the fir in front of me.
Tried getting unseen bull fired up. Nothing. Picked up fresh tracks...likely, the bull I encountered. Tracked a ways while snapping branches, raking and occasional bugle along the way. I stopped at the end of open flat ridge bench and bugled. Caught movement just 25 yards away just into the fir thicket. Antlers, bull, gets up out of bed and males haste down hill. Damn.
Two hours of light left. Don't think I stand a third chance at this bull.
Headed west toward draw and saddle for sit.
Just cut fresh tracks headed more NW. ...I think these were the bull I encountered and the one I just busted from his bed after tracking was probably the bugle heard. Both lone bulls if that's the case.
Note: after passing the long shot on the 5 point, took some similar distance shots with my blunt arrow. Was dead on.