Archive for the 'Tips/Advice' Category

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Published by Klyph on 28 Sep 2008

Planning the Perfect Hunting Season…

My wife and I have always wanted a large family. To date, we have a beautiful 4 year old daughter and a crazy “all boy” son… As many of you already know, kids take a lot of time and they deserve it! So needless to say, the amount of time in the woods, since having children has slowed some… but I am looking forward to the time when they are old enough that I can pass on the tradition and take them hunting. About a year ago, my wife had a miscarriage and as we continued to have a desire for a “big family” we decided that we would give it some time and try again as soon as the doctors felt it was ok. Once we got the ok, we began looking at our calendars and with us both working we tried to “plan” the best time to bring another little one into the world and our schedule…

With my wife being a teacher, she quickly thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have my 6-8 week maternity leave line up with the holidays so I can get a few extra weeks off.” Without giving it much thought I agreed… what was I thinking? I wasn’t…

We have always had an easy time getting pregnant… usually we just start thinking about it and “ta-dah,” one is on the way…

Well, needless to say this time was no different. We were very excited and as we looked at the calendar to figure out the baby’s due date, it quickly hit me… the baby was due Sept 29th… and the archery season begins Oct 4th… panic quickly set it… as I shared this new found revelation with my wife, she didn’t seem to be nearly upset enough to me… She was more upset with me than the due date!

As my mind was racing, I blurted out, “Actually that will probably work out great! You’ll be on vacation throughout all archery season!” The look on her face told me, everything… but she didn’t just end it with a look… “What do you mean, Vacation?”

Now I was in trouble. I couldn’t see any way out. So I tried to laugh it off… she wasn’t as amused.

So for the last 9 months, every time someone asked about the due date, I just quickly thew in a quick, “Yep, my wife loves me so much she wanted to be home with the kids during archery season, so I could have the best season ever! Isn’t she great?!” 

It’s kinda funny how men always smiled and seemed excited for me, yet women just looked at me with such disgust…

As my hopes for a hunting season seemed doomed, especially since our last two children have all been more than 5 days late… I have started looking for more places closer to home, in hopes of some quick morning hunts before and after work… I just wish daylight savings came sooner…

Well, this week Collin Jonathon was born! And its funny how this hunting season may not turn out as far as time in the woods is concerned… but it still will always rank up there as the best fall of my life!

6 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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Published by Klyph on 18 Sep 2008

Hand Climber Seat Strap – A MUST have

I used a Summit Viper for the last few years and loved it as a climbing stand… the only issue I had with it was its large frame when carrying it through the woods, and the amount of space it took up in my vehicle. So with much hesitation I traded it for a hand climber that folds completely flat and took care of my “issues” with the summit.

The Problem that quickly revealed itself was that the hand climber stand is much more difficult to use, especially with winter clothing, as I found out late season last year. As I climbed my first tree, I wondered why I ever got rid of my summit and spent most of my time contemplating listing my new stand on AT Classifieds as soon as I got home. Fortunately all wasn’t lost as I was able to harvest a nice doe and my thoughts quickly became focused on the “rush” of the hunt. That was my last tag of the year and my equipment was put away and I didn’t think much about my new issue until a few months ago.

I noticed the new Lone Wolf Hand Climbers now come with a strap that you use to sit on as you climb. (Link given for visual purposes: http://www.lonewolfstands.com/shoppingcart/Products/Hand-Climber-SitStrap__LWHCS.aspx ) I quickly ran to my tangled mess of old safety harnesses and created my own seat strap. (Disclaimer: Use at you own risk) 

I took it to the back yard and fell back in Love with my hand climber!

I now have the best of both worlds… A light, compact stand, that can also be used effortlessly as a sit and climb style stand.

If you are a penny pincher like my self, I am sure you can find some strapping around the house to use… but I would recommend for safety purposes to go out and purchase a seat strap if you don’t have on on your hand climber. It is worth it!

15 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 515 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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Published by Ieatmeat on 15 Sep 2008

Archery Talk: 6 Steps to World Class

I was introduced to Archery Talk by a close friend over a year ago. In that time I have poured through countess threads and have tripled my knowledge regarding bow hunting techniques, tactics, gear and a plethora of other topics. I have viewed hundreds of photos, agreed and disagreed with hundreds of opinions, and sacrificed hours of work as a result. (It is a good thing it was my boss who introduced me to Archery Talk!)
I believe these forums to be one of the best in the hunting world. It allows archers (hunters) from many backgrounds to share their best practices, successes and failures with each other. Through all of my time spent lurking about in the AT forums (specifically the Bowhunting forum), I have observed several idiosyncrasies that, if modified, can bring Archery Talk to a “World Class” level. As with everything stated in AT, take it or leave it; which brings us to number 1:
1) It isn’t personnel! If something does become too personnel, that is what the Mods are for. These forum’s foundations are based ENITRELY on opinions. Don’t let someone’s opinion dictate a negative response. Many threads seem to start to spurn heated discussions. Usually ignoring said comments will squash the situation leaving more time and energy to “quality” threads. If you absolutely cannot hold back simply (and politely) state your opinion and agree to disagree.
2) Use the search function. I do not have many posts. There are two reasons for this: 1. There is almost always a user that shares the same opinion as myself and has posted it already. 2. I use the search function. I have had many questions regarding gear, scents, strategies, etc. Instead on jumping right into creating a new thread, I search the topic first. 9 times out of 10 there are several threads that address my question(s) that have already been posted. Not only does this save me from waiting for some answers, it cuts down on some of the “noise” in the forums. Do we really need to see another post of pictures of the color of our fletchings?
3) Enough with the broadhead complaints and comparisons! Refer to number 2! Until (If) we get a sub-category for broadheads can we cut down the broadhead bashing? (refer to number 4) The exception to this is where there have been a true comparison test (there have been a couple tests done through phone books, steel drums, etc)…with pictures!
4) Take responsibility! Even with the high quality of our equipment there is a lot of blame placed on it. While I do not discount that there are equipment failures, I would be willing to bet that most of the “failures” are operator errors or miscalculations. Even when our equipment does let us down, it is more likely an operator oversight or unpreparedness. I speak from experience. There have been several instances where I wanted to blame gear before I realized it could have been avoided with more practice (I speak of more than just target practice). Also, do not jump to the conclusion of failure when it may be simply something not fitting to your style of shooting, hunting, etc.
5) Prevent fodder for the anti-hunter groups. AT was designed for the sharing of knowledge within the archery community. If we continue to attack each other, this will only give fuel to the anti-hunting groups. Unfortunately we are a minority. We don’t need to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, however, we should avoid personal attacks at all costs.
6) Reply without the pictures. When replying to a post, don’t include the pictures from that post. We should remember what pictures the thread is about. Including the pictures in a reply only slows down our personal computers as well as the servers.
I will always enjoy reading many of the threads posted on Archery Talk. The above suggestions are merely that; suggestions to make AT better for everyone. If you disagree, that is great! That is what AT is for and what our country stands for. However, prior to responding, please refer to number 1.

15 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 515 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)
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Published by Montalaar on 12 Sep 2008

Create your individual arrows!

There are dozens of possibilities to fletch an arrow. You can select the manufacturer of your choice, the color, the size and the form. Dozens of combinations are possible. But is it not always the same? The archery next to you uses nearly the same fletching. Do you want to create your own arrows? You should read further.

What do we want to do?

This Tutorial will guide you to the making of your personal and individual arrow. I will cover two spots in this article. First we will do some cresting which means that we will add some color to our arrow. After that we will fletch our arrow with some individual spliced feathers. After we finished both parts we have an arrow that is absolutely personal.

We require:

  • a set of arrows you want to work with
  • loads of feathers in at least two colors of your choice
  • some fletching cement and a fletching rig
  • a knife or scissors, tape measure
  • a pen, paint and tape
  • patience

Before we start.

It is important that your arrows are already in the right length and have also the nock installed. Most fletching rigs need the nock to proved the perfect fit in the rig. You can also glue the point or broadhead into the shaft before installing the nock besides easton recommends to glue the point in before adding the nock.

This tutorial contains work with sharp objects and in the case of cresting also the use of paint which can contain thinner. A new arrowshaft or a new feather can be bought easily, a cut finger or thinner in the eyes is more of a problem. Be careful at all time and rather work slow and accurate.

Step one – Cresting.

The first thing we will do is some cresting that means we will add some color to the arrow shaft. Painting of wodden arrows has been common for decades as it is easy to do before adding the finish to the whole arrow but it is certainly possible with aluminium or carbon shafts, too. Very popular are also arrow wraps as they are easy to use and very durable but if you want to create your own arrow you should do your own cresting as it is truly unique.

How to do that? I will tell you.

At first we need to do some brainstorming. Which colors do we want to use and which patterns we want to draw. I chose someting easy for this tutorial. The arrow shaft will get a wide silver ring with some smaller rings dividing it. Now we need to choose the colors. As i mentioned i will use some silver paint and black or blue paint for the smaller rings. You can use everything as long as it can be applied in very thin layers and dries in a short time. If you just want to do some rings a white permanent marker will also work. I will use spray paint because it is easy to apply and dries very fast. Before starting so aplly the paint we have to mask the rest of the shaft that should not be painted in the color we use.

After masking the arrow we can add the paint to it. It can take some time to find out how it should be apllied but always bear in mind that the paint has to be as thin as possible. If you use spray paint you can aplly two or more layers to get a perfect result. Is everything colored we have to let it dry. In the meantime we can paint the next arrow.

After painting everything in the same way we can jump over to the next step. It was not too challenging until yet, was it?

Step two – Splicing.

Let us raise the grade of difficulty a bit. The next steps will need loads of patience so better be prepared. Splicing means cutting down the feathers you got to fletch your arrow with. With the parts we will get some new feathers of differenct colors and fletch your arrows with them. Splicing feathers and fletching your arrow with them will make your arrow unique!

In this tutorial i will use red and black feathers in 4 inch length. The red colored feather shall be the front part of the fletching and the black one the rest. As we want to fletch every arrow the exact same way we need to work with accuracy so take your time to get everything right. We need a tape measure to get always the same length of the pieces we cut off. I chose 1.8 inches for my red feather so i markerd my tape measure to find always the same position.

Now we have to slice every feather at 1.8 inches from the front. As we need both colors we have to cut off the red feathers but also the black ones. We will keep the red front part and the black rear part for our arrow. To cut the quill get a sharp knife or a scissors.

It is important to cut only the quill and nothing more. We want to keep the original form of the feather to put them together in the end.

Use your knife (or scissors) to make a small cut at the point you want to slice the quill in two parts. Then take the feather, retain it with one hand and cut the quill in two parts. Try to keep the intersection as small as possible and do not damage the feathers. After our little feather surgery we can remove the part we do not need and keep the other one. Now we can use some sandpaper to even the sction.

Proceed the same way with all the feathers you will need for fletching.

After slicing and sandpapering everything we have to find paires of parts to get a new feather. As not every feather has the same structure than the others we will need to find paires that will stick together on the shaft without having gaps between them. As you can see on the picture i chose two parts that seemed to be okay and put them together. The natural velcro of the feathers will keep them together.

At this point we will need the fletching rig and the fletching cement. Our prepared feathers will be glued onto the arrow at the same time so put the two parts together, aplly the fletching cement and fletch the arrow as you do it everytime.

After letting the feather dry out we can take the arrow out of the fletching rig and take a look over it. If we worked with patience and precision we will see no gaps between the quills and feathers. If you will notice a difference in the height of the feathers you should take a scissors and remove the spare feathers. Better take a smaller scissors as the larger one will cut too much out of the feather so that you will get no staisfying form

Step Three – finishing

If you have enough time and feathers you can do more unique things. You can use as many differenct colors and feathers as you wish to as long as you can glue it together whilfe flechting the arrow. You can also use a scissors and cut your own form into the feathers like a wave or something else. There are nearly no limits as long as you leave some feathers to ensure proper arrow flight.

I should also say something about the weight.

The used paint will add some grains to your arrow. As long as you use very thin layers you do not need to care about that.

I hope this tutorial will inspire you to do your own cresting, splicing and fletching. Good luck. 😉

15 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 515 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 11 Sep 2008

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Does, that is. The question is about as old as the philosophy of quality deer management itself. It might just be the most debated topic in deer hunting and management but to this day a “one size fits all” answer eludes us. What works great for one property might be woefully wrong for another. For those who haven’t made up their minds where they stand on the issue, read my theories below and see how you think they would apply to your situation. I don’t believe that my answer is 100% correct for everyone and every property, but I think it will work well for the vast majority.
The basic question is whether or not to purposefully maximize the doe harvest on your hunting grounds, and if so, do you concentrate on younger does, mature “matriarch” does, or both. The most straight-forward answer to the first question is yes; by all means maximize the harvest of does, unless your current deer population is well below the carrying capacity of the land. If this is the case, let them walk for a year or so until you see the population reaching the limits of the land, and then employ a heavy doe harvest strategy. The answer to the second question is to take both mature and young does for the reasons described below.
For those of you who have plenty of, or even too many deer for your land, here are four strong reasons why you should focus on doe harvest:
1. Does with fawns will chase their young buck offspring out of their home range to prevent the possibility of inbreeding and genetic problems. If you want the young bucks born on your property to end up on someone else’s property, leave the mama does alone. They will see to it that almost every young buck leaves in a hurry. If you want those bucks to stay and grow big, harvest their mothers and your property will become their home range. Even better would be if your neighbors don’t take any does so that you get to keep your bucks and get their runaway bucks as well.
2. The land only has so much carrying capacity for deer. Taking mature does off of the property allows more of this capacity per mature deer. As a result, almost immediately after reducing the mature doe population, birth rates rise from singles/twins to twins/triplets with the occasional quad birth. The more births you have, the more bucks that are born, period.
3. It is critical in my opinion that you harvest not just old or young does, but a combination of both. It is common for young, middle aged and very mature does to come into estrus at slightly different times. This is due to a variety of factors but the result is that by having a good mix of young, middle aged and mature does on the property, the aggregate doe population is in estrus for a longer period of time. Whether you prefer to call it a longer rut, or multiple rut periods, it all equals great buck hunting. Some have said that taking a matriarch doe causes upheaval in the herd and can even force the herd to change their patterns and/or leave the area. Others will say that without the matriarch, the chance of predation on the younger deer increases. I have seen neither of these situations. In my opinion, with or without a matriarch, the deer population is drawn to the areas with the best availability to water, food and shelter with the least predation risk.
4. Finally, with less does, bucks naturally move more to find the does in estrus. This usually means greater scrape activity, more responsiveness to decoys, rattling and grunting, etc. The greater the buck movement the greater chance they will come into bow range for you, period.
Above are what I believe to be four strong reasons to commit to a heavy doe harvest and in the meantime, increase your chances of seeing the buck of a lifetime. Good luck and good hunting.

14 votes, average: 3.93 out of 514 votes, average: 3.93 out of 514 votes, average: 3.93 out of 514 votes, average: 3.93 out of 514 votes, average: 3.93 out of 5 (14 votes, average: 3.93 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 10 Sep 2008

Eight Steps to Better Accuracy

Eight Steps to Better Accuracy

1. Get the equipment right – consistent accuracy is dependent on using the right equipment for you and ensuring that the equipment is properly tuned and working right each time you shoot. The brand new high-end bow just doesn’t shoot like one if it doesn’t fit you correctly or if it is out of tune.
2. Correct technique – once the bow fits and is working optimally, now the next wild card is the form of the shooter. With today’s technology the properly tuned and equipped bow is better than the shooter. If it could be shot by a robot, it would hit the bull’s eye all day long. It is only when we introduce form errors that the arrow group sizes begin to spread out. Have someone video you while you are shooting and then have a pro or coach review the video and make suggestions. Remember that your goal is to improve your technique so don’t take their responses too personally. We are all trying to be the perfect archer but none of us will ever achieve perfect status.
3. Create and use a draw/aim/fire routine – archery is like most other sports in that its actions can be broken down into a technique or series of techniques. Success is generally achieved when the athlete creates the technique, practices it repeatedly, builds muscle memory and mental focus, and finally executes the technique over and over in exactly the same manner. Imagine a pro’s golf swing or a guard’s free throw, both are very refined and repeatable. In archery, a routine can be developed that begins with pulling the arrow from the quiver and ends with seeing the arrow strike the bull’s eye. Many pro golfers “talk their way” through their routine, meaning that they say a phrase where each word corresponds to a specific action or movement. If they find that they are not at the right spot or doing the right action at the right time, they stop and start over. Creating a routine and sticking to it each time takes the draw/aim/fire sequence and turns it into an assembly line-like process where the actions are identical each time and the results are too.
4. Shoot from long range – one of the best ways to get good at 20 yards is to shoot from 30, 40 and 50 yards. It is amazing how we can struggle at 20 yards, then go shoot a few arrows at 50 yards, come back to the 20 and the shot seems like a layup. The confidence you build doing this will carry over to the next time you shoot the 20 yard targets.
5. Move your sight pin – one of my best friends gave me this tip and I believe it works great. Adjust your sight pin so that you hold it just under the bull’s eye for the arrow to hit the bull’s eye. This way you never lose sight of the bull’s eye while you are aiming. I was somewhat skeptical until I tried it and now I am a firm believer in this technique. Trap shooters have been doing this for years now with great success.
6. Don’t over practice – for most shooters, physical fatigue sets in rather quickly. After 20-30 arrows, the body is having trouble executing with correct form and sometimes mental fatigue is setting in. Each shooter needs to determine the appropriate stopping point and walk away at that point each practice session. I know great shooters who shoot 100 arrows per session and some that shoot only three arrows per session. They all have great accuracy so their specialized approach works well for them. I firmly believe that accuracy can be improved more by several short focused practice sessions instead of longer “marathon” sessions.
7. Shoot with family and friends – inviting others to join you makes it more fun and light-hearted. Without realizing it, the competitive juices will kick in and you will find yourself working harder to out-shoot the others. The result will be more fun and improvement for all of the shooters.
8. Learn from others – as a shooter, you are probably facing the same problems that most other shooters have faced. Work with a coach/pro or access great information sources like Archery Talk. The combined wealth of knowledge at AT is incredible and most users are very willing to help out. Don’t waste time recreating the wheel when you don’t have to.

10 votes, average: 4.40 out of 510 votes, average: 4.40 out of 510 votes, average: 4.40 out of 510 votes, average: 4.40 out of 510 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)
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Published by Checkmate on 07 Sep 2008

Buying a bow for the first time: A noobie’s insight to selecting the right bow for yourself

Hi,

 

My name is Kyle and I recently became an archery fanatic.  I bought my first bow in December 2007 with full intentions of becoming a fairly skilled archer/bowhunter.  I have not bowhunted in the past and only owned a very old model compound bow when I was around nine years old.  No one in my family or close friends bowhunts or participates in any form of archery.  So I feel that I am fairly qualified to write an article from the perspective of a brand new archer with almost zero knowledge about the sport of archery and no help from trusted family and friends on getting into the sport.  The goals of this post are to help inform new aspiring archers to select the right starting equipment that has the best chance of keeping them interested in the sport with a desire to learn more and become the best archer they can be.  Perhaps this post can help the already seasoned archers by taking a view from a different perspective than one they already hold.

 

Getting Started

 

The first place to start is always with a budget.  There is a WIDE range of archery equipment out there for all different price ranges.  Knowing what you can realistically spend on your gear is going to help you make decisions easier and keep the hurt on your pocketbook to something that is manageable.  One thing that I have learned quite quickly is that archery can get very expensive very quickly.  With proper planning you should be able to minimize the amount of surprises in equipment costs.

My recommendation is that you set a budget for total cost of a ready to shoot package.  Keeping in mind the things that are absolutely necessary versus the nice trinkets and gadgets that fall in the want category.  Things like arrows, an arrow rest, a sight, some form of release either a finger tab or mechanical release, broadheads if you plan on hunting and other accessories that are essential add up to a lot of extra expense.  I would try to find average prices for these pieces of gear and try to match with a bow that will fit the price range you have limited yourself to.  Many pro-shops and outfitter stores will have a good idea of price ranges of entire packages for out the door prices when you talk with them.  These tools are all vital components of the total package, but the remainder of this article will remain focused on selecting the right bow, (keep in mind this article is geared toward compound hunting bows, as that is the only area of archery I have entered so far) perhaps in the future I can spend time on other necessary pieces of equipment.

 

Removing Bias

If you are lucky enough to have friends or family members that already have archery equipment and are willing to help you get started that is great.  I would caution you to be careful of bias in the archery world though.  Many people are very opinionated on archery gear and not very open minded about things.  I think this is one of the biggest downfalls in the archery world.  My recommendation is that you try to keep everything that you have heard in commercials, from friends and family, and from pro-shop techs in perspective.  Although they have very valuable information, be skeptical of hard pressed opinions.  Websites like Archerytalk have a huge wealth of information available at your fingertips; all you have to do is seek it out.  What hasn’t worked for someone in the past that they “will never try again in their life” has more than likely worked flawlessly for countless other people.  Have an open mind when exploring the sport of archery.

 

Research

Archery is a science, and many people have done a lot of work to improve on the equipment that is available.   There are great resources that allow you to get their reviews on gear for free.  I will caution you here however, try to keep in mind that references might not always be playing fair when it comes to reviews.  If a bow manufacturer is a huge sponsor of theirs, you might find biased results.  Archerytalk is a great source of case study and personal experience material.  Archeryevolution.com is a really good source of objective material on hunting compounds.  I would recommend reading up on some of the issues dealt with in their studies and use that information to help guide what you want to look for in a bow.

 

Fling some arrows

The only way to truly decide what bow is best for you is to shoot different kinds of bows.  Head to your local shop and ask for some help on finding a bow in your price range.  Hopefully they will have multiple bows that fall in your price range and you should shoot all of them.  They will be able to give you a release, some arrows and a few instructions on what to do when you start shooting. 

Before you shoot

Have the pro-shop staff determine your draw length.  On many bows today draw length is a set feature and you need different cams to change the draw length of the bow.  Having the right draw length for you is essential, and once you know it you will be able to try out bows that match that length.  Shooting a bow that is either to short or to long is going to be a serious disadvantage for you because it produces bad form while shooting.

Find a comfortable draw weight.  Not everyone is capable of drawing back 70 pounds.  Some people might not even be able to handle 40.  Have the shop staff help you in finding a draw weight that you can comfortably and safely draw back.  Select a bow that is comfortable for you to draw and does not require you to over exert yourself to reach full draw.  Archery is a sport of repetition, if you have trouble drawing a bow five times in a row practice sessions are going to be painful experiences.  On that note, keep in mind that archery muscles are not something used in everyday work.  You will need to build these muscles and potentially have to shoot a lower poundage at first until you have strengthened those muscles enough to pull heavier weight.

Now lets get to testing the bow.  The things to evaluate from bow to bow are:

 

Draw Cycle:

This is how the bow pulls for you and how much effort is required to reach full draw.  Each person can be different and a harsh draw cycle to one person might feel like very smooth to another.  It is important to keep things equal between the bows you are testing.  Make sure they are all set at the same draw weight.  Pulling 70 pounds on one bow and then 50 on another is obviously not a fair comparison.  If they do not have the appropriate limbs to match draw weights on the bows make sure to keep that in mind when you evaluate each. 

 

Hand Shock

This is essentially how much recoil is in the bow after the shot is taken.  If you have ever took a swing at a solid object with a metal baseball bat and the resulting vibration made you drop the bat in pain you have an idea what hand shock feels like.  Of course it is not that extreme in any bow on the market today (at least to my knowledge).  However, like a harsh draw cycle, an abundance of hand shock can make practice sessions with a bow displeasureable.  Try to look for a bow that does not vibrate much when you shoot.  Note that it is probably impossible to eliminate all hand shock from any bow, but you should be able to find something that does not feel like a baseball bat hitting concrete in your hand.

 

Looks

Some people might disagree with me here, but I think it is important to have a bow that you like the looks of.  Many people are generally proud of their bow and like to show it off.  It is similar to having a car or home you are proud of.  Remember to keep this in perspective though as well.  Looks are not nearly as important as functionality.  However, all things being equal between two different bows go with the one you like the looks of better.

 

End Results

If you are consistently shooting great groups with one bow and they fall apart with another, go for consistency.  It might be your form, or torque on the bow that is making you shoot worse, but it could be something that just doesn’t work for you.  Perhaps the grip is different and you can’t hold one bow without torquing at the shot, whereas you can hold the other steady and straight.  Just remember that one bow needs to be consistently different from the other.  Don’t just shoot one group with each and choose the one that has the better group.  Also, don’t think that because one group is closer to the bullseye than the other it is automatically better.  Once again, sighting the bow for yourself will produce better accuracy than when you are just testing the bow.

 

Workmanship

Inspect the bow for manufacturing defects and flaws.  You are paying for a piece of equipment that should be free of them.  Look at the machining on the different parts of the bow.  Check for defects that could affect a bows performance and also affect the look of the bow.  You wouldn’t buy a new car with a big scratch in the paint, you shouldn’t buy a bow with one either.  Also make sure the replaceable parts on the bow are in good shape.  Check to make sure the string is not frayed and looks like it is in good condition.  Some of the bows in shops get used quite a bit before they are sold.  Make sure you have a good string on the bow that is going to last instead of needing to replace it not long after you have bought it.  If you are unsure about the quality of the string you are getting ask the shop to replace it before you buy the bow.

 

Things NOT to worry about

Don’t worry if you can’t hit the bullseye with a bow the shop is letting you try out.  To get accurate you will need to have the bow set up for you and sighted in to your anchor point.  Most shops are going to let you shoot the bow to get a feel for it, I think it would be a rare occasion to have them sight the bow in before you have even bought it.

Brand names.  Just because a bow shop is a Hoyt, Mathews, PSE, Bowtech or other dealer, does not mean that those are the right bow for you.  Most people could be happy shooting a bow from just about any company out there.  Try to remember the points I made about bias.  It comes from all angles in the archery world, so remember to be cautious.

Equipment that is already on the bow is something you shouldn’t put to much stock in either.  If you don’t like a piece that you are trying out such as the rest or the release, remember you don’t have to buy those pieces.  You can dress your bow with whatever you want on it later.

 

Final Thought

 

Ultimately you are looking for a bow that you are going to enjoy shooting.  Try to recognize what makes shooting one bow better than shooting another bow FOR YOU, whatever that characteristic(s) is(are).  Be informed and take your time making this decision, it can be a difficult task to find the right bow, especially the first time.  As with anything else, experience will guide and direct you on what qualities you like in a bow, but hopefully this article will help you make a more informed decision on your first.  If this isn’t your first time buying a bow, hopefully this article will help you refine your decision making process or perhaps encourage you to try something new and compare results.  Either way, I wish you the best of luck and take care.

12 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 3.83 out of 5)
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Published by Klyph on 05 Sep 2008

The Wolf Pack, by Lone Wolf – Review

As an archery hunter who hunts many locations that require me to take my stand both into and out of the woods each hunt, I have been searching for the best way to minimize and consolidate my hunting gear. For the last few years I have altered many packs so that they can be attached to my climber tree stand while entering and leaving the woods. Until now, I have found many different variations in packs and other companies that make variations of straps that are used to make carrying my stand a little more comfortable than using the “free” or manufactures straps, but until know I have not found a combination of the two.

Setup:

My first impression of The Wolf Pack wasn’t all that great. There are straps everywhere and it initially looked way more complicated than I would think that it should. But, once I got my hands on it, my opinion changed.

After taking The Wolf Pack out of the packaging I found that there are six (6) detachable straps that attach directly to the tree-stand (Lone Wolf calls them: “receiving straps”). Lone Wolf hits a home-run by lining the buckles with a neoprene cover to help quiet the “click” as the buckles are attached. I attached two (2) straps at the top, middle, and bottom of my stand. I found that the top and bottom straps worked best about 8 inches apart, while the middle straps are best spread as wide as possible. 

Receiver Strap Placement

Receiver Strap Placement

Once the receiving straps are attached to the stand it is now ready to connect it to the pack. Connect all six (6) recieving straps to the six (6) male buckles located on the pack. I initially thought that I would want the bottom straps as tight as possible so that the stand would be as high on my back as possible… Boy was i WRONG. I found that by keeping the stand as low as possible on my back, the weight of the stand is taken off of my shoulders and is much more comfortable to carry. So in other words, keep all the straps loose as possible until you get the unit on your back… it’s much easier to tighten up the straps once the unit is on your back than to loosen them. After taking the pack on and off a few times, making adjustments here and there, I found that the pack does hold my stand comfortably.

At the Tree:

The Wolf Pack, with all it pockets, straps and elastic, makes it easy to stay quiet. For me, there is plenty of space for all the essentials (range-finder, scents, bow rope,  toilet paper, grunt tubes, other calls, gloves, and other misc. items) while making them truly all accessible without routing through a big pack.

Pack loaded with gear

Pack loaded with gear

There is a built in carry handle at the top of the pack that makes it easy to attach to your bow rope and pull it up to the stand once you are at your desired height. There are two (2) straps that are used to attach the pack to the tree and all the “inside” pockets (while wearing the pack) are now right in arms reach now that it is attached to the tree. The back of the pack also acts as a padded back rest for your stand and removes all noise from any bark that would have other wise been right against your clothing.

Over all thoughts:

I found that overall this pack meets almost all my expectations. It was easy to use (once setup) and it kept all my gear quiet while keeping it easy to get to when needed. I really like the padded back rest, which is a bonus to me since I hadn’t thought it was all that necessary.

I do have some concerns (as I haven’t hunted with the pack yet, maybe they will all work them selves out) but, once you get all your gear in the pockets and strap it to your body, there is not much air movement. So, it might not be the best option in the early hunting season when temps around here can be in the 80’s. I use a HSS and when putting both on, it gets hot fast… So when using the pack, you may want to carry the HSS into the woods, rather than wear it. To bad they didn’t make the pack a safety system also… I better patent that right away.

Overall, I am glad I spent the 99.00 for this product and would recommend it to friends.

13 votes, average: 3.38 out of 513 votes, average: 3.38 out of 513 votes, average: 3.38 out of 513 votes, average: 3.38 out of 513 votes, average: 3.38 out of 5 (13 votes, average: 3.38 out of 5)
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Published by tim9910 on 21 Aug 2008

Preparations for Fall

By

Tim Hicks

It’s almost upon us, the time of year that brings little tingling feelings on the back of our necks. The excitement of finding a heavily used trail and seeing the beginnings of a great mast in the canopy above your favorite stands can be almost overwhelming.

That is of course, if you go out and do some scouting and put your efforts into being prepared for opening day. For many, they poke around a week before season, half-heartily throw up a stand, blow the dust off their bows and hope for the best. But for successful hunters, it began right about the end of last season. Unfortunately for us in northeastern Oklahoma, a blizzard hit the last weekend of archery season. And now, heavy downpours and heavier clouds of mosquitoes are keeping us out of the field. But it’s always a good time to stay on top of your game, shooting the many 3D tournaments of the summer, and just practicing out in the back yard help keep your abilities tuned. Passing the time by thumbing through the catalogs and magazines to see the newest gear and read about the great far off hunts of the past season can also thwart the onset of preseason blues. It’s a great time to drag out your hunting garb and make sure the off season didn’t make your clothes “shrink”. You should also check your hunting arrows and broadheads, refletching and replacing blades as needed. I usually start shooting broadheads a month before season so there are no surprises when that opportune moment presents itself come October. I like to scout and hang a trail camera to get an idea of the deer using the area I plan to hunt. Plus this gives you something to get excited about, even though the patterns will change before opening day. Talking with locals in the area you hunt is also a great benefit, they can tell you about the “big one” that comes to pasture each evening right before dark. Anything you can do to get the mindset and the blood pumping for the days ahead.

A great thing about September is the fact that here in Oklahoma, dove season opens. That gives us a chance to rekindle our hunting spirit, and form friendships with other hunters. It’s also a good time to meet new land owners, most are not objected to dove hunting on their property, provided you remember to pick up your spent shells and take care of their land. This can lead to a possible archery hunt in the future as some will see you are a good steward, and grant permission on their land. This is also a great time to scout, usually the action of dove hunting dies off, and you can walk the crop edges looking for good trails. Following these trails back and finding staging areas and hopefully some good stand locations along the route. Then you can hang a trail camera or two, and check out the quality of the local population. Walking in the fields also helps to condition you for the hunts ahead, but jogging or a regular exercise program is recommended. I don’t know how many times I have had everything ready, take a deer in the first couple days, and then nearly have a heart attack dragging him out. I always seem to find reasons not to prepare myself, and usually regret it soon enough.

The great thing about early scouting, as opposed to right before season, is the fact that you can march right in and turn over every blade of grass. I even check bedding areas that I would normally avoid like the plague closer to season. This gives the chance to find any new trails or feeding areas you may have overlooked last season. You can hang stands early and get shooting lanes cut, and maybe block a trail or two and hopefully funnel the movement in your direction. One of my favorite things is walking the fence lines on our property, noting the heaviest crossing route. I also tighten up the fence and then tie down the top strand to the next lower near that area of travel. This insures deer will continue crossing here, as using the easiest route is in their nature. Then I will place a stand 20 to 30 yards back in the woods from this site to avoid detection before they cross the fence. Once they have crossed a fence, it has been my experience that if they feel something awkward they typically won’t go back over the fence but run towards me. That is if they haven’t seen me or caught wind of a two-legged predator. I also like planting a fall clover or the like, giving the deer and turkey a different menu than the normal summer browse. Hanging a feeder or two in the area also works great, I don’t hunt within sight of them but it keeps the deer moving on a predictable route prior to the pre-rut. I have seen more bucks this way early on in the season than I ever have during the rut. I always want to be in the field as much as possible during the rut, but the buck sightings seem more like a chance encounter if they are truly chasing does. It’s just the excitement of knowing that huge deer can walk out at any given moment that gives me the drive to stay on stand as long as possible. But the early days are a great time to stock the freezer and get a good idea on the herd you are hunting. I had so many pictures and regular sightings last season, I named most of the deer in the area. Passing up several different four and six pointers, and a couple of does that still had twins with them. There are enough deer in the area I hunt that I try not to orphan little ones prematurely, and let the young bucks grow a couple more years.

As I sit here right now, I am ready to go stomping about in search of that perfect spot not remembering the chiggers and seed ticks until I am already covered with them. My pulse is quickening just thinking about that first morning on stand, watching the world wake up beneath my feet. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, a time when one can relax and be at peace, if only for awhile. But then I awake from the daydream, and realize there is three months left before season, and about a million things left on the “honey-do” list. But at least I have run through a beginning stage of mental preparation for the season ahead.

11 votes, average: 3.36 out of 511 votes, average: 3.36 out of 511 votes, average: 3.36 out of 511 votes, average: 3.36 out of 511 votes, average: 3.36 out of 5 (11 votes, average: 3.36 out of 5)
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Published by tim9910 on 21 Aug 2008

A god friend of mine Dean Cote with a nice mulie taken with a bow.

A good friend of mine Dean Cote with a nice mulie taken with a bow.

Christmas in November

By

Tim Hicks

“The bucks are chasing!”. This statement brings excitement to the hearts of hunters. Towards the last week of October, the doe’s begin showing signs of the forthcoming mating season, more commonly known as the rut. The bucks have rubbing, and sparsely scraping for awhile now, but more territorially and “practicing up” if you will. But now you start finding the sign post rubs, highly visible rub lines, and what may have been a twelve by six inch scrape a week ago is now the size of a four wheel drive tire, sometimes with several under the same tree.

This time, for me, is my favorite time to be in the woods. The chances of trophy buck encounters are better, albeit early or late in the day typically, and they can be coaxed in since the doe’s aren’t completely receptive to the bucks displays of “alpha male syndrome”. Setups are simpler, because the deer are still predictable and the odds are still in your favor. When it gets into this stage, I usually target food sources just as earlier on in the season, making a point to locate heavy mast white oaks if possible. This will congregate doe’s, and therefore also lure in bucks. The difference as compared to early October, is try and find out of the way food sources, because even though the bucks are starting to chase they still have their wits about them. They are just a little more curious and likely to investigate potential mates or threats to their territory. I use a different approach for stand placement also, by finding likely routes for deer to move from bedding areas to food sources. But now I look for cross routes running perpendicular to these main routes. I have found that more mature whitetails in search of receptive doe’s cross main trails in this way to pick up on the pheromones left behind and are able to cover several travel routes quicker with less risk of exposing themselves to danger. To find a likely candidate, I look for things like a ridge with either a bluff or extremely thick cover on one end. If one side of the ridge is extremely steep, and their backs are protected by the bluff or cover, the bucks can bed with their backs to the cover and can see or smell any danger approaching from the front or the other, less cumbersome side of the ridge. When you can find a sanctuary like this, you will also find an escape route. Somewhere along this route is the place to ambush them. The trick is getting in and setting up undetected, and not having your scent carried by the thermals all over the ridge. You can almost bet there is another escape route you missed. Scent control is paramount, and staying on stand for the long haul is the best way to succeed.

There are many other ways to attack “grand daddy tall tines” at this time also though. A lot of hunters have good success lightly rattling and using grunt calls. Decoying with a smaller buck decoy also proves highly productive. Just don’t go setup a decoy that looks like Michael Waddell just arrowed it in Pike county, and go banging horns together like there’s an all out war.

You will scare the acorns out of every buck in the region around the places I hunt. Don’t laugh, I have seen it done before. Be reasonable with your approach, even subtle, and use scents sparingly. I have no doubts that quality pheromone scents produce good results, but at the same time I don’t want to be targeted as a doe-in-heat while I am walking the woods. I have also attracted other things besides deer, I once had a bobcat trying to climb my tree near Copan, OK. That will wake you up real quick!

As this session passes by, then the real thing begins. For about ten days, it’s full on rut time. Bigger deer are breeding as many doe’s as possible, and chasing away younger bucks from potential mates. Getting their attention now can be tough, once they catch scent of a ready doe, it seems like it takes a Mack truck to pull them off the trail. If you hunt in an area with an abnormally high buck to doe ratio, they may be more willing to respond to scents or more aggressive calling, if they are having a hard time finding a mate. Bucks are known to move very long distances at this time, so you may encounter deer that have never been seen earlier in the year. One of the biggest deer I have seen in my life came through right before dark on the last couple days of black powder season. I had never seen him before, or any sign that he had been around. Later that year I heard a farmer talking about a huge buck that lived on his property, about five miles away. His description of the buck he saw in velvet sounded exactly like the one I saw chasing does. I did get a shot off at that deer, but missed clean. After he heard the shot he turned his head towards me raised it high, he was about eighty yards out and the size of his rack got me so rattled that I opened the wrong end of my speed loader and all the powder fell from my treestand. Luckily I always carry two, and the second made it all the way out of my pocket before it bounced of the stand and landed some twenty feet below me. By now he was onto me, and I had my worst case of buck fever ever. Anyway, back to the point, big buck sightings are a lot more common during this heavy rut period. This is why in my opinion, everyone gets so excited about it. I like the opportunity to chance a sighting at trophy deer as much as the next guy, but have found that harvesting one can be pretty much summed up by being extremely lucky. They are cruising around, their caution is pretty much thrown to the wind, and if you happen to have a stand by a place a doe leads him, then you just won the lottery. I typically find myself driving by check stations grumbling at all the nice deer hanging on the scales, while I drive to the house empty handed and still shivering from hours on stand.

Then, as this period grinds to a halt, it’s like someone hit a light switch. The bucks are exhausted from chasing and fighting, and not getting proper nutrition, that they lay up and can be hard to come by. There is always a few immature bucks still looking for action, but the ones we dream about are usually bedded down and staying close to their lair. Going back to the locations like you hunted in the first phases of the pre-rut, near his home on an escape route, is a profitable option at this time. If you hunt public lands, gun season has usually passed, and the deer are much more alert and harder to hunt. Throw in all the quail hunters, and you have a real mess on your hands. But that shouldn’t slow you down, late season bow hunting can be a very good time to be in the woods. There are less deer hunters in the woods, and if it is a hard winter, food sources are in high demand. There is also the so-called second rut, where some of the does that were not bred before come in heat late. It’s usually not very eventful, but has been proven to occur by wildlife biologists. I try not to hyped up about that, and just get back to basics. Find bedding areas, water sources and feeding grounds, then find the yellow brick road in between. This is a great time to stock up on venison and manage the herd a little. Unseasonably warm temperatures which we seem to experience a lot in recent years, followed by a strong oncoming cold front, can really amp up the action. As soon as the barometer starts falling, it seems like the deer are running around like people preparing for a hurricane. Then after it moves through and you get those “blue bird” clear sky days, with a high and steady barometer, someone flips that light switch again. I wish I could find that switch myself, I would rewire it so it’s on in both positions.

In closing, I just wanted to give you a run down on some of my theories and experiences with this time of year. I dream of it like every other red-blooded American with a bow in hand, and hopefully this will be the year. I killed my biggest buck to date during the peak of the rut, yes I was one of the lucky ones who happened to be crossing the same opening as a buck at the same time. And that time I had a rifle that luckily held its own bullets, so I couldn’t drop them!

The next buck to see my living room though, will be harvested by arrow. I take more pleasure and remember smaller deer harvested with a bow at ten steps, than one I dropped with a rifle at a hundred yards. So as the rut approaches your area, have your spots ready and pack a lunch. I’ll be on stand from daylight to dark, and I don’t want to be the only one freezing and cramping up out there! Good luck on your hunts this winter, and remember to harvest a doe or two if you have the tags. It will help ensure a balanced herd for years to come, and more chances at a trophy for yourself or your kids. Hope to see you out there!

 

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