Published by The Super Sauce on 06 May 2010
Archive for the 'Gear' Category
Published by archerchick on 23 Mar 2010
5 Stand Setups To Avoid – By Mike Strandlund
Bowhunting World Annual 2004
No matter how good they seem at the moment, don’t get sucked into setting stands in these tempting situations.
Are you familiar with the story of the Sirens in Greek mythology?
They were the beautiful temptresses who sang a wondrous song
that ultimately lured sailors and their ships to a tragic death on
the rocks. The moral of the story? Looks can be deceiving.
Bowhunters have their own Sirens to deal with: treestand
spots that appear ever so attractive on the surface, but will ultimately
break your heart and dash your spirit asunder-onto the rocks, so
to speak. The lure that these five stands present can be nearly over.
powering. Here’s how to identify these sites before you become a proverbial moth,
nose-diving full throttle into the flames of bowhunting disaster.
This tempting location probably claims more victims than nearly all the others combined.
Even experienced hunters can fall for its raw appeal.
Here’s how this site casts its spell: You’re scouting for a stand that will work during the rut. One good choice is a funnel between two bedding areas used by does, so you look for just such a perfect buck trap. In rough country bedding areas are typically on points and short ridges overlooking large ravines or valleys. They’re predictable sanctuaries and will show heavy
signs of bedding activity everywhere they’re found.
When crossing the ravine to check out the points on the other side, you’ll invariably notice some
tremendous trails crossing the bottom. They cut deeply into the soft earth where several trails come together to cross the ditch. Wow! A mother lode of sign! At first glance it appears to be a great funnel between two bedding areas, made even better by the fact that you can sneak up the ditch to get to the stand. They’ll never know what hit them.
You’ve just stepped into the snare that’s going to make you miserable and ruin what could have been a great area. It’s darned tough to walk past such an obviously-attractive location without spending a half hour looking for the perfect tree to place a stand. But, hold your horses for a minute. What’s going to happen when the wind blows, or worse yet, when it gusts? Your scent is going to wash all over that ravine until every deer within a quarter-mile radius knows you’re there. That’s not going to help them feel very relaxed and comfortable around home, is it?
From the number of stands I’ve seen in ravines while I’m scouting, it would appear that many bowhunters fall victim to the tremendous sign found in these places. Remember this rule of thumb: If the spot you are considering is protected from the direct flow of the wind by features of the terrain, it ls not a dependable spot, regardless of how much sign you find. There are definitely better places to hunt the deer that made that tempting sign. The ravine crossing is a seductive spot, but it’s one you should walk past.
Beware, The “Easy” Stand
Most of us prefer a stand that’s easy to travel to, over one that requires a GPS, reflector
pins, and maybe even a bit of luck to find. Some bowhunters are comforted when they roll out of bed in the morning to know they are heading for a stand they can easily walk to. They may even go out of their way to hunt only such spots-and they pay the price.
I have a friend who loves the easy stand. In the back of Ron’s mind lurks the ever-present fear that he will get lost in the dark woods and end up spending his entire morning hiking up and down hills, trying to find his vehicle. As a result, he makes many mistakes in the type of stands he hunts. And, they are deadly mistakes for old Ron.
The classic blunder occurs when he chooses to approach his morning stands by walking directly across open fields. Typically, in the agricultural country where we hunt together, that means he’s walking across a harvested crop field- a feeding area. And, where do you think the deer are
going to be a half hour before first light? Right Either they’re still out feeding or on the very fringe of the cover, picking their way slowly toward their bedding area (and maybe toward one of my stands). When my buddy Ron rams right into them, all bets are suddenly off.
On one edge we have treestands placed about 100 yards apart. It takes me about an hour to make my entry the back way (away from the feeding areas), while staying in the timber and using ditches, draws, and creeks to get to my stand without spooking any deer. It takes Ron about five minutes to drive his ATV along the edge of the field, walk the remaining 150 yards across the bean field, and then 100 yards through the woods to his stand. Sure, his approach is a lot easier than mine, but he may as well stay home -that’s easier yet.
Don’t fall victim to the temptation to take the easy route to your stand areas. If you are thinking about hunting a morning stand and plan to walk across a feeding area to get to it, do yourself a favor and reconsider.
“Hot” Scrapes During Peak Rut
In the first place, there is no such thing as a “hot” scrape during the peak of the rut. Bucks don’t use them then-at least not with any consistency. Beyond that, we need to resist the temptation to become too sign-oriented. Granted, buck sign sets our imaginations to churning, and we soon envision thick-necked bruisers ripping up a tree trunk or pawing dirt like some antlered Brahma bull preparing to charge.
Yet despite its affect on our imaginations, buck sign can be a seductive killer. Rarely is it a useful indicator of a great stand location and never is this more true than when you decide to sit over a scrape during the peak of the rut.
Admittedly, I’ve been sucked-in by big scrapes many times. I remember an entire season more
than a decade ago when I hunted them exclusively. All my spring scouting had been focused on finding the biggest and best scrapes on the farms I had permission to hunt. That year for a full two weeks of hunting during the rut I never saw a buck actually freshen one of those scrapes. In fact, most of them became covered with leaves as I stubbornly waited for the buck that made them to return. I became so discouraged that year that I vowed never to hunt a scrape again. And, I’ve Pretty well stuck to my guns.
Once the rut peaks, bucks are far too busy chasing and bird-dogging does to worry about freshening scrapes. If they do hit one it is purely a chance event. Sometimes they just pass through and come upon it-they’d be there with or without the scrape. Once the bucks start chasing does, I stop intentionally hunting scrapes.
There may be a time in late October when bucks actually go out of their way to hit a scrape and make them worth hunting, but during the rut these patches of pawed dirt are worthless. It will also
distract you from hunting the doe concentration areas and the travel routes between them, where the bucks can actually be found at these times.
Unless you have located a good scrape line and plan to sit above it long before the does come into estrous, you are reducing your odds by focusing on scrapes.
When you scout your hunting area, keep your eye on the ball: terrain, bedding
areas, feeding areas, and the best funnels you can find-and forget about scrapes.
Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and very few of them are), you
run the risk of educating nearly every deer in your hunting area.
Ridges in the Evening
I love hunting along ridge top bedding areas during the morning, but I’ve stopped hunting them anymore during the afternoon. I’ve tried, and I’ll probably try again. And, I’ll come away with the same conviction: I just wasted a good afternoon hunting a dead area. It’s not like bucks don’t walk through the bedding areas in the afternoons looking for does-they do, but not for very long. The real action is already up on its feet and walking toward a feeding area.
Hunt the places the deer are moving toward, not the places they are coming from. This simple philosophy can nearly double the length of time the deer are active around your stand. Suppose the deer get up from their beds an hour before sunset and start drifting toward their feeding areas. You have a brief flurry of activity and then everything is moving away from you. Within a half hour everything is pretty well finished in the area near your stand. That little dab of activity is just not worth the risk you take of bumping and educating deer when you try to enter the stand spot.
That brings up the second reason why you should skip bedding areas in the afternoon: it’s nearly impossible to approach them during the day without blowing the hunt. Deer don’t pick their bedding areas randomly-they are the safest places within their home range and where they have the ultimate advantage. Your approach can either be seen or smelled by every deer within a pretty large area. You might as well just drive to your stand on your four-Wheeler trailing 10 feet of your dirty laundry behind.
These are my favorite morning spots. You can sneak in easily while the deer are close to their feeding areas and be waiting for them. But don’t let the great action in the a.m. tempt you into thinking these are good afternoon stands. You’ll be sorely disappointed.
Early Season Bedding Areas
The temptation to hunt your best morning and evening stands as soon as the season opens is almost irresistible. I used to do it, but discovered it’s another deadly mistake. Accelerating the education of your deer well before the rut means they will be tougher to hunt when prime time finally arrives.
It is only natural after being away from the hunt for several months to want to jump right into it with gusto. On top of that, you’re accustomed to a normal hunting day that includes a morning and an evening session. Unfortunately, there are few spots for a decent morning hunt during the early season, other than in a bedding area. The desire to hunt mornings will have you invading bedding areas without a clear idea of their patterns at a time when the deer are living fairly close to home and highly sensitive to hunting pressure. That’s not such a good idea.
Ramming around in bedding areas early in the season may seem logical on the surface (where else are you going to get them in the morning?), but the damage you can do to your hunting area and your odds later in the season outweighs the benefits of being in the woods a few more hours each day. Besides, if you keep them acting naturally and on a Patten, you’ll have a decent chance of taking the buck you want in the evening by hunting only where he feeds.
When deer are in feeding patterns, concentrate on your home-front honey-dos in the morning, so you’ll have them out of the way before the rut Instead, focus all your efforts on hunting the feeding areas in the evening. You can Patten them from a distance, producing almost no impact until you move in for the kill. If that honey-do list is already complete, spend your mornings watching the deer leave feeding areas from a distance. This will give you the best possible feedback about where the bucks will be found that afternoon. If you insist on hunting in the morning, definitely
stay away from your best areas and hunt bedding areas in places that you don’t plan to hunt much later in the season.
I hunted the Milk River in northern Montana a few seasons back. It’s a river bottom with very limited cover, most of it located inside the river bends and in low swampy areas nearby. The bucks are very visible from the bluffs over-looking the river and we spent our mornings watching them leave the alfalfa fields so we could peg the trails most likely to produce action when they came back out in the afternoon. It would have been hunting’s version of suicide to sit back in those river bends in the morning. Sure, we might have gotten lucky and picked off a buck when he
came back to bed, but the impact more likely would have pushed them into the surrounding coulee country or at very least made them nocturnal.
Four or five bowhunters may hunt that stretch of river during a week, but almost no one actually sits in a treestand during the mornings. The odds of ruining whatever feeding patterns we’ve been
able to uncover are too much of a risk. We focused on the easy patterns (where they feed) and forgot about the hard patterns (where they bed). It’s good advice for anyone hunting early-season bucks.
Obvious spots are often the worst locations for a stand-not because they don’t contain deer, but just the opposite. These spots are high-activity areas, loaded with sign, and probably the best
hotspots your hunting area has to offer. But, as you’ve hopefully gathered from my observations, therein lies their greatest seduction. Whenever you hunt a high-activity area that isn’t perfect (and
very few of them are), you run the risk of quickly educating nearly every deer in the neighborhood.
There are few things you can do that will have a more damaging affect on your chances for success than spending time hunting any one of these five deceitful stands. If you resist their temptations, your success rate will reap great benefits from your discipline.
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Published by archerchick on 22 Mar 2010
Martin Pro Series Scepter – February 1995
Bow Hunting World
New level in Bow Design
The Ultimate Bow Available in Hunting or Target Colors
Discover the Magical Wizardry of Martin’s New Scepter
DISCOVER THE MAGICAL WIZARDRY OF MARTIN’S NEW SCEPTER!
The R & D Wizards of Martin Archery have produced a riser that is so well
balanced, so vibration free and so accurate that you won’t need to ask the
mystics why your scores have improved!
A new level of machined aluminum riser design! The Scepter riser
features Martin’s new Tru-TrackTM Arrow Rest System (patent pending) as an integral part of it’s design, Like no other Arrow Rest System, the Tru-Track (patent pending) incorporates on extendable arrow rest mount that extends from within the riser in any position.
Shoot full length, long overdraw or anywhere in between for ultra fine tuning!
An arrow shelf pocket enables the Tru-Track rest to recess completely below the path of the arrow’s flechings, No other riser design provides this level of clearance!
The Scepter owes it’s total lock of noise and vibration to Martin’s new V.E,C, System (patent pending), The V,E,C, (Vibration Escape ChamberTM) system incorporates a vented riser chamber that is designed to accept optional vibration absorbing inserts.
As the Wizard wields his staff of power, this year’s top shooters will be wielding the new Martin Scepter
the Scepter provides on IBO rating of Over 300 f.p.s.
Machined Aluminum riser in anodized brite blue, red, violet, and hunter grey
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Published by archerchick on 21 Mar 2010
Do-It-Yourself Arrow Storage Box – by Glenn Helgeland
Archery World July 1982
Storing arrows can be a pain, but here’s an efficient, neat way to store
a bunch of them attractively and safely.
All it involves is a wooden box with the key to the unit being one or two pieces of eggcrate-style covering units intended for recessed lighting. Most any lumberyard should have everything you need.
The photos with this story show the construction and finished product.
Don’t be put off by the size of the arrow box shown. I need one that size because I use a lot of different types of arrows for photographic purposes, and over the years. I’ve accumulated a lot of different types.
Now that my kids are starting to shoot, we need arrow storage for me, my wife and the kids. You want to know how fast a few kids can go through a supply of arrows? Fast enough that I make certain they’re going to shoot only wooden ones for a while; I can’t afford anything else for them.
Materials include ll4″ and/or 3/8″ plywood, 1″ x 1/2″ furring strips, wood glue, piano hinge, a handful of 4- or 6-penny box nails, about three feet of nylon webbing, two locking hooks with eyes, four stove bolts with appropriate nuts and washers, and the eggcrate units.
The best thing about this box is that the only blueprints you’ll need are in your head, and it doesn’t cost much to produce. Just figure out how many arrows you need to store and plan accordingly. One tip: Arrows can be stored in every square of the eggcrate, but you’ll do less ruflling of fletching if you store them in alternating squares. The amount of storage space you have available will help you make that decision.
Once you determine the outside dimensions of the box, cut the plywood to fit, cut four furring strip pieces to fit the full width and cut four small blocks from the furring strips to glue in place as support midway underneath the length of the upper and lower eggcrate units.
Furring strips and blocks to support the lower eggcrate unit are glued on the floor piece and to the end pieces, then nailed. This gives good strength. Furring strips and blocks to support the upper unit are glued far enough down from the top to at least allow the eggcrate to be positioned flush with the top of the plywood.
You can recess it in as far as you like. I left a 2-l /2 inch slot on the front of the box to lighten it a bit and to make it easy to check the arrow tips to see if they were dropping in position. Trying to peer down through one eggcrate unit at another eggcrate unit and line up arrows at the same time will make you crosseyed in a hurry.
The upper front panel could be much narrower. All you really need is a strip wide enough to serve as a stiffener and to keep the eggcrate unit from sliding out. (The two eggcrate units are simply dropped in position on the furring strips. There’s no need to fasten them in.)
I used a piano hinge to fasten the box hinge on the wall. This keeps it out of my kids’ reach, yet I can drop the unit forward to make it easier for arrow placement. The webbing is simply bolted to the box with stove bolts, washers and nuts.I ran the bolts through the furring strips to gain
maximum support. The straps are fastened to my garage wall with through-the-wall collapsible nuts on stove bolts fitted with large washers.
I used locking hooks with the eyes so my kids wouldn’t accidentally knock the hooks loose and have the box crash down on their heads.
What do I do with arrows which have a fixed broadhead? I remove the insert and replace it with a screw-in insert. I have a box of field points on a nearby shelf and the broadheads are stored where my kids can’t get into them.
Cost? Depends upon the size arrow box you build. Should be less than $25, even if
you need to buy plywood. the eggcrate units I bought cost $6.50 each.
Someday I may even get around to staining or painting the plywood. That probably
will be the same day I clean out my garage. I will have aged by then.
Just how many arrows will this huge box store? Subtracting the squares under the furring strip blocks and end pieces. I came up with 1,914 Storing them every other square means 957 arrows.
I don’t believe I’ll ever need to build a second one. I can store a pile of arrows in a small space with these eggcrate units, keeping them safe from damage. <–<<
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Published by archerchick on 19 Feb 2010
HOWARD HILL LIVES – By Sam Fadala
….Through The Dedication And Skills Of His Appointed Predecessors, Who Carry On The Tradition Of The Famed Hill Longbow
Sam Fadala is an outdoor writer specializing in hunting, fishing, conservation and natural history.
Tucked away in a mountain valley is the small town of Hamilton, Montana. The area holds promise for the archer in the form of big whitetail bucks that sneak the beautiful Bitterroot River bottom, and the elk, moose, mule deer and black bear that frequent the hills all around. Hamilton is also important to the bow and arrow enthusiast for another reason: It is the home of the Howard Hill Archery Company and Long Bow Manufacturing, producers of the famous Hill-style longbow and accouterments.
Ted Ekin runs the shop. John Schulz builds the bows. Friends and students of Howard Hill, both men are today continuing the tradition established by the world’s greatest archer by the manufacture and sale of the bows and equipment he used, and in perpetuating the Hill method of shooting the bow. I spent five hours in Ekin’s shop and Schulz’s little factory handling the merchandise, watching bows go together one at a time, listening to both men tell of Hill and his feats, witnessing Schulz shoot wooden discs out of the air and trying the longbow for myself.
As a youth I had many a lemonwood straight-stick bow. It seems that youngsters almost invent the bow all over again each generation, and the first models are bent bamboo poles or –in my case –an oleander limb with string. So I had experience with straight bows, but had never tried the handmade split-bamboo laminated creations fostered by Hill and his followers –until the trip to Hamilton.
I not only had the chance to try the bows, but I also hefted the arrow that Howard shot his big bull elephant with back in 1950. And I saw the shafts Hill used to shoot at the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men in the film “Robin Hood.” I had always wondered how they managed the famous split-arrow shot when Robin won the big tournament in Merry Olde England. Not trick photography at all, Hill performed that feat in real life, with actors, extras, and cameras looking on to verify it.
Ted Ekin met Howard Hill in California. Ted was an enthusiastic archer and tournament shooter at the time and, in 1960, he coupled his love for archery with Hill’s in a business venture. Archery was not yet enjoying widespread interest and sales were slow. Later on, Ekin got tired of the big city and decided to move to less populated climes. He found himself in Hamilton, Montana, along with the love for the longbow that followed him wherever he went.
He had to try again, and he did in Hamilton. Of course, he needed someone to build the bows to Hill’s specs because they were going to be fully endorsed by the famous archer. Looking for the right man was easy. Hill had known John Schulz since Schulz was a boy, and he had taught him patiently how to craft the longbow just right. Ekin got ahold of Schulz, told him what he had in mind and Schulz moved to Hamilton. The bowyer set up the longbow company making the Hill bow exclusively for Ted Ekin.
I knew a few moments after meeting Schulz that he was used to dealing with people who didn’t know much about longbows. He handed me an eighty-four pound model and I almost pitched it right over my head. It only weighed nineteen ounces!
“That feels like a bow, doesn’t it,” Schulz stated, no question intended. I had to admit it did. I expected an eighty-four pounder to have some physical weight to go with it.
“The true longbow,’ Schulz instructed me, “is not wide limbed, but thin, instead, and deep cored -thick, in other words, this makes ’em shoot right. In a word, they are stable.
Several straight bows are being made today, but they are not the Hill-type of longbow that Howard Hill insisted on.”
The other types, I learned were flat-limbed straight bows, and having seen them I could tell a difference between the longbow and the straight-bow types, as Schulz made the distinction.
Today, the company builds several models: The Big Five and Tembo – Top of the line models with split-bamboo laminations – followed by the Mountain Man, Halfbreed and Redman – all handmade.
None of the hill bows come off a press, and that is why you must have a bowyer, a craftsman, someone who puts them together one at a time.
Another bow in the line is the Howard Hill Commemorative, only seventy-five of them made – one for each year of Hill’s life. These sell for around $500, but the top of the line Big Five goes for about $140, with the Mountain Man running around $90. Aside from bows, there are the Hill style armguards and shooting gloves, as well as a fine back quiver made of tanned leather. I especially liked the quiver. Hill designed it and he must have done so after years of trial and error because it feels just right on the back and is easy to draw from.
Schulz looked me straight in the eye, grabbed up the eighty-four pound bow I had been admiring and twisted the string hard, right next to the bow nock. “That would unstring a recurve bow,” he said. “But it won’t bother this one because of that same word I mentioned earlier – stability. Hill told me he didn’t believe he could have performed his feats with the bow if he had had to use a more sensitive type.
“These bows are not sensitive,” Schulz went on, ” and you don’t shoot them the way you do a compound or a recurve.” I had a feeling I was in for a lesson, and I was right. Ekin and Schulz walked over to the ever-present shooting bales by the shop and Schulz shot while Ekin talked.
“You should have seen Howard shoot,” Ekin said. “He was fluid. He was smooth. He said you had to keep the right momentum. If you drew rapidly, you shot fast. If you drew slowly, you shot slower. It was a rhythm that you didn’t break.”
Hill did not shoot straight up, head high. He leaned into his shot as a good shotgunner does. In fact, the best comparison I can think of to explain his way of handling the bow is a comparison of rifle and shotgum shooting. The rifleman stands tall and relaxed – but not loose. He aims deliberately and usually has a device to help him aim. He squeezes off carefully. Most of us shoot a bow this way, maybe because we are, basically a nation of riflemen.
The good shotgunner is loose and natural in his swing, leaning a bit forward perhaps, relaxed,
not choking down on his gun, maintaining a smooth balance and flow. That was Hill. And that was why he could hit moving targets. He passed this style of shooting on to his young partner, John Schulz, almost twenty years ago and Schulz went on to give exhibitions of his own, most recently at the Pennsylvania Bowhunter’s Festival where Schulz’s shooting and talking earned him an invitation to next year’s meet.
Watching a longbow shooter at work, one would think he does not actually sight his bow. He does, but not with a device. He sights his bow by knowing several things almost intuitively: the range, the arc of the arrow to get to that range, the size of the target and the relationship of all the variables. All of us have some facility at this kind of aiming. If we toss a rock at a tin can forty feet away we will be close most of the time, even though the rock pitched is ill-shaped and uneven, varying in weight from other stones we might pitch right after it.
We don’t have any sights on that rock but know fairly well how to launch it because we have a feeling for how much power it will take to reach the target, how much arc, how large the target is and the relationship of all these things. Longbows don’t normally wear sights because this instinctive type of shooting style is employed with them.
They say Hill looked at the point of his arrow and the gap it made with the target, above or below it. This may be, and I have no way of knowing how true it is, but I would bet a dollar to a gumdrop that Hill felt his way to the target using the instinctive principles we all have facility for when we practice.
Purists that they are, Ekin and Schulz have studied the bow type they like so well and compared it with the more elaborate fashions on the market today. Their witnessed findings interested me, as I think they will the reader. First, actual performance of the Hill-type laminated bamboo fiberglass bow is up with other types of instruments.
“When we get bow orders, the customer always seems to ask for something ten pounds heavier than his present recurve ‘so it will shoot with it'” say’s Schulz “I don’t know why. Usually I will write back and suggest that he buy a bow of the same weight because the longbow shoots right with the other types.”
Schulz is especially upset when people tell him that compounds will shoot fifty percent faster than his stick bows. At one meet, a bow company had a chronograph set up and Schulz shot his personal longbow against a compound. The compound won, by three foot-seconds of speed.
“Now, that is hardly fifty percent,” Schulz chuckled. Both bows were about the same weight and the same arrows were shot. Of course, a compound can use light spined arrows in many cases and then it will gain in the velocity domain, but even then a full fifty percent will seldom be the case.
On hunts or wherever archers gather, Schulz and Ekin are willing to put their Hill bows up against the recurves and compounds that are present, and so far they have not been embarrassed by the performance of the so-called old-fashioned longbow. Shooting for cast distance, they outranged many a modern factory recurve in the presence of other archers. Difference of opinion makes not only the horse race, but also the existence of different styles and types of equipment, of course. But I did learn that thinking of the longbow of today as that lemonwood stick of yesteryear is a mistake.
Schulz went on to explain that the biggest problem he had in bow orders was the tendency for archers to overtax themselves in bow pull. Par of this, he felt, was the old wives’ tale about the longbow having to weigh more to perform well. I suspect, too, that when we order a Hill bow we have an image of the master in our minds and we are somewhat ashamed to say “Send me a fifty-five pounder” when Howard used an eighty-five in his backyard for practice.
Hill reasoned that he could gain speed, thus having to worry less about arrows varying widely from his line of sight,and also gain penetration by learning to draw heavy pulls. He was, of course, right. He also worked his way up to those big bows of one hundred and more pounds. He did not start with them. Hill was a powerful man. With several onlookers he strung a one hundred-pound bow while sitting in a chair. He was about 60 years old at the time.
As archers, we have to first of all be honest with ourselves when it comes to bow weight, and we have to acknowledge the fact that we are not sissies just because our bows don’t pull ninety pounds. But I’m guilty. Having made it to seventy pounds I figured I would go one step further and try the thrill of whistling arrows out of an eighty. I was whistling alright, but not arrows. The whistle was a “whew!” as I strained back on the string. After using up two full tubes of liniment on my sore muscles, I dropped back to the seventy.
There is a current trend to return to traditional archery and the equipment that goes with it, while at the same time compound bow sales soar and new models appear, it seems, weekly. I like the trend. It makes sense to me. We should have the choice of equipment, and we should be able to expand our tackle so that we have several kinds if we want to. I have a good rifle, but it doesn’t mean that I am going to throw my shotgun away. They compliment each other and serve at different capacities.
Besides, the argument of longbow versus recurve versus compound is mostly academic in the first place and is something akin to comparing bananas and apples which are both fruit, but that is where the comparison ends – shape, texture and constitution being vastly different. The same holds true for the bow types, and Howard Hill knew it. Sure, the longbow was for him. He loved the simplicity and the high performing stability, but he also said, “No matter what kind of bow you shoot, no matter whether you shoot freestyle or barebow, if you are shooting with a bow and arrow I am with you.”
As for the scientific arguments that underrate the longbow and take two reams of graph paper, a calculator and twenty formulae to decipher, well, remember that scientifically the bumblebee cannot in any way manage to fly. His mass is too great for the wing surface and his muscle structure too limited. Please, though, don’t tell the bee. He doesn’t know he can’t fly and it might prove a hell of a disappointment for him to find out.
The longbow is a worthy addition to the tackle of the modern archer. In a world of supersonic flight and computerized living, it is refreshing to handle a tool basic and simple, and that is the longbow. It’s somewhat refined today with modern cements bonding split bamboo to risers of bubinga and rosewood, but traditional in form all the same.
While a spaceship scoops a cup of Martian soil with its metallic hand, depositing the dust into a scientific chamber for analyses, some of us are taking a few moments out of a busy schedule to propel feathered shafts from a bent stick the way our forbears did in times past, and maybe that is what recreation is all about <—–<<
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Published by osnapchuckie on 18 Feb 2010
This is a complete set, Tuned and Ready to go.
Hoyt Vantage Ultra sport model bow: Draw weight 50-70lbs, i believe its 80% let off. 27-30 Inch Draw. Cam and a 1/2 setup. New strings, kept waxed.
Simple target rest, Limb Savers, silencers, stabilizer, True glo quick adjust target site, Quick release quiver.
With Full set of carbon hunting and target arrows and hard case.
Bow is tuned and shows it. Bow is priced at $600 for the bow alone…
Price is $475.00
Please email me at: email@example.com
Located in Port Huron, MI 48060
Published by archerchick on 16 Feb 2010
The outcome was quite typical. There I was with my handheld 10-power glass while my elbows were braced against my knees, intently scoping out the surroundings, while my good buddy Ron was using his 15×56 Swarovski binocular mounted atop an ultra-sturdy Bogen tripod. I was coming up dry while Ron, who was pretty comfortable leaning against his Jeep, was identifying bucks all over the rugged, desert hillside. It became apparently obvious that I was using a poor glassing system, which was certainly limiting my chances of spotting and stalking a buck that day.
No matter what you hunt, to be most effective you must tailor your equipment to the type of hunting you’ll be doing. Out west, first and foremost this means employing clear, high-power optics and various glassing techniques that will enable you to spot game so the hunt can begin.
Personally, I don’t know anyone more gifted at spotting game in wide-open western country thatn some of the hardcore bowhunters and guides who live and do most of their hunting in the Southwest.
Here’s how many of these hunters approach glassing in such country. And due to their success on tough-to-bag critters, such as trophy mule deer, elk, desert bighorn sheet and Coues deer, I know you’ll want to begin employing their tricks and tactics.
Glassing Speed: Good or Bad?
As an outfitter in the Southwest, Chad Smith has one of the best reputations I know of. One of the reasons why he’s so successful with clients is due to his experience and savvy at spotting game amid the vast desert terrain. He’s done it for most of his life -20-plus years – so this guy knows his stuff.
When I quizzed Chad about his glassing techniques he kind of stunned me with some of his advice. It’s not what many so-called experts have been telling us over the years.
“I use 10-power binoculars 90 percent of the time, even in the most expansive country,” Chad told me. “I’m more effective this way, since I can look over a lot of terrain, and in a short amount of time.”
Also, Chad doesn’t use a set pattern when glassing hillsides. He glasses those areas that appear best for holding game and then he moves out to the secondary locations. “I consider myself the world’s fastest glasser,” said Chad. “Some guys set up and just stare at terrain, virtually picking it apart. Personally, I think this technique limits your ability to cover a lot of terrain. That’s why I don’t glass this way. It sounds romantic to say you glassed up a leg, antler or ear of a deer, but nearly most of the time you’re glassing the whole deer,” said Chad, who obviously believes glassing speed can make the difference in success or failure. Of course, this goes against what many say, and that is to pick apart terrain slowly, not sweep past it. But Chad’s technique is well-honed, and what many would consider a “sweep” is a fast but well-orchestrated view of the surroundings.
Chad also routinely mounts his favorite 10×42 binocular (either a Leica or Zeiss) to a Gitzo 1228 LVL tripod that is equipped with a 3130 Bogen fluid head, doing a lot of long-range glassing this way. When at a high vantage point and he has already looked over the area with this 10-power glass, only will he then employ a big binocular to scour the terrain. For the past 10 years he’s used a Doctor 30×80 binocular for such work, which is no longer available. However, at this time, he’s working with the Outdoorsman in Phoenix (800/291-8065; www.outdoorsmans.com), on a prototype binocular that will offer 20-45 magnification with 55mm objective lenses, which he feels will be the ultimate long-range glassing tool.
According to Chad, one of the biggest mistakes he sees novice hunters make is failing to look over a valley or basin with the naked eye first before sitting down to intently glass. Sometimes game can be below you within 100 yards or so, and not a mile away. If you don’t scan terrain first, you could spook or limit our chances of the essence, particularly during the early seasons when the window of time when deer are on the move and more visible is 1 1/2 hours or less.
One big misconception out there is always glassing with the sun at your back. You have to learn to glass with the sun in your face. This allows you to look over terrain that is more shaded and more accommodating for animals to bed and feed in. Also, when it’s hot, says Chad, it’s a good idea to glass the shade all day long because that’s where you’ll find the animals.
Beyond knowing how to glass, you must know when to start your stalk as well. “If a buck isn’t in the right place for a stalk, you’ve got to wait,” said Chad. “We’ve sat on deer from daylight till dark waiting for the right moment to strike. And even then, you might have to try the next day, or the one after that.”
Glass All Day
Jay Scott has been hunting the Arizona mountains and deserts since he was 15 years old. However, he wasn’t very effective early on since he relied more on foot travel to locate game, rather than using good hunting optics to do the work. “I was introduced to hunting by my friend Jason Melde, and he was always a very good glasser,” says Jay. “Eventually, I ended up catching on over the years and began upping my success.”
When glassing, Jay prefers very prominent vantage points. “I feel the more country you can see, the better your chances are of finding the game you’re after.” Some hunters routinely glass from the truck, which Jay feels can be effective in some cases, particularly when you ‘re hunting a new place and you need to cover lots of country quickly. “I have been known to stand on top of my truck in some situations, especially in country that’s flat with no vantage points,” said Jay.
“I really don’t have a particular pattern and quite frankly don’t necessarily fall for the grid system,” said Jay. “I first glass what looks good to me, work the other areas and then do it all over again. If you get too caught up in a glassing grid it may cause you to miss something. For instance, if you are stuck in a grid and a buck walks through a saddle, you may miss the buck. If there are areas that you know will be consistent travel routes you need to be constantly checking back to them and then continue on with your glassing grid. Regardless of your technique, don’t leave any bit of terrain unturned with the binocular.”
While others consider prime time just that –prime time, Jay believes mid-day glassing has a lot of merit. “Me and my hunting partners have found some of best bucks during the middle of the day. You simply can’t quit glassing.”
Jay considers the following as the biggest rookie mistakes: not using a tripod, or using a flimsy cheap one; using low-quality optics; not getting comfortable enough to glass for long periods of time; failing to regularly clean lenses; arriving at key glassing spots too late in the morning. “Also, it is absolutely necessary to bed your quarry and then keep your buddy watching while you make your stalk.” said Jay. “By bedding the animal you usually are guaranteeing yourself 45 minutes to get into shooting position. A buddy who can signal you during the stalk is a deadly advantage.”
Favors Grid Glassing
As a hunting guide, consultant for Swarovski Optik, and native Arizonan, Chris Denham knows more than a thing or two about glassing game in the Southwest. Put more precisely, he knows a lot, and I consider him one of the best I’ve seen.
“Utilizing quality optics has been the most important part of my hunting for 25 years,” said Chris. “I was raised in Douglas and had the good fortune to hunt with Marvin and Warner Glenn. The Glenn family guided for Coues and mule deer using quality binoculars like Zeiss 10x40s and the better Bausch & Lomb models. I quickly learned that my success would be dependant on my ability to find deer before they found me, and quality binoculars gave me the advantage I needed.” “All of my optics are made by Swarovski,” said Chris. “I carry an 8×32 EL around my neck and a 15×56 SLC, and a STS-80 spotting scope in my pack. The EL is very easy to hold with one hand, which I think is beneficial to the bowhunter during the stalk. The 15-power binocular mounted to a tripod allows me to study fine details and find deer and sheep out to three miles, while the spotting scope is generally used to evaluate trophy-quality. When using the binocular I am not always able to determine if that funny-looking spot is a deer or an inanimate object; in a situation like this, the spotting scope will answer the question and allow you to move on or start stalking.”
When chosing a glassing area, Chris sizes up things very methodically. “I pay more attention to the sun than the wind direction,” said Chris. “On a cold morning animals will often move to or stay in a sunny spot, while on warm afternoons they will seek out some shade. Either way, don’t put yourself in a position that requires you to look directly into the sun.”
Like Chad Smith, Chris prefers to initially look over his immediate surroundings without optics. However, once he sits down to glass, he looks over the area systematically, glassing in a grid pattern. “I start at the bottom left corner of the area I want to cover and look at it for 10 to 20 seconds (depending on the species, terrain and vegetation),” said Chris. “After 20 seconds I will move a ‘half frame’ to the right, so I am essentially looking at each field of view twice. In areas that have a lot of concealed terrain or excessive vegetation, I may go through this routine three to four times.”
“Glassing effectively is much like reading a book with fine print; you need to be comfortable and relaxed to be effective. If you are shivering after a long hike, or you are forced to sit on sharp rocks, you will not want to glass for long. Carry a cushion or small chair (especially if the ground is wet) to sit on. I like to carry an extra shirt so that when I get sweaty on a hike I can put on the warm dry shirt when I stop to glass.”
“Talent is a gift you are born with and skill is something that can be obtained through proper training. Glassing is a skill, not a talent,” said Chris. “The first time I glass with a new hunter I always put them in charge of monitoring each deer I see. When trying to keep track of 1 to 10 deer at a time they learn to recognize deer when they can only see a small part of the deer. The more you watch an animal in multiple presentations, the more likely you will be able to recognize that animal in the future. This is glassing ‘practice’.”
“When stalking, I like to get within 200 yards with the wind in a safe direction and then study the stalk. You may have a prevailing southwest wind, but there may be a back draft in a small draw or canyon. In the winter (in the Southwest) it is not uncommon for the breezes to change 180 degrees as the frosty morning air reaches its afternoon peak. Pay close attention to what the wind is doing every day, even if you are not on an active stalk. This will improve your decision making when the adrenaline rush of a stalk sets in.” <—<<
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Published by admin on 03 Feb 2010
To achieve accuracy with broadheads, straight arrow flight must follow,
and nothing decides this more than the fletching on the arrow.
By Joe Bell
Ask any qualified engineer and they’ll tell you that aerodynamics is a complicated subject. Variables are far and wide when dealing with air resistance and the shape of things. This is why designing aircraft is such a high-paying profession – it’s not easy.
This is also why tuning arrows for straight flight ca n sometimes wear out even the most experienced archers. We’ve learned over the years that to obtain precisely straight arrow flight, we must first choose the correctly spined arrow shaft for our bow. To find this out, we shoot this “bare” shaft through taut paper to see if it punches a neat bullet hole (or slight horizontal tear with a finger release). If it does, then it’s the correct shaft for our setup.
Once this is done, we’re left with choosing the proper amount of fletching for our arrows. The fletching on an arrow are responsible for one thing: to cause drag – or friction – that will help stabilize the arrow in flight, therefore allowing it to fly straight through the air and to its intended target. Of course, when you add a fixed-blade broadhead to the picture, this steering effect becomes much more complicated – similar to the aerodynamics behind building airplanes – because now the front end of the shaft wants to “steer” as well.
So in a sense, with fixed-blade broadheads – and even with mechanical broadheads – fletching size, configuration and the orientation in which they are attached is the only element that can control whether or not your arrows fly straight. This is why the subject of arrow fletching is so important.
According to Bob Mizek, one of New Archery Products’ top engineers, the most critical time the flight of a broadhead-tipped arrow is affected is when the arrow first comes out of the bow and before the arrow starts to rotate. “Aerodynamically speaking, the blades of a broadhead act like canards on an airplane,” Mizek said. “Anyway, unless the arrow comes off the string perfectly with perfect center-shot, perfect vertical orientation, perfect nock travel, and with no torque on the grip, the air stream will push against the side of one or more blades, forcing the arrow away from its desired path. Aerodynamically, this is called yaw if it’s left to right and pitch if it’s up and down.
“When the arrow rotates, centrifugal force pushes the arrow back towards its true center and reduces pitch and yaw (this would be a bad thing in an airplane for obvious reasons but is a good thing in an arrow since an arrow does not have a pilot to do course corrections),” Mizek added. “The sooner you can get the arrow rotating, the sooner yaw and pitch can be reduced or eliminated, resulting in tighter groups. Arrows that are tipped with field points or mechanical broadheads still benefit from the arrow rotating because one side of an arrow experiencing yaw or pitch feels air pressure more than the other, causing the arrow to fly inconsistently.”
As you may know, New Archer Products invented the new QuikSpin plastic vanes that were designed to maximize arrow spin, and therefore maximize arrow control and accuracy. The vanes are said to begin spinning an arrow almost immediately out of the bow. This in turn allows the arrow to experience air drag sooner in flight, which theoretically should make the arrow more stable and less susceptible to the forces of side air resistance that could push it off course.
“For reference, a typical arrow fletched offset with 4-inch QuikSpin vanes start rotating in only 18 inches. It reaches full rotation in two to three yards,” Mizek said. “The same arrow set up with conventional vanes typically requires 12 yards. The effect on accuracy by getting the arrow spinning sooner and then faster is incredible.
Are the Rules Changing?
Over the years, we’ve been told that the amount of air drag cased by fletching is dependent on its size and shape. For more air drag, you use longer fletching. For less, you use shorter fletching. For the ultimate in air drag, use the same size feathers. Right? Well, in the pat couple of years I’ve learned the rules may be changing.
While on a hunting trip with my good friend Bruce Barrie, I noticed his arrows were dressed with target-size vanes (they were Duravane’s 3-D vanes). I asked him how he could be shooting such a small vane, but he swore by what great arrow flight he was achieving with small fixed bladed heads, even at sever high speeds.
Later, a rep from Norway (the company that makes the Duravanes) told me that the secret behind these 2.3-inch vanes was its design. The vanes may be short, but the design is very rigid to deduce blade “flap” through the air, which increases its ability to create air drag. Plus, the vane’s compact size optimizes clearance with arrow rests.
This same concept is the premise behind Bohning’s excellent new Blazer vane. At only 2 inches long, this vane is said to offer all the stabilization required to properly steer fixed-blade broadheads. The Blazer vane is slightly more than 1/2-inch tall and the vane is very rigid so wind flap is nearly if not completely eliminated.
Personally, I believe some longer/larger fletching is more prone to “flapping” when they are subjected to high speeds. With slower arrow speeds, air resistance isn’t as violent, therefore arrows fletched with longer/larger fletching provide excellent air drag and arrow control. But with modern speed bows and carbon arrows, reducing arrow speed isn’t really an option, nor do most bowhunters want slow arrow speed.
NAP’s QuikSpin vanes, I’m told, were not only designed to spin the arrow faster but also to prevent from flapping wildly in the air stream. How is this done? The vane incorporates micro-grooves on one side that promote rigidity, even at that critical moment when the arrow immediately leaves the bow.
Arizona Archery Enterprises uses a “rough” finish on its Elite Plastifletch that promotes better steering in flight. The vanes are also made of special material that has better memory (ability to flap back to shape) to reduce the affects of vane flap.
Norway adds a unique, slightly tapered “blade” on their Duravanes from the base of the vane to the top to enhance steering power and to reduce vane weight. This same feature is said to eliminate blade flap and noise, too.
What about feathers? Feathers are said to offer about twice the amount of air drag as equal size vanes. The reason for this can be attributed to a feather’s surface, which is rough and full of natural “slits” that apparently cause for more air resistance or drag.
What about the orientation of fletching, the manner in which they are fletched on the shaft – either straight, offset or helical offset?
While designing the QuikSpin vane, New Archery Products has conducted many tests on the affects of air drag caused by various types of arrow fletching.
“We determined with a rather detailed and complex series of tests that to stabilize a broadhead at about 260 feet per second the arrow needs to turn about one rotation over 3 yards,” said Cary J. Pickands, technical support specialist for New Archery Products. “Our previously recorded data was then able to provide even more information, and in this case, very useable information. We looked at each data set and found the range at which each fletching type produced one full turn.”
During testing, Pickands and other members of NAP’s staff discovered that standard 4-inch vanes (AAE Plastifletch, Duravane, Bohning Killer Vanes, etc.) fletched with a 1/16-inch offset reaches one full rotation between 12 to 15 yards; 5-inch helical feathers fletched with a 3- to 4- degree wrap reaches one full rotation in between 4 and 7 yards; NAP QuickSpin 4-inch vanes fletched perfectly straight reaches one full rotation between 4 and 7 yards; and NAP QuikSpin 4-inch vanes fletched with a 1/16-inch offset reached one full rotation between 1 and 4 yards.
“As far as we can tell arrow speed has no effect on whether the vane will control the arrow,” Pickands said. “We’ve shot broadhead-tipped arrows in excess of 330 fps with phenomenal accuracy and precision.”
Testing Fletching: What Really Works?
Ultimately, only you can decide what fletching type and orientation provides adequate steering for your particular arrows and broadhead combination. Shooting different combinations of fletching with your chosen broadhead usually does this.
My good friend Ron Way, who is an engineer in the aerospace industry, told me that there are many variables that affect aerodynamics and stable flight, whether it is an aircraft or an arrow. “Very small variation can change the dynamics of flight such as the grip on the handle, a poor release, out-or-position anchor (from leaning/twisting), wind, or low or high altitudes (air density),” he said. “An arrow that is marginally stable can show decent flight when conditions are good but can be horrible if one or more of the variables change.”
Arrow Trajectory and Fletching
Ideally you should equip your arrow shafts with the smallest possible fletching that will stabilize your broadhead. This way, you can maximize your arrow’s downrange speed for flatter trajectory. Smaller fletching also means less side air resistance of the arrow that translates into less horizontal arrow drift. Also, consider the orientation of your fletching; the more offset and/or helical you apply to fletching, the slower the arrow will fly because more drag is occurring.
It Comes Down to Accuracy
The bottom line with fletching is what produces the best accuracy for you. While testing some of today’s modern fletching. I’ve noticed that in some cases the length of the fletching is not as important as the stiffness (or in other cases the memory) and the height of the fletching. The greater the stiffness (or memory) and the taller the fletch air drag becomes more pronounced for increased arrow stabilization. But then again, that’s just another impression in the world of aerodynamics.
Published by admin on 21 Jan 2010
Not only does building your own arrows save money,
but it can greatly improve the quality of them.
By Mike Veine
I’ve always been a stickler for details, and that panache for near perfection is readily apparent with my bowhunting equipment, especially my arrows. I’ve been building my own arrows for 30 years. I save $10 or more per dozen by building my own and I have fun in the process. I also use premium components, and by following proven techniques my arrows are always the best they can be.
A few years ago, a friend of mine was bowhunting for whitetails from a ground blind when a good buck presented a high percentage, close-range shot opportunity. At the shot, the buck recoiled and scampered away a short distance before stopping to look back at what had scared him. The buck then snorted an alarm and ran away unscathed.
Baffled, my friend recovered his arrow and upon examination he was shocked to see that all of the vanes had torn loose. In fact, all the arrows in his quiver suffered from the same malady. He had just purchased those rather expensive, new, carbon arrows from a discount sporting good store and had not shot them yet. Because they were the same model and size as the ones he had been shooting, he just assumed that they’d be OK. His lack of attention to detail cost him dearly. Savvy bowhunters that properly build their own arrows can avoid such a disaster.
Shaft Selection and Cutoff
Bulk shafts are typically purchased by the dozen, which is where the main savings comes in when building your own arrows. Depending on the manufacture, raw shafts are typically sold in 34-inch lengths. Unless you have exactly a 34-inch draw length, then you’ll need to size the shafts by cutting them off.
Shafts can be cut off using two different methods. The cheapest, and the one I mostly use, requires a shat cut-off tool that functions like a pipe cutter. These tools cost $20 to 30, but will only work on aluminum shafts. The cut must be perfectly clean to provide proper alignment of the insert or bushing. After cutting my shafts with such a tool, I then smooth off the end that was cut off using a jig made from scrap 2×4. The jig has several holes drilled through it to fit various sized shafts. The holes hold the shaft straight while I lightly file the end until it’s smooth and flat. I then use a dremel rotary tool to ream out the interior of the cut to remove any burs.
For carbon arrows you’ll need to use an electric arrow cut-off saw. Those saws also work great on aluminum shafts. An electric cut-off saw represents the largest investment that an arrow builder might consider. The A1-Arrow Saw made by Apple Archery Products is a good saw that retails for about $115. I’s sometimes wise to get together with a few friends, pool your funds, and buy one together. I just take my carbon shafts to an archery pro shop to have them cut. Even with a cut-off saw, though, the edges sometimes must be smoothed out using a dremel tool.
Inserts should fit snugly and must align perfectly. I prefer aluminum inserts like the ones made by Easton. For aluminum shafts, I use Bohing Ferr-L-Tite hot glue. Screw an old field point into the insert and then clamp onto it with vice-grips. Using a small propane torch, heat up the insert and the end of the shaft. Apply a small amount of the glue to the insert and then push it into the shaft until seated fully. Before the glue cools and hardens, wipe the excess off with a rag. Installed in this manner, the inserts can be rotated for broadhead alignment or removed by simply reheating them.
Carbon shafts require the use of an epoxy to adhere the inserts. I’ve used Bohning’s AAE Epoxy, which is a flexible adhesive ideally suited for inserts and bushings on carbon shafts. Once inserts are installed, screw n a broadhead and spin test it. I use an arrow straightener for this function, which will also check shaft straightens in the process. Spin the shaft by quickly rolling it and if the head wobbles at all, remove the insert and install a new one. With carbon shafts, this process must be done before the epoxy sticks.
Vanes or Feathers?
Bowhunters have been debating the virtues of feather fletching versus plastic vanes for as long as I can remember. I started out using feather as they provided more forgiveness off the crude arrow rests used in those olden days. When tests evolved to allow total fletching clearance, I switched over to plastic vanes and haven’t looked back since. Vanes are just about impervious to the weather and much more durable than feathers. Feathers are also much noisier in flight and the racket made from brushing anything against feathers has been the undoing of many bowhunters. I may take some flack for this, but unless you’re having arrow flight problems, I recommend using quality plastic vanes for bowhunting.
Many top archer use feathers. Scott Purks, one of the country’s best 3-D archers, prefers feathers even with his Mathew’s bow equipped with a drop-away rest. He says, “Feathers are kind of a pain, but they seem to shoot a little more accurately, especially at extremely long ranges.” Feathers are lighter than vanes, which equates to slightly faster arrow speeds.
When you build your own arrows, you can pick and choose from various fletchings. I prefer vanes that are very thin and flexible. Because arrows will be smashed in bow cases and otherwise bent and folded, vanes that pop back to their original shape are especially desirable. I’ve been using Easton vanes for many years and have been very happy with them. Bohning, Duravane, Arizona, Sims Vibration Labs, Flex-Fletch and others also make high-quality vanes.
Fletching color choices are virtually limitless and arrow builders have the ability to mix and match what ever colors they desire. Some bowhunters prefer colors that blend in. For them, camo fletching is available. Years ago, I used olive-drab fletchings, but today I prefer bright-colored fletching and florescent nocks so that I can watch my arrow flight better. Red and orange colors are my favorites as they provide good visibility, yet they still blend in with the fall woods as the leaves turn colors. Bright colors also make it easier to find arrows on the ground.
Most bowhunters use either 4- or 5-inch fletchings. As a rule, use longer fletching on larger-diameter shafts. For skinnier shafts, 4-inch or smaller fletching usually work best. It often pays to experiment though for optimal broadhead flight.
A fletching jig is required for proper fletching alignment o the shaft. I recommend a single arrow-fletching jig, which will ensure identical fletching alignment on every arrow made. I’ve been using the same Jo-Jan Mono Fletcher for as long as I can remember, and it works great, costing less than $40. Bitzenburger, Cabela’s and Bohning also offer quality fletching jigs.
When purchasing a fletching jig, you’ll have three options: right helical, left helical and straight fletch. Most bowhunters prefer a right-helical fletching. Right helical means that if you look down the shaft from the nock end, the fletching will angle to the right. Right helical will spin the arrow clockwise. Feather fletching users should be aware that the wing of the feather must match the helical direction. For instance, right-wing feathers require a right-wing helical fletching jig. You can also choose from three-fletch or four-fletch models. Most bowhunters use three-fletch arrows.
Ron Quick builds custom arrows at Outdoorsman (317/881-7446) a full-service archery pro shop in Greenwood, Indiana. Ron says, “Cleaning the shaft thoroughly before gluing on the fletching is the key to making them stick properly. We fist soak both aluminum and carbon shafts in acetone prior to fletching them. After that we go over the shaft with a Scotch Bright pad and water. The final cleaning step is wiping the shaft with denatured alcohol. Be warned, though, that acetone and alcohol are both highly flammable liquids.” Bohning offers a product called SSR Surface Conditioner specifically designed to degrease and prepare aluminum or carbon shafts for painting and fletching. I use acetone, but I just put some on a rag and then wipe the shaft with the stuff.
Quick added, “After the alcohol dries we glue on the fletching using Bitzenburger jigs. We just started using the new Bohning Fletch-Tite Platinum glue and love the stuff. It will glue any type of fletching to any shaft material, even the slippery carbon ones. Some of the quick-set glues that we have tried have not held well to graphite.”
For release shooters, place your fletching in the clamp so the back of the fletching is 3/4-inch from the end of the shaft( not the end of the nock). Finger shooters should use a 1-inch spacking. I set my fletching jig for a five-degree right helical, which is a common setting for a bowhunting arrow. I lay a very small bead of Fletch-Tight glue down the length of the vane and then gently press the vane in place on the jig.
With Fletch-Tire glue, I wait about five minutes before removing the fletching from the clamp, rotating the shaft and then repeating the process for the next fletching. It takes about 15 minutes for the glue to harden completely and that’s when I apply a small dab of glue on the from and back of each vane for added durability. After the fletching are installed, check for any excess glue that may have bulged out along the edge of the fletchings. I use a scalpel to trim away any excess.
Just about every one of my shooting sessions results in damaged fletchings. Arrow maintenance is another good reason to get into building your own arrows. If I had to take my damaged arrows to the pro-shop for repair, I’d go broke in a hurry. I remove my fletching with a dull knife. However, for those that need a special tool for everything, Cabela’s, Saunders and Norway offer fletch strippers. Bow & Arrow Hunting Editor Joe Bell really likes the Zip Strip model by Norway Industries.
After scraping most of the glue off the shaft, I then go over it with coarse steel wool and then follow the same procedure as described earlier for cleaning the shaft prior to applying the fletchings. Incidentally, for small tears in the vanes of my practice arrows, I sometimes just use a little Super Glue to reconnect the tear. The next time I replace a fletching on that flawed arrow, though, I replace the cobbled vane.
Dipping, Cresting and Wrapping
Dipping, cresting and wrapping arrows allows archers to customize their arrows. Adding a personal touch to your arrows is fun and the colors and designs one can create are limitless. I personally don’t bother to dress up my arrows anymore, although I’ve experimented with dipping and wraps in the past. Before cresting, dipping or wrapping, it is highly recommended to clean our shafts using the same procedure used prior to gluing on fletchings. In fact, dipping and cresting is typically done prior to installing the nock and fletchings.
I’d recommend buying a cresting kit like the one offered by Bohnng. Their kit contains everything needed to create personalized arrows including a motorized spinner to rotate the shafts for painting. Bohning also sells an instructional video for customizing your arrows.
Arrow wraps are also available through Bohning or Easy-Eye. Wraps are stickers that are rolled around the arrow shaft to create designs. Buying and applying wraps is much easier and cheaper than cresting arrows, but the degree of personalization is limited to the wrap designs available.
Dipping arrows is nothing more than painting the end of the shaft under the fletchings. Most bowhunters dip their arrows in paint to allow better visibility of the arrow when shot at game. The proliferation of video taping of bowhunters has certainly increased the number of bowhunters dipping their arrows. It’s much easier for the camera to pick up arrows dipped in brightly colored paint. White is the color choice of most pro videographers.
As a final step in the arrow building process, I apply a light coat of silicone to my arrows. This serves three purposes: First, it causes water to bead up on the shaft and run off. It also allows the arrow to be drawn over the rest with much less friction and resulting noise. Lastly, the silicone may enhance penetration.
Building your own arrows allows you to experiment with different components, helical settings and other arrow nuances to fine-tune your setup for optimal performance. It’s a lot like a rifle reloader working up a particular load to perform best in their firearm. Arrow builders fine-tune their load as well, but we just go about it a lot quieter.
Published by admin on 18 Jan 2010
My beat up leather tab…
One frequent question from traditional archers is what type of finger protection do I prefer when shooting. I have always said that instinctive shooting is mostly personal preference and you should shoot what allows you to shoot best. If you are comfortable and can shoot accurately that’s the answer.
When I was a kid I preferred a Bear glove. The package had Fred’s photo on it and I knew he wore a glove so that’s what I wanted to wear. I would wear a new glove around for days trying to soften it up and get it broken in. I still have my first Bear glove. Those were happy days. I’d spend hours in the back yard shooting pretending to be Fred Bear on some remote adventure. I always told Fred he’d made me a better shooter and those big shoulder’s of Fred’s would rock with laughter.
I tried some tabs along the way and eventually went to bare fingers. I shot this way for several years and built my fingers up. I tended to drag my third finger so it usually had more calluses than the others. However, one time around 1990 the late Rev. Stacy Groscup and I shared a stage together performing at a local sports show. There was a stage but no chairs so the audience would stand at the stage. After about eight rows back people couldn’t see so Stacy and I would do a show, let that eight rows leave and then we’d immediately do another show. I think we ended up doing more than 20 shows that weekend and my fingers were throbbing so much that they hurt when they touched the sheets at night. So the last day of the show Stacy handed me a special hand made leather tab he made. I used it that day and had great results with it, even with my sore fingers.
I gave his tab back and he told me he would make some tabs especially for me. I forgot about it until a few weeks later a package arrived. It was full of leather tabs, mostly brown leather but a few were out of different materials. I picked one and noticed Stacy had signed the back of it. That was 1990. Now, 20 years later, I use that same tab today. I have never had to use one of the back up tabs. I am still using the original tab.
It’s made out of flat leather and I carry it in my wallet. I always have it with me. The last thing I do before heading on stage is take out my wallet and place the tab on my right hand. It’s a quiet reminder of Stacy and a tradition that I’ve stuck with all these years. I say a quick prayer and then head on stage.
What type of finger protection do you prefer?
Wearing a tab helps me get away from dragging my third finger so much. I feel I get a cleaner release with the tab. I also like the fact that I can always have it with me, even if I don’t have my bow and someone wants to shoot I am ready. I like the tradition and feel of a leather glove but feel I am just a little more accurate with my Groscup tab. I have several in my desk drawer at home. I told someone this supply should get me through the rest of my archery career and still have some left over to pass along to my son Gus.
In closing, my best advice is to shoot what allows you to shoot best. We want you enjoying archery and hitting what you shoot at. That’s the name of the game.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, Adios & God Bless.
Frank Addington, Jr.
The Aspirin Buster