Archive for the 'Personal Blogs' Category

5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 55 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 3.80 out of 5)
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Published by Big Shot on 26 Sep 2008

Tools of the Trade

Here I sit, having payed WAY too much to get 5 different bows tuned and ready to shoot. I ask myself, why in the world does it cost that much, and the answer, you pay for ignorance. Not theirs, but ours. Ignorance of how to do it. Ignorance of what all you would need to do it. And in the end, ignorance of the fact that you NEED to know how to do it. What would happen if one day I was on a hunt, and first thing in the day I snap a d-loop or drop my bow and knock my rest out of alignment? My day would be ruined, quite frankly my whole hunting trip could be ruined.

So I add up the money I spent on getting the work done for me and realize that I could have bought all the equipment it would take to just do it all myself. Of course, it wouldn’t be done by now (about a month after the fact), because there’s that ignorance thing I mentioned before. Can’t be that hard though, right?!? So, let the journey begin.

  • Bow press in the mail… check
  • Basic set of allen wrenches… check
  • A few bow specific tools (I’ll get into the details later)… check
  • Places to go to for information… check
  • Basic mechanical knowledge… check
  • Someone to go to when I inevitably mess it all up… not without giving away another arm!!

So, what does it take to set up shop? Not as much as you would think, but there are some must haves. First and foremost among them is a space to work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you need a large dedicated shop, or even a dedicated corner for that matter. Your space can be as simple as your coffee table or kitchen table. A big word of advice though, get a small folding table to use instead. Nothing will hinder relations with your significant other faster than ruining said coffee or kitchen table!!! It doesn’t need to be big, just somewhere to lay out your bow and tools. If you do have to set up on the furniture, lay out an old towel for a work surface, it will keep your bow from getting scratched as well. Now that you have a work area, on to the tools.

Bow Press
There are lots of options here. You can go portable with something like the Bowmaster, or get a full blown shop style setup with the Apple Press and stand. There are tons of options in prices ranging from ~$40 all the way into the thousands. The most important thing is to make sure it will work for your bow. Some presses will not work for split limb bows without an adapter that you will have to buy. Some will not press parallel limb bows without being modified. The difference here is in the way the limbs flex on a parallel vs. non-parallel bow. Parallel limbs flex vertically when the bow is drawn due to the fact that they are essentially in a horizontal plane. Non-parallel limbs will flex somewhere between vertical and horizontal, roughly at an angle towards the nock of the string. Due to this difference, if you try and press a parallel limb on a press not designed for it, it will not press fully and could damage the bow. Same applies to the non-parallel limb on a parallel press.

Presses are used for many things. Anytime you need to modify anything attached to the string, you will need to press it so that you can separate the strands of the string to get the accessories in between them. You need it to adjust cam timing (the rotation of the cams) or change draw length mods. Also for when it comes time to change out aging strings and cables, or repair damaged ones. You shouldn’t need it that often, but when you do need it there is no substitute.
Examples….

Bow Vise
A simple device for holding your bow. It can be pretty hard to work on a bow unless you have a third arm!! That’s where the vise comes in. A simple one will hold your bow in one position allowing you to work on your bow. A better one will allow you to rotate the bow in many directions once it is mounted. This will allow you to get the bow in just the right position for the work you need to do.
Example….

Allen Wrenches
or hex keys, whatever you want to call them. You know what these things are. You will need multiple sizes. A decent standard set from any hardware store will do. I have never run across any metric, yet. It couldn’t hurt, though, to have a set of those just in case.

Screwdrivers
You won’t need them all that often, but you will need them. Have a simple set of common and philips on hand.

Levels
Not your daddy’s variety. A string level, and an arrow level.

These will help you in setting up your rest. Place the string level, where else…. on the string!!! Use it to make sure your bow is level vertically (up and down for those that always get them mixed up) when in the vise. Now you place the arrow level on the arrow and adjust your rest until your arrow is perfectly horizontal.

Nock Set Pliers and Brass Nocks
Brass nocks are useful for many things. You can use them to attach your drop away rest cord to your cable. Place them above and below a kisser button to secure it in place. And of course even use them to mark your nock point.

Nock set pliers, obviously, are for attaching those little brass guys. A good pair will also have a lever to pry them off with.

Draw Length Arrow

Basically a long, unfletched arrow with markings toward the end. These markings are distance measurements that allow for checking draw length. It can be used for Three functions. First, draw it back with a recurve bow, or compound with no draw stop, and you can find your draw length (someone needs to help you here to make sure your form is right, otherwise you won’t get the correct draw length). Second, Draw it in your set up compound bow to check the draw length it is set at. Lastly, draw it in the same bow and use it to determine the arrow length that will be safe to use with your setup.  Although not necessary, it can come in handy.

Draw Weight Scale
Many different varieties are available. Simple ones like this that are hand held…

All the way up to digital versions, or ones that are mounted to the ceiling. They are handy if you want to know the exact weight you have your bow set to. However, not all that necessary. Example… Lets say your bow maxes out at 60#, and the company says you can adjust the draw weight by 2# per full turn of the limb bolts. Then you know that if you back the bolts out 3 turns each, then you just roughly set your bow to 54#. I don’t think it is all that important to know that it might actually be 53.2#, or 55#. If you know within a pound I would say your are good. Just get those numbers from your bows manufacturer.

D-Loop Pliers
Last thing you want while our hunting, or anytime for that matter, is for your bow to fail. If you don’t tighten your d-loop tight enough it is a sure fire failure point waiting to happen. The easiest way to tighten it is with a pair of d-loop pliers. These are specially made pliers designed to fit around a d-loop. Then when you squeeze the handle, instead of the two pieces closing tightly together, they spread. The formed head holds the knot ends in place while stretching out the loop and tightening the knots.
Example….

Serving Tool
While I’m sure serving can and has been installed without one of these, I can’t imagine doing it. A simple tool of either metal of plastic designed to hold tension on your serving thread while you wrap your string. You place your spool of thread in the tool, and use a wing nut to get the tension you desire. Then, once you have started the serving, you simply spin the tool around the string until the serving is the length you want, and then wrap in the end of the thread.

Well, that pretty well covers the most common tools you will need and see when it comes to setting up and maintaining your bow. I tried to be as comprehensive as I could, but there are quite a few gadgets out there, and I aim to cover all I can. Those will have to wait for another day however, so stay tuned for more. I’m going high tech in the next installment.  Look for part two covering lasers and more.

3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 53 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)
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Published by ryalred on 25 Sep 2008

The Day I Shot “Lights Out”

The Culprit

It was a beautiful, crisp, fall day and I wanted to be hunting so badly, but I really had too much work to do. It is so true, “Work really gets in the way of hunting.” So, I decided I’d do a little practicing with my relatively new Browning compound bow. I did have enough time to do that.

I have a really wonderful place to practice tree stand shooting—from my second story kitchen window. As you know the arrow doesn’t drop as much when shot from and elevated position. All I had to do to duplicate my tree stand was to open the window in my kitchen (I had removed the screen for this purpose), which was on the second floor of our home, and shoot at the targets I had set up at various distances in my back yard.

I was having a great shoot—really making me want to hunt because I was shooting “lights out” that day. My wife came into the kitchen and we exchanged pleasantries and she went about her work in the kitchen. I went down to retrieve my arrows for another round of practice. After removing the arrows from the targets I decided to move the targets around a little to give me a new shooting perspective.

I finally came back to the kitchen—my wife was doing something at the kitchen counter—and I picked up my bow and nocked and arrow. I drew and took steady aim and hit the release. What happened for the following few moments is still a blur. Immediately upon pulling the release trigger there was this absolutely awful, deafening CRASH! For an instant or two I didn’t know what had happened. The first thought that came to mind was that by bow had disintegrated. I looked at it and kind of gave my self a once over to see if I was hurt but everything seemed to be alright. About the same time I turned toward my wife and I swear her eyes were as big as half dollars and there was a look of terror on her face. She later said that my eyes were also as wide as half dollars and I too had this awful, panic-stricken look.

I was finally able to gather my wits and take stock of the situation. The bow was intact and the arrow had indeed been launched, but there the arrow lay in the middle of the kitchen floor . . . with broken glass laying all around it. It was now evident. My wife had shut the window (the air being cool) when I went down to get my arrows. She thought I was through practicing. The window was so clean (that was unusual) that I hadn’t noticed she had closed it and she was so involved in her project at the counter that she hadn’t noticed me nock and draw my arrow.

For the life of me, I still can’t explain the arrow being in the kitchen floor. Why hadn’t it penetrated the window and gone somewhere outside? The arrow appeared to be in good condition, something I definitely couldn’t say about the kitchen window. This practice session I had done much more than shoot “lights out,” I had shot the window out.

My wife has never let me live this one down—although I still declare her to be at fault for closing the window, but of course, she lays all the blame squarely on my shoulders. It’s bad enough that she won’t let me live it down, but she has made sure all my friends and hunting buddies know what I did that day. Well, we all still get a big laugh out of it.

6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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Published by bowhunterswife on 24 Sep 2008

Meat for the Freezer

As the wife of a bowhunter, I have a slightly different viewpoint than he does of hunting.  For me, it is about providing food for the family.  When Donnie comes in with a deer or a turkey, I am ecstatic because I know he is providing for us.  The Lord gave him a talent for hunting and he has developed this talent into a finely honed skill.  The man can hunt!!!

This past week he went deer hunting and usually he takes his cell phone.  However, with a new baby and gas prices so high we disconnected the cell phones (yes, this means something to this story).  So he is out in the field, sees the deer.  Sometimes in the past he will call me and say, “Honey, it’s a four pointer.  Should I shoot it?”  This is because as a seasoned hunter he is constantly looking to hunt deers that are bigger and better than what he has hunted before.  One day I remember he called about shooting an piebald deer that was a spike.  I told him to go ahead and shoot it because he had never shot a piebald before.  He chose not to because he was hopeful it would grow bigger.  Later he wished he had gone ahead and taken that deer because he never saw it again.

So …back to the story.  No cell phone to call on. The evening wears on.  I am in the dark about how the hunt is going.  The phone rings.  He is at his dad’s …with a deer. 

“I wouldn’t have shot it because it is just a little buck,” he says, “but I thought of what you might say if I had called.  I figured you would say to shoot it because we needed the meat.”

“You were right!”  I affirmed happily.

He was willing to take the jibes and ribbing from his hunting buddies, all of the “bloodthirsty” taunts, in order to provide for our family . And now we have a freezer full of deer burger and steaks!! Yummy!! Thank you, honey, for loving us enough to deal with the ribbing and give us the meat!!

What a hunter!! What a man!!

15 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 515 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5 (15 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5)
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Published by djohns13 on 12 Sep 2008

The Hunter’s Gene

“You’re going to do what?” my wife asked with an angry look on her face. “Are you kidding me? There is an ice storm warning for our area today, and you think it is a good idea to climb up in a tree stand and deer hunt?”
“Sure do baby, you know me, I’ll be safe,” I shot back.
“Yes I do know you and that’s what scares me. You’re unbelievable sometimes.”
That is the way my 5:00 a.m. conversation went with my wife as I was headed out the door to go to my favorite tree last November. There was an ice storm bearing down on Indiana and I knew it could be a bad one. But the way I saw it, the storm wouldn’t rev up until about noon and there was a good chance the deer movement would be heavy before the storm started. I wanted to put one more deer in the freezer before the holidays. The day was cold with a stiff wind that seemed to penetrate every bone in my body. By 9:00 a.m. I was knocking ice off of my bow and nocked arrow. By ten I was wondering if my climber would grip the tree trunk on the way down so I decided to give it up and climb down. As it turns out, the deer were smarter than me that day and were already bedded down in preparation for the storm.
In retrospect, was it a bad hunting day? Absolutely not! My hunting partner and I both enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We didn’t bag any game, although he got very close before the bedded deer spooked and ran away. Other than his runaways, I didn’t even see another four-legged mammal that day. Most people would have detested that time in the cold but I loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat. Why? My wife would say it is because I am just not right, but I say it is because I was born with the Hunter’s gene.
Anyone one who is a hardcore hunter knows exactly what I mean when I talk about the Hunter’s gene. Anyone who isn’t generally doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about. It isn’t because of their intelligence, it’s because they weren’t born with the gene like we were. The Hunter’s gene is what drives us to do supposedly crazy things like sitting out in an ice storm, or crawling on our hands and knees through a mosquito infested swamp, or pursuing carnivores much larger and tougher than we are with just a bow and arrow. But it doesn’t stop there. The Hunter’s gene also ensures that we keep our families well-fed, well-protected and warm through those ice storms. It is what propels us to defend our families, our nation and other nations during times of trouble. It is what allows us to personally and quietly sacrifice so that others have what they need. And yes, it is what enables us to willingly go out into the depths of nature with nothing but stick and string and go to battle with the best eyes, ears and noses that exist. And even on those times where the battle doesn’t end with a kill, we are still grateful for having been able to participate, and can’t wait to do it again.
Having said all that, I realize I didn’t need to say it at all. Without a word, you already understood.

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.

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Published by djohns13 on 26 Jun 2008

Indiana 2008 Deer Forecast

Well, the days are getting hotter but shorter so it is about that time of year where most of us start to really get excited about the upcoming fall. We are starting to see some potential bruisers on the trail cameras and the fawn sightings are also fueling our obsession. The practice shooting is going well and our scouting is producing new ideas for that “can’t miss” stand site.  Maybe we have even gotten a glimpse of the giant that eluded us last fall.  Is this the year that we finally arrow that dream buck?
Well in Indiana, this just might be the year for us bowhunters to fulfill our dreams. The prospect for a record harvest is very good in 2008.  Whitetail harvests in Indiana hit a record level in 2005 with 125,526 animals being checked-in after harvest.  Epizootic hemorrhagicdisease (EHD) popped up in Indiana in 2006 heavily in Clay, Fountain, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan and Vermillion counties in the west central portion of the state, and in some areas the local deer populations were devastated.  Even with the EHD crisis in 2006, checked-in harvests totalled 125,381, just off from the previous record year.  In 2007, EHD reared its ugly head again but not nearly to the degree originally feared.  Checked-in harvests dropped to 124,427 but much of this drop was attributed to weather conditions during hunting season.  The antlered deer harvest was just about the same as in 2005, with the non-antlered harvest being reduced by approximately 1,000 deer.  During the three year period, the button buck harvest remained consistent at approximately 7% of the total harvest.

 

This brings us to the upcoming 2008 season.  The winter of 2007-2008 brought heavy snow to much of Indiana but very few conditions that would cause a heavy winter kill.  The summer drought of 2007 has been replaced with heavy rains and flooding over the central and southern portions of the state.  June rainfall over the southern two-thirds of the state have averaged 500% – 1,000% of the normal rainfall for the month.  In spite of this, very little wildlife loss is anticipated.   Agriculturally speaking, the loss is devastating and is anticipated to be the largest agricultural disaster in Indiana history.  In many areas of the southern portion of the state, the crop loss will be greater than 50% with corn suffering the largest losses but soybeans will also be affected. 

 

Because of the heavy rain, the wetland, woodland and meadow areas are experiencing strong growth and health.  Vegatation is lush and thick across the state with the berry production looking very good at this point.  It would appear at this point that browse will be in great supply this year notwithstanding any drought activity that comes along later in the summer.  For those who plant foodplots, the growth prospects look great.  Foodplots not hampered from the spring floods are looking very healthy.  The reduction in viable agricultural crops will no doubt push many more deer toward the foodplots.  I personally have seen an unprecedented number of mature deer utilizing foodplots this June.  So many, in fact, that I am mowing and spraying more areas to get even more foodplots planted in early July.

 

Since mid-May, the fawn sightings seem to be above normal compared to most years.  Throughout much of the state, the youngest mothers are producing healthy singles while the 2.5 years old and older does are producing twins and triplets in some cases.  By most accounts, it appears to be a bumper crop year for whitetails.

 

So far, all conditions point to a record harvest this year throughout most of the state.  The northeastern counties, which have led the harvest totals for several years are expected to again reign supreme as they have not been affected by weather or EHD.  Steuben and surrounding counties will continue to lead the deer harvest without a doubt and for the first time could see harvest figures reach 4,000 deer per county.  The central portions of the state continue to have an exploding deer population so harvests should be strong provided the hunter count remains consistent.  The southern counties will continue to produce large quantities of deer that are heavy in both weight and antler size.

 

As certain factors such as QDM and the Indiana one buck rule, among others, continue to play out the size of the average buck taken has improved.  Also improving is the number of record book bucks taken in both the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young systems.  Many so-called experts are now listing Indiana as one of the top states to harvest a record book buck.  Most hoosiers have known this for several years now, but the word seems to be spreading.  While we are no Iowa yet, the odds of seeing a record book quality buck are decent to good across most parts of Indiana.  And we all know that big bucks produce baby big bucks so the trend should continue over the next few years.  Several bucks over 200 inches gross score were taken in Indiana in 2007, and many more 160 to 180 inch deer were harvested than ever before.

 

While we won’t know the actual harvest until after the fact, 2008 is setting up to be a record year in Indiana based upon both total deer taken and record book bucks.  Practice regularly, scout hard and maybe 2008 will be a hunting year that you remember forever.

2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 52 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Published by bigbearsarchery on 21 Jun 2008

What It Means To Be A Bowhunter

What It Means To Be A Bowhunter

By

Craig Gillock

 

 

Bowhunter.  That’s a word many of us use to describe ourselves.  We say it with pride and conviction.  It describes who we are and what we do.  We wear it as a badge of honor.  Why?  What is it about that word and what it implies that motivates so many of us to do all the things we do?  What does it mean to be a bowhunter?

The answer to that question is very complex and no one answer is enough to explain it all.  Add to that the fact that bowhunting means something different to everyone and it makes the question almost impossible to answer.  So with that in mind I’m going to explain what being a bowhunter means to me.

Bowhunting is more than sitting in a tree stand, waiting for an animal to come walking by.  Bowhunting is a 365 days a year commitment.  It’s scouting, planting food plots, putting out game cameras, making mineral licks, studying maps, acquiring hunting ground, setting stands, constant practice with your bow, and so many other things.  Bowhunting isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.

 

Post Season Scouting and Winter Leagues

 

My hunting season starts in late January and February as soon as the late archery and muzzleloader season close.  During this time I pay extra attention to the deer I see, trying to make a list of which bucks made it through and where I’m seeing them.  This list provides me with a good starting point when I’m picking locations for mineral licks, food plots, and setting my trail cameras.

Another important habit I’ve developed during this time of year is shooting in as many winter leagues as I can.  If you want to become a better shooter and improve your accuracy nothing will help you accomplish this faster than shooting in a league with other bowhunters.

One of the truly great things about bowhunters is the feeling of family and friendship that develops between the guys and gals who share the range and the woods.  When you shoot in a league you’re giving yourself the opportunity to watch and be around other shooters and to learn about and see new products.  I consider winter leagues to be one of the most important things I do all year.

 

Deer Health and Shed Hunting

 

Early spring rolls around and for most of March and April I find myself in the woods and the fields.  This is the time when I put out mineral licks and begin preparing the ground for food plots.  I refer to this point in my season as promoting deer health.  The mineral licks serve two purposes.  First, they act as an attractant, drawing the deer into my hunting areas, allowing me to again take stock of how many animals are around.  Second, and more importantly, they provide the deer with the vital minerals and nutrients they need to promote good health and antler growth.

Shed hunting is another activity that takes up a lot of my time early in the spring.  I shed hunt mainly because it’s fun and it gives me another opportunity to be in the woods.  But shed hunting is also an important scouting tool because it gives you yet another chance to see what bucks made it through the previous season.

 

Food Plots, Turkeys, and Foam

 

As spring gets into full swing and the first signs of summer start to show on the trees and in the fields it’s time that I put in my food plots. My favorite places to plant are tucked back into the corners of fields or next to a good watering source.  I tend to plant mainly clover with a little bit of chicory mixed in.  The added forage not only helps attract deer but will help hold them well into hunting season.

Late April and may also offer another opportunity for bowhunters, turkey season.  Taking a mature gobbler with your bow can be one of the most challenging endeavors a bowhunter can undertake.  A turkey’s eyesight makes drawing a bow on them next to impossible.  When I first started hunting turkeys with my bow I approached it in much the same way as I approached deer hunting.  I would set up along a field edge or in some timber, call and if I got one to come in range, draw my bow.  The problem was that’s as far as I’d get.  When I’d draw they would bust me and bug on out.  I once even tried stalking to within bow range on some birds while hunting in Oklahoma.  The result was a recreation of the scene in the movie Jurassic Park where all the velociraptors rush past the camera, only instead of dinosaurs it was two or three hundred turkeys running or flying away.

I have since started hunting turkeys from a ground blind and have met with much greater success.  Blinds conceal your movement and allow you to set up virtually anywhere.  Just this past April I set up my blind in the middle of a wide open 300 acre hay field and took a nice gobbler at only 7 yards.  My friend Aaron sat in the blind with me and videoed the hunt.  That’s another great thing about turkey hunting; it provides plenty of opportunities to hunt with your friends.

The onset of warmer temperatures in April and May also signals the beginning of the 3-D season.  In my opinion competing in 3-D tournaments is one of the best ways to prepare for hunting season.  It allows you to take realistic shots at realistic targets in realistic hunting conditions.  Competing in these tournaments is also a fantastic way to hone your skills at judging yardage.  Besides, they’re also a lot of fun.

 

Pushing Down the Stretch

 

We’ve now arrived at one of the most critical and challenging times of the year for bowhunters, the dog days of summer.  The months of June, July, and August often leave little time to think about hunting.  Most of our time is taken up with work, family vacations, picnics, or any number of other activities one can enjoy during these warm weather months.  In spite of all this you need to find the time to put out your scouting cameras and begin placing your stands.  The information gathered at this time can be the best indicators of where deer will be at the start of hunting season.  Photos gathered now will tell you what bucks are around and how big they are.  These final pieces of the puzzle will help you make the best plan possible for the fast approaching bow season.

All this time I’m also continuing to practice my shooting.  There are numerous 3-D tournaments all summer long, plus this is the best time to practice with your broadheads.  Taking the time now to properly tune your equipment will pay off big this fall.

 

I am a Bowhunter

 

Summer begins to fade and the cooler temperatures and vibrant colors of fall start to show.  This is the time of year you’ve spent the past eight months getting ready for.  It’s the time when all your hard work and information you’ve gathered is put to use.  It is the reason you are the way you are.

So what does it mean to be a bowhunter?  It means a lot of things to a lot of people.  For me it’s a year round adventure, for others it’s something to occupy the time for a while.  What it means to you is for you to decide.  It can be as much or as little as you make it.  Whatever you decide, have fun.  That’s what being a bowhunter is really all about.

3 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 53 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 2.33 out of 5)
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Published by Hyunchback on 03 Jun 2008

You might be a redneck archer if…

You worked your 12 hour shift at the hospital, went home, changed clothes and then spent three and a half hours in the sun without sunscreen to participate in a 3D shoot. (Just a guess but I think that might turn Barack Obama into a redneck!)

Your arms have sunburn except for the tan line where your wrist release strap covered you.

You have mixed feelings about your performance. You are happy that you picked up 5 points more than last month’s shoot but wish you hadn’t gotten two misses.

12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5)
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Published by Montalaar on 16 May 2008

Make your own pen out of an arrow.

Did you ever wanted to have something of your bow with you although you could not shoot it? Something unique and self made? I will show you how to build your very own pen out of an old arrow. Nothing you can buy anywhere but a pen with your own quality. Something unique with your own fingerprint. Interested? You should read further.

So what do we need for our project?

At the beginning we need to get certain things straight. What kind of pen do we want to make? Do we want a ball-pen or do we want a pencil? Each thing needs the perfect shaft size for it. A pencil will not fit into a small diameter carbon shaft. Maybe you want to make your own filler. We will concentrate on two different basic types of pens as a ground level you can start developing your own way.

After deciding what pen you want to create we can get the needed materials together.

We require:

  • an arrow in a diameter that fits to your purpose

  • a pen of your choice

  • nock

  • a set of vanes

  • some hot-melt adhesive

  • a lighter

  • something to underlay, a marker, a (hack)saw, sandpaper

If you not want to change the infilling of your arrow you can also choose any other adhesive but i recommend hot-melt adhesive because you can renew your pen if it is worn out. The choice of the shaft to use is defined by your supllies. Use what you have.

Layout One – The pencil

What do we do?

Removing the point from the shaft

Before we start we need to get everything set up right and you should be in the possibility to obtain everything i mentioned above. If you use your older arrows you need at first to remove the point and i possible also the nock. In most cases the point is glued into the shaft with some hot-melt adhesive so you can heat up the point and remove it with a pliers.

Now you can decide how long your arrow will be. I do not think that your pen should have the length of your arrow. If we think about an 30“ arrow we have the possibility to make between three or four arrows out of it!

To get the right length of your shaft put the pencil right beside the shaft and mark the position of the end.

Now you can cut the shaft in the desired length. If you have access to a professional arrow cutter just use it. There is no better way to get this job done. Otherwise you can use any saw for this purpose. Be careful with alloy/carbon or full carbon shafts as they will fray out if you make any mistake and the whole thing needs to be discarded. The best way is to saw the outer surface and turn the shaft some degrees so you can remove the parts with the needed caution.

After cutting the arrow shaft you should sand paper the edges until everything feels plane and smooth. Take your pencil and sharpen it before putting it into the arrow shaft. Heat the hot-melt adhesive up until it becomes something fluid and make a drop around the middle of the pencil and push it into the shaft.

Maybe the adhesive cools down to fast so you need to heat it up again and push it even further until the perfect position is achieved. Let it cool down so that everything sits right in place.

Now you can put a nock on your arrowpen and put the vanes in your favorite design on it.

If you want to sharpen your pencil just heat up the shaft and pull out the pencil far enough to sharpen it. Let the adhesive cool down and you are fine with it.

Layout Two – The ball-pen

Maybe you want to make your own ball-pen rather than a pencil. Be advised that this will take much more time. Take a ball-pen of your choice – it should be as thin as the arrow shaft you use – and take it to pieces. You can choose between two options now. Option one is to glue the refill for the pen direct into the shaft. Option two is to reassemble the ball-pen into the shaft which will take loads of time.

Take a look at the pieces you got from disassembling the pen. You should have the refill, a spring, some plastics and the body of the pen. The front end of the pen contains the spring and prevents it from disappearing. Take a saw and remove this part from the rest of the body. We will take this and glue it onto our arrow shaft. We can match the design with some color.

Now take a look at the other end of the body. As on the other end you should have an area where the body is a bit thinner than the rest. Further you should find the ‘module’ that enables the filling to change its position. We need that in our shaft.

Remove it with a saw and sandpaper it until it will fit into the inside.

As you can see i removed the plastic and sandpaperd it. Out everything together to see how long your pen needs to be. Mark your arrow shaft and cut it into the right length.

After this you need to fuse everything together.Check everything for its position and glue it together. Then check again for correct positions. Take the point we took forom the original pen and glue it onto the one side of the shaft. Do not forget to add the refill, the spring and the little plastic parts to the pen before adding the point.

Now put the vanes in your favorite design on it. Finito!

The finished product

There a hundreds of possibilities to make your individual and unique pen. Maybe you want to paint something onto it, maybe you like to engrave it. Just be creative with it!

 

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