Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by csinclair on 22 Apr 2008

10 Things every Archer who wants to be a Bow Hunter should know.

Practice in full camo gear.

1.) Bow hunting / hunting is / can be very expensive when starting out, having all the best gear isn’t necessary to practice your archery skills, (good archery skills is the basis for Bow Hunting), get decent quality gear and practice lots.

2.) Bow hunting / hunting can be / (is) very time consuming if you’re serious / passionate about it.
(Make sure your spouse, girl/boy friend is OK with it, because it can / will be time a consuming obsession).

3.) Be a student of the hunt, there’s more than one way to do it, every old timer is your teacher,
do lots of reading, talk a little, but listen a lot.

4.) You will accidently hurt / bruise your bow arm with the string from having improper form at some point, don’t be discouraged, learn from it, improve.

5.) If you’re using a mechanical release, you will hurt your face / nose / lip / eye / etc.. with a pre-mature / accidental release, (one fellow I talked to said he even broke his own nose, apparently it’s pretty common when new to the sport).

6.) Practice makes perfect, there’s no substitute for practice. If you think you’re shooting well, step back 10 or 20 yards and think again. Practice, practice, practice.

7.) Be safe and careful, remember to practice safety for you and for others around you, nobody want’s to get hurt.

8.) Be respectful of nature, including the land, prey you hunt and other animals you’re not hunting,
that may live in the area you’re hunting / practicing / scouting in.

9.) Practice for hunting in the gear / clothing that you’d be wearing during a hunt, if you don’t practice shooting in full gear, how will you know if you can perform when the moment comes.

10.) Do your research with regards to local laws, rules and regulations, don’t get into trouble, you’re an ambassador of the archery / bow hunter community, be responsible, set a good example.

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Published by spacetechy on 18 Apr 2008

The New Science of Scent

To the hunter, the snort of a deer downwind and the flagging tail tell the ancient story yet again. Since the dawn of primal hunters, deer have been smelling us, foiling us as frustrated hunters trying to overcome our alarming array of odors. Even though the act seems as simple as the primitive response that causes bucks to flee with one small sniff, it’s actually an interesting scientific process. And harnessing the true science of scent from Ice Age to Space Age can make any deer hunter incredibly more effective.

What is scent?

 

First, we need to identify that mysterious something we cannot see, touch, or usually smell that creates such sudden spooking of deer. At the risk of igniting our universal dislike for chemistry class years ago, the secret hinges on two simple words – molecular biochemistry. Don’t fear. This understanding doesn’t have to be as complicated as splitting atoms. Just a few key concepts are all we need to comprehend the culprits floating in the air.

Even Ice Age hunters probably figured out that scent is simply an outpouring airborne biochemical compounds that have broken free from their source as clusters of molecules. Okay, though the scientific terms escaped them, they understood the raw concept. It’s kind of like seeing breath plumes on a frosty morning where thousands of tiny molecule clusters float away on the thermals from their source, tumbling in a slow state of decay as they break apart further, carrying a million messages to creatures with scent receptors that evolved over eons to avoid predators.

So just what in the heck are these biochemical molecules spooking deer? Unfortunately, the list in man’s modern world is too vast to even begin identifying. But the root is an array of chemical reactions caused by organic compounds and enzymes catalyzing and undergoing molecular changes such as oxidation and temperature that break apart their molecular bonds. It’s akin to a water evaporating. As molecular bonds break down on the surface, individual molecules break free and float away. For an odor to leave its source and become a scent it needs to become lipophilic, or generally electrically neutral and nonpolar, plus small enough in molecular weight (< 300 Da) to become volatile or airborne. This is the point where fragrant molecules escape from their fluid or solid source into the thin air. In our scent-rich world, this process causes the liberation of a vast mixture of molecular aromatics in the form of alcohols, aliphatic organics, organosulphurs, aldehydes, fatty acids, terpenoids, benzenoids, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into “smellable” odors. More odors are generated by the biosynthesis of these chemicals interacting with one another. Alright, enough chemistry torture. Suffice it to say that it’s those darn little volatile molecules floating off us and our stuff that’s messing us up.

ID The Sources

 

Now that we understand the general biochemistry and molecular science of scent, how do we deal with the complex problem of our bodies and our modern world liberating all these VOCs into the woods while were hunting? Ah-ha, that is the savvy hunter’s quest in understanding the science of scent that can effectively turn blind luck into calculated success.

Let’s begin by classifying the two main types of scent that typically ruin a hunt. They are direct scent “emitted” from the hunter and their gear, and indirect scent that a hunter “disperses” throughout the woods during the overall act of hunting. At first glance, one would conclude that direct scent is the worse culprit in ruining that chance at a big buck. But a closer look at all the causes and cures gives us an important glimpse beyond the simple source.

Causes – Your Body and Your Gear

 

Depending on the hunter, their gear, and their personal environment, the list of direct scent can be downright staggering. Nonetheless, a summary would include the obvious odors of the hunter’s body and breath. Not so obvious are various forms of odor-generating bacteria, natural hair oils producing scent, millions of dead skin cells liberating odors, hygiene products for the body and hair pouring out VOCs, and organic chemicals emitted from skin, ears, sweat, nose and other “shadowy” places on the human body. Dang it, too bad you need that body to take you hunting.

As if that small list from the body wasn’t haunting enough, consider the endless possibilities of odors on a hunter’s gear. Boots alone emit odors of rubber, leather, manufacturing chemicals, waterproofing, floor products, mildew, and virtually everything the hunter has walked past or stepped in – from cow pies to gas station odors. Beside boots, most hunters wear hats loaded with the scent of repeated wearing with the hunt-spoiling aromas of fabric manufacturing chemicals, human hair, hair products, sweat, more bacteria, and dead skin cells. The same goes for a hunter’s clothing worn underneath their camowear. Even a grunt call or rattling antler is loaded with hand oils, breath bacteria, and everything a hunter has touched with lips, gloved or bare hands. So is it any wonder that simply putting on a single layer of scent-control camowear consistently fails to keep our vast array of VOC’s from reaching a deer’s nose? Naw, not really if you think about it.

To make matters worse, every time we walk through the woods, brush against twigs or grass, touch brush, hang a treestand, climb a tree, use a pull-up rope, and lean against a tree, we leave an invisible trail of indirect odors from all the sources noted above. And although those odor molecules are invisible to us, they aren’t invisible to the nose of any mature whitetail, especially big bucks. Yes, we know you’re careful, but every time you enter a stand, you lay down another telltale trail of indirect VOCs that a deer’s nose uses to unravel your ambush. In fact, some of the top trophy whitetail hunters in America admit that it’s their lingering indirect scent that prevents them from scoring more than anything else on a big buck they’re after. That’s also why so many hunters have tagged their best bucks that first time they hunted a new stand. It makes perfect scent-sense.

The Cautions and Cures

 

Though the challenges of eliminating or controlling all this scent seems overwhelming, it can be effectively done and perhaps easier than you thought – especially with the help of today’s technology.

The first scent generating item on you list to control is your body. It may be a bother to shower right before you go hunting every time, but it is one of the most significant things you can do to knock down your direct human scent. It may sound strange but be sure to scrub parts of your body that produce the most odor, such as places you might not consider like in and behind your ears. It’s natural for us to think we don’t stink, but just rub a finger behind your ear sometime and take a good sniff. Your hair, eyebrows, around the nose and neck are also important odor rich spots. Fortunately, your choice of scent-free soaps, deodorants, and a whole new wave of personal scent cover products abound in today’s hunting market. Just a word of caution however before dousing your body with various sprays or lotions that are designed to eliminate or mask your human odor. The reason that more medications are available today as patches to absorb through your skin is that your body readily absorbs stuff put on your skin. And some doctors will tell you that if it isn’t safe to drink, you should think twice about covering your body with it. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask your family doctor. Or, with today’s Internet realm of research, do a little digging yourself, or simply ask the manufacturer. A safer solution that has worked for years is a dusting of baking soda to neutralize the bacteria and acids that form odors. For your breath, try one of the baking soda toothpastes. And be sure to brush your tongue as far back as you can without gagging.

Okay, now that you’re standing there naked, you better put some clothes on before heading out into the frosty darkness. Basically, treat your under garments and clothing the same as you would your body. Unlike your body however, fabric has a very nasty habit of absorbing a multitude of contaminating odors because the woven fibers act as a molecular sieve to collect all those lipophilic VOCs. Avoid using clothes dryer products and dryers that use scented fabric softeners. These products will generate aromatic VOCs for days on end. That’s one of their selling points.

Also, beware of where you store your clothing – even your underwear. Now before you think I’m paranoid, consider the last time you took clean clothes from a dresser drawer or closet. If you took a big whiff, you might detect a faint hint at what a deer could smell easily – cooking smells, mold, pet scent, and a host of environmental “drawer or closet” odors. And before you say, “No way!” keep in mind that your olfactory senses are naturally “calibrated” to your living environment. Just ask a stranger to smell your closet. Or better yet, smell the drawers or closet of some stranger (okay, relatives) and you’ll smell all kinds of odors that elude their noses because everyone’s nose becomes calibrated to neutral (undetectable) for base odors in their living environment.

 

 

 

 

Technology to the Rescue

Storage

– Just when you thought you might go crazy with all this scent stuff, ta-da, today’s technology comes to the rescue. Besides the products that help keep your body from smelling, new innovations are now appearing for scent-free storage. Both hard and soft storage containers are now available for keeping your clean clothes odor free. Though primarily designed for camo outerwear and boots, the rule of thumb is that if you plan on wearing it hunting, even underneath carbon-lined camo, be smart and keep your under layers stored in an odor free environment.

Find Scent Gold in Silver

– Now that your body and undergarments are odor free, consider tapping into the new wealth of odor control offered in today’s generation of silver-lined hunting garments. Silver ions (Ag+) work as antimicrobial agents toxic to odor generating bacteria on the human body. Ions pass from the silver-lined fibers to inhibit the bacteria’s ability to reproduce and form stinky gases. All the way from underwear to outerwear, manufacturers offer a wide range of silver-lined garments for today’s scent-savvy hunter.

Activated Carbon-Lined Suits –

After nearly two decades on the market, most trophy whitetail hunters today insist on wearing activated carbon-lined outerwear in the form of Scent-Lok products or their licensees to absorb odors. Though its effectiveness might be debatable in some circles, the vast majority of knowledgeable deer hunters today agree that it’s a key component in their battle to control the vast world of scent.

Ozone Machines

– Most recently, electronics have entered the arena of odor control with the appearance of some electronic devices that claim to kill odors using the accelerated process of oxidation. Organic compounds or odors that accumulate on hunter’s clothing, boots and gear can theoretically be oxidized by saturation with O3 (ozone and clustered ozone molecules) to the point that the VOCs become non-detectable OCs. Though ozone-generating technology was discovered way back in the 1840’s, some companies are now promoting the technology to kill a hunter’s odors. One portable ozone device in fact has even been introduced to generate a plume of ozone around the hunter in the field, supposedly neutralizing VOCs coming from the hunter in the stand.

Thanks NASA

– But perhaps the most revolutionary electronic device yet to appear in the war against odor control came from outer space. State-of-the-art technology developed in cooperation with NASA to keep astronauts and spacecraft from getting stinky in extended space travel, is now available in a device for hunters called the Xterminator (www.xterminator.us). This innovative machine uses patented technology to shred VOC molecules into their base elements, which destroys odors on anything within the effective range of the machine. The size of a six-pack, this device turns a hunter’s closet into an odor decontamination chamber by emitting a unique combination of four synergistic technologies. Despite the apparent complexity of the science, the bottom line is that it literally tears apart the molecular bonds of organic compounds into their base atomic elements, destroying odor-producing molecules on everything a hunter wears, uses or carries into the woods. As you might expect for outer space scientists, this gizmo also effectively kills a wide range of bacteria that cause odors. Watch out whitetails.

So next time you head for the woods, think twice about the new science of today’s innovations in scent and how it can make or break your chances of tagging that trophy buck. Some old timers might think it isn’t “fair” to use any technology to fool the nose of the whitetail, let alone use a space-age device that decontaminates odors on everything you own with the flip of a switch. Nonetheless, the whitetail remains the most finely attuned big game to roam the planet, and revolutionary stuff from outer space probably isn’t enough for the smartest ones to consistently elude the majority of hunters.

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Published by csinclair on 09 Apr 2008

Spring, the time for practice and the pro shop

Hello sports fans,

In my last post I mentioned the difficulty of finding a place to shoot locally, (outdoors and legal according to the local by-laws in this part of Canada). My experiment was a success and I have found not one but several good places for shooting at some of the home made targets that I’ve made recently, (who says archery has to be expensive to get into). So after a morning of extensive scouting with the maps that I’d printed off from the by-law website on the discharge of firearms, (including bows and crossbows), for my local area, I easily found a few good spots, out of the way of passers by and hikers, where I could set up my targets and let some arrows fly.

What a great feeling, outside on a beautiful spring day enjoying my Martin and some Easton Lightspeed 400s. I enjoyed myself so much infact that after shooting probably a couple hundred arrows, straight ahead, at 20 / 30 / 40 yards and even greater distances, up hill, down hill and even through the brush, (just to make things interesting), my shooting was ok, but I noticed that my grouping was a little loose, so I had to go back to the shop today and have my bow tuned right up to it’s maximum draw weight and installed a peep sight for better accuracy.

While in the shop doing all this, during my test shots with the new peep sight, the fellow who owns the shop noticed my left hand position wasn’t optimal, my wrist was too high. Correcting the problem, I spent some time at the indoor range at the shop and immediately noticed that my grouping was tighter and my shot placement was much better almost like magic. I’m not sure if it’s my hand position or the new peep sight, probably the combination of the two together, but my shooting just jumped up a notch today and I’m really happy about it. It never ceases to amaze me how something as simple as a trip to the pro shop once and a while, with regular practice can really improve one’s skill level. Perhaps my new archery motto should be practice, practice, pro shop. 😉

I can’t wait to get out to the forest range tomorrow, some friends are coming out with me, I’ve agreed to loan them bows so that we can all enjoy some archery outdoors for the day with me, is there any better way to spend a spring day, while on one’s way to becoming a bow hunter.

Craig

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Published by Hyunchback on 08 Apr 2008

An eye opening revelation

Literally.

Today as I practiced I was finally able to keep my eyes on the target as I fired. Partly by not squeezing my non-aiming eye fully closed, making it easier to watch the arrow all the way to the target.

This hardly ever happened before for me. It’s like a new portion of my form that I was finally able to bring into my shot sequence.

Literally. My groups tightened up. I resolved from that point to devote the rest of my session keeping my eyes on the arrows as they hit the target.

No, I didn’t magically turn into a threat to the 3D champions. I just found something that I’d been missing that was resulting in many, many random misses. It’s a wonder that my arrows ever hit the center. I was flinching.

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Published by Kelly Johnson on 07 Apr 2008

Venison 101. An overview for beginners

Hey ya’ll. I’ve been cooking professionally for over 20 years now and thought I’d pass along some tips that may help get the most enjoyment after you tag the big one

First we’ll talk about Venison.

Vension is lean. Made even leaner by the fact that the fat is not pleasurable at all because it coagulates at a much lower temp than farm raised animals.
What that means is if you add venison fat to a sausage recipe when you eat it and take a drink….it turns to vaseline in your mouth. So….trim all the fat off. We can add a more palatable fat later.

There are 2 major factors in how your animal will taste inherently.
1. Diet.
A Whitetail from the Rocky Mountians that lives in big woods will have a very different flavor profile than one from the agro region in Illinois for example.

2. Processing.
How the animal was killed and handled during butchering. I’ll do butchering later if there’s interest so for now let’s just say gut it, skin it and cool it as quickly as possible

Next let’s break these up into 2 parts.
Texture. How tough, tender, stringy etc…physical traits in mouth feel, “bite” and texture
And
Flavor. Gaminess, piney or sagey-ness etc

Texture.
The “whys”

The older the animal and/or rougher the terrain the tougher it’ll be.

The harder the muscle works, the tougher the meat will be.

The leaner the diet, the tougher it will be. The more protien rich, the more tender.

The “Fresher” the tougher. Letting an animal hang or age properly goes a long way in tenderizing it through natural enzymes breaking down the tough connective tissue. I recommend 7-14 days for a whole carcass depending on age and size at around 41 degrees.

The thinner, the more tender. The thicker the tougher. Thin slices off a roast or raw meat sliced and pounded thin (like scallopine) before cooking will always work.

The “Hows”
Roasts.

1.Don’t Boil it. Don’t boil it…don’t boil it!
Boiling meat is a great way to waste time and ruin meat. SIMMER! Tiny bubbles! Simmer has the heat without the agitation. Bring it to a boil and QUICKLY lower the heat to low simmer. As low as you can get it and still get a bubble every 2-3 seconds. Cover it and cook till tender…1.5-4 hrs depending on size.

2.Use liquid….wine, stock, broth, water, beer etc. Not submerged in it but a couple inches in the bottom will help keep it moist and cook evenly.

3. Add fat.Drape raw bacon over the top before you put the lid on, rub a little butter on top the last 2-3 minutes of cooking etc. This will all but gaurantee it be moist and not dry out.

Thinner cuts and steaks

1. Don’t overcook it. Medium rare to medium will be most tender.

2. Don’t boil it! If you start with thin slices for salisbury steak or something when you add the stock or gravy…simmer.

3. Pound it or jaccard it. (Search Jaccard…great tool for the wild game chef and well worth the $ IMO) Pounding with a meat mallet or jaccarding breaks down the connective tissue by force.

4. Marinate it. I’m not a big fan of marination in general but it does help a little. Acid is the tenderizer…(it’s the vinegar in italian dressing )

Flavor

The coppery, bloody, “gamey” flavor can be offset by a myriad of ingredients.
Acids and sugars mask it well but you may need to add a fat to offset the acid….which works out well becasue it’s generally so lean the fat will help with mouth feel and “roundness” anyway.

Examples of acidic ingredients are…
Vinegars (Balsamic is great or apple cider maybe)
Wine
Beer
Fruits. Currants, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, raisins etc.

If you want to test this take your standard venison tenderloin and cook half in a hot pan with whatever gravy you use or sauce you make. Now add 1/2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar to your sauce and taste it again. You’ll see what I mean.

Now the straight vinegar goes a long way. Just a touch in the sauce. If you add too much a little sugar will help even it out and add a litt ebutter or oil to smooth it over. I’ll often mix Cider Vin and Sugar and cook till it’s a syrup and keep that around the kitchen in a small bottle to add as I need it.

Now unless you like sweet and sour everything you may need to smooth some of them out with a little fat. Add a little pat of butter to the sauce at the end maybe or a drizzle of GOOD olive oil where it fits will round these out and bring the flavors to the meat instead of having the meat overpower everything else.

Here’s the theories at work
Venison loin with Chocolate Balsamic, Baby root vegetables and Horseradish sprouts.
Venison Loin

Well that’s all pretty generic stuff and I hope it gives a little insight and maybe help someone enjoy their kill a little bit more.

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Published by csinclair on 07 Apr 2008

The Urban Archers Outdoor Range and ByLaws (CDN)

Hi Folks,

In order to become a better archer and bow-hunter one needs to be accurate, (practice, practice, practice comes to mind), shooting tight groups consistently from various distances under any weather conditions from any position, (sitting, standing, crouching, up-hill or down-hill), one needs to practice much and do so in an outdoor setting which mirrors the real hunting environment as closely as possible.

It’s always been a challenge for me personally to find an appropriate place to shoot like this due to the fact that I’m living in a Canadian urban area where the by-laws specifically state that one may ‘not’ discharge a firearm, (including a bow), as the discharge of firearms is disallowed in most areas within, (and around), city limits.

Recently I had a very informative discussion with a gentleman who was a local bow hunter as well as being very well versed in the local by-laws, (we started talking archery when he noticed my bow-shop hat), possibly because he is studying to become an RCMP officer as well, he really helped set me straight on the facts, which I’d like to pass along to any other new bow-hunters / archers who may also benefit from the information that he shared with me.

The tip that he shared with me was simple really, just do your homework and search the internet for the local by-laws, which I found quite easily, in particular the by-law that governs the discharge of ‘firearms’ which includes bows and crossbows. Included with the by-law that governs the discharging of ‘firearms’ in the areas surrounding the city limits is a map, which showed me the exact areas where I could, (and could not), legally set up a ad-hoc range for myself and shoot outside all summer, up hill down hill through some trees, crouching, standing etc…

I’ve since scouted the area and am going out today with my bow to do some shooting, I’ll post some pictures as soon as I’m able.

Happy shooting,

Craig

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Published by X-Ecutioner2 on 06 Apr 2008

How to Pick the Perfect Hunting Arrow

           Choosing the right hunting arrow is one of the most crucial steps in having a successful hunt.  There are a lot of new arrows out there, all with their own special features and new colors and camo finishes, but how do you tell which is the best arrow?  Or more importantly, how do you tell which is the right arrow for you?  The following is the steps that I go through in determining which arrow to hunt with.  I hope this guide will help you in determining which arrow is best for you.

 

            Every year there are new arrows that come out.  In order for one of those arrows to replace the arrows I am currently shooting, they have to fare better than my current arrows in a technical evaluation, they have to be able to set up easily and consistently, and finally, they have to perform in actual shooting situations.  Let’s start with the technical evaluation.

 

            For the technical evaluation, I compare each arrow I am interested in, over 3 different fields.  First, I look to see if each arrow comes in a spine that I will be able to shoot.  Second, I compare the straightness and weight consistencies of each arrow.  And third, I compare the kinetic energy each arrow produces with my current set-up.

           

            The first evaluation is pretty simple.  I gather a group of arrows that I am interested in, from advertisements, web sites, catalogs, shows, and other places.  I then use an arrow chart supplied by the manufacturer, and use the draw weight of my bow, and my draw length to find the correct box.  If the arrow that I am interested in is in that box, then I let it move on to the second evaluation. 

 

            For the second evaluation, I then look at the advertised straightness of these arrows, and eliminate any that’s straightness tolerance is greater than .003.  After this first part of the elimination process, I then eliminate any of the arrows that are greater than 2 grains per arrow within the dozen.  Note:  Sometimes this is not advertised, and you will have to go to a pro-shop and weigh an individual dozen arrows. 

 

After the first and second evaluations, I am usually down to two or three kinds of arrows.  The third, and final technical evaluation, is to evaluate the kinetic energy of the arrows in my current set-up.  The formula for measuring kinetic energy is

(1/2)(mass)(velocity)²  If you have never used a formula like this before, it is important to remember to take the velocity times itself, then multiply that number by the mass of the arrow, and then divide it by 2.  In order to get the mass of the arrow, take the grains per inch of the arrows you are choosing between, and add in your point weight (including the insert), your vane weights, your nock weight, and about 10 grains for glue.  Getting the velocity is a little less exact science, unless you have a pro shop that will let you make up one of each arrows to shoot.  Usually what I do, is take an arrow that is similar to the weight of the arrows I am evaluating, and shoot it to get the velocity.  Most pro shops have a plethora of arrows of all different weights and sizes, and you can usually find one within 5 grains of the arrows you are evaluating.  Once you shoot these arrows over a chronograph, you have all of the pieces of the equation, and can start breaking them down.  Here is an example of how the equation works.  Let’s say my arrows weigh 350 grains, and shoot out of my bow at 300 fps.  The equation would look like this:

(1/2)(350)(300)² = 15,750,000  People always say the heavier the arrow the more kinetic energy, but this is not always true.  For example, let’s say my arrow weighs 450 grains, which drops my speed down to 250 fps.  The equation would look like this:

(1/2)(450)(250)² = 14,062,500.  That is why it is important to look at both mass and speed when evaluating kinetic energy. 

 

            After I have chosen the arrow that had the best results from my three technical evaluations, I buy a half dozen arrows, and go to work.  I set them up just like I would for hunting.  This is not an advertisement, so I will not list the equipment that I am using.  After they are set up, I make sure they tune quickly and consistently, and group very well; first with field points, and then with broadheads. 

           

            After I have determined that the arrows perform well in practice, I will set up my blind in my back yard, and shoot a target through the mesh netting.  If the arrows still perform well, I know that I have found my hunting arrows for the season.  However, many times I will end up shooting the same arrows I have been shooting, even after all of the work that I have put in determining which of the new ones is the best.  The bottom line is, if they can’t outperform the ones I am currently shooting, then why should I shoot them? 

 

            I hope this article has been helpful to you.  This is a pretty rigorous evaluation, but it has netted me nothing but good results, and I’m sure it will help you as well.  Good luck, and good shooting!

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Published by gvdocholiday on 06 Apr 2008

Fixed Blade Broadheads…Tuning Perfection

I’m going to start this off by stating, ‘I love mechanical broadheads!!’ I love their field point accuracy, I love their large cutting diameters, and I love the fact that I can basically practice all summer with field points and not stress about having to tweak my bow just before the season opener.

Now, let me follow that up by confessing my…for lack of better word… ‘guilt’. I feel guilty for cheating, by not being as completely intimate with my bow hunting equipment as I should be. I refer to an intimacy one can only achieve by knowing their equipment inside and out, knowing what buttons to push, and what strings to twist. It’s funny really, that something that sound so complicated and time consuming, really takes no extra time at all.

It’s a safe bet that a solid majority of you reading this article are currently using a mechanical style broadhead, double or nothing says that at one time or another those of you currently using a mechanical head have tried fixed blade broadheads with less than satisfactory results. Am I warm?? Thought so…no need for applause just throw me money.

Let us try to recap your past experience with fixed blade broadheads: Some of you managed decent flight but had to re-sight in your bow for use of fixed blade broadheads due to not having the same POI as your field points; For some, no matter what you did you simply couldn’t get that fish tail out of your arrows flight plan.

Ok, those may not be everyone’s experiences to the letter…but they are mine. I am also proud to say that I have overcome those poor experiences and now, I head to the range/stand with an extreme feeling of accomplishment because I know that no matter what I thread on my arrows…as long is they share the same weight with my field points, they will also share the same point of impact.

I really cannot explain in words the wonderful feelings one experiences at the moment they finally accomplish shared POI between field points and broadheads, since I can’t, I’ll explain how to achieve them.

This is an in depth step-by-step tuning method that will have your field points and broadheads hitting the same POI…which really is the only true tell tale way to know for certain that your bow and arrows are tuned. A bullet through paper will only get you so far…broadhead tipped arrows will only get you so far…there’s no excuse for having to resight in for broadheads after practicing all year with your field points. For some of you this will be so dang easy, you’ll wonder why the heck nobody has explained this to you before.

1 – First things first…make sure the spine range of the arrow is matched to the preferred draw length/draw weight/point weight. Spin test each arrow with broadheads and with field points. If it wobbles, discard it. Wobbly arrows will never group with others and it’ll just lead to headaches. It’s best to weed those out before starting. Adjust just arrow rest for center shot basically by just eyeing it up…seriously, that’s all that is needed for this first step.

2 – Next, start shooting. You may have a little wobble in your flight but as long as you’re maintaining decent groups you’re all set for threading a broadhead. Paper tuning could also be done prior to this, but it’s not really necessary.

3 – At 20 yards and on a broadhead-approved target, shoot a broadhead tipped arrow at an aiming point. Where did it hit??? Lower, higher, right left??? If you’re arrow is spinned correctly, you should only have to move your rest 1/32″ in whatever direction or directions your broadhead missed the POI of your field points.

If you missed low of your field points, raise your rest/lower your nock point.

If you missed high of your field points, lower your rest/raise your nock point.

If you missed left of your field points then move your rest to the right.

If you missed right of your field points then move your rest to the left.

4 – Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your field points and broadheads have the same POI.

Hip, hip, hurray!! Wait, no?! Ok, trouble shooting time.

Elevation

No matter what adjustments are made, there are still vertical differences in impact. Things to look for: A) Rest spring tension…it could be too stiff or it could be too weak. Play with the tension and see how the arrows react. B) There may be fletching contact on the arrow rest, cables, or bow riser. Make sure there’s 100% clearance. C) dual cam bow…tiller needs to be adjusted. Add half a turn to the upper limb bolt or take half a turn out of the bottom. Observe the arrows reaction to these changes and adjust appropriately.

Windage
No matter what adjustments are made, there are still horizontal differences in impact. These are spine issues. This really is the difficult part, but not really difficult part(I know, oxymoron, forgive me). This is where the intimate relationship with ones bow really comes along because this is where arrow spine/draw weight mismatches really start to show. When one tunes a bow, they are tuning the bow around an arrow. There are so many variables that come into play when it comes to arrow spine that it’s not even funny. For all intensive purposes, draw weight will be the only variable we will play with. A bow can be paper tuned all nice and perfect but paper will not show an imperfect spine match with the bow. If you’re arrows are not spinned correctly it’s not going to show up on paper at 6 feet…it will however show up at 20 yards when your broadhead tipped arrow hits 4-6″ right/left of your field points POI.

Whatever you do, leave the rest at center shot. Keep your rests center shot no more than 1/32″ right/left of center. We’re going to play with draw weight the one step that nobody really thinks about because once they settle on a draw weight, they don’t want it to change.

More than anything, people try to shoot too weak of spinned arrows, so start by taking half a turn out of each limb bolt…shoot…repeat. Keep doing this process until the broadheads and field points come together to the same POI. In most cases adjustments shouldn’t have to exceed any more than one complete turn of each limb bolt. If the spread gets worse then go back the opposite way. The only down side to this is that you may end up a few lbs heavier or lighter in draw weight…but for your common MI whitetail, it shouldn’t matter.

Tingly Feeling
There you have it…not only are you completely tuned in for broadheads, but you now have the comfort and confidence of knowing that your bow pretty much cannot be tuned or tweaked any better, and you know everything is matched and the results are the most perfect flying arrow you could ever achieve.


2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 52 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5 (2 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
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Published by bowgod on 03 Apr 2008

hoyt tuning made easy (z3,c2,vector,zepher,and spiral cams)

Here is  VERY simple time tested method that I use for tuning most of the newer cam systems that Hoyt has introduced over the last few years. This method will also work with the popular cam 1/2 and cam 1/2+ systems as well as other hybrid cams (except binaries) with just the possiblility of a little more work than outlined here.

The fist thing that need to be is you need to determine all the advertised specs for your paticular bow/cam combination. (find all the specs on the hoyt tune charts under the customer service link on Hoyt’s web site) you need to know string and cable lengths as well as draw length, draw weight, axle to axle and brace height measurements. Write all the numbers down on a peice of paper and keep it handy.

Now onto the tuning process.

STEP 1: press the bow and remove the string and cables. You want to measure each cable and twist it down to where it measures 1/8 of an inch shorter than the listed lengths (be sure the string is straight and stretched out for this measurement often times the ends are still bent where the end serving wraps around the cam these need to be straightend). with each cable twisted 1/8 shorter than listed specs put the cables back on the bow and move onto the string.

STEP 2: Basically you want to do the same thing with the string but with the string twist it down to 3/16 of an inch shorter than listed length, then put it back on the bow.

STEP 3: From this point everything is going to be close, take the bow out of the press and start checking all the specs. First tighten both limb bolts all the way down, then check the performance marks on the cam. (in every bow i have worked on excluding the regular cam 1/2 the performance marks are right on by this point, with the cam 1/2 you may need to mess with the control cable just a bit to get the performance marks right) Now that the performance marks are on check your ATA and brace height, in most cases the ATA will be right on and the brace may run just a little on the long side, once you check this move onto draw stop timing. using a draw board or have someone draw the bow for you and watch the cams. The draw stop on the top cam should hit the cable at the same time as the draw stop on the bottom cam. If the bottom is hitting before the top your top cam is under rotated, and vice versa, if the top cam is hitting first. From here more than likely you will need to make some minor adjustments, if the top cam is under rotated you can either add twist to the buss cable or take twist out of the control cable. I always use the control cable for under rotated top cam unless my ATA is coming in on the long side or if the brace height is coming in too short (for me either of these are a rarity) i say this because twisting and untwisting the bess cable will have a greater impact on the ATA and brace height than messing with the control cable. Now if the top cam is over rotated you basicaly do the opposite either take twist out of the buss cable or add twist to the control cable. (for these adjustments i ussually use the buss cable because as previously stated the brace height may be running a little long and untwisting the buss cable will fix that, if the ATA  and brace height are already on then i will use the control cable for this as well.  Make these adjustments in small increments it don’t take many twist to get it right.

STEP 4: Now that you have that all done you need to check the AMO draw length and make sure it is at spec. To do this draw the bow and have someone mark your arrow right at the center of the rest hole (AMO draw length measurements are measured from the nock groove to the pivot point of the grip wich happens to be right in line with the center of the rest hole so measureing to the rest hole just makes this a little easier.) Now measure from the inside of the nock groove to the mark on your arrow and then add 1.75 inches to that measurement, this will reflect the AMO draw length of the bow. Twist or untwist the string from here to get the AMO draw length set right to where it needs to be. If your measurement is saying it’s too long then add a few twist to the string if it’s too short take a few out (5 twist either way = aprox. 1/4 inch) once you get the AMO draw length set right double check the max weight of the bow and from here you should be done.

If for any reason you get to any step and notice that something is way off from where it is supposed to be start over at step one because more than likely one of the measurements was off. If the problem still isn’t fixed feel free to contact me on WWW.ARCHERYTALK.COM under the username BOWGOD and i will gladly walk you through it the best i can.

I have been personally using this method for years now and in every case this method has gotten me so close to perfect the first time around, just a few small adjustments after you put it all back together after step 2 and the bow is ready to rock. I have tried several tuning methods over the years and this is by far the easiest way to get my bows tuned right into their sweet spot with no headaches.

Good luck and shoot straight.

7 votes, average: 3.86 out of 57 votes, average: 3.86 out of 57 votes, average: 3.86 out of 57 votes, average: 3.86 out of 57 votes, average: 3.86 out of 5 (7 votes, average: 3.86 out of 5)
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Published by CLB on 31 Mar 2008

Field Photos – Preserve the Moment Forever

In the heat of the moment when we are hunting sometimes we forget to document our successes with a field photo or two.  Nothing brings back the memory of a hunt like a well taken photo.   Alot of photos end up being taken in the back of the truck or on the garage floor.  These types of photos while documenting our deer do not capture the essence of the hunt like we really want them to.  It only takes a few minutes to get good field photos and the photos will last a lifetime and bring back a flood of memories like the hunt happened only yesterday.  Field photos do not require any special equipment and even a point and shoot camera in the backpack will work.  What is really important is how you set up and compose the photo.  In the next few paragraphs I will try and set out a few guidlines for taking good field photos. 

The first step in getting a good field photo is to clean the animal up a bit before taking the photo.  Blood is a natural part of our sport but excessive blood can be distasteful even to other hunters.  Wipe off as much blood from the animal as you can and clean up around the mouth a bit.  Make sure the tongue is not hanging out.  If the tongue will not stay in the mouth you can go as far as cutting it off.  If you can, tuck the legs up under the animal for the photo.  This is not always possible if the animal has stiffened up or it is a very large animal like a moose.  Next try to  have the animal in its natural landscape, not in the truck or on the garage floor.  Have the animal set up so that there is not too much clutter in the background.  Clutter in the background such as bushes will make the antlers hard to distinguish.  If possible try and have the antlers against a clear sky.  Also make sure that there is no clutter in front of the animal.  Try  and clear any debris such as sticks, grass or other items which may cover any part of the animal. 

When setting up to take the photo try and get as low to the ground as possible.  Even lay on your belly if you have to.  Getting down on the animals level will give a more natural aspect to the photo and fully show off your trophy.  Try not to stand over the animal and hunter and shoot down on them.  Try and keep the sun at your back if possible or off to the side.  Taking photos with the sun at the hunters back will cause you to lose detail in the photo and can cause unsightly lens flares and can totally black out the hunter and animal with point and shoot cameras.  One thing to be careful of, as the photographer with the sun at your back, is to make sure your shadow is not in the photo.  If the hunter is wearing a hat the sun may cast a shadow across his face which will black it out in the photo.  If this is the case have the hunter remove his hat for the photo or use fill flash to brighten the hunters face.  If it is dark out make sure to use a flash or if possible you can wait and get photos the next morning.  This is not always an option with bowhunting as many times it is quite warm out and taking care to salvage the meat is very important.   Take many different angles of the animal and hunter,  this way you will always get an angle which will look the best in photos.  Fill the frame with the hunter and his or her trophy.  Having the animal and the hunter too small in the photo brings too many other distracting objects into the photo and makes the hunter and animal hard to see.   Try and not have the hunter hold the animal out at arms length in an attempt to make the animal look bigger.  This just gives an unnatural appearance to the animal.  Do not have the hunter straddle the deer.  It is best to have the hunter kneel or sit in behind the animal.   Try and have the hunter smile, this should be a happy moment.  If you are alone in the feild you do not have to go without a field photo.  Carry a small tripod with you or use a log or your backpack as a rest and use the self timer on your camera.  This can sometimes  take a little time to get a good photo but with digital cameras it is easy to check your photos and make sure you have a good one.

Field photos do not have to only be of the hunter and his or her trophy.  Photos of the hunter as they are hunting or sitting in their blinds or treestands also make great memories of the hunts.  Photos of your hunting buddies sitting around the camfire after a day hunting make great keepsakes.  Take photos of your hunting dogs or decoy spreads while bird hunting.  Anything that will help you remeber the day makes a great photo.    Hopefully these tips will help you capture that special moment the next time you are out hunting, and you can look back on your hunts and remember them for years to come.

 

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