Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by mark kennedy on 30 Mar 2008

Back Tension And Target Panic

Hey everybody,

I know how frustrating it can be learning to use a true backtension release.  I know how much time and effort must be put into the practice and proper execution of a backtension release.  I am definatly not a perfect back tension shooter, heck just today I had a lot of problems getting my back tension to go off at a local tournament.  But I have been shooting with a back tension for 2.5 yrs and i think it i may be able to help some new guys get into it with a lot less frustration than i had, by informing people of the many ways not to start learning a back tension.

 I started 2.5 yrs ago with a tru-ball ultra 3 backtension release.  I had just started to get into spot shooting and was struggling with TARGET PANIC.  Everybody gets it at one time or another, and boy is it troublesome.  I was having such a problem i almost gave up shooting all together.  Finally i was in my archery shop one day and was discussing possible ways to get rid of target panic when one of the pros that frequent the shop told me about the back tension release. 

He explained to me the ideal shot,what he called a SURPRISE SHOT. The purpose of the surprise shot was to 1 reduce the urge to punch the release creating steady grouped shots 2. reducing the ability to predict when the shot was going off enabling the shooter to keep from grabbing or torquing the bow as it arrow leaves the rest.

 It sounded like a miracle to me, like the locked door to better scores that i sttod before had just swung open.  I bought a backtension and couldn’t wait to try it.  So I got my bow, loaded an arrow, and stepped to the twenty yard line. That was my first mistake, when shooting a backtension the first few times, even if you have read all about them and seen people shoot them if you have never shot one yourself than pull a bail to five yards.  I didn’t get my bow back 6 in, when that release tripped and that arrow went straight into the wood next to the twenty yard bail.

Always start at five yards, it is the most important thing, Also take your sight off, start by just trying to get the release back.  If available have somebody who shoots a backtension CORRECTLY watch you and comment on your form and technique.  Once you are able to get it fully drawn follow these steps to help get you started, a variation or simplification of these steps is fine whatever works for you because you are the one shooting the release.

1. set your rear shoulder so that your rear forearm is parallel to the ground and in a locked comfortable position.

2. set your front shoulder/arm in a broken arm fashion, you don’t want your arm locked out, this can cause yu to strap yourself and will make it hard to use a backtension.  You only want your arm to be slightly bent.

3. set your release hand to a TOUCH POINT on your face that is easily remembered and does not move your front or rear setup.

4. Aim

5.while you continue to aim push the bow into the target with your shoulder not with your elbow as this will cause inconsistent pressure, as you focus on the x on the target, the pin may move but just focus on the target, push the bow into the target.  At the same time pull with your release hand into the wall behind you as if you are going to drive your elbow into the wall.

6. keep focusing on the target, pushing and pulling, and before your ready more than likely that shot will be gone, if you anticipated the shot, you did wnot follow correct form, maybe you pulled with your outside fing er instead of pulling straight back, this is called TRIPPING THE RELEASE.

TRIPPING THE RELEASE is the process of turning a backtension release to the point that the hinge releases the bow.  This form is inconsistent and should not be used, Although i have seen some pros shoot this way very well it is not a SURPRISE SHOT.  the whole prupose of learning the back tension is to get this surprise and reduce target panic and get better form, turning the release accomplishes none of these things.

 Afetr 2.5 yrs I am still learning my backtension and I hope to have it perfect soon, but the best thing i can suggest is to blank bail, we all hate it and nobody does it enough but it is really the best way to learn the relaese.  When you are sitting on the couch get a shoestring and simulate yourself shooting a backtension using your release and a shoestring during commercials, my coach gave me this same advice and i’ll tell you it is a lot less boring than hours of misguided blank bailing and it i find it works well.

 I hope this information helps people to better understand the advantages of a backtension and its proper use, don’t give up no matter how long it takes because eventually you’ll get it, just keep working at it.

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Published by Jeffress77 on 30 Mar 2008

How did you learn about scrapes? – An informative look into the detail regarding whitetail scrapes –

Growing up as a young hunter at the local shop or the 3D range, I would always hear other hunters chatting about rubs, scrapes, shed antlers, funnels, staging areas, and many other terms used about whitetail hunting in the Midwest.   Did I always know what the old guys were talking about?  That can be answered with a very quick “No.”  Now that whitetail hunting has become a passion and obsession that can only be understood by those men and women who also have my affliction, I can look back into my learning experiences to see exactly how and why I have learned so much.

Unlike many of the fine, budding youth hunters on the planet, I didn’t have a mentor.  My father worked hard to take care of my family.  With a newly handicapped mother, my dad found himself working just as hard at home as he did for a paycheck.  Hunting wasn’t a priority in his life.  My only living grandfather wasn’t healthy enough to take me out to the woods in the winter months.  Shooting sports and hunting, in general, were introduced by my uncle whose own family convictions kept him out of the woods for years upon end.  Hunting had no longer become a priority on his end of the line either. 

Although my first two or three outings into the whitetail woods were nothing to be excited about with single digit temperatures, double digit wind speeds, and heavy snowfall on public ground that hadn’t ever been seen by any of the four eyes of my uncle or myself, I was hooked.  The thought that a majestic creature like a deer may actually be that close to me, was more than I could bear.  I never set eyes on live deer that season, but I had to have more of that feeling.  After that, for years, I was forced to learn on my own.  I made my way into the thick brush and the outskirts of the Indiana croplands as often as I could during the season, paying no attention to wind direction, deer sign, or even getting off of the ground.  

Ten years later, hundreds of deer observed, and tons of blown opportunities behind me, I have developed a better understanding of what it takes to be successful “almost” every time that magical fall season starts approaching.  Continuous scouting for the season may just be the single most important tool in a whitetail hunter’s repertoire. 

When I look back to the days that words like scrapes, rubs, and funnels made as much sense as an Indian restaurant menu, I can laugh a little.  With a little more knowledge into the biology, and sexual tendencies of a whitetail deer, your hunting skills can be honed into what you always wanted them to be.  Trying to figure out why, when and where whitetail bucks and does make scrapes will only help in getting that buck you dream about.

Deer utilize a scrape, which is basically a pawing motion on the ground in conjunction with their scent glands and urinary/solid waste, to create a sexual or territorial marking for communication with other deer.  Deer use mainly five different glands to communicate with the other deer.  The pre-orbital (around the eyes), and tarsal glands (inside the hind legs) are familiar to most hunters, but whitetail bucks and does alike utilize the interdigital glands (between the hoof toes), forehead glands, and metatarsal glands (below the tarsal glands).  These scent glands leave a blueprint, unique to each deer, which may arouse curiosity, stimulation, or anger instincts to other deer in a scrape or on surrounding flora.

In the past 20 or so years creating your own scrape or continuing the curiosity or sexual impulses of an existing scrape has become a valuable addition in the hunter’s bag of tricks.  This is a fairly easy way of patterning deer, not only during the pre-rut, but all season. You can actually treat scrapes all year long during the pre/post rut periods by using “non-sexual” scents. By this I mean non-estrus urines or ammonia-based synthetics that are available on the growing scent market.

Sexual scents are present during stages of the rut, but not as effective any other time of the year. Using estrus urine in June or February is going to confuse the deer and possibly provide a means of avoidance in that area. If you are nearing the rut within two-three weeks (second week in October here in the Midwest), it would help to use a buck urine/dominant buck urine/tarsal gland/doe urine combination.  Providing a pre-orbital scent or an overhanging licking branch positioned lower (for use by does) and possibly one higher (for use by dominant bucks) are necessary additions to a good scrape. The buck urine provides a territorial scent, keeping the other bucks interested in who is visiting the same scrape that he is. The tarsal gland scent is another territorial scrape scent on which bucks will urinate in the scrapes to provide another point of territory and communication.  Female deer also often frequent scrapes to leave their urine, pre-orbital, metatarsal, and interdigital scent also. The licking branches are rubbed, licked, and nibbled to provide pre-orbital and forehead gland scent deposit as well.

During the rut, including the week before and possibly a few weeks after the final stages (of the first rut) is a good time to introduce estrus doe urine into the scrape. This will trigger the highly sexual interests of the bucks. The tarsal/urine buck scents from other deer will also trigger an intense anger towards another deer, possibly having the buck wondering “Who is coming here on my turf? Who is trying to get my females?”

Often, making these scrapes early in the season will allow for the deer to tend to the scrapes themselves. If one or two deer are interested in the scrape early on, they will tend to the scrape and leave their REAL scents in the FAKE scrape. Now your original FAKE scrape has become an ACTIVE scrape, the deer are using it regularly, and you may not need to tend to it again.

Since deer also often defecate in or around their scrapes, one technique that Michigan hunters Greg and Fred Abbas of A-Way Outdoors use with their scrapes is to put droppings from another buck in a different hunting area in their mock scrapes. Fred Abbas harvested a nice buck from a different part of the county, but also harvested his droppings and dirt from the scrapes in that area. Fred utilized the distant buck’s scents to make his own success in another area.

Use trail cameras or other forms of monitoring to observe your scrapes.  See what works and what doesn’t for your area. Try these great scent tactics this year, and make sure you use good scent-free methods of treating/making the scrapes. Use rubber boots, possibly gloves, and stay on the outside of the scrapes and never step too close. Maybe, just maybe, you will be able to baffle a kid at the local shop just I like used to be baffled when the good hunters started talking about their scrape success!

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Published by csinclair on 26 Mar 2008

Thoughts on becoming a 3D Archer / Bow Hunter

Hello,

My Name is Craig Sinclair,  I have been an archery enthusiast for many years and a serious archer for the last couple of years.

As of late archery has become my passion and somewhat of an obsession, (eat, sleep, archery comes to mind), and I’d like to use this blog to track my progress  and development as I become a 3D Archer, (mostly due to the fact that I’ve only  been to an indoor range once, see photo), and eventually, when I feel I’m ready after a little more instruction, coaching and lots of practice, a Bow Hunter.

Craig at the Bow-Shop Range in K/W Ontario Canada

Join me if you wish in exploring the world of Archery from the perspective of a newbie, learn with me as I try and err and try again until I get it right.

http://www.youtube.com/cjsinclair

Practice makes perfect,

Craig

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Published by mafriend03 on 25 Mar 2008

Bowhunting Turkey Success Tips!

Bowhunting turkeys can be a challenge in itself, however if you take your time and do things right you should have a set of spurs and a beard on your wall quicker than you think, here’s how!

Do your homework! Typically a week or so before season begins I go out and mow down about an acre of tall grass and weeds, this seems to bring the turkeys in better than anything else. When I have knowledge of turkeys in my area I’ll go and wait about an hour or so before dark outside my truck and attempt to get turkeys to gobble at the sound of my owl call using the cadence “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all”. This will let you know where to set up the turkeys the next day.

Set up on em’ When hunting turkeys with a bow my set up of choice is out of a ground blind such as a double bull Matrix 360 to give me the optimal field of view. With the rapid success of strutting jake/tom decoys on the market I told myself I will never enter the woods again without one after my first attempt to hunt with one! Set up a hen decoy only 5-10 feet out side your blind directly facing your set up followed by a strutting tom decoy (a real tail fan adds realism) only about 10-15 feet away from your set up on a 45 degree angle facing your set up.This set up will ensure you that either a tom will come in to breed with the hen, or face the strutting tom decoy face on to fight.

Calling is overused and overrated! Most guys will go out and call and call and call just to feel macho that they can get a Tom to gobble… Put your ego aside if you really want to bag a long beard. While the Tom is still oh his roost (from the previous night you should know where this is) give him just a few SOFT yelps and purrs, nothing more because you don’t want to throw your whole bag of tricks at him all at once. Just let that Tom know there is another Hen in the area. Yelp approximately 4-6 times SOFTLY depending on how vocal the gobbler is. Once the Tom pitches from his roost give him a few (2-4) more yelps this time let him know your serious with a higher pitch. If the gobbler sounds like he is without a hen there should be no need to give him anymore than 2-10 yelp sequences in order to make that gobbler commit. If your gobbler is hened up (with a hen) you might need to do a bit of cutting on your call, this will excite not only the Tom but more importantly the Hen! Wherever the Hen goes you can expect the long beard to follow. Once the Tom spots your decoy set up, be prepared with your bow in hand and your release clipped on! It would be a huge benefit if you mastered a few calls on your diaphragm (mouth) call because once that gobbler comes running in to fight you may not get a chance to reach down and pick up your favorite call without being spotted.

Tips Wear black in the ground blind, remember the closest part of your body to the turkeys will be your hands, so cover them up! Put your fancy wrapped arrows away, again try to make your arrows as dark as you can (fletching also). Lower your bow poundage if you can, its better to have your arrow stuck in the bird rather than blowing right through it. “Hit em’ high, watch em’ die, hit em’ low, watch em’ go” is the old saying when shooting at turkeys with a bow. Try a large expandable broadhead, or even a broadhead designed to hit the bird in the head/neck if your confident in your shooting.

 

Best of luck!

M.Friend

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Published by bowgod on 25 Mar 2008

making back tension work for you

I would like to take this time to try and uncover one of the most talked about and yet to most one of the biggest mysteries in archery, the proper way to learn and execute a shot using back tension. It is no secret that the use of back tension is one of the most powerful tools one can have in thier archery arsenal, and yet every year countless numbers of shooters either ignore or try and discard this method of executing a shot. I’m going to try to help everyone get to the bottom of why they just can’t seem to make this work for them.

By this time most of us have heard of the advantages of shooting back tension and yet for the most part we avoid it at all cost, or we try it for a week and switch right back to our old way of shooting in this article i would like to get right to the bottom of why so many do just that. While back tension is held as the best way to execute a shot what many people don’t understand is that it is not a magic spell to great shooting and there is a great deal of learning that needs to be done before you will see the effects. I believe this factor alone is why many give up long before they ever even come close to grasping the consept.

To properly learn back tension you have to first realize your actually learning two things not just one. The first thing we need to learn is to execute the shot using back tension, in this step we need to totally re-program our shot execution. once this is acomplished we then need to learn to trust our new shot sequence. i am going to try to cover the best possible way to acomplish both of these.

1. The shot

First thing we need to learn is to properly execute the shot. this step should take no less than 2 weeks prefferably a month. The first thing we need to do is learn just how a properly executed shot is supposed to feel. It is best to learn this using a string bow (a piece of cord with a large loop tied on one end for your hand and a smaller loop on the other end for your release) it is important to adjust your cord to perfectly mock you actual draw length. once you have your string bow built it’s time to start. Set up for your shot with the string bow like you would for any other shot attach your release to the small loop and apply preasure to both ends as if you were at full draw and then find a comfortable/repeatable anchor. At this point i like to pre-load my release by tightening my grip just tight enough to reach my click (if you use a clicker) after this is acheived there should be no more movement in your hand at all. from this point you want to picture your string bow as being a big rubber band, the idea is to stretch the band by pushing and pulling.  as you are pushing toward the target and pulling directly away from the target you should feel the muscles right underneeth the lower half of your shoulder blade (between the shoulder blade and the spine) start to tighten, you want to continue to stretch the band until the shot breaks free. At this point it should be obvious wether you executed the shot properly or if you cheated your way through it, with the properly executed shot the string should snap forward several feet. Once you learn to execute the shot properly you need to give yourself some time to remember this step before moving on, practice with your string bow several times a day for no less than a week (prefferably two weeks for this step) through this step you need to ingrain both in your brain and in your muscles exactly what a good shot should feel like, once you have acomplished this much it’s time to move onto a real bow.

now with your bow ready remove the sight (it will only get in the way at this point) now it’s time to learn how to take what you’ve learned on the string bow and apply it to a real bow where other forces will be introduced. spend the next 2-3 weeks practicing your new shot execution on a blank target bale from a distance of 6 feet or less, again we’re trying to ingrain this new shot and how it feels into our brain and our muscles. i suggest making at least 50 blank bale shots a day for 2-3 weeks until you no longer have to think about what to do to reach the feeling in your muscles that makes the release fire. once you have the shot thoroughly ingrained into your muscle memory it will be time to move onto the next step.

2. learning to trust your new shot.

It is my belief that this is the step that most people skip and also the reason why most people give up on back tension all together. This new shot process is no different than anything else that is new, we don’t quite have the confidence we need in it yet, many people skip this step all together and at first they may shoot ok using back tension but all of a sudden they’ll have a bad day and ditch back tension all together.Like anything else we need to learn how to use this and learn how to trust it if not it will be the first thing we blame when something goes wrong because it’s the newest tool in our arsenal. to learn how to trust it we need to start close and make it easy. put your sight back on your bow and for the first time in weeks get ready to shoot at an actual target. start out with a big target and stand close to the target. i suggest starting at 7 yards some might want to start at 10 yards either is fine but no further than 10.  practice shooting at close range at a larger than normal target (5-6 inches) at first your brain is going to want to freak out this is perfectly normal and the key reason for starting so close and using a large target. shooting up close is easier to hold on target and using the larger target makes it even easier these two things combined should help to ease your mind.  practice daily at this distance until you can consistantly hit the target with no thought at all going into the release proccess. once you are comfortable at this point and your shots are happening effortlessly move back 2 yards and repeat. you should spend no less than 1 week shooting at each distance moving back 2 yards at a time. each time you move back you should carry over the confidence you built the prior week. through this process you will teach yourself to trust the shot and just aim, by starting close it makes it easier for you to hit the target and thus making it easier to trust the shot. if at any distance you loose your comfort or your confidence move back to the previous spot and start over from that point. ( i find it easier to start each practice session by shooting a coulple of rounds from the previos weeks distance just to get into the groove). over time you will learn to trust your new shot process at any distance and it is then that you can start to see the advantages of shooting back tension.

The real key to this whole process is comitment don’t short change youself or try to hurry the process at all or you’ll end up like everyone else who tried and gave up on back tension. your going to need to commit alot of time to learning this the right way but in the end it will all be worth it. plan on spending a few months learning and be prepared and warned that it will get worse before it gets better. back tension is not an overnight remody but if given the time and learned right it will be the thing that can take your shooting to the next level. keep a posative mental outlook and commit yourself to learning it the right way and you will thank yourself down the road.

good luck and shoot straight

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Published by slbeasley on 23 Mar 2008

ACE IN THE HOLE

 Hunting Over Waterholes For Elk May Be Your Best Bet

By Stacy Beasley  

elk drinking     Bob Brown is new to bow hunting. In fact, prior to the 2003 season he had only a year’s worth of archery experience under his newly purchased camouflage. In that year he was able to tag a turkey – at 40 yards, his only game with a bow. From that point forward, Bob began to dream of bigger and better pursuits. His dream led him and two friends, Jody Baugh and Scott Trent, to northeastern New Mexico to Milligan Brand Outfitters for the opening morning of the 2003 New Mexico elk season. Little did Bob know, his winning hand was about to be dealt.

      On the first morning of the hunt, Bob quietly made his way to his stand overlooking one of Milligan’s waterholes. When he got within a stone’s throw of the waterhole he heard a lot of splashing and commotion. “I did not know if it was a bear or an elk.” Bob approached the waterhole cautiously. Every time the animal splashed Bob would move. With the wind in his face and the sun sneaking up behind, he quietly crawled up the dam. Suddenly the splashing stopped. At the top, Bob carefully peeked into the waterhole. “Whatever was making the commotion was gone,” said Bob, he climbed into his stand and waited for his shot at a waterhole wapiti. By noon Bob was headed back to camp. He told his story to his guide. The guide was certain that what Bob had heard that morning was a bull elk and that he would be back for an evening drink. Now it was up to Bob to play his cards right. By 2:30 p.m. he was back on the same stand. Soon he spotted several elk in a meadow to his left. He pulled out his Hoochie Mama cow call, squeezed it, and a bull raised its head. “The call got his attention and made him very curious.” Bob watched as the curious bull approached the waterhole. “He looked around for the cow, then decided to take a drink.” The bull spread his front legs, lowered his head and went down for a drink. Just before his lips touched the water, he raised his head. Again he went down for a drink, and again he raised his head. On third time he lowered his head, he began to suck in the muddy water. “That is when I drew back my 165 pound Martin Prowler,” smiled Bob. “Actually its only 65 pounds, but it sure felt like 165 pounds when a magnificent animal like that is only yards from you.” Bob lightly touched the release trigger, and then a smile lit up his face when he saw the arrow hits its mark. The following morning Bob was able to wrap his tag around the antler of his first waterhole wapiti.

     Ray Milligan, owner and operator of Milligan Brand has taken over twenty bulls at waterholes and has been outfitting elk hunters for over fifteen years. When it comes to hunting elk over water he knows his stuff. He is confident that water can be the elk hunter’s ace in the hole, if he/she plays by the rules.

 Rule #1: Find a Prime Location

“Don’t try to hunt over waterholes that are near rivers, streams, and lakes,” advises Milligan. “Rather look for waterholes in arid areas with an abundant food source, especially acorns, and heavy cover. If the hunter is not able to hunt arid places but only higher elevations they should hunt springs as a main water source. Look for springs on the east and north faces of the mountains because these areas are cooler and are prime bedding locations.”

      “Elk need a minimum of 10 gallons of water in them at all times. A hunter can bet on an elk visiting a water source at least twice a day,” says Ray. “They are more likely to drink just before bedding or after they get up from their beds.” If Ray had to choose to hunt elk over waterholes in the morning or evening, he would choose an evening hunt. “Hunting over waterholes in the evening is three times better because the elk seem to come to waterholes more often in the evening.” 

Rule #2: Make a Good Set Up

     Hunting elk over water is best done in a tree stand. All of Milligan’s stands our set between 12 and 15 feet. “Any higher than that and the hunter can expect less penetration especially if shooting an expandable broadhead,” says Ray. When hunting elk over water the bowhunter must pay attention to the sun and wind thermals.

     The sun can be your worst enemy, so use it to your advantage. Ray says, “Never set your stand over a waterhole with the sun in your face. If it reflects off your clothes, skin, or your bow, it will give your position away. Also, if the sun is shining in your face, it will hinder you from seeing an approaching elk in time for you to get ready for the shot. Always set your stand with the sun at your back.”

The most common mistake that the flatland deer hunter makes when hunting mountainous areas is in not knowing about the thermals and how to use them to their advantage. Thermals are simply air currents that rise and fall with the temperatures. Troy Peterson, avid elk hunter and owner of Conejos Cabins in Antonito, Colorado, testifies that wind thermals may be the number one reason why most bow hunters fail to connect with an elk. “The wind may be in your favor one moment and your worst enemy the next,” claims Peterson. The flatlander needs to know the thermal rule of thumb: In the morning western air currents are usually calm until the sun rises over the mountains and warms the air. As the temperature rises, expect the air current to rise. In the evening as the temperature drops, the air currents generally flow downward.

     Therefore, when hunting elk over a waterhole in the evening it would be wise, says Ray, to place your stand on the drainage side of the waterhole so that the thermals will pull your scent down the drainage and away from an approaching elk.

Rule #3: Know When to Shoot

     Elk will approach the waterhole fully aware of danger. They will relax a little when they go down for a drink; yet don’t draw back just yet. Ray advises his clients to wait until they hear the elk drinking, then slowly count, one . . .two . . . three. Then draw back, relax, aim, and shoot. “Oftentimes the elk will go down to drink, then suddenly raise its head, doing this two or three times. So wait until it is committed to drinking.”

     If you are interested in hunting elk over waterholes, Milligan advises an early season hunt because that is when the bow hunter will see the most elk coming to a waterhole. However, if the hunter cannot make an early season hunt, he says the late season is good also and that many big bulls have been taken over waterholes during the peak of the rut.

     For more information on hunting elk over waterholes contact Ray Milligan at Milligan Brand Outfitters phone 1-505-756-2630 or visit them on the web at www.milliganbrand.com.

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Published by jgregoire687 on 21 Mar 2008

Building a Hunting Blind

Hello there.  This is a first time at writing a blog.  So bear with me and I will do what I can to make this interesting and informative. 

 I have recently begun building (1st time) a ground blind to hunt from.  I am about 30% of the way into the project.  The project will be as simple as possible with limited tools needed.  No fancy cuts or tools will be needed.  I am still in the midst of winter, despite the calendar claims of SPRING.  Given that our weather is still in flux I am building the blind in my garage.  I will temporarily screw the framed portions together, disassemble, load in the truck, and reassemble on site.  The blind will be painted camoflage to hide from the anti’s and tresspassers.  This will be placed on the site of my food plot from last year.  

 

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