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New Crossbows for 2012

by Daniel James Hendricks 7. May 2012 01:46
Daniel James Hendricks

   Each at the Archery Trade Association Show, the manufacturers from around the world unveil their new products to archery dealers.  Crossbows and crossbow accessories are garnering a larger share of the archery market every year and this year there were some wonderful new kids on the block at the trade show in Indianapolis.  As a matter of fact, there were so many new models that the ones included here are just some of the more prominent additions to the long and growing list of crossbow options for the horizontal bowhunter.

 

 01-Arrow Precision’s Inferno Hellfire II 
  The Inferno Hellfire II crossbow by Arrow Precision has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 310 feet per second.  It comes equipped with a 4x32 Multi Reticle Illuminated Scope, Quick Detach Quiver, 4- 20” carbon arrows, padded shoulder sling, rope cocking device and anti-dry fire mechanism. It comes in a camo pattern and has an ambidextrous auto safety with anti-dry fire Mechanism.  It has a Lightweight Machined Aluminum Riser, Precision Machined Aluminum Wheels and a large boot style foot stirrup.  It weighs just under 7 ½ pounds, is 36.5” long and 28” wide.  The limbs are made of Compression Fiberglass, the barrel is machined aluminum and the riser is case aluminum.  The best thing about the Hellfire is that the entire package is delivered to you for under $500.  For more information visit their website at: www.arrow-precision.com

02-Carbon Express Covert SLS
  The Covert SLS crossbow by Carbon Express has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 355 feet per second.  The Covert SLS measures 36” long by 17” wide, but is only 13” wide when loaded.  Precision Aluminum Alloy Cams, the Picatinny Rail system, adjustable forearm and tactical foregrip help to make the Covert SLS a comfortable fit for anyone.  It has a compact CNC machined aluminum riser and Compact Bull-Pup stock with custom adjustments.  It has an Anti-Dry-Firs System and ambidextrous safety.  The Covert SLS kit includes a Rope Cocker, Quick Detach 3 Arrow Quiver, 3 Maxima Hunter® 20" Crossbolts, 4x32 Deluxe Multi-Reticle Lighted Scope, Rail Lubricant and 3 Practice Points all for under $600.  For more information about the Carbon Express Covert SLS, visit their website at www.carbonexpressarrows.com

 

03-Darton FireForce
  The FireForce crossbow by Darton has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 395 feet per second.  It had larger axels, sealed oversized Quad Ball Bearings, wide/stronger laminated Quad limbs, all combined with a compact front riser and redesigned Tactical Darton Stock first introduced in 2011. With Darton’s DualSync cams you have added performance and accuracy in a crossbow bow that is flat out fast, durable and accurate, shooting a 400 grain arrow a blurring 395-400fps. The FireForce is equipped with an integrated riser/string suppressor system and new Barrel Dampener [Patent Pending] to help reduce noise and vibration.  It has 17 ¼” power stroke, weighs 8.6 pound in weight.  It is 36” long and 24 3/8” wide.  For more information about the FireForce visit the Darton website at www.dartonarchery.com

 

04-Excalibur Eclipse XT
  The Eclipse XT from Excalibur has a 200 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 330 feet per second.  It has a thumbhole stock in a black gun finish and has Excalibur’s fine trigger, the S5 Sound and Vibration Control System as well as a matching cheek-piece.  It has a 15 ½ inch power stroke and weighs only 6.3 lbs.  Its overall length is 37.4” and it shoots a 400 grain, 20” arrow.  The Eclipse XT comes in a complete package including our Shadow-Zone scope and mounting hardware, four Firebolt arrows with target points, the Excalibur quiver mounting bracket and a matching quiver.  For more information on the this and other fine bows from Excalibur, visit their website at www.excaliburcrossbow.com

05-Horton Fury
  The Fury crossbow by Horton has a 160 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 360 feet per second.  With its CNC-machined riser and lightweight aluminum barrel it produces incredible balance and accuracy. Precision CNC-machined cams and advanced laminated limbs optimize speed, integrated stumper arms maximize stealth while our custom Viper X strings deliver ultimate speed and durability.  It is 35 1/4” long and 17 ½” wide with a 15 3/8” power stroke.  When it is loaded it is a mere 13” wide.  It weighs 8.1 lbs and shoots a 20” arrow.  For more information on the Horton Fury, visit their website at www.hortonarchery.com

 

 06-Maximus Crossbow’s Ergo
  The Ergo crossbow by Maximus Crossbows  has a 175 lb draw weight and launches its arrows at right around 330 feet per second.  It is 31¼ inches long and 18¾ wide, axel to axel and weighs 8 lbs with optics installed. Unique features include an under-mount stirrup, a handshake pistol grip, elevated comb height and a winged and vented barrel for forehand safety.  It has a vented forearm, extended scope rail (for eye-glass wearers), an ambidextrous safety with anti-dry fire device and a 100% metal trigger with only a 2.5 lb trigger pull.  The efficiency of its design is also complimented by a 50% rear-of-center balance point for fatigue free shooting.  The package comes with an innovative 20 to 100 yard, 3-power scope with regular or illuminated reticle.  Cushioned scope rings, flip-up scope caps, 3-arrow side-mount quiver, 3-Maximus 100% carbon Slayer Arrows with field points and the new 102 grain Hammer inserts and a Universal rope cocking aid featuring their new safety hooks and T-handles.  For more information about the Maximus Ergo visit their website at  www.maximuscrossbows.com

 

07-Parker Tomahawk
  The Tomahawk crossbow by Parker has a 160 lb draw weight and launches a 20”, 400 grain arrow at right around 320 feet per second.  The Tomahawk is 34.25” long, 20.375” wide and weighs in at 6.5 lbs.  It has Advanced Split Limb Technology, a G2 Bull-Pup Trigger, an auto-engage, ambidextrous safety and an auto-engage anti-dry fire mechanism.  The Tomahawk has a machined aluminum riser with a ballistic Polymer stock.  It has a vented forearm with safety finger flange comes with an option of regular or illuminated 3X Multi-Reticle scope.  All packaged include 4-Arrow Quick Detach Quiver and four arrows with field tips.  For more information about the Tomahawk visit the Parker website at www. parkerbows.com

 08-SA Sports Vendetta
  The Vendetta crossbow by SA Sports has a 200 lb draw weight and launches a 20” arrow at right around 375 feet per second. It has a 14” power stroke and is only 19” wide when loaded.  Some of the top shelf features included as standard equipment are a finely crafted machined riser, a lightweight extruded and machined barrel, an ANTI Dry-fire trigger mechanism, 3.5lb trigger pull, high performance machined aluminum cams, illuminated red/green/black reticle 4x32 multi range crossbow scope, quiver with 4 carbon arrows, padded shoulder sling, ambidextrous auto safety, lightweight skeletal stock, and crank cocking device compatibility. It comes standard with a rope cocking device, an Integrated Step Through Foot Stirrup and is clad in Next G1 Camo.  It also includes assembly tools and hex keys for quick assembly and maintenance.  For more information about the Vendetta visit their website at www.sa-sports.com

09-Scorpyd Ventilator
  The Ventilator crossbow by Scorpyd has a 150 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 400 feet per second with 140 lbs of kinetic energy.  The new Ventilator is only 19.5 inches wide, axle to axle, and only 12.75 inches wide when cocked which makes this crossbow easy to maneuver in a treestand or the tight quarters often found in a pop-up ground blind. The Ventilator is a mere 35.75 inches long and comes with a folding stock which makes cocking the crossbow easier in the seated position.  It weighs in at 7.9 lbs thanks to the vented barrel and a lightweight forged riser. The solid limb Ventilator is built with top notch components including Barnsdale limbs which are considered some of the toughest, longest-lasting limbs in the archery industry.  The Ventilator is available in draw weights 100, 125 and 150 lbs.  The 150 draw weight produces 140 lbs of kinetic energy and will throw an arrow up to an incredible 400 FPS. Like all Scorpyd crossbows, the Ventilator comes with reverse draw limbs and has a generous power stroke of 18.75 inches thus producing more kinetic energy with less draw weight than other crossbows. As a result, the Ventilator is extremely quiet when shot because large amounts of weight aren’t needed to produce extreme speeds. The Ventilator also comes with a light three pound trigger.  Find out more about the complete line of Scorpyd Crossbows by visiting www.scorpyd.com

10-Stryker  StrykeZone 380
  The StrykeZone 380 crossbow by Stryker has a 160 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 380 feet per second.  The StrykeZone 380 measures 34.375” long by 19.2” wide axel to axel and weighs just 7 lbs.  It has a 15.5” power stroke and 123 foot pound of kinetic energy.  It has a double jaw string capture and the Killswitch Trigger of less than 3lbs.  It has the Auto-Flip™ magnetic safety that clicks into the safe position every time the bow is cocked and is engineered to click back into safe mode if the crossbow is dropped or the bolt is removed.  The Cease-Fire™ safety plug is a double barred insert that slides into place, locking the jaws and immobilizing the trigger until you remove it and are ready to shoot. The StrykeZone 380 is available in Mossy Oak® Treestand™ or Optifade® Forest. For more information about this bow, visit www.strykerxbow.com.

11-TenPoint’s Carbon Elite XLT™
  The Carbon Elilte XLT crossbow by TenPoint has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 360 feet per second.  Like all XLT models, the Carbon Elite XLT’s bow assembly measures 13.5-inches from axle-to-axle when cocked and weighs just under 7 lbs.  The riser comes with a detachable, lightweight, coated aluminum foot stirrup and its 11-inch IsoTaper Limbs™ are double laminated for improved strength and durability and are equipped with NEW MRX™ cams and D-75 string and cables.  The Carbon Elite XLT also features TenPoint’s patented DFI™ (dry-fire inhibitor), highly regarded 3.5-pound patented PowerTouch™ trigger and patented GripSafety™. Equipped with the ACUdraw™ or ACUdraw 50™, TenPoint’s patented cocking units, and the RangeMaster Pro™ variable speed and power scope, the Carbon Elite XLT is double-dip fluid imaged in Mossy Oak’s® popular Break-Up Infinity® camo pattern.  The model is sold only as a complete package that includes a soft case, carbon arrows, silencer kit, and quiver.   For more information, contact Randy Wood, Vice President of Sales (800) 548-6837 or www.tenpointcrossbows.com.

 

12-Wicked Ridge Raider CLS
  The Raider crossbow by Wicked Ridge has a 180 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 330 feet per second with 101.6 fp of kinetic energy.  The Raider features an economically executed variation of TenPoint’s powerful Compact Limb System™ (CLS) bow assembly. Unlike TenPoint’s one-piece CLS riser and foot stirrup, the Raider comes with a detachable, lightweight, coated aluminum foot stirrup. Its 12-inch IsoTaper Limbs™ are fitted with MR™ cams and D-75 string and cables. Together, these features create a smooth-handling, high-performance crossbow that shoots 330 fps with 101.6 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.  With its NEW CLS bow assembly and an injection-molded composite semi-skeletal Verton® stock and ACRAANGLE™ barrel assembly, the Raider weighs in at 7-pounds. In addition, the stock is fitted with a safety-engineered winged fore-grip designed to help prevent finger and thumb injuries.  The Raider CLS comes equipped with a TenPoint™ 3x Multi-Line™ Scope and, like all Wicked Ridge models, it features TenPoint’s patented DFI™ (dry-fire-inhibitor) and patented 3.5-pound PowerTouch™ trigger. Equipped with the patented ACU-52™, the Raider CLS is double-dip fluid imaged in Mossy Oak’s® popular Break-Up Infinity® camo pattern. For more information, contact Randy Wood, Vice President of Sales (800) 548-6837 or www.tenpointcrossbows.com.

 

 

13-Winchester Stallion 
  The Stallion crossbow by Winchester Archery  has a 165 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 350 feet per second with 110 fp of kinetic energy.  It has a 12.5” power stroke and measures 17” wide axel to axel.  The Stallion crossbow highlights the patent pending 12/277,860 Accu-Speed Technology (AST-X) cams to the patent pending Ultra Match stainless steel trigger.  It has a padded pistol grip, forearm and cheekpiece and weighs 7 lbs.  The Stallion has a retracted cocking platform, a bull-pup stock configuration, along with a fully machined barrel and riser.  It has limb and string dampeners, and our sophisticated dual 3K carbon rod string stop system making it one of the quietest crossbows available.  For more information about the Stallion visit the Winchester website at www.winchesterarchery.com.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin Misses Chance to Expand Crossbow Hunting

by Patrick Durkin 19. April 2012 09:03
Patrick Durkin

You might assume the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association slept better in March after the Legislature adjourned without loosening crossbow restrictions for the state’s four-month archery deer season.

Pfft! Not a chance. Just as Ahab hunted his white whale till death, so must WBH chieftains stalk the crossbow to their graves. You’ll never persuade them it’s a divisive waste of time, effort and talent.

What’s more troubling is the Department of Natural Resources dodging efforts to expand crossbow use. DNR spokesmen typically say crossbows are a “social” question hunters must decide themselves, even as the agency struggles to control deer across much of Wisconsin’s southern two-thirds.

Lowering the crossbow age limit to 55 from 65 in Wisconsin would increase participation and stabilize license-buying declines.

If that’s not enough contradiction, many legislators and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp claim they’re forever exploring ways to recruit and retain hunters, and expand hunting opportunities. That’s great, but most agency-directed efforts require patient, perennial educational programs designed to get youngsters off their PlayStations and into the woods.

As much as we need steady, far-sighted programs, we also need simple regulation changes to create opportunities for current or lapsed hunters. That’s why it’s frustrating to see the DNR and lawmakers forgo proposals to lower the crossbow age from 65 to 55 for archery deer season. Crossbows are only legal during archery season for bowhunters 65 and older, or those with doctor-certified handicaps.

Late archery seasons are a great time to go crossbow hunting.

Talk about missing a chance to please rank-and-file hunter-voters. As Rob Bohmann, chairman of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, told lawmakers in February, they’d hit a home run by lowering the crossbow age to 55.

After all, when the Congress floated the idea as an advisory question in April 2010, voters passed it statewide, 2,014 to 1,767, a 53-47 margin. It also passed in county voting, 42-25 (a 63-37 margin), with five counties tied.

When the DNR took that vote and made it a formal proposal at the April 2011 hearings, the WBH rallied its members, hoping to squash it. Instead, the question passed by a wider margin statewide than in 2010, 2,806-2,198, a 56-44 margin. It also passed by a larger margin in county voting, 55-16 (77-23), with one tie.

Even so, the proposal was MIA in autumn 2011 as the Legislature passed other DNR-backed hunting proposals OK’d at April’s hearings.

The Wisconsin Bowhunters Association spent about $8,000 on lobbyists in 2011, with about half of it fighting against crossbows.

What about the age-55 crossbow plan? Well, the most effective lobbying and deal-making might be the kind that prevents legislation from getting drafted. Maybe we should respect the WBH and its lobbyist, Ronald Kuehn of DeWitt Ross & Stevens SC, for persuading lawmakers to ignore the public’s crossbow wishes.

In 2011, the WBH paid nearly $8,000 for 40 hours of lobbying. Government Accountability Board records show about half that effort targeted crossbows and crossbow-related issues. Again, that’s the WBH’s prerogative and destiny. It’s incapable of any other action, given its petrified attitude toward crossbows.

But if the DNR is serious about boosting hunter numbers and license revenues, it should have opposed the WBH and worked with lawmakers to lower the crossbow age to 55 or 50. Granted, no one knows how much that would boost bowhunting participation, but license sales to bowhunters 65 and older rose steadily once Wisconsin first allowed crossbows in 2003.

The Wisconsin DNR and lawmakers ignored public sentiments that favored lowering the crossbow age from 65 to 55 for archery deer season.

Based on that trend, a DNR analysis projected annual archery-license sales would increase by about 1,700 annually if the age were lowered to 55. That’s no sea change, but it would maintain bowhunter numbers, and give more people access to our longest, most opportunity-rich deer season.

Instead, lawmakers passed a bill in March that merely allows crossbows during gun seasons for deer, bear, elk, turkeys and small game. Earlier, on a 60-35 party-line vote, Assembly Republicans rejected anamendment by Rep. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, to lower the crossbow age to 55 for archery deer season.

Milroy said in an interview March 13 that he hopes to work with the WBH and Conservation Congress next year on a compromise, such as a crossbow-specific season requiring a separate license.

Unfortunately, there’s even less chance of the WBH compromising on crossbows than there is of generating new revenues and hunting opportunities from the gun-season bill awaiting Gov. Walker’s signature., 

 

 

 

 

It Just Keeps Getting Better

by Daniel James Hendricks 28. January 2012 04:41
Daniel James Hendricks

It has become an United Foundation For Disabled Archers (UFFDA) tradition for the participants of each hunt to walk around at the end of the year’s event scratching their heads mumbling to themselves about how they didn’t think it could get any better than this year. But sure enough, the next year comes and that hunt miraculously turns out to be by far the best one yet! Well rest assured that after reading and hearing reports from the 2011 Camp Wilderness and Camp Tesomas events that fine tradition has once again been carried on. This year’s events were the best ever for both the Minnesota and Wisconsin crews. And to both  teams I tip my hat and offer a hearty congratulations for all of the hard work, excellent spirit and stellar results.

The Camp Wilderness hunt celebrated its 17th consecutive year by hosting 32 hunters over a beautiful weekend that culminated Saturday with the biggest and most successful banquet we have ever had. The facility was packed to the seams with hunters, UFFDA staff, landowners, kids and a lot of folks that just came to camp for the evening to see what all of the excitement was about. By night’s end, the great food, hearty laughter, the emotional highs and excellent deals garnered on the auctions brought the 2011 hunt to a jubilant close. The next morning as the tired, but very content UFFDA campers headed home, each bore a peaceful and satisfied smile upon their face. This hunt had definitely been the best yet!

Matt Klein with dad, Mark & local guide, Blake Johnson

The deer harvest was pretty much normal, but then again, the whitetail body count has never been what our annual conclave is about. On Thursday, the first night of the hunt, Matt Klein scored a double by taking two does. Terry Schwartz nailed a four point buck to put him out in front for the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award and our veteran beautiful Lady Huntress, Terrie Schrank took nice doe. Friday’s hunt produced three more does. Stan (The Killer) Koich took one, Board Member, Tim Sartwell took another and the third was taken by Karl Anderson. 

On Saturday, Leon Holmin shot a spike buck and our newest and rookie beautiful Lady Huntress, Dawn Peterson took a fine doe. Another first year hunter, Tom Voight took a seven point buck, which handily won him the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award. Besides the beautiful hunting knife donated by Delaney’s, Tom’s big buck won the number one slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness hunt so we will be seeing more of him for sure. Tom’s buck brought our total reported harvest to ten for this year’s event.  A warm congratulation goes out to all of the UFFDA hunters and their guides for a job well done, whether you took a deer or not.

Terry Schwartz and local guide, George Darchuk

For the duration of the hunt, the weather was beautiful, there was only one minor injury (a finger smashed in a kitchen) and seemingly everyone had a wonderful time. The food this year, as with every year, was plentiful, delicious and nourishing. Were it not for the talented and dedicated kitchen staff, the hungry participants of the hunt would not be nearly as happy as they always are. Over the delightful UFFDA cuisine, companionship is always heightened to its apex making the hours spent in the homey Camp Wilderness mess hall a very special place where some of the fondest UFFDA memories are created. We sincerely thank all of the food preparers and handlers for their smiling faces and the hearty results of their labors that are seemingly designed to keep the entire crew fat and sassy. 

Tim Sartwell with local guide, Rick Knobloch

To everyone who was at this year’s hunt, it was also a very special occasion in that it allowed us all to share in Greg Waite’s last UFFDA hunt. It was obvious that Greg knew that his time with us all was near it end. He dove into the activity and lapped up every second of the action driving himself to complete exhaustion each day. We will all remember Greg’s presence there and will cherish the last time that he shared himself with his UFFDA Family. Two other long-time UFFDA members who are doing their best to fend off the viciousness and cruelty of cancer were also in attendance. Delmer Bentz and Karl Denly both showed up in spite of failing health and much pain to deal with. Having these three very special men at Camp Wilderness was both inspiring and at the same time, very sad. We all hate to see loved ones suffer so much, but how deeply we are moved by their courage and their overwhelming need to be with the people that they have grown to love as they shared a common joy of doing for others. Bless them all!

The “One-Shot” target shoot for all qualified UFFDA hunters was held again this year as the contestants vied for the Kalk Traveling Trophy. In 2010 possession of the prestigious award was won by Mike Schurch who was a first time attendee at this annual UFFDA gathering. Well guess what? This year the Kalk trophy was won by Ben Rouw of Becker, MN who was also a first time hunt attendee. Go figure! Congratulations, Ben and welcome to the family. Ben also won the number two slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness Hunt so we will be seeing him again next year.

Tom Voight with local guides, Mike Hinton & Rick Knobloch

The participation in the Camp Wilderness Hunt by the local citizens continues to grow with new faces, new properties and new volunteers showing up at camp each year. We are so grateful for that hometown participation from the folks around the Park Rapids area as it enriches the event tremendously. We at UFFDA know that volunteerism is not at the top of everyone’s priority list of things to do, but when these special volunteers step forward from the surrounding community, you know that you are definitely partaking of the cream. The fine folks that have joined our mission from the Park Rapids area drive home that point with tremendous force every year. Thank you, one and all for blessing our efforts with your presence, sharing your land and just plain rolling up your sleeves and helping us make it all happen.

And to the benevolent donors both large and small that fund our undertaking, thank you for your continued support of the UFFDA Mission. Through your generosity, you give life to one of the most selfless efforts by a group of bowhunters who wish only to share the joys of hunting by recruiting and hosting bowhunting events for physically challenged people. Every year we accommodate new disabled members that enter the woods as bowhunters for the first time, learning the joys of pursuing wild things in a proud tradition that since the dawn of time has given the hunter his purpose. 

 

Terrie Schrank with local guide, Perry Melbo

Through your support, disabled hunters are provided with a cost-free outing that is as good as it gets. They are fed, tutored and catered to by dedicated volunteers who give up much of their personal time and resources, just for the radiance that can only be captured by unselfishly serving others. More specifically in the case of UFFDA, our entire family is so privileged to be able to watch new hunters experience for the very first time the thrill of taking a big game animal with a string and a stick; and then listening as the successful hunter shares the unforgettable excitement of an experience that is so unique that it can never be equaled again.

And that, dear friends, is the bottom line of what we do and why we do it. Once you have seen a hunter proudly roll into the Camp’s mess hall in a wheelchair prepared to share his or her tale of triumph about taking their first deer with a bow, you just know that this is the very heart of UFFDA, the organ that gives it its life. So to every supporter of the passion, whether you are on the front lines guiding the hunters, feeding them, providing the land for them to hunt, supporting the banquets or just donating from afar, you are an intricate part of a very noble endeavor to serve the disabled hunter, while nurturing our hunting heritage and the overall image of the modern hunter. Thank you for doing your part and doing it so well.

 

Stan (The Killer) Koich

As the United Foundation For Disabled Archers begins to prepare of its 18th season of service, we hope that you will continue to man your stations and also continue to support our worthy mission. Whatever your role, you are very important to the completion of the UFFDA Mission and its continued success. Thank you for the past year and now onward to the creation of new adventures that are destined to make us all winners for the right reasons.

Karl Anderson and local guide Tim Williams

 

What The Heck Is Going On?

by Daniel James Hendricks 5. January 2012 12:06
Daniel James Hendricks

It has become an UFFDA tradition for the participants of each hunt to walk around at the end of the year’s event scratching their heads mumbling to themselves about how they didn’t think it could get any better than this year. But sure enough, the next year comes and that hunt miraculously turns out to be by far the best one yet! Well rest assured that after reading and hearing reports from the 2011 Camp Wilderness and Camp Tesomas events that fine tradition has once again been carried on. This year’s events were the best ever for both the Minnesota and Wisconsin crews. And to both  teams I tip my hat and offer a hearty congratulations for all of the hard work, excellent spirit and stellar results.

The Camp Wilderness hunt celebrated its 17th consecutive year by hosting 32 hunters over a beautiful weekend that culminated Saturday with the biggest and most successful banquet we have ever had. The facility was packed to the seams with hunters, UFFDA staff, landowners, kids and a lot of folks that just came to camp for the evening to see what all of the excitement was about. By night’s end, the great food, hearty laughter, the emotional highs and excellent deals garnered on the auctions brought the 2011 hunt to a jubilant close. The next morning as the tired, but very content UFFDA campers headed home, each bore a peaceful and satisfied smile upon their face. This hunt had definitely been the best yet!

 Karl Anderson and local guide Tim Williams

The deer harvest was pretty much normal, but then again, the whitetail body count has never been what our annual conclave is about. On Thursday, the first night of the hunt, Matt Klein scored a double by taking two does. Terry Schwartz nailed a four point buck to put him out in front for the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award and our veteran beautiful Lady Huntress, Terrie Schrank took nice doe. Friday’s hunt produced three more does. Stan (The Killer) Koich took one, Board Member, Tim Sartwell took another and the third was taken by Karl Anderson. 

On Saturday, Leon Holmin shot a spike buck and our newest and rookie beautiful Lady Huntress, Dawn Peterson took a fine doe. Another first year hunter, Tom Voight took a seven point buck, which handily won him the Delaney’s Sports Big Buck Award. Besides the beautiful hunting knife donated by Delaney’s, Tom’s big buck won the number one slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness hunt so we will be seeing more of him for sure. Tom’s buck brought our total reported harvest to ten for this year’s event.  A warm congratulation goes out to all of the UFFDA hunters and their guides for a job well done, whether you took a deer or not.

Matt Klein with dad, Mark & local guide, Blake Johnson

For the duration of the hunt, the weather was beautiful, there was only one minor injury (a finger smashed in a kitchen) and seemingly everyone had a wonderful time. The food this year, as with every year, was plentiful, delicious and nourishing. Were it not for the talented and dedicated kitchen staff, the hungry participants of the hunt would not be nearly as happy as they always are. Over the delightful UFFDA cuisine, companionship is always heightened to its apex making the hours spent in the homey Camp Wilderness mess hall a very special place where some of the fondest UFFDA memories are created. We sincerely thank all of the food preparers and handlers for their smiling faces and the hearty results of their labors that are seemingly designed to keep the entire crew fat and sassy. 

 

Stan (The Killer) Koich

To everyone who was at this year’s hunt, it was also a very special occasion in that it allowed us all to share in Greg Waite’s last UFFDA hunt. It was obvious that Greg knew that his time with us all was near it end. He dove into the activity and lapped up every second of the action driving himself to complete exhaustion each day. We will all remember Greg’s presence there and will cherish the last time that he shared himself with his UFFDA Family. Two other long-time UFFDA members who are doing their best to fend off the viciousness and cruelty of cancer were also in attendance. Delmer Bentz and Karl Denly both showed up in spite of failing health and much pain to deal with. Having these three very special men at Camp Wilderness was both inspiring and at the same time, very sad. We all hate to see loved ones suffer so much, but how deeply we are moved by their courage and their overwhelming need to be with the people that they have grown to love as they shared a common joy of doing for others. Bless them all!

Terry Schwartz and local guide, George Darchuk

The “One-Shot” target shoot for all qualified UFFDA hunters was held again this year as the contestants vied for the Kalk Traveling Trophy. In 2010 possession of the prestigious award was won by Mike Schurch who was a first time attendee at this annual UFFDA gathering. Well guess what? This year the Kalk trophy was won by Ben Rouw of Becker, MN who was also a first time hunt attendee. Go figure! Congratulations, Ben and welcome to the family. Ben also won the number two slot in the 2012 Camp Wilderness Hunt so we will be seeing him again next year. The participation in the Camp Wilderness Hunt by the local citizens continues to grow with new faces, new properties and new volunteers showing up at camp each year. We are so grateful for that hometown participation from the folks around the Park Rapids area as it enriches the event tremendously. We at UFFDA know that volunteerism is not at the top of everyone’s priority list of things to do, but when these special volunteers step forward from the surrounding community, you know that you are definitely partaking of the cream. The fine folks that have joined our mission from the Park Rapids area drive home that point with tremendous force every year. Thank you, one and all for blessing our efforts with your presence, sharing your land and just plain rolling up your sleeves and helping us make it all happen.

 

And to the benevolent donors both large and small that fund our undertaking, thank you for your continued support of the UFFDA Mission. Through your generosity, you give life to one of the most selfless efforts by a group of bowhunters who wish only to share the joys of hunting by recruiting and hosting bowhunting events for physically challenged people. Every year we accommodate new disabled members that enter the woods as bowhunters for the first time, learning the joys of pursuing wild things in a proud tradition that since the dawn of time has given the hunter his purpose.   

Tim Sartwell with local guide, Rick Knobloch


Through your support, disabled hunters are provided with a cost-free outing that is as good as it gets. They are fed, tutored and catered to by dedicated volunteers who give up much of their personal time and resources, just for the radiance that can only be captured by unselfishly serving others. More specifically in the case of UFFDA, our entire family is so privileged to be able to watch new hunters experience for the very first time the thrill of taking a big game animal with a string and a stick; and then listening as the successful hunter shares the unforgettable excitement of an experience that is so unique that it can never be equaled again.

 

Terrie Schrank with local guide, Perry Melbo

 

And that, dear friends, is the bottom line of what we do and why we do it. Once you have seen a hunter proudly roll into the Camp’s mess hall in a wheelchair prepared to share his or her tale of triumph about taking their first deer with a bow, you just know that this is the very heart of UFFDA, the organ that gives it its life. So to every supporter of the passion, whether you are on the front lines guiding the hunters, feeding them, providing the land for them to hunt, supporting the banquets or just donating from afar, you are an intricate part of a very noble endeavor to serve the disabled hunter, while nurturing our hunting heritage and the overall image of the modern hunter. Thank you for doing your part and doing it so well. 

 

As the United Foundation For Disabled Archers begins to prepare of its 18th season of service, we hope that you will continue to man your stations and also continue to support our worthy mission. Whatever your role, you are very important to the completion of the UFFDA Mission and its continued success. Thank you for the past year and now onward to the creation of new adventures that are destined to make us all winners for the right reasons.

 

 

 Tom Voight with local guides, Mike Hinton & Rick Knobloch

 

Crossbow Hunting Safety

by Daniel James Hendricks 28. December 2011 14:13
Daniel James Hendricks


The crossbow is so powerful it is like a 30.06 that shoots arrows.” 

That’s a claim that has been made by the anti-crossbow camp for decades and the truth of the matter is that with a 100-225 lb. or more draw weight, crossbows usually are more powerful than most vertical bows.  The additional draw weight, however, is necessary to compensate for the shorter power stroke and the lesser amount of KE stored in a crossbow arrow.

One can only assume, therefore, that if a crossbow has a heavier draw weight, it’s more dangerous.  The truth is that, as with any other hunting tool, safety during use is critical with the crossbow.  The very first thing that every new crossbow hunter should do is sit down and read their owner’s manual – cover to cover – at least once; twice is even better.  That manual will explain proper handling and safety procedures for your specific bow.  There are some general practices that apply to all crossbow users regardless of which bow they shoot.   

Mark your serving on each side of the rail so that you can visually check to insure that you have cocked your crossbow evenly.

Step number one is always generously use rail lube and string wax when operating your crossbow.  If the string breaks, bad things will happen to your crossbow and perhaps to the shooter or the people in close proximity.  Both lube and wax preserve the string.  If your string begins to fray and strands break – change it, immediately.  Most crossbows are on safe at the end of the cocking process.  Always check to make sure
that your bow is on safe before doing anything else.  This is very important!  Also make sure that the string is centered after cocking by marking your serving so that you can visually verify that it has been drawn back evenly.  If the string is not centered, it will change the impact point of your arrow similar to using a different anchor point on a vertical bow.
 
Now listen up!  Please make sure that you thumb is below the rail of the crossbow before releasing your arrow; if not, when you pull the trigger the string will hit your thumb and something is going to give.  It will not be the string!  I’ve seen a variety of severe wounds inflicted by a crossbow string and none of them are fun, even the ones that do not draw blood instead of amputate.  The fact that most folks only do it once is of little comfort when you are hopping around, screaming in pain. 

When choosing a crossbow, select one that has a forestock that will help keep fingers well below the rail preventing injured fingers.

Never dry fire a crossbow.  Shooting a crossbow without an arrow to absorb the energy will blow up your bow and when that happens one is never sure of where all the pieces will fly; you may be seriously hurt.   Remember that a loaded crossbow should be handled exactly and with the same care as a loaded firearm.
 
On the range, make sure that you have a solid and reliable back stop.  Having a range that is at least 300 yards deep and open is recommended and will allow plenty of room for obstruction-free arrow flight.  Targets should be of a high quality capable of readily stopping an arrow from a crossbow.  If the target is badly worn or of an inferior quality, damage may be inflicted to the shorter crossbow arrows causing costly repairs or even destroying the arrow completely.

Cock the crossbow on the ground before raising it into the stand with a safety rope.

Now let’s move into the field and take a look as some common sense practices there.  When hunting from an elevated stand always cock your crossbow on the ground and then use a tow rope to raise it to the platform.  Do not attempt to climb into a stand carrying your crossbow. Once you are secured in your stand with a safety harness (always use a fall arrest system in an elevated stand), then raise your crossbow and load it.  Never have an arrow in place when raising or lowering your crossbow.  That’s how people get killed, and yes it has happened.  Unless your sitting in an enclosed stand, after taking a shot, your crossbow should be lowered to the ground to be recocked.  If you use a cocking device, which can be implemented from a sitting position, remaining in your stand is acceptable.  Never lean over in a treestand to cock your crossbow.
 
The preferred method for crossbow hunting is from a ground blind or an elevated stand.  The crossbow may be used for still hunting or stalking, but extra caution should be applied.  The crossbow may be cocked and on safe, but one should never move through the bush with an arrow loaded on the rail.  When game is spotted, only then should an arrow be loaded onto the crossbow.  Until that moment, the arrow with the broadhead completely protected should be carried in a bow or hip quiver, not in your hand.

Never shoot at a target on rise without knowing what is on the other side.

It is important that one never shoots a crossbow at a sky-lined animal.  It is critical that you are able to see exactly where your arrow is going to go so that no living thing is accidently harmed by your shot.  As with vertical archery, one should always wait until the game you are shooting at is relaxed and standing still.  No shots should be taken at moving targets.  Making drives while crossbow hunting is not an acceptable practice and should be avoided.
 
It is important that you are fully aware of all local ordinances regarding shooting your crossbow.  Check with local officials or authorities to make sure that you are not violating any laws while you practice.
 
There are no more injuries with a crossbow than there are with vertical archery equipment, but it still happens every year.  Knowing your equipment and being aware of common-sense safety procedures will insure that the time you spend in the field will be accident-free and gratifying for all around you.  Good luck and good hunting.

Make sure that your fingers and thumb are well below the rail to prevent injury or loss of digits.

The National Bowhunting Education Foundation publishes a booklet entitled Today’s Crossbow.  This publication’s the official Crossbow Hunters Safety program used by the NBEF.  To obtain a copy, email bowtwang@charter.net and request it by name.

Safety features to consider when buying a crossbow. 
Anti-dry fire safety - Some models of crossbows have an anti-dry fire mechanism that prevents the trigger from being pulled when there is no arrow loaded.  This is a common mistake that has been responsible for the destructions of many a crossbow.  Choosing a crossbow with this safety feature can save its owner a lot of misfortune and expense.  Consider it when you are looking for the right crossbow for you.

When tracking or still hunting never have an arrow loaded in the bow.

Preventive Fore-grip – Perhaps the most common injury inflicted by a crossbow is thumbs bruised, torn or even partially removed by the crossbow string when firing.  Many crossbows have specially designed fore-stocks that make it very difficult for this accident to happen.  I would like to say “never”, but there’s always one guy in the crowd that will manage to hurt himself no matter what precautions are taken.  One characteristic that should be considered when purchasing a new crossbow is the conformation of the fore-stock.  Look for one that aids the shooter in keeping the thumb and fingers well below the shooting rail.

Cocking Rope – Another device that can increase safety as well as imrove performance is a cocking rope.  This handy device cuts the draw weight of a crossbow in half, thereby saving wear and tear on the user, especially during practice sessions when many shots are taken.  It also increases accuracy of the crossbow by consistently drawing the string back to the exact same position.  Most companies also offer crank cocking devices that draw back the string by a mechanical winch that requires no effort other than turning the crank.  One company even markets crossbows with the cocking device built right into the stock of the crossbow.  All of these options will increase your safety, while enhancing your shooting experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossbow Review: Parker Hornet Extreme

by Daniel James Hendricks 20. December 2011 13:51
Daniel James Hendricks

As crossbows slowly gain more ground each year, the manufacturers continue to amaze me with the improved quality they are making to their bows. I have previously explained how I’ve become a Crossbow Tramp having one affair after another with some truly great and very beautiful bows. Let me share the details of my latest fling with a pretty lady from Parker by the name of Hornet Extreme.

Upon opening the box, I first noticed her soft, almost sensual skin. The Soft Touch Finish of a Parker bow is a wonderful thing to experience and the Vista camo only makes it more desirable. Her petite 32” length and 21.2” width is made more appealing by the 7.5 lb mass weight. When taken into your arms, her sleek stature is made even more pleasurable by the Thumb-hole Pistol Grip and the Vented Forearm with Safety Finger Flange.


Adding to the physical beauty is the Red Hot string and cable with an Auto-engage, ambidextrous Safety that, much to my personal pleasure, is completely silent when released. The tell-tale click of a stiff safety can bring calamity in the quiet woods, but it’s not a problem with the Hornet Extreme. The trigger on this bow is another dream feature. Smooth, quiet with a surprise release is what you can expect with every trip of her trigger. And when it comes to power and stamina, the Hornet’s 165 lb draw weight and 11.6” power stroke launches a 400 grain, 20” arrow at 315 fps. It is important to note that a moon nock is required for this bow and proper string alignment is necessary or a dry-fire could occur. As with all crossbows, the arrow must be properly seated and limbs must be clear of obstructions or misfortune could ruin your hunt.

Once assembled, I headed out to hunting partner, Perry Mason’s to utilize his range for the first rendezvous with my new lady friend. After we had allowed time for Perry to ooh and ah my new pal, we went to work to see exactly what she could do. My Hornet Extreme is topped with the Illuminated Multi-Reticle Scope with four circles.

We sighted the top circle in at 20 yards very quickly and then proceeded to determine the exact distance of the next three. Much to my surprise the reticules hit dead center in the bulls-eye at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. That doesn’t happen very often. Usually they vary to something like 20, 28, 35 and 42 yards, but seldom does a scope give your clear 10-yard increments. It’s very important to determine the marks for your scope before you take it into the field.

Shooting from Perry’s bench rest, we consistently pierced the bulls-eye at all four ranges. I am not entirely sure, but given the quality and performance of the scope, I believe it to be a Hawke Optic’s scope which makes some of the very best scopes in the industry. The consistency of the bow at the four distances and the repeated bulls-eyes made Perry and me giggle with glee. This Hornet is one dependable and consistent shooting machine.

The next phase was to take the bow into the field and see how it performed on a live target. The next scheduled hunt was at Ozark Mountain Outfitters, where we were plagued by a full moon, a bumper acorn crop and warm weather. Passing on a 50-yard shot at a doe and a 30-yard shot at turkeys the first day, I hoped for a closer shot before the week’s end. It didn’t come.

On the last morning of the hunt a flock of turkeys materialized out of the thick underbrush and fed along the far side of the food plot I guarded. I had ranged a lone pine tree at the far end of the plot at 50-yards, but held my fire in hopes that the birds would venture closer for a shot. It didn’t happen. When the birds began to filter back into the underbrush, I decided it was now or never.

There were turkeys pecking around the big pine, which I knew to be 50-yards. We had consistently shot bulls-eyes at that distance on the range so I was willing to give it a go. The ladderstand I was in had a rail around it allowing me to stabilize my shot. A bird near the tree came to attention when I moved my head to the scope, which provided me a great vertical target; it was up to me to manage the left and right.

I placed the 50-yard circle on the bird’s chest and gently squeezed the trigger. The silence was shattered as the Lumen-Arrow broke free of its constraints and set sail for the other end of the little lea. The bright red end of the arrow lit the shaded sky as I watched it arc across the little glen and then disappear into the chest of the luckless wild turkey. The bird dropped like a pole axed steer, its spine completely severed by the Grim Reaper broadhead.

Upon further investigation, the shot had been exactly 52 yards; the arrow impacting exactly where I’d aimed. I had my first crossbow turkey thanks to the precise performance of the Hornet Extreme. This crossbow starts out at around $600 and has the definite approval of the Crossbow Tramp. But please, if you choose this bow, take the time to watch the instructional video that is included in the package before you fall in love with your new Hornet Extreme.

 

 

Buffalo Point: Land of Enchantment

by Daniel James Hendricks 20. October 2011 13:58
Daniel James Hendricks

   Bears were plentiful with lots of opportunities for both bows and cameras.

If you’ve never experienced the taste of chocolate and someone tries to describe the sensation to you, it’s impossible to grasp the undeniable pleasure that you will experience when the sweet substance finally passes over your tongue.  Such is the case I experienced with an enchanting land called Buffalo Point.

  Wyman Sangster is the outfitter at Buffalo Point and was please I finally made the trip there.

Wyman Sangster and I first met at the Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo a few years back; my personal relationship with him has been one of those special affiliations that was rich right from the very start and like fine wine has only gotten better with the passing of time.  From the very onset of our association, he pleaded with me to come to Buffalo Point in the Northwest Angle on Lake of the Woods to see where he lives and the hunting and fishing Nirvana he had just discovered just a few years earlier, himself.  What he neglected to mention was what a wonderful getaway it was for those of us who are addicted to digitally immortalizing our trophies with photographic paraphernalia.

I dilly-dallied on Wyman’s invitation and finally this spring took him up on his offer to hunt bear there.  By the time the week ended, I had been exposed to enough of the natural wonders of Buffalo Point to be hooked on that outdoorsman’s paradise for the rest of my earthly existence.

 The Points 18-hole golf course was a beautiful with wildlife running all over it.

Upon arrival, I quickly tracked Wyman and his wife, Darlene down on the fifth hole of the beautiful Buffalo Point golf course.  It was the first time I had met Darlene so I took some time to get to know her as I followed along while they finished their first nine holes.  This bear hunt, which will be an HBM Hunt Club Annual event, is the only one that I have ever heard of that offers free golf during the week of the hunt.  From dawn to mid-afternoon, it is golfing or fishing and then the evenings are packed with the nail-biting excitement of bear hunting.

At the end of the first nine, Wyman instructed me on how to find my lodging at the Marina.  With that information securely locked in my head, I headed for what would be my home for the next week.  I stopped at the Marina, which serves as the main desk for the dozen or so lakeside cabins as well as being Buffalo Point’s grocery store, bait shop, camping & boat launching headquarters; and the local coffee shop for the seasonal residents that call Buffalo Point home from early spring to late fall.  I picked up my key, got directions and quickly found my luxury cabin.  It was beautiful!  Screened in porch, full kitchen, 2-bedrooms, whirlpool tub in the bath, a deck right on the lakeshore and satellite TV so I could watch Fox News.  It was military clean and exceedingly wonderful. 

Curt Thunder and his wife, Cheryl were gracious hosts and excellent company.

Within an hour, I met the gentleman who was to serve as my guide for the week.  Buffalo Point has its own Gamekeeper, a local by the name of Curt Thunder.  Curt grew up on Buffalo Point and knows its lake, land, swamps and rivers like the back of his hand from 40+ years of traipsing from one end of it to the other.  He has a gentle soul, a sharp wit and we quickly formed a bond that deepened during the many hours we spent together over the next seven days.  I was the only hunter on this trip so I was able to accompany Curt as he made his rounds replenishing the bait stations each day; I also spent a lot of time with him and his wife Cheryl who went out of her way to provide wonderful meals, great company and a heck of a lot of laughs.  The Thunders are a great family and I am pleased to have added them to my special-friends list.

Curt’s job is to oversee the wellbeing of the Buffalo Point wildlife and to serve as host to the bear, deer and duck hunters that come there to fulfill their hunting dreams.  His keen intelligence and seemingly endless wood lore provide a stimulating and entertaining atmosphere enriching the experience of all who come to harvest wild game at The Point. 

Signs warn hikers about the baits close to the settlement.

As the number of permanent homes increased at Buffalo Point, so did the number of nuisance-bear incidents.  Buildings were broken into, there was exterior damage, and garbage cans were destroyed and scattered creating a hazardous problem.  Over fifty bear complaints a year was a serious dilemma; but, when you build a burgeoning community in the middle of bear country, you should expect a certain amount of “incidents” with a sleuth of bears living in the neighborhood.

To remedy the problem, Curt has been put in charge of feeding the bears from the time they exit their dens in the early spring until the bountiful berry season begins on the Point.  Blueberries, wild strawberries, saskatoons, chokecherries, pin cherries and acorns are all prolific on the Point, easily keeping the bears fed, once the natural food comes into season; but for the first few months after thaw, Curt’s daily trips into the thick forests and swamps of the Point, keep the bears exactly where they belong – in the woods.  This system not only nearly eliminates bear complaints, but it also creates an arena of premium bear hunting.  My wildlife photo morgue is plump with bear photos thanks to the six nights on the stands at Buffalo Point and two of those nights I sat in the rain and saw no bears at all.

Cheryl Thunder has a natural way of putting the animals of Buffalo Point at ease. 

The second night of the hunt I blew a chance at one of the biggest spring bears I have ever seen in the bush.  It was in the very last moments of daylight and I had just put away my camera as was sitting there thinking when I should have been picking up my bow.  The big bruin suddenly appeared from out of the thick cover, causing my heart to momentarily stop.  It was truly an incredible specimen!  In the heat of the adrenaline overdose I was experiencing, I reached for my crossbow, which was hanging on the tree.  It was just enough movement to alert the bear and give me a good glimpse of its ample behind disappearing into the bright green undergrowth; proving once again that one is never too old to make stupid mistakes.  I passed on a lot of bears at the Point, but that humongous creature was the big-daddy of the week and I had blown it.

On that very same stand the last night of the hunt, amid desperate prayers for another opportunity at that burly beast, I took a smaller bear as the day was fading into darkness. This particular bear had been stuffing itself for an hour and had shown no signs of alarm or concern indicating to me that the big bear was not in the immediate area.  When the big boys are within spitting range of the bait, the little guys can sense their presence and head for cover so they are not brutally beaten for their lack of respect.

 The very last night of the hunt, this bear fell prey to my crossbow as the daylight fled.

It had been several years since I had taken a bear so decided that this one would be a perfect specimen to break the drought; it definitely would make for a good freezer stuffer.  A lot of good photos of the bear had been taken, so I definitely had my trophy to hang on the wall.  Watching the bear eat had done little to arouse my excitement, even when it started to climb my tree at one point; but once the decision to take it was made, I lost control as the adrenaline surged through my system in anticipation of the kill.

Sitting on the very point one morning I was joined by a pair of curious otters. 

Waiting until I had a perfect broadside, I placed the glowing red circle of the scope on its black rib cage and gently squeezed the trigger of the Kodabow.  The silence of the darkening forest was crushed by the discharge of the arrow as I watched it blaze a brilliant red streak to the target, compliments of the Lumenock tip.  The doomed bear spun on its hind legs, ran to the tree directly behind the middle barrel and climbed high off the ground.  The bruin, I believe, thought that it had been sneak-attacked by the bigger bear and was fleeing up the tree to safety.  Little did it realize that its fate had already been sealed by the Rage broadhead that had ventilated its goodie box.  Eventually the bear came crashing to the ground in a fall that would have killed it were it not already gone.

 There are more Canadian Geese that people on Buffalo Point with goslings galore.

I signaled Curt and his nephew who were sitting offshore doing a bit of fishing and they came to assist in the removal of the bear.  The process brought to a perfect end, what had been a wonderful week.  The next morning after skinning the bear, I packed and headed for home, already looking forward to coming back to play some more in the natural beauty of Buffalo Point.

Buffalo Point 2012
     

If you are interested in booking a spring bear hunt or a fall bear/whitetail or waterfowl hunt at Buffalo Point give the HBM Main Desk a closer look. The entire Buffalo Point experience is one that will definitely leave you wanting to come back for more.  Curt Thunder, the Buffalo Point Gamekeeper, is also willing to work with disabled hunters for both bear and whitetails in the fall.  If you are physically challenged and want a truly remarkable adventure in an enchanted land of the wild things, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Eagles were everywhere.  This shot was taken near one of two nest on the golf course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossbow REVIEW – Barnett’s Ghost 350

by Daniel James Hendricks 19. October 2011 01:53
Daniel James Hendricks

  Over the years I have watched as Barnett crossbows steadily evolved, getting better with each passing year due largely, I believe, to the creative genius of David Barnett.  Many still consider Barnett products to be inferior to most crossbows on the market based simply on the fact that Barnett is priced at a working man’s level of affordability.  One hears chatter about break downs and mechanical problems from the Barnett line, but based on my vast personal contact with grassroots crossbow hunters, there seems to be no more problems with Barnett than most other brands. In an age where crossbows are becoming far more complicated and increasingly powerful, I truly believe that a large part of mechanical troubles originate with improper usage by the owners.  Users who believe that an Owner’s Manual is a guide to refer to when you have a problem and not a instructional guide from which to learn proper handling and use of their new hunting implement.  Regardless of which crossbow you purchase, please spend the time to read the Owner’s Manual from cover to cover, at least once.  The time invested in that little booklet will pay big dividends in the safe use and longevity of your crossbow.

 The unique and artistic design of the Ghost incorporates the foot stirrup right into the bow.

 Barnett’s Ghost 350 arrived at my door in two pieces, which was not a transportation tragedy, but instead the traditional manner that it is shipped.  Once assembled with a single bolt, which firmly attached the bow to the stock, I careful inspected the crossbow.  The first thing that caught my eye was the classic design; one that incorporated the foot stirrup right into the contour of the bow in an undeniable artistic manner, giving the Ghost 350 a very unique and quite handsome appearance. 

 The 3x30 scope on the Ghost is enhanced by reticules are illuminated circles.

 The overall length is 37”; its only 24” wide and has a 12” power stroke; that combined with the 175 lb draw weight produces a stunning 350 fps.  The carbon riser and aluminum flight deck keep the total weight to right around 7.5 pounds.  The bow is enhanced with the Barnett AVI technology molded over laminated limbs reducing noise and vibration up to 30%.  Whiplash cams, a very sensitive anti-dry fire mechanism and one of the finest triggers I have ever seen on a crossbow top this package off.  The stock is beautifully adorned in Realtree APG Black camo.  My Ghost 350 package included an illuminated 3x32 scope, four 20’ arrows, a 4-arrow quiver and a rope cocking device.

 The overall appearance of the Ghost 350 is second to none.

 It all made for a very striking package in appearance, but I was anxious to see how the Ghost 350 preformed on the range.  My first observation was the bow’s extreme comfort when shouldered.  The fit was accented by the raised cheek rest, a thumb hole stock and the extra wide fore-stock (which also keeps one’s fingers clear of the string when firing), which naturally forms the bow to my body.  The scope was very close to zero and within the first half dozen shots the Ghost was impaling the bull's-eye with every release.  We zeroed the top mark in at 20 yards, which automatically placed mark #2 at 30 yards.  Mark #3 zeroed in at 35 yards and mark #4 was right on at 43 yards.  (Never assume that the reticules of the scope on your new bow will automatically be zeroed in at 30, 40, 50 and sixty.  Shoot and move until you have determined the yardage for each mark and then mark it down on a piece of tape and adhere in plain sight to your bow for reference.)  A note of the yardages was made and then there was little left to do but enjoy the smooth performance of the Ghost 350. 

 The trigger on the Ghost 350 is one of the finest I have ever seen on a crossbow.

 It was quiet, fast, consistent and deadly accurate, just what any person would expect from a state-of-the-art, respectably scary Ghost.  The thing that I am most impressed with, however, was that darn trigger.  It’s just as fine a trigger as I have experienced on any rifle.  Smooth, light and with a surprise release; it is just amazing to experience that well-crafted of a trigger on a crossbow.

 Since I present my reviews from a hunter’s point of view, the question is, “How did the Ghost 350 perform in the field?”  The targeted game for the test was Pronghorn Antelope on our annual pilgrimage to Douglas, WY.  I combined the Ghost with Lumen-Arrows and Grim Reaper broadheads experiencing excellent results.

Buck taken at 16 yards. 

 The buck was taken at 16 yards and went perhaps 50 yards.  I was not pleased with the shot as the nervous animal, from a standing broadside shot, actually began to spin away from the arrow before it arrived.  Entry was back a little far, but due to the angle of the body as it was turning away, the exit was just behind the front leg on the opposite side.  The buck expired within five minutes.  The Lumen-Arrow passed completely through the goat and was intact, although buried deeply into the sloping bank of the waterhole.  The doe was taken from a standing broadside shot of 18 to 20 yards.  The arrow passed through the heart damaging both front legs causing the animal to collapse in less than 30 yards, in all probability, being out before hitting the ground.  The arrow was broken due to the major contact with the front legs of the goat, but the Lumenok was retrieved in excellent shape and still burning brightly.

 The doe was taken with the Ghost 350 and a single arrow to the heart at under 20 yards.

 I ran into only one problem while using this bow and guess what?  User error!  And that is where, experience has taught me, most crossbow problems originate.  This problem was self-inflicted and occurred while trying to uncock the bow by firing an arrow from of it.  It occurred on the first day of hunting.  I had passed on a shooter-buck because I had been caught with a camera in my hands (that same buck became a victim of the Ghost 350 the following day).  When I attempted to take the bow off safe, the latch would not budge.  At first I thought I had gotten dirt into the latching mechanism, but a quick shot of WD40 had no visible affect on the problem.  After a few minutes of painful pondering the problem, the solution to dawned on me; I recalled that the Operation Manual had specified moon nocks and upon checking my arrow, I discovered that I was trying to unload my bow with a flat nock.  The anti-dry fire mechanism on this bow is so finely crafted that even this minor detail prevented the bow from being discharged.  That kind of engineering can only be admired and respected, which is more than can be said for my personal attention to arrow selection.  

The thumb-hole stock and raise cheek piece make this bow extremely comfortable to shoulder.

 The bottom line is that the Ghost 350 is one fine crossbow from this hunter’s point of view and the fact that you can get completely set up for around $600 only makes it better.  Barnett has been manufacturing some excellent and reliable crossbows at friendly prices in the past few years and if you are in the market, you owe it to yourself to check them out.  But whatever crossbow you decide upon, do yourself a big favor and study the Owner’s Manual carefully.  It will save you a lot of headaches, not to mention the inconvenience of service calls. 

The safety release and anti-dry fire mechanism are extremely well designed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011 Wyoming Antelope Roundup Part 2 - Two For the Doe

by Daniel James Hendricks 18. September 2011 23:44
Daniel James Hendricks

  The only thing better than hunting antelope is eating it.  So this past year, when I learned from my guide, Mike Judd that I could acquire a doe tag for a mere $34 dollars, I had Kristi Judd purchase a doe tag for me.  After all, my biggest complaint about an antelope is that they are not very large, but even a doe is worth an extra $34 based on the undeniable quality of antelope meat. Once my hunt began, I filled my buck tag on the second day of my hunt clearing the way to harvest the first doe antelope of my hunting career.  In the stand shortly after daylight, I began the task of locating the animals that were scattered in that pastures around me.  I choose the particular blind I was hunting in because the hunter that had taken his antelope there earlier in the week, had informed me that he had cell reception.  As far as we were out of Douglas, cell reception was difficult, especially on my cheap phone.  Reception was a positive, but the view was a negative.  I had a lot of blind spots where I was unable to see what would be coming to water until it got right on top of me. 

 So I just closed down most of the windows in the blind leaving small cracks from which to check for critters.  The waterhole at the front of the blind was the important spot and I had a wide window there to take care of business should an opportunity present itself.  After glassing the surrounding pastures for a while to locate the visible goats, I dug out my cell phone called my mom and dad in Florida.  Dad was running an errand so mom and I began to solve the world’s toughest problems like the true experts that we have become from years or diligent practice.  As I talked, I glanced to the east and saw antelope silhouetted against the morning sun, running towards the windmill.  I rapidly explained to my mother what was happening and excused myself.  Her last words were, “Go get `em, son!” 

 I tucked the phone away, grabbed the bow and waited for the arrival of my guests.  The small group consisted of a doe and two fawns and a yearling buck.  I had not wanted to take a wet doe, but since the fawns were both good sized and they had a chaperon, I was in a hurry to hit the road, so taking this doe would allow me time to skin and quarter, check out of the hotel and be in Longmont, Colorado by 5 pm.  Decision made, I clicked the bow off safe and waited for a broadside shot.

  I was able to range the doe at 18 yards, before the animal turned broadside giving me a perfect shot as it scanned the horizon to the west for danger.  Placing the zero on its heart, I slowly squeezed the trigger until the snap of the bow’s limbs startled me.  The antelope exploded into a blur of action, but for the doe, it was too late…She was a goner!  The doomed doe ran directly away from me I watched her life-fluids gushing out of both sides of her body.  As I watched the antelope collapse, I never did see which way the other three disappear.  They were just gone when I looked around.  The doe had gone down in a matter of seconds, not even covering forty yards before succumbing to its wound. 

 I dug the phone out and hit redial and my mother answered on the very first ring. 
 “Well?” she inquired.
 When she learned that I had bagged my doe and she just giggled like a teenage and congratulated me.  We talked for a few more minutes and then I told her I had to get to work.  Hanging up, I called Mike right away and told him I was done.  He said he would be there shortly so I ventured out to collect the photographs I needed to wrap up my mission.

 When Mike arrived he took some shots of me with the goat and then I field dressed it.  The heart had a hole in it, bringing me a great deal of satisfaction.  If one is going to hunt an animal, he should try to make a shot that will dispense it as quickly and humanely as possible.  Nothing is more effective at doing than a broadhead-tipped arrow through the heart.  It had been a compassionate and merciful end for creature and for that I was so very thankful.

 We hauled the animal back to the Kimbal HQ where I skinned and quartered it, placed it on ice and then packed my hunting gear.  After bidding farewell to Mike, I drove to Douglas, checked out of the hotel and headed for Colorado.

 This was my first doe antelope and I was convinced, especially after noting how easily the hide pulled away from the carcass, that there could possibly be no finer eating that what Karen and I were going to experience from the flesh of this doe.  The antelope is the first thing to disappear from our freezer and for the next year, we would have a little extra of it to be blessed at our table.  I can’t thank George LeBar enough for his kind hospitality and sharing the family ranch; the same heartfelt gratitude is also offered to Mike and Kristi Judd.

 

2011 Wyoming Antelope Roundup Part 1 - One for the Billy

by Daniel James Hendricks 18. September 2011 23:19
Daniel James Hendricks

 My #1 reason for hunting Pronghorn Antelope is the fact that the season opens a full month before that of the Minnesota whitetail.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to get out there and do some hunting while one waits for the local deer to become legitimate targets.  Reason #2 is that their flesh is more popular at our dining table than venison is, especially with my Redhead.  That alone is reason enough to pack up my gear and head for the picturesque landscapes of SE Wyoming in pursuit of wily pronghorn.

 Reason #3 for hunting goats is that the only thing this hunter enjoys more than eating antelope is photographing them, and the area around Douglas provides plenty of opportunity to do just that.  This past season, the LeBar Ranch played host to our annual HBM Hunt Club expedition and we were treated to the excellent guidance of Mike Judd, the ranch’s Gamekeeper.  Mike is a local Wyoming boy that knows his way around hunting the range and is extremely knowledgeable as well as being very intelligent and personable.

 The first 2½ days were spent helping Mike serve the 14 other HBM members that were attending the Antelope Roundup.  By Wednesday, most of them had filled out so Mike gave me the nod to begin my hunt that afternoon.  We were setup at one of the ranch’s unique windmill blinds by 2:30 p.m. in a slab-wood structure that protects the machinery of the windmill; but also provides the perfect cover to conceal a ground blind. 

 The single downside of the setting  is that the only vista is directly ahead, overlooking the waterhole and beyond.  Mike, however, cleverly selected a blind with a zippered opening in the roof, which allowed me to stand and poke my head through the top of the blind providing a clear 360° view of the surrounding countryside.  Experience quickly taught me that the antelope found nothing threatening about my big head poking out of the structure that they accept as a permanent part of the windmill. That first afternoon, the only animal that came into the waterhole was a shooter buck that caught me with camera in hand shooting Meadow Larks that bathed in the pond.  It was the first afternoon so I didn’t even pick up my bow, but instead shot as many photos of the old goat as I could.  

 The next morning I was in the blind before sunrise, ready to lower the boom on the first Billy that wandered it for a drink.  As I glassed the area at first light, I saw antelope all around me; all far away, but there, nonetheless.  The waterhole is located in a shallow bowl that was perhaps a mile long and half a mile wide. The lowest part of the bowl was covered by high grass that had turned as brown as the surrounding pasture from a lack of rainfall.  Were it not for the windmill with its rotary energy filling the waterhole, there probably would not have been and animal for a mile.  But the area around the pond was green and prosperous thanks to the towering pump that noisily sucked the water from the deep recesses of the earth.

 All day long I glassed a shooter buck on the south side of the bowl; it was so far away, I could barely see it with the naked eye.  It would eat and then bed down; then it would rise, eat some more and bed down again.  This went on until 4:30 pm when it finally headed across the bottom in the direction of the windmill.  At times it completely disappeared into the tall grass, but then would magically reappear as it continued in my direction, albeit at a very slow pace.

 Adrenaline began to pollute my system as I monitored the buck’s advancing progress from the skylight of the blind.  When it was just about step out of the tall grass, I sat down, grabbed my crossbow with quaking hands and waited for it to appear in my shooting window.  The antelope took its sweet time about it; apparently it was in no big hurry to die.  When it came around the blind it walked quickly to the water’s edge and began taking long, noisy slurps of the refreshing liquid while providing me with a standing broadside shot. 

 I brought top reticule of the scope to the goat’s rib cage, steadied the bow by resting my elbows on my knees, then slowly squeezed the trigger until the bow noisily spit its projectile at the watering buck.  The alert animal almost spun out of the way of the arrow, but the bow was too fast and the distance too short for it to make good its escape.  The turning motion of the antelope caused the arrow to enter further back than intended, but because of the angle of the twisting body it exited further ahead having the same effect of a quartering away shot; it sealed the fate of the hapless pronghorn.  It trotted about fifty yards, stopped and then collapsed within a few short minutes.

 I waited until the head lay motionless then went to retrieve my vehicle.  Once back at the blind, I took some photos, dressed the goat and then drug it to the water hole to wash it out.  Once it was squeaky clean, I posed the critter, shot some photos of me with the goat using the camera’s 10 second timer.  When I had the photos I needed, I took down the blind, packed my gear into the jeep, policed that area and then went to get Mike to help me transport the animal back to the ranch so that I could get it on ice ASAP.  It had been a very good day.
 A very special thank you is extended to George LeBar and Mike Judd for their kindness and support in making this hunt and photo safari most memorable and productive by sharing the Lebar Ranch. 

Another Lighted Nock Advantage

by Daniel James Hendricks 15. August 2011 07:21
Daniel James Hendricks

As the brisk wind added to the cold misery of the dying day, I made the decision to fill my tag if I was given the opportunity thereby bringing to an end the MN bow season for this year.  There was only a few days of the season left, we already had two feet of snow and the real fun had faded a week ago.  The next deer that came along was toast regardless of size or sex; I just hoped that it was tonight, because I was cold and tired.

As the daylight dimmed, I caught the dark form of a whitetail moving along the crest of the ridge my stand overlooked.  The terrain on the far side of the ridge dropped steeply down to the shore of a small lake.  I had very little time as I brought my crossbow to my shoulder, flipped the safety off and found the animal in the scope.  I had one narrow shooting lane and when the whitetail stepped into the lane, I pulled the trigger.

The waning light of the day was set on fire by the flight of my arrow, which was nocked with a bright red Lumenok.  It was like I had shot a flare gun at the animal.  The arrow disappeared from sight and the animal sped off melting into the dense gray of the dusk shrouded, falling snow landscape.  Quickly climbing out of the stand, I moved down the shooting lane hoping all the way that my perception of the arrow passing through the center of my target was not an illusion.  When I reached the crest of the ridge, I was treated to a massive blood trail on both sides of the freshly made trail that had been plowed through the freshly fallen snow.  

The arrow, which I had already kissed good bye in my mind, had passed through the animal and flew over the ridge, down towards the lake.  I checked in that direction and was startled to see a warm red glow on the surface of the snow just ten yards away.  I walked to the glow, reached into the powdery white-stuff and pulled out my arrow still brightly shining.  Without the Lumenok, I would not have been able to find that arrow until spring (if I remembered to come back and search for it)  That was the fourth whitetail I had taken that fall and all had been taken with a Lumenok.  The buck I had taken at Palmquist’s Farm is the only one that I hadn’t benefited greatly from the Lumenok as that one had been shot at high noon (an excellent time of the day to kill a rutting whitetail).  In the final analysis, I had ended the season being an avid fan of the lighted nock concept.  My enthusiasm for the product has gotten me involved in numerous conversations about lighted nocks and the biggest complaint I hear about them is that they are so darned expensive.  Well, let’s analyze that statement.  Using Lumenok as an example (since that is the extent of my lighted nock experience) let’s see exactly how expensive of a deal it is.  Individual Lumenoks sell for $11 each and are available in a choice of flat or moon nocks.  Wow that is a lot!  Or you can buy three arrows already equipped with Lumenoks for $55/3-pak.  That’s a shade over $18 for each arrow.  Wow, again that’s a lot!

For additional data I went to the Information Highway to learn that I can buy crossbow arrows for any price from $5 to $15 each.  Now of course that is without the Lumenok.  Then I shopped broadheads and again discovered that one can spend from $5 to as high as $20+/broadhead if you go for whatever the rage is.  Doing an average on the math would give us an average of $10 for an arrow and $12.50 for a broadhead for a grand total of $22.50/projectile.  Now let’s say that you just added the Lumenok end to your arrow and that $11 investment helps you find just one of your $22.50 arrows.  Well, according to my math (which is the old math as I haven’t a clue what new math even means, let alone how it works) if the Lumenok helps you find even one arrow that would have been lost it just paid for itself twice.  Not a bad investment. 

This past fall is the first fall in my hunting career that I didn’t lose an arrow.  I did have one arrow broken when the broadhead was stopped by the scapula on the far side of my target and the deer fell on it when it died.  Otherwise, I recovered and am able to reuse all four broadheads, all four Lumenoks and three of the arrows. The Lumenoks were definitely a fine investment the first year of use; and, I will be using the same Lumenoks this next season.  Lumenoks were the original lighted nock and their concept must really be a sound and intelligent idea based on all of the other companies that are following suit with their own versions of the concept.  The most sincere compliment any company can receive is to be copied and Lumenok is being copied, big time.

After just one season of using lighted nocks in my crossbow hunting, I am soundly sold on the concept.  Not only for the savings in dollars by recovering arrows that may have been lost, but also because of the enhanced ability to follow arrow flight and being able to accurately determine where the arrow hits the intended target.  I strongly recommend that you try a three pack (arrows or just the nocks) of Lumenoks this next season as see if, in the long run, the Lumenoks don’t save you money.  Remember if you find just one arrow that would have been lost, you have paid for two Lumenoks.  How many arrows did you lose last year?  If the answer is more than zero, perhaps you should try hunting with a flare.  

 

 

 

 

2011 Nebraska Archery Season Sees Big Changes

by Keith Southworth 3. August 2011 12:54
Keith Southworth

When the 2011Nebraska Archery season opens on September 15th there will be some significant new rules in effect.  The two most notable rule changes don’t come without controversy.

The most significant and controversial change will adopt the crossbow as a legal weapon for all sportsmen.  Before last season, crossbows were limited to handicap and disabled sportsmen that first had to obtain a letter from a doctor that documented the sportsmen’s need to use a crossbow. 


Crossbows are now legal for all archery seasons for all sportsmen in Nebraska

The Nebraska Traditional Archers (NTA) has taken a firm stance against crossbows. The following statement was taken from their website.  “The NTA does not consider the conventional crossbow nor the compound crossbow to be legitimate hunting bows and will not permit their use, or possession at any NTA event or gathering.  The NTA considers the use of any type of crossbow during any bowhunting season to be the most serious threat that the future of bowhunting has ever faced.  The NTA strongly encourages all sportsmen to boycott the products of companies engaged in the manufacture, distribution, sales or promotion of crossbows, and to express their dissatisfaction directly to these companies at every available opportunity.”

An effort last year by the Nebraska Bowhunters Association (NBA), Nebraska’s largest and most politically engaged bowhunting organization asked the Nebraska Wildlife Commissioners to table the vote but it fell on deaf ears.  The commission allowed the use of crossbows during rifle and muzzleloader seasons last year and now they have opened up the use of crossbows in 2011 by making it a legal weapon during the archery seasons for all big game in the state.

I asked long time NBA member and Vice Chairman Bryce Lambley what the NBA’s official stance on the inclusion of crossbows to the Nebraska archery season and he said, "The NBA has, since its inception, opposed the inclusion of crossbows in the regular archery season, and has urged stricter compliance with handicapped provisions.  Most of our members do not oppose crossbows as a hunting tool, they just don't feel they belong in the same general season as compound and traditional bows and arrows because the skills needed to shoot them are vastly different."


Bow hunters in Nebraska will now share the woods with crossbow hunters but rifle hunters will have to do the same with bowhunters now

The other big change will allow bowhunters to hunt along side of rifle hunters during the 2011 rifle season which opens on the second Saturday of November.  Hunter Orange will be required to be worn by bowhunters just as it is for the rifle hunters during the nine day season.  Many Nebraska bowhunters have been clamoring for this change for a long time.  The timing of Nebraska’s rifle season tends to coincides with the rut so sitting on the sidelines for nine straight days has often been a bone of contention for many a Nebraska bowhunter.


Nebraska has expanded their elk seasons due to rising populations

The state of Nebraska offers diverse opportunities for bowhunters with plentiful populations of turkey, whitetail deer, mule deer, and antelope.  There are even elk and bighorn sheep seasons but those seasons are limited to resident lottery draws except for one big horn sheep opportunity that is auctioned off.  Lottery and auction fees have helped Nebraska raised over $800,000 dollars for the bighorn sheep program.  This year’s auction set a record by going for $117,500 to a German business owner.  The previous record bid for a Nebraska sheep hunt was $87,500 in 1998.

The Koda-Express Leaves Lasting Impression on Canadian Bear

by Daniel James Hendricks 21. July 2011 11:34
Daniel James Hendricks

My recent trip to Canada for spring bear provided me with an opportunity to begin development of a personal relationship with one of the new kids on the block of the rapidly expanding crossbow world – the Kodabow.  Kodabow is an American made crossbow distributed out of Pennsylvania.  It is of recurve configuration and is an extremely well made piece of equipment.

The Koda-Express from Kodabow is every bit as good as it looks. 

On this particular mission I was using the Koda-Express, which has a 185 lb draw weight and is rated at up to 305 fps in the speed category depending on arrow weight.  That’s a lot of power as far as crossbows go, but Kodabow has two more models that are even more powerful than the Koda-Express.  I have always been a proponent of “it’s not how fast your arrow goes, but where you put the broadhead that counts!”   Shot placement is critical and the first thing that I learned about the Koda-Express is that it is an extremely accurate shooting bow.  Confidence, which in my humble opinion is the most important asset a hunter can possess, is quickly acquired with this crossbow and from that point on the rest is just plain fun.

 The Hawke Optics HK3244 Scope greatly enhances the performace of this bow.

Easy to assemble, the Koda-Express comes complete with a rope cocker, a destringing aid and several optic options.  My bow is topped off with a Hawke HK3244, which is perhaps my favorite Hawke scope.  Choosing my favorite Hawke is a tough call, but it is reassuring to know that one of the best, new crossbows in the field comes adorned with one of the best crossbow scopes in the field, as well.

The projectile of choice for this test run was the Lumen-Arrow by Burt Coyote.

The Koda-Express I received must have been zeroed in at the plant by the senders because when I took the first shot at 10 yards, I was a little high of dead center.  At 20 yards, I was right on the money.  The second mark was right on at 28 yards and the third zeroed at 36.  I did not go beyond that mark as there is little likelihood that I would ever shoot beyond that distance and as always, lack of time to play with my new toy was a major consideration.

 The adjustable military style stock and pistol grip definately enhance use.

I really like the Military-style adjustable stock and rear pistol grip.  It allowed me to adjust the bow to a perfect fit and the pistol grip makes for easier handling.  The bow has an adjustable 90 degree hand grip on the fore-end, but I was not impressed with that option and did not use it other than to stabilize the bow in the ladder stand.

 I was not personally impressed with the grip on the fore-stock, but it worked great for locking the bow onto the safety rail.

An automatic safety engages when the bow is cocked and has an ambidextrous release that is clearly marked.  There is an anti-dry fire mechanism to prevent accidental discharge, which could seriously damage the bow or its user.

 

The ambidextrous safety automatically engages on the Kodabow.

A feature that I really appreciate is the anti-dry fire indicator level which allows the user to visually confirm that device is working and also that the arrow is properly seated when it is loaded.  The trigger pull is smooth and crisp allowing for steady and accurate release.  

The oval "ringy-thingy" is one is a sample of Kodabow's carefully thought out construction.

My Koda-Express has a machined riser with built in string-dampening pods that serve to make the bow quieter when fired.  Its rail is also machined from solid aluminum for durability and lightness and is designed to safely keep my fingers away from the string.  One of my favorite features of the Kodabow, as silly as it may seem, is the flat, oval ring that is attached to the bottom of the riser.  I don’t even know what its proper name is; I just call it “Wonderful”.  Not only can it assist in keeping your fingers away from the string when you are shooting, but when resting in the stand it allows the shooter to comfortably and stably balance the bow on their lap, hands-free, without danger of it tipping or falling from the perch.  This bow is packed with “little things” that demonstrate the long and clear thought that went into its design and construction.  And with the crossbow market becoming so competitive, it’s the little things that can really make the difference in the long term relationship with your crossbow.

The new  Rage Crossbow Head prvided the cutting edge at the moment of truth.

The Koda-Express performed flawlessly in the field while serving as the core of my hunting equipment package.  I combined it with Lumen-Arrows and the new Rage Crossbow broadheads.  The combination proved to fatal for my quarry with only a fifteen yard chip-shot being required in order to close the deal.  All of the time spent shooting arrows into the target with the Koda-Express paid handsome dividends at the moment of truth when the hunt ended in the blink of an eye with one perfectly placed shot.  The startled bear hit the large tree right behind the bait and nimbly climbed to escape danger unable to stem the doom that had already be sealed by the killer Kodabow.  The shot was clean, humane and quickly dispatched the bear.  I really didn’t have to shoot the bear as the fall out of the tree would have killed it.

All Kodabows are of recurve configuration with a solid and well designed string attachment.

In the final analysis of this hunt, the Koda-Express did all that was expected and required of it and is a super value at a MSRP of $800. And there were a few unexpected benefits realized from the many hours spent in the ladder stand with the bow, but the bottom line is that I am looking forward to the next outing with one of the newest and most solidly built crossbows on the market.  Now I know that there are two even more powerful Kodabows available, but it is my humble opinion that the Koda-Express is equipped to handle any animal on the North American continent and therefore is all of the crossbow that any hunter would ever need.  Personally, I would be more inclined to want to examine Kodabow’s Alpha Strike, which is their 155 lb draw weight model.  Any more power than that contained in the Koda-Express is unnecessary overkill - unless you are hunting a Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

The very last night of the hunt, the Koda-Express was responsible for creating one very happy hunter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossbow Accessories for Bear Hunting

by Daniel James Hendricks 13. July 2011 12:04
Daniel James Hendricks

Okay, let’s go down the check list for your spring bear hunt. You have researched, selected and contracted an outfitter, paying the required deposit to reserve your hunt…check.  You have decided how you’ll travel to Canada and made the required arrangements…check  After careful consideration, you’ve selected the crossbow you will use to take one of the many world record black bears your outfitter claims are in his territory…check.

2-3 small flashlights, a headlamp, rangefinder, treesaw, sharp knife and small first aid kit are all good things to have in your pack for a spring bear hunt.

The next step is to decide what accessories you’ll need to pursue the wily bruin in the thick, Canadian bush.  Most equipment that’s used on your hunt will be the same that you use while hunting whitetail deer.  A good, sharp hunting knife and a treesaw are necessary items, along with a thick cushion to prevent brain damage during the long sits in the stand.  You’ll need two good flashlights and one headlamp with plenty of extra batteries.  This gear is standard back or fanny pack stuffing, but what else should you include.

Bring an extra crossbow just in case you have problems with your primary bow.

The first thing you might want to consider is an extra bow or, if you are shooting a recurve crossbow, at least one extra bowstring.  Things happen and if you’re deep in the wilderness and your crossbow blows up, you don’t have a lot of options.   Chances are slim that there is a proshop in the area and you don’t have the time required to send your bow back to the factory.  Now you can always borrow a firearm from your outfitter, which they are sure to have; but if you are determined to take your bear with a crossbow you had best pack a spare, just in case the unlikely happens.  Be a good Boy Scout and be prepared!  Check with your outfitter and find out the average distance from the stands to the bait and then adjust your sighting-system accordingly.  If all his baits are within 30-yards set your first mark at 10 yards, second at twenty and third at thirty.  Bring along the trusty old range finder so that you know the exact distance to the bait once you are at the site.  Some outfitters have the stands as close as ten yards, but with the 10-20-30 plan you will be prepared. 

Bear Spray is seldom neccesary, but could be a life saver.

If you have chosen to hunt from a ground blind (which we will discuss in greater detail in another column) you may want to have bear spray on your person.  Very rarely does a hunt turn dangerous with a black bear, but it does happen.  Bear spray will deter a curious or even an aggressive bear.  If you are in a treestand, a bop on the head with the fore-end of your crossbow as it reaches your platform is usually all that is needed.

Trail Camera can keep an eye on the bait when you are not there. 

A trailcam is a handy device to bring along to monitor what is happening at your bait while you are not there.  Most outfitters will have you sit during the last half of the day; bears, however, may visit the bait any time of day.  If you have really good bear traffic in the early part of the day, then your trailcam will tattle on the bears and you can be there waiting to greet them with open sights.

Thermal-Cells are a wonderful invention and they really work!

 Misquitoes are a very important factor on a Spring bear hunt so you might want to consider bringing along a Termal Cell to repel the little buggers.  This marvelous invention really does work and it is well worth the investment to have one along on the hunt.  Make sure you have plenty of butane refills and repellent pads just in case you ene up sitting the entire week to score your bruin.  And don't forget to bring extra rubber-coated treesteps when hunting with a crossbow.  You will need one to hang your bow from, another for your quiver (I like to remove my quiver while hunting or to carry a non-attached quiver) and a third step for your back or fanny pack.  It is always better to have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them. 

Lighted nocks can be a real asset on your hunt. 

Another suggestion would be lighted nocks for your arrows.  A lot of bear movement, especially for the larger bears, happens right at dark.  Lighted nocks are a new tool in my arsenal and I am really impressed with how they enhance the moment of truth.  You know exactly where your arrow entered the bear and usually exactly where your arrow is after the shot, as most shots are pass-through.  Although spendy, if a lighted nock helps you recover just one arrow that would have been lost, it has paid for itself.

Scents and lures can assist in the success of the hunt. 

Cover scents, bear lures and scent eliminators can be beneficial to your hunt.  Scent eliminators remove some of you scent, but it is impossible to remove it all even if you bathe in the stuff.  Cover scents will assist your efforts, but in the end wind direction will be the dominant factor.  There are some really great attractants in an assortment of flavors like blueberry, bacon, and fish.  There are even some that burn like incense which cover your scent and attract the bears, but can also be used right in the stand to help you monitor wind direction.

 

A KneePod or some other form of shooting rest can be a real asset when adrenaline hits your system.   

One more thing that you will want to bring is some form of bow rest to help you support the heavier weight of a crossbow for long periods of time.  Movement is a key factor when hunting bears so fumbling around, trying to get your bow off the hanger when the bear comes into the bait is not a good thing; especially if you are hunting a really large bear that is more cautious and careful then its younger clan members.  As the day begins to come to an end, you should have your crossbow resting on a Kneepod, a Steady-Edy or some other form of shooting stick.  This handy little device, which ever one you decide best meets your needs, will support the weight of your bow allowing you to take a steady shot when the moment of truth arrives.  It also stabilizes the tremors that are known to afflict the bear hunter, especially when Mister Big enters the arena of death.  And experience has taught us that at that magical moment even the smaller bears in the forest have been known magically seem bigger, making the steadiest of hunters begin to quake.
   
Your list may be longer, but the above items are all things that should be on you equipment inventory for your crossbow bear hunt. 

A great plan makes for a great hunt!

 




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