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NAP Killzone Broadhead Review

by Justin Zarr 9. May 2012 01:54
Justin Zarr

The last gear review I wrote was about a quiver which, as I pointed out, is probably one of the least glamorous pieces of equipment you can carry into the field with you. This month we're doing a complete 180 and covering one of the most heatedly debated products in the bowhunting world; the broadhead. The business end of an archer's arrow is often held in high praise when things go well, and damned when they don't. In many eyes it can mean the difference between another taxidermy bill or more than a few sleepless nights. Ah yes, the broadhead is bowhunting's biggest scapegoat.

When it comes to picking a broadhead, there seem to be two general trains of thought. Either the compact, fixed-blade heads that are strong and durable, or the large expandable heads that are accurate and open up giant wounds in their intended target. Both will get the job done if put in the right spot, but many archers tend to pick one side of the fence or the other. For those who like big holes and a no-fail design, the new Killzone broadhead from New Archery Products may just be the next "big" thing. (pun intended)


The new Killzone broadhead from New Archery Products.  A rear-deploying mechanical broadhead with a 2 inch cut that uses no o-rings or rubberbands to keep the blades closed in flight.  

The Killzone is a rear-deploying 2 blade mechanical broadhead that opens to a full 2 inches as it enters the target. That is nearly twice the diameter as your average fixed-blade head. What that means for you mechanical broadhead shooters is giant entry wounds, and hopefully shorter and easier recoveries of game animals.


As you can see, the Killzone left a MASSIVE entry hole on this Kansas buck last November.   Bigger holes usually means better blood trails and quicker recoveries.


NAP Marketing & Sales Manager Brady Arview with his 2011 Kansas whitetail - one of the first to fall victim to the new Killzone.

A 2 inch cut mechanical broadhead isn't exactly a new idea, we all know that. So what makes the Killzone special? That little gem of innovation lays inside the ferrule of the broadhead, and is the mechanism that holds the blades closed in flight. NAP's patented spring-clip design has been around for years in the venerable Spitfire broadhead, and has helped bowhunters kill countless animals. Those who frequent Internet Forums or the local bow shop can atest that they've never heard anyone complain about a Spitfire blade opening in flight, which bodes well for the Killzone. The same can't be said for some of the other mechanical broadheads on the market.

With the patented spring-clip design the Killzone's blades will not deploy prematurely, which means you don't have to worry about your arrow running off course on accident. For the bowhunters who have always been leary of mechanical heads due to the possibility of failure this should bring a big sigh of relief.


The Killzone's blades won't open in flight, but they had no trouble opening up on my backyard target.  The top left arrow shows just how big the Killzone's entry hole is.  The other two arrows were tipped with a field point, and a Killzone practice head.  All shot from a distance of 25 yards, I'd say that's good enough to fill my tags this fall.

The Killzone comes in three different configurations - a chisel-style Trophy Tip, a cut-on-contact Razor Tip, or the red Deep Six model that is compatible with the new Easton Deep Six components. All three designs are available in 100 grains and feature the same 2 inch cutting diameter. Practice heads are available as well, which means you can save your sharp blades for when you really need them.


The razor-tipped cut-on-contact Killzone, in the closed position, shown next to the Killzone practice head.

As an admitted fixed-blade fanatic, I was a bit skeptical of these large mechanical broadheads. I'm a big proponent of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, curiousity has gotten the best of me and I truly want to see what the talk is all about.  With the new design of this broadhead eliminating any worry about blades opening in flight or in my quiver, I have a lot more confidence in this design than I did in before.   So when I take to the woods this fall, my Apex quiver will be full of Killzone broadheads with a Trophy Tip. And when the business end of my arrow makes the acquaintance of a wary whitetail, I'm sure you'll hear all about it right here.


Citibank asks "What's in your wallet?"  I ask "What's in your quiver?"

Watch this video to learn more about the new NAP Killzone.

NAP Spitfire Gobbler Getter Broadhead Review

by Dustin DeCroo 15. March 2012 08:57
Dustin DeCroo

New Archery Products has built a solid reputation around designing and building top of the line archery products. NAP produces the oldest, most trusted fixed blade head of all time, the Thunderhead; and arguably the most reliable mechanical broadhead on the market, the Spitfire. Technology continues to progress in every aspect of life and the broadhead industry is no different. Welcome, Spitfire Gobbler Getter.


New Archery Products Spitfire Gobbler Getter

Bowhunters have long since discovered the advantages of mechanical broadheads for hunting turkeys and in 2011 NAP created an expandable broadhead designed specifically for turkey hunters. The Spitfire Gobbler Getter is a variation of the already proven Spitfire broadhead.  The expandable turkey broadhead is available in 100 or 125 grains, has a 1 1/2" cutting diameter and over 3" of cutting surface.  Similar to the original Spitfire, the Gobbler Getter integrates Micro Grooved Slimline Ferrule technology to allow air to pass over the ferrule with less resistance, thus, providing the truest arrow flight possible. The Diamize sharpened blades are sharpened through a rigorous process ensuring exceptionally sharp blades to produce the cleanest cuts for maximum hemorrhaging and quicker kills. The blades on both the Spitfire and the Spitfire Gobbler Getter are locked into place with a hidden blade tension clip that NAP guarantees will not allow the blades to open in flight. Finally, the radical change that transforms the Spitfire to the Spitfire Gobbler Getter is the shock inducing Gobbler point, a rounded tip in place of the hardened Trophy Tip. The sole purpose of the Gobbler tip is to minimize pass throughs, delivering the most shock possible into the gobbler. Why would anyone not want a complete pass through? Let us take a harder look.

Turkeys are tough birds, period. There is no arguing that fact. There are a couple of significant differences between turkeys and other big game animals that bowhunters pursue. The first being, turkeys have the ability to fly away after they are shot. Obviously, this creates its own, set of problems. Second, blood trailing a turkey can be extremely difficult because they don’t have much blood to lose and feathers can soak up the majority of your blood trail before it reaches the ground. For these reasons, the idea behind the Gobbler Getter is to put the bird on the ground where he stands or shortly thereafter, before he has the opportunity to fly. This is achieved with the combination of a large cutting surface and by the Gobbler point helping the arrow expend its energy in the bird. This delivered “shock” works the same way bullets deliver shock or “knock down power” to an animal.



The Gobbler point is designed to deliver shock in the same manner a bullet delivers "knock down power."

Let us be honest. Every broadhead on the market today will kill a turkey if the arrow is placed correctly. This holds true with deer as well. Every broadhead on the market will kill a heart shot deer. Unfortunately, I don’t make a perfect shot on every animal. My theory on broadheads, is that I don’t buy a broadhead for the perfect shot. I buy a broadhead that provides me the best chance of recovering my animal on a poorly executed shot. For this reason, my quiver was loaded with NAP Gobbler Getters in the Spring of 2011, and will be again in 2012.

In preparation for bowhunting turkeys, I practiced shooting my Z7Xtreme at distances out to 70 yards strictly to test the flight of the Gobbler Getter. The Gobbler Getter tipped arrows were flying like darts, at any distance, off the string of my Mathews. The Merriams and Rio Grande turkeys of the Western United States were kind to me, providing me the opportunity to take a total of five toms with the Gobbler Getter broadhead in the Spring of 2011. The NAP broadheads performed exactly as they were designed putting birds down on the spot on multiple occasions. My bow is set up with a 29 inch draw length at 70 pounds and I’m shooting a 413 grain arrow at 286 feet per second. That’s a significant amount of kinetic energy to be stopped in something as small as a turkey. While my arrows did pass through, they were all lying on the ground where the bird stood or were sticking with the fletchings straight into the air, thus, the energy was delivered to the bird instead of the dirt on the backside. On one particular bird in Wyoming, I made a shot that was higher than expected but the large cutting surface and cutting diameter allowed the shot to be fatal and the bird was recovered within 75 yards. 


These big Mearriams gobblers were two of the first toms to fall to my Spitfire Gobbler Getter broadheads.

The main criteria I have for selecting a broadhead are: true flight, sharpness, durability and performing in the manner they were designed (i.e. turkey shots, turkey head shots, or ultra penetration on large game). If we’re talking about a mechanical broadhead, I want the blades to open when and only when they strike the target, not in the quiver or on their way to the target. There are numerous quality expandable broadheads on the market but if you are looking for a five star turkey specific broadhead, I recommend giving the Spitfire Gobbler Getter a chance at taking down your next tom.

 

NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner REVIEW - My Turkey Broadhead of Choice

by John Mueller 14. March 2012 14:50
John Mueller

In my opinion huge expandable broadheads are made for turkey hunting. I’m not worried about getting a pass through; I’d rather have my arrow stay in the bird. My goal is to do as much damage as I possibly can and do it as fast as I can. With its 2-1/16” cut when open the NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner helps me achieve this goal.

The 2 Blade Bloodrunner is one wicked Broadhead.

When turkey hunting, unlike deer hunting, I’d rather have my arrow stay in the animal. If I don’t get an instant kill from my shot, having the arrow stay in the bird will prevent it from flying away. While a turkey is very good at running off after taking an arrow, he could put a lot more distance between himself and the hunter if he can fly away. Another benefit of having the arrow stay in the bird is he is much easier to spot lying in the woods with my Luminock sticking in the air glowing. I even back my draw weight off 5 pounds or so just so I have a better chance of my arrow staying in the gobbler.

When hit by a huge cutting diameter broadhead like the 2 Blade Bloodrunner, a massive amount of damage is inflicted to an animal the size of a Tom Turkey, putting him down in short order even with a marginal hit. Plus it delivers a great deal of shock to the animal, knocking him off his feet and disorienting him. Huge old Gobblers can be very tough animals to bring down. I’ve had a couple run off after taking a load of #5 shot from my 3-1/2” 12 gauge shells. I’m looking for all the stopping power I can get from my broadhead and the NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner gives me that.

BloodRunner technology gives you the best of both worlds a fixed blade broadhead that expands upon impact and gives a hunter the peace of mind that it will cut no matter what! Just check out these impressive specs.
• 2-blade 100 grains (125 grain also available)
• Open Cutting Diameter: 2-1/6”
• Closed Cutting Diameter: 1-1/8”
• Blade Thickness: .039”
• Super-strong stainless steel razor sharp blades
• MSRP: $39.99 for a 3 pack
• Fixed position practice heads available

At 1-1/8" when closed and 2-1/16" when opened, NAP's 2-blade Bloodrunner is ready for the biggest of game.

The bloodrunner is unique in the fact that it is held closed by spring pressure and then expands to its full 2-1/16” cut upon contact with its target. It will stay open as long as it has pressure on the front of the broadhead. There are no o-rings or rubber bands to fail or loose. It cannot fail to open on contact. And if it starts to back out of the animal, the blades cannot close up like some mechanical broadheads will. So it will continue to do damage with its exposed blades.

Turkeys have a very small vital area when compared to the whitetails most of us are accustomed to bow hunting. The 2-1/16” cutting diameter of the Bloodrunner helps out just a little bit with getting the blades where they need to be. With this massive cut I don’t need to be as precise with shots. After all a Thundering Gobbler at 10-20 yards can give anyone a case of the shakes. I also do most of my bowhunting for turkeys from ground blinds and shots are frequently are taken from my knees and from odd positions to get the right angle out of the windows. All of these factors can have an adverse effect on my shots accuracy. The Bloodrunner gives me the advantage of having a small profile head in flight, but still gives me the huge cut after opening and allows for a little bit of the shakes.

Aim at the spot where the wing meets the body on a broadside gobbler.

My personal experience with the Bloodrunner doesn’t include a turkey kill as of yet. But I have taken a coyote and 2 whitetails with them. I couldn’t have asked for better performance from a broadhead. Once I had my bow tuned and had achieved perfect arrow flight, accuracy was never an issue. I knew if a shot presented itself, I could put the broadhead where it needed to be. Both the entrance and exit holes were unbelievable. All 3 animals were double lunged and recovered in less than 75 yards. I have no doubt if a gobbler presents me with a shot opportunity the Bloodrunner will do its job as long as I do mine.

Bowhunting.com prostaffer Dan Schaffer doubled up on Merriams with his Mathews Bow in Wyoming last spring.

If you plan on pursuing Wild Turkeys with bow in hand this spring, do yourself a favor and use the biggest broadhead you can shoot accurately. I’m putting my money on the NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner. Hopefully you’ll see me in an upcoming episode of our webshow Bowhunt or Die this spring sitting beside a big old Tom Turkey with my Mathews in my hand and a Bloodrunner on my arrow.

Check out this video REVIEW done last year by our very own Justin Zarr.

ATA Show Day 2 Live Update

by Cody Altizer 11. January 2012 06:53
Cody Altizer

Day 2 of the 2012 ATA Show is well underway here in Columbus, OH and I can say with full confidence two things: there are some seriously cool products hitting the shelves for 2012 and my legs are painfully heavy and sore.  But, what the heck, it’s all worth it, because it’s all fun!  I’ve been busy running around gathering information for future posts and articles, e-mailing photos back to the Bowhunting.com headquarters, and the minute this blog is posted I’ll be back on the show room floor, so I hope you enjoy the photographs!

New for 2012 is the Lone Wolf Wide "Flip-Top" Climber Combo.  I just recently purchased a Lone Wolf Sit and Climb for this past hunting season and was thrilled with it, so I am excited about possibly using this stand this fall.  Where I hunt in Western Virginia, it's predominantly big woods mountains with a lot of mature pole timber.  Often times, hunting from a climber is my best bet at getting high enough to avoid the wary eyes of the whitetail.  The Flip Top Climber Combo functions like a climber in every regard except the seat, which looks like it belongs on a hang on.  This feature gives hunters more room to position themselves on the platform for a shot.

Yesterday I was drooling over a world record Mule Deer.  Today, a world record moose caught my eye.  What a giant, beautiful animal!  Who wants to plan a mule deer / moose combo hunt with me?!

Pine Ridge Archery is offering several accessories in custom colors allowing hunters to completely trick out their bow in 2012.  There are numerous possibilities and options that allow you to make your bow look truly unique.  Pine Ridge Archery really hit a home run with this line of products.

I've always enjoyed the Rocket Broadheads commercial on televisions, you know, the one with the giant chainsaw lined with Rocket Broadheads.  It's visually appeaking and I think it does a fantastic job of selling the effectiveness of Rocket Broadheads.  Nevertheless, when I saw the real life version of the vicous machine, I had to take a photo.

I find myself faced with quite the dilemma: shoot the new NAP Armor Rest or the New Apache Carbon?  I've shot the Apache for two years now and am excited about this new lightweight, carbon design (4 ounces is a featherweight!) but the new Armor Rest looks pretty cool as well!  Help!  Someone decide for me!

Bowhunting.com is well represented both at the NAP booth...

...as well as the Stealth Cam / Epic Action Cam booth!

I'll leave you with an image I found pretty funny.  I happened by The Block Target Booth while filming John Dudley doing a commercial spot.  It sounded like a pretty simply commercial, but John kept repeating his name over and over again (multiple takes to get the perfect shot, of course), but I just couldn't help but laugh and feel sorry for him.  Here he was, standing in front of a camera, with lights beating on his face, and he was asked to repeate his name over and over while a substantial crowd simply watched.  Talk about awkward!

The show is still going strong and out staff guys are hard at work getting photos and information to releases on the site as quickly as possible so you can be the first to hear and read about the new products for 2012.  Check back often because you don't want to miss out on the upcoming updates and photos!

ATA Show Day 1 Updates

by Justin Zarr 10. January 2012 12:03
Justin Zarr

Well, the first day of the 2012 ATA show is well under way and as always there's a TON of new products to check out. Here's a few of the the highlights from the show so far, starting with last night's party hosted by Outtech. There was free food, drinks and a live music performance by Josh Kelley. You know, the guy who's married to Katherine Heigl. Yeah, him. I'll let the photos tell the story for today's events so far. Hope you all enjoy it! There's plenty more to come after this.

 
Last night's Outtech Innovations show was a blast.  Not only was their food, beverages and entertainment, but we got to check out some of the great new products from companies like NAP, TruGlo, Flextone and ScentBlocker a day early.


Josh Kelley put on a great show for the crowd.


The morning crowd waiting to rush the show floor and start doing business.


My first stop of the day was to see Pat Hudak with Robinson Outdoor Products.  Pat was kind enough to show me the new Tree Spider Micro Harnress, which weighs just 1.7 pounds!  This great new addition to the Tree Spider line is sure to please a lot of bowhunters.  I know I'll be wearing one this fall.


The boys at Pine Ridge Archery have come out with a great new line of stablizers called the "Nitro Stabilizers". They are available in several camo patterns as well as the black tactical seen here. Their solid core design and shock fins kill vibration and noise, while allowing you to customize the look of your bow.


One of the very simple, yet very cool, new products for 2012.  The 3D Peep sight allows you to shoot distances well over 100 yards with the same sight you use to shoot 20 and 30 yards.  Thanks to an innovative design that utilizes two peep holes and a 2nd string loop to change your anchor point this nifty device makes it possible to extend your accuracy far beyond normal equipment.


Of course one of the most talked about new products is the Bowtech Insanity bow.  This new bow has a 6 inch brace height, measures 32 inches axle to axle, and produces speeds up to a whopping 355 fps.  On the down side, the bow is a bit heavy at 4.3 lbs.


The heart of the Insanity is the Binary cam system.


The new Deep Six line of broadheads from NAP is also getting a lot of attention.  The Big Nasty seems to be a "Big Hit".  If you want to learn more about the Deep Six broadheads click here.


Also new from NAP is the Killzone.  A 2 inch, 2 blade expandable broadhead that won't open in flight thanks to the unique spring-clip design.  No more O-rings!  The Killzone is available with a cut-on-contact razor tip, or a bone crunching Trophy Tip.  Click here to learn more about the new Killzone.


Another trail camera has hit the market - this time from the folks at Big Game treestands.  The Eyecon features a 5.0 megapixel camera and infrared "InvisiFlash".  More info coming on all of the new trail cameras for this year very shortly.


The EZ-Aim II trail camera mount is a very useful for positioning your trail camera anywhere you want it, regardless of how straight the tree is, or isn't.


New for 2012 the EZ Aim has been revised to accomodate cameras with tripod mounting screws in the back, rather than on the bottom.  A helpful improvement that will allow the EZ Aim to be used with just about any trail camera make or model.


G5 also has a 2 inch expandable broadhead for this year called the "Havoc".  It too features a blade retention system without any o-rings.


G5 also has a new line of quivers called the Head-loc.  At just $49 retail this quiver is a great value.  It features a vibration absorbing Exo-Flex hood and an extra mounting bracket for your tree.


The Gorilla girls were proudly showing off the new safety harnesses from Gorilla.


Speaking of safety harnesses, Lone Wolf has released the Alpha-Tech harness.  It features easy adjustments, a neoprene back and shoulders and neoprene-covered buckles for the ultimate in stealth.


The team over at Plano has developed a new line of high-end packs under the "Tenzing" name.  These packs feature kevlar-reinforced stress areas to ensure they can withstand any abuse you may be able to throw at them.  There are 10 packs available in the line all the way from small fanny backs to large full-frame packs.


I didn't have much of a chance to look at these, but they look sweet.  How can you go wrong with any product that keeps your feet warm when it's cold?  These insoles plus my HotMocs could be the greatest combination ever.

Stay tuned for more updates from tomorrow's show!

Day One Update from the 2012 ATA Show

by Cody Altizer 10. January 2012 07:16
Cody Altizer

For me personally, there are a handful of exciting days that I look forward to every year as a bowhunter.  Obviously, opening day is one of those days.  The first cold snap that triggers daytime buck movement coinciding with rubs and scrapes appearing in the woods is another.  However, there is one day that I am very privileged and excited to experience every year, and that is the first day of the annual ATA trade show.

A shot of the hundreds of bowhunters at the Outtech party last night at the 2012 ATA Show.

Josh Kelley performing at the 2012 Outtech Party!

The show technically kicked off last night with the Outtech party.  Hundreds of industry dealers, writers, television personalities and bowhunting insiders flooded the convention center to enjoy some sneak peeks at new products, a live performance by country music star Josh Kelley, and of course to watch the Alabama Crimson Tide roll the LSU Tigers in the BCS National Championship game.  It was a perfect way to kick off an exciting week!

Let the festivities begin!

The floor rooms opened this morning at 8:30 and as soon as the gates opened, it didn’t take long for the industry business to begin taking place on the show room floor.  It’s pretty exciting to walk the floor and look left and right see the business being conducted.  You could feel the energy as business was being conducted left and right, new products were being revealed and hunting celebrities smiled candidly for photos and autographs.  

Perhaps what I look forward to most about the ATA Show is catching up and socializing with my hunting buddies that I may only see once or twice a year.  I know, I know I should probably be working and not socializing but hey, swapping hunting stories is just plain fun.  I was fortunate enough to catch up and chat with my pal Jason McKee of New Archery Products and Frank Archey of Lone Wolf Portable Treestands.  It’s always good to catch up and listen to other hunter’s success stories.  

I've always wanted to hunt mule deer and seeing this giant mule deer buck has only made me want to go even more.  Only at ATA!

In between working and socializing, I have been able to locate a couple of products that I especially excited about for the 2012 season.  The first was the 20 feet climbing ladder system from Lone Wolf Portable Treestands.  I’m a big fan of Lone Wolf’s climbing sticks, and this new ladder system looks fantastic.  The ladder stick system will get you 16 feet in the air in no time.  I spoke with Lone Wolf President Jared Schlipf about them and he assured me you could safely (with the aid of a lineman’s belt, of course) attach the ladder system to the tree, strap it down and be safely in your stand in 5 minutes.  This is a great product for the mobile hunter.  

Lone Wolf President Jare Schlipf in the middle of an interview discussing the new innovative Ladder Stick System.

I was also intrigued by NAP’s new Armor Rest full capture drop-away rest.  This little 5 oz. piece of engineering genius has a full rubber Armorshield on the body of the rest that stays whisper quiet in operation.  Titanium arms mean less weight, but added strength.  This rest promises full containment with 100% fletching clearance at any angle.  You’ll definitely want to check out this new rest from NAP!

New for 2012 the NAP Armor Rest.  If you're into full-containment drop away rests, then this is the rest for you.

The 2012 ATA Show is still very young, so be sure to keep checking the blogs to be the first to know about the cool new products for 2012.  

 

New Bowhunting Products From the Mathews Retailer Show

by Dustin DeCroo 16. December 2011 12:02
Dustin DeCroo

We visited the 2011 Mathews Retailers show to check out some of the new products that will be available in 2012. While we don’t have time to review every new product, here are a few that caught our eye! More prooduct reviews will be released next month following the ATA show in early January.


Easton Injexion Arrows:
Easton introduces the Injexion and A/C Injexion arrows for 2012. The Injexion is an entire arrow/insert/broadhead system developed from the ground up by Easton and New Archery Products. The Injexion arrow is an ultra-micro diameter arrow that is second to none in crosswind performance, downrange kinetic energy and arrow penetration on big game animals. Deep Six inserts have been designed specifically for this arrow as it is smaller in diameter than it’s older brother, the Easton Axis. The Deep Six inserts have a different thread pattern than the 8-32 conventional thread, and NAP is exclusively producing the broadheads to fit these inserts. An RPS insert with conventional threads will be available as well. If you are looking for a high performance, super tough, small diameter arrow take a look at the carbon Easton Injexion and the A/C Injexion arrows.

Easton Injexion arrows tipped with NAP Deep Six broadheads will most likely fill my quiver this Fall.

Brunton Hunting Epoch Binoculars:
Brunton Hunting of Riverton, Wyoming continues the Epoch line of binoculars for hunters. The Epoch’s were the winner of the 2011 Best Buy award for binoculars by Inside Archery Magazine. Two models are available, the full size and the compact. The full size binoculars are available in 8.5 and 10.5 power with 43mm objectives and the compact binoculars are offered in 8 and 10 power with 21mm and 25mm objectives. The Epoch binoculars have a lightweight magnesium frame, are nitrogen filled fogproof lenses and are waterproof. Both black and camouflage models are available. SF prism glass allows for some of the best light transmission on the market for glassing in low light conditions. Brunton’s Epoch binoculars are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

The Brunton Epoch binoculars are worth a look-through

Armortech Vision Sight by Axcel Sights and Scopes:
Bringing new technology to a mark that asks, “what more can be done?” The new Axcel Armortech Vision offers a new 2” housing for optimal view of your target. It brings new meaning to “seeing is believing!” The Armortech Vision also contains the innovative T.C.V (True Center Vision), a perfect circular picture, even when viewed slightly off center. Continuing the tough as a tank attitude found in the original Armortech, the same engineering is back with a vengeance in the Vision. The 3-time “inside archery” best buy award winner still features A.F.T. (Armor Fiber Technology) 100% fiber protection, 2nd and 3rd axis adjustment, interchangeable right and left hand capabilities, individual micro adjustment on each pin, engraved partial ring at the depth of the sight pins, for greater accuracy when viewed slightly off center. The Armortech Vision is available in popular models that include the Mathews Harmonic Damper, as well as the ever popular Pro Series with the micro adjustable dovetail bracket. The Vision is available with 4, 5 or 7 pins in .010”, .019” or .029” fiber size. The Armortech line of sights leave nothing to be desired when it comes to a top of the line hunting sight and it appears this trend will likely not change soon.

The Armortech Vision sight is built to withstand severe abuse

Mission Riot Bow by Mathews:
Mission archery introduces the Riot in their 2012 line of bows. The riot is 31” axel-to-axel and sports a 7” brace height which makes it a very forgiving bow. Unlike many bows, the Riot will fit 90% of archers right off the shelf as the draw weight adjusts from 15-70lbs on a single set of limbs and the draw length is adjustable from 19-30” on a single set of cams. The bow incorporates a Dead End string stop installed at the factory for improved feel and vibration dampening. The Riot is perfect for young archers that will grow as the bow with “grow” with them. At a retail price of $399 it will be difficult find a bow that provides more value for your dollar than the 2012 Mission Riot.

The New 2012 Mission Riot


Hardcore Max Release by Trufire:
The Hardcore MAX adds two new features to the already popular Hardcore line of releases. A screw located in a housing behind the trigger will adjust trigger pressure (separate from travel) anywhere between 3 ounces to 16 ounces. Also new is the comfort enhanced Evolution II buckle which will have 2.5 times thicker padding as well as a slightly wider strap profile. The Hardcore line of releases incorporate an open jaw, hook style release which makes for super easy D-loop engagement. The head of this release also pivots horizontally up to 20 degrees to ensure that there is zero torque on your bow from the release. These releases are available in Black or Lost Camo and the Hardcore Max is available in Black. Both of these releases are American Made.


Hardcore Max Release by Trufire

Q&A With the Pro's: Mechanical and Fixed Blade Broadheads

by Justin Zarr 13. December 2011 09:27
Justin Zarr

One of the hottest topics in the archery world is mechanical broadheads, I don't see this subject cooling down in the near future. I discussed mechanical broadheads (and fixed blade broadheads) with Chris Kozlik of New Archery Products, here is what he had to say...

New for 2012, the Deep 6 broadhead family has been engineered for small diameter arrows such as the Easton Injexion.

 

Q: The most common knock on mechanical broadheads seems to be that their blades open in flight, causing the arrow to fly off target which results in either a miss or a lost animal. What do you think about that?

A: Modern bows are certainly pushing the envelope on speed. Crossbows even more so. Having the blades on a mechanical head stay closed during flight is critical to hitting your mark. We’ve done extensive testing to make sure our heads work perfectly and stay closed during flight with the fastest equipment on the market. It’s easy to test. Hang a piece of paper in front of your target and shoot thru it. You should have a small hole, that shows the blades stayed closed. If not, it’s time to go find a better mechanical head.

Blades that open in flight are one of bowhunters major concerns in regards to mechanical broadheads.

 

Q: When it comes to shooting whitetail-sized game is there anything to be concerned about when shooting a mechanical broadhead?

A: Even though mechanicals have been on the market for over 20 years, there are still myths that revolve around the use of mechanical heads. Three statements seem to come up in conversation more than any others. Specifically, “You can’t take an angled shot with a mechanical” or “It takes too much energy to open the blades / a mechanical won’t penetrate well” or “My broadhead didn’t open!” I’d like to address these one at a time.

First off, any correct angled shot that you would take with a fixed blade, you can take with a mechanical. There are no additional restrictions. 45 degree quartering shots are no problem. Angles steeper than that and you risk the shot, mechanical or fixed blade, period. Three years ago, I received an email from a happy Spitfire customer who took such an angled shot that he cut 8 ribs clean thru and still had a full pass thru. I still have the pictures. Understanding that this shot should never have been attempted with a bow and arrow, it nonetheless proved to me the effectiveness of a full mechanical head even on a steep angled shot.

About blade opening and penetration, I’ll take that question in two parts.

Our mechanical heads use very little energy to open. The resistance that you feel by slowly opening a blade by hand simply isn’t there when the head slams into a target. I routinely demonstrate this by shooting a Spitfire thru a piece of cardboard using nothing more than a draw length check bow with a draw weight of 3 pounds. Blades will open every time. Now imagine a hunting arrow going 250 feet per second (which is 170 miles per hour!) with 60 pounds of kinetic energy. Even a modest 45 pounds of kinetic energy will cleanly kill any big buck out there with any well designed mechanical.

The biggest obstacle to getting a full pass is not the broadhead on the end of your arrow, but how well that arrow was flying as it hits the target. Any side to side whipping or porpoising of the arrow , either from a poorly tuned rest or string slap on your hunting clothes, will cause drastic reductions the penetration power of the arrow, regardless of the broadhead you choose. A bad flying arrow at close distance is even worse than one shot at longer distance because the vanes have no chance whatsoever to recover or get that arrow flying properly. In just the last few days I’ve had 2 bow setups, one being my own personal bow, which shot excellent field points at long distance (my first 50 yard robin hood) and still had a barrel rolling arrow coming out of the bow. Had I just installed a broadhead and gone hunting, the results would have been, regrettable. It’s easy to blame the broadhead when something goes wrong and in a lot of cases, the broadhead had nothing to do with the poor results. Take the time to tune your setup to perfection before stepping into the woods.

“My broadhead didn’t open,” is one of the biggest fear some people have of shooting a mechanical head. In the closed position, all of our heads are still angled partially open. In the 15 years that we have produced the Spitfire, we have never had a head that didn’t open. Like pushing on a door handle, the door has no choice but to pivot around its hinge and open. Now, what has tricked a few people along the way is that the blades may slam shut if the head goes thru a deer and into the dirt. Also in practice, if the head pops out the back of a target and the arrow stays in the target, the blades will again rocket forward and slam shut. In all cases, the head will show a little dent where the back of the blade whacks into the edge of the ferrule. It’s a witness mark that happens even on lower poundage bows. You can test this by taping a piece of paper on the back of a target block and shooting thru. Three large slots will be left in the paper. Even withdrawing an arrow from a deer or foam target will fold the blades closed again. On a yearly basis, I will receive one or two suspect heads where a customer believes it didn’t open. I’ll take a head that’s full of fur, dried blood, and dirt and shoot it as-is. The head will open perfectly! A few years ago, I shot a doe in Seneca, Wisconsin, quartering away at 20 yards with the first Spitfire Maxx prototype. The doe went downhill and out of sight. When I retrieved my arrow, the blades were shut. My gut response was predictable, I thought it didn’t open. Then I took a deep breath, looked for the dents where the blades hit the ferrule and found the head had worked perfectly. My doe was laying 50 yards away.

 

Q: Do mechanical broadheads really fly better than fixed-blade broadheads?

A: Yes. We have found that at or above 270 feet per second is where larger fixed blade heads can exhibit some wind drift. With precision tuning of the arrow rest and looking closely at the spine of the arrow, large fixed blades like the Thunderhead, can be made to fly extremely well. The faster the arrow goes, the more time you may need to spend on the tuning. Mechanicals almost always fly like field points. There’s very little wind resistance on mechanical heads, so no way to steer the arrow off of target. In 2001 I shot a caribou at 43 yards with a Spitfire with 30 mpg gusty winds and raining. Looking back at the video, you can see the arrow tracking perfectly to the animal and see just a white tuft of hair blow out the back of the animal. It was one of my best kills I’ve ever had, especially in bad conditions.

At high speeds fixed-blade broadheads can drift and plane but with a little bit of tuning, they too can fly like fieldpoints.


Q: Under what circumstances should someone not shoot a mechanical broadhead?

A: 40 foot pounds of kinetic energy would be the minimum I’d recommend when shooting a mechanical head. This would also be the minimum for fixed blades as well. Arrow flight and tuning is even more critical with bows that generate less kinetic energy. With today’s equipment, most hunters are far above this minimum.

 

Q: The hot trend in broadheads right now is massive cutting diameter. What do you think about that? And how does it affect arrow penetration?

A: Yes, cutting diameters on mechanicals are on the way up. With a setup that has 65 to 70 pounds of kinetic energy, the diameter can be increased with no lack of penetration on game animals. Our FOC crossbow head has a three inch cutting diameter. With crossbows generating 100 pounds of energy or more, this is no issue at all. That being said, it’s easy to forget that what was once an average cutting diameter of 1-1/4” a few years ago, some people now consider small. For decades Thunderheads have killed more deer, elk, moose and other big game animals with a cutting diameter of 1-3/16”. Moose and elk hunters have loved the killing power of the 1-1/8” Nitron for years. Blade sharpness, broadhead strength and quality, along with shot placement and arrow flight seem to be much more important than initial cutting diameter. We’ve seen many Spitfire kills where the entrance hole is bigger that the cutting diameter of the head!

Giant cutting diameters are the hot trend, like this Spitfire Maxx.


Q: We all know that the sharpness of the blades on your broadhead is important for a quick kill, better blood trail and short recovery. How can the average bow hunter decide which broadheads have the sharpest blades?

A:Determining broadhead sharpness can be a little tricky sometimes. A lot of people will run their fingers over the blade and if you can feel it catch your skin, they believe it’s sharp. What you’re actually feeling is a roll over burr that some blades produce when being sharpened. Once the burr breaks off, there is a microscopic rounded edge that does not cut cleanly. It’s when you feel nothing at all, then look down and see your blood all over the place, then you truly have a sharp edge. If you don’t want to find out the hard way, slice thru a piece of notebook paper or shave the hair off the back of your hand to be sure. We make sure nothing touches the edge of our blades between when they were manufactured and when you screw them on you arrow to guarantee the sharpest blades possible.

There is no substitute for ultra-sharp blades, the blades on the NAP Hellrazor are just that.


Q: Why should bow hunters replace the blades on their broadheads with new ones from the manufacturer rather than trying to sharpen them on their own?

A: It’s always better to have brand new blades on your heads. Most blades like ours have multiple grind angles that can never truly be resharpened effectively by hand. A solid head like a Hellrazor can be made almost as sharp from the factory by using a high quality flat stone. Patience and skill are needed to get the edge perfect. I cannot overstate the importance of sharp blades for killing game animals as quick as possible. The cost of new, sharp replacement blades may be the difference between finding an animal or not when a marginal hit occurs.

 

Q: Is there any advantage to shooting a 125 grain broadhead rather than a 100 grain broadhead?

A: We’ve found that heavier heads up front do two important things. For one, they just seem to fly better. Moving the front of center balance point forward helps the arrows (or bolt) fly better. Tenpoint Crossbows regularly put brass inserts in their bolts for that very reason. In addition, the penetration power in increased. Studies have been done showing that an arrow of a given weight will out penetrate by just moving the weight forward. I put this to the test last year with a fellow employee at New Archery who has never had a full pass thru. He shoots a lighter weight bow and a short arrow. I constructed some Easton Full Metal Jacket arrows with a 60 grain brass insert. 24-1/2” arrow, 100 grain broadhead for a total weight of 428. Front of center comes in at 15.3 percent. Full pass thru’s are now happening. Don’t worry about any extra drop. Even 25 grains extra up front in stays inside a hunter’s normal grouping pattern inside of 30 yards. Arrow speed loss is negligible and in most cases, the kinetic energy has increased! Whatever grain weight broadhead you choose, make sure your arrow is spined out correctly.

 

Q:The past two years we’ve heard a lot about the NAP Bloodrunner broadhead. Can you tell us why this head has been so popular with bow hunters?

A: Mechanical head sales have soared over the last few years. There are dozens of different designs to choose from. Unfortunately some just don’t perform as well as others under hunting conditions. The Bloodrunner broadhead appeals to hunters who may have tried mechanicals before with bad results or people who would like to try a mechanical, but just seem leery about the whole idea. The Hybrid design of the head is such that in closed position, it has a 1 inch cutting diameter, and by pressing the point back, expands to 1-1/2”. “Even closed, it’s bound to work” is what I hear from potential customers. The fact is there’s no way for it not to open to 1-1/2” cut when passing thru a target. Confidence is key when selecting a broadhead and it’s easy to see how this head performs.

The NAP 2-Blade Bloodrunner offers a huge cutting diameter and a fail-proof expanding design.

 

 

Q: What broadhead will you be shooting this fall?

A: That’s always the toughest question for me to answer because all of the heads we make work so well. A lot of us over here shoot Spitfire’s and Bloodrunner’s. I’ll be shooting the Spitfire Maxx with a 1-3/4” cut. I just need to stay awake in the tree long enough to let one fly…..

The Spitfire Maxx is one of the favorite mechanical broadheads on the market.

The Rut Finally Comes To Illinois

by Justin Zarr 22. November 2011 15:16
Justin Zarr

First off, let me start by saying I wasn't complaining in my last Blog entry. By all accounts, had my season ended on the evening I wrote that very entry I would have been extremely pleased with the outcome. My Blog was more or less expressing my frustrations that the amount of rutting activity I had seen this year was very sub-par compared to years in the past. For me, the thrill of those classic rut hunts is really what defines my season. The cold mornings with bucks grunting and chasing does, seeing deer on a flat-out run across a field during the middle of the day, the tales of hunters having multiple big buck encounters in a single sit. Those are the things that had been lacking from my season so far.

That brings us to this past weekend here in Northern Illinois. With gun season open across much of the state many bowhunters had their archery gear put away temporarily. However, being a resident of the Chicago suburbs where many of our counties are bow-only, I was fortunate enough to be able to take to the woods with my Mathews in hand. Saturday morning found me perched in a tree where I shot a nice buck last fall, hoping for a November repeat. This time I had good friend, and cameraman, Mike Willand with me.

Over the course of the morning Mike and I saw a total of 8 deer, including two small bucks who were clearly out on the prowl looking for does. Now, I know this doesn't seem very substantial to a lot of people but keep in mind there's times when I don't see 8 deer in a MONTH of hunting on this farm. To see 8 in one sit is pretty incredible, and really helped fuel me for the rest of the weekend.

That same morning the coyotes were also out and about as we saw two of them, both within bow range of our stand. Fortunately for the 2nd coyote, my shooting was a bit off as he came by at 30 yards and I launched an arrow about an inch over his furry back.


My shot was a touch high as this big Illinois 'yote ducked my arrow and escaped unscathed.  These little buggers sure do move quick!

Saturday afternoon I was back in the same stand, this time self-filming as Mike had prior committments. Although I only saw one nice 2 1/2 year old that came by and offered a 10 yard shot, I heard the sounds of a good buck chasing a doe in the timber to my West. Branches cracking, leaves crunching, a buck grunting, roaring and snort-wheezing. Now THIS is what I was looking for! The buck and doe never showed themselves before darkness came, but I knew for a fact I had to get back in there the next morning.  If that does was hot there's bound to be one, if not several, good bucks competing for the right to breed her.


This busted up 2 1/2 year old paid me a visit on Saturday afternoon.  He worked a licking branch and urinated on his hocks just 7 yards from the base of my tree.

4:15 came awful early on Sunday morning, and despite my body telling me to stay in my nice warm bed, I got up and headed out. Knowing it could be my last good morning hunt before the rut was done for the year I was determined to get in a stand before daylight.

As the sun just began to peak over the horizon I spotted my first deer of the day, a young spike buck, making his way behind my stand. About an hour later I heard a deep grunt in the field behind me and turned around to see a doe flying across the field at break-neck speed. I knew a buck wasn't far away and kept my eyes peeled. A minute later I spotted the source of the grunt, a nice buck feeding in the cut corn. After looking him over with my binoculars for a minute or two I determined he was a shootable deer and tried to formulate a game plan for how I was going to get a shot at him. He was 100 yards away from me and straight down wind. Not a good sitaution.

The first thing I did was take out the bottle of Tink's 69 from my backpack and spray some into the air. Not only did I want him to get a whiff of doe estrus to try and attract him, but I wanted to cover up my scent and prevent him from spooking. During the peak of the rut a buck's desire to breed will often cause him to make mistakes he wouldn't normally make, and I was hoping that today this would be the case. So after a minute or two of letting the scent disperse, I broke out the grunt call and let out a series of short buck grunts. The minute he picked his head up and looked my direction I immediately stopped calling and grabbed my bow.

On queue the buck came in on a string, straight down the path I had walked into my stand that morning. With the camera rolling at my side the buck hung up at 18 yards and would not come a single step closer. With a steady North wind at 10 mph blowing both my scent and the Tink's straight into his nostrils the buck didn't know what to do. He looked and looked and looked some more, several times looking right up in the tree at me. I thought for sure I was busted, but thanks to my Lost Camo he never spotted me.

Eventually the buck turned and began to circle around my stand at about 22 yards. Unfortunately this particular piece of woods is extremely thick and wasn't trimmed out quite as well as it should have been so I never got a good shot opportunity at the buck. I had one very small window of opportunity, but when I grunted to stop him he took two steps before stopping and was directly behind a tree, effectively blocking any shot I had. After a second the buck continued on his way, out of bow range and eventually out of sight.


After I grunted in an attempt to stop this buck, he took two more steps before pausing behind some trees where I couldn't get a shot at him.

At this point I couldn't believe it! I had a shooter buck within 20 yards for well over 5 minutes and could never get a shot at him. How does that happen? So as I'm feeling sorry for myself, I do a quick interview and talk about what just happened before sending a text to Mike to let him know what's going on. Just as I put my phone away I hear something and look up to see the buck headed back my direction. So I quickly grab the camera, turn it on and get it positioned, grab my bow and get ready.

The buck steps out in the wide open at 30 yards when I grunt to stop him, settle my pin, and touch off the shot. With a "SMACK" that echoed throughout the woods the big bodied whitetail turned and ran only 5 yards before stopping and looking back to see what just happened, acting like nothing was wrong.  I could see my arrow protruding from his side with what looked like only 2-3 inches of penetration and my heart sank. A direct hit to the shoulder, forward and low, is rarely a good sign.


My buck just milliseconds before the arrow impacted him directly in the shoulder.

Over the course of the next 20 minutes I watched the buck slowly hobble his way through the woods before finally losing sight of him. Although I could see his tail twitching rapidly and see him stagger from time to time, I was very unsure of the hit and decided to back out.  An hour later I climbed down from my Lone Wolf stand and slowly made my way back to the truck. After talking it over with Mike we decided to wait 4-5 hours just to be safe before returning.  In my experience is always better to wait it on on a questionable hit, regardless of whether or not it's too far forward, or too far back.  The way this buck was acting I had a feeling he wouldn't travel far before laying down, and I hoped to find him nearby upon our return.


Not the type of reaction we all hope for after shooting a nice buck.  Making a questionable shot on a deer, buck or doe, leaves a sick pit in the stomach of any bowhunter.

Over 5 hours later at 1 pm we returned to the woods and immediately found good blood. In fact, the blood trail was much better than I thought it was going to be, which was encouraging. Roughly 30 yards up the trail we found my busted Gold Tip arrow and confirmed that penetration was only around 4 inches. My optimism faded a bit. However, as we continued on the blood trail was very easy to follow and at times very good. Then, right where I had last seen him, I spotted rack sticking up over a fallen log. My buck was down!


Finding blood like this is always an ecouraging sign when trailing a wounded deer.


Moments after spotting my buck laying just feet from where I last saw him hours earlier.  What a relief!

The feeling of relief was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. There is nothing worse in the deer hunting woods than shooting and not recovering an animal, and I was honestly sick to my stomach thinking about not finding this deer. Knowing that he went down within 100 yards from the shot is a great feeling.

As it turns out, I believe that I may have hit one of the major veins or arteries that runs up the deer's neck, because on inspection my arrow never actually penetrated the chest cavity. The lack of penetration was caused because I did hit the front shoulder, but luckily I had enough power behind my arrow to push in far enough to get the job done. I give all the credit to the NAP Hellrazor broadhead I was shooting. In this particular case the solid one-piece stainless steel broadhead was the difference between my success and failure on this hunt. Proving yet again why I favor a durable, tough-as-nails fixed blade head over a massive expandable head any day of the week.


After not having any good bucks on trail camera all summer and fall, it was nice to catch up with this guy.  A solid 3 1/2 year old buck, he may not score much but he's a great trophy and a wonderful way to end my 2011 bowhunting season here in Illinois.

With all of this said, my 2011 season is officially in the books and it's time to start thinking 2012 already. I plan on continuing to run several Stealth Cams on my various hunting properties to inventory the bucks that are still around, and of course shed season will be here before we know it! In between those two we've got several trade shows to attend so I'll certainly stay busy.

Look for the full video of this hunt on an upcoming episode of Bowhunt or Die. We still have 6 more exciting buck hunts to bring you over the next several weeks, including mine. To those of you still hunting out there remember to be safe, shoot straight and most importantly have fun!

October Bowhunting Success | A Buck Named Hitch

by Justin Zarr 31. October 2011 16:14
Justin Zarr

This particular tale begins in the spring of 2011.  After one of my most successful bowhunting seasons to date, I decided it was time to move on from the lease I had come to call home the past three seasons.  The days of chasing Dope Ear and Schafer were over, and it was time to find some new ground.  Preferably something closer than the 250 mile drive I had been making almost every weekend during the fall.  So with mixed emotions I let the landowner now that we would be moving on, and the search for a new hunting spot began.

Through some hard work, and some much needed luck, my good friend and hunting partner Mike Willand found just such a spot.  Located in far Northwestern Illinois, this small slice of heaven hugs the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi River and looked to be very promising.  After a brief conversation, confirming that we both agreed that this was our new spot, we signed the paperwork and began preparations for the fall.

Our first trip to the new farm was on a hot summer day in Mid-July.  This was the first time I had ever stepped foot on this farm in person.  Those of you who are big on pre-season scouting know how nearly impossible it can be to scout effectively during the summer months.  The foliage is thick, the bugs are horrible, the temperatures are hot and the humidity is suffocating.  In light of this, Mike and I did the majority of our scouting and planning of stand locations before ever heading to the woods.  Aerial photos and topographic maps are without question your best friend when it comes to scouting new ground.

Having a general idea where we wanted to hang our Lone Wolf stands before heading into the field helped tremendously and allowed us to hang several sets on our first trip that July day, and finish up the remaining sets during a return trip in August.  The 2nd set we hung was located nearly in the center of the farm along what we figured would be a good travel corridor during the rut. 


The dog days of summer may not be the optimal time to hang stands, but sometimes you don't have much of a choice.  One of the keys to being successful is being prepared, not just in hunting but in all aspects of life.  Here Mike is making his way down the field edge to hang one of our Lone Wolf stands in preparation for fall.

Located on the side of a ridge we had a corn field to the North of us and a creek to the South.  To most people this stand doesn’t appear to be anything special, and probably wouldn’t be a spot many people would put a stand.  However, the topography doesn’t lie.  If a deer wanted to move from the big timber to our West through our woods to check does in the bedding area to our East, he would most likely come through this spot.

While hanging stands that warm July day we also set out a trail camera on a fence crossing, hoping to get an inventory of the resident deer herd.   On our return trip in August we checked the camera and much to our liking we had captured several pictures of what appeared to be a nice buck.  The date on the first image was 7-27-11, which was Mike’s 4 year wedding anniversary.  This prompted us to name the buck in the photos “Hitch”.


Our first photo of Hitch, taken in late July.  The forked brow tine on his left side is a dead giveaway.

Fast forward to October 1st, our first day in stand on this farm.  Opening Morning was relatively uneventful as we only saw one small buck and a doe.  During the middle of the day while killing time before our evening hunt we checked our trail camera again, this time on a different fence crossing, and once again captured several photos of Hitch – this time out of velvet.


The next, and last, photo captured of Hitch on this farm.  This photo was taken in late September and we never got another photo of him on this farm.  Although we weren't getting pictures of him, we were confident he was still around.

Over the next several weeks we only hunted this farm a total of 3 days.  While we knew the farm was holding some good deer, we didn’t want to ruin our hunting before things were getting good.  At just over 100 acres it’s easy to put too much pressure on the deer early and decrease your chances of shooting a good buck.  We’ve made that mistake in the past and didn’t want to make it again.  So we bit our tongues and we waited.

The weekend of October 29th it was time to get serious.  Instead of leaving home at 2:30 am like we had done previously, we drove out on Friday night and got a hotel room.  Some extra sleep and a shower were in order now that the bigger bucks were likely on their feet during daylight hours. 

Our plan for this morning was somewhat different than the previous 3 trips to the farm.  Instead of circling around the edge of the property and coming in from the West, we were going to sneak straight up the middle and approach the stand from the East.  You see, earlier in October during our morning walk into the stand we had spooked what sounded like a big deer in the standing corn field.  Upon closer inspection of the area we found several big scrapes, some rubs and a definite “smell” of buck.  Whoever it was, that deer had been marking his territory when we so rudely interrupted him.  Not wanting to make the same mistake again, we altered our entry route accordingly.

Upon entering the woods on Saturday morning we once again encountered the distinct smell of buck.  Many of you likely know what I’m talking about.  The musky smell of rutting whitetail buck is unmistakable and running into that during late October likely means you’re in a buck’s core area.  Also during our trip into the stand, which was our first to this stand for the year, we found several big beds that reinforced our theory that we were in a buck’s bedroom.

As the sun rose on the chilly 29 degree morning, the daylight revealed several rubs and a scrape all within 30 yards of our stand location.  Although we had hung this stand in preparation for a good travel route, it appears that we ended up in a buck bedding area.  In late October in Northern Illinois there are certainly worse places to be!

The first hour of our morning was relatively uneventful until a small button buck made an appearance.   Showing up almost directly downwind of us the young buck was nervous, but unsure of just what he was smelling.  This is until he busted us up in the tree, trying to have a little fun at his expense.  I supposed that’s what we get for screwing around.


Our first visitor of the day, a young button buck.  Anytime you start seeing yearlings out on your own you know the rut is getting close. 

Roughly 45 minutes later, shortly before 9 am, I heard footsteps on the ridge to our West and shortly after I spotted a deer moving through the brush.  I told Mike we had a deer on the opposite ridge working our way, and we both stood up.  As the deer moved out from behind a tree the glimmer of white antlers could be seen and my heart rate quickened.  I put up my Vortex binoculars to size the buck up, to which Mike responded “Put away your binoculars and grab your bow, it’s a shooter!”

Of course I didn’t listen to him as I wanted to make 100% sure this buck was a shooter before I switched my brain into kill mode.  I’ve made the mistake before of not taking time to confirm the buck’s age and rack size and buck fever has gotten the best of me.  However, that wasn’t a problem this time.  As soon as my glass hit his rack I said to Mike “It’s Hitch”.   I immediately put down the binos and reached for my Mathews.


A shot of Hitch as he approached our stand location.  Here at roughly 35 yards I have no good shot opportunities.

Over the course of the next several minutes Hitch crossed the ridge and made his way in front of our stand.  He crossed broadside at just over 30 yards, but I had no shot.  The problem with hunting these hilly areas is that often times you can’t get high enough up in the trees to trim long shooting lanes, which was the case here.  Most of my shots were within 20 yards so he was going to have to close the distance before I could get an arrow headed his direction.

After passing in front of the stand Hitch took an abrupt left and began heading away from us.  Immediately, a small feeling of defeat began to set in.  He had come so close, but was now headed in the wrong direction.  While part of me immediately wanted to reach for my grunt call in an attempt to turn him around, the veteran deer hunter in me knew better.  The buck was still within 40 yards and grunting too soon would sure do nothing but send him in the opposite direction even faster.  My plan was to let him get out to 80 yards or so before hitting the call.  But before that could happen, a little bit of luck headed my way.  Hitch decided to turn around and come back towards us.

As the buck approached our stand and got to within 20 yards he had two trails to pick from.  Both crossed well within shooting range, but one went into an open area that would make for great video and the other behind a small tree holding on dearly to its leaves.  At this point my luck had started to run out, as he picked the trail shrouded by fall foliage.

When Hitch stepped into the open at just 18 yards I grunted to stop him, settled the pin on his shoulder, and sent an NAP Hellrazor tipped arrow his way.  The arrow slammed into the brute’s shoulder and he tore off up the hill, stopping just 50 yards away.  After just 20 seconds the mighty warrior staggered, and despite his best efforts, fell over as Mike continued to roll footage.  Nearly 3 months to the day after showing up on our trail camera, Hitch was dead.

The post-shot celebration was much as you would expect.  Mike and I were in somewhat of a state of disbelief as to what just happened.  You see, things just never seem to work out like this for us.  We hunt harder than most people we know, put more time into our stand setups and preparation, and yet rarely do our plans seem to go, well, as planned.  In this case, our plan was thought out and executed to perfection.  In just the 7th sit on a brand new farm the #1 target on our Hit List was down.  What a way to end October!


My initial reaction after the shot.  I can't believe I just shot Hitch!

Once the shock wore off and text messages were sent out we climbed down to retrieve our trophy.  Despite seeing him fall we still followed the blood trail, which was incredible.  Both deer I’ve shot with the Hellrazor this season have left great trails, which is a testament to both good shot placement as well as razor sharp broadheads.  You don’t need a 2 inch cut to put a deer down quickly provided you hit them in the right place.  My shot on Hitch was about 3 inches further forward than I would have liked, however my arrow penetrated completely through the big-bodied whitetail thanks to the ultra tough Hellrazor broadhead.  I know a lot of guys like big cutting diameters, but I'll take a small, accurate, tough-as-nails broadhead any day no matter how big the cutting diameter.


There are few better feelings for a bow hunter than the first time you wrap your hands around the antlers of a buck you just shot.

Guessing Hitch at 225+ lbs on the hoof we enlisted the help of our friend and other hunting partner Mr. Kenny Tekampe to help us drag the brute out.  Luckily we only had about a 60 yard drag to the field edge, where we were able to drive the truck and pick him up.  After a photo and video session for this week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die we loaded him up and headed to the deer processor.

I didn’t have a chance to put a tape to him, but I would guess he scores somewhere around 145 inches, which makes him my best buck to date.  I’ve yet to enter any of my qualifying bucks into the P&Y record book, but I just may with this one.  He is a great example of what the Midwest has to offer when it comes to high quality whitetails.


My best buck to date, and first buck shot with my Mathews z7 Xtreme.  If my luck continues it won't be the last either.

One thing I want to point out before I end this Blog is that this buck wasn’t a result of just my efforts alone.  It was a team effort that required of hard work, planning, and sacrifice by my friend, hunting partner, cameraman and partner in crime Mike Willand.  Mike and I dedicate nearly ½ of our season each year to film each other, which is not only a lot of work but a huge sacrifice.  For those of you who have never done it, imagine sitting in a tree on a cold November morning with your bow in the truck and a camera in your hand.  

So a big Thank You goes out to Mike for all of his help.   From finding this farm for us to hunt, to battling with me about treestand locations to filming one of the most memorable hunts of my life, you’re a great friend and not a half bad cameraman.  Hopefully I can repay the favor before the season is over!

Be sure to check out our online show, Bowhunt or Die, this Friday as the full video of this hunt will be featured in this week’s episode.  And if you missed last week’s show, but sure to check it out as it features Mike’s hunt for a great suburban whitetail from earlier this October.


The end of a successful hunt is always bittersweet.  The thrill of the hunt is mixed with the disappointment of knowing this particular adventure has come to an end.  However, knowing that the season is young and the peak of the rut is still ahead of us gives me hope that there are more exciting hunts to come before the 2011 season is over.

Illinois Buck Down - In Season Scouting Pays Off

by Mike Willand 26. October 2011 16:58
Mike Willand

Friday, October 21st was greeted with mixed emotions as I hiked along the edge of a standing cornfield on my way into a stand I had never hunted before. The late afternoon sit was shaping up to be a mild one, as temperatures held steady around 62 degrees while winds gently blew south by southwest. As I stepped over a bent cornstalk I thought - was the decision to hunt this property the right one?

This was, yet again, all new property to me. It was first picked up by Bowhunting.Com founder, Todd Graf, a little over 3 months ago in hopes of securing more land around home. Totaling 100 acres, two large cornfields make up its majority while several smaller woodlots dot most of its borders. The property is as pretty a whitetail paradise as you’ll ever witness, but the dilemma is the area in which it belongs. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources have been removing deer for years in this region of my home state in order to combat the spread of CWD, and this land simply lacked good numbers of deer or deer sign. It was hard to justify tonight’s sit.

Thanks to the good people at the Hunting Lease Network, Todd, Justin, and I were able to pick up this great midwestern lease.

As frustrating as these thoughts were, I continued to my evening perch. My decision to hunt this ground was not based on the possible sighting of just any deer. Rather it was decided on a possible encounter with one particular animal that I believed I was hunting – a shooter buck.

Last weekend I had scouted the entire property with my trusty Lone Wolf treestand armed on my back. The winds that day howled from the northwest, at times gusting to over 25 miles an hour. It was the perfect day for a scouting mission. On the entire piece I only cut two separate deer tracks, five random rubs, and three deer beds that I considered of the male variety. It was these three deer beds I concentrated my efforts on the most. Each bed was large, often separated by as much as forty yards. One of them was even situated near a decent sized rub, further confirming my suspicion that they indeed belonged to a buck. I hung a stand following much deliberation on the south side of the beds and went home to get a few hours of sleep before the following morning’s sit.

Deer sign was minimal throughout much of the property except this rub, which was situated near a good sized bed.

That morning I returned into stand hoping to encounter the buck that called the beds his own. I was deceived by the weatherman however, as much of my three hour sit was greeted under a steady, hard rain. Nothing moved all morning and I got nothing but wet. I second guessed myself and tore down the stand as quickly as I set it up, returning home empty handed.

Today is a new day, I thought, as I climbed into stand. The wind was southerly, and I still believed a buck was bedding nearby. Only this time I was north of the buck’s bedroom. My hope for the night was that the buck would show as late into the evening as possible, entering the cornfield to my left after crossing a fence-jump that sat forty yards away.

Unfortunately, I was in for a long and very uncomfortable sit. The tree that Justin and I had chosen to perch this Lone Wolf into weeks before the season began was now barren of any leaves. What’s worse, the tree was about as thin as a flag pole and the stand seemed extremely close to the ground. Surely a buck would see every move I made as he inspected the landscape before hopping the fence.  So I made the executive decision to stand for the entire agonizing time frame leading up to sunset, which was still nearly four hours away!

The evening was calm for the most part. I would slowly move my head, and head alone, left to right again and again, scanning the two sides I expected deer to move from. I wasn’t worried so much of what went on behind me since the wind would surely take care of any of those animals before they got close enough for an opportunity. With lazy eyes I admired squirrels and birds as they busily readied themselves for the approaching winter.

At five after six, the sounds of the woods were starting to hush. The squirrels had just about all gone to bed and the birds seemed to have disappeared entirely. For a few moments, the woods I had been glaring at since 2:45 were finally quiet. My ears perked up.

The silence was broken quickly when I heard a small twig snap, and nearly immediately I knew what it was. The next step was so distinct that I reached over to my camera, turned it on, and opened my camera’s iris as large as possible - anticipating a deer to show. My first glimpse through the thick underbrush was very brief, but I knew in an instant what it was.  I reached behind me to grab my bow in anticipation for the next few moments of my life.

The buck disappeared for about a minute into some thicker underbrush, actually passing the low fence crossing I had predicted he would jump. My first thought was he was going to bypass me completely, cut the corner of the field and head toward some apple trees that sat in the far distance. But a distinct thud quickened my heart pace as I knew he had jumped the fence!

He appeared almost out of nowhere, conjuring himself from the thick green underbrush that sat just thirty yards away! With my right hand I situated the camera to capture everything on film, with my left I prepared for what certainly looked like a shot opportunity.

It was clear by his body language that the buck had no idea I was in his presence. Easing his way toward me, I remember thinking how that long painful sit was about to pay off, and the decision to stand was probably the most perfect one I could have made.

I drew back the string of my Mathews z7 Xtreme once the buck vanished behind a limb that protruded from the naked tree I was sitting in. I eased my feet across the floor of my stand, careful not to make a squeak. My twenty yard pin settled just behind the buck’s shoulders. I took one deep breath and released my NAP Nitron tipped arrow.

The buck’s initial reaction to the placement of my shot was promising, a solid mule kick that’s often symbolic of a properly placed arrow. However, he was now standing thirty yards behind me, acting as if he had not been shot at all! Realizing I could not get the camera positioned to view the buck again, I quietly took the time to grab another arrow, nock it, and draw again. Now at thirty yards, I set my pin on him again and released!

This time the buck took off in a dead run, disappearing out of view. Elated, I turned to the camera and whispered my emotions so as not to potentially spook the buck even further away. My interview was short, quiet, and to the point. Following it, I made the decision to find the first arrow and back out of the situation entirely. I was confident in the first shot, but from experience I did not like the reaction following it. I grabbed the red painted arrow of the first shot and walked back the way I came in, all the way around the property, so as to not spook the wounded buck.

I would not return to the property until nearly midnight with my good friend and hunting partner Justin Zarr readily at my side. We walked over to the area the buck stood during my second shot and quickly located blood. The trail was easy to follow with the use of Justin’s new best friend and flashlight, the Cyclops Flare Spotlight. At 193 lumens and 100% LED, this flashlight has become my most wanted piece of equipment going into November this year. I’ve been on two track-jobs so far this year while Justin has been using this light, and I’ve completely fallen in love with it.

Thanks to Justin I've now been on two tracking-jobs with the Cyclops Flare Spotlight and have decided I must own it going into November.

Justin and I caught up to the buck just over 150 yards from where I had placed the second shot. Lying just a few feet away from a shallow pond, it was clear by his sopping hide that he had tried to cool off just a short time following our engagement. Studying the shot further, I realized that I had shot a bit further back than initially intended, prompting the buck’s unusual reaction. Although I had caught one lung and devastated the liver, my decision to back out was absolutely the correct one. In fact, had it not been for that second arrow, I would not have returned until the following morning.

Elated once more I grabbed the antlers of my prize, smiling from ear to ear. The hunt that began on a last week on a windy Friday following work, ended on a calm night seven days later.

My first buck of 2011 and all on film!

My 2011 Bowhunting Rig

by John Mueller 11. July 2011 13:09
John Mueller

 

It’s time to unveil my weapon of choice for the 2011 bow hunting season. I have it all decked out with accessories that will allow me to hunt worry free. I tend to choose accessories that I know will perform well in the woods as opposed to those with the latest and greatest gadgets.

The bow that I will be using in my pursuit of trophy animals this season is the Mathews ez7 in Lost Camo set at 65 lbs with a 30” draw. (Check out my review HERE.) I chose the ez7 because it has one of the smoothest draws available for 2011. I also like the shorter axel to axel length for maneuverability in the stand as well as the ground blind. It doesn’t hurt that Mathews has been a leader in the industry for years when it comes to designing bows either. The bow was the easy part, now for dressing it up with accessories.

My Mathews ez7 perched on my Lone Wolf Climber.

The rest I chose is the NAP Apache micro-tune drop away rest. Rugged, simple and effective is the best way to describe this rest. The all metal housing wraps almost completely around the arrow to contain it in any position except completely upside down, but allows easy arrow loading from the top. The inside of the rest is covered in foam insulation to dampen any noise from the arrow contacting the rest. Tool less windage and elevation adjustments can be made by loosening the lever and turning the knob and then locking everything down with the locking lever again. The Apache rest is a bargain when compared to other rests with the same features.

Holding my arrow is the NAP Apache drop away rest.

The very important choice of a sight went to the Viper Diamondback 5 pin .019 sight in Lost Camo. Viper is one of the leaders in producing fine hunting sights. The sight is complete with 5 super bright fiber optic pins, a level and a light for in the blind use. The 1-3/4” diameter pin housing on the diamondback sight fits perfectly inside the sight window when looking thru my verifier peep sight. The grid lock cut out design was developed to match the cut out design on the Mathews z series of bow risers. With it’s built in harmonic damper, Lost Camo and grid lock design, this sight was made for my bow.

The Viper Diamondback 5 pin Sight.

This sight was designed with the Mathews Z series of bows in mind.

The new NAP Apache stabilizer is actually 2 stabilizers in one. It can be used as either a 5” model or if you install the 3” carbon extension tube it becomes an 8” stabilizer. Noise and vibration are soaked up by the numerous rubber fingers mounted on the 3 bars on the business end of this beast.

NAP Apache versatile 5" or 8" Stabilizer.

My arrows of choice this season are the Gold Tip XT-Hunters in 7595 spine. These arrows have a weight tolerance of +/- 2 grains and a straightness tolerance of +/- .003”.
 
Guiding my arrows will be the Bowhunting.com version of NAP’s  Quickfletch. Once you have used quickfletch, you will never go back to gluing vanes on arrows again. I bet I can fletch a dozen arrows in under 15 minutes. Try that with a fletching jig. All you have to do is boil water, position the quickfletch on the arrows and dip them in the boiling water and you are done.

The Bowhunting.com version of NAP's Quickfletch.

On the business end of my Gold Tips will be the 2 blade 100 grain Bloodrunner.  I really like the idea of big cutting diameter broadheads. And the 2 blade bloodrunner seems as foolproof as any mechanical broadhead on the market today. When open it expands to 2 full inches and it starts out at over an inch before expansion. Plus there are no o-rings or rubber bands to fail.

NAP 2 Blade 100 grain Bloodrunner means business.

Holding my arrows will be the Mathews, 5 arrow, Arrow Web T-Series Quiver. My main criteria for a quiver is, it must be removable. The Arrow Web comes off with a simple twist on and twist off motion. When locked into position the quiver sits very tight to the bow and is securely held in place. The arrows are held very securely by foam in the head of the quiver and rubber fingers about 6” from the head. The one complaint I have about the quiver is when shooting with the quiver off, there is a slight tuning fork vibration in the fingers that hold the quiver. I solved that with a strip of limbsaver material. No more vibrations.

Mathews Arrow Web Quiver.

For my release, I’m trying something new this year. I have switched to a handheld thumb style release. I have just gotten tired of having my release strapped to my wrist, bumping into everything and making it hard to wear gloves. I chose the Trufire 3D Hunter Release. Both the thumb handle and the trigger tension are fully adjustable. I actually believe my accuracy has improved since I made the switch. I’m sure I am more consistent in my anchoring with the thumb style release. I plan on having one attached to my string loop and another in a nearby pocket, just in case I drop the first one when buck fever sets in.

TruFire 3D Hunter Release

So there it is my bowhunting rig for 2011. I’m pretty sure this is what I’ll be taking into the woods this fall, unless I find something that changes my mind between now and opening day. You can check out most of these products in our shopping section by clicking on the red words.

Bowhunting Get Together a Huge Success

by Justin Zarr 24. June 2011 05:51
Justin Zarr

Building on the tradition of the past 2 years, the staff here at Bowhunting.com was extremely excited about our 3rd annual Get Together. Much like deer camp, this event has become an annual tradition that we all look forward to. Each year we dedicate quite a bit of our time and energy to making the event bigger and better than the year before and this was no exception.

As you may have read on Cody Altizer's blog, the event started for us on Friday June 10th with our Hunting Network staff meeting. Seeing as though many of our team members are located all over the country this is a great opportunity for everyone to get together and go over a few of the finer points that help make Bowhunting.com the finest bow hunting website in the world. We were also fortunate enough to have several of our Sponsors pay us a visit to inform everyone about their companies and their products.

The following day, June 11th, the official Get Together was held at Coon Creek Hunt Club in Garden Prairie, IL. This even is open to anyone who wants to come out and enjoy a day of good old fashioned fun. Which means if you haven't been to an event yet, you better be there next year!

We started the day off with getting everyone signed up and assigned to a team, then it was time to start shooting. As always we had numerous shooting events set up for everyone to participate in.


A group of shooters getting signed up the the day's events.


Yours truly giving some basic safety instructions before beginning the shoot.


The gang from Pine Ridge Archery making their way out to the course.

Thanks to our friends at Rinehart Targets, our 3-D course was better than ever! We had a dozen new archery targets that were in tip-top shape which made both scoring and arrow removal inifinitely better than in previous years. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of shooting a course with Rinehart targets I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible. Having shot at just about every 3-D target on the market I can unquestionably say these targets are the best. In fact, we threw awal all of our non-Rinehart targets simply because they had fallen apart to the point they were unusable.


And you thought a wounded bear was dangerous?  Here Steve Flores finds out what happens when you don't put a Velociraptor down on the first shot!


A great shot of an arrow in flight, courtesy of Jason McKee.


Clinton Fawcett taking aim with his Z7 Xtreme Tactical on the practice range.


Jared Schlipf from Lone Wolf Treestands showing off his perfect shot on the elk from 60 yards.  Luck, or is he just that good?


A group of shooters tallying up their scores after shooting at the 30 point buck.

When all of the scores were tallied up it was 1st time attendee Tony Platt who went home with the 1st place trophy. Pro Staff members Dean Krueger and Dustin DeCroo came in 2nd and 3rd place respectibly.

Our long distance shoot for this year was set at roughly 70 yards, which made it pretty challenging for a lot of our shooters. Personally speaking I only have pins out to 50 yards for my bowhunting needs so it was an "aim high and pray" moment! Although my long range skills weren't very impressive, some of our shooters were remarkably accurate. In the end it was none other than Jared Schlipf, President of Lone Wolf Treestands, who went home with the RhinoBlock target for this long range accuracy. Nice shooting Jared!


John Mueller taking aim at the Rinehart RhinoBlock.  How far is that again?


Jared showing us how long distance shooting should be done.

In the Iron Buck Challenge we had quite the competition this year. In the end, after some fancy one-foot shooting and quite a few busted arrows it was Forum member Steve Renner (Dawg007) who went home with the $100 cash prize. Congrats Steve!


"Rusty" certainly claimed his fair share of arrows over the course of his two days spent in Illinois.


Todd with the lucky winner of the Iron Buck Challenge.

We also had the 5 target pop-up 3D Challenge back again as well. Although Dustin and I both turned in scores of 56 out of 60 on multiple occassions, it was the shoot operator Mark Wagner who turned in a perfect score of 60/60 to take top honors. I'm calling an unfair home-field advantage on this one, but it was good shooting regardless!

The big winner of the day was long-time Bowhunting.com friend, supporter and target-builder Dan Richardson (aka bloodcrik) who went home with a brand new Mathews z7 Xtreme. Congrats to Dan, he definitely deserved it! Dan already has his new bow set up and shooting great - check out his Forum post here.

Our friends at Lone Wolf donated a new Alpha Hang-On II treestand to our raffle, which was won by our friend Ryan Culvey. I know he's extremely excited to get that stand hung before October rolls around. I have to admit that I'm a little jealous of Ryan. Even I don't have a new Lone Wolf stand yet!

A big extended THANK YOU goes to all of our Sponsors who attended the event and donated prizes for the raffle! That includes Mathews, Lone Wolf, New Archery Products, Tink's, Monster Raxx, Pine Ridge Archery, Rinehart Targets and Rut Junkie Apparel.

All in all, the day was a huge success with over 90 of our best bowhunting friends in attendance. Everyone had a great day of shooting, hanging out with good friends, and enjoying the great outdoors. We can't thank you all enough for coming out and we're hoping to see you all again next year!

 
We'll be ready for next year.  Will you?

 

2011 Hunting Network Sponsor's Meeting

by Cody Altizer 10. June 2011 17:07
Cody Altizer

It’s the eve of the 3rd Annual Bowhunting.com Get Together and Fun Shoot, and the Bowhunting.com team wasted little time in kicking off the festivities.  We started what is sure to be a fun weekend with a meeting with 5 of our finest sponsors, Lone Wolf Portable Treestands, New Archery Products, Pine Ridge Archery, Monster Raxx and Tink’s .  We spent a great afternoon reviewing some of the great new products our sponsors have brought to the market for 2011, while catching up with our fellow teammates and telling lies over a delicious dinner.  
Terry Rohm from Tink's started the meeting off by discussing the power of their new attraction lure, Magnetics Buck Attractant.  This synthetic blend was formulated to play on a buck's seasonal senses and exploit his weaknesses.  This product is sure to help a lot of hunters dupe old, mature bucks this fall.  

Terry Rohm of Tink's got the meeting started off by discussing the attractiveness of their new buck lure, Magnetics.  

Jason McKee of New Archery Products (NAP) was up next and he introduced the new Apache bow sling.  Like the other Apache products from NAP, the Apache bow sling is quiet, lightweight and aids in hunter effeciency.  

Jason McKee from NAP going over the features of the new Apache Bow Sling.  

Tom Lester then took the stage to highlight the benefits your deer herd can gain from feeding them Monster Raxx deer minerals.  

Tom Lester going over the benefits of Monster Raxx deer minerals.  

Jim Broberg from Pine Ridge Archery then took the time to highlight the many deer hunting accessories provided by Pine Ridge Archery that make hunters more successful in the field. 

Jim Broberg from Pine Ridge Archery discussing some Pine Ridge Archery accessories that promise to make you a better hunter.

Jared Schlipf rounded out the meeting by highlighting the new features on the Lone Wold Assault II from Lone Wolf Portable Treestands.  The Assault II is proudly made in the USA and sports all of the same lightweight, stealthy construction that hunters have come to expect from Lone Wolf.  

Jared Schlipf talking over the new Assault II from Lone Wolf Portable Treestands.

2011 Turkey Hunting Recap

by Dustin DeCroo 22. May 2011 11:52
Dustin DeCroo

 

Turkey season is always highly anticipated for me and the Spring of 2011 was no different. I received my new Mathews z7xtreme at the end of March, waiting for the opener was much the same as a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I had hoped to hunt Turkeys in Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma but only accomplished two of the three. The season was still an extreme success as I was able to kill three toms on video and have some great hunts with my best of friends.

These Wyoming Merriams were fired up well before opening day.

The first weekend following the 6th of April in Oklahoma has become a new found tradition with my friends Tony and Trey. The birds are plentiful as are the laughs and good times. My flight to Oklahoma city was delayed four hours in Denver and after a two hour drive we finally arrived and went to sleep around 4:30am. Three short hours later we woke to a risen sun and the smell of Folgers brewing in the pot. Before the strike of noon there were three Rios in the back of the Duramax. The afternoon hunt would be my first chance to draw blood with the new Mathews.

The Oklahoma Red Dirt was our hot and dry home for the weekend

Trey and I set up the Double Bull and decoys on a flat where the birds generally pass through on their way to roost. It was 98 degrees when we left the truck and one degree less than it would take to melt a human body, on the inside of the blind. After an hour of heavy perspiration didn’t we had birds working. A group of jakes spotted the B-Mobile and quickly came to investigate. The biggest of the birds was sporting a five inch beard and with three tags in my pocket, he was worthy of my new bow’s first kill and to test the new NAP Gobbler Getter broadhead. The bird stopped at 22 yards and my NAP Quikfletch disappeared behind the wing bone, bird number one was in the dirt. The rest of the evening supplied more jakes but no long beards. The majority of the rest of the trip I spent behind the camera, but the birds escaped our efforts. The footage of this hunt should be on Season 2, Episode 3 of Bowhunt or Die in June.

My first kill of 2011 and the first kill with my z7xtreme.

 

The following weekend Bowhunting.com Prostaff member Dan Schafer traveled to my house in Wyoming to chase Merriams. We had a fantastic hunt killing four long beards in two days, but I’ll let the video tell you the story... Check it out here.

Dan's spot and stalk Merriams in Wyoming!

Tagged out!

Unfortunately, other commitments kept me from hunting Easterns in Kansas but hopefully next spring, I’ll pick up right were I left off in 2011. Now it’s time to start stickin’ wild hogs and Alligator Gar in the South!

NAP Broadheads: Designed to Kill

by Cody Altizer 10. February 2011 03:59
Cody Altizer

  This past weekend I put myself in a painful, near life changing predicament while cleaning my room.  Yes, I know.  Cleaning one’s room sounds far from dangerous or problematic, but I managed to disprove that notion.  However the situation, which I will describe in detail momentarily, did provoke some blog worthy thoughts that I believe could benefit many hunters, and perhaps reduce the risk of you losing a wounded deer this fall.

While I was cleaning out some old desk drawers, I found an old, out-of-date Epipen that caught my eye.  As a seasonal allergy sufferer, I’ve always carried an Epipen in case of allergic reaction, but it 6 years of doing so, I’ve never needed one.  For some reason, however, my curiosity peaked when I found this one and I felt the need to see how it worked.  After unscrewing the cap and giving the device a thorough inspection, I inadvertently applied some pressure to the “wrong end” of the pen and into my thumb pierced a two inch long needle and a 6 year old dose of Epinephrine.  I immediately jumped up, screamed a few explicit words and found that the needle was stuck in my finger.  After a deep breath, I tried to pull it out, because after all, the needle of an Epipen is supposed to automatically retract after injection.  After another deep breath, I tugged a little harder, and even gave the pen a little jerk to free my thumb.  Nothing.  Numbing with pain I went to show my mom who, like all mothers do, screamed with horror and decided that we had to rush to the Emergency Room as quickly as possible.

Now, I’ve had enough broken bones and stitches in my life that I have developed a rather admirable tolerance for pain, if I do say so myself.  My primary concern was to just get the needle out of my thumb as quickly and painlessly as possible, and I figured all would be fine.  I didn’t particularly enjoy looking down at my thumb and having a needle stuck out of it.  However, on the way to the ER my hand and thumb in particular, had turned a sickly pale white.  So I casually and half-jokingly asked my mom, “Are they going to have to cut off my thumb?”  She shook her head no and that thought never crossed my mind again, until aboutan hour later.

My broadhead of choice, the Thunderhead Edge by NAP!

The Emergency Room doctor managed to pull the needle out of my thumb without much problem and I was relieved and ready to go home.  It turns out that the needle went in my thumb, hit the bone and bent to a 90 degree angle, which is why I couldn’t pull it out myself.  But a larger problem ensued.  It turns out Epinephrine is safe to inject anywhere in the body except fingers, toes and the tip of the nose.  Well, last I checked my thumb was a finger.  Epinephrine cuts out the flow of oxygenated blood and prevents healthy circulation, which is why my hand went white almost immediately.  After the doctor told me there was a legitimate chance I could lose my thumb, I realized this was more serious than I thought.  He then reassured me that as long as I got a shot of anecdote within 12 hours, I would be fine, but that too was extremely painful.

The decision was an easy one and as I laid in the Emergency Room bed waiting for the shot, by bowhunter brain kicked into gear.  I began to wonder how a deer must feel when they get shot by an arrow that doesn’t penetrate well requiring them to run through the timber with an arrow stuck in their side.  I can now attest that it must be extremely painful and uncomfortable.  But bad shots happen to everyone, right?  Once the arrow is released there isn’t a whole lot we can do is there?  Yes, of course there is.

Bad shots, just like my accident (although my accident was the result of sheer stupidity and curiosity), do and will happen to every bowhunter at some point in their career.  There are two variables that we can control before the shot.  

 

Is this an ethical shot?  I vote no!  Even though this buck was just 15 yards away when I snapped the photo, he is quartering too much for an ethical shot.

First, it is critical to know the importance of good shot placement.  This means a thorough understanding of a whitetail’s anatomy and thus which shots will result in quick, clean kills.  Broadside or slightly quartering away shots are ideal on whitetails.  They reveal the entire chest cavity which will allow a well-placed arrow to pass through the lungs and/ or heart.  Quartering to shots are ill-advised simply because the window in which an arrow can pierce the vitals is much smaller.  Too often a hunter takes a shot on an animal that is quartering to them too strongly and the arrow hits the shoulder blade, penetration is minimal and the animal is never recovered.  While it may seem like a weak analogy, let’s compare the shot on a whitetail to my thumb injury.  Obviously, the needle wasn’t well placed.  Epipens are actually to be injected in the thigh, where the Epinephrine is safe to do its job and where pain will be the least.  An Epipen injection in the thigh is synonymous with a double lung or heart shot deer.   A broadhead that passes through a whitetail’s lungs almost always results in the animal expiring in less than 15-20 seconds and the animal is almost always recovered.  An Epipen injection in the thumb is synonymous to shooting a whitetail in the paunch, brisket or shoulder blade.  Penetration will be minimal and the animal is likely to suffer a painful death, or never be recovered by the hunter.

The second variable we can control is what broadhead we shoot and how sharp they are.  A strong, sharp broadhead that cuts through the air like a dart increases shooting confidence and also results in bigger blood trails and thus quicker recoveries.   I started using New Archery Products (NAP) broadheads during the 2010 season and they really opened my eyes to what a quality broadhead is capable of.  I harvested two whitetails this past season with the Thunderhead Edge, a hard hitting broadhead with serrated blades for maximum sharpness and devastation to blood vessels and arteries.  Both shots were pass throughs and the deer expired in less than 10 seconds in both instances.  I also filmed Todd Graf harvesting an adult doe with the Spitfire Maxx, an expandable broadhead that buried itself nearly 6 inches in the ground after the shot.  In mid-October I filmed Jeremy Enders’ harvest a doe with the NAP Nitron that quickly passed through his first ever whitetail and buried itself 6 inches in the ground.  That doe made it less than 40 yards before tipping over.  Finally, I didn’t film Justin Zarr’s Halloween morning buck, but accompanied him on the massive blood trail his Nitron tipped arrow left that lead to an easy recovery.

 

While this yearling buck was certainly no shooter at the time, he did present an opportunity for a perfect quartering away shot.  By aiming at the opposite side front leg, an arrow would easily pass through both lungs and result in a quick recovery,

Granted the above examples were the result of well-placed shots, the damage done by NAP broadheads was undeniable.  Unlike cheap, dull poorly made broadheads, NAP broadheads strike quickly and cleanly and blast through hide, flesh and bone.  The needle of the Epipen that nearly cost me my thumb was not the most durable made product.  Then again, it’s not designed to tear through flesh and bone, but I think a parallel can be drawn here.  When you shoot a whitetail, do you want your broadhead to bend, brake or deflect when striking bone or rib cage, or do you want it to blast through like an NAP broadhead?  Like the decision to keep or lose a thumb, I think the answer is an easy one.

 

NAP QuickFletch-My Take

by Dan Schafer 20. January 2011 17:33
Dan Schafer

I’ll admit, I’ve never been much into the technical side of archery.  I’ve always had a good friend of mine help me out with setting my bows up, tuning them and even having him fletch my arrows.  Last year New Archery Products released their QuickFletch vane system, a gift from heaven for guys like me.  The QuickFletches feature NAP’s QuickSpin vanes on a shrink tube wrap for easy fletching of any arrow. 

When I received my special edition Bowhunting.com QuickFletches in the mail, I took one look and knew my first fletching job was going to be a piece of cake.  The ones I received didn’t come with directions, but I knew I only had to slip the wrap on the arrow and dip it in boiling water for 10 seconds.  As I got the water boiling, I slid a QuickFletch on the first arrow and noticed they had a small bit of adhesive on the inside to keep it from sliding around on the arrow.  I soon had a half dozen arrows ready to be dipped, I just had to wait for the water to boil, which is the longest part of the process. 

Once the water was boiling, a quick 10 second dip for each arrow and they were done.  After cooling, I gave them a close look, pulled on them a bit and was extremely satisfied with how snug they were.  Even after taking them out and shooting them a ton, I was amazed at how durable they are.  If one is damaged, there is no messing around removing glue or a sticky wrap.  Simply peel it off and you’re ready to replace it. 

 

Nothing like turning white wraps and vanes a nice shade of red!  Beautiful!

 

 

Thank you NAP, now even I can fletch an arrow!

 

 

Wisconsin Late Season Bowhunting Success - The Perfect 12

by Dan Schafer 16. January 2011 18:15
Dan Schafer

Like a lot of stories in the modern age of bowhunting, this one starts with a single trail camera picture. Two days after the Wisconsin muzzleloader season ended, my brother Rick was checking cameras and got a shock when he looked at the pictures and saw a buck we had never seen before. He called me up and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I am looking at a picture of a perfect 12.” Since December 10th, this buck was simply known as “Perfect 12.”

Now, we have a dilemma. With the extremely wet late summer and heavy clay ground that our property sits on, we were unable to get our food plots in. Essentially, we have no reason for this buck to stay on our property. Since baiting is legal in WI, (two gallons per 40 acres) we decided to give it a try. We knew it would be nearly; remember I say nearly, impossible to kill a mature buck like this over bait. Our plan was simply to provide a food source we were lacking, place trail cameras there and hunt it as if it were a food plot.

Over the next couple days we placed two gallons of corn at five different spots over our 560 acres. Two of those spots were at box tower stands that my nephew, Nick Schafer, could hunt out of. With the early snowstorms we had this year, there was going to be a limited amount of areas that he could get to and hunt from his wheelchair. But, with those snowstorms and deep snow, little did we know how effective the feeding would be at these stands. With no food plots or standing crops within a few miles of us, the deer took to our new food sources very quickly.

Over the course of the next week we ended up getting a number of trail camera pictures of Perfect 12, but like we suspected, all at night and at different stands. He seemed to have no real pattern. On December 20th, to our amazement, we got several daytime pictures of him at one of the stands Nick would be able to hunt. Unfortunately, as you can see, the date and time was wrong on the camera. I had forgotten to check the batteries on the DLC Covert and in the extreme cold weather the date and time were reset. With the very busy Christmas season in the family grocery business, Nick and his dad Jeff (another of my brothers) would not be able to hunt the stand until the following week.

 

The day after Christmas we headed up to the cabin with high hopes that this buck would still be visiting Nick’s stand in daylight hours. Shortly after getting in the stand, does, fawns and even a couple young bucks that had shed both sides starting filtering in. It wasn’t long before it was getting dark and the hopes that Perfect 12 would show had faded. Over the course of the next couple weeks, Nick and Jeff were able to hunt a few more times, but the result was always the same, lots of does and fawns, but no Perfect 12.

On January 8th, with two days left in the WI archery season, we took Nick and Jeff out to the stand. The idea of getting a shot at Perfect 12 had disappeared and Nick was planning on shooting the first big doe that walked in. It didn’t take long and Jeff was fast asleep in his chair, sawing logs and dreaming of big bucks. A few minutes later Nick sees movement 60 yards in front of them. For a moment, he thought he was dreaming as well, as Perfect 12 seemingly materializes out of thin air. Trying to wake his dad, Nick whispers, “big buck.” He could hear Jeff stirring a little bit and simply said, “don’t move, big buck.” It didn’t take long for Jeff to see the giant walking at them, turning his head to the side to get his rack through the brush.

Let me say, at this moment, if I could pick one person who I have 100% confidence to make a shot in an extreme high-pressure situation, it would be Nick. I have never seen a person so calm and patient when it comes to shooting, as him. He rightfully earned the nickname “Deadeye” years ago.

As the buck approached the food, Nick shouldered his Ten Point crossbow and waited for the moment of truth. 30 seconds later, the buck gave him a perfect broadside shot. Like he’s done dozens of times, Nick squeezed the trigger and sent the NAP Thunderhead on its way through both lungs! Once again, Nick lived up to the nickname “Deadeye” and sent Perfect 12 to meet the Sandman and take a little dirt nap.

When I came in from hunting that night I could see the look on Nick’s face. Anyone that knows him will tell you that he has an infectious smile and when I saw it, I knew something great happened. After hearing the story of how Perfect 12 stepped out of the brush at 1:45 in the afternoon and Nick anchoring him with a perfect shot, I couldn’t wait to go help retrieve him take pictures.

Again, a huge congrats Nick, and a bigger Thank You for letting me be a part of it and being such a huge inspiration to me.

NAP 2 Blade BloodRunner Review: Real World Results

by Scott Abbott 14. January 2011 06:53
Scott Abbott

October 30th, 2010 found me set up in a shag bark hickory tree over looking a promising bedding area. It didn't take long for the magic of a first time stand sit to kickoff as the deer materialized in and out of the thicket I was setup in.  After numerous exciting encounters throughout that late afternoon with deer, the buck that I was there for prowled onto the scene to push around the few younger bucks that were in and out of my area the last couple hours. 

As fate would have it, there he stood at 7 yards slightly quartering away.  With my stands platform 18 feet up I slid my bow between the tree and I, then drew my bow nocked with a GoldTip Velocity Pro arrow shaft tipped with a NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner broadhead.  The shot felt perfect, right up the back of the leg center punching the chest cavity height wise. 

The big ole' bodied buck didn't even run at the shot. He jumped sideways over a small creek runoff from a swamp, took a few steps and stood there for a few seconds. He then staggered off and disappeared on the other side of a rise into the tangle of brush and greenbriar I was setup within.

As perfect as the shot felt and looked from the entrance hole I recognized immediately that I hit the offside shoulder and did not achieve a pass through.  I knew the huge cut of the Bloodrunner coupled with my entrance point that it would be a short tracking job, and I was right.  He didn't cover 40-50 yards, he was just on the other side of the rise that he disappeared behind after the shot.

Although I cannot say that my arrow survived the shot unscathed, the Bloodrunner surely did.  It received superficial blade damage from the sudden stop of the impact with the offside shoulder.  No bent or broken blades to speak of, just some small nicks on the razor edge of the broadhead.  That is saying a lot for a mechanical style head to take an impact like that and still be standing afterward.

I must say that I am very happy with the performance of these broadheads and will for sure carry them in my quiver again this coming autumn.

Here is a photo of the broadhead, you can see the minuscule damage I spoke of on the left hand side blade.

You can purchase the NAP Bloodrunner here at bowhunting.com by following this link.

2011 ATA Show Day 1 - Cool Bowhunting Products

by Justin Zarr 6. January 2011 11:47
Justin Zarr

 Day 1 of the 2010 ATA show went extremely fast as it seems to do every year.  It's amazing how quickly an 8 hour day can pass when you're enjoying yourself, checking out new bowhunting products and meeting with friends you only get to see once or twice a year.  I didn't have a chance to walk the entire show today but I did manage to scope out a few cool new products.

I started my day off at the New Archery Products booth when I was able to get ahold of the new Apache Stabilizer.  There may not be any revolutionary technology here, but this is another solid product that is well built, functional and very reasonably priced.  For a projected retail of $39.99 (black version) and $49.99 (Realtree camo) this stabilizer features NAP's proprietary sound dampening material and includes a 3" carbon fiber extension arm.  This will allow archers to customize the size of their stabilizer based on their wants and needs.


The Apache Stabilizer in Realtree shown with 3" carbon fiber extension (not attached).


They sure look good on all those Mathews bows!

WHile at the NAP booth I got to visit briefly with the Whitetail Freaks Don & Kandi Kisky, who are always extremely nice, and country music star Craig Morgan.  To me this is half the fun of these shows, being able to talk with people you don't get a chance to see very often.


Craig Morgan chatting with the Kisky's and Brady Arview from NAP.

Another product that caught my eye, and a lot of other eyes as well, is the new Tree Spider harness from Robinson Outdoors.  This new safety harness is lightweight and easy to adjust, which is what demanding bowhunters want.  Judging from the buzz around this product I have a feeling it will be a huge seller in 2011.  Check out more at treespidersafety.com.


I'll get a better photo of the Tree Spider harness tomorrow, I promise!

New from Muddy Outdoors for this year is their Bloodsport treestand.  This all-black stand is based on the Hunter Pro platform so it's very lightweight and it now features the same rope cam system as Muddy's climbing sticks.  Using this stand along with a set of their climbing sticks should be a great combination for mobile hunters who demand their equipment be quiet and light weight.


The Bloodsport, Muddy Outdoors' first stand using their rope cam technology.  Super light and ultra quiet.

Tink's is expanding on their deer decoy lineup with the new Mister October decoy.  This self-inflatable decoy is very lightweight and when deflated can be fit easily into your pack.  No more wrestling with noisey hard-plastic decoys!  Combine Mister October and Miss November and you have a very deadly combination.


Mister October and Miss November - inflatable deer decoys from Tink's.


My buddies Mike and Shawn from Heartland Bowhunter, signing autographs at the Muzzy booth today.

Of course I saw a ton of other products and people today, but I'll have to bring you the update on those tomorrow!  Be sure to check our Facebook and Twitter pages as I update them throughout the day (and night) with cool photos and info from the show!

www.twitter.com/bowhunting1
www.facebook.com/bowhunting

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 8 Recap

by Cody Altizer 7. December 2010 03:34
Cody Altizer

 After taking a week off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, Bowhunt or Die! returned for Episode 8 of its inaugural season.  While our team spent Thanksgiving being thankful for friends, family and good food, the whitetails across the country were thankful our hunters weren’t out hunting them!  With the type of season our team has had this far who could blame them?  Still, Episode 8 chronicles 4 more exciting hunts in Illinois and Wisconsin and 2 more bucks and 2 does were harvested.  Let’s take a look at how things went down!

To watch the footage of Episode 8 of Bowhunt or Die! follow this link!


 Justin Zarr kicks Episode 8 off on his lease in West Central Illinois.  Justin spent three days on his lease in Pike and Brown Counties hunting those famed whitetails hard, but wasn’t able to get it done.  Despite his rough luck down south Justin kept at it the following Monday on his hunting property in Lake County, Illinois.  If you have followed Bowhunt or Die! this season, you know how much time and effort Justin has put into this piece of property hoping to harvest a nice whitetail.  Finally, his patience was rewarded when a buck Justin has over 50 trail camera pictures made an appearance.  It looked like this buck, better known as Little Mac, was going to cross a creek and present a 10 yard chip shot; however, when he crossed the creek Justin attempted to stop him with his mouth call.  The results were not what any hunter would expect as the buck apparently was alarmed by the call and took off in the opposite direction!  After going back across the creek he stopped and gave Justin a small window of opportunity and Justin capitalized on it big time!  He put a Nitron tipped arrow right behind Little Mac’s shoulder and the buck was dead within seconds!  Just like that Justin had accomplished his biggest goal of the 2010 season, harvesting a buck in Lake County, Illinois.  Click here to read about the sentimental value this particular buck holds to Justin by reading his own recap of this hunt.  Way to go, Justin!

Justin's immediate reaction after the shot was priceless.  When you work as hard for a buck as Justin did for Little Mac, emotions can quickly run high after a successful shot.

Here is Justin after he recovered his buck, Little Mac.  Congrats again to Justin for working extremely hard for this buck and making it happen.


 We then head to Wisconsin with John Hermann as he attempts to harvest a couple does.  If you remember, John got his 2010 season off to an incredible start by harvesting a giant 150” 8 pointer in early October.  Unfortunately, that was the only buck John could harvest in Wisconsin (I am sure he is not complaining) and he was limited to shooting does the rest of the year.  He set out a goal to harvest two does off a certain piece of property and was able to accomplish that goal in one weekend.  John was also able to get some great footage of a mature buck over the course of the weekend as well.  While he wasn’t able to shoot that big buck, simply being able to watch him interact with the other deer was enjoyable I am sure.  Congrats on a productive weekend, John!

John Hermann had a successful weekend hunt in Northern Wisconsin as he achieved his goal of harvesting a couple does.  Nice work, John!


 While John Hermann was having excellent luck in Wisconsin, Bowhunt or Die! front man Todd Graf was not.  Todd has worked extremely hard in Wisconsin this year hoping to harvest a nice buck and was presented with a shot opportunity on a mid-November hunt, but unfortunately he missed.  The particular tree Todd was hunting out of is a perfect tree for killing big bucks, but it makes for difficult shot angles and Todd just wasn’t able to pull it off.  To make matters worse, the same buck strolled back by later that day at 39 yards, but Todd just wasn’t comfortable with the shot.  Despite his tough luck, Todd deserves a lot of credit for passing up on shot at redemption by passing on a shot he wasn’t 100% comfortable with. 

A shot of the buck Todd missed on his quest for a Wisconsin bruiser.  Don't you just hate it when they look back at you out range as if to say, "You can't shoot me now!"  Don't worry about it Todd, we all miss and I am sure you will get one during the late season!


 If you remember Episode 5, staff member Josh Fletcher harvested a giant Wisconsin buck on the first day of his planned two week vacation.  Since he quickly tagged out, he offered to run the camera for his brother Clint, hoping to film him harvesting a nice buck.  At very first light on the morning of November 13th, a nice buck came in and Clint was fortunate enough to harvest him.  I personally know how much fun it is to be able to hunt and film with your brother, so I am sure Josh and Clint had a great time in the tree together.  Good jobs guys!

Staff member Josh Fletcher took time out of his vacation to film his brother, Clint, harvesting this nice buck.  There is no time better spent than sharing a hunt with your brother and congratulations to Clint for harvesting a nice buck!


 Another exciting and successful episode has come and gone for the Bowhunting.com team.  Wow, it’s hard to believe that we are already one week into December!  Time sure does fly in the deer woods.  The late season is officially upon us which means snow and super cold temperatures which can make for incredibly fun hunts.  Stay tuned to Bowhunt or Die! to see how the team performs during December.

The NAP Nitron | Little Broadhead, Big Results

by Justin Zarr 29. November 2010 15:00
Justin Zarr

As I move into my 30's and close in on my 2nd decade of chasing whitetails with a bow I can't help but notice the vast amount of trends that we see in the archery and hunting industries.  Every year there's a barage of great new innovations that are sure to make us more effective bowhunters.  However the more I hunt the more I find myself relying on the tried and true products and technologies that have two distinct qualities; durability and dependability.

One segment of bowhunting that has seen remarkable advancements in technologies over the years is broadheads.  In today's marketplace they come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  Each one taughting it's ability to blast through  hide, bust through bone and create holes roughly the size of a small planet.  With a seemingly endless supply of celebrity endorsements, TV commercials and print ads you'd think some of these heads would darn near jump out of your quiver and kill your quarry all by themselves!

The Nitron from New Archery Products is a broadhead that many bowhunters may not be familiar with.  There's no fancy ad campaigns pushing it, no TV celebrities with their smiling face on the package, and no lame catch-phrases being coined in it's honor.  This is a product that has silently snuck under the radar despite it's impeccable qualites that make it, in my opinion, one of the finest broadheads ever produced.

Made from 100% stainless steel from the tip to the ferrule to the blades the Nitron is both durable as well as dependable.  I have personally shot this head through the shoulder of several whitetails with devastating results.  Complete penetration through the entire animal and a broadhead that looked virtually brand new when I picked it up afterwards.

Like all NAP broadheads the Nitron features surgical steel Diamize blades which makes them the sharpest in the industry.  The Diamize process is exclusive to all NAP broadheads which is part of their recipe for success.  When it comes to putting down animals in a hurry, having sharp blades is a must.  The sharper the blades the better the penetration and better blood trails since the coagulants in the animals's blood cannot adhere to the slick edges left by sharp blades.  Sharper blades mean quicker kills - period.

Possibly the finest feature of this broadhead is it's accuracy.  I've shot my fair share of broadheads before, both fixed blade and mechanicals, and have yet to find one as accurate as the Nitron.  This "mini" broadhead, with it's 1 1/16" cutting diameter flies like a dart.  While the current trend may be "massive wound channels" and holes big enough to stick your fist in, I'll take a well placed arrow that's going to deliver both entrance and exit holes any day.  Throwing an axe through an animal sounds great, but doesn't mean much if you don't hit where you need to.

While many bowhunters shy away from the Nitron's small size, I assure you this only works to your advantage.  The small profile of this broadhead not only reduces drag and wind planing to make it more accurate, it also reduces friction as it passes through the animal which increases penetration.  Just two weeks ago I took down a 200 plus pound whitetail with this broadhead which you will see on this week's episode of Bowhunt or Die!  From the time my arrow struck the buck it took a mere 13 seconds for the animal to expire.  Proving yet again that there simply is no substitute for accuracy, durabilty and sharpness.  Don't let the size fool you, this broadhead is a stone cold killer.

Since 2006 I've been fortunate enough to harvest 14 whitetails and 1 antelope with the NAP Nitron.  Every shot has produced both entry and exit wounds. Nearly half of those animals have fallen within sight of my stand and those that didn't generally made it just out of sight before expiring.  I have replaced the blades and shot multiple animals with the same head without a problem.  Dependable, durable, and accurate - that's the Nitron.  For my money, it doesn't get much better than this.

If you're in the market for a new broadhead I encourge you to try out the Nitron.  You may just be surprised that such a small head can deliver such big results.  You can purchase them right here in the Bowhunting.com store.  Click here for the 100 grain Nitron and click here for the 125 grain Nitron.  Don't let the "crossbow" title confuse you, a broadhead is a broadhead no matter what arrow you screw it on the end of.

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 5 Recap

by Cody Altizer 8. November 2010 08:43
Cody Altizer

 The fifth episode of Bowhunt or Die was our best episode so far this season, hands down.  Halloween Weekend was good to the Bowhunting.com team as 4 bucks hit the ground totaling over 540 inches of bone.  Episode 5 is full of big buck action from Central Illinois and Wisconsin so read on and let’s recap Halloween Weekend on Bowhunt or Die!

Click this link to watch the footage from Episode 5 of Bowhunt or Die!


 Josh Fletcher got things started off for us with an exciting hunt in Wisconsin.  Josh was in the tree October 28th for the first day of what was a planned two week vacation to bowhunt the rut.  Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) Josh filled his buck tag on his first trip out.  Josh had a nice buck chasing a doe right underneath his stand and, just as he was recapping what he saw with an interview, he hears the crunching of leaves, spots a shooter buck, quickly turns the camera around and prepares for the shot.  With the buck in frame, Josh releases an arrow tipped with the NAP Bloodrunner towards the giant Wisconsin buck.  All in a matter of seconds, Josh had successfully filmed himself shooting the biggest buck of his life!  To top it off, the big bodied whitetail died within just 40 yards of his truck making for an easy drag.  Well done, Josh!

Josh Fletcher posing happily with the biggest buck of his life, a monster Wisconsin 12 pointer.


 We then climb up the tree with Richie Music on a suburban hunt in Northern Illinois.  Despite the annoyances of hunting suburbia, Richie was determined and optimistic about seeing deer and shooting a good buck.  Richie didn’t have to wait long, because around 4 o’clock a monster Illinois 11 pointer walked right into Richie’s shooting lane.  Richie quietly drew his bow, released and let his NAP Bloodunner do its job.  A perfect double lung shot resulted in a dead deer, a happy bowhunter and the biggest buck of Richie’s life on the ground.  Richie’s reaction after he shot the buck is what deer hunting is all about.  Just watching Richie’s excitement and enthusiasm is enough to make me get back in the woods right now!  Kudos to Richie for self-filming the biggest buck harvest of his life with bow and arrow, good job Richie!

The monster 11 pointer just before Richie's arrow strikes true.  The bright red streak you see above and to the right of the buck's rack is Richie's arrow.

 

Richie with the biggest buck of his life.  A mainframe 10 with a split left G2, long main beams and a super wide spread make Richie's buck a buck of a lifetime.


 Bowhunt or Die then makes the trip south to Central Illinois and Pike County as I continue my quest for not only my first Illinois buck, but my first buck with a bow period.  After filming Justin Zarr for three days, I set out on my own and my first afternoon out I had some action.  About 5:45 I catch movement out of my left eye and see a shooter buck making his towards me.  I immediately take a deep breath, grab my bow, situate the camera and stand up to get ready for the shot.  The buck cooperates beautifully and walks right in an opening just 20 yards from my stand and when he stops, I shoot.  My arrow hit its mark as I watched my Thunderhead Edge pass quickly through the buck’s heart.  I was pumped!  I was able to film myself shooting my first Illinois buck as well as my first buck with a bow.  There is no better feeling!

My first buck with a bow, my first Illinois buck and my biggest buck to date.  I was able to self-film myself harvesting this buck and am extremely proud of him!


 The big buck action continues as we follow Justin Zarr on the same piece of property as he looks for a big buck.  If you have watched the previous episodes of Bowhunt or Die, you’ve watched Justin pass on several nice bucks looking for a mature, Illinois whitetail.  Justin hunted hard for two straight days and despite numerous encounters with younger bucks and a couple close calls with two shooters, Justin headed into Halloween morning without a deer.  Justin is living proof, however, that persistence pays because Halloween morning Justin’s patience was rewarded.  An old, battle tested buck made the mistake of stopping in Justin’s shooting lane and Justin made a perfect shot on him.  Justin’s NAP Nitron made a quick, clean kill on a bruiser Illinois buck.  Justin’s buck actually had three tines broken off which adds character to his rack and proves this old buck was a warrior!  Congrats Justin!

Justin's reaction right after he shot his buck.  This is what bowhunting is all about!

Justin proudly poses with his Halloween buck.  The buck had three broken tines, but he was still a great trophy nonetheless.


 Episode 5 was packed full of exciting buck action, and the hunts shared were similar and unique in several ways.  Josh, Richie, and I all shot the biggest bucks of our lives.  We were all able to successfully self-film the buck harvests featured in Episode 5 and we all relied on NAP broadheads to harvest our bucks.  Combine this with the fact that Josh shot his buck on October 28th, Richie on the 29th, mine on the 30th and Justin’s on the 31st and it all adds up to make for a pretty cool show!  While it may seem as if Episode 5 will be impossible to top, I would put nothing past the Bowhunting.com Pro Staff with the rut now in full swing.  Tune in this Friday for a new episode of Bowhunt or Die to find out!

Illinois Buck Down! Living the Bowhunter's Dream

by Cody Altizer 1. November 2010 16:21
Cody Altizer

    I’ve always said, “Everyone should get to live a dream come true.”  It’s a simple saying, but I truly believe that at some point, everyone in life should get to live out the dreams they had has a kid, regardless of how wild or seemingly unattainable they might be.  Fortunately for me, I have been living a literal dream come true for the past month and a half and that dream got even sweeter this past weekend.  So, when I received official word that I would be heading South with Justin Zarr to his lease in Pike County, IL to hunt and film for three days, I had an undeniable feeling that something good was going to happen.

 

The view from my stand Saturday October 30th.  Central Illinois is some of the prettiest country I have ever seen and just being there was a blessing in itself.

    One of the perks of being a Bowhunting.com Pro Staff member is I get to hunt with some genuinely cool guys on some awesome whitetail hunting grounds.  The current downside of this opportunity is that I am the “low man on the totem pole” and have to work my way to obtain hunting privileges.  This means I am cameraman first, hunter second.  So, the deal was I was to film Justin for three hunts, and then I had three hunts to myself.  I was cool with this as wildlife cinematography is a growing passion of mine and I was anxious to hunt alongside Justin for three days.  Nevertheless, I would be lying if I told I wasn’t out-of-my-mind excited to have the opportunity to hunt Pike County for three consecutive hunts Halloween Weekend. 

This doe got a pass from me at 20 yards.  A text from my dad kept me optimistic that a buck was going to make his way by my stand.

    While filming Justin I tried to learn as much as I could about the property and the deer’s patterns as I could so I could really get the most out of my three hunts.  When Saturday afternoon rolled around and my duties as cameraman were complete, I was prepared to harvest not only my first Illinois buck, but my first bow buck period.  Justin’s lease is a real unique piece of property as it is essentially one huge bedding area with approximately 65% of it being a huge CRP field.  However, when filming Justin we saw the majority of the 3+ year old bucks in the remaining timber and I knew that’s where I wanted to concentrate the most of my efforts.  Being late October, the mature bucks were on their feet more than usual, but weren’t really willing to venture out in the wide open CRP just yet.  So I opted to hunt the fringe of the CRP field Saturday night and was prepared to sit in a tree all day Sunday in the timber if need be.
    Now, I know I dedicated nearly an entire paragraph to trying to pin down a mature buck, but I must make a confession.  I was just looking for my first bow buck period!  I have passed on several bucks with my bow back home in Virginia as I wanted my first bow buck to be in the 120” range and figured the same rule should apply in Illinois. 

A shot of my buck just seconds before I released the arrow.  Be sure to watch Bowhunt or Die this Friday to see the footage of my hunt.

    As I got settled in my stand Saturday afternoon I was a little bummed about the weather.  Temperatures were in the middle 60s and the wind was blowing just enough to irritate me so I didn’t start the hunt off on a very positive note.  However, I reread a text my dad sent me Friday morning when Justin and I were seeing great buck activity from the same stand.  He told me, “I’ve got a feeling Mr. Big is going to come by you this weekend! Relax, steady, release!  Mr. Big is yours!”  Without even knowing it, my Dad had lifted my spirits some 700+ miles away.  I was ready for the hunt. 

My 2010 Pike County, IL bowhunt.  You would be hard pressed to find a happier hunter than the one sitting behind that buck October 30th. 

Is he the biggest buck roaming the timber and fields of Central Illinois?  Absolutely not.  Am I uncontrollably proud of this buck?  You bet!

    The evening slowly passed with pleasant activity.  I saw a small raccoon meander his way by the stand around 4 and around 5:30 a doe and her two fawns crossed in front of me at 20 yards.  Then, at 5:40, I heard a snort-wheeze to my North and stood up to further investigate the noise.  Mere seconds later I see a buck making his way between the two fingers in which I was hunting and immediately peg him as a shooter.  With both eyes locked onto the buck I stood up, grabbed my bow, got my camera situated and prepared myself for the shot.  It was all coming together perfectly.  He slowly made his way down the opening and I drew my bow as soon as he was behind a big branch that was sticking off the tree my stand was in.  I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “This is actually going to happen!”  He stopped on his own at 20 yards exactly and I placed my 20 yard pin directly behind his shoulder and touched the release.  I have never watched an arrow fly so perfectly.  I watched my Thunderhead Edge tipped arrow quickly strike the deer right behind the shoulder; a perfect heart shot!  He took off in a hurry but I knew he wasn’t going to make it far.  I wasn’t able to see where he fell but knew he was laying 70 yards from the point of impact in the CRP grass.  I had done it, buck down in Illinois!

I'm extremely thankful that Justin let me come down and hunt his property with him and taking such beautiful harvest pictures of me and my buck.

    This buck is by no means a monster but he’s the most proud I have ever been of a deer and will look great hanging on my wall.  He’s my first Illinois buck, my first bow buck and my biggest buck to date!  I hate to sound like a broken record, but harvesting this buck was a dream come true.  Most guys my age back home would kill to have the opportunity to hunt Pike County Illinois and I am extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to do so.  A BIG thanks goes out to Justin Zarr for letting me come down and hunt with him, I’m really grateful.  
    Unfortunately, this means I am nearly tagged out in Illinois.  As a non-resident I was only issued one buck when I bought my permit and gladly used it this past weekend.  Factor in the doe I shot opening weekend and I am done.  I did, however, buy an extra doe for the late season, but it looks like my November hunting time will be spend behind the camera.  But who I am to complain?  It’s not everday you get to live a dream come true.

Halloween Buck Down in Illinois

by Justin Zarr 1. November 2010 11:40
Justin Zarr

Heading into this fall I was extremely optimistic about my chances of killing a nice buck. According to the moon phases the last weekend in October was going to be prime time for daylight movement so I requested an extra day off work so I could maximize my chances. All the way back in July I started hoping that Halloween weekend we would have good weather, and someone must've been looking out for me because it was just about perfect. After last week's wind storm blew threw the bottom dropped out and sent temps into the 20's for the first time this year. Thursday night I almost couldn't sleep I was so excited for the next morning.

4 am came pretty quick on Friday morning and after showering, dressing, and heading out the door I was in my stand with cameraman Cody Altizer by about 6. As the sun rose over the frost-covered field my anticipation was high. This was the absolute perfect morning to be in the whitetail woods. An hour after sunrise we started seeing deer and before it was all said and done I believe we counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 whitetails with 6 being bucks. Unfortunately none of them were shooters, but seeing the young guys chasing does around made for an enjoyable sit.


Glassing for bucks on a frosty October morning. Does it get much better than this?

Friday afternoon found Cody and I back up in the timber trying to catch a buck working a line of scrapes we had found. Over the course of the afternoon we saw 4 different bucks, 2 of which were shooters. A high 130/low 140 class 9 point got to within 40 yards but just wouldn't commit to our position. He was practically downwind of us so I didn't want to chance calling to him and blow him out of the area so we let him leave on his own. Later on a big 150 class ten point made his appearance about 100 yards into a field but ventured back into the timber just as quickly as he came out. The other two bucks both passed within shooting range, but neither was quite what I had in mind. The first was a fine young 9 point that came in hard to my rattling, and the 2nd was none other than "Rudy", the buck I had passed two weeks prior.


This big 9 came to within 40 yards but just wouldn't come far enough for a shot.


This young 9 point has been getting around a lot lately. Here he's coming into a rattling sequence I did. Sorry little guy, no fight here!


Rudy seems to be making the rounds as well. Here he walks through one of my shooting lanes at roughly 30 yards. Consider that the 2nd free pass I've given you!

On Saturday we had pretty strong South winds blow in some warmer temps which seemed to keep deer movement rather subdued. Cody and I did see two small bucks in the morning and a few does, but action was slow. That evening I hunted on my own and did see one shooter, but he was too far for a shot so I had to let him walk. After being pinned down in my stand for 30 minutes after dark the buck finally left my area and allowed me to sneak out for the night. I left my bow, my pack, and most of my camera gear in the tree because I planned to return the following morning.

Sunday morning brought our North winds back and cooled the temperatures back down into the 30's, so I knew deer would be up and moving. Starting just after sunrise I saw a total of 10 or 11 deer, 4 of which were bucks, most of whom were following does around the timber. I did some light rattling and had a couple young bucks respond but once again they just weren't the deer I was after.

Around 9:15 I was contemplating getting a delicious Pop-Tart out of my pack when I heard footsteps. I looked over my shoulder to see a nice buck stepping into and through my 20 yard shooting lane, all while my video camera was pointed behind the tree and my bow was on the hanger! So about as quick I could, not paying any attention to the buck who was obviously intent on going somewhere important, I turned the camera around, hit record, grabbed my bow and looked for an opening. As the buck stepped into my shooting lane at 25 yards I stopped him and let the Nitron fly. Much to my satisfaction my arrow flew true and impacted the big deer directly behind the shoulder. As he tore off down the hill at warp speed I knew he wasn't going to make it far.

At this point I was pretty much in shock. I had no idea how big he was, I only knew he was big enough to shoot! I couldn't believe that just happened, and that I had managed to pull it off and capture the shot on film. I was one happy bowhunter! After a few phone calls and bunch of text messages I packed up my gear and headed down to retrieve my arrow. I founded it buried in the dirt where the buck had once stood, covered with frothy red blood. If there was any doubt in my mind about the shot it was now gone. I knew he was down and couldn't have made it far, but unfortunately I wouldn't be able to recover him right away. We had to get Cody's buck that he shot the night before the butcher before they closed so I headed back to the truck with plans on returning later.


When your arrow looks like this, it's generally a good sign. Wes Mantooth really came through for me!

Once our errands were run and we grabbed a quick bite to eat in town Cody, Jeremy and myself headed back up to find my buck. The recovery was quick and easy just like I had anticipated, and we found my buck piled up a little over 100 yards away, just over a small rise where I couldn't see him fall. I was ecstatic to have made a perfect shot on a great warrior of a buck. With three busted tines there's to question he was a fighter, and I'm sure there's more than a couple young bucks who are probably glad he's gone!

Be sure to check back on Friday for this week's episode of Bowhunt or Die as you'll see this buck and THREE others who hit the ground this past weekend. It's going to be our best show yet!


A photo of this mighty warrior where he fell back in the timber.


Even with 3 busted points this buck still gross scores just shy of 130 inches. Had he not been all busted up he would probably have scored somewhere in the low to mid 140's.

This is now the 2nd buck I've been fortunate enough to shoot on Halloween morning. Although they were about 10 years apart, there's still something special about October 31st. There always has, and I have a feeling there always will be.

With another cold front moving through later this week I'll be back in a tree on Friday morning looking to fill my 2nd Illinois buck tag on a Lake County bruiser. These suburban bucks have been giving me the slip for far too long and it's time for a little payback. Good luck to everyone who still has tags. November is here and the game is officially on!

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 3 Recap

by Cody Altizer 25. October 2010 09:49
Cody Altizer

Episode 3 of “Bowhunt or Die!” was easily our best one yet!  Over 300 inches of antler hit the ground during this past week’s episode, and that’s just from two bucks!  If you are looking for blood pumping, monster buck hunts, and a couple doe harvests along the way, then look no further than Episode 3 of “Bowhunt or Die!”


  Staff member John Hermann got things started off with a thrilling bowhunt for a giant Wisconsin 8 pointer.  John had been hunting this particular buck for the first four weeks of the season and despite several close encounters, wasn’t able to close to the deal.  However, on October 12th during his fifth encounter with this giant buck, the bruiser 8 pointer finally made a mistake and John was able to put a lethal shot on him.  The big bodied Wisconsin buck went less than 100 yards before dying and the chess match between John Hermann and “The West Gate 8” was over, advantage Johnny Hermann!  John’s dedication and discipline was put the test, but he stayed persistent and was rewarded with a genuine once in a lifetime buck.

John Hermann and the fallen "West Gate 8."  John was finally able to outsmart this 6 year old, Wisconsin brute and came away with a once in a lifetime trophy.

  “Bowhunt or Die!” then makes the trip south to West Central Illinois to the big buck capitals of the world, Pike and Brown County.  Justin Zarr and Jeremy Enders, along with Bowhunting.com cameraman/video editor Brian McAllister and myself, made the 5 hour trip south and were excited to lay down some exciting bowhunts on film.  It didn’t take long for things to heat up as Justin was forced to make the brutal decision of “to shoot or not to shoot?”  A 3 year old 8 pointer made his way by Justin’s stand at 22 yards, but Justin elected to pass.  It was a tough decision for Justin, but one he felt better about making after reviewing the footage.  Less than an hour later a mature doe made her way by the stand Jeremy and I were in and Jeremy made a perfect double lung shot on her using the NAP Nitron.  This was Jeremy’s first deer and it was truly exciting to share that moment with him and capture it all on film.  A big congrats to Jeremy on a perfect shot on your first deer!   Less than an hour later Justin followed suit by making a perfect 27 yards shot on a doe himself, also with the NAP Nitron.  The unique thing about these two hunts is that Justin and Brian were no more than 120 yards from Jeremy and I across an open CRP field, so we were literally watching each other’s hunts unfold!  Talk about an exciting morning!

Jeremy just as he was about to harvest his first deer ever.

Justin before he came to full draw on his doe.  Just seconds later, he made a perfect double lung shot on her at 27 yards.

Pictured above is the buck Justin chose to pass on.  Hunting is purely a personal sport and you should only shoot a buck that makes you happy.  I think Justin is happy with his decision to pass on this buck!

  We certainly saved our best hunt for last for Episode 3, as we followed Todd Graf on a hunt for a Northern Illinois bruiser.  Last week, Todd had a nice encounter with a beautiful mid 150s white racked monster, but the buck was just too far away for a shot.  This week, Todd was presented with another opportunity at this buck, and this time the buck made the mistake of walking in front of the big buck killer that is Todd Graf.  Todd made a perfect shot and his NAP Spitfire Maxx made a quick, clean kill and the buck fell over dead within 40 yards.  The excitement and thrill on Todd’s face was priceless; I’m not sure if there is anyone else who gets the shakes like Todd Graf does when he arrows a big buck.  Watching Todd get excited about hunting big bucks is contagious, and hopefully it gets you ready to get out there and harvest a monster buck yourself!

Words cannot fully describe Todd's buck harvest, so I feel it best to simply enjoy the following series of photos.


  Without a doubt, Episode 3 of “Bowhunt or Die!” will be tough to top, but our dedicated Pro Staffers are out there every day putting their gear to the test, trying to lay down the best possible footage to share with everyone.  It’s late October which means two things: Episode 3 should have you pumped up and ready to rock and roll for the rut and you should make every concerted effort to get in the woods during the next two weeks.  Good luck to all the hunters out there, stay safe and check back every Friday for the latest episode of “Bowhunt or Die!”

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 2 Recap

by Cody Altizer 25. October 2010 07:57
Cody Altizer

 The second installment of “Bowhunt or Die!” provided just as much excitement and big buck action as the first.  The warm temperatures did their best to stall the efforts of our Pro Staffers, but they battled through the heat and came away with some great footage and exciting hunts.  Episode 2 featured doe harvests from Illinois and Wyoming and some great encounters with bucks in Illinois and Wisconsin despite the sweltering heat.  Click here to watch the exciting footage of Bowhunt or Die! Episode 2!
 Bowhunt or Die! Host Todd Graf was back at it in Illinois and Wisconsin and continued his string of buck encounters.  In Wisconsin, Todd shared a couple hunts with his friend Dr. Ali Shaibani and, while he didn’t see a buck he wanted to shoot, still had some cool encounters with younger bucks.  In Illinois Todd saw his third shooter of the year, but like the others, this buck was just too far away to attempt an ethical shot.  Todd resisted the temptation of calling to this deer, because it was just too early in the season to get aggressive with a mature buck.  Knowing when to be passive and when to be aggressive is key when hunting older deer.  Fortunately, Todd was able to capture some awesome footage of this buck and gained valuable information that will help Todd score on him later in the season.  Through just two episodes, Todd has quickly gained priceless information that will help him score on these bucks later in the season.  It’s only a matter of time now for Todd!

A giant of a whitetail!  Todd was able to capture some excellent footage of this buck as he was just out of bow range.

Todd had a close encounter with this younger buck on a hunt in Wisconsin.  While this may be considered a shooter for the majority of us bowhunters, Todd has super nice bucks on his hit list this year that he is holding out for. 


 Bowhunt or Die! makes the trip west to Wyoming to follow Pro Staffer Dustin DeCroo and his dad, Jerry, on a couple mule deer doe hunts.  For many of us, it was our dad who introduced us to the outdoors in general and ultimately hunting, and any time spent in the woods with your dad is enjoyable.  Harvesting a deer together on film is just icing on the cake, and Dustin and Jerry were able to do just that as Jerry harvested a Mule deer doe with Dustin behind the camera.  Talk about a father/son moment!  A couple weeks later, after some time in Canada bear hunting, it was Dustin’s turn as he took another mule deer doe out of the same tree stand with the NAP Bloodrunner.  Keep up the good work, Dustin!

Little did this mule deer doe know, that Dustin DeCroo was up high in a tree waiting to send the NAP Bloodrunner towards her vitals!


 In Episode 1 you saw Richie Music make a great shot and harvest a whitetail doe on film.  For Episode 2, Richie turned his focus to the bucks.  A close encounter with a 2 year old 8 point buck certainly got Richie’s blood pumping, but it just wasn’t the caliber buck he was looking for.  Richie is a diehard when it comes to hunting giant whitetails, and I can certainly understand why he passed on an immature deer.  I have a feeling Richie will connect on a much larger buck later on in the season so stay tuned!

While this is certainly a handsome 2 year old 8 pointer, it is just not the caliber buck Richie is looking to harvest this year.  He showed great restraint in passing on this buck, and hopefully he'll be rewarded with a bigger buck later this season.


 John Mueller wrapped up Episode 2 by harvesting a whitetail doe fawn.  John was presented with a tough quartering away shot, but he placed his Rage 2 Blade broadhead beautifully behind the shoulder and the doe expired within 60 yards.  John always posts informative and knowledgeable blogs on habitat and whitetail management, so it was enjoyable to watch John successfully contribute to the efforts of Quality Deer Management, a practice in which he invests a lot of time and effort.

John Mueller made an awesome quartering away shot on this doe fawn with the Rage Broadhead in Episode 2 of Bowhunt or Die!


 Warm mid-October temperatures didn’t keep the Bowhunting.com team from laying down some great footage and harvesting a couple does along the way for Episode 2.  Each passing week finds us inching closer and closer to the rut, so stay tuned to “Bowhunt or Die!”  as our staff members gear up for the most exciting time of the year for bowhunters: the rut!

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 1 Recap

by Cody Altizer 25. October 2010 04:54
Cody Altizer

 The premiere episode of our new web show “Bowhunt or Die!” could not have gone any better.  Our Pro Staffers were anxious to get in the woods with bow in one hand and camera in the other, eager to test out the best gear while sharing our hunting experiences with you.  Our first episode followed the Illinois opener as we had 5 Pro Staffers hitting the woods looking to arrow an Illinois giant.

In case you missed Episode 1, click here to watch all the action!

Bowhunting.com President Todd Graf introducing Bowhunt or Die!


 After a slow start to the season in Wisconsin, Illinois native Mike Willand was excited to hunt his resident state of Illinois and chase those familiar whitetails.  Mike had hunted hard in Wisconsin the previous two weeks and, without seeing a deer, was keyed up for the Illinois opener.   Sunday October 3rd found Mike sitting in a tree on his new lease in Northwestern Illinois watching a nice buck and a few does feed just out of bow range for the majority of the evening.  The potential shooter never got closer than 36 yards and opening weekend in Illinois left Mike with no deer down, but a good encounter with a nice buck nonetheless.

Mike Willand played cat and mouse with this low 130s buck the afternoon of October 3, but was never presented with a shot. 


 Justin Zarr experienced the exact opposite on his first outing of the 2010 deer season, as he hunted hard opening weekend and never saw a deer.  The particular area Justin was hunting doesn’t have a high concentration of deer; however, Justin worked hard and put in the time and effort.  It can be discouraging to wait all year for opening weekend and then not see a deer, but Justin knew that the season was young and that better hunting days would certainly come along soon.
  The Illinois opener was literally a dream come for me, as I was fortunate enough to hunt Illinois for the first time ever.  Growing up as a kid I dreamed of bowhunting Illinois whitetails, and on the afternoon of October 1st, I was doing just that.  After slow afternoon hunts on Friday and Saturday, I went to my best stand site Sunday afternoon hoping for better luck.  Around 6 o’clock, I was surprised by a mature doe just 30 yards away and closing.  With little time to get nervous, I turned on my camera, grabbed my bow and prepared myself for my first chance at an Illinois whitetail.  I came to full draw on the doe when she was at 8 yards, released an arrow tipped with the NAP Thunderhead Edge and watched her tear out of sight all in less than 10 seconds.  After a short tracking job, I recovered my first Illinois whitetail, a big mature doe captured all on film!

I was fortunate enough to harvest a mature doe on film during the Illinois opener.  It was a dream come true!


 Bowhunting.com President Todd Graf experienced what he described as the best Illinois opener of his life.  While he didn’t harvest a deer, Todd had great deer activity all weekend and had close encounters with two shooter bucks. Despite not being able to close the deal on either of those bucks, Todd learned a great deal of information about their patterns and habits which will help him put the pieces of the puzzle together and help harvest a mature buck later on.  As most bowhunters know, hunting mature bucks is a chess match with each move requiring careful calculation.  I trust in Todd’s ability to hunt big bucks with a bow, so I know he can get the job done.

This shooter buck slipped past Todd Graf just out of bow range opening weekend.  Nevertheless, seeing a buck on his feet during daylight hours this early in the season is definitely a good sign.


 Richie Music concluded our series premiere by making a great shot on a mature doe as well.  Richie and his camera man had just gotten in the stand and had deer all around them, literally within minutes!  Richie remained calm and collected and waited for the best shot opportunity to present itself and when it did, he made it count.  His Diamond bow tipped with the NAP Bloodrunner made a quick, clean kill and the doe ran less than 100 yards before expiring.   Richie’s opening weekend went beautifully; harvesting a beautiful doe and capturing awesome footage of the entire hunt is what bowhunters dream about.  Congrats again Richie!

Richie Music pumped after making a lethal shot on a doe just minutes after getting settled in his treestand.


 The 2010 deer season started off with a bang (or should I say THWACK?) for the Bowhunting.com team.  Two whitetails fell victim to the hard work and dedication of our Pro Staffers and with the best hunting yet to come, we’ll be sure to lay down some more great footage for you to see on Bowhunt or Die!

 

Illinois Bowhunting Success - Two Does Down

by Justin Zarr 19. October 2010 14:44
Justin Zarr

My bowhunting season started off pretty slowly with only 3 trips to the field over the first 12 days of October.  Last week however, things definitely started picking up.  A mid-week trip to Northwest Illinois with Todd resulted in a close encounter with a few does, and then a weekend trip to West Central Illinois ended with a couple passed bucks and a doe for the freezer.  With November looming just around the corner the best is yet to come.

Last Wednesday Todd Graf and I headed out to try and lay down some footage for our new weekly video production here on Bowhunting.com called "Bowhunt or Die".  If you haven't seen the first two episodes, click here to watch them!  We will be posting new episodes every Friday morning throughout the season so be sure to check back often for new action from week to week.

After a rather uneventful morning with me behind the camera Todd and I hung a new treestand and then got ready for the afternoon hunt.  I was up to bat that evening with Todd taking over camera duties, but unfortunately a rather undesirable wind direction spoiled our chances at a few does that come to eat in one of Todd's food plots.  Even though we didn't score on any whitetails, getting back in the stand after a 10 day layoff got me back in that familiar October mindset and ready to get back at it.

With a packed truck in the parking lot Friday evening couldn't come fast enough. After work I hit the road with my buddy Jeremy Enders, fellow Bowhunting.com staff member Cody Altizer and Bowhunting.com's cameraman/editor Brian McAlister.  After a 5 hour drive and 4 hours of sleep we were up and headed to our stands for the first time this season.

Over the course of the next few hours we saw a combined total of about 25 deer including 5 bucks who spent most of their time sparring with one another, making scrapes, and harassing the local doe population.  I certainly wasn't expecting that type of behavior for Mid-October but it was a great way to start things off!

One buck in particular tested my resolve to hold out for a bigger buck this fall as he walked directly in front of me at 22 yards, stood still, and then looked in the other direction.  Although this buck has great G2's and brow tines he's just not the caliber of animal I'm after so I let him walk.  Trust me, it was a tough decision!


Here's a still frame from this week's upcoming episode of Bowhunt or Die.  "Rudy" was testing the air for estrous a mere 22 yards in front of my stand while the camera rolled and I tried to refrain from shooting him!


A trailcam pic of Rudy from mid September.  You can really see his great bows in this photo here.  A tough buck to pass!

Before the morning was over both Jeremy and myself were fortunate enough to harvest does, both of which were captured on video.  This was Jeremy's first archery harvest and it was really great to be a part of it.  A big congratulations to him on a perfect shot!  Both Jeremy and myself are shooting NAP Nitron broadheads, which took down these does within 60 yards of where they were shot.  I know huge cutting diameter is all the "rage" right now, but there's no replacement for accuracy and you will not find a more accurate head than the Nitron, guaranteed.  Look for both of these hunts, as well as footage of Rudy, in this week's episode of Bowhunt or Die!


Jeremy and I with our October does, shot 1 hour and 300 yards apart.

A big thanks to Brian and Cody for filming us this past weekend.  Without these guys we wouldn't be able to bring you these exciting bowhunts, so they deserve just as much credit as we do!

With a full moon coming and rain in the forecast for this weekend I'm not sure how much deer movement I'll see, but you can't kill them on the couch so you can bet you'll find me in the woods somewhere!

Illinois Doe Down! Bowhunting Dream Come True

by Cody Altizer 4. October 2010 09:40
Cody Altizer

When Todd Graf offered me the opportunity to move to Northern Illinois and work at the bowhunting.com office, I jumped at the chance to live and breathe bowhunting in the Mecca of the whitetail world.  Growing up as a young boy in Virginia I dreamed of hunting giant Midwestern whitetails.  I watched with envy as the “pros” flocked to Illinois to chase trophy deer.  I even joked with my friends back home, “I’m going to move to Illinois one day just to bow hunt monster whitetails.”  This past weekend, I found myself living a dream come true.

Click here to watch the footage of my doe harvest!


    Friday afternoon, October 1st, I climbed a tree for the first time bowhunting the state of Illinois.  With temperatures in the upper 60s and gusty winds, I honestly didn’t expect to see much deer movement.  I didn’t care.  I was just thrilled to be in the stand with a bow!  I was positioned in a narrow strip of timber that connects a bedding area and a standing corn field.  It was an ideal setup on paper, unfortunately, the afternoon passed without a single deer sighting.  Again, I could not have cared less.  I had a blast in the tree with my video camera recording the unfamiliar yet beautiful scenery and snapped several photos with my still camera as well.  I was going to capture every aspect of my first Illinois deer hunt.  As the evening passed and the sun began to set, I realized just how blessed I was to be living a dream.

 This shot gives you an idea of just how much fun I was having in the tree!

    I chose to sit out the Saturday morning hunt as I had several chores around my apartment that took top priority.  I elected to go to a different piece of property for the afternoon hunt, a piece that holds tremendous potential for big bucks as the fall progresses.  I quietly snuck into my stand downwind, strapped down my camera arm and got settled in for a promising afternoon hunt.  The weather was perfect for an early season bow hunt, albeit a little breezy.  With temperatures in the mid 50s and steadily dropping into the 40s as the evening progressed, I was certain I would see some activity.  Again, I was beat by the way of the whitetail; another hunt in Illinois without seeing a deer.  While in the stand Saturday afternoon I was texting back and forth with my brother and dad who were hunting the archery opener back home in Virginia.  After telling my brother, Damin, I had been skunked for the second straight hunt, he proceeds to tell me of the 15+ deer sightings he had throughout the day and the numerous encounters he had with young bucks.  To make matters worse, he tells me of the active scrape line he finds leading to one of our turnip food plots and the bountiful acorn crop on our hunting property.  I jokingly told him, “Forget Illinois, I am coming home!” 

My first Illinois bowhunt as a member of the bowhunting.com team was a memorable one, one that concluded with a gorgeous sunset.

     With opening weekend in Illinois almost over and without a single deer sighting, it was tempting to double my chances by hunting both the morning and evening on Sunday.  Still, chores around the apartment and responsibilities outside of hunting took top priority, so I slept in and opted for another afternoon hunt.  I headed back to the same piece of property I hunted Saturday, but hunted a different stand.  Justin Zarr and I hung this stand a little more than a week prior to Sunday feeling good about our chances from this location, so I was optimistic.  While aimlessly crossing an open cattle pasture, I spotted my first Illinois animal, a coyote feeding underneath a crab apple tree.  My initial reaction is, “Awesome, my first deer sighting!”  Further inspection reveals the problem animal that is the coyote.  Back home, coyotes, while present, lack the numbers of the packs in the Midwest.  In fact, I had only seen a handful of coyotes in my life prior to Sunday, so I took the opportunity and captured some quality footage.  At just 45 yards, it surprised me that he was completely unaware of my presence.  Sure, I was downwind, but I was in the middle of an open field.  As I began to film the pesky predator, he starts walking directly toward me, closing in at 30 yards.  I then realize that I might actually be able to shoot this thing.  With my camera in my right hand and bow in my left, I desperately try to get my bow prepared for a shot while simultaneously putting down my camera.  Just as I was about to set my camera down, the coyote spots me, not 20 yards from where I am standing and takes off in the opposite direction.  Excited to have finally seen an animal, let alone a close encounter with a coyote, I contently make my way to my stand.

 

A shot of my special edition bowhunting.com Quikfletch.  Little did I know that just hours after this photo was taken, my Quikfletch would turn a bright, solid red!

    Once in my stand, I prepare to strap my camera arm to the tree to get settled in for the evening hunt.  As I secure my camera arm and begin to get my video camera situated, I spot movement to my left; the coyote is back!  This time he makes his way by my stand at no more than 15 yards.  Unfortunately this time, my bow was still tied to the rope at the bottom of the tree.  Adding insult to injury, he sits down quite happily and scans the cow pasture he just came from.  Furthermore, he decides now might be a good time to relax and lies down on his belly.  So, for the second time in less than 10 minutes, I have a coyote at 20 yards or less and am unable to take a shot.  Realizing I have little to lose, I slowly try to raise my bow up the tree.  Of course, being just 15 yards from the base of the tree he spots my movement and boogers off, this time for good.  After finally getting settled into the stand I determine that the afternoon hunt will be a success regardless if I see a deer or not, based solely on the two encounters with the coyote.  Still, I remained hopeful for my first Illinois deer.  
   As the hours passed without seeing a single deer, I remained entertained by the numerous squirrels that scurried about searching for acorns and hickory nuts and decided to do a quick interview.  Just as I got my camera turned around I see a big doe right over top of my camera lens at just 25 yards and making her way towards my stand.  Before I know it she is at 10 yards from my tree and all I have managed to do is get her in frame on my camcorder.  She wastes little time and is now 3 yards from the base of my tree before I take a chance at turning around and grabbing my bow.  Fortunately, she breaks left and with her back to me I am able to stand, grab my bow and position the camcorder ready for the shot.  Now, I just need her to take a couple steps down the trail for a perfect 10 yard quartering away shot.  As she makes her way down the trail, I draw.  She flips the script, turns back broadside and is looking directly at me.  I quickly settle the pin behind the shoulder and release the arrow.  THWACK!  The sound all bowhunters love to hear indicating a true hit.  I watch her tear through the underbrush out of sight.  My NAP Thunderhead Edge struck true and proved devastating as I could see blood spilling from both sides.   Feeling confident in my shot I make a couple phone calls letting my family and Todd know of my luck.  After waiting 30 minutes I get down from my stand, quickly find my arrow, pick up the blood trail and wait for Todd to arrive to film the recovery footage.  Just like that, in less than 30 seconds, I see, film, shoot at, and harvest my first Illinois whitetail, an old, heavy, mature doe!  I was pumped to say the least and amazed at how big she was compared to the deer back home.  Regrettably, we didn’t weigh her, but I would estimate the doe to field dress 130 pounds, maybe bigger.  She was huge!

 One happy hunter!  My first Illinois whitetail was a big, mature doe, a deer that I am extremely proud of.

My first bow harvest on film.  Self-filming can be difficult, but I had a blast in the tree with my camera and now I can relive this memorable hunt forever.

Opening weekend in Illinois resulted in a big doe down for this Virginia boy.  Despite my opening weekend fortune, the weekend would have been would have been a success had I not seen a single deer.  Realizing that I was living a dream come true made every minute in the tree enjoyable.  Being blessed with a beautiful mature doe was just icing on the cake.  With the entire season ahead of me, I can now focus all of my attention on harvesting a mature buck and filming other members of the bowhunting.com team.  Regardless of my luck the rest of the fall, I can look back at opening weekend to remind myself just how fortunate I am!

Gear Relied on During the Harvest:  Click on the red link to purchase the item right here on bowhunting.com


NAP Thunderhead EdgeI was excited to use the new Thunderhead Edge this year and I wasn't disappointed.  This broadhead flies true and leaves gaping entrance and exit wounds.

NAP Apache Arrow RestI love my Apache rest.  The minute I installed it on my bow and began shooting I noticed a quieter shot and tighter groups.  I'll be using the Apache for a long, long time.

NAP Bowhunting.com Quikfletch:  The entire Quikfletch line makes fletching arrows a breeze. 

The special edition bowhunting.com series simply look cool, I prefer all white.

Blacks Creek Bone Collector 1.5 Backpack:  The Bone Collector 1.5 is the ideal pack for hunters who carry a lot of gear but do not want to be slowed down in the woods.  I carry all of my cameras and equipment in my pack and don't miss a beat sneaking through the woods.

G5 Optix LE .019A great hunting sight.  It's rock solid and adjustments come easily.  Like the Apache, this will be in my arsenal of gear for a very long time.




About the Authors

The Bowhunting.com staff is made up of "Average Joe" bowhunters from around the country who are serious about one thing - BOWHUNTING.  Keep up to date with them as they work year-round at persuing their passion and bring you the most up-to-date information on bowhunting gear and archery equipment.

» Click here to learn more about the Bowhunting.com Staff.

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