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High Mountain Success

by Steve Flores 27. December 2011 06:08
Steve Flores

With so many rolling hills, food plots, and big buck sightings, it’s easy for an eastern guy to be a little jealous of his “mid-western” bowhunting brothers. After all, such particulars are seldom enjoyed in my neck of the woods. Still, the goal remains the same…..arrow a whitetail buck; plain and simple. So, in an effort to see that this goal is reached it is important that I keep my edge throughout the season. This includes not only my shooting form, but my body as well. Hunting whitetails in the rugged hills of southern WV is no walk in the park, and typically, one shot is all I get…if I’m lucky. Therefore, when the opportunity does arrive, I want to do everything in my power to close the deal. This begins and ends with “in-season” shooting, along with a steady dose of cardio and weight training.

So often, once the season begins, we find little time for shooting practice. However, it only takes a few arrows to keep shooting form and muscle memory intact. For me, this means sneaking outside the house to sling a few arrows whenever time allows; even if it is only one shot. This, by nature, more closely resembles real-life hunting scenarios; as opposed to haphazardly launching dozens of arrows into my 3-D target.

 

 It only takes a few arrows a day to keep muscle memory intact and shooting form polished. 

The season started out slow, which is typical of big-timber bowhunting, with little deer sightings. With so much territory to roam, it can be extremely difficult to nail down a good buck before the rut begins in November. Therefore, I usually keep a low profile and work the “fringes” of my hunting areas in an effort not to disturb the does before the bucks are actually on their feet cruising.

Early season can be a frustrating time for the big timber bowhunter. Patience is the best medicine for success. 

As November rolled around, I found myself perched in my favorite rut stand; located adjacent to a small doe bedding area, within a natural funnel. As the early morning sun broke through the dark grey clouds, I caught movement down the steep hillside below. Realizing that I was watching a buck cruise for does, I grabbed my grunt tube and let out a few soft “uurrppss” in an effort to get his attention. Watching him walk in the opposite direction I assumed my efforts had failed.

 Big Woods whitetails are like ghosts. If you encounter a good one consider yourself blessed.

Little to my knowledge, the savvy buck was simply using the terrain to his advantage in order to close the distance between us. Within minutes, the love-crazed whitetail was coming straight at me; grunting every step of the way. When he got within range I slowly brought my Mathews ez7 to full draw and waited for him to turn broadside. Just as he turned I settled the pin on my Trijicon sight high on his shoulder and stopped him with a mouth grunt; focusing on the single hair I wanted to split until the bow simply fired. The NAP Thunderhead Razor broadhead zipped through him like a hot knife through butter. In an instant he bolted straight away. However, his journey didn’t last long. Within seconds he was doing the “death sway” as he staggered and fell to the ground. Settling into my Lone Wolf stand I sat down and thanked God for the blessing I had just been given. 

The combination of an NAP Thunderhead Razor broadhead and NAP Quick fletch proved lethal.

The blood trail was nothing short of amazing!

 Nothing sweeter than High Mountain Success!

The following week, I filled my second archery tag on another mountain whitetail. This particular buck was caught cruising through one of my favorite hunting spots. What makes it so special is that it is located in a ridge top saddle, next to a bedding thicket, and is loaded with oak trees that drop acorns like rain. When the rut is on, or any time of year for that matter, it is dynamite spot to arrow a deer. Also, it should be noted that this buck was shot with the same NAP Thunderhead Razor that I took my first buck with. After simply re-sharpening the blades, the broadhead was just as deadly as it was the day it came out of the package. But don’t take my word for it. See the blood trail below and decide for yourself.

 Same NAP Broadhead....Same result!

  The combination of quality gear, a lot of patience, and Blessings from above, made this a great year. Happy Holidays! 

 

Broadhead Review - NAP Thunderhead Razor

by Steve Flores 6. September 2011 14:31
Steve Flores

Each fall the scenario is the same. Months of summer shooting has built confidence to the bursting point as arrow after (field point tipped) arrow lands exactly where you want it to. Opening day draws near and you decide that it is time to dust off your broadheads and give them a practice shot or two. With confidence still breaming from beneath your camo hat, you draw, come to anchor, find your aiming point, and release. Much to your dismay, your broadhead tipped arrow flies well off the mark; nowhere near the point of impact you experienced during the previous months. It is odd, but in that one instance, all of the shooting confidence you had, which took months to acquire, suddenly slips away….effortlessly. With arrows that are impacting in different locations, and only weeks (maybe days) to correct the problem, panic often ensues and shooting prowess suffers. 

Months of summer shooting and the confidence it builds can quickly vanish when field points are replaced with your actual hunting setup.

Like a lot of bowhunters, I have experienced this dilemma. It isn’t fun. Even with a highly tuned bow, and arrows that have been meticulously constructed (see additional blogs), I have had very little luck getting any type of fixed-blade broadhead to fly like my field points. I have heard it said that no broadhead will fly like a field point. Honestly, I used to believe that. I mean, after all, when you replace a bullet shaped nose with one bearing “wings”, arrow-flight is bound to get dicey. And for the most part, it always did. That was, until I started using products from New Archery Products, also known as NAP. 

The New NAP Thunderhead Razor exhibited the best flight characteristics of any fixed-blade broadhead I have ever tested.

As an outdoor writer and bloger, I am sometimes approached with the prospect of using certain hunting items. In addition, some of the products I use are a direct result of relationships I have built in the outdoor industry. I receive product, and in return, I use it and promote it whenever I can. This leads some to believe that I have no choice but to churn-out “good ink” for sponsors.
In reality, I value my efforts and time spent in the timber too much to take chances with faulty equipment, sponsor or not. Simply put, if I don’t believe in something I won’t use it. So, when I was faced with the prospect of trying out some new fixed-blade broadheads, I was a little more than skeptical. Why? Well, I guess it is because I’ve never been able to find one that flew like my field points. Even more, most never flew with the dart-like characteristics of a field point tipped arrow. Instead, they mostly wobbled off of an obvious center-line all the way to the target. As a result, I had turned to a highly effective mechanical-style broadhead for all of my hunting. 
With these experiences in the back of my mind I headed out to the back yard target. My first shot landed a field-point tipped arrow into the bulls-eye at 30 yards. Cool, but it was time for the real test. Next, I placed a new, out-of-the box, NAP Thunderhead Razor to the end of my Carbon Express Mach 5 arrow and came to full draw. When my broadhead nearly cut my other arrow in half I immediately saw visions of a downed buck. However, I tried to contain my excitement for a few more minutes. Retrieving my arrow I quickly scurried back to 50 yards and again drew back with the Thunderhead tipped arrow. Realizing that this distance would surely reveal any imperfections, not only in my shooting form, but the arrow, broadhead, fletching combination I was using, I wasn’t expecting the same outcome I had received at the closer 30 yard distance. 

Field-point and broadhead groups like this, shot at 50 yards, can only mean one thing.....dead-on accuracy.

When the release trigger broke, I watched as the arrow flew with laser like precision and dead-centered the baseball-size dot. Words can’t explain my excitement. Finally, after so much time spent searching, I had found a deadly accurate, fixed-blade broadhead. Shot after shot proved that my setup, and meticulous attention to detail while building my arrows, had paid off. More importantly, was the fact that I was using quality broadheads combined with unique arrow fletching. 

Without a doubt, the business end of the Razor is very intimidating. This thing will definately let some blood flow.

The NAP Thunderhead has been around for a long time. However, with advancements in technology, the flight characteristics of this new (Razor) fixed-blade head are amazing. With a micro-grooved ferrule, off-set blades, and patented trophy-tip point, the Thunderhead Razor delivers accuracy and bone-splitting penetration, while providing a 1 1/8” cutting diameter. Certainly that is plenty of medicine for a big-timber, WV buck or anything else I may encounter this fall. In addition, the Razor comes fully assembled and ready to shoot right out of the box. That means you don’t have to spend time assembling the blades onto the ferrule.  

I hope to introduce this guy to my new broadhead of choice very soon.

If you’ve tried to get your fixed-blade broadheads to fly true but seem to be coming up short, maybe it’s time to give the  Thunderhead Razor a try before opening day. In my humble opinion, when you combine this head with precisely made arrows and the awesome NAP Quick Fletch system, you will experience the type of hunting accuracy that will drive nails and launch confidence into the next stratosphere. Visit http://www.newarchery.com/ for more info.

Iowa Quality Bucks On My Michigan Hit List

by Mark Kenyon 29. August 2011 16:44
Mark Kenyon

Being from Michigan it sometimes gets easy to blame individual deer hunting misfortunes on our state. Michigan's too pressured, Michigan has too long a gun season, Michigan has too liberal of regulations. I myself am guilty of these kinds of complaints, as are a lot of people I know. And in all honesty many of these claims have a good bit of truth to them. But at the same time, while driving through the Southern Michigan countryside, I'm often reminded that all is not ill in the Mitten State. In fact, in some cases, the deer hunting opportunities abound. And this year, I'm in an area where just such a situation is present. I've been fortunate enough to have run ins on or near my hunting properties with some stellar bucks. I in fact would be willing to stack some of the bucks I've come across this summer against anyone's hit list bucks in states like Illinois, Kansas or Iowa. That being said, here are a few of the dandies I'll be chasing here in Michigan.

I first saw this buck, which I've now dubbed the Backyard 13, behind my house in a back corner of a soybean field. My first encounter was from about 500 yards away, but wanting to get better footage and a closer look at this stud of a buck, I put the sneak on the next day. After crawling on all fours for a hundred yards or more, I was able to edge within about 100 yards of this giant MI buck and captured some reasonably good video! Upon closer inspection, I discovered this buck had a real nice frame, but also split brow tines and a kicker off his right G3! Talk about character.

The weekend following my close encounter with the Backyard 13 I placed a trail cam on this back field, and like clock work this monster buck kept hitting the beans. Hopefully come October he'll still be in the area, and I'll be able to take a poke at him with my PSE! The one kink in my plan is that I actually moved to a new home soon after I saw this great deer, so my chances to hunt him will be limited. But upon moving, hopes were high about my new hunting area...

And luckily I wasn't disappointed with the new digs. In fact since moving to this new area of Michigan, I've seen a handful of truly impressive MI whitetails within spitting distance of my new 90 acre farm I'm living on. Above you can see a triumvirate of studs that I'm really hoping to meet again come October or November. The far right buck is a true stud I call Abrams, as he seems to be a real tank of a buck. And in the middle is an incredibly wide buck that I've yet to name, but he's a beast. Seeing these bucks made me instantly excited about my new location, but I had no idea the best was yet to come.

Soon after first encountering the three aforementioned bucks, I ran across a scene that shocked me even more. Another bean field, only a few days later, near my home farm held two of the biggest bucks I have ever seen in Michigan. In fact this is the biggest buck I've seen to date. Unfortunately the picture above is of quite poor quality, but you can atleast see the frames of these true Michigan giants. In fact I'm confident the buck on the left is a Michigan Booner. And that's something you don't see often! With all of these great deer on my home turf, I'm obviously excited beyond words. 2011 is shaping up to be a great year and hopefully when it's all said and done I can end the season with an Iowa quality buck on the ground!

So while big buck opportunities may not abound in states like MI at the same rate as they might in locales like Iowa, there are still big bucks to be had. So don't ever sell yourself short because of the state you hunt in. Work hard and search them out, because there are big bucks often in the most unexpected places, just waiting for a smart hunter to put them down for a good dirt nap!




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