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HOW MANY POINTS!?

by Steve Flores 5. May 2012 07:25
Steve Flores

These photos were recently sent to us from a gentleman in Colorado Springs. Apparently, this big guy (on the left) has been seen walking the streets on a regular basis. WOW!!! 

Deer seem to do funny things when they are in velvet; displaying behavior not often seen while in “hard-horn”. This is a perfect example.

Three questions come to mind when I look at this photo.
1. How many points is this buck actually carrying?
2. Would the folks of Colorado Springs frown on someone (me) for hunting within city limits?
3. Could a Lone Wolf Assassin fit in one of those trees?
I guess I will never know the answer to those questions. But, I have a feeling someone has already laid out a strategy to put this buck within bow range come fall. Bowhunting.com will keep you posted on any developing details regarding this buck. 

What do you think? Sound off in the Forum Section and share your thoughts on this mega-buck.

Categories: Blog | Current News | Pro Staff

CHOOSING A QUALITY ARCHERY PRO-SHOP PART 2

by Steve Flores 1. May 2012 10:16
Steve Flores

In Part 1 of this 2 Part series, we discussed the importance of choosing a quality pro-shop when making a new bow purchase or when simply adding upgrades to your current rig. There is no denying the “networking” value of an archery pro-shop, not to mention the fact that finding a good one can drastically shorten your learning curve. However, as I alluded to in last month’s article, finding one can sometimes be difficult. When searching for a quality pro-shop, be mindful of the presence or absence of the following traits: 

Good pro-shop’s not only help speed up the learning process for those who are new to archery, they also help veterans make sound decisions in equipment, shooting form, and everything else “archery” related.

Additional Clues
Years in business
–- Consider how many years the potential shop of interest has been in business before making a commitment. Undoubtedly, a pro-shop that is brand new is perfectly capable of providing quality service. Nonetheless, don’t assume that to be the truth merely because the sign on the front door says so. On the other hand, some businesses may not provide the best service, even though they have been around for quite some time.  
Variety -- Some say it is the spice of life. To an archer searching for a good place to take his equipment, it is a symbol of foundation. Simply put, oftentimes a good pro-shop, one that is committed to the happiness of the customer, will not only carry a wide variety of bows, and accessories, but will generally have the necessary equipment on hand to “test-drive” products of interest.  
Word Of Mouth -- When all else fails, hopefully you will know someone whom you can trust enough to point you in the right direction. If you happen to know an individual that takes their bowhunting and archery seriously, odds are good that he/she has already waded through the quagmire of imposter “pro-shops” and can quickly and easily tell you exactly where to start; or quite simply….whom to avoid.  

Take a good, hard look at your pro-shop of interest and listen to what others are saying and you will most likely know if it is worth walking through the front door or not.

Sign of The Times
We live in a society that demands a quick turnaround. We order food, and we want it in no more than a few minutes; often less. If the wait is much longer, we become irritated. It seems that this attitude has found its way into the world of purchasing archery equipment. The trend these days seems to be to purchase a bow quickly from somewhere other than the pro-shop, thus saving a small amount of money, then, going into the pro-shop to have it set-up. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for trying to save money whenever I can, but to me, this isn’t the way to do it. 

In today’s tough economic times it is understandable to look for ways to save a little money. However, in the long run, pro-shops will not only save you time and money sifting through faulty equipment, most shop owners “reward” their loyal customers in many ways you can’t put a price tag on.

Take my brother for example. Recently, he was in the market for a completely new bow setup.  Devoting an entire afternoon to test shooting each model of interest, he easily narrowed the field down to one. Being the type who always looks for “a deal”, he quickly went online to compare prices with the pro-shop. After a little searching, he was able to find a source that would perhaps save him just enough money to buy a dozen, high quality carbon arrows. When he asked me what I thought he should do, I promptly suggested he forget about the money he thought he was going to save and give his business to the local shop owner. Why?  Because, in the long run, he would gain more than the small monetary sum dangling in front of him.

After a little self-conflict, and despite the fact that the shop owner told him he could not match the prices he had found elsewhere, he chose the pro-shop----lucky for him. A few weeks after receiving his bow and getting it properly set up it was accidentally dry-fired.  As a result, the string and cam both were ruined. Upon returning to the shop, expecting some lengthy downtime, he was pleasantly surprised when the owner informed him that he had a brand new cam on the shelf and would happily replace his damaged one. The bigger surprise came when he tallied up the price. Zero, zip, zilch!

When something bad happens, and your hunt or your season is in jeopardy, it is nice to know you have a resource that can get things fixed and get you back in the field as quickly as possible. How much is that worth to you?

Apparently, the owner had acquired the part for the same price through an arrangement with the company and decided it was only fair to pass along the savings to his customers. My guess is he now has a customer for life. Sure, it is easy and tempting to sniff out a deal and save a little cash, and I’m not saying one shouldn’t participate in such transactions.  What I am saying, is make sure the money you are potentially saving is really worth it in the long run.  Remember, sometimes the most important part of the deal has little to do with dollar signs. 

 

Conclusion
In an ideal world, everyone who picked up a bow would have the technical know-how to perform any and every type of procedure necessary to insure optimal bow performance.  However, you and I both know that isn’t the case. For the individuals just getting started in this wonderful sport or the guys who would rather let someone else handle “the technical stuff”----there is hope. It is called “The Pro-Shop.”  Many establishments carry the name, but only a few actually fit the description. Hopefully, by now, you can recognize which ones are which.

The New Whitetail Slam - Just what you're looking for?

by Steve Flores 21. February 2012 09:20
Steve Flores

Those familiar with general record keeping organizations have likely heard the term “Slam” used in reference to animals taken within a specific species.  Many examples of this exist for all of the major big-game animals as well as turkey. Now, passionate “deer hunters” can join in the record keeping process by registering their deer, big or small, with the “Whitetail Slam” organization.

Meet the latest record-keeping organization for hunters interested in completing the Whitetail Slam!

This new organization allows users to keep track of the deer they have harvested (online via the website) from the 8 “pre-selected” regions. Participants can earn “Whitetail Slam” status or “Ultimate Whitetail Slam” status; while at the same time qualifying for various prizes and hunting packages. And, it doesn’t matter when the deer was harvested. Simply fill out the registration form and your first buck is “free”. After that, an additional fee must be paid for each deer registered. 

 Different people find value in different things. Bowhunting is no different. Do you find your "trophy" or "record" in a number....or in the overall experience surrounding the hunt?

Here is how it works.
· Harvest a buck or enter bucks from years past, from any or all 8 Whitetail SLAM Buck sub-groups (Any legal buck qualifies)
· Register any 4 bucks and earn a Whitetail SLAM.
· Register all 8 bucks for the Ultimate Whitetail SLAM.
· Hunters Achieving the Whitetail SLAM or Ultimate Whitetail SLAM will be honored with a framed certificate of achievement and entered into the Whitetail SLAM archive and annual publication in the year they register their SLAM, and will receive an official "SLAMMER" achievement package commemorating their successful completion of the Whitetail SLAM or Ultimate Whitetail SLAM.


* These successful hunters may also be recognized on Whitetail SLAM TV, magazine, website or other Whitetail SLAM features for their accomplishments and dedication to mastering the skills of the hunt.
* Enter details and a photo of your buck(s) online & pay a one-time administrative processing fee for each buck entered.
* Set up your personal SLAM Page featuring one or more bucks from any 8 SLAM categories to personalize and feature your hunts with photos, stories, strategies, gear and tactics used!
* Enter ONLINE our monthly free grand prize giveaway = dream hunts filmed by Tom Miranda Outdoors for feature on WhitetailSLAM TV on NBC SPORTS and Sportsman channel, will be given away each month.

Is the value of a hunt measured by the size or score of the rack or is it found in the overall experience?

According to the webpage, “Whitetail SLAM” was created as a means to organize and recognize the uniqueness of regional whitetail groups and the intrinsic value and worthy pursuit of each.

Take a look at “Whitetail Slam” and let me know what you think about this latest record keeping method. Is it good for hunting? Is it good for you? What is it really all about? Only you can answer those questions. I have my own opinions but I would love to hear what the readers of bowhunting.com think about the subject. Go ahead……sound off!

Categories: Blog | Current News | Pro Staff

It Just Keeps Getting Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

Terry Schwartz and local guide, George Darchuk

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

Tim Sartwell with local guide, Rick Knobloch

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

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

Tom Voight with local guides, Mike Hinton & Rick Knobloch

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

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

 

Terrie Schrank with local guide, Perry Melbo

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

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

 

Stan (The Killer) Koich

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

Karl Anderson and local guide Tim Williams

 

What The Heck Is Going On?

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

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

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

 Karl Anderson and local guide Tim Williams

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

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

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

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

 

Stan (The Killer) Koich

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

Terry Schwartz and local guide, George Darchuk

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

 

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

Tim Sartwell with local guide, Rick Knobloch


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

 

Terrie Schrank with local guide, Perry Melbo

 

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

 

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

 

 

 Tom Voight with local guides, Mike Hinton & Rick Knobloch

 

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.

The Great Debate: Speed vs. Kinetic Energy

by Steve Flores 31. July 2011 16:10
Steve Flores

Generally speaking, if you can’t hit what you are aiming at it really doesn’t matter how fast your arrow is traveling or how much of a punch it is carrying.  I was reminded of this fact while prepping for the fast approaching whitetail season. 

Opening day is fast approaching. Have you given any thought to your ammo and how it can affect your hunt? If not, you should.

Perched in my practice stand, I took aim at the second furthest target which was about 25 yards away. Slowly squeezing the release trigger I was pleased when my arrow “12 ringed” the bedded doe. Moving on to the next target in line, a standing buck some 30 yards away, I took aim, squeezed, and watched as my arrow nearly dropped out of the kill zone. Immediately, I began replaying my shot sequence trying to figure out what I had done wrong.

When preping for "real-world" shooting scenrio's, make sure your practice sessions resemble "real-world" shooting scenrio's; if they don't you're wasting your time.

Suddenly, I realized that I had forgotten to dial-in the correct yardage on my single pin, moveable sight. As it turned out, it was still set for the previous 25 yard shot. Irritated with my carelessness, I found comfort knowing that, had that been a real world hunting situation, I still would have made a lethal hit. Naturally, this event got me thinking about arrows, grain scales, and the all-important fact that you must first hit what you are aiming at…..otherwise everything else becomes irrelevant. 

 Single pin, moveable sights are great, unless of course you forget to dial them in to the correct yardage. Such mistakes are made for a forgiving bow/arrow setup.

My first thought surrounded my recent decision to switch arrows. My new selection was a touch lighter (25 grains to be exact) than the heavier shafts I decided to retire. Yeah, they are carrying a little less foot-pounds of energy, but they make up for it in other areas. For instance, my yardage-dial oversight was similar to misjudging the yardage by only 5 yards in the field. And even though it was off the intented mark, it still was a killing shot. Had I been shooting the heavier shaft, I would have essentially wounded the whitetail standing downrange or completely missed it. My hope would be to miss it completely but who knows what the outcome would have been. My point is, when it comes to bowhunting whitetails, a super-heavy shaft isn’t really necessary, and in all actuality, could hurt your chances for success. Sure, when elk or grizzly are the target, every spare foot-pound of energy could make a difference, but whitetails hardly measure up to such quarry; even big bodied mid-western bucks. 

This black bear was no match for a low poundage setup and a mid-weight arrow. My wife made easy work of this bruin with one well placed shot.

Even more, when you consider the kinetic energy formula, speed is squared….velocity (squared) x arrow weight / 450, 240 = kinetic energy. If you plug-in some of your own numbers you will quickly see that the payoff in added foot pounds of energy is marginal between a heavy shaft and a mid-weight shaft. However, the difference in arrow speed, range estimation errors, and your ability to hit what you are aiming at are greatly affected. An incorrect guess in yardage, by 5 yards or more, could spell disaster. You should also consider that the further the shot, the more likely a mis-judgement is going to result in a complete miss.

Tough game demands more kinetic energy. Whitetails....not as much as one might think. Consider your quarry and select your arrows accordingly.

This fall, when the stakes are high and the pressure is on, I know what type of arrow I will be shooting. My arrow of choice will work for me, not against me. My arrow of choice will make me look like a better shot than I really aim. I can live with that.
Missed opportunities…that’s a different story.

Categories: Blog | Bowhunting Blogs

Building Perfection - Make your broadhead tipped arrows fly more accurately.

by Steve Flores 25. July 2011 15:50
Steve Flores

When it comes to launching an arrow downrange there is no such thing as being too precise, or too picky. After all, when you’re dealing with the mystical flight of the arrow, the Devil is often in the details. So, it only makes sense that we examine our bow-rig with a meticulous eye; looking for any areas that could use some improvement in order to squeeze out one more ounce of tag-filling accuracy. One such area is that of the arrow.
Now, a great deal of bowhunters make sure they select properly spined shafts for their setup. But beyond that, not much thought is given to the arrow. That is, until it is time to replace field points with broadheads. Typically, it is then that problems arise, nerves are tested, and profanities spew forth from normally humble tongues. I know because I have been there. 

 Mass produced arrows may be appealing to the time conscious bowhunter, but for those wanting the utmost in accuracy a little something extra is required.

And, while much can be done to get broadheads to fly more closely to that of your field point, much of it focuses on the bow and the equipment attached to it. In my opinion, you would be doing yourself a great favor if you concentrated more on the heart of the matter…..the arrow. Let’s start with raw shafts. You can order your arrows already made and fletched if that is what you desire. However, for me, I like to purchase raw shafts and then, with a few simple steps, build my very own, precisely made, deadly accurate arrows….one at a time. When I am done, I guarantee the 12 arrows in my hand will be more accurate than any dozen you can buy in a store or online. 

 What could prettier than a dozen arrow shafts awaiting perfection?

When I receive my raw shafts the first thing I do is cut them to the proper length. After that, the shafts are immediately prepared to be “squared-up”. This is easily achieved with a paint marker and a steady hand. Placing the paint marker against the cut surface of the shaft, I paint the entire area where the insert will eventually be placed. In addition, I remove the nock from the other end of the shaft and repeat the process. Once both ends of the shaft have been painted, I place it in a special piece of equipment designed specifically for squaring arrow shafts. 

 It may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but arrow shafts are not as perfectly “square” as you might think. The G5 ASD will prove it.

The Arrow Squaring Device (ASD) made by G5, is the perfect tool for the job. Placing the arrow in the ASD until the shaft end is pressed firmly against the cutting head, I simply rotate the arrow shaft while the cutting surface shaves away imperfections. When I am done, what I have will be a perfectly squared arrow shaft. The purpose of the paint is to let me know when my arrow is square. 

  The unique cutting surface of the G5 ASD will square up your arrow in no time at all.

 Just be sure to clean the inside of the shaft before gluing the insert in. This will ensure maximum adhesion. I like to use denatured alcohol.

After turning the arrow for a few moments, I stop and look at the paint. I will immediately notice that some of it is gone and some is not. This is due to the end of the arrow not being cut perfectly square. Therefore, I keep rotating and shaving off the imperfections until all of the paint is gone. It is then that I know for certain that the shaft end is square and ready for the insert to be glued in. 

 

Don’t just stop with the arrow shaft. Take things a step further and focus on the one part of the arrow the broadhead makes contact with….the insert.

 

And don't forget about the one part of the arrow that the bow touches....the nock.

Not only is it important to square up the shaft, but the insert must be squared as well. This can be accomplished in the same manner as the shaft. The only differences are that I must use a black permanent marker (instead of paint) on the insert surface to check for “imperfections”, and I must also rotate the ASD head to the aluminum cutting side (one side is for carbon, the other for aluminum). Once I have squared both the insert and the nock end of the shaft, and then installed and squared the insert…..I am done! 

Inserts that are perfectly square should have no trace of the permanent marker on them.

The Big Question
Why is this procedure so important? Well, when it comes time to replace your field points with broadheads, you must understand that the more closely your nock, arrow and broadhead all follow the same straight-line path, the truer your arrow will fly once a broadhead is attached. 

 By design, broadheads are going to affect the flight of your arrow in a different manner than field points. This is why it is imperative that all of your arrow pieces be perfect. Pictured here is the Mathews Z7 about to launch the Bloodrunner by NAP.

It may seem insignificant, this notion of keeping all components of the arrow in a straight-line, but when you place “wings” on the front of your shaft, any deviance from this established nock, arrow, broadhead “centerline” will essentially cause wind to hit the arrowhead from the side. This will result in erratic arrow flight; similar to the first time you test shoot your broadheads and get less than desirable results.
The problem could be bow tune, fletching orientation, arrow rest performance, or any number of things. However, you should strive to eliminate the most likely culprit….a poorly made arrow whose insert, arrow and nock are not precisely in-line with one another. 

Gear Review: Leupold RX-1000i TBR Rangefinder

by Steve Flores 4. June 2011 01:07
Steve Flores

In the world of bowhunting, undoubtedly the most vital piece of information any hunter can have at their disposal is knowing exactly how far away the target animal is. Making an accurate shot with archery equipment requires knowing the precise yardage to the target because the projectile (arrow) is traveling substantially slower than, say, that of a bullet. Depending on the speed of your setup, a miscalculation of only 5 yards could drastically alter your impact point---resulting in a missed or wounded animal!

However, years ago, technological advancements brought to the market a rather crude (by today’s standards) but effective piece of equipment that helped bowhunters across the country determine exactly how far away that rutting buck or bull elk was before dumping the bowstring. This device, called a Rangefinder, worked by looking through the unit’s eye-piece and turning a dial until two images of the same object came together. Once the images (of a tree, rock, buck, whatever) became one, the corresponding distance could be read and the correct sight pin selected for the shot. While it was a breakthrough at the time, and was somewhat more accurate than guessing, I found the unit was slow, cumbersome and sometimes not as accurate as I hoped. These downfalls were only exaggerated during “heat of the moment” situations where quick, simple ranging was needed.  

Knowing the distance to your target is half the battle. A good rangefinder will make the task much easier.

Fast forwarding to the present day…..
WOW! Hold on to your camo hat! Today’s rangefinders are ultra-compact, user friendly, lightning-fast, and most important….deadly accurate. A perfect example of such a unit is the new RX-1000i TBR Laser Rangefinder by optics giant Leupold. Let’s take a closer look at this engineering masterpiece.  

 The RX-1000i TRB is simplistic genius. It is simple to use, deadly accurate, feature-packed, ultra-compact, lightweight, rugged and dependable. Best of all….it’s a Leupold.

The RX1000i TBR
Removing the new Rx-1000i TBR from the box, the first thing I noticed was how strikingly compact it was. This thing can easily fit inside a small pocket or around the neck, with little interference while making the shot. In addition, the RX’s ergonomics allowed it sit comfortably in my hand, which made the task of “ranging” feel almost second-nature.
Peering through the monocular I was pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the picture. Distant objects were brought closer and displayed as crisp, clear images into my watchful eye thanks to the 6x magnification, manual focus capabilities, and high-quality lenses.

 

Depressing the power button quickly brought the display-screen to life in brilliant red color; this was a nice break from the drab, black colors I had grown accustomed to with other rangefinders.

Locating a distant object, I eagerly depressed the power button to get my first reading. As quickly as I had pushed the button, the yardage was displayed back to me. I figured this would change as the distance to the target grew; meaning, the rangefinder would need a little more time to tell me the distance to a far off object. Wrong! Ranging several trees, shrubs and rocks on nearby mountain sides, the RX-1000i TBR continued to display the distance with mind-boggling speed. I quickly realized my old rangefinder had just become obsolete. 

Of course, simply providing bowhunters with quick, accurate readings (+-5 yards) at distances of 125 yards or less and (+- 3 yards) beyond 125 yards is great, but Leupold added so much more to this rangefinder than basic range estimations. With a built in “Scan Mode”, the shooter can follow an animal as it moves through the timber….all while receiving continuous measurements of the moving object. This feature can also be used to obtain the range of multiple animals or objects by simply moving the reticle from one target to another while holding down the POWER button. Awesome!

 Not only is the RX1000i feature-packed, it is also weatherproof. You can rest assured that harsh conditions won’t hamper its performance.

The RX-1000i TBR also offers True Ballistic Range technology for both bow and rifle users. Even though this is a bowhunting site, I feel it is worth mentioning that the TBR function for rifles shooters is simply amazing; offering ballistics for 7 different rifle groups, the appropriate range to the target, as well as “hold over” (in inches) for that target! This feature will provide unmatched accuracy no matter what your weapon of choice. 

 Steep shooting angles will not be a problem thanks to the TBR function on the RX-1000i.

When it comes to shooting out of a treestand or up and down steep terrain, the RX will provide the equivalent horizontal range (level shooting distance) for arrows when in the BOW mode. This display range represents the ballistically equivalent horizontal distance to the target if the target is 125 yards away or less. If the target is further the unit simply displays the Line of Sight (LOS) distance. The True Ballistic Range feature is only available on the TBR model rangefinder. 

 Great ergonomics and a gridded, soft rubber shell make the RX-1000i easy to handle and hard to drop.

Lastly, the RX1000i TBR Rangefinder comes with special DNA. This feature is Leupold’s next generation laser engine. The DNA (Digitally eNhanced Accuracy) makes significant improvements in what matters most to hunters; distance measurement accuracy and displayed range precision. The new advanced signal processing techniques in the DNA engine raises the bar of the laser measurements with 0.5 yard accuracy of distance measurements and the displayed range precision using the bright OLED display in 1/10th yard increments out to 125 yards. 

The case for the RX was also very nice. Instead of a noisy, game-spooking Velcro opening, it has an ultra-smooth, dead-silent, magnetic flip open lid.

You may be telling yourself that a rangefinder is just a rangefinder. Honestly, I thought the same thing. That was until I got my hands on this unit. Now I understand that sometimes there is more to these handy devices than meets the eye. Without a doubt, the latest offering from Leupold is a huge step up from your average, run-of-the-mill rangefinder. Check them out if you get a chance.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Leupold also offers a bow mounted rangefinder? Talk about a sweet addition to your favorite bow! Maybe we’ll cover that awesome piece of technology next time. Until then…….  

CamTrakker MK-10 Trail Camera Review

by Josh Fletcher 2. June 2011 11:40
Josh Fletcher
Do you want a game camera that has a no glow IR flash, or do you want high quality color night time photos? Are you a person who may want both depending on the situation or time of the year? The camera that you may want to take a more in depth look at is the CamTrakker MK-10. CamTrakker is a name that all hunters have herd of and has been around for years, so I was excited to test out the new MK-10 by CamTrakker.
The new MK-10 by CamTrakker
As soon as I received the MK-10 in the mail I knew right away that this camera is a quality product that is made in the USA. My initial impression of the craftsmanship and durability of the camera was phenomenal. It is a very sturdy and heavy duty camera sealed in a high quality and durable housing. I would not recommend it but I seriously would not be afraid to drop this camera because of its durability. The MK-10 is camouflaged in Natural Gear, giving it a natural look while attached to a tree to keep it hidden from both animals and thieves. Since we are on the topic of thieves, the MK-10 comes equipped with an all metal locking flange that can be locked securely to a tree.
The MK-10 attaches to the tree using a rope ratchet strap
A further look into the heart of the MK-10, reveals the secret of flash selection. The camera comes with a smoke colored lens that attaches to the flash, by switching the setting in the set up menu of the camera you can either use the high powered flash for colored photos at night, or if you are afraid that the flash spooks deer, then place on the smoke lens over the flash and switch the mode to IR in the camera settings and you now have a camera that produces a “no glow IR flash”. There are no LED lights that light up in this mode for potential thieves to spot at night, this is especially important if you are using the MK-10 for security on your toys or residence.
For a "No Glow IR Flash" just put attatch the smoke lens to the flash
The MK-10 stores your images to a standard SD card. The digital camera takes high quality 5.0 megapixel photos. The trigger speed is lightning fast with a night time speed of 0.186 seconds and a day time trigger speed of 0.388 seconds. The MK-10 is powered by a rechargeable lead-acid battery, and when I tested the MK-10, was in the dead of Wisconsin winter and I got a little over two months of battery life in very cold temperatures. A feature that I have never seen on a game camera before is the on/off switch is located on the outside of the camera, making it very simple to turn the camera on or off without having to unlock and open up the camera to turn the camera off.
Here is one of many photos from the field test of the MK-10
This camera is equipped with a 1.2” color LCD monitor. I didn’t realize how much I would love this feature until I tested the MK-10. The LCD monitor allows you to review your photos while in the field without having to remover SD card. The best part of having the LCD monitor is that in the menu settings you can activate the monitor to give you a “live” view of what the camera sees. Basically you can set up the camera at the perfect height and angle by looking at the monitor.
The MK-10 comes with a LCD screen for reviewing pictures in the field
I will admit that because of all the features that the MK-10 offers, this is a camera that would be difficult to take right out of the box and use it without first learning about the camera. This may turn some hunters off from using the MK-10, however the camera comes with an in depth CD –rom that not only shows you how to set the MK-10 to the features you want, but also explains them in depth. After reading and reviewing the operator’s manual, my camera was ready for the field test. It attaches to the tree using a supplied rope ratchet strap. I set the flash to approximate distance to the deer trail that I placed it on to prevent both an over powering flash that would wash out the picture or an under powered flash that wouldn’t light up the deer good enough for detail. After several weeks in the field, I took a look at the picture quality and what the MK-10 captured. I was very impressed with the quality of the photos. The MK-10 took high quality photos that worked great for my new screen saver and the trigger speed was excellent. The important thing to keep in mind is that there is a lot of settings and features, the key is learning these settings. With a little practice you can open the light setting to take brighter photos for when your camera is placed in a darker environment such as a thick cedar swamp, or you can darken your photos for a brighter environment such as a snow covered field. The flash is also adjustable and very powerful. This is a strong feature if you are placing your camera on a field edge or a food plot where the deer may be out of the range of the flash on most other cameras, and if you are setting the camera up on a trail you can turn down the flash so that it doesn’t wash out the picture. With these different settings you can obtain the best quality picture to be taken by a game camera.
Fast trigger speed means more centered photos
I broke down the pros and cons of the MK-10 to better help you decide if this is the camera for you.
Pros
· Super-fast trigger speed
· The option of both regular flash or No Glow IR flash
· High quality solid construction locking flange to secure the camera from thieves
· 1.2” LCD monitor for aiming the camera and in the field review of pictures
· An exterior on/off switch
· Adjustable high powered flash
· Adjustable light settings to adjust the picture lighting to the given environment
· Natural Gear camouflage housing to blend the camera to the surroundings
· Very well built and durable housing to protect the camera
· Easy to attach the camera to the tree with the rope ratchet strap
· High quality photos, great for reviewing points on your next trophy or screen saver
· Long battery life in cold temperatures
· Made in Watkinsville Georgia, American made
Cons
· You have to learn the camera, a lot of features that you would be missing out on if you didn’t take the time to learn the operation of the MK-10
· Because of the Lead-Acid battery it makes the MK-10 heavier than most game cameras
· You have to either carry out the battery to take it home to charge it or carry in another battery to replace the dead battery, versus just carrying in several D or AA batteries
· The MK-10 is a larger camera than some of the compact models available
This picture is a great example of a fast trigger speed
These are the pros and cons to the MK-10 by CamTrakker, however the pros to this camera for me out weigh the cons. I am very impressed with the MK-10, it is a durable high quality game camera that is proudly made in the USA, a superfast trigger speed, and the options of either a standard flash or a no glow IR flash with just a simple setting adjustment and the placement of a lens. The MK-10 is a camera that you will definitely want to check out for this fall.

Pre-Season Training - Preparing the Body for Tough Terrain

by Steve Flores 1. June 2011 15:24
Steve Flores

 When it comes to preparing for the upcoming season, a lot of bowhunters begin by shooting a few arrows in the backyard, attending a couple of 3-D shoots, and maybe hanging a stand or two. And while those things are definitely on the list of “things to do” before opening day, there is a different kind of training that you may not have even considered, but will likely affect the outcome of your season nonetheless. I’m talking about preparing your body.
 Now, I understand that for a great deal of hunters, the otherwise flat terrain of the mid-west doesn’t seem so ominous. But, for those of us bowhunting in the east or west, tough terrain is part of the deal. Likewise, our inability to handle it can significantly lower our chances of success. That is, unless we prepare our body for the rigorous demands a typical hunting season can throw at us.
 This preparation should include a good dose of cardiovascular conditioning, as well as weight training. However, like a lot of guys, weight training typically means upper-body workouts. You know what I mean, the kind that makes the T-shirt fit a little tighter in the chest and arms. Well, that’s all fine and good, especially for the beach or lake. Not to mention, upper-body conditioning is good for balancing heavy backpacks, drawing back the bowstring in cold weather, and climbing up and down trees in the pre-dawn darkness. However, when it comes to “mountain” hunting, the legs feed the wolf! 

 If you’re searching for an exercise that develops muscle strength for the mountains, the Squat is hard to beat.

Let’s start with a great all around, mass building leg exercise, The Squat. Often referred to as the “mother” of all compound exercises (the squat) is great for developing tone, power, and muscle strength. However, if you’ve never performed the squat before, it will take some time to master the movement safely and effectively. And, as always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Executing the Squat
Start by getting under the loaded bar (with a weight that is safe and comfortable) and placing your feet flat on the floor. Next, take a foot stance that feels comfortable. This usually means your feet should be about shoulder width apart.

 Keeping your feet shoulder width apart will provide a strong stable base in order to execute the exercise safely.

Remember to point your feet and toes forward in order to help stabilize your body, and make sure your knees remain over your toes at all times! This stance of pointing the toes forward and keeping the knees aligned over your toes throughout the range of motion will help emphasize your thighs and not your knees during the lift. 

Never place the weight of the bar directly on the neck. Let the large Trapezius muscles handle the load.

Next, let the bar rest on the trapezius muscle, not the neck! The bar should be placed as far back as possible on the” traps” for the weight to be safely distributed. Next, place your hands around the bar and take a grip that allows you to keep the weight balanced and stabilized. Now, lift the weight by extending your legs and NOT your back! Thrust your hips forward but do not stick your butt out. Pulling with your abdominals, keep your lower back in a near neutral position. However, a slightly arched back might be unavoidable, but try as much as possible. Be sure to tighten your whole body when you perform the squat. This will ensure that your chest, abs, arms and back assists in lifting the weight, in addition to the legs and hips.
Now, take one small step back, and then another in order to clear the top catch pins. Align your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. 

Proper execution of the squat will involve more than your leg muscles. It is a total body effort for sure.

With your feet evenly spaced take a deep breath. Start the descent by shifting your hips backward and NOT with your knees bending. Slowly, in a controlled manner, lower the weight as if you are sitting down in a chair. The weight should be distributed on your upper thighs and the heels or balls of your feet, but not your toes or your knees. Do not dip below parallel when performing the squat. Explode through the bottom portion of the lift by driving your heels into the floor. Also, extend your chest outward and keep a close eye on the ceiling above you to keep your head and heck in the right position.

Once you have lowered yourself to a near or at parallel position, push up off of your heels and lift the weight while maintaining proper and safe form: this means using your upper thighs, calves, hamstrings, lower back, chest, back, arms and abs--every part of your body except your knees. Your back should be between a 90 and 45-degree angle throughout the entire movement for safe execution.
When you reach the top of the movement be sure not to lock out the knees. Stop just short and repeat the motion for a second rep. If you must rest during the set then by all means do so. But try to keep it short because stress will begin to build on the knees and back as you are standing there, catching your breath. Repeat for 8-10 reps depending on your goals.

The Lunge
The way a lunge works is pretty simple. You will start with a normal stance, holding two dumbbells at your sides. The weight of the dumbbells will vary depending on your current strength levels.

 

Proper form, rather than heavy weights, will yield better results when performing the lunge. Be sure to not to let the rear knee touch the floor, but instead, remain parallel. 

To begin, step forward in a position that mimics that of a fencer's lunge; one that places your rear knee about an inch or two above the ground. Then, by pushing off of the extended foot, you will return to the original starting position. Your dumbbell lunges are then performed by either alternating your legs or doing one side at a time.
In addition, you can remain in the same spot (stepping out and then back) or you can perform “walking” dumbbell lunges where you simply walk across the floor (stepping in the same manner).
Essentially, the lunge works all the muscles in the lower legs in a manner similar to the squat. However, unlike a squat, a lunge can really burn up the hamstrings (back of leg) and the Gluteus Maximus (buttocks). This is good for climbing over logs, rocks, or anything else that might be in your way. 

 The Smith Machine is a great tool, in addition to dumbbells, for performing the Lunge. The same movement and principles apply.

The Leg Extension
Sitting in a leg extension machine, place your legs behind the roller pads and grasp the machines handles (if available) or the sides of the bench.
Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees with the seat or bench pressing against the back of your legs (knees). Point your toes out in front of you. 

 Avoid the temptation to “rock” the weight up and down by swinging your upper body. This will only create stress on the knees and lower back.

Slowly extend (lift) your legs by raising your toes towards the ceiling. At the same time you should be contracting your quadriceps until your legs are almost straight out in front of you. Be sure not to lock out your knees at full extension. Hold that position for a split second, while flexing your quadriceps, and then slowly lower the weight in a controlled manner back to the starting point. That’s it.

Total body conditioning should be the goal of any bowhunter. But for those of us who hunt tough eastern and western terrain it is really a necessity. And, while bench presses and bicep curls will do wonders for the summer, remember come fall, it’s the legs that feed the wolf!

 

Gear Review- NAP Apache Arrow Rest, QuikFletch, and Bloodrunner Broadhead

by Steve Flores 17. May 2011 14:09
Steve Flores

The older I get, the less I like change; particularly when it comes to my bowhunting gear. It is an emotion that I try hard to reverse. Nevertheless, as a regular contributor to Bowhunting.com and Bow and Arrow Hunting magazine, I am often asked to try different products and offer an opinion. Sometimes, these products must replace an “old favorite” that I have grown accustomed to using and trust very much when it comes to filling tags. Such was the case with my latest gear review.

First on the list is the new Apache Arrow Rest from the fine folks at New Archery Products (NAP). On the surface this rest looks very similar to other drop-away rests on the market. However, when you consider the features found on the Apache, compared to the cost, what you have is anything but a comparable, run-of-the mill drop-away.

The NAP Apache Arrow Rest is big on features and low on cost.

As the NAP Apache was being installed on my Mathews eZ7, I honestly had mixed feelings….stemming mainly from the price of the unit. I know, I know, I shouldn’t feel that way and I hate to admit it. But hey, the arrow rest that it was replacing had been with me a long time and cost 3 times as much! Sorry, but I’m only human. Besides, I think readers deserve an honest review, and that was my thoughts. At any rate, in a matter of minutes the Apache was set up and I was headed to the range.

Built from precision-machined aluminum, the Apache is lightweight and will function flawlessly under tough hunting conditions. In addition, the tool-free adjustments, and laser-etched graduation marks offer precise in-the-field fine tuning.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that this arrow rest was deadly quiet, and launched my arrows as accurately as anything I had previously tested; my feelings of discontent were slowly starting to erode. Shot after shot, my arrow groups proved to be nock busting tight. Suddenly, change didn’t seem so bad after all. The confidence I thought I had lost was quickly being restored. Happy with the results I was seeing, I decided to move on to the next product on my list.

The Apache drop away provides total arrow containment. Complete with a 360 degree sound-dampening pad and a pre-installed felt silencer on the v-launcher. Combined, these features guarantee a smooth, whisper silent draw.

Once again, the next test item in question was poised to replace a favorite piece of equipment in my gear bag. Opening the package of QuikFletch arrow wraps and vanes I was again skeptical. But this time it had more to do with precision than anything else. You see, the control freak in me loves to build arrows. That way, I can wrap each one myself, and glue each vane on individually using the same fletching jig. This meticulous attention to detail increases the likelihood that all of the arrows in my quiver will perform the same no matter which one I reach for. The thought of applying an arrow wrap and vanes all at once, in a matter of seconds, left a huge doubt in my mind regarding the precision and accuracy of these things. But, in the name of good journalism, I decided to give them a shot, no pun intended.

The author was understandably skeptical given the simple nature of the NAP QuikFletch system.

It would have taken me longer to open up a tube of fletching glue than it took to make my first arrow, complete with a wrap and 3 vanes. Placing my arrow in a pot of boiling water, with the QuickFletch in place, the job was done in literally 10 seconds flat! The smile on my face could be seen from my treestand, miles away from my kitchen stove. There was only one thing on my mind now.
As a father of 3, time is something I have very little of. What I was holding in my hand was the mother of all time savers! Suddenly, I saw a vision of endless arrows, all perfectly fletched and ready for action. No longer would I be forced to build my arrows late at night, when the house was quiet and everyone was sound asleep.

 The QuikFletch system can literally create a finished arrow, complete with wrap and 3 vanes in a matter of seconds! Creating more time for additional bowhunting tasks.

However, the big question still remained. How accurate would my newly made QuikFlecth arrows be? After all, saving time becomes a moot point if a product becomes a liability in the field. So again, off to the range I went. It only took a round or two to see for myself that this product performed better than I ever dreamed it could. I had never shot tighter groups in my career; especially from a bow that I was still breaking in! Yet, there were my arrows, in the target butt, waded together like a tightly-nit sweater. I was literally amazed that something so simple could produce such great arrow flight. 

Not only is the NAP QuikFletch fast and simple, it is deadly accurate as well. With a combination of NAP’S patented microgrooves, kicker and super-tough material, the Quick-Spin vane provides a flatter trajectory than standard vanes and increases arrow spin by as much as 300%. This would explain the exceptional accuracy I was achieving.

Last on my list was the NAP Bloodrunner Broadhead. You would think by now my cynical attitude would have changed. But, I have shot enough broadheads in my day, each promising accurate flight, to realize I shouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. Carefully screwing the razor-sharp broadhead to the end of my Gold Tip Pro Hunter shaft, I stepped back to a comfortable 30 yard distance and came to full draw.

 A lot of broadheads claim accurate arrow flight but don’t necessarily deliver. Would the NAP Bloodrunner prove to be different?

Not knowing what to expect, I slowly squeezed my release trigger until the bow jumped forward. The arrow impacted in nearly the same hole as my field points! Awesome, a broadhead that didn’t fly like a wounded duck! Deciding to launch another shot downrange, I eased back the little “e” and settled in for the shot. Upon impact I knew something had happened. Walking up to the target face I was astonished at what I found. I have shot several Robin Hood’s in my day, but never with broadheads. That was all I needed to know about the accuracy of this particular head. It was an expensive lesson, but the results would make for a great conversation piece.

 Thanks to the hybrid design of the Bloodrunner, you get a broadhead with a low, in-flight measurement of 1 inch; providing pin-point arrow flight. Upon impact, the broadheads piston motion opens up the blades to a devastating 1 ½ inches.

With three tough, scary sharp blades, the Bloodrunner can slice through soft tissue and organs with little effort while handling the toughest impacts with bone.

There is little doubt that the NAP combination I’ve recently discovered has just become my new favorite! I can’t argue with the results, regardless of my reluctance to change. If, like myself, you’ve been thinking that low cost, simple setup, easy application and uncomplicated design equals less accuracy, forgiveness, precision, or confidence….think again. NAP has a number of products that shatter that myth.  Check out their latest batch of goodies at newarchery.com. You won’t be sorry you did.

After the Shot—Clues to recovering your next whitetail

by Steve Flores 9. May 2011 14:50
Steve Flores

Months of preparation, hours and hours of practice time, days of hanging stand after stand, all come down to one split second, one opportunity to loose an arrow at the whitetail of your dreams, or at least, the whitetail of the moment.  When the shot finally happens there is a great sense of relief; especially if it is a solid hit.  However, before you start reaching for that tag there are a few steps that should be taken to ensure you make the right decisions during this very critical, but often overlooked, time.

 

Unless you witness your deer “topple-over”, don’t assume that you’ve made a lethal hit. Follow up with caution until your hands are wrapped around the antlers for real.

Remember the last Spot
If the deer you’ve just shot happens to run away, pay special attention to the very last place it was standing (or running) before loosing sight of it.  Look for easily recognizable landmarks such as rocks, downed trees or unique logs.  These will aid you in locating that “last spot seen” once you are actually on the ground because the topography will look vastly different once you climb out of your stand.  This can result in following the wrong trail and possibly loosing your deer.

There is a huge difference in how things look from 20 feet up in a treestand and ground level. This can add confusion to an already tedious moment in the hunt.

In addition, once the animal is no longer visible, you should pay special attention to any noise or racket in order to determine if your animal has crashed to the ground or has kept running.  Even fatally shot deer will run.  Some make it a short distance and fall dead, some run a little further before expiring.  Either way, there is no set distance to how far they can or will run; even if your arrow passes completely through the boiler room.

 Once your deer is out of sight, your sense of hearing should take over in order to detect the sound of cracking limbs or the overabundance of leaves rustling….followed by dead silence.

Find your Arrow
The reason it’s so vital to find your arrow is simple.  It holds a ton of clues as to the location of impact.  For instance, an arrow covered in bright red blood, filled with tiny air bubbles, indicates a solid lung hit.  An arrow with brown and green residue on it, accompanied by a “staunch” odor is typical of a gut shot animal.  And lastly, dark red blood on your arrow may be an indication of a liver hit. 

 You never really know what your arrow is going to do after it impacts flesh and bone. Therefore, it is vital to locate it if at all possible in order to better evaluate the situation.

If you typically experience trouble locating your arrow after the shot, there are several aftermarket items designed to help bowhunters not only find their arrow after the shot, but watch it while it is in flight as well.  One such product is “lighted” nocks.  Much like a tracer round fired from a rifle, arrows with lighted nocks are highly visible from the moment they leave the bowstring until the instant they disappear into hide and hair.  This makes determining exactly where your arrow impacted much easier; which in turn will help you make the best decisions about how badly the animal is hurt and when to take up the trail.

 Lighted nocks greatly enhance your ability to “track” your arrow in flight. Arrow “wraps” are also a good idea if you have trouble finding your arrow once it is on the ground.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc
You’ve found your arrow.  You’ve determine to the best of your ability what type of hit it was.  Now you must decide what to do.  For starters, even if I know my shot was on the money, I think it is a wise choice not to follow the blood trail for at least 20-30 minutes.  That may sound like a long time; especially if you know your buck is lying just around the point.  However, when you consider the time it takes to gather your composure, collect your gear, and climb down, such a waiting period will go by rather quickly. 

Climbing down too soon after the shoot can not only hurt your chances of recovering your deer, it can also increase the odds that you injure yourself.  Maneuvering down a tree while under the influence of adrenaline isn’t the smartest thing to do. Settle your nerves first, then climb down.

When it comes to recovering your deer, the “gut shot” doesn’t have to be the kiss of death.  The problem arises from bowhunters pushing deer too soon.  A gut shot deer is likely going to die.  The trick is to leave it alone and let it expire as closely to where you shot it as possible.  Since there will be very little blood to follow, it is vital that the deer drop within close proximity of your stand site.  Otherwise, a long tracking job usually results in a lost deer.
Gut shot deer get a minimum of 8 hours wait time in my book.  If I happen to make this shot right before last light, I will usually elect to return the next morning; making sure I leave the area as quietly as possible.  If it is the start of a hot, early season day, I will usually cut that time in half; hoping to recover the deer before meat spoilage occurs; making a bad situation even worse. 

 This buck was left to lay overnight after a suspected liver shot. Expecting to find the deer piled-up the next morning, the author and his hunting buddy were astonished when the bruiser sprang to his feet mere yards from them. A follow up shot by the author’s friend ended the 12 hour plus ordeal.

The same goes for liver shots.  This type of wound will definitely take down a whitetail.  However, ample time must be given before taking up the trail; especially if your broadhead doesn’t punch right through the center of this organ.  Of course, there is no way of knowing how well you hit the liver until you actually perform the field dressing chores.  Therefore, proceed with caution.

 Making the shot is only the beginning. The real work, as they say, begins afterward. Do your best to follow up your shot with a level head. The outcome of your hunt depends on it.

You’ve worked your tail off  to get to the point where you hear your bowstring jump forward and watch your arrow cut a straight path to its target.  Don’t screw things up now.  Take a moment to settle your nerves; watching and listening to everything around you.  Then, make your decisions based on the information you have collected.  If you do, the odds are pretty good you will make the right ones.

 

3D Shooting-The Perfect Pre-Season Warm up

by Steve Flores 1. May 2011 09:50
Steve Flores

When the moment of truth arrives we all want to deliver. In an effort to assure the likelihood that this happens, we spend countless hours hammering away at a target in the corner of the lawn. And while that type of practice strengthens shooting muscles it does little to prepare us for the real thing. Still, it seems to be the universal method for pre-season practice. However, if you really want to prepare for bow season, then you’ve got to get off of the ground and do some practicing from a treestand. But, that isn’t always possible and maybe your next adventure has nothing to do with being perched above terra-firma. Then what? How do you prepare for your hunt without shooting at a “block” of foam? Simple….head to the 3D course.

 

Shooting at the 3D range is as close as you can get to the real thing.

The beauty of 3D shooting is that it mimics real-life scenarios so closely. With varying distances to your target, shooters must rely on range estimation skills in order to make an accurate, killing shot. And while most pay particular attention to final scores, for the bowhunter simply wanting to sharpen his/her skills, “killing shots” are more important than hitting a 12 ring. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t strive for perfection (you can never be too accurate), just don’t live or die by your final score unless your goal is to be a competitive 3D shooter.

If you want to improve your hunting skills, shoot with the same equipment you plan to take afield.

Don’t worry about any special equipment or tools needed in order to get the most out of your time spent on the range. Your current setup is really all you need to become a better bowhunter. In fact, I would rather shoot with the exact setup I plan to hunt with. That way, I can learn the strengths and weaknesses of my rig before I take it hunting and make any necessary adjustments.

 

Bringing along friends adds a sense of realism to an already realistic situation.

If you really want to make things as realistic as possible, bring some friends along. When shooting amongst your peers you will feel an added sense of pressure to do well. This additional pressure will feel similar to what you experience when the shot happens for real and will better prepare you as a bowhunter. After awhile, you will hopefully be able to handle and manage this pressure and ideally perform well in spite of it. 

 

They may be great at stopping arrows and helping you sight in your pins, but targets such as these will not condition you for the certain change in scenery when you finally draw down on a live game animal. Prepare your “minds eye” for the real thing by practicing on a realistic target.

One major downfall associated with traditional practice is that no matter how vivid the imagination, it’s difficult to picture your 3-D target in its natural environment as it stands conveniently on a fresh cut lawn; especially if that target is a mind-numbing block of foam.  Imagine the shock to the nervous system if after months of staring through the peep sight at a dull square mass, you’re suddenly resting your pin on the chest of a trophy bull elk, whitetail, or long beard.  Wet noodles come to mind.

 All of the emotional ingredients found in the “real thing” can often be found on the 3D range as well.

If you want to be successful in the field, you can’t afford to simply draw back and shoot with little thought of the situation at hand.  The 3-d course will condition you to consider, and ultimately, shoot through various distractions (limbs, foliage, abrupt changes in terrain, watchful eyes of bystanders) in order to make a clean kill.  The lessons learned are invaluable. 

 

 There is a better way to prepare for your next hunting adventure and it isn’t in your backyard.

Certainly you can spend your days shooting at a target in the back yard and “maybe” get the job done.  I know a few archers that do just that.  However, if you’re looking for a way to raise the bar and become more proficient at driving an arrow into the sweet spot of your next trophy, it’s time to get out of the backyard.

 

 

 

Bow Review-Mathews eZ7

by Steve Flores 1. May 2011 09:06
Steve Flores

While a good deal of attention is being placed on the flagship Z7 Extreme, and rightfully so, it would be a mistake to overlook the other bows in the Mathews stable, more specifically, the new eZ7.  Without question, this is the smoothest bow I have ever had the pleasure to shoot.  Not only that, it is also deadly accurate.

 The eZ7 cam may look similar to systems of the past, but when combined with today’s technology, it becomes an essential part of an entirely new killing machine.

At the heart of the eZ7’s buttery smooth draw cycle is the cam system. This system is similar to that used on the DXT series of bows from years passed. Anyone who ever shot those bows can attest to how pleasant they were to pull back. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply the “rehashing” of old technology. When you combine this cam system with the new Gridlock Riser, a slightly longer ATA than the original Z7, and the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, what you get is an amazingly quiet, super smooth bow that spits out arrows fast enough to kill anything that walks the planet. 

 Perfect balance best describes the Mathews little “e”.

And, while speed is a good thing, it doesn’t come free. Most often you must sacrifice drawing comfort and brace height. The trick when choosing a new bow is to find one that balances speed and accuracy. The Mathews eZ7 is a perfect example of discovering this balance point. With a 7” brace height and an IBO seed rating of 321, one could justifiably ask “what more could you want in a hunting bow?”

 Tight shooting situations prove no problem thanks to the effortless drawing motion of the eZ7.

Out of the box the eZ7 proved to be exactly what I expected. With very little time behind the string I opted to take it with me on a recent hunt in Kansas for wild turkey. Reaching full draw without being detected was easy because there was no need for excessive movement just to get the string back. This bow can be drawn without the common “point to the sky” movement I see from a lot of guys shooting aggressive speed bows. And, at my 70lb draw weight, which feels more like 60, it packed plenty of punch for long beards (or anything else standing downrange).

My new Gold Tip Pros held up exceptionally well to this 40-yard nock busting hit.

As I mentioned, the eZ7 is accurate. This point really hit home when I recently found myself busting nocks while sighting in a forty yard pin on a new sight I was testing. Results like that, this early into my pre-season warm up, really builds confidence.

 

 With plenty of options to choose from, you can customize your next Mathews with special colors schemes and weight options to suit your own style of shooting or hunting.

The addition of a second “Harmonic Stabilizer” adds weight to my rig which I like very much. While a good deal of bowhunters opt for a lightweight rig, I think heavier bows hold steadier at full draw and fight bow torque much better than featherweight setups but…..to each his own. 

Test drive this bow before making a final decision no matter what brand you may be considering.

Without a doubt, there are some amazing products coming out of Sparta, WI. But, take my advice and give each one a fair chance. If you do, I think you might just find a surprise or two…..I know I did. For me, the Mathews eZ7 is the ideal blend of speed, accuracy, and quiet shooting personified.

 

 

 

Mapping Your Way To Hunting Success

by Josh Fletcher 18. March 2011 12:23
Josh Fletcher

Through my years of hunting I was always looking for a secret to consistently harvesting a trophy every fall. I have learned through time that one tactic to consistently filling your tag every year is by scouting and wearing some rubber off of your shoes.  It’s not easy, and it takes time, but it works.

We’ve all scouted in one way or the other, and we’ve scouted both public and private property.  What I’m going to cover in this article, is how to take all the information that you gain throughout the year and how to compile it into an easy to understand portfolio, so that when you step back and look at the particular property that you are hunting, potential stand locations with a high percentage of success will literally jump out at you. The items that you use to scout your property can be as high tech or as simple as you choose. What I will explain is not the only way to scout, but hopefully gives you some new ideas that you can use where you hunt.  I will discuss the use of GPS, aerial maps, topographical maps, game cameras, and mapping software. Again this tactic can be as simple as using a pencil and note pad or as high tech as I will discuss in this article.

By using a GPS, you can organize the information gained from scouting

The important thing is that hopefully you can gain some ideas to use where you hunt. I like to intimately scout the property I’m hunting several times a year. The reason behind this is that you want to know what the deer are doing on your property not only in the fall during hunting season, but also during the winter and other times of the year. Your intimate scouting should start right after the gun season is over. The reason is that here in Wisconsin, after the gun season there is snow on the ground and snow shows deer sign much better. This is an important time for you to scout because you want to learn where the deer go and hide under heavy hunting pressure. Often this time of year you will find a mature buck’s safety zone. This is where he beds and feels comfortable, and since the hunting season is over don't be afraid to bump him out of his bed. Also be looking for escape routes or heavy trails leading to thick cover that the deer are using to head to safety. Finding these trails will help you decide potential stand locations during the heavily hunted seasons such as gun hunting.

The next time I like to scout is during late winter, when much of the snow is starting to thaw and melt. Not only am I looking for antler sheds, this time of year, but I’m also seeing if deer are utilizing my property through the winter. If deer sign is at a minimal, I would then need to plan on possible wildlife management on the property to attract and keep deer in the area year round. Spring time is also a great time of year to be out scouting your property. I like scouting in the spring because with the leaves off, it resembles what your hunting locations will look like late in the fall. This is also the time of year that you should get your stands trimmed out and ready for the upcoming fall. By getting your stands ready now, you won’t have to be in disturbing the property come fall. Majority of these stands that I get ready in the spring are what I call “funnel stands”. These funnel stands are in locations that have high potential for deer movement through the fall. These stands are often located at wood edges, saddles and funnels. The stands that I utilize when I’m targeting a particular buck or have a buck pattern will be adjusted during the fall when that information is discovered.

The last time during the year you should be scouting is during early fall and throughout the hunting season. These scouting trips are not as in-depth, and don't be intrusive into bedding areas, however you should be making notes about what you see during the season and routes that deer are traveling.

By now I’m sure that you have basically caught on to the fact that I scout almost all year round. The main point I can make is that scouting and knowing your piece of property as thorough as the deer themselves do is the key to success, however one has to be smart about scouting and when you scout. You have to be careful not push the deer off of your property by too much human traffic. This is why I do my most in-depth scouting late fall, just after hunting season closes.

During my scouting trips I carry a GPS (global positioning system) with me. I also carry topographical and aerial maps (I will cover these later).  While I’m walking my property I section it off in a grid. By breaking it down and looking at one particular area at a time so I don’t miss any important sign. I mark every bed, rub, scrape and follow every trail I can find in that given section of the grid. If you don’t own a GPS you can make notes and approximate locations on your maps. I also plot on my GPS trail camera and tree stand locations, as well as carry a note pad to make any special notes about what I may have discovered.

Once I have the property thoroughly scouted and plotted, I head back to the comforts at home. Once back at home I use mapping software to organize all my data that I plotted. The particular software that I use is Topo USA by Delrome. However you can use any mapping software that you are familiar with and that you are able to transfer the data from your GPS to the actual map. (You can get these programs either at sporting goods stores or via internet.) I mark all my deer beds with one color, rubs another, and scrapes another. I also plot out all the deer trails that I followed with my GPS and transfer them to my computer. I like to keep the deer sign on one map and my hunting stand locations and game camera locations on another map. Again this is the high tech version, if you don’t have a GPS or mapping software you can mark this information down on maps that you may have, or even draw your own maps.

 Computer mapping software allows an easy to see map of your property showing high deer travel route


By compiling all this data into an easy to read map, deer travel routes, bedding areas, and feeding areas will literally stand out at you. When hunting farm country, I like to use aerial photos for my mapping back ground, because it shows willow patches, marsh grass, timber, and fields much better. When mapping large tracts of public land such as the big woods of northern Wisconsin, I like to use topographical map as my back ground because it allows me to see ridge lines, benches, saddles, and other terrain features.  If you have time on your hands you can log the data by using both aerial and topographical. Depending on your type of mapping software you can link pictures to particular waypoints that you marked by your GPS. This is particularly handy for organizing all your photos taken from different game cameras on the property and the locations that they were taken from. All these features of aerial photos, topographical maps, and compatibility with your GPS is dependent on your software, so be sure that you research a program before you buy it to make sure it will do what you need for your property.

Since we are on the topic of maps, don’t just look into your own property, study possible bedding, feeding, and watering locations on adjacent properties. Most people don’t own enough property to hold deer all year long without deer crossing the property line. So knowing what is on your neighbor’s property is just as important. (Please don’t trespass to gain this information.) By finding this information may just be the last piece of the puzzle needed to complete your property picture.

Game cameras are also very helpful tools to utilize to complete your whitetail portfolio. I don’t use game cameras as much to pattern deer, as I do to perform deer counts and what caliber of bucks that are on the property. I like to also observe what times of day are they traveling through that particular area.  I label each camera as 1, 2, 3 etc., and plot their locations on my map that contains cameras and stand locations.

I also use my mapping software to plot out future food plot and tree planting locations. By doing this, allows you to better understand and explain wildlife management plans with land owners and friends that would help you with the establishment of these plans.

Now that we have are hunting property plotted out its time to compile all this information into an easy to understand portfolio of your property. I print out all the maps that I compiled along with field notes and observations that I noted during the hunting season. I also plot out wind directions on my property. To do this, I walk around my property with wind checkers and make notes of how scent currents travel down particular draws, ridges, and bottoms for a given wind direction. For example you may have a west wind, however in a particular draw the wind may swirl causing your scent to blow to the north. (Again you can be as simple or as in-depth with your maps as you would like). Once I have all these maps printed off I compile them into a binder and label the binder for that year. This gives you a permanent record of your hunting property to look at and study through the years, and also it allows you to see the progress of your wildlife management over the years.

Easy to read colored plots showing locations for this spring food plot location based on scouting observations

By organizing all the data that you have learned from scouting trips on your hunting property allows organized and permanent records of deer habits and travel routes on your property. If you are like me I often forget what I ate for breakfast and I’m the type of person that I learn best by being able to see what is going on with the property that I am hunting. By establishing a portfolio of your property, potential stand locations will stand out like a beacon. The key to consistent success is spending your hunting season in high percentage stands. You can hunt all year in a low percentage stand and not fill your tag. After all, time is precious now days with our busy lives and by mapping out your hunting properties will allow you to narrow down stand locations, putting you in stands that yield a higher percent of success, giving you more bang for your buck.

 

 

 

 

Product Review - Axion Archery GLX Sight

by Steve Flores 8. March 2011 14:08
Steve Flores

One of the coolest things about bowhunting has got to be all of the cool gear. Even cooler than that, is getting to test that gear and then write a review to share with fellow bowhunters. The ultimate goal is to give a fair, unbiased evaluation, in the hopes that someone out there will find your information useful and therefore be able to make an informed decision on which products might best suit their needs. Sometimes you get the opportunity to review off-the-wall products, other times it is familiar equipment that we all use on a daily basis as bowhunters and archers. Take bow sights for example. Without a doubt, the last thing you see, just before you pick the exact hair you want your broadhead to split on that trophy standing downrange….is your sight pin. Therefore, it only stands to reason that you should give this particular piece of gear its fair share of forethought. 

The Axiom name is quickly becoming synonymous with quality, dependable gear.

I am a whitetail bowhunter first and foremost. So, when I choose my gear, in this case bow sights, I like a model that is built around simplicity, ruggedness, adjustability, and bright aiming points. The new GLX sight from Axion Archery covers all of those bases. At first glance you will realize that this sight doesn’t look like others on the market. With its distinctive “Gridlock” cutouts, there is no mistaking what bow line this particular sight is molded after. That’s right….Mathews.

There is no denying what bow this sight would look best on.

Wrapped in the highly effective Mathews Lost Camo pattern, this sight is as attractive as it is functional. Add the accompanying Harmonic Damper to the equation and you also have a sight that won’t rattle your teeth or spook game at the most inopportune time. Just in case you are unfamiliar with what a harmonic damper does, it is essentially an aluminum disc that floats inside a rubber housing. At the shot, the aluminum disc oscillates, and together with the surrounding rubber material, absorbs vibration and residual energy; as well as reduces noise. 

The same innovation found on all Mathews bows can also be found on the new Axiom GLX bow sight.

The sight pins on the GLX sight are different as well. Most bow sights come with .029 pins. This pin size is great for up-close shots since they are easy to see under a variety of shooting conditions. However, when the shot range starts to get “out there”, larger sight pins can actually cover some portions of the animal you are shooting at. This makes precise aiming a little more difficult. Not with this sight however. The GLX comes with .020 fiber optics----plenty big enough for those in-your-face shots, yet, not too large for the long-range attempts. 

With pins that are slightly smaller than your typical sight pins, the GLX offers accurate shooting both up close and at long range.

Each fiber optic runs behind a highly protective, extra strong aluminum pin guard; making the errant tree branch that gets caught in your sight housing nothing more than a nuisance. Ruggedness, yeah, this sight has it. In addition, the sights are stagger mounted for increased adjustability and tighter pin gaps. Making adjustments won’t be a headache either thanks to the dovetail windage and elevation adjustments and marks.

And, when that shot finally does arrive, and that reclusive buck steps out just before last light (as they often do) you’ll have little trouble seeing your aiming point because of the included blue light. When turned on, this thing looks like an airport runway. 

Low light shots will prove to be a piece of cake thanks to the ability to light up the fiber optic pins with the turn of a dial.

Unlike other sight level that are overly large and permanently seated in the sight housing, this bubble level is just big enough to get the job done and is also easily removable.

Rounding out the features on this sight are an Off Set Extension, 2” Aperture, and a Removable Sight Level….all on a CNC Machined aluminum body. I guess the only question left is what bow to attach this thing to. But, I think you already know the answer to that.

Perfecting the Whitetail Shot: Off-Season Prep

by Steve Flores 22. February 2011 14:07
Steve Flores

Don’t let the title fool you. While it may suggest improving shots on whitetails, without question the following technique can be applied to any type of big, or small, game hunting you do with a bow and arrow. Although this technique may appear to be simple on paper (or on a computer screen), in reality it is one of the hardest things to do simply because as archers and bowhunters…..old habits die hard. However, if you hope to live up to your full potential as both, it would do you good to consider incorporating one little detail into your shot sequence. I am talking about SQUEEZING THE SHOT.  
 
Squeezing the shot, as opposed to simply yanking the trigger the instant your sight pin lands on the spot you want to hit, has the ability to make you a more deadly shot on live game. It does so by forcing your brain to slow down and focus on one thing, squeezing, at a time when it would rather just turn itself off. Those few extra seconds spent making sure you slowly squeeze the shot, almost guarantees you don’t pull the trigger before your sight pin is even near the vitals; which, by the way, is a leading cause of botched opportunities.
 
Rushing the shot is a common defense mechanism used by our subconscious mind in order to escape a situation we are uncomfortable with. For instance, trying to hold it together while drawing back on the buck of your dreams will likely create a felling of anxiety, excitement, and extreme nervousness. Naturally, you will want to escape such a situation and the absolute easiest way to do that is to launch your arrow downrange. Once the arrow is gone, that uncomfortable situation is over. Unfortunately, you have to live with the realization that you just blew the shot of your life. Squeezing the trigger on your release aid will counteract most shot ruining tendency.

However, understanding the need to squeeze the shot, and actually performing it are two completely different things. In order to make this technique work you’ve got to have the right equipment. In my experience, I have found the best training tool for this type of shooting is a release-aid with a spring trigger. The reason is that, at least for me, it was too easy to revert back to my old ways and just jerk the trigger while using a standard trigger post. Therefore, it was imperative that I used an approach that wouldn’t allow me to fall back into my old habits. The spring trigger was just the tool I needed.

 

Whatever release aid you choose, be sure that it does not allow you to fire the shot by punching the trigger.

My release of choice is the Scott Little Bitty Goose Deluxe. The Deluxe series of releases comes with three interchangeable trigger posts. The most important one being the spring trigger. What makes this spring trigger so important is its ability to prevent you from punching the trigger. If you try to punch the trigger, the spring simply flexes back and nothing happens. On the other hand, if you slowly squeeze the spring, it will activate the trigger and the bow will fire by complete surprise; which is exactly what you want to happen. Be warned though, getting use to shooting this way will not be easy. In fact, it could very well be one of the most difficult things you do. However, the payoff is astronomical. Once you master the process of squeezing the shot, you will have more shooting confidence than you ever imagined.
 
Start off by shooting up close, with your eyes closed, at a fairly large target. This is called “Blind Bale” practice and the purpose of it is to ingrain, in your subconscious mind, what it feels like to squeeze the shot. When you first start trying to shoot this way, your eyes and your mind are going to fight you so your best option is to attack things at the subconscious level first. Therefore, with every squeeze of the release, try your best to note how it feels when the shot takes you by surprise. Without any visual stimulus, your mind will be free to concentrate on those feelings, recognize them, and ultimately, try to repeat them later when your eyes are open and you are shooting for real. After several weeks of blind bale practicing you can open your eyes and start shooting at the target in the usual manner. Stay close to the target until you are comfortable shooting at that distance and then slowly progress further and further away.


In order to fully relax while shooting with your eyes closed, try to find a quiet, private place to conduct your training.

Another important thing to remember is to let your sight pin float around the target spot. Do not attempt to hold it steady. That will only result in frustration and lead to target panic/anxiety. Just be conscious of where your pin is at in relation to where you want your arrow to hit and then forget about it. Let it float around the spot. Your job is to burn a hole through that spot with your mind while you are squeezing the shot. Before you know it, your arrow will be gone. And with it, those feelings of panic, anxiety, and the overwhelming urge to rush the shot.

A spring trigger can still be used for hunting purposes. Just remember, the closer your index finger is to the base of the spring the less it will bend; reacting much like a regular trigger during the shot.

With most big-game seasons closed, now is the perfect time to start revamping your shot technique. Before you know it you will be marking the X on your next big game trophy. Better yet, get started now and reap the rewards in a few short months. Remember, it won’t be long until it is time to chase some Thunder-Chickens!

Closure on a Whitetail Buck

by Steve Flores 6. February 2011 15:46
Steve Flores

I felt it on the very last play of my high school football career. I could feel it as I walked across the stage to receive my college degree. It was a sense that an important part of my life had ended, and a new chapter was about to begin. It was finality…..it was closure. Thankfully, I have been blessed to experience closure in many different areas of life. Closure is good. It adds conclusiveness to the situation at hand and allows us to move on with other areas of our life. However, it is like a thorn under our skin when we don’t have it. And that thorn, it seems, never goes away.

So what does all of this have to do with bowhunting? Well, a close friend recently brought closure to a story that began several months ago. Actually, it all started in the fall of 2006 when a scouting camera revealed that a very nice buck was occupying the area my friend was hunting in. However, four long years would pass before the two would meet on a cold November day in 2010.

On that fateful day, while others were gathering around the table to partake in Thanksgiving Day festivities, Mark was busy trying to stay warm in his favorite treestand. With plans made to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving, he opted to head to the timber for a chance at the one buck who had eluded him for so long. Although, after several hours in the lonely stand, bitter cold finally forced my friend to the ground in hopes that a little still-hunting might warm him up as well as offer a shooting opportunity at one of the resident bucks.

Walking along an abandoned logging road, Mark happened to catch a glimpse of movement just 20 yards above him on an adjacent flat that ran parallel to his position. After a closer look, he realized it was a doe. Pondering the situation, he decided to fill his freezer and balance the herd at the same time. Coming to full draw, Mark was about to release his arrow when again, something caught his eye.

Looking beyond the unaware doe, he quickly spotted a set of antlers. Situated further back on the flat than her, it was unclear just how good this buck was, but Mark knew it was a good one. Quickly letting down his bow, he waited for a better look at the buck that was shadowing his initial target.

When the bruiser finally did reveal itself, it was obvious he was a trophy. And so the chess match began. It wasn’t until my friend had stalked along with the rutting pair for a good 100 yards or so that a shot opportunity presented itself. And then….the unthinkable happened. Mark missed! Fearing the buck was about to bolt just as he came to full draw, the shot was rushed and his razor tipped arrow found nothing but dirt. Immediately the pair scampered away.

Discouraged, but determined not to give up, he quickly followed behind. It took a while, but my friend finally managed to work himself into position for a second shot! This time the range was a bit further, 40 yards or so. Upon releasing the bow string, Mark watched as his arrow struck the buck farther back behind the ribs than he would have preferred. To this day he is still unsure what went wrong. “The first time I missed him I just plain choked” he said. “But the second shot felt good from start to finish. I’m not really sure what caused that arrow to impact where it did”.

Nonetheless, he had just shot the biggest buck of his life and it wasn’t the best shot either. But, spirits were lifted after a short search revealed some good blood on the ground. Continuing to look for a brief time, Mark held hope that something good was going to happen. However, the rollercoaster that is bowhunting quickly threw a major decent into the ride as the heartbroken hunter bumped the trophy buck from his bed; watching him bound away for the last time.

Days passed by, Holidays came and left, friends joined in the search, but still there was no trace of Mark’s buck-of-a-lifetime. To make matters worse, it always seemed that when a spare moment was found during his busy workweek, snow was always on the ground; making recovery efforts even more difficult. Then, after weeks of horrible conditions, the weather finally broke, snow melted away, and the forest floor was revealed.

Quickly, Mark headed out to find his buck. Within 10 minutes of his search, there lying peacefully among a blanket of dead leaves and twigs, my friend found what he was looking for. He found his closure. Weeks of sleepless nights and days and days of “what ifs” had finally come to an end. Congratulations Mark on harvesting a tremendous, Southern WV buck. God knows you earned it.

NEW Wisconsin Bowhunting Record Whitetail Buck! It's Official!

by Bow Staff 28. January 2011 06:04
Bow Staff

Taking the largest typical whitetail buck with a bow is often referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of hunting throughout the state of Wisconsin. A mere four years ago it would fall to a Dunn county bowhunter by the name of Barry Rose. That incredible buck would net 187 2/8 total inches!

Move over Mister Rose!

Taken on November 2nd, 2010 the new top buck has officially netted 187 5/8 total inches - just 3/8 an inch bigger than Barry Rose’s 2006 giant! This buck was taken by bowhunter Brian Inda of Wautoma while bowhunting his new lease near Wild Rose, Wisconsin.

Brian’s brother, Chris Inda, actually picked up the shed antlers from this buck in the spring of 2009. Those sheds ended up scoring 192 inches! It was this pick-up by Chris that would ultimately sway the two brothers along with a friend to seek a lease agreement with someone nearby. An old Christmas tree farm would eventually do the trick!

Brian’s buck has 12 scorable points, with 5 on the right side and 7 on the left. The buck also maintains an inside spread of 22 inches! And the longest tine length was the left side G2 which taped out at 14 7/8! The buck was estimated to be 7 ½ years old.

The staff of Bowhunting.Com would like to extend great big congratulations to Brian (and his friends) on this once in a lifetime whitetail trophy.  We hope you’ll have many more bucks to stand over Brian. Congrats again!

Categories: Blog | Bowhunting Blogs

Something More Than Scent Control

by Steve Flores 24. January 2011 15:49
Steve Flores

            Despite recent questions regarding the overall effectiveness of carbon impregnated clothing, my confidence in such garments hasn’t faltered one bit. What’s more, I can say with total honesty that my position on the subject has nothing to do with sponsorship or money. On the contrary, my belief stems from many years in the field, witnessing first hand what quality carbon clothing, in conjunction with a "solid scent reduction system", can do to your success rate.

 

            Since it’s inception into the carbon clothing market in 1997, Scent Blocker has been my choice when it comes to flying under what is arguably the greatest radar in the woods….the whitetail’s nose. Immediately after subscribing to a total “scent-reduction system”, I realized just how much my bowhunting experiences could improve. Since those days, the technology behind the Scent Blocker clothing line has grown by leaps and bounds. With attire and products covering just about every situation imaginable, there really is no excuse for getting “busted”.

 

            But, let’s not turn this into another sales pitch for reducing your “man-funk”. The point is that Robinson Outdoors, makers of Scent Blocker/Scent Shield has recently made the decision to step outside of their “area of expertise”, if you will, and introduce a product that has absolutely nothing to do with scent control. Yes, in today’s economy, it is a brave, and to some extent, risky move for the carbon clothing giant. However, President and CEO Scott Shultz is no stranger to making innovative moves. It is that attitude that has allowed his company to develop some of the best products in the business. Without question, their newest creation is sure to make waves in an industry that seems to have peaked in the “innovation” dept. Until now. I’m talking about safety harnesses.

 

Aptly named the “Tree Spider”, this new system is fast, light, and easy to use. And while you’ve most likely heard those terms used before, this time it is for real. With ingenious features that allow the system to be attached to your favorite jacket in the Scent Blocker lineup, lineman’s loops for safely hanging stands, back pack attachment capability, and figure-eight webbing configuration, just to name a few, the new Tree Spider is definitely going to change the face of safety arrest systems. For a closer look at all of the features the Tree Spider has to offer, visit www.treespidersafety.com. Also, look for an in-depth review of this innovative and exciting new system in the very near future.     

The Short Road to Ruin

by Steve Flores 16. January 2011 13:29
Steve Flores

        Before I started writing this blog I had several subjects bouncing around in my head (like rocks in an empty pop bottle), but this one kept getting stuck in the “bottle neck”; so to speak. So, I decided to share with you how I am spending my January and the short road that got me to where I am now.

        It amazes me how something that seems to take so long to gain, can be lost in such a short amount of time. As a former high school and college athlete, I developed a deep understanding of the importance physical fitness plays, not only in the sports we participate in, but in everyday life as well. Bowhunting, to me, is definitely a sport. Although I am not competing against anyone in particular, I do face adversities (just like you) each time I head afield. In order to maximize my potential, it is critical that I stay in the best possible shape I can.

 

            Before the 2010 season began I had managed to whip myself into pretty good shape. The mountains of southern West Virginia are very unforgiving and the manner in which you handle them can largely determine the outcome of your season. Needless to say, I was looking forward to whatever they were going to throw at me. With a large amount of self assuredness I though….Bring it on!  Then it happened.

At first it was nothing more than a little discomfort in my elbow. However, by the time bow season started, it was mostly agonizing just to hold my bow upright. To make a long story short, Tennis Elbow brought my weight training to a halt, which ended my cardiovascular training, which sent my diet into the crapper. I tried to tell myself that things weren’t slipping away as quickly as they were, but in the end, I wasn’t kidding anyone but myself. Who did I think I was?   

             With hunts lined up in 3 different states, including my home turf, I was confident something was going to take a dirt nap regardless of my declining condition. But, like so many things in life, what I had envisioned was certainly not what I got. The 2010 season came and left and all I had to show for it was 3 unfilled tags and 25lbs of unwanted body FAT. It didn’t take that long to get there either. In fact, the road to ruin was a short one.

             The most disheartening part is that my physical conditioning did in fact cost me a shot at a WV buck that should be hanging on my wall right now. This particular animal gave me plenty of opportunities to capitalize on his travel patterns; which, by the way, doesn’t happen very often in my neck of the woods. Instead of making him pay for his mistake, I naively convinced myself that I should stay put, rather than exert myself and move my stand 50 yards uphill to where I had seen him travel on 2 different occasions!

            I knew better though. In fact, that little voice in the back of my head was gnawing at me the last time I laid eyes on him. His breath filled the cold November air, like puffs of angry clouds, as he briefly stopped to survey his surroundings before moving through the ridge top saddle and into parts unknown. As he walked away, I felt a little bit of myself go with him. All I have now is that image of his golden brown rack against a frosty November backdrop. I guess that is exactly how it should be.   

 

So here it is, January 2011. It is a new year, with new hopes and dreams on the horizon. Preparation has begun; at least for me. After all, I have a lot of ground to make up. And, I’m not to proud to admit I have been in this situation before. I know the road to success is going to be a long one. However, as I have so hauntingly learned, it undoubtedly beats the short road to ruin.

 

 

A Stranger in Familiar Land

by Steve Flores 9. January 2011 13:31
Steve Flores

As the newest member of the Bowhunting.com family, it is with a great deal of excitement, anticipation, and humility that I say to everyone….hello! Without question, as each blog unfolds, I am looking forward to expressing my thoughts on bowhunting tactics, philosophies, gear, and maybe even a little bit on life.

However, as the new kid on the block, I feel it is necessary to tell you a little bit about myself. After all, if you’re going to take the time to read my thoughts, I think it only fair that you know from whom you are getting your information. While my name may or may not sound familiar, if you are a regular reader of Bow and Arrow Hunting Magazine, then you have likely read my work prior to this. Either way, my forte, so to speak, would be Eastern Whitetail bowhunting. If you routinely hunt rough, rugged terrain, such as I do in West Virginia, then we have a lot in common. Likewise, if you just love to bowhunt, and can’t seem to get enough of it, well, we’re not so different either.

Like most of you, I have a regular job. I am also blessed to have a beautiful wife and three wonderful children who fill my life whenever I am not engaged in bowhunting or its many sub-headings. With nearly 25 years experience under my belt, I have managed to make a ton of mistakes, learn a lot of lessons, and make a lifetime of memories along the way. Lord willing, I have many years ahead of me to do more of the same.

I guess at some point I am supposed to tell you about all of my accomplishments. Spit out numbers that impress and add validity to my words. To be honest, that just isn’t my style. However, I understand how things work. If you don’t think I am a credible source, why bother reading what I have to say. Well, in order to quench the thirst of curiosity, I will provide some photos to illustrate some of my most memorable accomplishments. I hope you enjoy them.

Am I an expert; self proclaimed or otherwise? Certainly not. In a lot of ways I am in all probability just like you-----a passionate, committed bowhunter who cherishes every opportunity that God bestows upon him.

Again, I am excited to be on board with Bowhunting.com, and I look forward to the road that lies ahead.

Flores--

Keeping Tabs on the Harvest

by Neal McCullough 23. September 2010 07:39
Neal McCullough

With opening weekend behind us; we spent the weekend watching mosquitos and corn/corn and more corn!  The biggest challenge of early season bowhunting is contending with crops.  We had limited interactions with deer over the weekend and we believe that many of our hit list deer were in the corn; and we may have to wait until harvest to hit our best spots in the timber.


One of toughest things an early season bowhunter contends with is a sea of unharvested corn.

One of the best sources of information on the harvest I use during the early season is a free website through National Agricultural Statistics Service through the USDA.  This website updates weekly the current status of crops (Corn, Beans, etc.) as well as weather, fieldwork and other information.  This is a great source of information for those who can’t make it to their farms every week to find out how the harvest is going.  The website and the Minnesota report/forecast are below:

 
Check it out @:
http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/State_Crop_Progress_and_Condition/index.asp

Minnesota Forecast:

 “The first reports of corn and soybean harvest have arrived, though wet

conditions continue to delay fieldwork, according to the USDA, NASS,

Minnesota Field Office.  As of September 19, corn was 1 percent

harvested, compared to 0 percent last year and 2 percent for the five-

year average. Corn silage harvest advanced to 83 percent, compared to 36

percent last year and 64 percent average.  Soybeans were 3 percent

harvested, compared to 1 percent last year and 4 percent average.  Other

harvest progress included potatoes at 50 percent, sweet corn at 92

percent, dry beans at 52 percent, and sugarbeets at 13 percent harvested,

all ahead of their respective averages.  A few producers reported that

wet conditions prevented the harvest of mature crops.

Temperatures for the week were unseasonably cool.  The statewide average

temperature was 3.5 degrees below normal, with some areas reporting a low

of 30 degrees.  Precipitation remains above normal for most reporting

stations.  Thunderstorms, along with some hail, lightning, and high

winds, prevailed Thursday.  Weekly precipitation was greatest in the

Central region with 1.3 inches above normal.  Statewide topsoil moisture

supplies were rated 59 percent adequate and 40 percent surplus, the

highest surplus rating so far this year.  Statewide 3.2 days were rated

suitable for fieldwork.

Crop Progress Table – September 19, 2010     

               Stage of                This   Last   Last    5 Yr

 Crop          Development             Week   Week   Year    Avg

                                                Percent      ___

Corn           Dent                      98     94     73     92

Corn           Mature                    49     28      4     37

Corn           Harvested                  1      0      0      2

Corn Silage    Harvested                 83     64     36     64

Soybeans       Turning Yellow            95     79     82     91

Soybeans       Shedding Leaves           68     37     44     63

Soybeans       Mature                    25      6      9     25

Soybeans       Harvested                  3     NA      1      4

Potatoes       Harvested                 50     34     35     47

Sweet Corn     Harvested                 92     83     82     88

Dry Beans      Dropping Leaves           93     75     NA     NA

Dry Beans      Harvested                 52     27     23     41

Sugarbeets     Harvested                 13      9      7      7

 

Do you have your own property, and plan your own crops.  Check out the full line of seed/supplements, keep up to date on the latest tricks/tips, and find the finest bowhunting gear here at bowhunting.com.

See you in the woods,

Neal

 

Scouting New Bowhunting Properties

by Neal McCullough 7. September 2010 10:06
Neal McCullough

I am one of those bowhunters who doesn’t own hundreds of acres of prime land. So I spend each spring and summer searching for new areas to hunt. Typically I like to give back to the landowner in the form of trail cutting, tree trimming, or other property improving task. I have had good luck with this over the years; farmers typically find value in someone taking initiative with their property. This year I was able to gain access on two brand new farms; one 75 acre parcel in Wisconsin and another 165 acres in southeast Minnesota.

Wisconsin


6 hay fields (25 acres total), mature woods (45 acres total) and stream basin (5 acres total).

Minnesota


1 Corn Field (65 acres total), mature oak woods (90 acres total) and stream basin (10 acres total).

The challenge now is to learn all I can about these properties before hunting season. I use the following three key techniques whenever I gain access to a new property:

Online Topographical and Aerial Maps

Before I even think about walking the new property I start by using online maps when I gain permission on new ground. Google Earth or Bing Maps provide aerial and 3D maps for the entire US and are free to download from the internet. I like Bing Maps specifically because they not only have good satellite/3D mapping but they also offer what is called “bird’s eye” view. This is a bowhunters dream with views from a plane a few thousand feet in the air for many cities and surrounding rural areas. The main goal with using these maps is to get a feel for how the property sits, where the funnels and bottlenecks are, where is neighbor’s property line, how do creeks flow through the property, etc. By using these online mapping capabilities I have save literally hundreds of hours of leg work and learned info about the land I never could have before.


Bing Map’s “Bird’s Eye View” allows bowhunters a clear picture of the properties they hunt

Trail Cameras

After visualizing my properties online, the next key step I use placing trail cameras. If you can afford it, using multiple setups can be extremely beneficial as it allows you to check various parts of your property at the same time (typically I use about three per 80 acres). I try to set the cameras in parts of the farm where different deer may travel; this will help me get an inventory of bucks to develop a hit list for the year. Another tip for using trail cameras in the spring and summer is to create a mineral site in front of the camera. I really like a product called Deer Cain – Black Magic from Evolved Habitats. We were setting up tree stands and checking cameras yesterday and I had over 1,000 images on a single camera in one week! The stuff is truly... well Magic.


The Moultrie cameras I use have had great with battery life and trigger speed.

Talk to Farmers

The last, and probably most important, technique to learning a new property is actually the easiest. I spend lots of time in the bluff country driving and scouting for big whitetail deer and any chance I get to chat with a farmer I take full advantage. No one knows more about the area the farmers who are there 24/7! Where are they seeing deer? Have they seen any big bucks? What are the plans for crops this year? I even have a few farmers’ cell phones I will call in early October to see how the harvest is going. Nothing better than hunting a newly harvest corn field! Being personable and friendly can go a long way, and may help you know a bit more about the deer you are hunting.


A friendly encounter with a farmer will give more information than days of summer scouting.

Try these three techniques and I promise you will be more successful this fall; if nothing else you will certainly have a better understanding of the whitetails on your property. Now is a great time to do it – the season is weeks away and fall weather is just around the corner, check back for my hit list bucks in Minnesota and Wisconsin as I dive deeper into my new properties.

Some tools that I use while scouting can be found right here on bowhunting.com:

NEW Drury Outdoors' Whitetail Titles Hit Stores May 15!

by Bow Staff 14. May 2010 06:37
Bow Staff

Drury Outdoors’ Whitetail Titles Hit Stores May 15th, and as always Bowhunting.Com will have them!

For the die-hard whitetail hunter, their arrival marks the beginning of the countdown to opening day. And this year's May 15 release of the flagship whitetail titles from Drury Outdoors will push the anticipation into overdrive with an onslaught of giant buck kills and encounters the Team is calling "Head, Rack and Shoulders Above the Rest." Whitetail Madness® 13, Dream Season® 13 and Volume 10 in the 100% Wild Fair Chase® series feature 50 on-camera kills not seen on TV, with a total of nine gross booners hitting the turf.
 
Whitetail Madness® 13 catalogs a year of big-buck fanaticism from shed hunting in March to the blowing snow of the late muzzleloader season. Of the 16 kills by bow, gun and muzzleloader, 7 score over an astounding 150".  Dream Season® 13 continues the Drury Team's redefinition of the American dream - sharing the hunt with family. Bonds are reinforced and plenty of huge bucks hit the turf in this year's edition. To complete the hat trick, Volume 10 in the 100% Wild Fair Chase® series is a killer compilation of how-to lessons from the previous nine seasons in the timber.
 
"Each year, we set out to raise the bar on not only our own previous titles, but every other whitetail production out there. This season, more than any other, we've set a far-reaching precedent. The heart-pounding encounters and sheer inches of antler we laid down were nothing short of amazing, and we can't wait for the American whitetail hunter to experience it," said Mark Drury.
 
The three new DVDs hit shelves everywhere May 15, marking Drury Outdoors' 21-year anniversary and the dramatic continuation of mantra deer hunters know well - Our Videos Are Different.

Buy them here!

Ohio's Real 320" Buck could become the Largest Non-Typical ever Taken by Bowhunter!

by Bow Staff 3. November 2009 15:45
Bow Staff

When you think about it, I mean really think about it. It almost seems completely absurd that over the past 40 years of deer hunting some of the greatest whitetail bucks of all-time came not from today's "golden age", but rather from yesterday's first few seasons. You know.. before the compound was even a drawing and shotguns rarely fired over 40 yards.

The Jordan buck, which once stood at the top of the pile of giant typical bucks for nearly 80 years. Mel Johnson's incredible bow typical from Illinois taken in 1965. And of course the 1962 record non-typical Del Austin bow trophy, which is nearly unthinkable considering how few and far between deer encounters must have been way back when in Nebraska Mr. Austin. Not to mention the scarcity of food plots in the early to late 60's.

Could one of these bow records be at an end? Finally?

On October 19th, 2009, an Ohio hunter took this spectacular non-typical which is said to boast nearly 320" of bone on his head! While the staff here at Bowhunting.Com slightly disagrees with these early estimates, we have no doubt he topples the 280" mark. The hunter, who's name has yet to be identified, reportedly even has the match set from this buck after last years shed season, those antlers go 260"!

 

The hunting community as a whole is not yet sure on the weapon that was used, however early speculation is that the giant was taken with a crossbow.

Little more information is known at this time on this whitetails chances of becoming the new world record non-typical whitetail buck taken with a bow. The staff at Bowhunting.Com is dedicated to bringing this story to the surface and will hopefully be updating this story as it further develops. If you have any information on this possible record buck please don't hesitate to send it our way. You can email us at info@bowhunting.com.

Whitetail Buck versus Bucket! Captured on trailcam?

by Bow Staff 6. April 2009 09:58
Bow Staff

Imagine if you will, for just a moment, its archery deer season. You are in your treestand, perched over your favorite funnel where so many whitetails have met their maker. Its early morning still as the sun’s rays just peak over the eastern skies. The air is cool and the wind is calm. An almost perfect morning waits it’s unfolding. You slowly stand now; making sure the bow’s within reach, stretching your anxious legs.

In the distance you catch a faint glimpse of an object moving through the low brush. You know instantly what it is… a deer! Time dwindles by as the darker shadow grows larger now and the picture more clear… it’s a… it’s a… a buck??

Your hand already has grasped your bow, feet already moved into position. But to your own surprise something is just not right before you. You see the long tines of a buck as he nears, but something doesn’t seem correct. “Is that a raccoon in his rack”? You mumble to yourself, as you begin staring more intently at the now even closer deer.

As he passes within range your bow surprises you at full draw, and you don’t even know how it got there. Your pin finds the mark, settling just behind the buck’s shoulder. A moment later you release the deer’s final breath, and a mere 40 yards later, the buck falls.

Of course the story above is entirely false, but we at Bowhunting.com wonder what it might be like for such an animal to walk into our woods. What our reaction would be? What your reaction might be?

Do you shoot? Do you pass? Would the entire experience throw you for such a loop that it would cause the entire opportunity to just completely pass you by?

Our answers might different from yours, but we all agree that if any of us had an opportunity to take this buck and successfully did; we’d have a mount on our walls with a 5 gallon bucket still clutched within it’s rack. Cause, why wouldn’t you? What a story that would tell!

What would you do if such an animal, a whitetail buck complete with bucket, presented such a shot?

                                                                                                                                                                                       If this whitetail buck presented you with a shot... would you take it?
Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Shed Antler Hunting heats up in March!

by Mike Willand 8. March 2009 14:51
Mike Willand

Shed antler hunting can sometimes best be described as a search for a needle in a haystack, a really big haystack! We all try it, or make our best attempts to, with sometimes great and/or limited success. But why? Why are some shed hunters so very successful at this new found pastime and others so, dare we say it, inept? Perhaps ill-informed is a better way to describe those that struggle finding these treasures which shed from our favorite game species every year.

Shed hunting has become extremely popular over the past decade, and rightfully so, as it helps further our cultural obsession to know and understand more about the very game we hunt. Sometimes even to the point of just a particular animal that we desire. It can help us become better woodsman, better friends, and even better stewards of the land. Shed hunting today is part of the 365 day modern hunters’ arsenal.

Where to look:

Finding a shed antler is not always about getting out to just any piece of ground. It’s a numbers game, and you’ll have better odds of picking 1 or 2 up if you are looking where larger populations of bucks have spent the late winter or early spring.

Start with the food.

The preferred food sources, and nearby them, are where you are likely to find the most sheds this or any season. These food sources include corn, hay, bean, even milo fields. Where snowfall is less of a factor or these food sources are rare, solid acorn mast and/or browse within the woods can often produce a few whitetail sheds for the hunter. It is important to understand that not all food sources are created equally. Factors include adequate bedding proximity and, like hunting, sometimes human and/or other predator pressures.

The food sources that are closest to good winter bedding areas are often best. They must offer some sort of visual protection for the whitetail, a place to get out of the wind, and often a place in which the suns rays can hammer on throughout most of the day. Pay special attention to deadfalls and/or hillsides that face the southern or eastern skies as they will see much more of the shortened day’s sun. In big swamp country, small islands within cattails and the outside edges are often the best place to look for a bedded buck in winter’s months. Same goes for his sheds.

A popular way to seek out which food sources are holding the greatest numbers of deer is through visual scouting. Many shed hunters simply drive around much of late winter searching and scanning over nearby fields. Armed with a good pair of binoculars, these shed hunters will note which fields are seeing the most amount of deer traffic, and more importantly, buck traffic. It’s within these fields that most of these shed hunters will start their hunt for shed antlers within the following weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                           Where food sources are limited or deer populations are high, whitetail sheds like the one pictured above, can often be found in or on the edges of CRP fields. 

What to look for:

Seasoned shed hunters know that looking first for color is a very deceiving practice while searching for shed antlers. Mainly because shed antlers can have so many different hues ranging from darker browns, into yellows, and a frosty white. These colors can hide very effectively in fields of cut corn or shaded downfalls, places where these antlers are so often found.

Most shed hunters agree that it’s best to search for the sharp curves or points of a shed. Keeping ones vision out away from you between 5 and 20 yards while walking, constantly reminding yourself what you are looking for. This is important while shed hunting since so many of us are animal hunters as well. Often, a want to look around for other deer sign like scrapes or rubs can be an antler seeker’s worst enemy.

Below you will find a small selection of “as they lay” pictures of whitetail antlers. These pictures are a perfect example of what you are looking for in your fields or woods. Notice the sharp points, and/or curves. They are noticeably different when compared with the grasses, leaves, and timber edges which surround them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Pictured above, this antler was the only sharper object in a sea of dried CRP grasses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             A shed antler's tines sneak up through the snow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             On a overcast day in early February, this antler's sharp tines almost glow against a backdrop of leaves.

                                                                                                                                                                           The sharp main beam and last tine of this antler can be hard to see on a sunny day where shadows play visual tricks on the shed hunter. Notice the "softer" edges of the surrounding flora. The antler is the only "hard" lined object in the picture above. Can you see it?

When to go shed hunting:

Certainly time restraints have great impact on any individual who is seeking a good day in the field shed hunting. However, certain weather conditions exist which can help or impair any antler seeker.

Extremely sunny days with high skies can be the most difficult days for a hike. These days cast heavy shadow into the woods and fields even, making it very difficult to spot antler tines from greater distances. Cloudy, overcast conditions are much more suitable for antler hunting. If you must go on a sunnier day, leave earlier and search just before the sun has risen high enough to cast a good shadow. Or search in the last couple hours of daylight when antlers begin to almost glow with the setting sun.

Conditions where rain has just fallen over several hours followed by grey skies are perhaps the shed hunters’ best friend. These conditions often make the antler shine brightly in fields and woodlots. Antlers in these conditions can really stick out, sometimes being seen from 30 yards or more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Even darker colored antlers can almost GLOW after sitting out in the rain for several hours. These wet conditions make for a shed antler hunters best friend.

What the shed antler can tell you.

Shed antlers are the fingerprints of a whitetail buck. Unlike the rub, the scrape, or a giant bed, a shed antler is specific to the animal that has left it there. It can help us determine a more accurate age, certain tendencies, and even particular patterns of a specific buck. Combined with modern trail camera pictures, these antlers can have a grave impact on discerning a particular whitetail’s true home range, sometimes even his preferred bedding sites. In all, they can help us become a better, more understanding big game hunter.

Bowhunting.com staff and its readers are always interested in your take on shed antler hunting. Do you feel it can better help you as a hunter? And what, if any, tips can you give to fellow shed hunters in order for them to succeed more each day while seeking out this earthly treasure.

Please leave your comments below.

Hunting Late Season Food Sources

by John Mueller 22. December 2008 12:56
John Mueller

Hunting late season food sources can be very rewarding and also very frustrating at times. The deer have been hunted for months and are extremely wary about coming out in the open during daylight at this time of year. A lot of times they won’t show up until right at dark.

 

It’s also very easy for them to spot the hunters in the trees this time of year. All of the leaves are off the trees and there is no cover left for the hunter. With it being extra cold this year we tend to move around a lot on stand and the deer pick up this movement. Next thing you know you’re BUSTED and a snort and waving tails is all that’s left.

 

I have also been caught sneaking into my stands this year. The deer tend to bed close to their food source in the late season. This conserves energy by not having to travel very far in the snow and cold temps. So we need to take extra care to avoid being spotted on the way to our stands. Walking in the middle of fields away from the woods line might be one way to keep from being spotted. Another might be sneaking up a ditch or in a creek bottom.

 

Last weekend I hunted over my turnip plot. I took the long way around the top of the field and walked straight into my stand from the middle of the field. I wasn’t spotted by any deer that I know of. The deer have really been eating the turnips since the weather turned cold.

 

 

 

The deer have really been hammering my trunips lately.

 

 

I had this button buck come in early in the afternoon sit. He fed for quite a while from 10-20 yards in front of me. It was funny hearing him crunching on the turnips. I’ll let grow up a few more years.

 

This little button buck was crunching on the turnips 10 yards in front of me. He gets a free pass for few more years.

 

A half hour or so before dark I could see a group of does slowly making their way to the food plot. They would nibble a bit here and there then scan the woods for any danger, move a few yards closer and scan the woods some more. Forage in the leaves for anything edible and sample the air for any foreign odors. Standing in one spot for what seemed like forever looking for anything out of place. I thought they were going to follow a trail upwind of me into the plot, but they all headed downwind of me. When the first one hit my scent stream, she locked up and went on full alert. Started stomping her foot and stuck her nose as high as she could into the air. One more wiff of me and she started snorting and bounded about 75 back into the woods. Once a safe distance away she continued blowing for another 5 minutes before they all took of over the hill, flags waving. That was the end of that hunt.




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