Deer season has been over for several months now. Some hunters are OK with waiting for fall to roll back around, but most are ready to get outdoors and enjoy what summer has to offer. Now is the perfect time to start shooting your bow at home, at a 3-D course, or in a league.
Maybe you are looking to purchase a new bow, or just tune the one you already have. It varies among archers how often they bring their bow in for a check-up, but I recommend not waiting more than 2 years. If your gear sees a lot of action, bring it to the shop yearly.
Now is the time to make changes to your bow and accessories if at all possible. Two years ago, my bow limb cracked while I was hunting out of state waiting for my home opener. With only three days before the Illinois bow season opened, I was buying a new bow. Now this was something that was out of my control, but too many hunters make changes too close to the beginning of season that could and should have been done months before.
Don’t make changes, like a new arrow rest or type of broadheads, and expect your arrows to fly true. To avoid frustration and undo stress, make any changes to your gear as early in the year as you can. This will give you plenty of time to work out any flaws in your set-up, and to get your arrows shooting tight groups.
Something as simple as changing the type of release you use can cause negative consequences to your shooting. Knowing this, make any changes to your equipment, what is on your bow, or in your quiver as early as you can.
It is especially important to make changes early if you are buying a new bow, shafts or broadheads. Even though I killed a nice deer eleven days after having to purchase the new bow I mentioned before, I feel lucky to have been able to get my bow ready in time. Under normal circumstances it would have taken me the entire summer to feel comfortable enough to take a new bow to the woods.
One thing hunters do not think about are the muscles used to pull a bow back. These muscles are rarely used for other activities, and take some time to get built up. The best way to do this is to shoot your bow every day. Not only will you become a better shot, but your muscles will have gained the necessary strength back.
I mentioned at the very beginning of this article about getting out and shooting your bow, or joining a league. I can’t think of anything better to get you prepared for the upcoming season. Not only does practice make you a better shot, but the more time you spend shooting, your confidence will skyrocket and you will be a better hunter for it. If you are confident hitting a target at 30-yards, a 15-yard shot at a deer will be simple.
Also, practice helps you judge distance. Rangefinders are nice, and I recommend all hunters having one, but you can’t rely on one at all times. With practice at unknown yardage, judging distance will be easier when the battery is dead on your rangefinder, or you don’t have time to use it.
A change that sometimes skips the mind of hunters is that you might have to adjust your sight pins if you increase or decrease the poundage your are pulling. It might also mean changing the size of the arrow you are shooting if you change you draw weight.
Fall is the best time to be a deer hunter, but hunting is a year-round endeavor, and that includes having your bow ready.
The best bowshot that a hunter can take on an elk is when it’s standing broadside. The amount of penetration required to hit a vital organ is minimal when an elk is standing broadside. This shot placement is also the best when try to hit both lungs in one shot which would result in the collapses of both lungs and a much quicker death. You’ll need to make sure that you adjust for elevation before you take your broadside shot. You can find the best spot by following up the back of the front leg 1/3 to 1/2 up the chest cavity of the elk. By using that method you’ll find that your arrow is now aimed at the center of both lungs and the top of the heart. If the elk happens to have its front legs spread apart then simply just follow up the upside down v-shape of the legs 1/2 to 1/3 up to the chest.
The quartering away shot isn’t ideal for larger game such as elk due to the positioning of their intestinal tracts and that their girth is broader than small game such as deer. The positioning of an elk’s intestinal tracts will degrade arrow penetration and while it may mortality wounded it can suffer for days and make recovery impossible. Sometimes the contents of an elk’s stomach can decrease the arrow’s energy and even prevent the arrow from reaching any vital organs.
If you do attempt to use this type of shot placement on an elk it’s important that you wait for the best possible quartering away shot. The best spot to place your razor tipped arrow will be in line with the far front leg about one-third to one-half up the elk’s body cavity. The bow hunter needs to try and take shot that will penetrate both lungs and the heart while passing through as little intestines as possible. The actual location where you attempt your shot will be different each time and depend which way the animal is quartering away. Never take a quartering away shot if you are farther than your effective range
Do you wish you had a job that would allow you to bowhunt more?
There just never seems to be enough time to pursue our passion. We’re either going to work early, working late, we work far from home, or have to work weekends.
Believe it or not, but there are some jobs out there that are bowhunter friendly. They offer good hours that allow hunters to spend more time in the woods. The staff at Bowhunting.com has compiled eight jobs that are bowhunter-friendly.
There are a few major up sides of owning your own business, no matter what industry it’s in. I owned a small company for about 5 years before merging with another larger company. I was lucky enough to have a hand full of employees that I could trust to handle things when I was not around. So when deer season rolled around, I could cut out half way through the day to go hunting. This allowed me to go hunting just about every evening during deer season. Of course, when you own your own business you don’t have to ask for time off either. So planning your vacation around the rut is pretty simple… [continued]
Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Muzzy Outdoors, the makers of the world’s number-one selling fixed-blade broadhead, has partnered with Gold Tip to offer ready-to-shoot Muzzy “Bad to the Bone” Arrow package. This new package allows archers to spend more time in the field hunting and less time setting up their bows.
The new “Bad to the Bone” Arrow package combines Gold Tip’s popular pre-fletched and nocked .340 carbon arrows with the bone-crushing Muzzy 3-blade 225 100 grain-broadhead. The arrows are pre-cut to 29.5 inches to fit most archer’s bow setups and have a straightness of ± .006 inch and weight tolerance of ± 2.0 grain. The hardened-steel Trocar tip on the Muzzy 225, cuts on contact and shatters bone, providing maximum penetration. The aluminum ferrule is precision machined and the blades are precisely oriented for maximum arrow flight stability and to minimize planing.
Designed for draw weights up to 70 lbs., the Muzzy “Bad to the Bone” Arrow package comes with three fletched and nocked arrows, three Muzzy 225 broadheads and three 100-grain field points. The package is available at retailers nationwide and conveniently online atwww.muzzy.comfor a suggested retail price of $49.99.
Founded in 1984, Muzzy is the number-one name in fixed-blade broadheads, and it is a pioneer in the art of bowfishing. A division of FeraDyne Outdoors, Muzzy is headquartered in Superior, Wis. For more information on the full line of Muzzy’s fixed-blade broadheads and state-of-the-art bowfishing equipment, contact Muzzy Outdoors, LLC, 101 Main Street, Superior, WI 54880; call 866-387-9307; or visitwww.muzzy.com.
Don’t worry, Muzzy also has crossbow hunters covered too.
Muzzy Outdoors, the makers of the world’s number-one selling fixed-blade broadhead, has taken the guesswork out of setting up a crossbow for both practice and hunting by combining a super durable bolt, with a universal nock system and a bone-crushing broadhead.
The Muzzy “Bad to the Bone” Bolt package features the Muzzy 225 Crossbow 3-Blade, 100-grain broadhead that is designed with an aircraft-grade aluminum ferrule, stainless steel blades and the legendary bone-busting Trocar tip. The ferrule is designed to perfectly match the diameter of the bolt for increased accuracy and penetration. Each bolt comes pre-fletched and is compatible with either Omni or Half-Moon nocks.
The new Muzzy “Bad to Bone” bolt package comes with three Victory bolts—in either 20- or 22-inch lengths—three Muzzy 225X 100-grain broadheads, three field points, three Omni nocks and three Half-Moon nocks. This ready-to-shoot bolt package is available at retailers nationwide and conveniently online at www.muzzy.com for a suggested retail price of $49.99.
Deer season has been over for months. The long honey-do list is finally completed. Is all of this time spent away from hunting making you uneasy? If you choose, you can watch hunting shows and read magazine articles for the next few months to take care of your hunting needs until deer season opens up again, however, a far more exciting option would be to pick up your archery gear and chase wild hogs.
Some of the best year-round hog hunting can be found in states like Alabama, California, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. More than 30 states have breeding populations of wild hogs. At the current rate, it is very possible in 10 years nearly every state will have established populations of wild hogs.
Many ranchers and farmers will allow hog hunting on their property for little of nothing. I have hunted some prime hog ground in Texas for as little as $75 per day. That price often includes lodging. Many of these ranches can be found on the Internet.
There is also good public land hunting in most states with no limit to the number of pigs a hunter can kill. Use the Internet to search a state’s wildlife agency for more information.
Another option is when one of the many outfitters runs a special for wild hogs, which is usually once the more popular big game hunting seasons are closed. While the ground is still covered with snow in the northern regions of the country, you can head to the sunny southern states to extend your hunting season.
Hogs can be hunted using several different methods. The most popular are spot-and-stalk hunting and hunting out of a stand or ground blind with or without bait.
Knowing what and where the hogs are eating, whether it is at a timed feeder or at a natural food source, such as clover, alfalfa, acorns or grain fields, is an effective way to hunt hogs.
Because hogs do not have sweat glands, hanging a treestand or putting a ground blind near a water source is often productive. When the weather turns hot, hunters can easily find hogs that are trying to cool off in water and mud.
Another choice location for a stand is where hogs are rooting for insects. A sounder of hogs can upturn acres of ground in one night. They eat grubs and termites out of rotten logs and eat insects and earthworms from the ground. When a hunter comes across an area hogs have been rooting, there will be no mistaking that hogs are close.
Early morning and late evening are the best times to be on stand because it catches the hogs off guard as they approach their favorite acorn crop or food plot. Sit off a trail that leads to a wallow to intercept a hog that needs to cool off during the heat of the day.
Hunting near timed feeders (where legal) is one of the easiest ways to hunt for feeding hogs. Feeders that are programmed to start dispensing food at certain times of the day are popular amongst both hunters and wild pigs. Hogs quickly learn the schedule of the feeders and will be there when they start scattering food or shortly thereafter.
Mechanical feeders can be quite expensive. Timed feeders are preferred by most hunters, but if you would rather not invest a couple hundred dollars into a feeder there are other options.
Kernels of corn or even corn that is still on the cob can be used as bait. Spread the corn on the ground in open areas close enough you can hunt without the fear of being seen. Hogs do not see well, but do not press your luck. Meadows, logging roads, pastures and near hog trails are all good choices.
Give the hogs time to find the corn. You should pre-bait the area a couple of days before you hunt. At first light on the third day make sure you are in position to intercept the hogs as they are traveling to the bait. I can almost bet the hogs will come by sooner than later.
I have never used commercial hog baits, though I know hunters who have and swear by them. Commercial baits are a sweet smelling lure that attracts hogs and are normally combined with corn for best results. Though I have never used commercial baits, I have never heard complaints from hunters who use them religiously.
I recommend hunting the trails leading to the bait and to not hunt over the bait itself. If you shoot or injure a hog at the bait, other hogs will begin to associate the bait with danger. If that’s the case, the hogs could stay away for several days. Killing a hog on a trail will not interfere with the hogs wanting to visit the bait.
Archery hunters should stay put after arrowing a hog on a trail. Hogs will probably be confused but most likely not scared yet. I have seen hogs disperse in different directions when a shot hog begins squealing only to come back down the same trail a few minutes later. Take advantage of hogs that might come back. Eventually the hogs are going to catch on to the danger.
Just like reading deer sign is important to deer hunters, reading hog sign is important to hog hunters, especially if you want to attempt a stalk. If you are not in known hog country, you could walk for hours without seeing a pig. Knowing where the hogs are eating early and late in the day is as important as knowing where the hogs are hanging out during the rest of the day. Do not scout for hog sign too far in advance; wait until the day before you hunt before doing any scouting. Hogs move around a lot and could be in one place today and miles away the next. Begin your scouting close to water and dense cover. Hogs can be found anywhere, but that is where they prefer to bed and travel.
The best way to find a hog to attempt to stalk is by either using your binoculars or driving your vehicle and looking for them in known hangouts. Definitely do not forget about water. Hogs use it to both drink from and wallow in.
One of the best ways to find where hogs have been and hopefully will be again is old fashioned foot work. Some sure-fire sign that hogs leave behind is obvious. Foot prints left by hogs, mud that they wallow in and damaged trees are hard evidence that hogs have been around recently.
It is easy for a hunter to know when he has found a wallow. Hogs urinate and defecate in their wallows. Your nose will tell you if hogs are using it as a wallow or not.
Look for trees that hogs are rubbing against with their sides and backs and sharpening their tusks on. Hogs often use the same tree over and over again. After time the trees will finally die. A mature boar will leave slash marks higher off the ground than a young hog will. When you find where hogs are destroying the trees, most often cedars and pines, it confirms that hogs are in the area.
Early in the morning check water that has hog sign. If you spot a pig, attempt your stalk from the downwind side before the mercury rises and the hogs search out shade to bed down in.
Clover, alfalfa, grain fields and acorns are a favorite of and often frequented by hogs. In late afternoon glass these areas for feeding hogs. Once you spot feeding hogs attempt a stalk while using the wind to keep from getting busted.
Another tactic hunters can use is to combine bait with stalking. This is by far the most successful way to stalk a hog. Hogs are a noisy bunch when they are eating. Hunters can often hear hogs at a feeder or other pre-baited location long before they see the hogs. Again, from the downwind side, quietly try to stalk within range.
Hogs can be a tough animal to recover once they are shot. Knowing where the vitals lay can increase your odds for a quick recovery. There is an armored like plate that sits over the hog’s shoulders. The purpose of the plate is to protect its vitals from the tusks of other hogs during a fight. Overtime, this shield can get very thick, making it tough to penetrate with a broadhead. A high percentage shot would be to aim in the back third of the hog’s ribs as he is quartering away from you.
A hog will not leave much of a blood trail. The high fat content on a hog causes wounds to quickly close. If your hog does not drop within eye-sight, a dog that has been trained to track wounded animals will often find your hog.
The next time the summer blues set in, or when you are ready to escape the cold go wild hog hunting. Long hunting seasons that are filled with plenty of action at a lot of hogs that will provide good food and a nice looking mount for your trophy room. What more can you ask for?
“Watch where you walk, and if you see brown leaves stay far away from them.That is an alligator nest, and she will kill you before you ever knew she was in the area.”Those are not the exact words you want a guide to tell you at the beginning of a hunt, but it is good advice that could probably save your life.
When I had the chance to hunt alligators and wild hogs at Razzor Ranch in Florida, I quickly said yes. This hunt was full of excitement, the guides worked hard, and the scenery was amazing.
My gator was not a giant, measuring 6-feet, 11-inches.It was actually the smallest gator of the 5 our group took.But I set out and did what I had intended to do from the very beginning, which was to harvest a gator with my bow.
My setup included my PSE Stinger 3G set at 60 pounds, Carbon Express Maxima Hunter arrows tipped with 125 grain broadheads from DirtNap Gear.It was the first time I have hunted with these broadheads, and they did an exceptional job on the gator.
That was my thought process on states that allow baiting for deer as a legal hunting method.As a hunter that has never hunted in a state that allows baiting for deer as a legal hunting practice, it was hard for me to except the practice.Until I tried it.
I grew up hunting whitetails in Illinois, and other Midwestern states.I had never had the opportunity to hunt over bait, and never thought I would take the opportunity.It just seemed too easy to me.Growing up on a grain farm, I knew firsthand how deer flocked to corn and soybeans.Plus, with all the deer “food” on the market with special ingredients to attract deer, it just didn’t seem fair to hunt over a bait pile.
When a friend invited me to hunt whitetails in Kentucky at Central Kentucky Outdoors the opening week of the 2016 season, I had mixed emotions.It was a great opportunity to harvest a velvet buck, but it would be over bait.
It should have been an easy decision, but it took me the better part of the week to say yes.We arrived in Kentucky the day before the archery season opened, and did some scouting.The deer were definitely there, and coming to the bait.The temperature for the week was going to see highs in the low 90’s, and the acorns were dropping steadily.If anything could mess up hunting deer over bait, those two factors would do it.
Another obstacle when hunting early season whitetails in September is the huge mosquito population.It was not something I had thought about going in to the hunt, but luckily I had my Thermacell lantern packed in my truck.The lantern is not typically thought of for hunting, but it saved the hunt in my opinion.
Our outfitter, Jeff Braasch, had plenty of trail cameras of big bucks visiting the food, but the temperatures had most activity at night.There were a couple bucks showing up in the evening at one farm right before dark.
Knowing this information, our first hunt would be on one part of the leased property where some doe management was required, and one particular old doe that was blind in one eye was on the hit list.John had trail cam photos of this doe for the past 6 years, and he would like to see her removed.Evidently, this doe would not allow other does and bucks to eat, and it was time to remove her genes from the herd.
Getting in our stands about 30 minutes before first light on opening day, I was already thinking of recipes for the doe I would shoot as soon as the feeder went off.Shortly after first light, well before the feeder went off, 2 young does walked within 10 yards of my stand.The shot opportunity was there, but I was holding out for the old doe.
She finally arrived about 15 minutes before the feeder turned on, and hung out in the area for a while.Finally, when she was standing broadside at 7 yards, I let an arrow fly.With a loud thud, the arrow sunk to the dirt as it flew over her back.
A lot of things played out in my mind as to why I missed her.Maybe it was the steep angle at close range, maybe it was doe fever.But, the bottom line is I missed her.
Later that afternoon, I made my way to a section of the property where a nice 9-pointer in full velvet had been seen coming to the bait just at dusk.
I hunted hard for 4 hours and the only action was coons, turkeys, and a few does.I learned something about hunting over bait that night.The bait does attract the wildlife, and in some cases, too much wildlife.If a buck would have approached the bait when the turkeys and does were there, I doubt I could have gotten a shot off without being busted.
The nest morning found me back in my doe stand, waiting for old one-eye.She never approached the feeder that morning, but there were plenty of does in the area, that it would only be a matter of time before I had one in the skinning shed.
There was no early activity that morning.Actually, it wasn’t until about an hour after the feeder went off that I had my first activity.Six does came through the area, circling wide around the corn that was on the ground in front of me.They were headed straight to the acorns.However, one doe strayed off track, and offered me a clear broadside shot at 21-yards.Again, my arrow sailed right over her back.
Disappointed, I returned to camp, ready to throw my bow in the nearest river. Instead, I took out the target, and made some practice shots.Somewhere along the way, my sights got bumped, and I was shooting high, very high.After a few shots, and some adjustments, I was once again hitting the bullseye.That was a good reminder to me to always take a couple practice shots after traveling.It is something I always do, but for some reason I failed to do it on this trip.
As it was getting closer to time to head to my stand for the evening, my confidence was up, and I knew that I was prepared to make a good shot.All I needed now was for a “shooter” buck to show up.
With about 45 minutes left in shooting light, the 9-pointer that we were wanting showed up from behind.Unfortunately, the buck and I noticed one another at the same time.The buck did a couple blows and bounced about 30 yards off.He knew something wasn’t right, but wasn’t for sure exactly what it was.
The buck continued to act nervous for the next 15 minutes, but he knew where he wanted to go.There was a 4-foot cattle fence separating him from the bait that was 20-yards to my front.Throwing caution to the wind, the buck traveled 100-yards down the fenceline before making the jump over.
Once over, the buck quickened his approach to the bait, where a doe already was.The buck still knew something was up, but between the bait and the doe that appeared to be in no danger, he thought it was worth the chance to proceed.
At 29-yards the buck stopped broadside and began to show signs of being nervous.I knew that if I was going to shoot that this was probably going to be my only chance.Pulling my bow back, I took a deep breath before settling my 30-yard pin tight behind his front leg.With the click of the release, the arrow traveled true as the Carbon Express Maxima Hunter tipped with a Rage Hypodermic made contact.Red blood immediately began to flow.
The buck traveled about 150-yards up a hill before staggering and finally falling.He bounced right back up, turned my direction, and ran directly towards the tree I was sitting in.At full speed, the buck crashed in to the cattle fence that my tree was nestled against.With a backwards somersault, the buck came to his final resting place.
The 9-point was not in velvet, but had been the previous day according to trail cam photos.I had no idea that bucks lost their velvet that quick.Regardless of being in velvet or not, I was proud of this buck.I overcome two misses, made a perfect shot on a nice buck, and walked away with a better understanding of states that allow baiting.As hunters, who are we to judge hunting practices?We should support hunting as long as it is done in a legal and ethical manner.The weapon of choice, and to bait or not to bait should not be questioned.
My Kentucky buck measured 133 4/8-inches and field dressed at 206 pounds.He was not my biggest buck I have ever killed, but one I will never forget.Along with the lessons I learned, it was a trip I will never forget.