Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by admin on 16 Dec 2009

Checker That Bow Handle With A Few Tools And A Lot Of Patience. By Tommy L. Bish

Checker That Bow Handle
You Can Add Beauty And Accuracy To That Bow
With A Few Tools And A Lot Of Patience.
By Tommy L. Bish


 One of the most irritating and distracting occurrences that can happen to a nervous archer during a tournament shoot or it hunting session is to have the handle section of his bow become as slippery as a greased hog, allowing that hold to slip just when that all important shot is about to be released.

 Some shooters have wrapped their bow handles with black friction tape or adhesive, others have eliminated the slick surface by wrapping the handle with leather strips.

 In the majority of these cases of “applied preventatives,” they look like …!

 To wrap a beautiful bow with tape or similar foreign material in order to prevent hand slipping is unnecessary.  There are methods of improving both the bow’s appearance as well as your shooting potential.

 For several hundred years the art of checkering has been applied to wood and metal surfaces.  In some cases this checkering is executed solely for ornamentation, while in others, it is strictly for utilitarian purposes.  Checkering on a pistol grip or rifle stock is put there for the purpose of providing a better gripping surface for the hands.

 I suppose that there are hundreds of bows in existence that are adorned with checkering, but to date, I have yet to see my first one.  I do not claim that my idea of checkering the handle section of a bow is original, but I can attempt to disclose a few hints on just how this jov may be done by the novice on his own bow at minimum expense.

 The first requisite is to have reasonably good eye sight; second is the ability to concentrate solely upon a tedious, precision-type job with unlimited patience!

 The tools necessary for the job are few.  The ones I utilized in preparing this article are those produced by the Dem-Bart Company, of Tacoma, Washington.  Those tools are precision made and are highly efficient in turning out professional type work, providing they are properly used.  They are available in most gunshops and are inexpensive when one considers that they will last literally a lifetime, periodic replacement of the dulled cutting heads being the only requirement to return these tools to service.  The set of tools shown on these pages are something like fifteen years old and still as efficient as thy were when brand new.

 All checkering tools are classed by size as to how many lines they will cut to the inch.  The tools best suited for a bow handle, to my way of thinking, are those that cut sixteen lines to the inch.  While this size tool will create larger diamonds that the eighteen, twenty or twenty four lines-to-the-inch tools, they will prove to be the easiest for the amateur to handle in his first attempt at checkering.

 The components of the sixteen-line tool set are classified as 2-16, 3-16, and 4-16.  In addition to this three piece set, you will need an S-1 tool which is necessary for getting into the tight corners during the “cleaning-up” operation when the checkering job is almost completed.  You will also need a B-1 bordering tool and a three-cornered Swiss needle rifle, the latter bent slightly on the pointed end.  A soft-lead pencil and a bench vise will complete the tools required.










 The beginner, after assembling the necessary tools, should obtain a piece of seasoned walnut or some similar wood that has been smoothed on one side for the purpose of laying out a simple design on which he can practice the use of the tools.  It is best for the beginner to draw a simple, straight-sided design, then completely checker and border this design before attempting to tackle the job of working on his pet bow.  Practice makes perfect, and this especially applies to the use of checkering tools.  Perfection comes only after long practice with these particular tools.

 After considerable practice in handling the few tools necessary for a good checkering job, the amateur then may lay out a simple design on the bow handle, itself.  This is possibly best achieved by grasping the bow just as you normally would in shooting, then trace an outline, with a soft lead pencil, completely around those sections of the hand that actually contact the bow.  It is this outlined area that should receive the checkering treatment.

 Following this sketching of a rough outline of your hand, the bow then is placed in a bench vise having jaws protected with either felt or cork.  Here the outline is retraced and refined into a simple design that will add to the bow’s beauty when finished.  Next, take the Swiss needle file in hand and lightly scribe this penciled outline until you have a V-shaped slot completely around the design.  This slot created by the needle file now replaces the previously penciled line and will act as the master outside guide line for the checkering tools.  This line means stop for the checkering tools so don’t over run it.  In the final phases of the job, this slot will be utilized to guide the bordering tool in its final outlining.  To overrun this guide line will result in unnecessary “touch-up” work.

 The checkering tools are so designed, that if properly used, they will cut perfect little diamonds in perfect alignment, providing the workman has used the tool properly and has used common sense in his design.  Too, the cross-cut, which actually forms the diamonds when the cutter is passed across other lines at a fifteen degree angle, must be made carefully.  Care should be taken to make certain that the cutters are clean by occasionally brushing them with a bronze suede brush.  This assures that none of the tiny diamonds are chipped out due to a clogged checkering cutter.

 A well layed out design  will produce a matting of hundreds of tiny, sharp, peaked diamonds upon the surface.  This can be accomplished only if three things are kept in mind:  First, the angle of the cross cut must be compatible with those that they cross in order to form perfect diamonds.  Second, cutting heads of the checkering tools must be kept clean.  Third, the checkering, itself, must be kept free of wood dust and cuttings by brushing often with an old tooth brush.  If these requisites are followed, a beautiful, professional appearing job will result.

 The cutting heads are used with a short, gentle stroke on the first cutting, then this stroke is lengthened as the cut is deepened.  With each stroke of the cutters, gentleness of touch is absolutely necessary.  Otherwise, the small diamonds being formed under the cutters will be torn loose and a sloppy job will result.

 After checkering of the necessary area, it is finished off by following the initial guide line around the outer perimeter with the bordering tool.  This tool will add “that finished look” to the checkered area by outlining it with a bead-like border which is finally touched up with the use of the Swiss needle file.  The “V” slot mentioned earlier is now utilized as a guide rail for the bordering tool.
 With the final bordering completed, the entire area is given a thorough, but gentle brushing with an old tooth brush, or some similar brush, to rid it of wood dust and cuttings.  A mild dressing such as lemon oil is then applied to the raw wood.  Never use a thick dressing such as varnish or lacquer on checkering as this tends to fill in the slight cuts forming the diamonds, rendering the checkering ineffectual for a better holding surface on the bow’s handle.

 It was found, during the course of checkering the illustrated bow, that the Bubinga wood in the riser and handle section was much harder than any used in gunstocks but in spite of the cutters being slightly dulled by the ordeal of cutting this iron-like hardwood; plus slicing through sections of laminated glass used in this bow’s construction, they still cut perfect diamonds.

 To prevent having to replace your cutting heads, I would suggest that you lay out your design so that it will eliminate the possibility of having to pass your cutters over the glassed sections where possible.  That laminated glass is murder on any type of metal cutting tool, including a metal cutting hacksaw or bandsaw.,

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Published by admin on 16 Dec 2009

Nutritional Bowhunter By Patrick Cillbrith

Nutritional Bowhunter
Become a stronger, more alert hunter by properly fueling your body
By Patrick Cillbrith


 Were you one of those hunters last fall huffing and puffing as you climbed a hill in an effort to get to your stand?  Maybe you were seen gasping for air as you moved closer to that big bull elk screaming his brains out amid the rugged landscapes of the Rockies?  If so, didn’t you wish you were in better shape?

 Maybe you are just strictly a whitetail-hunting fanatic who thinks staying in great shape is really for those high-country bowhunters.  You might think, “Why become a fitness goon when all I do is sit in a tree stand?”

 But, if you think this, you’d be dead wrong.  Every successful whitetail bowhunter I know agrees that being fit definitely works to your advantage.  For example, hanging tree stands in different locations, usually all in one day, is tough work.  Only by eating healthy and exercising a bit will you be able to slip around in those trees like a monkey.  Besides, if you can hang a stand like it’s a small chore, you’ll be easily motivated to move it when necessary (like when a big buck’s pattern says you need to) where out-of-shape bowhunters usually drag their heels… until eventually it’s too late.

 I’ve had many clients live the benefits of solid eating habits in an attempt to increase energy and improve alertness while hunting.  Below I have listed essential nutritional information along with a few pointers that will increase your chances of being in better shape come next hunting season.

Know What You Eat
 I have read many articles that emphasize the importance of nutrition for deer.  The end result leads to an improvement in antler growth and development.  Isn’t it ironic that we are so concerned about what the deer have to eat and yet on our way back from the stand we think nothing of grabbing a candy bar?  What if our nutrition was the sole factor in determining deer antler growth?  Most of us would throw that candy bar a mile and a half into the woods.

 Dr. Michael D. Hurt of Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines said, “The value of nutrition extends well beyond the scope of health. Individuals who consume a variety of foods, in the proper caloric allotment, can achieve optimal energy levels and state of mind throughout the day.”

 Hurt stressed the importance that frequency and timing of meals has a direct response to energy levels.  “In addition to satiety, our body functions best when provided with smaller, more frequent meals.  When compared to the above, the ‘three square meals a day’ philosophy is truly outdated.”

 Before delving into the technical aspects of nutrition, it is essential to note special health conditions and circumstances that exist which require individuals to be under the care of aphysician.  If you fall into this category, any information or recommendations provided below should yield to the instructions of your physician.

 The Various Foods
 Food can be broken down to two large groups, macronutrients and micronutrients.  The macro (large) nutrients have three sub groups: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  Let’s analyze the macronutrients first.

Building Blocks
 Protein is the only macronutrient that can be used for building and repairing essential body tissues and as an energy source.  Proteins play an intricate roll in every chemical reaction that takes place in your body.  Healthy muscle tissue and optimal brain function rely on proteins.  Maintaining the proper pH (acid/base balance) in your blood along with fluid balance would not occur without proteins.

 I want to caution you on the use of protein as a source of energy.  Protein is a very inefficient source of energy and should only be used as such when absolutely necessary.  The body can only efficiently use between .8 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body wight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds) in a day for tissue growth and repair.  Excess protein will either be used as energy or stored as fat.  Mega doses of protein increases the level of nitrogen in your body, which among other things causes the kidneys to work overtime.  Unless directed by your doctor, protein intake should never exceed 2 grams per kilogram of body weight.

 Proteins are composed of subunits refereed to as amino acids.  Our body requires 22 different amino acids, in a specific sequence, to synthesize body tissue proteins.  Complete proteins contain all of the amino acids necessary for support repair.  Incomplete proteins are missing one or more amino acids and must be combined with a different protein to provide the missing link.  The purposeful combination of two or more proteins to form a complete sequence of amino acids is referred to as a complementary protein.

Nutrients That Power Up!
 Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy.  Two types of carbohydrates exist: simple and complex.  Simple carbohydrates are those that break down very quickly and yield immediate energy.  Good examples are fruit, honey and sugars.  Complex carbohydrates commonly known as starches, break down slower but yield energy in a gradual manner over an extended period of time.  Some examples include wheat bread, pasta, potatoes and vegetables.  The ideal meal will include a combination of both simple and complex carbohydrates in an attempt to sustain consistent energy levels.


 The claim that sugar makes you fat is usually spoken by those who don’t have any idea what they are talking about.  All carbohydrates break down into a simple sugar called glucose.  Simply put, glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy.  When glucose (blood sugar) levels drop too low, fatigue and lethargy soon follow.  Many individuals also experience mild to moderate shaking in their extremities.  That is the last thing a hunter needs when drawing back on a 10-point buck.

Real Scoop on Fat
 Most consumers know that there are two types of dietary fat, saturated and unsaturated.  Saturated fat is found primarily in animal byproducts (i.e. fat found on flesh, butter , cream) and should be kept to a minimum.  The molecules are linear and thus can be tightly packed together.  This explains why they are difficult to break down.
 Nutrition experts recommend that we avoid processed foods due to the high levels of saturated fat and preservatives that are used to increase flavor.  For years physicians have cited concrete evidence indicating that diets high in saturated fat can increase the risk of heart attack, so put down those fatty burgers and greasy fries.

 Unsaturated fat is the good type of dietary fat.  The molecular configuration and subsequent organization of the fatty acids allow them to easily be disrupted by heat.  This means the body can dispose of them more efficiently than saturated fats.  Of the fat you eat, try to keep unsaturated fat in the majority.  The following is a good rule of thumb to determine if a fat is good or bad.  For example, if a fat source is solid at room temperature, then it should be kept to a minimum.  A few examples of healthy fats are Omega-3 fatty acids (the fat found in salmon) , olive oil and flax seed oil.

 In the wake of low-fat diets, I am here to promise you that too little fat in your diet can lead to as many problems as too much fat.  The key is balance.  The proper ration amount of dietary fat can dramatically improve levels of satiety, energy and health.

Disease Fighters
 The nutrition industry refers to vitamins and minerals as micronutrients.  Most, if not all, of the nutrients your body needs to function are available in the foods you eat.  A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables will provide your body with B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants that fight off the agents which can cause disease.  Meat, fish and dairy products provide essential fatty acids, certain B vitamins, and vitamins A, D and E.  All of the above foods contain minerals that help strengthen the body, prevent disease and aid in bone and tissue maintenance.

 Scientific studies indicate a diverse variety of healthy foods have proven to be the best way to get the micronutrients your body needs.  Food provides other healthy essentials such as fiber that can’t be found in a pill.  To use supplements in place of food or as an excuse for poor eating habits is a major health mistake.

 Your family doctor should first clear any supplement that you decide to take.  While many food supplements are harmless, some can be deadly.  Rare but dangerous interactions between certain medications and supplements have been known to occur.  Only your doctor is qualified to tell you what is acceptable to take.  The herbalist and the guy behind the counter at the local health food store are not acceptable substitutions.

 The above information should provide you with a solid base to interpret the sample menu on page (64).  Most hunters are notorious for under eating during the day.  I once heard a hunter say, “ if deer eat only twice a day then I don’t need more then breakfast and dinner when on stand.”  The fewer meals you eat the more your body slows its metabolism and sacrifices other bodily functions.  The body will attempt to maintain  life at all cost, even if it is to the detriment of your health.

Always Drink Water
 Every aspect of our body, ranging from healthy muscle tissue to kidney function, uses water to operate at an optimal level.  Because water is the solvent our body uses to conduct nearly all of its faculties, roughly 70 percent of a healthy body composition should be water.


 Hydration studies indicate that an average man will lose ¼ cup of water per hour in a sedentary state.  In my opinion, activities like tree stand hunting surpass sedentary energy requirements.  This is not like sitting on a couch and therefore your body is required to exert more energy to stay in stand.  Even on a cool day (30-40 degrees F) you could lose up to a ½ cup of water pr hour in a tree.  The key is to drink water consistently throughout the day to maintain hydration levels.  Try to drink 8 ounces of water before you go to stand to replace what you have lost overnight.

 I also recommend taking an additional 32 ounces of water to stand for each four- to five-hour hunt.  This means if it’s the peak of the fut and you plan to sit all day, take nothing less than 64 ounces of water for the entire hunt.  At first thought this may seem excessive, but keep in mind that waiting until the end of the day to rehydrate puts you well past the critical point affecting performance.  Even moderate net-water loss has noticeable effects on the body including lowering core temperature, reduced ability to concentrate, and mild to moderate shaking.

 If you are worried about having to jump out of stand to use the outhouse, the urge to urinate can be reduced by taking small sips on your water bottle periodically.  This way the body uses what it receives in a timely manner.  Try not to pound 16 ounces at 9:30 in the morning because by 11 you will wish that you hadn’t.

 If you plan to spot-and-stalk hunt out west, hydration requirements will dwarf those in comparison to still-hunting.  Due to many factors including elevation and climate, you may have to drink as much 8 ounces of water per hour depending on the intensity of your activity to stay in balance.  Proper hydration is a key component for staving off altitude sickness.  Anyone can be afflicted, but the individuals who reside at lower elevations are at the greatest risk.  There are even times when acute altitude sickness can require hospitalization.  This is a sure-fire way to ruin a great hunt.  Stay hydrated.

Weight Control
 A 1997 study was conducted in conjunction with the American Medical Association (AMA) in an attempt to determine the cause of our nation’s expanding waistline.  The findings concluded the average American consumes 260 more calories a day than he or she did 10 years ago.  So it is no surprise that our nation is getting fatter at the fastest rate in recorded history. 
 If you remember one thing about nutrition, memorize this statement: When calories in equals calories out, mass remains constant.  Forget what you have read about carbohydrates being the devil’s sidekick.  A meal after 8 p.m. won’t make you fat.  Fat grams alone will not tack on extra pounds.  What will cause your waistline to bulge is eating more calories than you expend (burn) in a 24-hour period.  As long as you live on earth this is not subject to debate, as it is a law of physics.

 People alive prior to the 20th century spent 60-plus hours a week in the field to support their family.  Today these events have been replaced by 40 sedentary hours at a desk.  If physical activity isn’t present in a job, then it must be attained through extracurricular activities (i.e. we must work out!).

 To some, food holds an emotional bond to happiness.  Others tend to eat out of boredom or habit.  Whatever category you fall into, the best way to address this issue is to first ask yourself why you practice your current eating habits.  This will often reveal the root of your weight problem.  Once established, you can effectively plan an attack on your issue(s).  Years of experience have taught me that diligence will eventually pay off.  Just a few corrections can put you on the path to better health.
 Having access to the best hunting ground in the world won’t help you bag a record-book buck if you aren’t in the timber.  Altering a few eating habits can make incredible changes in health, energy and strength.  Manage your lifestyle such that health is one of your top priorities.  The favor will be returned with more energized seasons, chasing the trophies you think so much about.

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Published by admin on 14 Dec 2009

Deep Freeze sophisticated layering approach. By Gary Simms

Deep Freeze
When conditions get bitter cold, fight off the chill with this
sophisticated layering approach.
By Gary Simms


 After five years of wearing T-shirts in November, the 2000 season produced a great opportunity to once again revisit the notion of staying warm.  I had almost forgotten what it felt like to have the inside of my nostrils freeze on a hard inhale.  That’s something that sticks with you—that’s cold!

 I spent the coldest part of last fall hanging from trees in central Kansas.  The Rocky Mountains were the nearest feature taller than the local elevator with any hope of deflecting the northwest winds, and they were 500 miles away.  The wind slammed me without letup for nearly the entire 12 days of my hunt.  With the temperatures in the single digits most mornings and rarely getting above the teens during the day it would have been a miserable time had I not luckily included a couple of pieces of clothing in my gear bag.  Actually, the items were incidental but they proved to be indispensable and opened my eyes to the importance of cutting the wind.

 I hadn’t packed enough clothing for such exposure, but I had brought along a lightweight fleece-lined nylon-shelled jacket and a pair of lined nylon sweatpants for casual wear.  After a couple of days I started wearing the jacket and sweats under my insulated camo outerwear.  Immediately, I was hunting in comfort for the rest of my trip.  I then spent a cold week on the plains of eastern Colorado in late December using the same system with similar results.

 After those hunts I began to study the many pieces of clothing on the market that could replace my crude system.  Things have really changed since the last time frigid temperatures forced me to take a closer look at the mail order catalogs.  Here are some of the great new products and concepts that I’ll be putting into service next time the mercury hits rock bottom.

Cutting the Wind
 Wearing windproof materials is one of the smartest things you can do if you want to stay warm (along with protecting your head).  In late fall and winter it is the wind that really makes for a cold and miserable experience on stand.  Anything you can do to cut it will keep you much warmer and will do it with less bulk.  Any of the modern waterproof membranes such as Gore-Tex, Dry Plus and Omni-Tech are also windproof.  Of course, you can also choose garments made from Gore’s Windstopper to achieve the same goal.
 Clothing made from laminated micro-fiber is becoming very popular but it is  not  a good choice for cold-weather hunting.  In most cases the fabric becomes stiff and noisy when the temperature gets below about 15 degrees.  The glue used to secure the synthetic fleece is what causes it to become stiff.

 I spoke with Van Larson from Due North Apparel about facemasks and headwear.  At the time, I was looking for a facemask lined with Windstopper, but Larson warned me away from that line of thinking.  According to Van, the head is the body’s thermostat and to work properly it relies on natural evaporative cooling.  When you impede the process by using a windproof membrane, the head reportedly loses its natural ability to sense and set the body’s temperature.

Creative Solutions for your Head
 The only part of your body that you should strive to protect better than your midsection is your head and neck.  An enormous amount of heat leaves the body through this area.  There are traditional solutions such as knit or fleece facemasks, neck gaiters and stocking caps that will do a good job, but now you also have a new option that serves double duty by actually warming the air before you breathe it.  The benefits of this are obvious.

 The now Polar Wrap Exchanger facemask received great reviews from my buddies that tried them last winter.  The system is fairly simple and intuitive; it works like a heat exchanger.  The facemast captures heat and moisture from your breath when you exhale and uses the energy to warm and humidify the air that comes into your lungs when you inhale.  Any facemask will do the same thing to a lesser extent, but the Exchanger absorbs more of the heat and moisture from your breath by passing it through a system of channels before it exits the mask.  Your next breath enters through the same path and is warm and moist by the time it reaches your mouth.  Not only does this preserve body heat, but it also prevents dehydration during a long stand session.

 I spoke with Myles Keller about the system and he marveled at how well it works.  Myles is one of the most hard-core late-season bowhunters that I know and if Myles says it works you can bet that it does.


Don’t Forget the Feet
 I had a chance to test a unique system of cold-weather foot protection this past fall and came away very impressed.  The boots were from the new set of hybrids that have made their way onto the market in only the past two years.  They aren’t pack boots but they aren’t walking boots either—they are a little of each.  They are characterized by thick, lightweight Thinsulate insulation but with the fit and appearance of a walking boot.  Not only were they warm, but they also made walking very easy.  I’ve never liked walking long distances to reach a stand while wearing conventional pack boots.  The fit is often sloppy and the foot can move around inside the boot easily.  This makes it tough to climb ridges and steep banks comfortably, silently and safely.  These new hybrids, however, made the hike to and from the stand a real pleasure.

 The boots I tested were Deer Stalker  Extremes from Rocky.  They feature 1,600 grams of Thinsulate insulation and Gore’s Gore-Tex Supprescent fabric.  Supprescent reduces odor while making the boots waterproof and windproof in the process.  Other examples of this style of boot include the LaCrosse Gamemaster 1300 with 1,300 grams of Thinsulate and a comfortable leather walking boot design, and Cabela’s 1200 Gram Cordura Boots that feature 1,200 grams of Thinsulate in a durable, affordable Cordura design.  Another example is the RedHead 10-inch Leather Boot with 1,000 grams of thinsulate.

 I sized my boots so they would be slightly loose with a single pair of socks so that I could test a new Polartec bootie from Due North Apparel.  The bootie incorporates ComforTemp to help control temperature.  The material stores heat when your feet are warm, such as when you are walking, and gives it back when you sit immobile on stand.  Under it I wore only a thin polypro liner.  I never once experienced cold feet even though the wind chills hovered around 20 degrees below zero each morning.  That was a first for me.
 Conventional pack boot are also a great choice if you don’t have far to walk to reach your stand. Tinmerland’s 12-inch Iditarod Mukluks are extremely warm and waterproof.  LaCrosse’s Ice King boots are rated for minus 100 degrees and are also available in all-rubber design for maximum scent reduction.  Rocky’s Kenai are all rubber to protect your feet down to minus 100 degrees and reduce human scent.  Their Barrow features a rubber bottom and leather uppers and are for comfort rated to minus 135 degrees.  Field tested under arctic conditions, Sorel’s warmest pack, the Alaska, features ThermoPlus 100 inner boots and is comfort rated to minus 100 degrees.
 Make sure you buy boots with a little room to spare.  Most manufacturers don’t recommend a lot of bulk inside their boots.  One polypro liner under a medium-weight wool sock will get the job done nicely.  If you wear pack boots with removable liners it is well worth the money to buy a second pair of liners.  You will be surprised by how wet they can become from sweat as you walk to and from your stand.  The extra pair of liners permits you to swap them out at midday if you go back to the vehicle.  At the very least, make sure to remove your liners and insoles at night so they can dry thoroughly before the next morning’s hunt.

The Ultimate Layering System
 For expertice in layering using today’s high-tech materials I relied on input from Steve Culhane, Cabela’s Product Manager for Big Game Clothing.  Steve makes his living choosing the best new clothing systems to include in the catalog and his tried virtually everything.  I offered a typical cold-weather scenario: Nebraska in late December.  It’s 10 degrees on the thermomerter with a 20 mph wind causing the wind chills to bury in the double digits below zero.  It is a stand hunt with a falf-mile walk to and from.  Here are Steve’s recommendations for such a hunt: 

 “First, I’d pick the best underwear I could find.”  Steve said.  “In the Cabela’s line I really like the Polortec Power Stretch underwear.  It is thick and creates lots of dead air space close to your body.  I recommend the bib for really cold conditions, covered on top by the full-zip jacket.  The material stretches so it doesn’t affect your range or motion and has a slick outer surface so it doesn’t bind with other clothing making it easier to draw your bow.”

 A similar product in the Bass Pro Shops catalog is the RedHead Expedition Weight Polartec Fleece Thermal.  Other thick, long underwear systems will also work well in this application.


 Over the long underwear Steve recommends a thick layer of fleece.  “Fleece is perfect for this layer,” he said.  “It is lightweight and offers great insulation as well as moisture wicking.  From our line I like the Fleece Layering Pullover for the upper body.  I wouldn’t use Windstopper on an inner garment because it won’t  breathe as well, but if you will also be using it as an outer garment on milder days Windstopper here gives you more versatility.”  A similar product in the Bass Pro Shops line is the Scent-Lok Pullover.

 Over everything, Steve likes a heavy bib and parka constructed with plenty of insulation and a windproof membrane.  In the Cabela’s line he suggested the Whitetail Extreme system.  The outer shell on this clothing is warped (brushed) polyester that is silent even in cold temperatures.  Don’t overlook the importance of wearing a bib instead of pants.  Bibs eliminate cold spots that can occur when wearing pants.

 Personally, I’m a big fan of vests because they offer insulation for your core but don’t restrict the movement of your arms as you draw your bow or climb down from your stand at the end of a long cold day.  When things are particularly cold I like a thick vest like the one made by Winona /High Caliber (800/851-4868) that I’ve worn for years.  It is a combination of wool and fleece that is both thick and large enough to keep me very warm while fitting comfortably over any combination of underwear.  In the Cabela’s line, Steve recommended the Berber Fleece Outfitter Series Vest.

When It Gets Really Cold
 Under the toughest conditions, almost any cold weather system needs help.  That’s where the over-boots, hand muffs, neck gaiters, electric socks and even body blankets find their application.


 Heater Clothing (920/565-3273) offers a unique product for the cold weather hunters.  The Heater Body Suit is basically a poly-fill sleeping bag with legs.  The bag closes up tight around your neck and zips easily down the front allowing you to slip your arms out for the shot.  Shoulder straps hold the garment in place as you shoot, preventing it from flopping down and spooking game.

 Icebreaker Inc. produces two great items designed specifically to relieve cold hands and feet.   Boot Blankets zip on over your regular boots to add a layer of thick Hollofil insulation where you need it most.  They will keep your feet toasty in the coldest conditions.  I wear them regularly when sitting on stand for extended periods, and they permit me to endure at least 15-degree colder conditions.

 Ice Breaker’s Handblanket is a thick Hollofil hand muff held in place in front of you by tie straps that go around your waist.  You can stick a handwarmer inside to keep your hands warm with only thin gloves.  For more information contact Icebreaker Inc., Dept. B&AH, P.O. Box 236, Clarkseville, GA 30523; (800) 343-BOOT.

 A new over-boot system introduced this past winter appears to have a lot of potential.  The ArcticShield Boot Insulators (877/974-4353) are less bulky than Boot Blankets and constructed with a layering system that includes patented Reflek-Tek that reflects body heat.  The pair weighs one pound and can be rolled up for storage in a pack.  If we have cold temperatures again this fall you can bet I’ll be testing a pair of these.

 Investing in warm clothing is one of the few ways in which you can actually buy-up your odds for taking nice buck.  For every extra minute you can stay on a cold stand your odds for success increase:  the better the clothing system, the longer the hunt.  You’ll not only be a more successful hunter but you’ll also enjoy it more.

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Published by admin on 01 Dec 2009

The Making Of A Cedar Shaft Modern Product From Oregon’s Coast By Sam Fadala

The Making Of A Cedar Shaft
The History, Construction And Uses Of This Ancient But
Modern Product From Oregon’s Coast
By Sam Fadala



The handmate arrow for the compound bow has been the aluminum shaft, and with good reason.  Aluminum is a fine arrow material, and the company responsible for turning out the bulk of these arrow shafts has been responsible, honest, and innovative.  While the aluminum arrow maintains the kingpin, there are, however, some alternative types that have been seeing more play lately.  Most of these are space-age inventions, such as the graphite, or improvements on old designs, such as the stainless steel arrow.  Another, however, is an ancient arrow material – cedar.  These wooden arrows were around from the start in America, as the Northwestern Indians, Coquille and others found cedar to be superb as a shaft material.  It was then.  It still is today, and for many reasons.

Contrary to popular notion, it still is a highly useful arrow material, not only in the longbow, for which it is aptly applied, but also in the compound.  The tree that yields these arrow shafts is found only along the coastal areas of Oregon, near Port Orford country, and the arrow has long been known as the Port Orford cedar type.  Speculation holds that the first cedar trees to grow in this area were begun as seedlings thousands of years ago, carried to Oregon on the Japanese current.  Japan is the only place that has an abundance of these trees and that country uses the wood for building as well as countless other applications.  America uses its cedar primarily for arrow shafts and by-products of the arrow industry because the wood is so well suited for this, while not being particularly excellent for construction.

 One of the main attributes of the cedar arrow is cost.  Shafts can be purchased in quantity and fine, straight arrows are then handmade by the archer at a fraction of the cost that finished products bring commercially.  This pastime is great fun, as well as money-saving.  As long as there are tree squirrels and rabbits to be hunted, where arrow loss and breakage is high, the inexpensive cedar is going to stay around.  On varmints, especially those which inhabit rocky terrain, such as rockchucks and ground squirrels, the cedar is again a wise choice.

 But if an arrow won’t shoot right in a bow it is of no value no matter the savings.  Fortunately, this is not the case with cedars.  They do shoot.  Today, there has been some misinformation of their construction and use, and many compound bow shooters, in an attempt to save on arrow costs, have tried cedar only to discard it as unfit for their type of bow.  No.  This does not work.  It hardly works with aluminum when a broadhead is going to be used, let alone cedar.  The cedar shaft should be selected right at the draw weight of the bow.  If a compound is sixty pounds at twenty-eight inches, a sixty-pound arrow should be selected.  If any doubt as to proper spine exists, then a cedar shaft over the draw wight of the bow should be chosen, not under.  It will still be a very fast arrow.  Because of the straight-up stance of the archer shooting a modern compound, draw length has increased over the past decade, and with longer arrows in use, it is even more important that the cedar be picked for good stiffness of spine.  It won’t shoot well if it is too light for the compound bow.

 Performance will be more than adequate.  Out of a PSE Citation, sixty pounds at a twenty-eight-inch draw, a sixty-five-pound spined cedar shot at 213 feet per second on the chronograph.  An aluminum 1816 beat it by only one fps, or 214.  A Browning Nomad set at sixty pounds, twenty-nine inches, fired its cedar sixty spine arrows at 205, almost exactly what it got with aluminum.  Out of a Cupid seventy-pound bow, thirty-one-inch draw, the seventy to seventy-five spine cedar reached 213, whipped only by a graphite shaft at 229.  The big Jennings Arrowstar, seventy-pound, thirty-one inches, shot a seventy to seventy-five cedar at 243 feet per second.  And the Schultz-made longbow surpassed 200 fps with cedars.

 While cedar is not a replacement for the great aluminum shaft, it sure is a nice alternative, especially when a lot of field shooting is to be done.  With a good jig, such as the Bitzenburger, absolutely excellent cedar arrows can be turned out swiftly.  It’s easy.  A shaft is cut to length first.  A model-making saw such as the X-acto is perfect for this.  A tool that resembles a pencil sharpener forms the nock end of the arrow.  The nock is glued in place and then fletching, usually feather, but vanes will work well, too, is installed with the jig.  On the business end of the arrow, it can be reduced in size with a tenon cutter and a switch-a-point may be added, or a cheap empty .38 Special cartridge case for plinking and small-game hunting.  Naturally, for the longbow the arrow will probably be a fist-line choice, so a broadhead may be fitted on a taper, or the Bear switch-a-point may be installed so the same arrows can be used on the range and in the field.  (More information on cedar shaft construction can be found in “How to Make an Inexpensive Small-Game Arrow,” BOW& ARROW’S Bowhunter’s Annual No.2.)  The Coquille Indians didn’t have it so easy.  They had to split the cedar stick with wedges first, then whittle it down with a shell knife and smooth it with sandstone, fitting stone or bone heads by hand.  Their arrows were made the length of the shooter’s arm, and as big around as his little finger.

We’re luckier.  Our cedar shafts come to us out of the box, normally in 11/32 size, but more and more in 23/64 for the really heavy bows.  The white cedar we purchase is light in weight, strong and long lasting.  A plant that produces thousands upon thousands of such shafts for the archer is the Rose City Archery Company of Powers, Oregon.  The company began in Portland in 1939, and since Portland is known as the City of Roses, the firm called itself the Rose City Archery Company.  In 1946, however, the factory moved to be closer to its wood source. 

 The Rose City company has received awards for environmental concern due to the nature of their business.  First, unlike the Japanese, who cut green cedar, the Oregon arrow shaft makers never cut a living tree.  Only deadfall and fire-kill wood is used.  This allows the continuance of the living tree, which is good for the company as well as the general public.  In an attempt to conserve energy, a successful measure has been taken by Rose City.  They use all of their sawdust to both heat their plant during the winter months and dry the cedar as well, while supplying about a third of the world’s arrow shafts.

 The operation is efficient.  Run by three men, Ben Crabill, Noble Adamek, and Jim Adamek, the y produce from three to five million shafts per year.  One person can grade up to 40,000 shafts in a single day at peak speed.  They use only the superior wood for arrows, too.  And since this practice would cause a terrific waste of cedar, Rose City has started a sideline they call their Monterrey Tub.  This is a beautiful planter bucket coming in four sizes, and it uses up the cedar that is not suited for arrow shafts.  Only straight grain, with no knots, becomes arrow material.  The Adameks are natives of the Oregon country, and as youngsters often visited the archery company, never thinking that one day they would be running it.  Noble took his college work in business administration, which has applied very well, and Jim has a masters in economics and his Ph.D. In engineering.  The latter has been especially useful because all of the machines in the plant had to be designed from scratch and Jim understands their workings.

 The process for getting a smooth, straight arrow shaft from a cedar tree has several stages.  First, the felled log is trucked to the Rose City property and cut into bolts.  The bolts are cut into squares.  The squares are cut into boards and the boards are dried for up to several months.  Then small square lengths of wood are cut from the boards to about arrow diameter, normally 11/32 or 23/64 and sometimes 5/16.


The square lengths of wood are then conveyed into one of seven dowel lathes, entering as four-sided, but emerging round, smooth and polished as well.  The lathe cutters are only good for about one hour of this hard duty before they have to be re-honed to sharpness again.  Only the straight shafts will be kept, and a machine does this operation, too, discarding shafts that are not true.  These will not be thrown away either, but will be sold as plant supporters.  Then the shafts are graded for spine, again by a machine.  And finally, they are packaged up and mailed out to various companies, either to be resold to archers who will make their own arrows, or to be manufactured into painted arrows by a professional archery concern.

 Cedar shafts will last a long time, some figure between two hundred and three hundred years, unless they hit a rock, of course.  Storage usually is the place where good cedar arrows get warped.  The arrows should be stored in a fairly dry place, even if they have been heavily painted.  A rack made of two flat pieces of wood with holes for the arrows is a good way to keep the cedars straight.  The two pieces of flat wood are separated by about twenty-two to twenty-six inches and held together by a couple of struts.  It looks like a box kite in shape.  The arrows are thrust through the holes on the top flat section, and then down through the corresponding holes on the bottom flat section.  A middle section can be used if an archer wishes.  The flat sections of wood can be about one-half-inch thick, and are all drilled at the same time so that the holes match up.

 The Port Orford cedar arrow has been around for a long time, and it looks like it will be with us for some time to come.  They are not replacement arrows for compounds, nor will they necessarily outdo the modern types of shafts.  But they certainly have their place.  In shooting the longbow, they are first-line equipment.  In shooting the compound they can serve as first line, or as backup arrows on hunts, practice arrows, small game darts and varmint takers, all at a price that is very affordable and can give you some do-it-yourself fun in construction.

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Published by HoytFan221 on 29 Nov 2009

Buying New Arrows

I am in great need of new arrows, and am quite aware that it is an often difficult, yet important decision.  Each bow likes to shoot a certain kind/brand/weight/etc., and I need to know what kind I should get for my bow.  I have a 2005 Hoyt ViperTec XT 2000.  (I only want to hear comments from the people that have this bow or one very similar to it.)  Appriciate all input!

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Published by usaoutback on 16 Nov 2009

The Right Trail- How to blood trail your deer this year

Every hunter has an obligation to know how to trail a wounded animal. It is vital to the hunter to only take the shot that allows a clear path to the vitals of the animal. Know YOUR limitations and stick to them. Missed shots make lousy blood trails.
Imagine yourself in a tree stand during bow season and the buck of your dreams offers you a broadside shot. You draw your bow, aim, release and the buck bounds off into the brush. If you find yourself in this scenario this fall, here is some information that will help you bring your animal from the field to the freezer-

I. Pick a Spot- Mentally pick a spot on the animal when taking your shot; never look at the entire animal. Also, pick a landmark (spot) where the animal was standing when it was hit. Whether it is a tree, bush or rock, these objects will help you locate the beginning of the trail to your quarry.

II. Sit and Think- It seems to be commonly accepted practice to wait at least a half of an hour before trailing. Listen for the animal’s direction of travel. If a fatal shot was made, you may even hear the animal fall. Replay the shot and think of what the animal’s reaction was to the shot. Be patient. A quick pursuit could push the animal into clotting the wound. Massive bleeding is the cause of death when bowhunting. If the animal stumbled or ran off wobbly, the arrow probably hit a shoulder, leg or vertebrae. A gut or intestinal hit will cause an animal to stagger and run away slowly. Finding your arrow and blood trail will give you an idea where you hit the animal.

III. Find Your Arrow- After the waiting period, go to the point of impact and locate your arrow. Hair, blood, bone and fluid on the arrow can tell you where you hit the animal.

Ask yourself the following questions-
1. What color is the blood or fluid on the arrow?
2. Is there any brown or green fluid on the arrow?
3. Is the blood light or dark?
4. Are there any bubbles in the blood?
5. Is there any hair in the area?
6. Is there an odor to the arrow?

Every one of these questions will give you clues to locating your animal. Let’s go into more detail-

1. Blood Color. The blood color and consistency will help identify the type of hit. Bright red blood with no bubbles signifies a muscle/arterial hit. Dark red blood with no bubbles indicates a hit in a vein, liver or kidney. Pinkish blood with small bubbles is a good indicator of a vital hit in the heart/lung area. Blood that has a clear, odorous fluid with food matter is a sign of a stomach, intestine or bladder hit. If this is the case, you should wait at least 45 minutes to an hour before pursuing the animal. The animal will soon feel sick and lay down in the vicinity if it is not pursued too soon. Death could be in a few hours or a few days with this type of hit. Unless there is a threat of meat spoilage, give the animal at least four hours before searching heavily.

2. Hair. Look for any hair in the area where the animal was standing when it was hit. Broadheads ALWAYS cut hair upon entry. The hair you find can help identify where on the body you hit the animal. Long, dark hair comes from the neck and back of a deer. Short, dark hair grows on the head, legs and brisket. Light, white hair is from the belly and behind the legs.

IV. Mark Your Trail- I carry a roll of orange surveyor’s tape strictly for marking trails. It is very visible and will help identify a direction of travel if you lose the blood trail.*
*Note- Don’t forget to remove your markers after you find your animal. Always leave the woods cleaner than when you arrived.

V. Get Help- “Two heads are better than one” holds true when trailing a wounded animal. Back in 1989, I shot a fat little four point that ran off into the brush. Since I was hunting three miles from home, I drove home to ask my wife to help trail my deer. She was a great help following the blood drops that were easily lost in the red leaves of fall. There were times when I lost the trail but Denise kept me from straying off the deer’s direction of travel. We found the buck in less than an hour in a thicket less than 100 yards from where he was shot. It was gratifying to share the experience with the person who suffered through my countless hours of preseason rituals.

VI. Cut grids- If you find yourself at “the end of the trail,” cut grids starting at the last marker. I use a compass and markers to search an area and do so in a snail shell pattern. This type of search will eventually have you back-tracking to the origin of the trail. Check known escape routes, bedding areas and water sources in the area you are hunting. Wounded animals often return to the preferred areas of security- especially down hill when mortally wounded.

VII. Use All Clues- Every blade of grass, broken spider web and snapped twig can be a clue to finding your animal. Does a rock look like it was recently kicked? What direction is a broken weed pointing? Did a red squirrel or birds start making an unusual amount of noise in a thicket close by? All of these “little” things can make a difference.

VIII. Electronic Tracking Devices- There are electronic tracking devices on the market that measure temperature changes as slight as a degree and have ranges up to 300 yards. I don’t have any experience with these units but I thought I would mention that they are available.

Your proficiency with your weapon of choice will determine the future of hunting. Be a responsible hunter and acquire the skills needed to make a quick and clean killing shot this fall. Your actions represent ALL sportsmen.
If you are an experienced hunter and tracker, teach those nimrod skills to the less experienced hunters. Share the hunting experience with someone who has never hunted. By all means, get involved with your local sportsmen clubs. Join some of the state and national organizations that are fighting for your PRIVILEGE to hunt. By helping others in our ranks, we help ourselves. Happy blood trails.

*Learn about ‘Making Sense out of Scents’ and ‘Call of the Week’ by going to

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Published by Steve06 on 27 Oct 2009

Peep Site

Recently I purchased a used Alpine Micro. The past owner had a small peep site installed on it and I want to put a larger one on it. Is there a way to change these out without having to take it to a shop? This bow is for my wife and is smaller and has a less draw weight than mine and I’ve noticed I can put tension on the cams which allows the string to have slack and with and extra set of hands take the string off. Would this help me in changing out the site?

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Published by bigpoppa on 23 Sep 2009

Help with paper tuning!

 I have a Bowtech Allegiance VFT, 70# 30″ draw, whisker biscuit.  Shooting through paper the other day I noticed it is shooting tail low. I adjusted the rest up and down, but it didn’t make any difference, still shot tail low. My question, I’m shooting Beman ICS 400’s cut @ 28 1/2″ with 100 grain heads, are my arrows too light? If so, which arrows would you recommend?

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Published by randy116 on 04 Aug 2009

How can I speed up my admrial

I have a 2009 bowtech admiral. I am shooting 65 pounds on 28 inch draw. Is there any way I can adjust my modules and gain some speed.

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Published by Klyph on 28 Sep 2008

Planning the Perfect Hunting Season…

My wife and I have always wanted a large family. To date, we have a beautiful 4 year old daughter and a crazy “all boy” son… As many of you already know, kids take a lot of time and they deserve it! So needless to say, the amount of time in the woods, since having children has slowed some… but I am looking forward to the time when they are old enough that I can pass on the tradition and take them hunting. About a year ago, my wife had a miscarriage and as we continued to have a desire for a “big family” we decided that we would give it some time and try again as soon as the doctors felt it was ok. Once we got the ok, we began looking at our calendars and with us both working we tried to “plan” the best time to bring another little one into the world and our schedule…

With my wife being a teacher, she quickly thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have my 6-8 week maternity leave line up with the holidays so I can get a few extra weeks off.” Without giving it much thought I agreed… what was I thinking? I wasn’t…

We have always had an easy time getting pregnant… usually we just start thinking about it and “ta-dah,” one is on the way…

Well, needless to say this time was no different. We were very excited and as we looked at the calendar to figure out the baby’s due date, it quickly hit me… the baby was due Sept 29th… and the archery season begins Oct 4th… panic quickly set it… as I shared this new found revelation with my wife, she didn’t seem to be nearly upset enough to me… She was more upset with me than the due date!

As my mind was racing, I blurted out, “Actually that will probably work out great! You’ll be on vacation throughout all archery season!” The look on her face told me, everything… but she didn’t just end it with a look… “What do you mean, Vacation?”

Now I was in trouble. I couldn’t see any way out. So I tried to laugh it off… she wasn’t as amused.

So for the last 9 months, every time someone asked about the due date, I just quickly thew in a quick, “Yep, my wife loves me so much she wanted to be home with the kids during archery season, so I could have the best season ever! Isn’t she great?!” 

It’s kinda funny how men always smiled and seemed excited for me, yet women just looked at me with such disgust…

As my hopes for a hunting season seemed doomed, especially since our last two children have all been more than 5 days late… I have started looking for more places closer to home, in hopes of some quick morning hunts before and after work… I just wish daylight savings came sooner…

Well, this week Collin Jonathon was born! And its funny how this hunting season may not turn out as far as time in the woods is concerned… but it still will always rank up there as the best fall of my life!

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