Archive for the 'How To' Category

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Published by Big Shot on 26 Sep 2008

Tools of the Trade

Here I sit, having payed WAY too much to get 5 different bows tuned and ready to shoot. I ask myself, why in the world does it cost that much, and the answer, you pay for ignorance. Not theirs, but ours. Ignorance of how to do it. Ignorance of what all you would need to do it. And in the end, ignorance of the fact that you NEED to know how to do it. What would happen if one day I was on a hunt, and first thing in the day I snap a d-loop or drop my bow and knock my rest out of alignment? My day would be ruined, quite frankly my whole hunting trip could be ruined.

So I add up the money I spent on getting the work done for me and realize that I could have bought all the equipment it would take to just do it all myself. Of course, it wouldn’t be done by now (about a month after the fact), because there’s that ignorance thing I mentioned before. Can’t be that hard though, right?!? So, let the journey begin.

  • Bow press in the mail… check
  • Basic set of allen wrenches… check
  • A few bow specific tools (I’ll get into the details later)… check
  • Places to go to for information… check
  • Basic mechanical knowledge… check
  • Someone to go to when I inevitably mess it all up… not without giving away another arm!!

So, what does it take to set up shop? Not as much as you would think, but there are some must haves. First and foremost among them is a space to work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you need a large dedicated shop, or even a dedicated corner for that matter. Your space can be as simple as your coffee table or kitchen table. A big word of advice though, get a small folding table to use instead. Nothing will hinder relations with your significant other faster than ruining said coffee or kitchen table!!! It doesn’t need to be big, just somewhere to lay out your bow and tools. If you do have to set up on the furniture, lay out an old towel for a work surface, it will keep your bow from getting scratched as well. Now that you have a work area, on to the tools.

Bow Press
There are lots of options here. You can go portable with something like the Bowmaster, or get a full blown shop style setup with the Apple Press and stand. There are tons of options in prices ranging from ~$40 all the way into the thousands. The most important thing is to make sure it will work for your bow. Some presses will not work for split limb bows without an adapter that you will have to buy. Some will not press parallel limb bows without being modified. The difference here is in the way the limbs flex on a parallel vs. non-parallel bow. Parallel limbs flex vertically when the bow is drawn due to the fact that they are essentially in a horizontal plane. Non-parallel limbs will flex somewhere between vertical and horizontal, roughly at an angle towards the nock of the string. Due to this difference, if you try and press a parallel limb on a press not designed for it, it will not press fully and could damage the bow. Same applies to the non-parallel limb on a parallel press.

Presses are used for many things. Anytime you need to modify anything attached to the string, you will need to press it so that you can separate the strands of the string to get the accessories in between them. You need it to adjust cam timing (the rotation of the cams) or change draw length mods. Also for when it comes time to change out aging strings and cables, or repair damaged ones. You shouldn’t need it that often, but when you do need it there is no substitute.
Examples….

Bow Vise
A simple device for holding your bow. It can be pretty hard to work on a bow unless you have a third arm!! That’s where the vise comes in. A simple one will hold your bow in one position allowing you to work on your bow. A better one will allow you to rotate the bow in many directions once it is mounted. This will allow you to get the bow in just the right position for the work you need to do.
Example….

Allen Wrenches
or hex keys, whatever you want to call them. You know what these things are. You will need multiple sizes. A decent standard set from any hardware store will do. I have never run across any metric, yet. It couldn’t hurt, though, to have a set of those just in case.

Screwdrivers
You won’t need them all that often, but you will need them. Have a simple set of common and philips on hand.

Levels
Not your daddy’s variety. A string level, and an arrow level.

These will help you in setting up your rest. Place the string level, where else…. on the string!!! Use it to make sure your bow is level vertically (up and down for those that always get them mixed up) when in the vise. Now you place the arrow level on the arrow and adjust your rest until your arrow is perfectly horizontal.

Nock Set Pliers and Brass Nocks
Brass nocks are useful for many things. You can use them to attach your drop away rest cord to your cable. Place them above and below a kisser button to secure it in place. And of course even use them to mark your nock point.

Nock set pliers, obviously, are for attaching those little brass guys. A good pair will also have a lever to pry them off with.

Draw Length Arrow

Basically a long, unfletched arrow with markings toward the end. These markings are distance measurements that allow for checking draw length. It can be used for Three functions. First, draw it back with a recurve bow, or compound with no draw stop, and you can find your draw length (someone needs to help you here to make sure your form is right, otherwise you won’t get the correct draw length). Second, Draw it in your set up compound bow to check the draw length it is set at. Lastly, draw it in the same bow and use it to determine the arrow length that will be safe to use with your setup.  Although not necessary, it can come in handy.

Draw Weight Scale
Many different varieties are available. Simple ones like this that are hand held…

All the way up to digital versions, or ones that are mounted to the ceiling. They are handy if you want to know the exact weight you have your bow set to. However, not all that necessary. Example… Lets say your bow maxes out at 60#, and the company says you can adjust the draw weight by 2# per full turn of the limb bolts. Then you know that if you back the bolts out 3 turns each, then you just roughly set your bow to 54#. I don’t think it is all that important to know that it might actually be 53.2#, or 55#. If you know within a pound I would say your are good. Just get those numbers from your bows manufacturer.

D-Loop Pliers
Last thing you want while our hunting, or anytime for that matter, is for your bow to fail. If you don’t tighten your d-loop tight enough it is a sure fire failure point waiting to happen. The easiest way to tighten it is with a pair of d-loop pliers. These are specially made pliers designed to fit around a d-loop. Then when you squeeze the handle, instead of the two pieces closing tightly together, they spread. The formed head holds the knot ends in place while stretching out the loop and tightening the knots.
Example….

Serving Tool
While I’m sure serving can and has been installed without one of these, I can’t imagine doing it. A simple tool of either metal of plastic designed to hold tension on your serving thread while you wrap your string. You place your spool of thread in the tool, and use a wing nut to get the tension you desire. Then, once you have started the serving, you simply spin the tool around the string until the serving is the length you want, and then wrap in the end of the thread.

Well, that pretty well covers the most common tools you will need and see when it comes to setting up and maintaining your bow. I tried to be as comprehensive as I could, but there are quite a few gadgets out there, and I aim to cover all I can. Those will have to wait for another day however, so stay tuned for more. I’m going high tech in the next installment.  Look for part two covering lasers and more.

7 votes, average: 3.43 out of 57 votes, average: 3.43 out of 57 votes, average: 3.43 out of 57 votes, average: 3.43 out of 57 votes, average: 3.43 out of 5 (7 votes, average: 3.43 out of 5)
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Published by Louisianaboy on 20 Sep 2008

A Skull Mounting “How to”

I get asked all the time the steps I use when skull mounting a deer, hog or just about any critter. There are several different ways to accomplish this from start to finish and I thought I would share a few for anyone wanting to try this on their own. I am not an expert by any means, but this is the process and tips that have worked for me. I will explain things using a whitetail as example but there are some things that are a little different when skull mounting a hog, coyote or bobcat.

I have boiled many skulls and hate it! It is time consuming because you have to be attentive to the skull when boiling and it takes a lot of time to cut and scrape the skull clean. Boiling is also more expensive since you have to supply fuel to get that water boiling! I began macerating (rotting) after a friend brought me a ten point that he had hung on the fence for about a week. The only thing I could do was macerate rate since it was well on its way to being rotten.

Maceration

I begin by cutting all the hide of off the deer. I use a scalpel and start by making an incision down the middle of his nose, between the eyes and all the to the end of the hide on the neck. Be careful not to cut into the skull with the scalpel or knife and scar the bone. I then strip the hide from the nose and then go around the horns to the back of the head. Once the hide is removed I cut off as much meat as possible. I leave the lower jaw bone on until after the maceration because it is much easier to remove at that point. I then take a hacksaw and cut the neck off right behind the skull. You can feel the ridge on top of the skull; move down the neck about 2 inches and make the cut.

I then submerge the skull in water up to the base of the antlers. I have found that the blue tupperware bins at Wal-Mart work wonders for this or you can use an old crawfish pot, five gallon bucket or just about anything that is large enough to soak the skull in. I have been told to pour a bit of yeast or beer in the water and it will speed up the growth of the bacteria. I have used both and macerated without and could not tell the difference. Being from Louisiana, I hate to waste cold beer on a rotting deer skull! Also make sure the you have this set up away from the house or at least downwind cause trust me….. it will stink!

It is a waiting game at this point. You should check on the skull about every 3-4 days and replace the nasty water with fresh water. When draining the water, leave about half or a quarter of the water in the container. This will keep the colony of bacteria you have grown in the container and speed up the process. The bacteria need warm water to grow and feed so during the winter I place aquarium heaters on the side of the container to aid in the process. Aquarium heaters at Wal-Mart work well but the best I have found are Elite Glass Heaters (internet). The maceration process normally takes about two to three weeks depending on the water temperature. I place my bins in an old chest freezer and run the extension cords in there to keep the heat contained. By doing this I cut my maceration process down to about 10-12 days.

This is where it gets nasty! Once the maceration process is complete I use a scalpel and pair of long needle-nose pliers to pull the meat off. The rotten meat will easily pull off the bone leaving a nice clean skull. Be sure to pull the cartilage out of the nasal cavity and you might have to do some scraping on the back of the skull to detach some of those tough pieces of tissue. Once all the meat and tissue is remove spray the skull down with a water hose and be sure to wash the brain out of the brain cavity. Be careful with the tips of the nose. They might detach but can be glued back in place once the skull is dry.

The next step is the most important in the entire process of skull mounting an animal. DEGREASING! I have learned this lesson the hard way. If all the grease is not gotten out of the bone then it will begin turning yellow or have dark yellow spots throughout the skull. I degrease by using the same tupperware container as above. Place the skull in the container and fill with water up to the burr of the antler. I use the clear Dawn Dishwashing Detergent (Bleach Alternative on the label) but pure ammonia can also be used. Again, an aquarium heater will speed up this process but is not required. I normally change the water and about every 2 days. Each skull is different and the change can be determined by the cloudiness of the water which is actually fat deposits. When changing the degrease solution be sure and rinse off the skull and container completely. Repeat this process for about ten days or until the water is beginning to stay clear. Let the skull dry and if there is dark spots still present the repeat the degreasing process again. The longer you degrease the whiter the skull you will have.

The last step is whitening the skull. DO NOT USE BLEACH! Bleach will break down the bone and eventually turn the skull yellow. I whiten with 30% peroxide and Basic White (both found at any beauty supply store). I make a paste by combining the peroxide and BW and use a small paintbrush to cover the skull. Do not get the paste on the antlers! It will stain them! Let the skull sit over night and wash the paste off with a water hose. Place the skull in the sun for a couple of days and you should a finished skull mount. If there are any dark or dull spots on the skull you can repeat the whitening process again.

Hogs, Coyotes ,Bobcats, etc.

Hogs will take longer to degrease. They have a ton of grease deep in the bone and I have actually degreased boar skulls for two months. The tusk on a boar is hollow until it gets to the tip and is filled with tissue and fat. Be sure and pull the tusk completely out to make sure it is clean. It can be glued back in and I usually “pull” the tusk to make them look a little longer.

When macerating small critters such as bobcats and coyotes be sure to watch for loose teeth when dumping the water. They tend to fall out but can be glued in when finished.

I hope this helps ‘yall.

6 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 56 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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Published by Klyph on 18 Sep 2008

Hand Climber Seat Strap – A MUST have

I used a Summit Viper for the last few years and loved it as a climbing stand… the only issue I had with it was its large frame when carrying it through the woods, and the amount of space it took up in my vehicle. So with much hesitation I traded it for a hand climber that folds completely flat and took care of my “issues” with the summit.

The Problem that quickly revealed itself was that the hand climber stand is much more difficult to use, especially with winter clothing, as I found out late season last year. As I climbed my first tree, I wondered why I ever got rid of my summit and spent most of my time contemplating listing my new stand on AT Classifieds as soon as I got home. Fortunately all wasn’t lost as I was able to harvest a nice doe and my thoughts quickly became focused on the “rush” of the hunt. That was my last tag of the year and my equipment was put away and I didn’t think much about my new issue until a few months ago.

I noticed the new Lone Wolf Hand Climbers now come with a strap that you use to sit on as you climb. (Link given for visual purposes: http://www.lonewolfstands.com/shoppingcart/Products/Hand-Climber-SitStrap__LWHCS.aspx ) I quickly ran to my tangled mess of old safety harnesses and created my own seat strap. (Disclaimer: Use at you own risk) 

I took it to the back yard and fell back in Love with my hand climber!

I now have the best of both worlds… A light, compact stand, that can also be used effortlessly as a sit and climb style stand.

If you are a penny pincher like my self, I am sure you can find some strapping around the house to use… but I would recommend for safety purposes to go out and purchase a seat strap if you don’t have on on your hand climber. It is worth it!

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Published by Montalaar on 12 Sep 2008

Create your individual arrows!

There are dozens of possibilities to fletch an arrow. You can select the manufacturer of your choice, the color, the size and the form. Dozens of combinations are possible. But is it not always the same? The archery next to you uses nearly the same fletching. Do you want to create your own arrows? You should read further.

What do we want to do?

This Tutorial will guide you to the making of your personal and individual arrow. I will cover two spots in this article. First we will do some cresting which means that we will add some color to our arrow. After that we will fletch our arrow with some individual spliced feathers. After we finished both parts we have an arrow that is absolutely personal.

We require:

  • a set of arrows you want to work with
  • loads of feathers in at least two colors of your choice
  • some fletching cement and a fletching rig
  • a knife or scissors, tape measure
  • a pen, paint and tape
  • patience

Before we start.

It is important that your arrows are already in the right length and have also the nock installed. Most fletching rigs need the nock to proved the perfect fit in the rig. You can also glue the point or broadhead into the shaft before installing the nock besides easton recommends to glue the point in before adding the nock.

This tutorial contains work with sharp objects and in the case of cresting also the use of paint which can contain thinner. A new arrowshaft or a new feather can be bought easily, a cut finger or thinner in the eyes is more of a problem. Be careful at all time and rather work slow and accurate.

Step one – Cresting.

The first thing we will do is some cresting that means we will add some color to the arrow shaft. Painting of wodden arrows has been common for decades as it is easy to do before adding the finish to the whole arrow but it is certainly possible with aluminium or carbon shafts, too. Very popular are also arrow wraps as they are easy to use and very durable but if you want to create your own arrow you should do your own cresting as it is truly unique.

How to do that? I will tell you.

At first we need to do some brainstorming. Which colors do we want to use and which patterns we want to draw. I chose someting easy for this tutorial. The arrow shaft will get a wide silver ring with some smaller rings dividing it. Now we need to choose the colors. As i mentioned i will use some silver paint and black or blue paint for the smaller rings. You can use everything as long as it can be applied in very thin layers and dries in a short time. If you just want to do some rings a white permanent marker will also work. I will use spray paint because it is easy to apply and dries very fast. Before starting so aplly the paint we have to mask the rest of the shaft that should not be painted in the color we use.

After masking the arrow we can add the paint to it. It can take some time to find out how it should be apllied but always bear in mind that the paint has to be as thin as possible. If you use spray paint you can aplly two or more layers to get a perfect result. Is everything colored we have to let it dry. In the meantime we can paint the next arrow.

After painting everything in the same way we can jump over to the next step. It was not too challenging until yet, was it?

Step two – Splicing.

Let us raise the grade of difficulty a bit. The next steps will need loads of patience so better be prepared. Splicing means cutting down the feathers you got to fletch your arrow with. With the parts we will get some new feathers of differenct colors and fletch your arrows with them. Splicing feathers and fletching your arrow with them will make your arrow unique!

In this tutorial i will use red and black feathers in 4 inch length. The red colored feather shall be the front part of the fletching and the black one the rest. As we want to fletch every arrow the exact same way we need to work with accuracy so take your time to get everything right. We need a tape measure to get always the same length of the pieces we cut off. I chose 1.8 inches for my red feather so i markerd my tape measure to find always the same position.

Now we have to slice every feather at 1.8 inches from the front. As we need both colors we have to cut off the red feathers but also the black ones. We will keep the red front part and the black rear part for our arrow. To cut the quill get a sharp knife or a scissors.

It is important to cut only the quill and nothing more. We want to keep the original form of the feather to put them together in the end.

Use your knife (or scissors) to make a small cut at the point you want to slice the quill in two parts. Then take the feather, retain it with one hand and cut the quill in two parts. Try to keep the intersection as small as possible and do not damage the feathers. After our little feather surgery we can remove the part we do not need and keep the other one. Now we can use some sandpaper to even the sction.

Proceed the same way with all the feathers you will need for fletching.

After slicing and sandpapering everything we have to find paires of parts to get a new feather. As not every feather has the same structure than the others we will need to find paires that will stick together on the shaft without having gaps between them. As you can see on the picture i chose two parts that seemed to be okay and put them together. The natural velcro of the feathers will keep them together.

At this point we will need the fletching rig and the fletching cement. Our prepared feathers will be glued onto the arrow at the same time so put the two parts together, aplly the fletching cement and fletch the arrow as you do it everytime.

After letting the feather dry out we can take the arrow out of the fletching rig and take a look over it. If we worked with patience and precision we will see no gaps between the quills and feathers. If you will notice a difference in the height of the feathers you should take a scissors and remove the spare feathers. Better take a smaller scissors as the larger one will cut too much out of the feather so that you will get no staisfying form

Step Three – finishing

If you have enough time and feathers you can do more unique things. You can use as many differenct colors and feathers as you wish to as long as you can glue it together whilfe flechting the arrow. You can also use a scissors and cut your own form into the feathers like a wave or something else. There are nearly no limits as long as you leave some feathers to ensure proper arrow flight.

I should also say something about the weight.

The used paint will add some grains to your arrow. As long as you use very thin layers you do not need to care about that.

I hope this tutorial will inspire you to do your own cresting, splicing and fletching. Good luck. 😉

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Published by djohns13 on 11 Sep 2008

To Shoot or Not to Shoot?

Does, that is. The question is about as old as the philosophy of quality deer management itself. It might just be the most debated topic in deer hunting and management but to this day a “one size fits all” answer eludes us. What works great for one property might be woefully wrong for another. For those who haven’t made up their minds where they stand on the issue, read my theories below and see how you think they would apply to your situation. I don’t believe that my answer is 100% correct for everyone and every property, but I think it will work well for the vast majority.
The basic question is whether or not to purposefully maximize the doe harvest on your hunting grounds, and if so, do you concentrate on younger does, mature “matriarch” does, or both. The most straight-forward answer to the first question is yes; by all means maximize the harvest of does, unless your current deer population is well below the carrying capacity of the land. If this is the case, let them walk for a year or so until you see the population reaching the limits of the land, and then employ a heavy doe harvest strategy. The answer to the second question is to take both mature and young does for the reasons described below.
For those of you who have plenty of, or even too many deer for your land, here are four strong reasons why you should focus on doe harvest:
1. Does with fawns will chase their young buck offspring out of their home range to prevent the possibility of inbreeding and genetic problems. If you want the young bucks born on your property to end up on someone else’s property, leave the mama does alone. They will see to it that almost every young buck leaves in a hurry. If you want those bucks to stay and grow big, harvest their mothers and your property will become their home range. Even better would be if your neighbors don’t take any does so that you get to keep your bucks and get their runaway bucks as well.
2. The land only has so much carrying capacity for deer. Taking mature does off of the property allows more of this capacity per mature deer. As a result, almost immediately after reducing the mature doe population, birth rates rise from singles/twins to twins/triplets with the occasional quad birth. The more births you have, the more bucks that are born, period.
3. It is critical in my opinion that you harvest not just old or young does, but a combination of both. It is common for young, middle aged and very mature does to come into estrus at slightly different times. This is due to a variety of factors but the result is that by having a good mix of young, middle aged and mature does on the property, the aggregate doe population is in estrus for a longer period of time. Whether you prefer to call it a longer rut, or multiple rut periods, it all equals great buck hunting. Some have said that taking a matriarch doe causes upheaval in the herd and can even force the herd to change their patterns and/or leave the area. Others will say that without the matriarch, the chance of predation on the younger deer increases. I have seen neither of these situations. In my opinion, with or without a matriarch, the deer population is drawn to the areas with the best availability to water, food and shelter with the least predation risk.
4. Finally, with less does, bucks naturally move more to find the does in estrus. This usually means greater scrape activity, more responsiveness to decoys, rattling and grunting, etc. The greater the buck movement the greater chance they will come into bow range for you, period.
Above are what I believe to be four strong reasons to commit to a heavy doe harvest and in the meantime, increase your chances of seeing the buck of a lifetime. Good luck and good hunting.

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Published by djohns13 on 10 Sep 2008

Eight Steps to Better Accuracy

Eight Steps to Better Accuracy

1. Get the equipment right – consistent accuracy is dependent on using the right equipment for you and ensuring that the equipment is properly tuned and working right each time you shoot. The brand new high-end bow just doesn’t shoot like one if it doesn’t fit you correctly or if it is out of tune.
2. Correct technique – once the bow fits and is working optimally, now the next wild card is the form of the shooter. With today’s technology the properly tuned and equipped bow is better than the shooter. If it could be shot by a robot, it would hit the bull’s eye all day long. It is only when we introduce form errors that the arrow group sizes begin to spread out. Have someone video you while you are shooting and then have a pro or coach review the video and make suggestions. Remember that your goal is to improve your technique so don’t take their responses too personally. We are all trying to be the perfect archer but none of us will ever achieve perfect status.
3. Create and use a draw/aim/fire routine – archery is like most other sports in that its actions can be broken down into a technique or series of techniques. Success is generally achieved when the athlete creates the technique, practices it repeatedly, builds muscle memory and mental focus, and finally executes the technique over and over in exactly the same manner. Imagine a pro’s golf swing or a guard’s free throw, both are very refined and repeatable. In archery, a routine can be developed that begins with pulling the arrow from the quiver and ends with seeing the arrow strike the bull’s eye. Many pro golfers “talk their way” through their routine, meaning that they say a phrase where each word corresponds to a specific action or movement. If they find that they are not at the right spot or doing the right action at the right time, they stop and start over. Creating a routine and sticking to it each time takes the draw/aim/fire sequence and turns it into an assembly line-like process where the actions are identical each time and the results are too.
4. Shoot from long range – one of the best ways to get good at 20 yards is to shoot from 30, 40 and 50 yards. It is amazing how we can struggle at 20 yards, then go shoot a few arrows at 50 yards, come back to the 20 and the shot seems like a layup. The confidence you build doing this will carry over to the next time you shoot the 20 yard targets.
5. Move your sight pin – one of my best friends gave me this tip and I believe it works great. Adjust your sight pin so that you hold it just under the bull’s eye for the arrow to hit the bull’s eye. This way you never lose sight of the bull’s eye while you are aiming. I was somewhat skeptical until I tried it and now I am a firm believer in this technique. Trap shooters have been doing this for years now with great success.
6. Don’t over practice – for most shooters, physical fatigue sets in rather quickly. After 20-30 arrows, the body is having trouble executing with correct form and sometimes mental fatigue is setting in. Each shooter needs to determine the appropriate stopping point and walk away at that point each practice session. I know great shooters who shoot 100 arrows per session and some that shoot only three arrows per session. They all have great accuracy so their specialized approach works well for them. I firmly believe that accuracy can be improved more by several short focused practice sessions instead of longer “marathon” sessions.
7. Shoot with family and friends – inviting others to join you makes it more fun and light-hearted. Without realizing it, the competitive juices will kick in and you will find yourself working harder to out-shoot the others. The result will be more fun and improvement for all of the shooters.
8. Learn from others – as a shooter, you are probably facing the same problems that most other shooters have faced. Work with a coach/pro or access great information sources like Archery Talk. The combined wealth of knowledge at AT is incredible and most users are very willing to help out. Don’t waste time recreating the wheel when you don’t have to.

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Published by Checkmate on 07 Sep 2008

Buying a bow for the first time: A noobie’s insight to selecting the right bow for yourself

Hi,

 

My name is Kyle and I recently became an archery fanatic.  I bought my first bow in December 2007 with full intentions of becoming a fairly skilled archer/bowhunter.  I have not bowhunted in the past and only owned a very old model compound bow when I was around nine years old.  No one in my family or close friends bowhunts or participates in any form of archery.  So I feel that I am fairly qualified to write an article from the perspective of a brand new archer with almost zero knowledge about the sport of archery and no help from trusted family and friends on getting into the sport.  The goals of this post are to help inform new aspiring archers to select the right starting equipment that has the best chance of keeping them interested in the sport with a desire to learn more and become the best archer they can be.  Perhaps this post can help the already seasoned archers by taking a view from a different perspective than one they already hold.

 

Getting Started

 

The first place to start is always with a budget.  There is a WIDE range of archery equipment out there for all different price ranges.  Knowing what you can realistically spend on your gear is going to help you make decisions easier and keep the hurt on your pocketbook to something that is manageable.  One thing that I have learned quite quickly is that archery can get very expensive very quickly.  With proper planning you should be able to minimize the amount of surprises in equipment costs.

My recommendation is that you set a budget for total cost of a ready to shoot package.  Keeping in mind the things that are absolutely necessary versus the nice trinkets and gadgets that fall in the want category.  Things like arrows, an arrow rest, a sight, some form of release either a finger tab or mechanical release, broadheads if you plan on hunting and other accessories that are essential add up to a lot of extra expense.  I would try to find average prices for these pieces of gear and try to match with a bow that will fit the price range you have limited yourself to.  Many pro-shops and outfitter stores will have a good idea of price ranges of entire packages for out the door prices when you talk with them.  These tools are all vital components of the total package, but the remainder of this article will remain focused on selecting the right bow, (keep in mind this article is geared toward compound hunting bows, as that is the only area of archery I have entered so far) perhaps in the future I can spend time on other necessary pieces of equipment.

 

Removing Bias

If you are lucky enough to have friends or family members that already have archery equipment and are willing to help you get started that is great.  I would caution you to be careful of bias in the archery world though.  Many people are very opinionated on archery gear and not very open minded about things.  I think this is one of the biggest downfalls in the archery world.  My recommendation is that you try to keep everything that you have heard in commercials, from friends and family, and from pro-shop techs in perspective.  Although they have very valuable information, be skeptical of hard pressed opinions.  Websites like Archerytalk have a huge wealth of information available at your fingertips; all you have to do is seek it out.  What hasn’t worked for someone in the past that they “will never try again in their life” has more than likely worked flawlessly for countless other people.  Have an open mind when exploring the sport of archery.

 

Research

Archery is a science, and many people have done a lot of work to improve on the equipment that is available.   There are great resources that allow you to get their reviews on gear for free.  I will caution you here however, try to keep in mind that references might not always be playing fair when it comes to reviews.  If a bow manufacturer is a huge sponsor of theirs, you might find biased results.  Archerytalk is a great source of case study and personal experience material.  Archeryevolution.com is a really good source of objective material on hunting compounds.  I would recommend reading up on some of the issues dealt with in their studies and use that information to help guide what you want to look for in a bow.

 

Fling some arrows

The only way to truly decide what bow is best for you is to shoot different kinds of bows.  Head to your local shop and ask for some help on finding a bow in your price range.  Hopefully they will have multiple bows that fall in your price range and you should shoot all of them.  They will be able to give you a release, some arrows and a few instructions on what to do when you start shooting. 

Before you shoot

Have the pro-shop staff determine your draw length.  On many bows today draw length is a set feature and you need different cams to change the draw length of the bow.  Having the right draw length for you is essential, and once you know it you will be able to try out bows that match that length.  Shooting a bow that is either to short or to long is going to be a serious disadvantage for you because it produces bad form while shooting.

Find a comfortable draw weight.  Not everyone is capable of drawing back 70 pounds.  Some people might not even be able to handle 40.  Have the shop staff help you in finding a draw weight that you can comfortably and safely draw back.  Select a bow that is comfortable for you to draw and does not require you to over exert yourself to reach full draw.  Archery is a sport of repetition, if you have trouble drawing a bow five times in a row practice sessions are going to be painful experiences.  On that note, keep in mind that archery muscles are not something used in everyday work.  You will need to build these muscles and potentially have to shoot a lower poundage at first until you have strengthened those muscles enough to pull heavier weight.

Now lets get to testing the bow.  The things to evaluate from bow to bow are:

 

Draw Cycle:

This is how the bow pulls for you and how much effort is required to reach full draw.  Each person can be different and a harsh draw cycle to one person might feel like very smooth to another.  It is important to keep things equal between the bows you are testing.  Make sure they are all set at the same draw weight.  Pulling 70 pounds on one bow and then 50 on another is obviously not a fair comparison.  If they do not have the appropriate limbs to match draw weights on the bows make sure to keep that in mind when you evaluate each. 

 

Hand Shock

This is essentially how much recoil is in the bow after the shot is taken.  If you have ever took a swing at a solid object with a metal baseball bat and the resulting vibration made you drop the bat in pain you have an idea what hand shock feels like.  Of course it is not that extreme in any bow on the market today (at least to my knowledge).  However, like a harsh draw cycle, an abundance of hand shock can make practice sessions with a bow displeasureable.  Try to look for a bow that does not vibrate much when you shoot.  Note that it is probably impossible to eliminate all hand shock from any bow, but you should be able to find something that does not feel like a baseball bat hitting concrete in your hand.

 

Looks

Some people might disagree with me here, but I think it is important to have a bow that you like the looks of.  Many people are generally proud of their bow and like to show it off.  It is similar to having a car or home you are proud of.  Remember to keep this in perspective though as well.  Looks are not nearly as important as functionality.  However, all things being equal between two different bows go with the one you like the looks of better.

 

End Results

If you are consistently shooting great groups with one bow and they fall apart with another, go for consistency.  It might be your form, or torque on the bow that is making you shoot worse, but it could be something that just doesn’t work for you.  Perhaps the grip is different and you can’t hold one bow without torquing at the shot, whereas you can hold the other steady and straight.  Just remember that one bow needs to be consistently different from the other.  Don’t just shoot one group with each and choose the one that has the better group.  Also, don’t think that because one group is closer to the bullseye than the other it is automatically better.  Once again, sighting the bow for yourself will produce better accuracy than when you are just testing the bow.

 

Workmanship

Inspect the bow for manufacturing defects and flaws.  You are paying for a piece of equipment that should be free of them.  Look at the machining on the different parts of the bow.  Check for defects that could affect a bows performance and also affect the look of the bow.  You wouldn’t buy a new car with a big scratch in the paint, you shouldn’t buy a bow with one either.  Also make sure the replaceable parts on the bow are in good shape.  Check to make sure the string is not frayed and looks like it is in good condition.  Some of the bows in shops get used quite a bit before they are sold.  Make sure you have a good string on the bow that is going to last instead of needing to replace it not long after you have bought it.  If you are unsure about the quality of the string you are getting ask the shop to replace it before you buy the bow.

 

Things NOT to worry about

Don’t worry if you can’t hit the bullseye with a bow the shop is letting you try out.  To get accurate you will need to have the bow set up for you and sighted in to your anchor point.  Most shops are going to let you shoot the bow to get a feel for it, I think it would be a rare occasion to have them sight the bow in before you have even bought it.

Brand names.  Just because a bow shop is a Hoyt, Mathews, PSE, Bowtech or other dealer, does not mean that those are the right bow for you.  Most people could be happy shooting a bow from just about any company out there.  Try to remember the points I made about bias.  It comes from all angles in the archery world, so remember to be cautious.

Equipment that is already on the bow is something you shouldn’t put to much stock in either.  If you don’t like a piece that you are trying out such as the rest or the release, remember you don’t have to buy those pieces.  You can dress your bow with whatever you want on it later.

 

Final Thought

 

Ultimately you are looking for a bow that you are going to enjoy shooting.  Try to recognize what makes shooting one bow better than shooting another bow FOR YOU, whatever that characteristic(s) is(are).  Be informed and take your time making this decision, it can be a difficult task to find the right bow, especially the first time.  As with anything else, experience will guide and direct you on what qualities you like in a bow, but hopefully this article will help you make a more informed decision on your first.  If this isn’t your first time buying a bow, hopefully this article will help you refine your decision making process or perhaps encourage you to try something new and compare results.  Either way, I wish you the best of luck and take care.

10 votes, average: 3.60 out of 510 votes, average: 3.60 out of 510 votes, average: 3.60 out of 510 votes, average: 3.60 out of 510 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5 (10 votes, average: 3.60 out of 5)
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Published by Acts 10.13 on 06 Sep 2008

Homemade String Stop

I made this string stop for my 2007 Bowtech Patriot II last summer and my buddy still makes comments on my bow’s quietness nearly each time we shoot together.  I spent under $10.00 and think that it turned out pretty well. My only initial worry was how much extra weight this would add versus a carbon based rod but I couldn’t even tell the weight difference once I first added this to my bow. I’m doing this from memory.  So, bear with me.

From the hardware store you’ll need:
– 5/16 inch fine-threaded rod (Fits nearly all bows that I know of)
– One 5/16 inch fine-threaded nut
– Two rubber stoppers of the same size (3/4″ to 1″ in diameter at the large end)
– Black Heat shrink wrap slightly bigger than the threaded rod (My local hardware store had white and red too)
– Black O-rings and Washers that fit snuggly over the threaded rod (For extra vibration deadening and appeal)

Step By Step:
1. Thread the rod as far as it will go into your bow’s rear threaded hole beside your string. Be careful not to let the threading rub against your strings. Make a sharpe mark on the rod about 1/4″ (or exactly half the length of your rubber stoppers) away from your string towards your bow’s riser. Use bolt cutters or have the hardware store use their chain cutters to cut ONLY the mark near your string for you. Be sure to take the rod out of your bow first!
2. Drill a hole slightly smaller than the rod about halfway into one of the rubber stoppers and all the way through the other stopper. And then take the stopper with the hole all the way through it and drill a hole slightly larger than your 5/16 nut halfway through it, starting on the larger end of the stopper.
3. Put some fletching glue of your choice (I’m a Goat Tuff guy) in the stopper with the hole halfway through it and glue it onto the self-cut end of the rod, not the factory cut that was threaded into your bow. Be sure to try and glue it as squarely as possible so that the flat surface of the stopper and the rod make a perfect 90 degree angle.
4. While that’s drying, apply serving to your bow string where the stopper is going to make contact with it.
5. Once the stopper dries, insert it into your bow’s threaded hole and screw it all the way in. Now back it out to the point to where it’s just about to completely touch your string serving but you can still see the slightest amount of daylight between the two. Make a sharpe mark about 1/2″ away from your bow’s threaded hole.
6. Now cut a peice of shrinkwrap, or two peices in my case, that will cover from your new sharpee mark all the way up to your newly glued on rubber stopper. Follow your shrink wraps directions.  I just used a lighter. Be sure to remove the rod from your bow before you start putting a flame to it!
7. Apply the rubber washers and o-rings of your choice to your threaded rod – I did this to add vibration absorption and to cover up the joint between my two peices of shrink wrap. Then slide the other rubber stopper as far as you can onto the rubber rod, small end towards the string end. And last, screw the nut onto the rod as far as it will go.
8. Now insert the rod all the way back into your bow’s threaded hole. Back it out to the desired point and countersink the nut against your bow’s insert with a wrench (Countersinking is like trying to unscrew the nut from the rod and purposefully letting the bow get in the way). Set the nut pretty tightly because it will get a lot of vibration and abuse but be careful not to mess up your bow’s threaded insert.
9. Slip the unglued rubber stopper over the remaining bare rod and nut and adjust your o-rings and rubber washers so that they don’t make contact with your cables or other equipment.
10. Get ready to receive lots of comments on your bow’s quietness and get ready to laugh at your friends who dropped $40 or more on an STS!

Don’t forget to wax the stopper and your string serving regularly!

12 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 512 votes, average: 3.83 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 3.83 out of 5)
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Published by Klyph on 05 Sep 2008

The Wolf Pack, by Lone Wolf – Review

As an archery hunter who hunts many locations that require me to take my stand both into and out of the woods each hunt, I have been searching for the best way to minimize and consolidate my hunting gear. For the last few years I have altered many packs so that they can be attached to my climber tree stand while entering and leaving the woods. Until now, I have found many different variations in packs and other companies that make variations of straps that are used to make carrying my stand a little more comfortable than using the “free” or manufactures straps, but until know I have not found a combination of the two.

Setup:

My first impression of The Wolf Pack wasn’t all that great. There are straps everywhere and it initially looked way more complicated than I would think that it should. But, once I got my hands on it, my opinion changed.

After taking The Wolf Pack out of the packaging I found that there are six (6) detachable straps that attach directly to the tree-stand (Lone Wolf calls them: “receiving straps”). Lone Wolf hits a home-run by lining the buckles with a neoprene cover to help quiet the “click” as the buckles are attached. I attached two (2) straps at the top, middle, and bottom of my stand. I found that the top and bottom straps worked best about 8 inches apart, while the middle straps are best spread as wide as possible. 

Receiver Strap Placement

Receiver Strap Placement

Once the receiving straps are attached to the stand it is now ready to connect it to the pack. Connect all six (6) recieving straps to the six (6) male buckles located on the pack. I initially thought that I would want the bottom straps as tight as possible so that the stand would be as high on my back as possible… Boy was i WRONG. I found that by keeping the stand as low as possible on my back, the weight of the stand is taken off of my shoulders and is much more comfortable to carry. So in other words, keep all the straps loose as possible until you get the unit on your back… it’s much easier to tighten up the straps once the unit is on your back than to loosen them. After taking the pack on and off a few times, making adjustments here and there, I found that the pack does hold my stand comfortably.

At the Tree:

The Wolf Pack, with all it pockets, straps and elastic, makes it easy to stay quiet. For me, there is plenty of space for all the essentials (range-finder, scents, bow rope,  toilet paper, grunt tubes, other calls, gloves, and other misc. items) while making them truly all accessible without routing through a big pack.

Pack loaded with gear

Pack loaded with gear

There is a built in carry handle at the top of the pack that makes it easy to attach to your bow rope and pull it up to the stand once you are at your desired height. There are two (2) straps that are used to attach the pack to the tree and all the “inside” pockets (while wearing the pack) are now right in arms reach now that it is attached to the tree. The back of the pack also acts as a padded back rest for your stand and removes all noise from any bark that would have other wise been right against your clothing.

Over all thoughts:

I found that overall this pack meets almost all my expectations. It was easy to use (once setup) and it kept all my gear quiet while keeping it easy to get to when needed. I really like the padded back rest, which is a bonus to me since I hadn’t thought it was all that necessary.

I do have some concerns (as I haven’t hunted with the pack yet, maybe they will all work them selves out) but, once you get all your gear in the pockets and strap it to your body, there is not much air movement. So, it might not be the best option in the early hunting season when temps around here can be in the 80’s. I use a HSS and when putting both on, it gets hot fast… So when using the pack, you may want to carry the HSS into the woods, rather than wear it. To bad they didn’t make the pack a safety system also… I better patent that right away.

Overall, I am glad I spent the 99.00 for this product and would recommend it to friends.

12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 512 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5 (12 votes, average: 3.25 out of 5)
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Published by Montalaar on 16 May 2008

Make your own pen out of an arrow.

Did you ever wanted to have something of your bow with you although you could not shoot it? Something unique and self made? I will show you how to build your very own pen out of an old arrow. Nothing you can buy anywhere but a pen with your own quality. Something unique with your own fingerprint. Interested? You should read further.

So what do we need for our project?

At the beginning we need to get certain things straight. What kind of pen do we want to make? Do we want a ball-pen or do we want a pencil? Each thing needs the perfect shaft size for it. A pencil will not fit into a small diameter carbon shaft. Maybe you want to make your own filler. We will concentrate on two different basic types of pens as a ground level you can start developing your own way.

After deciding what pen you want to create we can get the needed materials together.

We require:

  • an arrow in a diameter that fits to your purpose

  • a pen of your choice

  • nock

  • a set of vanes

  • some hot-melt adhesive

  • a lighter

  • something to underlay, a marker, a (hack)saw, sandpaper

If you not want to change the infilling of your arrow you can also choose any other adhesive but i recommend hot-melt adhesive because you can renew your pen if it is worn out. The choice of the shaft to use is defined by your supllies. Use what you have.

Layout One – The pencil

What do we do?

Removing the point from the shaft

Before we start we need to get everything set up right and you should be in the possibility to obtain everything i mentioned above. If you use your older arrows you need at first to remove the point and i possible also the nock. In most cases the point is glued into the shaft with some hot-melt adhesive so you can heat up the point and remove it with a pliers.

Now you can decide how long your arrow will be. I do not think that your pen should have the length of your arrow. If we think about an 30“ arrow we have the possibility to make between three or four arrows out of it!

To get the right length of your shaft put the pencil right beside the shaft and mark the position of the end.

Now you can cut the shaft in the desired length. If you have access to a professional arrow cutter just use it. There is no better way to get this job done. Otherwise you can use any saw for this purpose. Be careful with alloy/carbon or full carbon shafts as they will fray out if you make any mistake and the whole thing needs to be discarded. The best way is to saw the outer surface and turn the shaft some degrees so you can remove the parts with the needed caution.

After cutting the arrow shaft you should sand paper the edges until everything feels plane and smooth. Take your pencil and sharpen it before putting it into the arrow shaft. Heat the hot-melt adhesive up until it becomes something fluid and make a drop around the middle of the pencil and push it into the shaft.

Maybe the adhesive cools down to fast so you need to heat it up again and push it even further until the perfect position is achieved. Let it cool down so that everything sits right in place.

Now you can put a nock on your arrowpen and put the vanes in your favorite design on it.

If you want to sharpen your pencil just heat up the shaft and pull out the pencil far enough to sharpen it. Let the adhesive cool down and you are fine with it.

Layout Two – The ball-pen

Maybe you want to make your own ball-pen rather than a pencil. Be advised that this will take much more time. Take a ball-pen of your choice – it should be as thin as the arrow shaft you use – and take it to pieces. You can choose between two options now. Option one is to glue the refill for the pen direct into the shaft. Option two is to reassemble the ball-pen into the shaft which will take loads of time.

Take a look at the pieces you got from disassembling the pen. You should have the refill, a spring, some plastics and the body of the pen. The front end of the pen contains the spring and prevents it from disappearing. Take a saw and remove this part from the rest of the body. We will take this and glue it onto our arrow shaft. We can match the design with some color.

Now take a look at the other end of the body. As on the other end you should have an area where the body is a bit thinner than the rest. Further you should find the ‘module’ that enables the filling to change its position. We need that in our shaft.

Remove it with a saw and sandpaper it until it will fit into the inside.

As you can see i removed the plastic and sandpaperd it. Out everything together to see how long your pen needs to be. Mark your arrow shaft and cut it into the right length.

After this you need to fuse everything together.Check everything for its position and glue it together. Then check again for correct positions. Take the point we took forom the original pen and glue it onto the one side of the shaft. Do not forget to add the refill, the spring and the little plastic parts to the pen before adding the point.

Now put the vanes in your favorite design on it. Finito!

The finished product

There a hundreds of possibilities to make your individual and unique pen. Maybe you want to paint something onto it, maybe you like to engrave it. Just be creative with it!

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