First season archery hunting.

Firedude

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I also forgot to mention sometimes we do things for preference. It's literally just better for what I do.

I shoot brightly colored feathers on my compound and longer brightly colored feathers on my recurves. Usually pink, ice blue, or yellow. Time and time again at the range I get eye rolls and comments like, " you should get rid of those dam things! You don't know what you're doing!"

I shoot them solely because they're easier to see in the field. Target guys might not understand. But as a hunter I like to see the arrow fly, hit, and see it in the critter or on the ground. They happen to shoot pretty good in my bow so I stick with them.
 

ImBillT

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I also forgot to mention sometimes we do things for preference. It's literally just better for what I do.

I shoot brightly colored feathers on my compound and longer brightly colored feathers on my recurves. Usually pink, ice blue, or yellow. Time and time again at the range I get eye rolls and comments like, " you should get rid of those dam things! You don't know what you're doing!"

I shoot them solely because they're easier to see in the field. Target guys might not understand. But as a hunter I like to see the arrow fly, hit, and see it in the critter or on the ground. They happen to shoot pretty good in my bow so I stick with them.
Your feather thing has more importance than I realized when I had only read half of it. I was thinking, “yeah bright colors will help me find but…” Then you said a mouthful. “See it fly, hit..” I see a lot of value in that. A LOT.

As far as my choices, yes I may have to drop to a lighter point, but I don’t want to. Unfortunately, it looks like Easton Axis arrows may be about the only thing that will handle that broadhead in a 33”-34” arrow at a reasonable draw weight. I’m not tiny. I don’t like the idea of having to shoot a tiny broadhead because arrows of my draw length won’t support a heavy head.

I have an alternative solution that I’m trying to avoid.
 

ImBillT

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The CO application deadline was about two days before I found out about my local season changes. The elk tag I put in for was nothing special, but I would not have applied for it if I had known about the local season change. I was hoping I would not draw it, and could hunt locally all of October, and then hunt elk OTC, AND gain a point so that I could draw that tag guaranteed next year. Well, I drew a first rifle elk tag in CO, and don’t like the idea of returning it, but not gaining a point. I’d hate to return it, and then fail to draw it next year. SO, it looks like I will have less than two weeks to archery hunt deer locally. :(:(:(. Oh well. Perhaps I will fill my tag the first week anyway, and will be glad I’m hunting 1st rifle instead of OTC.
 

ImBillT

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My busy season has had me much more busy than I would prefer and I haven’t updated in a while because I felt like I didn’t have time to make a proper post.

Most importantly(to me) my arm, wrist and hand have healed to the point that I no longer feel any pain or discomfort and seem fully functional for the time being. For the past 4 weeks, maybe 5, I’ve essentially had no sensation that would suggest anything bad had ever happened. Hopefully that will persist for most of my remaining life. I don’t think strength is quite where it was, but that’s more an issue of taking it easy for a while than of damage or lack of healing.

On the bow front, I’ve broken five, including one that I had probably taken over 1000 shots with in the past decade, which I really hadn’t expected to break. I’ve been storing them outside, and we’re in one of the driest summer of the last decade, and think that had a lot to do with it. My thinking, however is that if I’m going to be hunting in fairly warm dry weather, my bow should be able to handle it and keeping it in a controlled climate might mask any weak points. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyway, I’ve been mostly shooting a bow that’s somewhere around 60-65lbs that I built about ten years ago, and a bow that i finished a few weeks back that came in about 52lbs, but has more set than I would like and seems to be shooting an awful lot slower than I would have guessed it should compared to the heavier bow. I shot over a chrono one afternoon, but A) it was a little cloudy, and B) trying to shoot through it was messing with my ability to shoot. I could step to the side and hit the target, and then try to shoot through the chrono and I couldn’t even hit foam. The one shot that hit foam, and seemed fairly centered didn’t get a reading. :(. Could have been the clouds. I don’t really want to hunt with either bow, but if I have to, the heavier one seems to be the better option. If I have to, I can definitely lighten it up a little. I have some hickory that looked straighter at the lumber yard. It’s rough on the edges, and when I sawed out a billet, the grain wasn’t as good as I had thought it was. I’m going to try to get a bow out of it, but I’m not terribly confident. I also have some 12/4 ash that I can definitely get some bows out of, but ash is so brittle that I was saving it for a last resort.

On the arrow front things are looking pretty good. I’ve been shooting some 31” aluminums that I already had, and they work fine with field points. Definitely too short for broadheads, but they made me think that I can get away with 32” long shafts, which really opens up a LOT more options. My initial research was indicating that a .250 spine was about all that would work. That was partly based on using 33”-34” arrows, and a 1.25” wide handle. I’ve been leaving the handle 1.5” wide, and using 32”-32.5” arrows for calculations. Using the spine calculator at 3riversarchery it looks like I can get can go as low as a .340 spine at 52lbs and .300 at 60lbs. Depending on the insert I can use the .340 or .300 at 52lbs, and .300 or .250 at 60lbs, and again, since I can use a 32” shaft, there are a lot more .250 spine options than before. I ordered Easton Bowhunter shafts in .300 and .250, and Gold Tip Warriors in .340(the Eastons were out of stock), and a half dozen pre-fletched Black Eagle Vintage arrows. I also ordered two different cuts and lengths of fletching and a jig, some brass 6.5mm inserts, two dozen 125-200gr inserts from ethics archery, along with a 200-300gr field point test pack. My plan is to use low temp hot melt to temporarily install the 200gr inserts and vary the point weight until I’m in tune. I aldready had a test pack of field points from Grizzly stick, so, combine with the 200-300gr pack(which includes some 15gr washers) I should be able to start testing very close to the equivalent of a 315gr head, and factory aluminum insert, all the way up to a 315gr and 200gr insert. IF THE SPINE CALCULATOR FROM 3Rivers is correct, I should be in tune with the .340 spine arrows with factory inserts, or .300 spine with 100-125gr inserts from the 52lb bow, and with the 60ish lb bow(I need a better method of check draw weight) I should be pretty close to in tune with the .300 spine arrows using factory inserts and .250 spine arrows with 100-125gr inserts. According to the calculator, FOC should range from 23.5-28 depending on the setup. That’s much higher than when I was trying to use 33”-34” .250 spine shafts. That’s the other nice thing about 6.5mm shafts, they’re lighter than 4mm and 5mm shafts. They probably aren’t as tough, but 150-165fps shouldn’t be as hard on them as 180-260fps like other guys are likely shooting. If there’s a setup that a lightweight arrow shaft is strong enough for, it would have to be a heavy, cut-on-contact broadhead moving really slowly.

I’m still going with the 315gr Ashby from GrizzlyStik. I wish it was harder and made from a different material. I don’t like the screw on ferrule Iron Will uses. I looked into Cutthroats and VPA also. Why Cutthroat did you flute the ferrule? If they hadn’t done that, I’d probably use a Cutthroat in S7. The VPA looks excellent, but 50RC? Really?

I don’t know what to think about my shooting. I’m definitely not shooting enough, but things should slow a little bit in the next few weeks. I get 1-6 three shot groups per day 5-7 days per week, but it’s a rare day that I have time for 18 shots. I have a target set up at 18yds. At least half of days, I get at least one group about the size of a softball, but I usually completely miss the target at least once as well. Hopefully that will improve. I suppose it indicates that occasionally I’m doing something consistently.
 
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ImBillT

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Good and bad today.

The good. I haven’t completely missed in 4-5 days with the 60-ish pound bow. All of my arrows and components are in, and I got my shafts trimmed even at a new shop in town that literally just opened, but is quite popular in the small town a few hours down the road. This morning I had time to shoot one shot before I left the house, and it darn near hit the very center of the target. While talking to a friend about the new archery season and discussing the deer we had been seeing(we hunt different places) I remembered a piece of public land that I had always wanted to hunt, but it’s archery only I so I always kinda had it on the back burner. They limit access, and it’s entirely walk-in. I called, and they had a slot open for me for the dates I wanted, so I reserved them. They also allow cancellations up to the day of your hunt, and said that weekdays late in the season usually don’t get many/any hunters, so if for some reason I need to postpone it, that may be doable. All in all, a lot of good this week.

The bad. I didn’t get any arrows fletched or inserts hot melted in, which was the plan. I had a death in the family(my grandmother and last living grandparent) that I have not really processed yet. It was not expected quite so suddenly, but it was not exactly a huge surprise. My wife and children went to see my grandmother two Saturdays ago but I was so exhausted and had so much to do that I didn’t go. I figured I would go in October or November, maybe even this weekend. As far as I know she was pretty happy up to the end, but she was certainly becoming limited enough that how long she would continue to be happy with her quality of life was a lot shorter than how long she might wind up living, then again, she was not easy to bring down, so maybe she’d have been happy regardless. Tonight got home and drew back to shoot an arrow when my handle cracked. Long story. All is not necessarily lost, so I carried out some repairs, and perhaps the bow will survive. I roughed out a hickory board that I had already backed with fiberglass. I wasn’t planning to use fiberglass but time is getting short and I need a sure thing. Because of family obligations early next week, and my state of mind being something less than it would otherwise have been, I likely won’t make the progress I had hoped for this weekend or next week, so with the 60-ish pound bow possibly out of commission, that’s not good.

The plan. I still have four possible bows. Two finished oak boards that both need improvements(one backed with flax and one with glass), one oak board backed with flax that is roughed out and needs to be tillered that will probably finish around 50lbs, and one hickory board, backed with glass, that could probably finish at any weight I can draw as long as the glass holds it together. It’s not a perfect board for a bow, and the glass layer is thin because I don’t want to feel like I have a glass bow. I didn’t even want to use glass. Maybe this weekend I can have something shootable, and work on arrows next weekend. I’m running out of time.
 

brazilianch

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I’m going to attempt to shoot a mule deer with a bow this year for the very first time. I have shot bows before. I bought my wife a Hoyt compound for her birthday almost ten years ago, and had zero interest in archery prior to that. I quickly lost interest in compounds. They’re too mechanical. The sights and release are too much like a rifle. I wanted a stick bow. I made four from boards. The first was trash. The second and third were okay. The fourth was decent, but it’s not what I currently want. I longed(and still do) for a good limb or trunk to split some real staves from. Due to buying a home and changing jobs I just didn’t have the time to keep messing around with it and sort of put it on the list of things to do someday. I did, on a whim, about eight years ago carry my compound in the woods one afternoon in an archery only spot and had a few shot opportunities on some deer that weren’t legal, so this won’t technically my very first time to go hunting with a bow in my hand.

Why now? The main thing that has kept me from moving it from the “someday” list to the “this season” list has been the fact that attempting bow hunting would come with a fairly high cost in terms of bringing meat home. I like bringing meat home. In my home state, there were no archery only seasons on property that I could hunt that didn’t involve at least a 3hr drive, and until mid Oct, I’m essentially unable to take week days off work, and often work Saturdays as well(that’s also why my pronghorn applications are so limited. I only apply close to home for hunts that include the weekend). Our any weapon season was very short, and the three places that I hunt deer all get substantial pressure from other hunters(who even hunt from a moving vehicle on the piece of private that I can hunt), so taking a bow would be a big impediment to my success rate. As for hunting out of state, I haven’t really wanted to spend a ton of money on tags and fuel, and burn my limited time away from home, to almost certainly come back empty handed because I just don’t know anything at all about archery hunting Some people are willing to do so, and good on them, but I wanted to get some experience archery hunting before I burned my out of state time and budget on an archery hunt. THIS YEAR, my state game agency has added a month long archery season for my county! Essentially, I can hunt that entire season, and if I’m unsuccessful, I’ve lost nothing other than the time I spent gaining valuable experience as I can still hunt the any weapon season if I haven’t punched my tag! As a result, this is the year I’ll be diving headfirst into archery hunting!

I’m going to attempt to shoot a mule deer with a bow this year for the very first time. I have shot bows before. I bought my wife a Hoyt compound for her birthday almost ten years ago, and had zero interest in archery prior to that. I quickly lost interest in compounds. They’re too mechanical. The sights and release are too much like a rifle. I wanted a stick bow. I made four from boards. The first was trash. The second and third were okay. The fourth was decent, but it’s not what I currently want. I longed(and still do) for a good limb or trunk to split some real staves from. Due to buying a home and changing jobs I just didn’t have the time to keep messing around with it and sort of put it on the list of things to do someday. I did, on a whim, about eight years ago carry my compound in the woods one afternoon in an archery only spot and had a few shot opportunities on some deer that weren’t legal, so this won’t technically my very first time to go hunting with a bow in my hand.

Why now? The main thing that has kept me from moving it from the “someday” list to the “this season” list has been the fact that attempting bow hunting would come with a fairly high cost in terms of bringing meat home. I like bringing meat home. In my home state, there were no archery only seasons on property that I could hunt that didn’t involve at least a 3hr drive, and until mid Oct, I’m essentially unable to take week days off work, and often work Saturdays as well(that’s also why my pronghorn applications are so limited. I only apply close to home for hunts that include the weekend). Our any weapon season was very short, and the three places that I hunt deer all get substantial pressure from other hunters(who even hunt from a moving vehicle on the piece of private that I can hunt), so taking a bow would be a big impediment to my success rate. As for hunting out of state, I haven’t really wanted to spend a ton of money on tags and fuel, and burn my limited time away from home, to almost certainly come back empty handed because I just don’t know anything at all about archery hunting Some people are willing to do so, and good on them, but I wanted to get some experience archery hunting before I burned my out of state time and budget on an archery hunt. THIS YEAR, my state game agency has added a month long archery season for my county! Essentially, I can hunt that entire season, and if I’m unsuccessful, I’ve lost nothing other than the time I spent gaining valuable experience as I can still hunt the any weapon season if I haven’t punched my tag! As a result, this is the year I’ll be diving headfirst into archery hunting!
Good luck!
 

ImBillT

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I’ve been waaaaay too busy to update. Still am. I will give more details later. I was shooting pretty well last week. Shooting pretty poorly this week. After seeing a few good bucks Tuesday I’m wishing I had gone the compound route. I kinda want the antlers more than I want to say I did it with a trad bow, even if in the long term I would prefer to use a trad bow. Season opens in the morning. I need some luck and some blessings!
 
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Wallydeuce

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You're gonna have a ball! Nothing better than getting eyeball to eyeball.

PS. Wind. Always wind. Never forget.
 

grizzly63

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Had a doe tonight at 7-8 yds. Just don't get that with a rifle. Didn't shoot her, Always harder to judge size when they are alone. Its still pretty warm out and I don't want to fight the insects.
 

ImBillT

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You're gonna have a ball! Nothing better than getting eyeball to eyeball.

PS. Wind. Always wind. Never forget.
It’s gonna be a wild ride. Saw three bucks bigger than any I’ve ever killed. That’s gonna make it easier to pass on nice bucks, but it’s also gonna drive me absolutely nuts that. Probably going to be a bit frustrating. Hopefully I won’t blow them outta the country never to be seen again.
 

ImBillT

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I was slightly concerned with how little penetration I was getting with field tips. I was thinking that 315gr points would penetrate at least a little. Admittedly the shape of them is designed to limit penetration. I had shot some Grizzly broadheads into my target a few times a couple weeks ago. Straight outta the package. I was just testing and obviously going to sharpen them before using them. They did penetrate deeper. That was somewhat comforting. Tonight I shot the GrizzlyStick Ashby’s that I’ll be using tomorrow. They shaved my arm right out of the box. When I shot them, they went clean through the target like it wasn’t there. That made me feel a lot better.
 

Wallydeuce

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It’s gonna be a wild ride. Saw three bucks bigger than any I’ve ever killed. That’s gonna make it easier to pass on nice bucks, but it’s also gonna drive me absolutely nuts that. Probably going to be a bit frustrating. Hopefully I won’t blow them outta the country never to be seen again.
That's what I loved about archery Mule deer hunting. They are easily patterned. Unless you scare the living hell out of them, they'll be back to the same area. Maybe a day. A week. They were born in that area and they typically return if environmental conditions allow. If they survive you, rifle and winter, you'll see them next year too. That's why Mule deer honey holes are sacred.

Good luck. Have a great hunt!
 

ImBillT

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Saw more bucks than I could count Tuesday before season. Saw five yesterday. None worth shooting.

A very nice change was that I was the only hunter there, and the only vehicle I saw belonged to the farmer that lets me hunt, which suggests that there aren’t any bow hunters on adjacent properties either. Usually there are a handful of other hunters hunting where I am, as well as on a couple of adjacent properties, and I hear a rifle shot or two almost every day. Every time I hear a shot, I wonder if I should take a buck off the list, and end up feeling pressured to take the next decent one I see. It doesn’t look like that will be a problem this year. It’s possible that more hunters will pick up bows next season.

I do still remain concerned that if I bump too many deer too many times, they will just hand out on adjacent properties where no one is hunting.
 

ImBillT

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Well, the serenity of bow hunting was broken Sunday morning. I was watching some deer in the hunting neighbor’s cotton field to see where they were going to go. The property line is an L shape. A few hours past daylight I can see his truck coming into the field from his mesquite thicket. I though, “good for him, he has also taken up bow hunting with our new season. Perhaps a little pressure from his side of the fence will keep the deer from staying on his side if I bump them too much”. Then the truck stops, he gets out and points a rifle into the field, and proceeds to empties a 10 round magazine.(he has hunted in the past with an AR-10 in 6.5 CM). Deer start fleeing the field. He scans the field, gets a new magazine out of the truck, and scans the field a while longer. Then he picks up his brass, gets in his truck and heads back toward the house. When he pulls past the brush obscuring my truck and see my truck he stops for a moment, then continues on to his house(He lives inside the property. Most farmers around here do not). I didn’t hear any hits, and he seemed confident that he didn’t kill anything. On the plus side, the deer did run to my side of the property line, and spend most of Monday and Tuesday off of his property. Yesterday they started spending time in his mesquite thicket again.

Pre-season I had seen three large bucks on three separate occasions. Twice in the neighbor’s mesquite thicket, and once on the property I have permission to hunt. Since then I have not seen them. I have however seen deer that look like a lot like them, just smaller. I only have a picture of one, and it’s pretty blurry plus it’s a poor angle from behind. I was beginning to talk myself into imagining that the three deer I was looking for did not actually exist. One of the three large bucks is a 3x3. Let me tell you, he appears to be a HUGE 3x3. He’s the only one of the three that I got on camera. The two 4x4s have equally large frames, and again, the frame on the 3x3 is huge. Last night I got on a pretty large 3x3. Conditions were perfect. We hadn’t had any moisture in a while and it had been dead calm. You could here careful steps through the grass at 500yds. But not last night. It was damp, and the wind picked up to 10mph or so, right in my face. And the 3x3 and feeding away in the only part of the property with a decent amount of topography and some brush. I assumed it was the 3x3 I had considered a giant. The closer I got, the more I was disappointed, and the more sure I was that I was mistaken about how big the 3x3, and thus the two large 4x4s(there are plenty of small 4x4s) actually were. This buck was 22-24” wide. MAAAYBE 25” wide. Probably 14” G2’s. I started to call off the stalk. He wasn’t very large and I was excited to have a long archery season specifically because I always think I shot the biggest buck available, only to see bucks 20-40” larger when the season is over. But then I thought that I had already spent more time scouting and in the field than I ever had before, and had 11 game cameras up for the first time, and this was one of the biggest bucks I had a picture off. If he was going to let me stalk into range, I should shoot him. So I continued on. I got in to about 50yds. I’m pretty confident that I could have gotten under twenty. He bedded back down right on the edge of the sage/sand hills before the flat open country, and I had cover, wind, and terrain all helping get in. I could easily drop into a dip and the next time terrain wouldn’t cover me I’d be under 20yds. As long as he didn’t hear me, I was golden. BUT, at 50yds, it was plain as day. This buck’s front forks were only about 5” deep, and closer to the tips of the main beams than to the G2’s. This was clearly not the “giant 3x3”. The giant 3x3 has at least 10” G4s. The pictures I have my not be at a good enough angle to be certain of width, but he appears wider than last night’s buck, which was 2-3” outside the ear tips. I was starting to think the poor picture was fooling me, but after seeing last night’s buck at 50yds, and knowing that he A) just plain looked smaller than the 3x3 in my blurry picture, and B) definitely could not be the same buck based on how close his g4s were to his antler tips, I’m convinced that there is a buck out there that is as good as the picture makes me think, and he probably has two buddies that aren’t in any pictures.

Last night was good and bad. It gave me renewed confidence that holding out for something bigger than I’ve shot in the past isn’t holding out for something that doesn’t actually exist. But, in spite of it being a successful stalk almost to the point of bow range, it also really showed me just how much was going to have to go right. I’m not sure that much is going to go right on the very few occasions that one of the three large bucks shows back up on the property I’m hunting. I’m also no so sure they won’t be killed with a rifle by the neighbor, or anyone else who doesn’t care about the laws.
 

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