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Monthly Archives: December 2015

On Target: How to Make Your Own Arrows

While doing some of my own research, we came across a fantastic article for all of you archers out there that have wondered about manufacturing your own arrows.

This article is reproduced from Edersbows.com, take some time to check them out 🙂 

arrows

Building your own arrows allows you to save about 5 to 1 0 dollars per dozen, but there’s an even better reason for building your own. You can experiment with all the components, with the various fletching styles and shaft sizes until you find the perfect arrow for your bow and your hunting or 3-D shooting requirements.

Building arrows is easy and fun, not to mention the satisfaction you’ll gain from taking game with arrows you’ve crafted yourself. Anyone can do it – and do it well. Armed with only a few basic tools and the information offered here, you’ll have no problem turning raw shafts into top-quality hunting arrows.

Nock Installation

nock
Year’s ago nocks were all glued on, now most arrows offer pressure-fit nocks that fit snugly but are turnable. Tunable nocks are definitely the way to go. These systems will make tuning a lot easier, and they hold up to more hard shooting than will glue-on nocks.

Assuming you aren’t going to paint (crest) your arrows, nock installation is the first step in the arrow building process. Use hot melt glue or epoxy when installing bushings into aluminum. When installing them in (or over) carbon shafts, use a rubber-based epoxy such as that available from Beman or Arizona Archery Enterprises (AAE).

Regular glue-on nocks should be pressed firmly into place (without glue) until after the fletching has been attached. When the arrow is finished you can rotate the nocks to the proper orientation so the fletching clears your rest and then glue them in place. Bohning Fletch- Tite works fine for this.

Apply The Fletching

fletching
You need a fletching jig, but it doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ve had good luck with the $20 plastic Martin jig I bought more than 10 years ago. Other good ones are made by Bohning, Bitzenburger and Grayling. You have three clamp options: left helical, right helical and straight

(no helical). For hunting and 3-D shooting, right helical is the most popular choice. If you’ll be using feathers, make sure to order feathers from the same wing as the clamp (right helical takes right wing). Vanes are manufactured straight and can be used with any clamp, so you don’t have to specify left or right when ordering.

One of the best fletching adhesive I’ve used for vanes is Fast-Set Gel made by AAE. This is a super-glue product that sets up in only 10 seconds allowing you to use a single-clamp jig and still fletch a dozen arrows in mere minutes. Fast-Set Gel will work on all shaft styles except AFC’s film-dipped carbon arrows, which require a traditional cement such as Bohning’s Fletch-Tite. Of course, Fletch-Tite will also work on aluminum arrows but takes about 10 minutes per fletching to set-up before you can remove the clamp. Fletch-Tite is still the best choice for feather fletching, however.

Place your fletching in the clamp so that its back edge will be about 3/4 inch ahead of the nock taper or nock bushing on your arrow. Adjust the back of the magnet on your jig (the magnet holds the clamp in place while the glue dries) inward or outward until the tail of the fletching sits squarely on top of the arrow. Next, adjust the forward end of the magnet to achieve the desired amount of helical. Easton’s technical representatives recommend four to five degrees of helical. I use a bit more myself – probably closer to seven degrees – but this is only on large diameter aluminum arrows. On smaller diameter carbon arrows I stay closer to Easton’s standard.

When using a straight clamp, (as opposed to a helical clamp) you don’t have as much lee-way and must either install your fletching perfectly straight or with a very slight off-set.

After your fletching is installed, apply a small dab of adhesive to both ends of each for a little added insurance against tearing loose.

You have more freedom to experiment with your fletching style and degree of helical than with any other aspect of arrow building, but it’s still best to observe a few general ground-rules. When making aluminum arrows for hunting, stick with four to five inch fletching. Five inch is a bit better because (in theory at least) it offers a small amount of added stability which can make a difference when shooting broadheads.

Carbon arrows, because of their smaller diameter, work best with shorter fletching (four inch is a good starting point) or you can run into a contact problem when trying to pass long helical fletching through the narrow gap in your rest. You can also experiment with various fletching orientations, such as 70/110 degree four-fletch, (you make this change by inserting a different indexing template into your fletching jig). But the basic 120 degree, three-fletch will do just fine under almost every shooting situation.

Cutting Arrows To Length
Draw an arrow and have someone mark it about a half to 3/4 inch in front of the rest. Cutting arrows is easy with the right equipment, but with the wrong equipment it can be a real headache. For limited quantities of aluminum arrows you can get by with a small rotating pipe cutter. I’ve done it a few times, but I’ve also made some pretty rough cuts, and basically ruined some arrows, in the process. You’re far better off pooling your money with a couple of buddies and getting an electric cut-off tool. You can also take your arrows to a pro shop (that’s equipped with an electric cut-off tool) to have them sized – usually for a price.

Installing Inserts and Outserts
Inserts and outserts (outserts are used with some types of carbon arrows) shouldn’t be taken for granted. Consistent accuracy with broadheads can be difficult to achieve when these components fit loosely. Inserts and outserts should install without any free-play. Usually you don’t have too many options with outserts – you get what the arrow maker offers – but you do have options with inserts. I’ve had good luck with aluminum inserts from Easton and Saunders and composite inserts from AAE. Inserts should have a light press-fit with the inside of the shaft so that each broadhead you screw in will line up perfectly with the shaft.

Aluminum inserts used in aluminum or ACC carbon arrows should be installed with hot-melt glue. Composite inserts in aluminum work best with a rubber-based epoxy, and the same applies for aluminum into carbon (Beman ICS or Gold Tip Graphite XT arrows) or when installing metal outserts on conventional all-carbon shafts. When you’re finished you can install a broadhead and spin test your arrows to make sure the inserts are properly aligned.

Take some time to visit http://www.eders.com/ to view their catalogue of parts and equiptment to assist you in your build.

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Armed with the information above, you could now have a weekend hobby 🙂

 

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Grin and Bear it: The wait

Each season we spend several hundred hours planning, baiting and preparing our hunters for the prospect of harvesting a bear AND we meet new hunters that are ready and eager to harvest that said bear.  However there are some that will be in for a wait.

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Understanding that bear are as individual as people will give a hunter more perspective into what to expect.  I have commonly met new hunters that assume that just because there has been food placed daily for a couple of weeks ahead of time daily, that predicting when a large sow or boar will come in to take and they will go and sit for that time……WRONG!

Being that our baits generally carry multiples, the pattern of ‘hits’ (baits being opened and emptied) can vary.  Smaller bear can come in and hijack a small mouthful in an attempt to get a treat before the larger, more dominant animal appears.  The larger bear may feed less than daily and come every second or third day and yet another wrench can be thrown in with a travelling sow and cub or cubs.  That sow and cub(s) can travel the distance of several baits and interrupt many which in turn will throw off any marked pattern that may have been occurring up until this point and leave a hunter scratching his or her head.

Weather is another factor that can throw off the pattern of hit times and during the latter part of August and into September, the wind is prone to several directional changes per day and variations of warm, cool and wet days that can play havoc with a bear’s daily movements.

Pair all of this together and now add the moon phases.  As the moon fills, the night time light becomes more prevalent and allows for easier visibility in those later hours and no hunters in the trees.  With all of these factors stacked against a hunter, it soon becomes apparent that this is still a hunt and outsmarting your prey and putting in your time may be necessary.

moonphase

Don’t get me wrong, we have had bears taken from baits while stands were still being set in the trees but on the flip side we also get those hunters that take their bear on the last day, last hour and last minute of the hunt.  All factors are variables that play into the outcome of an overall hunt.

The moral is be prepared to sit your stand from as legally early to as legally late as possible.  You are dealing with animals that don’t rely on stats or patterns the way we put weight on them.  These animals need to fill their basic instincts when the time suits them and not when it suits us.

You need to ask yourself before taking on such a challenging hunt….is this bear worth the wait?

bearstand

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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Bears Down! The Bear Highway

It cant go without saying that this year’s batch of hunters fortitude has been tested over and over.  With weather that seems to be taunting them by cold raining one day and jumping to 80+ degrees and sunny the next, these guys have been putting in the hours and time after time have in most cases been rewarded.

On Saturday, Dave, Tim and Jason made the long drive up from Iowa to try their best to outsmart a couple bruin and get a day or two of fishing in.  Optimism high and clouds beginning to hang low, the stands began to be assembled for the drive to the baits.

Each man had a different weapon but all agreed that failure was not an option.  The first day was a shorter than normal sit of only 4 hours and all were thankful that it was a restful sit as they had a long drive before and had sat long enough 🙂

The men arrived back in camp late after a dark trip through the woods.  Dave was ecstatic to let me know that his bait had proven effective and he had spotted an average sized bear that he had decided to pass on and Tim and Jason both had heard but not spotted activity.

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The next day, the three went out, excitement and weapons in hand.  The weather had cooled down and was determined to hold that mercury low for the day.  The boys had layered and knew it would be a good, long, cool day.  The day wore on for us here at the lodge as we completed one task after another waiting for the telltale early truck arrival signalling a downed bear.  As we waited and watched, the clock ticked on.  The sun had already set and the boys were already 30 minutes passed the expected arrival.  We would give them 30 more minutes before setting out to ‘track’ our hunters.  As the minutes dragged on, I had begun to assemble my gear, ready for the drive out with Terry.

At 11:20 pm, a set of headlights pulled through the trees and the truck slowed to a stop in front of my door.  I emerged to a truck full of smiles, not only had Dave taken his boar of 368lb glory, but Tim had taken his as well!!

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As we iced the bears down for the night, I had the chance to go over the hunt with both hunters, as a returning hunter to Wawang, Dave was so excited to tell me about all the bears he saw on ‘the bear highway’ today.  He couldn’t help but beam when he told me about the sow and cubs that came for two visits that day as well as the mid sizer that came in between.  He said that with all the action on the bait, it was very simple to decipher the size of his boar.  He was clear that it had trumped everything else that had come for a visit and was so proud to share the pictures.  “There were just bear everywhere I looked!” he repeated.

 

Smiles all around, Tim spoke up about his hunt and was proud of his harvest, though it wasn’t as big a bear as Dave’s, the tell white half chevron of white on the chest that made a winking emoticon made it very simple for me to dub this boy ‘Winky’ .  Both had prime hides and will make for not only fantastic stories but beautiful mounts to be enjoyed for year after year.

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Jason was so proud of both of his hunting buddies and is determined to add to the celebration list too!

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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The Best Crossbows

crossbow hunting, hunting with crossbow, best crossbows

Skyrocketing interest in crossbow hunting has created tremendous demand from new crossbow hunters. Meanwhile, discriminating veterans are looking for features like sleeker, lighter, faster, more maneuverable and more powerful bows.

And believe it or not, there’s even a market for zombie crossbows and dangerous game. Whatever your preference, chances are there’s a perfect crossbow out there just for you.

As a result, crossbow manufacturers are increasingly challenged with providing an adequate supply of all of the above. Time will tell if they can make enough bows, but if this year’s selection is any indication, they certainly seem to be on track in terms of technology. Check out our roundup of the best crossbows below.

 
 

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Gnarliest Bucks

 

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“The Barnacle Buck” found by Lionel Crissman in 1989 in Ohio. 128 Points on an 8 point main frame

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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in hunting, taxidermy, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Moose Hunting – After the Hunt

moose-wawang-lakeHunters who take a moose and are camping out often have a feast—chunks of prime meat roasted on sticks over a campfire—a delicious and savory reward for their hard work. Butchering one of these big, heavy animals takes a lot of time and effort. A prime bull can yield more than 500 pounds of meat and fat. Traditional foods include many other edible parts of the moose such as the head, liver, heart, some other internal organs, and the highly valued fat. So it takes not only a lot of work to butcher a moose, but also specialized skills and a detailed knowledge of the animal’s anatomy.

 

moose=wawang-lakeA Delicious Feast

Moose meat and fat are staple foods in most many people who live in the northern regions of Ontario.

Fat is a very important part of a traditional diet because it stokes the metabolism and adds flavor to meat and organs. Unlike beef, moose meat is not marbled with fat, but rather the fat is separate. A favorite kind of fat is found in the sheath-like mesentery membranes that hold the organs together.

In times past, even the bones of moose were ground and boiled to make a fatty broth. If they didn’t use the bones immediately, they could store them as a potential source of food during times of scarcity.

Delectables include brisket, short ribs, heart, and tongue. Thin slices of meat may be fried. A delicious gravy is made from the fat.

A regular favorite is moose meat simmered in a big pot along with some combination of rice, noodles, or potatoes and sometimes vegetables. The result is a thick meaty, delicious stew. Bone marrow is also used in tasty, nutritious broths.

moose=wawang-lake

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Posted by on December 26, 2015 in moose, moose hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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All I Want For Christmas……

 

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MERRY CHRISTMAS
from all of us at Wawang Lake Resort

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Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Dog Retrieving Sheds Tips

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  1. Pick the right pup. You want a pup with high prey and hunt drives, such as a retriever (Labrador, golden) or a working breed (German shepherd, Malinois). But not every dog will do. Test a pup out by tossing some short retrieves (do not use a shed at this stage). Look for unbridled enthusiasm. You’ll also need to ensure the dog has enough drive. Throw the ball into thick cover and observe how long he’ll search and whether he’s using his nose.
  2. Imprint the scent. To get your dog excited about shed hunting, you need to get him excited about the scent of sheds. Take a tennis ball and rub it on a shed—the fresher the antler, the better. Or store the ball and the shed together. Then work with the dog on short retrieves. Eventually work your way up to tossing the ball into thick cover. Give a reward after good sessions.
  3. Hide the shed. Once the dog is accustomed to the scent of sheds, it’s time to break out the antlers for what Bowling calls odor recognition. The biggest mistake people make, says Bowling, is that they don’t think about the wind while training. At first, try some easy finds, and reward good effort. Then move to tougher tests. But always work the dog into the wind. Let him learn to use his nose.

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Grouse Kebobs

2Cubes of ruffed grouse breast skewered along with grape tomatoes, mushrooms and onion make for wonderful kebabs. No ruffies? You can also use other grouse, as well as duck, goose or wild turkey breast meat.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 ruffed grouse breasts (skinless, boneless)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 red onion, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 16 grape tomatoes, whole
  • 16 brown mushrooms, whole
  • Canola oil

Preparation

  • Cut grouse breasts into ¾-inch cubes and place in a zip-lock bag with thyme, olive oil, wine, salt and pepper. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grouse from bag and thread onto skewers, alternating with onion cubes, tomatoes and mushrooms. Brush kebabs with canola oil and grill until grouse is cooked through.
  • Serve with fragrant basmati rice and carrot rounds.
  • Tip: If you use wooden skewers, first soak them in water for 15 minutes to help prevent them from splintering or burning. Whether you use stainless steel or wooden skewers, coat them in cooking oil before threading on the grouse and vegetables so the food will easily slide off after grilling. Also coat the grill with cooking oil so the kebabs don’t stick.
  • For the glass: For this tasty light meal, fill your glass with a full-bodied beer or a heavy Chardonnay.

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in grouse, recipe, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Tracks in the Snow

moose-wawang-lakeTraditionally, moose have also been taken outside the rutting season, especially in the winter. At this time, moose tend to be scattered. If the snow is fresh and powdery, a hunter can move silently through the forest and thickets. But if the snow is drifted or develops a crust, every footstep makes a noise that alerts the moose. Making matters worse, even slight sounds carry over surprisingly long distances on windless days with temperatures far below zero—as often happens during the northern winter.

Moose have excellent hearing, so the best chance of approaching one in the winter is during storms when gale winds and gusts cover the sound of crunching snow. Luckily, temperatures tend to be warmer during storms, so although hunting in these conditions can be very uncomfortable, it’s not as life threatening as when the temperatures sink to minus thirty or colder.

When the snow is really deep—up to a moose’s belly—these animals have a very hard time moving around. Also if the snow is deep and crusted, the heavy-bodied moose will punch through the icy crust, cutting its legs as the animal walks, making travel extremely difficult.

If the crust is hard and strong enough, wolves can walk on top, giving them a lethal advantage over moose. Mired in the snow, a moose cannot escape by running away and has difficulty defending itself. Human hunters on snowshoes can also stay near the top of deep or crusted snow while the moose are forced to wallow slowly along. Under these conditions, a moose is virtually trapped in a small area of its feeding trails, making it extremely vulnerable.

When the snow is not so deep, moose can move far more quickly and easily. The practiced hunter knows that if moose tracks consistently lead in a single direction, the animal may be heading somewhere else and will be very hard to catch.

If a moose is feeding in one area its tracks will wander in multiple directions. This is good news for the hunter, because he may have a chance to get close to the animal. Now the difficulty is to find which tracks are the freshest and which direction they lead.

A hunter always wants to know how old the tracks are—how long ago did the moose make them? Would it be possible to catch up or is the animal long gone?

A track made within the hour is soft—as soft as the surrounding snow. The hunter riding on a dog sled or snow machine might simply drag his boot through the track. If the track is fresh, he feels almost nothing. If it’s older, he feels two distinct thumps as his boot hits both sides of the track.

In cold weather—especially if it’s far below zero—the inner walls of an animal’s track will recrystallize and develop a crust within a few hours. This starts first around the top and happens later at the bottom. If the track was made the night before it will be harder still. The colder the temperatures, the more quickly a crust forms on the inside of tracks.

A hunter on foot pushes his boot or a mittened hand down into the tracks, feeling the crust or testing how much pressure it takes to break through. The harder the crust, the older the track. In below zero weather, a track made two days ago or earlier will be very hard.

Another sign the hunter looks for is moose droppings. When they’re fresh, the color is dark brown and they’re soft. In freezing temperatures, the pellets quickly harden and turn lighter.

Other signs are willow branches that have been freshly broken by browsing moose, the white wood showing conspicuously against the darker background of the thicket. Often this is accompanied by a scramble of tracks and patches of gouged-out snow where the moose has pawed down looking for edible vegetation under the snow.

moose-wawang-lake (2)Moose rest or sleep in snow beds, often straight downwind from their tracks. They do this to catch a warning scent from any predator that is following their trail. At other times, a moose that hears a suspicious sound or spots something unusual will intentionally move downwind to test the scent. A moose can recognize the drifting smell of a wolf or human, even at a considerable distance.

When a hunter is following fresh moose tracks in the snow, he knows that the animal could have bedded downwind so it would pick up his scent. For this reason he leaves the trail at intervals, walks straight downwind, then makes a wide loop and heads back upwind—always watching the underbrush for the dark shape of his prey. Again and again, he makes these downwind loops and comes back upwind until he finds tracks leading to where the moose is bedded. If luck is with him and the moose never catches his scent, he may catch it unaware.

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