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Category Archives: bow

The dangers of dry firing your bow

Dry-firing your bow is something you will want to avoid at all costs. To help minimize your chances of dry-firing a bow you should always draw a bow with an arrow in it, and aim it at a target. This way if you do accidentally release the string there is an arrow in it and you have a target to stop the arrow. Also if you are just trying out a bow be sure to draw with an anti-dry-fire release. When in a group of people it is very easy to become side tracked and forget to load your bow with an arrow. It’s always good to double check before you draw your bow

 

bowtarget

Dry firing a bow is the act of shooting a bow without an arrow. While this may seem harmless to some of us who are just starting out I assure you that this can be one of the most costly mistakes you can make.

The fact of the matter is that it can happen to anyone beginner or expert for many different reasons. Whether it be from ignorance, distractions, or accidental misfire of a release it happens all the time. So the question is what do you do if you accidentally dry-fire your bow.

There are a few outcomes that could happen when a bow is dry-fired, the first is that is that it will appear that nothing has happened to any of your bow. The second scenario is that your string breaks however everything else stays intact. The third possibility is your bowstring, and cables could snap resulting in your limbs breaking and potential debris flying all over the place. This is basically the worst case scenario and can at times be irreparable.

No matter what scenario your bow falls into after being dry-fired, the first thing you will need to do is to get a magnifying glass and a bright light and look over the limbs especially near the cams for any cracking, or splintering. If you find that one of both limbs have cracks or splinters in them then you will have to replace the limbs before you are able to shoot again. Failing to do so will likely cause will render the bow unusable and/or injury.

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In any of the other cases where the string breaks and/or the bow limbs shatter, you will first go get medical attention if you need it and then you will need to bring your bow in to a bow repair shop and you will have to replace the limbs,string, and any other broken parts(axles,cams,wheels etc.).

After checking for cracks and splinters in the limbs, take a look at the cams/wheels to make sure that they have not been bent or cracked, again if they are you will need to replace them as soon as possible before you are able to shoot. Next if you were lucky enough to have your string still intact, you will need to check the whole thing for badly frayed portions, cut strands, and badly damaged areas, especially near the axles.
If everything checks out and you were unable to find anything wrong with your bow then you are lucky, and you have 2 options, your first option is to draw the bow(with an arrow) and shoot it. Make note of any weird noises, or vibrations. If you aren’t the risky type then you can bring it into a bow repair shop and they will have the tools and resources to be able to better inspect it for damages.

In closing, dry firing a bow may seem innocent, but in turn can be detrimental and even dangerous. Take your time to ensure longevity of your equipment for years to come and better success rates!

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Posted by on October 5, 2017 in archery, bow, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Black Bear Hunting – SIT Until Dark

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We hear tales of bear hunters not sitting until dark and instead stand in time to get back to camp before it gets too late. CRAZY!

Here are some 2016 successful hunters:

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Just like in most types of hunting, “just before dark” is usually the best time for the mature animals to arrive. Sometimes the big ones will be there well before dark, but usually the last 30 minutes of legal shooting light is the best. Carry a flashlight; the bear usually won’t eat you. They are just as afraid of you after dark as they are in the daylight.

sunset bear

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The Best Shot Placement for Black Bear

SO, you’ve opted for a lung shot. Good choice. But where exactly you should place your bullet depends on your quarry, as the following tips reveal. (Please refer to the organ legend) Sometimes you only get one chance to bring down a big-game animal. Here are 7 ways to help make sure it truly counts.

  • Avoid the head-the target is too small and you’ll ruin the best part of your fireplace rug. You’ll also render your bear ineligible for official scoring.
  • As for spine or neck shots, it can be difficult to visualize exactly where to find the spinal column thanks to the bear’s long hair and thick body.bear-target

Again, lung shots are your best bet. Trace the back of the front leg up to about one-third of the way into the chest. The lungs on a bear are positioned a little more forward than on an ungulate, so you don’t have as much leeway if you shoot back of your aiming point. For the shoulder/heart shot, which is popular for anchoring bears in their tracks, follow the centerline of the front leg up to the one-third point of the body. Be careful not to shoot low or forward, or you’ll quickly have a wounded animal on your hands.

WOUNDED and lost big game animals are part of the somber side of hunting. None of us is comfortable with the subject, but if you have any measurable hunting experience, you’ve undoubtedly seen examples. Maybe you’ve even lost an animal or two yourself.

It’s a certainty that as long as there’s hunting, game will be wounded and not recovered. In such situations, it’s just as certain that the bullet didn’t hit the animal in the right place. Why exactly can be blamed on any number of variables, but in most cases it’s safe to say the shot should never have been taken in the first place.

As hunters, our most important priority is to do everything possible to ensure a clean, quick, humane kill-it’s our moral obligation every time we head afield. Here are some important considerations in making that happen.

BULLET PLACEMENT
Much has been written and discussed about selecting the best rifle, cartridge, bullet and optics for hunting specific species under various conditions. Most of this advice is sage indeed, helping hunters learn about and understand the limitations of their equipment. But when it comes to a quick kill, the single most important factor is bullet placement. A .243 in the heart or lungs of even the largest big-game animal, for example, is more certain to result in its demise than a .500 Nitro Express in its leg. Just think of hunting legend Karamojo Bell. It was his fanaticism over bullet placement coupled with an understanding of his quarry’s anatomy-that allowed him to tale down so many elephants with his meager .275 Rigby, a cartridge equivalent to today’s 7×5 7.

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MARKSMANSHIP
The first step in ensuring accurate bullet placement comes with the decision to squeeze the trigger. Before you hit the switch, you must have an extremely high expectation of putting the bullet right where you want it, and that means understanding your own limitations as a marksman. I’ve never been much impressed by tales of 450-yard kill shots on deer or other game. While such shots are possible, not many hunters can make them with any consistency. With few exceptions, I shudder when I hear hunters talking about their long shots-much like a gambling addict bragging about his one win, for each tale of success there are likely tenfold as many unspoken failures.

The longest shot I’ve ever taken was with a 7mm Rem. Mag. on a five-point bull elk in B.C.’s Muskwa Valley. It was 360 yards away. I had a solid rest, a reasonable amount of time and a mild, though gusting, wind. The bull was dead when we got to him, having never moved. Despite that, I’m not sure I’d take the same shot today if it were presented. Perhaps I no longer feel the need to, as I might have back when I was a much less seasoned hunter. Experience has taught me that too much can go wrong in such a situation-not to mention the fact few animals can travel as far, or as quickly, as an ells can when wounded.

Jon Hanson - Tiffin, IA 440 lb. black bear

Jon Hanson – Tiffin, IA 440 lb. black bear

No, I’m far more impressed by the hunter who tells me he snuck in to within 75 yards of a herd of elk, or never shoots at running game or at any animal beyond 150 yards. This is the hunter I admire, for he clearly understands that undisturbed game and cool-handed marksmanship should be the rule, not the exception. This is the hunter who believes that 20 bullets can equal 20 deer, and he’ll wait to shoot only when he’s extremely confident of accurately placing a bullet.

HEAD & NECK SHOTS
So, where on an animal should we try to place our bullet to ensure a one-shot, clean kill? There’s no denying the surest fatal shot is to the brain or spinal column. Either will put an animal down almost instantly, and result in very little ruined meat. Under most circumstances, however, this is not a shot I would recommend. For starters, the brain is a relatively small target, and even a narrow miss can result in a broken jaw, lost eye or other similar wound that condemns an animal to a most unpleasant, slow death. I once shot an antelope sporting a fresh bullet wound through the bridge of its nose. Whether the hunter who first hit it was aiming for the brain, I can’t say for sure, but the buck was clearly laboring, almost choking on blood, and would have suffered considerably had I not come across it.

Neck shots are equally uncertain, as the spinal cord must be severed to ensure instant death. Miss by even a little bit, and you’ve probably got an animal with a muscular wound from which it will likely recover, but not without considerable agony. In the worst-case scenario, you may sever the trachea-the animal will likely escape, but suffer a lingering demise. When neck shots don’t connect directly with the spinal column, an animal will often drop to the ground almost immediately but quickly recover and run off. If you shoot an animal in the neck whether by design or by accident-it’s therefore important to keep a close eye on it until you’ve confirmed it’s down for keeps.

Head and neck shots do have their place in the right circumstances, but they should only be taken at close range by capable shooters who know their quarry’s anatomy. They’re also acceptable in the rare event of an emergency, when a dangerous animal needs to be brought down in a hurry.

SHOULDER SHOTS
Some hunters prefer shoulder shots because they will disable game while also inflicting fatal damage to the heart or lungs. Even when no collateral damage occurs, a broken shoulder, or two, will bring down an animal, rendering it helpless. In my opinion, this shot should be reserved for dangerous game, particularly bears. While some hunters use shoulder shots on larger animals such as moose and elk, I find the resulting dispersal of bullet and bone fragments ruins too much meat. Having shot a whitetail through the shoulder last year, I can speak first-hand of the meat that was wasted. Another thing to keep in mind when considering the shoulder shot is that if you shoot too high or too far in front, you’ve got either a clean miss or an animal with agonizing wounds. And if you shoot too low, you’ve got an animal with a broken leg that can still escape, only to later succumb to its wounds or predators.

images539SD7BZHEART SHOTS
The heart shot gets a lot of attention, though I suspect most hunters don’t actually realize just how low in the chest the heart lies in big game. While no doubt fatally damaged if hit, the heart offers a small target, and is often covered by the upper leg. There’s little room for error: too far forward and you’ve got a non-fatal brisket shot; too low and you’ve hit muscle or broken a leg, with no expectation of quickly recovering the animal. And if your bullet strikes too far back, you’ve got a gutshot animal. The only practical room for error is if you shoot high and take out the lungs. While many believe the heart shot is almost instantly fatal, most experienced hunters will tell you that a heart-shot animal typically travels farther before collapsing than one that has been lung-shot.

LUNG SHOTS
I believe the lung shot is the appropriate shot for 90 per cent of the big-game hunting situations in Canada. First and foremost, a bullet through the lungs results in an almost certain one-shot kill. In most cases, the animal won’t drop on the spot, but seldom will it travel more than 100 yards or so before falling over; the damage a modern bullet does to the lungs is that devastating.

images5VJ79DJ0The lungs also offer a relatively large target, bigger than any other assuredly fatal zone on a game animal. This allows for a fair margin of error. Shoot low, and you’ll take out the heart; a bit high and you’ll sever the spinal column. Too far forward and you have a debilitating shoulder shot. Only when you shoot too far back do you have a problem-animals shot in the paunch typically suffer lingering deaths, and if you do happen to recover one, you’ve got a heckuva mess on your hands when it comes to field-dressing it. If you shoot just a little too far back, however, you may get lucky and strike the liver. Animals hit in this vital organ tend not to go too far before lying down.

The lungs on a game animal generally cover about two-thirds of its chest area when viewed broadside, more or less in the centre and a little toward the bottom. A professional hunter in Africa once told me he thought North American hunters tended to shoot dead centre in the chest of an animal; he believed the more effective shot was to the top of the lower third of the chest. He may well have been right, but 1 still maintain that allowing as much room for error as possible is the wisest thing most of us can do. As such, when my quarry is broadside, I generally aim for the centre of the chest, just behind the shoulder. Often, an animal will not react immediately to a lung shot, causing some hunters to think they’ve missed when they’ve actually made an excellent shot. I remember one moose I shot three times in the span of about 10 seconds. It didn’t take two steps during that time, and I couldn’t understand how I could be missing such a big target. The animal dropped soon after the third shot, however, and when I skinned it out, a salad plate would have covered all three holes in its chest and lungs. (For species-specific tips on lung shots, see “Top targets” on page 48.)

SHOOTING ANGLES
While we all prefer broadside shots, as often as not we face shooting opportunities from an angle. You still want your bullet to enter the chest cavity, however, so it’s important to visualize the path your bullet must take. With an animal quartering toward you, your target should be somewhere between the base of the neck and the point of the facing shoulder. If an animal is facing you directly, the centre base of the neck is the preferred target. The more difficult shot to visualize is when an animal is quartering away. Take your shot with the intention of breaking the far side shoulder and you’ll generally send your bullet through the desired lung region. Be aware that the tendency in this situation is to shoot too far back, resulting in an unwanted paunch shot. I recommend not shooting when animals are quartering away at extreme angles or facing directly away from you. While we all know the old “Texas heart shot” through the behind can be fatal, the odds are your bullet will break up or deflect on contact with bones, impeding its ability to get into the vital organs. I know some may disagree, but this is one shot I simply won’t take, and I advise others to follow suit. If you absolutely must tale this shot, at least be sure to use a well-constructed bullet designed for maximum weight retention and penetration. Remember, when it comes to shot placement, the goal isn’t simply a freezer full of meat it’s also to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

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The Best Crossbows

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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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How To Prevent Venison From Tasting Awful

I hear people say all the time that they don’t like the taste of deer. Some people say that just because they know what they’re eating and have a preconceived notion that it won’t be good. Others have legit gripes, mainly due to poor handling by the hunter from the time of the kill up until it was cooked. This often results in gamey, tough meat. Here are some tips to help combat bad-tasting venison.

venison

Hunting in the real world is not like the Outdoor Channel portrays it to be. Hunters make bad shots from time to time and the deer has to be tracked for a while. Shot placement and the stress the animal received while being trailed plays a big role in gamey meat. The faster a deer dies, the sooner it can be field dressed. This will reduce the amount of acid that builds up in the deer’s muscles.

Hunters often fail to get the deer cooled as quickly as possible. The first step it to field dress the animal immediately and wash out the cavity with cool water. Be sure to dry the cavity out, as the water can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If the temperatures outside are in the mid-30s or cooler, it’s okay to let the deer hang. Anything warmer than that, and the deer needs to hang in a walk-in cooler (or be skinned, quartered, and put on ice if you don’t have a walk-in).

A whitetail is not a hard to deer to quarter. Because of how their joints and tissues hold their legs on, a simple pocket knife can have a deer quartered quicker than you might think. Some might use a saw to cut through bone marrow and small pieces of bone, but then you’d need to watch that shavings from the saw don’t get mixed in with the meat. Stick with a sharp knife instead, and your meat will be free of small bone pieces that can contaminate the meat.

Growing up, I can remember how much my dad loved the taste of fat from a good cut of beef. The same does not hold true with deer fat. Simply stated, deer fat tastes awful. It is not red meat, so cut it off before it’s made into steaks or burger. This includes all fat and silver skin.

Every year before deer season begins, we call in an order to the local butcher shop for beef suet. Even though we removed all of the deer fat, we need to add some sort of fat, whether beef or pork, when grinding it. If this is not done, the lean venison will quickly fall apart when making burgers, meat loaves, etc. We add beef fat at a ratio of 3:1 (three pounds venison per pound of fat).

If you have the means, the time, and the knowledge, I recommend processing all your deer yourself. When you take a deer to a meat locker you can’t be sure how the meat is handled — or if it’s even your own deer that you’re getting back. For all you know, you could be getting back someone elses deer, perhaps one that was gut-shot and not properly handled after the shot. If you have to take a deer to a processor, research the facility by talking to other hunters who’ve used it, and also talk with the workers, who will hopefully be honest with you.

Don’t overcook venison. Cooking deer for too long causes it to become chewy and dry. Venison is best cooked to medium rare, but the outside needs to be cooked. To accomplish this, the grill must be hot enough to quickly sear the outside and lock in the flavors and juices. Turn your venison only once. If there are no grill marks on the meat after three minutes or so, the grate is not hot enough.

Freezer-burnt food, whether it is venison or other food, does not taste good. Some people use a vacuum sealer; if you go this route, buy a good one, as a cheap product will not keep the food fresh. When we butcher our deer, we make wrapping the meat a family affair, with all involved. We put one-pound portions of burger in sandwich bags and the steaks and roasts are wrapped with plastic wrap. After covering it with plastic wrap, we wrap it with good freezer paper and tapes. Writing on each package, we identify the cut of meat, who killed it, and the date of the kill.

I hope this advice helps you create a great-tasting meal. A few more final tips: The younger the deer, the better, more tender it will be (even though this might not sit well with trophy hunters). Thaw venison slowly to prevent toughness, then serve it hot and keep the remainder hot to prevent it from getting a waxy taste.

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Sharpen Your Bow Skill During the Off Season!

bow-hunting-wawang-lakeWe practice with our bows all summer long, but after opening day its easy to get wrapped up in the hunting and forget about practicing. But even if you’re spending your time in the field and can’t hit the archery range every day, you can still keep your edge. Shooting in hunting situations is obviously different from target shooting. In the real world, weather conditions, shot angles, brush and other obstacles can impact your shot. Also, when the time comes to take a shot during a hunting situation you’re usually either stiff and cold from sitting in a treestand or sucking wind from running up a hill. All this combined with the fact that you must make a clean shot with the first arrow makes it all the more important to keep your shooting skills sharp. Here are a couple tips.

Practice Drawing
One of the biggest challenges to making a “cold shot” is that often the muscles I use for properly drawing my bow are stiff. The simplest way to cure this is to periodically pick a target, draw your bow, aim, hold, and let down your draw. This keeps you loosened up, plus drawing and aiming without actually shooting helps you focus on the target.



Practice Shooting

Although just drawing and aiming will help a lot, the single biggest help is to actually shoot while out hunting. A common practice among traditional shooters is to carry one or two blunt pointed arrows in your quiver so that you can stump shoot in your down time. Stump shooting is fantastic for keeping you warmed up, but unlike just drawing, actually completing your shots will bring your release into play, as well as give you all sorts of angles and situations to practice.

Small game is even better than stumps (grouse and rabbits taste a lot better too). Grouse can be deceivingly tough to hit. You want to aim for the base of the neck or the head. Sometimes they flush at the shot, but grouse will go in the direction that their head is pointing, so if you use a snaro point, you can either take their head off or hit them in the body as they flush. The best thing about grouse is they often give you extremely challenging shots, and if you can become consistent at taking them, you will be ready for the big game (make sure to check your local regulations before taking any small game with a bow).

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A Better Bow Hunter: Aim to Hit

The traits that separate elite bow hunters from the masses are attention to detail and rigorous training. These are year-round archers, and here’s how they push themselves to become deadly hunters.

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1. Be Challenged
As creatures of habit, we’re guilty of practicing at distances at which we can comfortably stack arrows in an impressive -fashion—typically 20 yards. However, extending your practice distance well beyond your comfort zone accomplishes several things. First, it forces you to tighten your form, since miscues are multiplied as distance increases.

Greater practice distances also force you to identify and correct imperfections lest you continue to splash arrows about the range. This year, if space allows, double your practice comfort zone. You’ll find that when “short” shot opportunities present themselves, they’ll be chip shots.

2. Be Strong
Drawing a bow requires a certain degree of physical strength. Leveling a fiber-optic pin confidently on an animal is difficult, if not impossible, when your arms are trembling uncontrollably.

Sadly, archers who pull out their bow a week prior to the season aren’t physically prepared to attempt an ethical bow hunting shot. The right repetition makes you both strong and accurate.

3. Be Angular
Animals rarely present the perfect broadside shot. But how many of us practice any other angle? Whether you shoot a block or a 3D target, practice a variety of shot angles.

Shooting non-perpendicular angles adds another physical and mental dimension to the shot execution, because the bull’s-eye changes geometrically. When practicing, move about the range, varying your relationship to the target face until you’re proficient in every possible angle.

4. Be Accurate
Many archers think the only way to practice judging distance is with a bow in hand, but the opportunities are everywhere, including grocery stores and parking lots. Mentally measure an object in the distance and pace it off to check your guesstimate. Or stroll through the woods with a rangefinder. Stop occasionally and put an eye on a bush, branch, or rock. Give yourself a few seconds to estimate the real estate, and then check it against the laser. After a few trips, you’ll become amazingly accurate at taping distances with little more than a keen eye.

5. Be Crepuscular
Shot opportunities often present themselves in low light, whether the first or last of the day. Try shooting three or four arrows in this tough light. By doing so, you’ll have a real appreciation for what to expect when visibility is less than ideal in the field.

6. Be Blind-Ready
Ground blinds now outsell tree stands, as they offer a portability and versatility that tree stands simply cannot. However, if you’ve never practiced from one, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised when you try to lob a shot from inside its tight confines. Limited drawing distance, extremely small windows (which narrow the shot field), and dark interiors challenge even the best bow hunters. A word to the wise: Pop your ground blind up and practice shooting from it prior to toting it into the field.

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