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rrr

Senior Member
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#1
This thread is a long time in coming, and I look forward to your thoughts and advice. This could have gone in a couple of different sections. It will be a long read.

I'm at an unsure point in my hunting. To this point, I've only engaged in firearms hunting, with limited success. In high school I hunted a lot but without much luck, mostly because I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Since I've begun going to college out of state, hunting hasn't gotten much better. My first year of school I had 2 days to hunt deer: went home, shot my 870 6 times, went out the next day and sat until 2pm, and shot a nice doe at 50 yards. Last year I was only able to hunt muzzleloader (remember how cold that was) and got 1 shot in the 4 days, a 100 yard shot at closing light the last day which I missed.

This summer was a pretty big step. I've continued my love for hunting through small game and enjoy some great squirrel and rabbit hunting and have turkey hunted unsuccessfully for the last 2 years [though my expectations for that are zero]. After many people have told me that I'd enjoy it, I bought a bow, sold it, and bought a better bow. This summer I discovered that I love the 'twang' and the 'thump' and I'm hooked. I shot at the BEC shoot and had a great time and shot that same course the week after. Lots of 5's! However, at the end of the summer, I was very comfortable shooting a target under 30 yards.



A big reason that I picked up a bow was to expand my season. This year I will get to hunt a 4 day Fall break (Oct 21-24), Thanksgiving Break (Nov 20-27) and Dec 22 - the middle of January, depending on whether or not I choose to do an internship during J-term, and where that might be. My biggest concern for hunting this time is where to hunt and stepping into the woods. One of my most consistently hunted spots is officially over run with Amish and I won't deer hunt there anymore. However, last year I picked up another farm to hunt and saw lots of deer there sitting with a friend during youth season and good signs during smokepole. I do not have any stands there, but there are a few existing ladder stands I could probably use and some bale blinds.

A first question - if I haven't shot my bow in two months, what can I realistically expect to be able to do with it when I pick it up again? I had planned to bring it to school and join the local sportsman's club, but the cards didn't fall that way (longer explanation than I'd care to get into). This has been a huge discouragement to me. I know that when I go home I can pick up my .22 and shoot a few squirrels. The last thing I want to do is make a bad shot with my bow.

Of course, there's also a huge uncertainty with this potentially being my first season with a bow. I have honestly been considering not attempting to bow hunt this year. I just don't know.

Second question - arrows. I need some serious help getting/making arrows and broadheads to hunt with. I've never shot a broad head with my bow and don't know if it changes things... my bow is a PSE Baby-G, 29" draw, set at 68 pounds. Can I get some quality recommendation on this? I have read plenty of threads about this broadhead or that broadhead and have determined that much of it is personal preference. I have no preference, and I trust you to help me make this decision.

I think that's all. I really just don't know about hunting this year. I'm seriously considering avoiding putting myself into a bad first experience and just sticking to small game and hunting muzzleloader. But there's also a huge passion in me that wants to whack something brown with a bow like nothing else. I can commit a huge amount of the time that I'm home to be in the woods, I just don't really know how this bow hunting thing works, how it's different from gun hunting, etc. Of course, I have done a lot of reading about all of this and hearing your stories, etc. But there's not a lot of confidence here right now.

I will say this to end - thank you. Over this summer i had a great thing and a bad thing happen. I lost an enormous influence in my hunting, a man that taught me how to turkey hunt and rabbit hunted with. I hunted his woods for squirrels and spent a lot of time on his front porch and kitchen table talking hunting. He was standing next to me when I shot my first rabbit and helped my haul my first deer out of the woods because my dad was out of town. However, due to a personal / family conflict, I can't even look him in the eye anymore, have not talked to him in three months, and want nothing to do with him. However, right after that happened, I made the decision to camp out down at Cardinal in addition to shooting the BEC shoot, and I am so glad that I did. Putting names and faces together has been great and I truly look up to many of you - you have become my hunting mentors in many ways. Thanks - I need all the help I can get!

Steve
 

Curran

Senior Member
Supporting Member
7,480
483
100
Central Ohio
#2
For the first question: That's tricky. I guess my suggestion would be to pick the bow up and shoot it. You may be a little rusty, but take a day if needed and practice. Confidence in yourself, and your equipment is everything. If you feel good after shooting, then go hunting. But something to consider is limiting yourself to shooting short distances at deer. Say, 20 yards and under. If you're uncertain after taking some practice shots, then practice more, and stick to hunting small game for the time being. It's only short term, and the last thing you want to do is go hunting without confidence in yourself.

Second question: I think that you more or less answered yourself. Picking a broadhead comes down to personal choice. There are many, quality products out there, that will all essentially do the same thing when shot accurately at an animal. Which ever choice on a head you make, just be certain to shoot them through your bow before going hunting to make sure your arrows are still flying the same as they were with your field points. You make have to make some adjustments if the broadheads are all hitting differently, but that won't take too long.

As far as shooting goes, if you're back in Morrow Co. and want to meet up at the Cardinal Center feel free to shoot me a PM. I'm in the Lewis Center area and it's just a short trip up 71.

Good luck, and what ever your decisions are, just make sure to have fun....
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
32,187
11,143
201
#3
Ernie. For the most part shooting a bow is like riding a bike. With that said you will still want to shoot it some before hunting to make sure it's still in tune and you haven't started doing something funky... Your faith in bowhunting will come with your faith in your bow and your shot capabilities..

I only saw you shoot a couple targets at the BEC shoot but they looked fine to me. Confidence is the key bud. Your arrows look to be grouping just fine for a shot on a 30 yard deer...

Here is the best piece of advice you will ever hear when it comes to bowhunting.. When a deer walks out and presents you a shot. Don't look at the spot you want to shoot the deer. But the spot where you want the arrow to exit. On a 30 yard broadside shot this is easy, it's a through and through. On a closer deer or a deer standing at an angle this advice is paramount. Envision where you want the arrow to exit. Not where you want it to enter. Doing so will almost guarantee that you will pass through vitals. I can't tell you how many times i have drawn back on a deer, picked a spot then envisioned the exit realizing i needed to move 3-4 inches left or right up or down. If you know where the arrow is going to exit, and where the vitals are the entry doesn't matter much.

The second piece of advice is. You aren't going to be super confident on your first deer. It just isn't going to happen. It's like losing your virginity.. No matter how many times you practiced before, you're going to be nervous and out of your league with a woman. Just know this and don't doubt yourself.

The third thing is. Be honest with yourself about the shot. Don't hem and haw and say "I think" i hit it good.. Dude if it was a bad or questionable shot. Just admit it to yourself and wait the time... In reality most people don't recover deer not because of a bad shot, but a bad followup. If you hit that dude wrong or questionable, back out and give it time... 99% of the time if that deer is hit anywhere on his body he is going about 200 yards and bedding down. Let him lay. Dead is dead buddy, be it 15 min or 6 hours. You've practiced and waited months, six hours longer isn't much to up the odds of you finding that deer 10 fold.
 

dante322

*Supporting Member*
5,207
760
115
Crawford county
#4
first off, after walking the entire course at the BEC with you, I'd have to say, you'll do fine. I've noticed when shooting targets that its all about repetition and muscle memory, the more often you shoot the more your muscles will get used to drawing the bow. just go out and shoot it a few times to get back in the rhythm.

Arrows, easton. take it or leave it.

broadheads. muzzy, fixed blade, 100 grain. take it or leave it.

If you are'nt sure you want to go to the woods, then you dont really want to. You shouldnt have to convince yourself to go.

If you find yourself up this way, give me or redcloud a shout and we would be happy to go hunting with you.
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
34,409
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NW Ohio
#5
Good advice from Joe and the gang. It really is a lot like riding a bike. I think you will find when you get home and shoot a dozen arrows, it will come right back to you. Remember last year? My first year with a bow. I think until you actually draw on a deer and see that your arrow went through the deer and is capable of killing a deer, there is a bit of a doubt. I only have one archery kill to my name. I hope to add a couple more this year. Hopefully a big boy in the early season?

Arrows- Get on www.huntersfriend.com and start reading. Between this and the guys on this site, you will be ready.
Broadheads- My decision making process started much like yours. Looked on the net, and talked to friends/relatives. Decided I wanted a fixed broadhead. Nothing mechanical to fail. Chose Muzzy and they worked. Don't see any reason to change now.
 

Milo

Tatonka guide.
7,807
362
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#8
Steve when your back in town look me up and i'll help you get going with arrows and bheads. your not too far and i'll just run up and get you going. i have all the tools and stuff. the answer to your questions is it depends....i've passed up 10 yards shots on deer and taken 40 + yarders... it is something you will learn as you go down your trail of archery experience... your asking the right questions and expressing the right concerns so your defintely heading down the right road.
 
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rgecko23

*Supporting Member*
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Massillon, Ohio
#10
you sound alot like me when I started shooting bud, I had a ton of questions and I was over thinking it alot. Just go out there with your target, start at 20 yds and start shooting. adjust your pins when you need to. I cant remember if you said you got your bow set up at a pro shop or of it came all ready to go.

As far as arrows go. The easiest way to do it is buy a dozen that are already fletched. Easton, gold tips, etc sell them that way. If you are shooting 100gr. field points, then get you 100 gr. broad heads. and you should be fine. Muzzy, g5, etc.

If you were shooting good at the bow shoot you should be good to go bro.

Take the offer from MILO...
 

formerbowhunter1023

Now Posts as Jesse..
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2
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SE Ohio
#11
I have some arrows to send you. (Easton Powerflight 340's cut to 29".) Send me a text with a color scheme and I'll hook you up. I also have some Slick Tricks you can have. Give me your addy in the text again too and I'll send them out next week. Milo can look them over when you get with him and if they aren't going to work, just ship them back. The broadheads however, will work and are among the best choices for you.

As far as the expectations on shooting go, it is all relative buddy. I can go 6 months without touching my bow and be slapping shafts in no time flat. But a decade ago, I would have been happy with pie plate groups at 25 yards. The reality is, pie plate groups at 30 yards are deadly. So if you can do that, you are clear to go hunting in my book. You will get better as time passes...

One thing I will stress is to make that first shot of each practice session the most important. Too many people just waltz in and commence to flinging arrows. That first arrows is the most like the one you'll fling after sitting for 4 hours on a hard ass treestand seat in 40 degree temps. Make it count.

Another point I will give you is to avoid trying to burn a hole in the target with your pin. You need to master the float and squeeze. One of the most detrimental things you can do is to try and hold your pin exactly where you want the arrow to go. Instead, you need to allow the pin to float around/through/in the area you want the arrow to go; all the while say "aim, aim, aim" or something to that effect. If you can couple that with a smooth squeeze of the release, your groups with shrink. At first, it sounds crazy, but I promise your it will lead to better groups.

I'll get those arrows started ASAP. I have plenty of options for you, so give me an idea of what you are looking for and we'll hook you up...
 

rrr

Senior Member
5,065
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#12
Thank you all for your offers of stands, help, and advice. And those URL's, I will check them out when I get a chance to read them through. This is exactly the wisdom that I was looking for.

I appreciate the vote of confidence. Again, this is something that I really want to do, but I also really don't want to make a mistake- I owe it to the deer that I've got a good setup and can make an ethical set up.

Maybe I asked this, maybe I didn't, but what other things can I expect to be different bow hunting rather than gun hunting? Even the smallest things that could throw me off? Something that I have thought of is that I'll be wearing different clothing, simply because it won't be piss cold. It's probably a good idea to invest in one of those tight sleeve things that go over everything so I don't get something stuck in the bow, right? Anything else?

Much thanks,

Capt
 

rrr

Senior Member
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#13
Jesse - thanks. I'll shoot you a text.

As far as shooting, I did notice that my first shot is the best, which is comforting. I think that I do "float the target" as well, which I thought was a bad thing? Someone (not sure if it was Kaiser or one of my buddies) did note that I do put it up and line it up with the pin and then tilt the bow back and forth a bit trying to get that damn level right. I try to put the pin where I want it, do the level, and then look back at the pin, back at the level, pin, pull.

I should add this too - I wasn't always the best at angles and math - but I've never shot out of an elevated position before. How can I expect this to change what I'm doing?

Right now I'm leaning towards not hunting the first morning I am home for fall break, running down to Cardinal to shoot at their practice range and from their platform, and then hunting that night. I have a huge smile on my face just thinking about that :D

Capt
 

formerbowhunter1023

Now Posts as Jesse..
0
2
0
SE Ohio
#14
Maybe I asked this, maybe I didn't, but what other things can I expect to be different bow hunting rather than gun hunting? Even the smallest things that could throw me off? Something that I have thought of is that I'll be wearing different clothing, simply because it won't be piss cold. It's probably a good idea to invest in one of those tight sleeve things that go over everything so I don't get something stuck in the bow, right? Anything else?

Much thanks,

Capt
Don't dick with anything on your arm unless you have a lot of layers on. If you have issue with forearm slap, turn your wrist inwards. I can shoot my bow with my waterfowl parka on and not slap the sleeve, so the problem is in form, not the clothing. (More often than not that is.)

Bowhunting is just a different bread buddy. Shot angles are important now, as is the distance. You have to bend at the waist to shoot from an elevated position as simply dropping your arm changes your anchor point. Shoot, knowing when to draw can be an issue for some! The best advice I can give you is to keep things limited to 25 yards and under, and broadside or quartered-away this year. Get the first one under your belt and then let the passion explode!!!
 

rgecko23

*Supporting Member*
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Massillon, Ohio
#15
If you are worried about arm slap give me your address and I will send you one of those realtree sleeves you slide over your your arms. It keeps your clothes out of the way. I used it once, never put it back on.

I was always told to le the arow float, dont ever try to keep that pin still, it wont happen.

jesse has given you great advice.
 

jagermeister

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
16,056
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Ohio
#17
Steve, there has been a ton of amazing advice given here so far... so I really don't have much to add to it. But I will say this... if you have the chance to go bowhunting, just go. Just because you go doesn't mean you have to harvest a deer. If you're not confident in shooting, don't shoot. There are so many things that you can learn in the deer woods during bow season that you can't really learn during gun season. As a hunter in general, it will do you a great deal of good to just be out there soaking it all in. The peace and quiet... the natural movement of game... the rut... the fall colors... that's was bow season is all about man. If an opportunity presents itself, you'll know whether you're ready for a shot or not. You've come a long way already, just getting a feel for archery and bowhunting... there's no reason to pressure yourself into anything. Just get out there and enjoy yourself.
 

rrr

Senior Member
5,065
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0
#19
RGecko - by your use of it and saying that it's not a huge deal (and Jesse telling me not to dick with my arm) than I won't worry about it- thanks for your offer though.

JBrown- thanks. You bring up a great point and I know what you mean. Regardless of this decision, and I'm jumping at the bit now to be there with my bow, I will be in the woods. I get asked why I don't go to other people's homes or break or go to spring break etc... I'd rather buy hunting stuff and I'd rather go home to get into the woods. God's woods.

Jesse - can't wait to see 'em!
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
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#20
Steve- Last year being my first year and being new to hunting such temperatures I just drew back a bunch. See a doe with her fawns coming in, practice drawing without being seen. Practicing holding it back and letting off without being seen was good for me too. While doing so, I tried to look as I followed them through the woods to be conscious I did not have a twig or limb in the way should I have chosen to loose an arrow. Being out there is just as good as releasing an arrow for me a lot of times. Last year, I was really out there too. Over 140hrs!