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GaryD

Bow Hunting

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I've had an interest in finding out more for some time. A few weeks back I found a club here in Bendigo and enquired about coming to their meets for a trial - they didn't think much of the idea of me buying a bow without checking things out and getting advice.

One thin I have been thinking about is whether I will be right or left-handed. I was told many years back you should shoot a bow with your dominant eye and although I am mostly right-handed, when I did the check to see which eye is dominant it came up left. Maybe that's why I was always much better at snap shots with a rifle than when I took the time to aim?

To check which eye is dominant, hold up a finger at arms reach central in your vision - i.e. lined up with your nose. Focus on the finger, and note the background. Then close first one eye, then the other. Your dominant eye is the one that makes the finger 'jump' when you close that eye. Another way to do it is to hold out both hands and make a triangle by overlapping your thumbs and first fingers. With straight arms, look through the gap at something in the distance and then close one eye. If you can still see the object through the gap, the open eye is dominant.

I like the idea of a compound bow simply because it's better for hunting - you don't have to use the full draw weight once you're at full draw, so if you have to wait for a target to settle or for the breeze to drop it is much easier to simply hold at full cock. Other bows mean you might be standing pulling back 70lb of weight - that can take a lot of practice to remain steady after even a few seconds.

But I don't know what the care requirements are for compounds - you need a press to change string I think and the bow needs to be set up for your length of arm etc. I might wind up starting with a nice composite and make sure I will stay with the sport before I spend the rather large amounts on a compound.

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Bow hunting is of course, HUGE, here in Michigan.... and many other places. Stateside there is probably not a lot of difference in overall cost with newer equipment in either form of bow hunting. I have friends that shoot traditional with custom recurves and long bows, and many who use compounds, like myself. Personnally I feel the compound is easier to learn accuracy with. Many traditional bows do not employ sights, all compounds do. traditional style bows are preset to length, almost all compounds are adjustable 1 inch longer or shorter...

and yes you can spend quite a bit of money on a ultra modern set-up. However, it is not absolutely nessecary. Some people like that ultra modern, blisteringly fast, high tech equipment.... but you can be just as successful with older, slower, equipment. Mine, bought new, is now a 12 year old, 65 pound, 65% letoff ( at full draw), single cam Browning Omniburner, paid 200 dollars way back then... (simple) single tritium sight pin ( for low light conditions)...20 dollars, a 50 dollar release...(very hard to hold these bows with your fingers) these releases can be had for less.... I do shoot better quality carbon fibre arrows ( they dont bend like aluminum shafts will) .... 150 bucks a dozen.... and 125 grain razor, cut on contact, broadheads.... these are reuseable of course.

all that said... I can hit, with modest practice, less than a 2 inch circle repeatedly at 43 yards ( acceptable for game).... from an elevated or level ground position,( I know some kids shooting bullseyes at 75 yards...with high tech and lots of practice, 100 or more shots a day) mine can and will completely penetrate a 170 pound whitetail deer broadside. all that being said.... you can be very successful with less than state of the art technologies.... my equipment is 4-12 years old... and harvest game quite regularily...deer , squirrells, and bunnies. I shoot side by side with a cousin in target ( informal) and he uses very latest tech... I do just as well or better than him. ( which causes him to go spend more trying to do better...lol )

all you need is something you are comfortably with, a fair bit of practice... what most people ignore in archery is that unlike our higher powered rifles, you need more skill to get closer to the game animal you are hunting, often relying on technologies more than developing skills, which is why many have moved to tree stands and baiting techniques here in America. Most now use a sit and wait approach, rather than a stalk form of hunting.

Also... with fair treatment, strings on a compound will last years... 12 in my case. all I use is a string wax... 1 dollar. I possibly shoot 2-300 arrows a year practicing, 1 or 2 in any given hunt. More shooting will of course wear the strings faster whether traditional or compound. cheers.

any fair equipped shop will adjust your bow to your draw for a few dollars or sometimes free if you buy it there. they will also replace strings for relatively cheap, negating the need for a bow press. since compounds are not un stringed like a traditional bow regularily is you need not have your own press if you dont want it.

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Hi Weldnfab,

Thanks for a very thorough introduction to bow-hunting.

Let me say that, if I ever reach the point where I can consistently put an arrow into a 2" target at 43 yards, I should be very pleased indeed......and I'm pleased to discover that archery is useful for taking small game, too.

Gary

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Hi Gary

Congrats with your bow, I got one 55 pounds been hanging on the wall for some years now.

We are not alowed(Norway) to hunt game, with bow's only to hunt fish, but it is up for reviev so might come some changes ?

It's quite fun with archery, and learning curve fairly fast to me it was at least, but like any skil(s) you need to practise and instructions to avoid adopting wrong techniques from the start is vise.

I found this

on youtube I gues many guys can enjoy watcing even without being particularly intrested in the archery part hehe.

cheers

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gary... only real difference when hunting smaller game is the use of a blunt, either rubber or metal, tip. I have some metal ones with a tip designed not to stick, and if shot at the ground will tend to stand up... making it less likely to get lost in forest or grassland vegetation... excellant to help in retrieval with ground dwellers like bunnies. their primarily designed to hit with a blunt force... incapacitating your target. Nice thing with those is they will not stick in trees if fired at squirrells. There is also a good design for hunting various birds.

the use of razors is not wise for smaller game.... I used one on a 35 pound raccoon once... arrow completely penetrated the animal... and went on quite some distance..... maybe 50 more yards thru the trees.... took forever to find.

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Hi Weldnfab,

gary... only real difference when hunting smaller game is the use of a blunt, either rubber or metal, tip. I have some metal ones with a tip designed not to stick, and if shot at the ground will tend to stand up... making it less likely to get lost in forest or grassland vegetation... excellant to help in retrieval with ground dwellers like bunnies. their primarily designed to hit with a blunt force... incapacitating your target. Nice thing with those is they will not stick in trees if fired at squirrells. There is also a good design for hunting various birds.

That answers a concern that I'd had about hunting small animals. I've already lost one arrow and that was shooting at a target - the bugger just buried itself someplace. I couldn't see how you could justify risking the loss of an arrow on something like a rabbit......but now I can see how that's much less likely to happen if you're using a blunt or rubber tip.

I watched a video of a hunter taking down a deer from a tree hide. It was a clean kill......and you could see the arrow exit the deer before it had a chance to drop. In this case, the arrow fell to the ground within feet of the deer.....but it surprised me, given the amount of hide and muscle that it had to travel through.

Gary

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post-6393-13795790899219_thumb.jpgrazors will cut cleanly thru with less draw weight, while some points will struggle...thus, often you can shoot lesser weight bows and still induce lethal trauma to your game. in pic...left to right....field/target arrow, small game blunt tip, razor tip..... all on carbon fiber shafts.... Edited by weldnfab
photo added (see edit history)

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i rarely hunt with a bow... im a smaller guy so drawing back is a bit rough to do smoothly and quietly for me... i don't practice nearly as much as i should..

using blunts is fun... and kind of comical... it's like punching a rabbit. the only time i've seen sharps or target tips used in other small game hunting is nailing animals to trees... again... squirrel hunting... i've seen it done by a friend that's a much better shot than i am... the guy can hit a 1 inch wide blade of ginny grass from 25 yards... he's also been shooting since he was a kid...

i'd rather bow hunt and get a few extra weeks on the deer season... but i gotta hit the weight bench first... at 55lbs i get shaky after a few short seconds... i could lower the weight... but doing that increases the amount of reaction time the deer has to bob down before it takes off when it hears the release of the arrow. miss that sweet spot on a deer and you can kiss your arrow and a months worth of dinner goodbye.

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actually, the best way to work out for holding a bow?... is to draw and hold the bow...( you can do this inside or outside whenever you want... no arrow.) do a mental count if you need... start at a few seconds, work at holding for up to 2 mins.... I also try to draw seated and standing or kneeling... since I frequently spot and stalk hunt. Sometimes you even have to hold the bow at half draw to keep from bein spotted by game... maybe completeing the draw when they look away... maybe quietly letting off awaiting a better shot... you want to be able to draw cleanly, and hold from any position for a fair period of time.... a compound can often be adjusted down to work with less weight draw ... and turned up as you progress... you should try to hold steady... if you find your arm getting unsteady, or your aim wondering, it means your arm may be tired... take a brief rest... ( it is better to shoot 5 arrows correctly than 100 wrong. ) NEVER! allow a bow to unload ( shoot) without an arrow in it... always control it... slowly let off on the loading... you can seriously get hurt if a limb shatters when unloading pressure. As far as targeting goes... white tail deer are considered to have an approximent killzone of 9 inches across... you should work at hitting the center of a paper plate. most are 9 inches... rabbits and squirrells are of course 3 inches or so...

if all this sounds hard forgive me... it is actually very easy.... all those rules for bow and arrow hunting will become automatic as you practice. I have shot bows for over 30 years... it becomes a form of muscle memory... do it right in practice... in will be right when needed.... and the shot will happen...

we quite often place our targets inside a tree line or behind bushes for practice.... because that is possibly the only shot you will get... thru a hole in a bush, or between 2 trees. It builds tremendous confidence for almost any eventuality. you are not left guessing if you can make the shot. You know. Draw the same way, hold the same way, anchor your hand in same holding position every time, release the same way.... you will be consistant.

also... our bow season is 90 days... our rifle season is only 15 days... many people bow hunt here for that reason alone... more time in the woods. Enjoy it while you can.

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Hi Weldnfab,

I learn a heap every time you post on bowhunting. Thank you!

I found this
on youtube I gues many guys can enjoy watcing even without being particularly intrested in the archery part hehe.

You're right Ande......I watched without even thinking about archery. You're a sick puppy.:wink:

Gary

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thanks Gary... all forms of shooting/ hunting greatly intrigue me, and have for years... I only hope I can accurately convey the ideas and techniques.

a couple more ideas for those just trying the bow....try this experiment if you will...

from a ready (normal) position, draw your bow while sighting your target... ( down the shaft if your traditional, thru the sights if your using more modern archery equipment). without shooting... try tightening your grip on the bow as you sight your target.... you will note that the bows sight can wander left or right depending on your grip strength...

what is in reality happening, is you are twisting the bow frame with your grip... relax your grip a bit... it will come back to its natural hold... to loose and the bow may fall to the ground when you release.... practice holding your bow with a medium strength grip... it will not over torque the bow out of alignment with your target, and will not fall when you release. greatly helps consistantcy and accuracy in shot to shot placement.

many people will draw their bow with an open hand, (the pressure on the open hand while drawing helps center the bow in your grip), and casually close their hand on the bow frame prior to the shot without twisting it out of alignment...

and always watch your arrow to the target... its flight charactoristics can reveal alot about your hold, and sighting technique.

cheers.

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