Mike Hopkins Takes His First Buck with a PSE X-Force 7
Editor’s Note: Thirty seven year old of Junction City, Kansas, has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. Hopkins is a classic example of how to become a better bow hunter. Mike decided to shoot 3D archery just before he took his first buck with a bow. As you’ll see, Mike consistently has been able to take more animals and a wider variety of animals, since he’s incorporated 3D archery into his bow-hunting program.
Hopkins: PSE bows have a reputation for being quality bows and demonstrating some of the latest technology in bow design. I also like the way they feel in my hands. When I decided to buy a new bow in 2008, I shot four or five different bows at the archery shop. I wanted to find out which bow felt the best to me, and which bow shot the best for me. Back then I chose the original X Force 7. I guess one of the main reasons I bought the bow was because of the grip. To me, that bow had the best and most comfortable grip of any bow I’d picked up and tested.
The first buck I took with that bow was a little 6 point in Louisiana. The day was a typical bowhunting day. I wasn’t spotting many deer, but I did see a lot of squirrels. Off to my right and a little behind me, I heard a tree shaking, and I thought to myself, “That’s a bunch of squirrels in a tree. I’m really getting tired of seeing and hearing squirrels.” Then I got to thinking, “That tree’s a little too big around for squirrels to be making that much noise in it.” I had done my pre season scouting in this area and seen a lot of deer and signs of deer. This region had everything a deer needed and had all the indications of being a productive bow hunting spot. It was an oak flat with plenty of acorns and a little pond, and I found a trail where a lot of deer were crossing on one corner of the pond. I’d been bow hunting for a while and had shot several different bows, but when this buck showed up and walked out to within 20 yards of my stand, I drew my PSE X Force 7, released the arrow made a good hit and took my first buck. Although I’d been bow hunting for 4 years, I hadn’t had the opportunity to make a shot at a buck. I had taken a couple of shots at bucks with other bows but I’d never connected. One of the things I like about bow hunting is that just when you think you know everything there is to know about the sport, you learn something new. When you think you’ve got a deer figured out and know what he’ll do, he does the exact opposite of what you’ve guessed.
In my opinion, one of the misconceptions about bow hunting is caused by sitting at home and watching all the hunting shows. There you see the hosts on the TV shows always taking big bucks. But that’s not the way hunting happens for the average guy. Before I took this buck, I’d taken four or five other shots that I felt really confident about, and I’d never shot at a deer at more than 35 yards. I try to never take a shot at a distance further than I think I can be successful. I shoot a lot of 3D archery, and I believe that practice and experience with 3D archery helped me tremendously when I had an opportunity to take this buck. Shooting 3D archery, in my opinion, will help anyone be a better bow hunter. You get a lot of great practice time when you start shooting 3D archery.
PSE: Tell us what happened when you released the arrow on that first buck.
Hopkins: I was shooting downhill. The shot hit the deer in the spine, just above the shoulder blade, and took out one lung. The deer dropped where it stood, rolled down into a ditch and stopped 30 yards away from me. This buck wasn’t the most spectacular one I’d ever seen, but he was my first bow buck. I got him mounted. In my opinion, he was the best buck I ever took.