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The Moose Hunt of a Lifetime…and so Much More!


 The Moose Hunt of a Lifetime with PSE’s Jeff Propst

Meet Jeff Propst: Jeff Propst of northeast Missouri has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. He was a factory rep for another bow manufacturer for many years. Propst recalls that after he left his previous archery provider, “A very, very close friend of mine, Mark Drury, suggested I try PSE bows. So, I got a PSE X-Force, started shooting it and fell in love with the bow.” Today, Propst shoots the PSE Dream Season DNA and prefers PSE bows, because they’re smooth, quiet, fast and accurate. He says, “With my bow, I’ve taken elk, whitetails, moose and turkeys.”

All my life, I’ve dreamed of going to Alaska; I’ve always wanted to take a moose there. As luck would have it, one of my friends had booked an Alaskan moose hunt and was suddenly unable to go. He called and asked me if I’d like to take his place on the hunt. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. The hunt was booked with Knik Glacier Adventures. My buddy who wasn’t able to go had hunted brown bears with the same outfitter. He had gone on and on, telling me of his amazing experience. Braun Kopsack, my guide, was a legend himself, so I was extremely anxious prior to the hunt.

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The hunt would span 10 days. I arrived on the 20th of September; we started hunting the next morning on the 21st. For 3 days, we hunted in the high mountains with the rain pouring-down, along with cold temperatures. When we saw there was more bad weather coming, we knew we had to relocate. Kopsack contacted the bush-plane pilot to come pick us up, so we could move camp. I knew the weather was getting bad. But I was hesitant to try another spot, since we knew moose were in the area, where we were, and in fact, I could have gotten one our first day. Alaska hunting regulations specify that a legal bull moose is one with antlers that exceed a minimum width of 50 inches. The moose that I started to take on the first day, looking back, probably met those specifications. However, neither me or my guide were completely sure of his antler width, so we decided not to pursue the bull further.

During those first 3 days, I saw five bull moose. We also spotted Dall sheep, mountain goats and even black bears. Although I was hesitant to leave the moose we had seen, I didn’t regret leaving that region, since we were hunting up and down several steep climbs in 3-4 inches of snow. I’ve experienced difficult hunts in rough terrain but nothing compares with being guided by a world-class mountain marathon runner. I’m a 55-year old man, and I consider myself in pretty good shape; however, I definitely was not in the same shape as Kopsack, who tackled the mountains as if they were flat ground.

We left high camp, flew down to the Knik River by airboat, camped on the river, left base camp before daylight and climbed into the high mountains all morning. Then we started hunting about mid-to-late morning. All the moose tended to be up high on the mountains where there was better cover and habitat. Since the land we were hunting was public, there was a lot of boat pressure and moose hunting pressure down low, near the river. So, we were forced-up, much to the joy of my guide. Once we found a series of ditches and draws that provided ideal habitat for the moose, we decided to camp and spend the remaining 6 days there. Finally, on the ninth day, I had an opportunity to take a moose.

We had spent the whole of that day hunting with no luck. In the evening, we started making our way back to camp. After 9 days of mountain climbing, I was mentally and physically worn out. Too, the rain and the snow were taking their toll. But as we took a break on the side of the big drainage ditch, Kopsack said, “There’s a big outcropping of rocks just above us. I’m going to run up there and do some glassin’.” A few minutes later, he emerged, saying, “I spotted a big moose a good ways off. I don’t know if he’s legal or not, but I really think we should go and check him out.” To be honest, I was beat, close to calling it quits, but Kopsack was encouraging and said, “The moose is in a spot we can get to, and he’s in a place where I believe you can get a shot. Let’s go!”

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We went down a mountain, across a glacier stream, and before I knew it, we had moved fairly close to where we thought the moose was feeding. Kopsack made one call, and I could hear the moose coming to us. When the moose got in close, we weren’t sure his rack was more than 50 inches, although Kopsack believed the moose was legal. Even when the bull was 10-yards from us, we couldn’t make a definite measurement. The moose gave us time to check out his antlers; he kept looking and looking for the cow that had been calling to him. He was searching, almost asking, “Why did you call me over here, but I can’t find you?” Kopsack, my son, Chris, and I were all wearing Mossy Oak camo (www.mossyoak.com) that blended right in with the alders and brush. To this day, I am confident that our camo was the reason why the moose couldn’t see us. After a handful of tense moments, the moose turned to walk away. At that moment, Kopsack whispered, “He’s legal, I’m sure of it.”

From that point, the stalk was on, and the bull moose was 50-yards away from where we’d stopped. I didn’t hesitate to take the 50-yard shot for two reasons:

* I had practiced at more than 50 yards, and I knew I could hit the spot where I was aiming.

* I had shot my PSE Dream Season EVO enough to know that when I put my pin on a desired spot, the EVO always delivered the shot.

When I released the arrow, I saw the RAGE Hypodermic Broadhead hit the bull right behind the front shoulder and go all the way in to the fletching of the arrow. As soon as the bull took the arrow, he went over a little rise. We were filming this hunt for Bow Madness so I could, thankfully, replay the shot on the video camera. When I saw for certain I had made a good shot, I turned to Chris and Kopsack, saying, “I’m going to ease up to that rise and try to see the bull.” When I peeked over the rise, I saw that the bull moose hadn’t traveled more than 40 yards after taking my arrow. As a group, we field dressed the moose. Since Kopsack was the only one well-suited to transport meat, he said, “I’ve got my frame pack, and I’ll carry one hindquarter out now. We’ll come back in the morning and get the rest of the moose; we’ve still got a 2-hour hike to get back to camp, and I’d like to get to camp before dark.” So we boned the hindquarter out, and Kopsack carried it on his back.

The next morning, Kopsack called-in some additional packers to bring out the rest of the moose. My son, Chris, went with the packers and he carried the head and rack all the way back. Kopsack knew my leg wasn’t doing well, so he asked me to stay in camp to get everything packed up. Then we could leave as soon as the packers returned. My dream to hunt moose in Alaska had come true. Best of all, my son was by my side when I showed off my trophy, a 57” wide bull moose.

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 Public Land Elk Hunting

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) public-land hunting for elk is a challenge, and I love it. I’ve hunted New Mexico’s elk on public lands since 1997. Throughout the years, I’ve taken 16 bull elk in that state with my bow. Of those elk, 13 were taken on public lands.

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In 2010, I was hunting in New Mexico with two friends, John Williams and Nick Pelagreen. We were on a DIY hunt on public lands, hunting in the southwestern portion of New Mexico. We set-up camp at 7,200 feet above sea level. Then we hiked up into the mountains to about 8,000 feet above sea level, found a big canyon and started hunting up it. We happened upon an elk wallow. We could tell by the substantial foot traffic that local elk were frequenting this wallow. I was really surprised that other hunters hadn’t come across or hunted the area. The secluded wallow was only about 2-miles from our camp. Looking over the pristine elk habitat, I leaned to Nick and told him, “Just watch- we’ll take an elk off this wallow.” Less than 30 seconds after I had made that statement, we heard a bull bugle off to our left and above us. I called to the bull; he answered me with another bugle. We ran about 50-yards up the hill toward the bugling bull and set-up in some bushes.

After we were ready, I called two more times. Both times, the bull answered. Finally, I saw a hearty 6X6 bull headed to the wallow. As long as I live, I never will forget seeing that bull walk through the meadow to the wallow. The bull closed the gap from 100 to 25 yards quickly. When he was close enough, I gave him a cow call. He stopped; I released the arrow from my PSE X-Force. The arrow dug-in deeply, all the way to the fletching. After the bull took the arrow, he went about 75-yards before going down. Luckily, transporting the meat and head wasn’t too difficult, because we were able to pull our truck fairly close to where the bull fell.

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The next year, fueled by memories from the previous season, I had planned to hunt that same wallow. But when I hiked up to the wallow, I was shocked to find that another bowhunter already had set-up to hunt. That’s the risk you run when you hunt public land. But, I still enjoy the challenge of not only finding and taking bull elk on public lands but also trying to pinpoint a place to hunt that won’t be disturbed by other hunters.

Double-Down Bucks

November 3, 2012 is a date I’ll never forget, because it marks the date my son, Chris, and I took two nice, mature whitetail bucks within 15 minutes of each other; interestingly, both bucks were taken with my Dream Season EVO PSE bow. We were hunting our farm in northeast Missouri, sitting in our tree stands, while Chris filmed me. We hadn’t seen much deer activity that morning when Chris whispered, “Dad, when do you think these deer will start moving?” Quietly, I answered, “They should be moving starting anytime, because the rut should be starting.”

Five minutes later, I looked down a hardwood ridge and saw a buck coming toward us. I immediately recognized the big 9 point, because he had appeared on our trail camera with a pair of distinct features: two separate white throat patches under his lower jaw. Given that he was already a trail-camera star, I knew he was a shooter. When he meandered into bow range, I grunted to him with my natural voice, but the buck didn’t stop. I grunted again a second time; the buck spooked and took off down a hill, some 35-yards away. I shoot a slider sight with no fixed pins, which was dead-on at 20 yards. I knew the flight of the arrow would be slightly lower than it would be if I shot the buck at 20 yards. So, I calculated I only needed to shoot 3-inches high of the spot I wanted to hit; the EVO delivered the arrow exactly where I had aimed. Because of the speed of the EVO, shooting 313 feet per second (fps), I made the shot I wanted to make. Before I switched to PSE, my old bow, which shot at 216 fps, would have been too slow and never would have made that shot. I hit that buck in the liver, the arrow traveled forward, up toward the deer’s heart, and then he ran out of sight. I felt good about the shot, however, I wasn’t exactly sure where the arrow had hit him. Even after we had rewound the video, we couldn’t see exactly where the arrow had entered the deer. After we had sat in the tree for a while, I told Chris, “Okay, let’s get down out of the tree, go find my arrow, and look for the deer.”

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Before climbing down from the tree, I let my bow down to the ground with a pull rope. Once I was down, I untied my bow from the pull rope when I noticed movement- another buck was coming our way, and this one had a name – Joust. He was an interesting 11-pointer. When we had discovered him on the trail camera earlier, his most-noticeable feature was a main beam that protruded straight forward, just like a jousting lance. And, so, his nickname was born. Joust was taking his time heading in our direction, eating acorns and hitting brush with his antlers. Chris quietly said, “Dad! Send your bow up!” I retied my bow to the pull-up rope, and Chris pulled the bow to his tree stand. Minutes passed by, and while I was leaning up against the tree where Chris was, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Lowered from the heavens, there appeared a video camera hanging on the pull-up rope. Chris and I exchanged our weapons of choice and waited.

Once I got the camera off the pull rope, I attempted to blend into the tree, which wasn’t easy. We were bowhunting during the Missouri Youth Rifle Season. If you bowhunt during the youth rifle season, you have to wear hunter orange. I felt like a gigantic, neon STOP sign, but I stood still as a statue, filming Joust as he came nearer. I became extremely nervous, because I didn’t know when Chris was going to shoot. Weirdly enough, I’ve always preferred to shoot a quiver on my bow. I know many bowhunters who prefer to shoot sans quiver. However, that day, I was glad I still had my quiver, as well as release, on the bow when Chris pulled-up my PSE bow. Luckily, Chris and I always have shot each other’s bows, because we hunt together so much. I felt certain that one day, we’d have the opportunity to possibly take two bucks out of the same tree. And now, that possibility was fast becoming a reality. We generally like to capture both the hunter and the hunted in the same shot, but since Chris was directly above me in the tree, there was no way I could video both he and the deer at the same time. Communication with Chris was also impossible, so I decided to stay focused on the deer with the camera and wait to see what happened.

Joust hopped across a little ditch and started staring at me. I thought for sure Joust was going to spook. From the viewfinder of the camera, I could see a little, green leaf in front of the deer’s nose as Joust nibbled at the leaf, swished his tail and kept coming straight toward us. Suddenly, through the viewfinder, I saw an arrow coming from the sky. The buck was only about 17-yards from the base of the tree when Chris took the shot. The arrow hit exactly in the pocket to double-lung Joust and made a clean pass-through. The buck only walked 4 yards after taking the arrow.

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Luckily, we had a HuntVe four-wheeler. Since Chris’ deer only had gone 4 yards, we loaded Joust before searching for my arrow. We had no success. We quickly went back to the house and looked at the video of the shot I made on my deer. After forming a game plan, we went out to follow the blood trail. We found my deer 200-yards from where I’d hit him. When we look back on that day, we always remember it was the day of the Double-Down Bucks – when we took two bucks out of the same tree, 15-minutes apart, shooting the same PSE EVO.

To learn more about PSE’s top-quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Jeff Propst Takes a Spring Turkey with His Bow & More


Growing Up Drury (Part 2) by John E. Phillips


PSE’s Matt Drury Tells How to Become a Professional Hunter

Editor’s Note: Thirty-two-year-old Matt Drury is the son of Terry Drury of Drury Outdoors (https://www.druryoutdoors.com/) fame. For 10 years, Matt has been the man behind the scenes of Drury Outdoors. For 2 previous years, he interned at the family business. When Matt went to college, he didn’t really know what he wanted to grow up to be, although he knew he wanted to use his creative mind and art talent to take raw video and create masterpiece hunting TV shows and CDs. According to Matt, “I was making Edit Decision Lists when I was in high school.” Today, according to brothers and well-known outdoorsmen Mark and Terry Drury, “Matt is the man in charge.” His official title is Drury Outdoors Brand Manager.

Being in the professional outdoor world, we get a lot of questions from hunters here at Drury Outdoors. By far, we’re most often asked, “How can I become a professional hunter like Mark and Terry Drury?” Most people really don’t understand that job opportunities in the outdoor industry aren’t limited to simply being a professional hunter; there are many careers available if you’re driven. Despite popular belief, growing up in the Drury family didn’t automatically guarantee me a job working for Drury Outdoors. I had to prove to my family that I took my education seriously and was willing to work hard to make myself an asset to the family business.

Whether you strive to be a professional hunter or a behind-the-scenes person, more education, especially being educated in matters related to the outdoors, is the key to opening doors in the outdoor community. The more time and effort you’re willing to put into becoming a professional outdoorsman, the better your odds will be for getting your dream outdoor job. For your best chance of working in the outdoor industry, I strongly recommend that young hunters attend college. After I graduated high school, I was gearing up for college but didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. Like many college kids, I couldn’t identify where I was going to land, but I really wanted do creative work. I took a lot of different courses in college, including computer animation, graphic design, art and my most favorite, video production. When I learned what was required to take raw footage and make it into a TV show, I decided, “This is for me.” I found out I had a talent for video production and realized I’d use that as a basis for my future career.

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Every year my Uncle Mark and my dad gather 25 teams of hunters and videographers, known as field producers, to help produce footage for the Drury Outdoors TV shows. At this meeting, our producers are given production tips and are taught better ways to shoot video. A major part of that team meeting is an awards presentation. The first award show for our producers was 11-years ago, my senior year of college. As I watched the different teams being awarded for videos they had shot the previous year, I got really excited. After the show was over, I went up to my Uncle Mark and said, “I think this is something I’d like to be a part of,” and the next day, Uncle Mark offered me a job. As with any family business, I was offered a very modest starting salary.

Drury Outdoors’ social-media sites often are bombarded with questions like: “I want to be in the outdoor business, where do I start? I’m going to college, and I want to be a professional hunter. What classes should I take?” Unfortunately, collegiate counselors don’t have course lists for a B.A. degree in Hunting Professionally, but there are courses that will help you in your journey. If you want to get into the video side of the outdoors, find courses that teach video production and the operation and mastery of video equipment, generally found in journalism departments. New cameras with new features are coming out every year; being able to know new technology will make you a benefit to any outdoor operation. Courses in photography also will be appealing to future employers. Do you know what aperture is, and how it works or the importance of shutter speed? What does ASA mean? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, take photography courses on lighting and framing.

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However, always remember that hunting is primarily about shooting. Our field producers, the lifeblood of our hunting trips all over the world, are both hunters and videographers. Some days they are in front of the cameras, and on others, they’re behind the cameras. So, if you’re serious about becoming a part of the outdoor business community, you need to be as good, if not better, with a video camera as you are with a bow and conventional and blackpowder rifles. In college, professors teach students how to be videographers in 4 short years, but learning how to be a true outdoorsman requires more time.

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” click on each. Or, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


Growing Up Drury (Part 1) by John E. Phillips


 

Growin Up Drury Part 1: PSE’s Matt Drury Tells about His Bow Madness and the Marriage of PSE and Drury Outdoors

 

 Editor’s Note: Thirty-two-year-old Matt Drury is the son of Terry Drury of Drury Outdoors (https://www.druryoutdoors.com/) fame. For 10 years, Matt has been the man behind the scenes of Drury Outdoors. For 2 previous years, he interned at the family business. When Matt went to college, he didn’t really know what he wanted to grow up to be, although he knew he wanted to use his creative mind and art talent to take raw video and create masterpiece hunting TV shows and CDs. According to Matt, “I was making Edit Decision Lists when I was in high school.” Today, according to brothers and well-known outdoorsmen Mark and Terry Drury, “Matt is the man in charge.” His official title is Drury Outdoors Brand Manager.

 

Seven years ago, Drury Outdoors and PSE archery began a working relationship. One year after the beginning of that union, these companies began working on a single-cam line of bows known now as Bow Madness. I shot the PSE Bow Madness for 3-consecutive years. Someone would have to pry that bow out of my hand to get me to shoot anything else. I know many hunters fall in love with particular equipment, and I was in love with that bow. The Bow Madness was such a smooth bow and solved some major problems for me. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice or a good place to shoot, so I needed a well-put-together bow that was extremely forgiving. Fortunately, this bow fit the bill; I could just pick it up, shoot it a few times and be ready to go hunting. For me, the Bow Madness gave me the same ease of use as my favorite rifle. When I had it in my hand, I had the confidence that I’d hit my target every time.

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PSE, Drury Outdoors and I have learned plenty of information through fellow hunters’ trials. After talking to numbers of hunters, we realized many didn’t have enough time or space to practice archery. Like me, they needed rugged bows that could be set-up once. In a perfect world, they’d become proficient with their bows and only have to shoot a couple of practice arrows pre-hunt to stay in shooting shape. I also noticed that the hunters I talked to would love to be able to shoot 100 arrows every day to reach the high degree of skill that my Uncle Mark and my dad have reached. However, the majority of hunters, myself included, work long hours to meet financial obligations. We also have family and social engagements that don’t allow for much archery time. Therefore, by having a bow like Bow Madness, busy hunters can spend less time practicing, while still retaining the confidence and ability to successfully draw on a deer.

 

“Bumps” is the name of the deer that is my crowning Bow Madness achievement. This interesting deer had been photographed many times on my Dad’s Reconyx trail cameras (http://www.reconyx.com/). I hunted him on Halloween. Dad had shot a deer late in the afternoon the previous day with his PSE bow. We decided to wait until the next morning to recover him, which is how I ended up shooting Bumps. Before sunrise, Dad suggested that my cameraman and I go to a stand that had a lot of trail camera buck activity. On the way to the stand, we suddenly remembered we were hunting during the Missouri Youth Deer Rifle Season. As Missouri hunters know, rifle season means we were missing two bright things: an orange hat and a vest. Quickly, we stopped the HuntVe (http://www.huntve.com/). We were far from home and so near the stand that we would have had to take precious time away from hunting to return home. But we had to be legal. My cameraman was about to turn around when I reached into my trusty hunting bag. Sure enough, I had four orange hunting vests. I still don’t know why I had so many orange hunting vests, but I wasn’t questioning it that day, I was just happy they were there. However, one thing was missing – an orange hat. Shooters in Missouri had to wear orange hats, and unfortunately, I didn’t have one. Thinking like MacGyver on the TV show, I wrapped the third vest over my hunting hat, making it probably the dorkiest-looking hat in the woods. But at least for the moment, I was legal. I remember sitting in that tree laughing to myself and asking my cameraman, “How goofy do I look?”

 

About that time, Bumps walked out in front of us at about 20 yards. When the deer had his head down, I drew my PSE Bow Madness, aimed just behind the shoulder and shot. My Rage (http://www.ragebroadheads.com/) two-blade broadhead, pushed by a Carbon Force (http://pse-archery.com/p/carbon-force-bow-madness-200-shaft-dozen) Bow Madness 200 Shaft, met its mark; I had finally taken Bumps. He scored about 135 Pope and Young points. Bumps was the biggest buck I had taken up until then with a PSE bow. I’ve taken bigger PSE bucks since then, but when I look at the video and see I looked as goofy as I felt with the orange vest on my head, I realize Bumps is one of those hunting stories that will keep me laughing the rest of my life. Bumps and I, goofy hat and all – were up on “Bow Madness,” the TV show with Drury Outdoors that PSE sponsors.

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To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” click on each. Or, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


Day 2: PSE’s Bill Epeards Takes an Eastern Gobbler with His X-Force Bow By PSE’s Bill Epeards with John E. Phillips


Editor’s Note: Bill Epeards of Goshen, Indiana, conducts 45 to 50 seminars per year, all over the country, on turkey hunting, whitetail hunting and dangerous game hunting. He has taken 12 Grand Slams of turkeys and 2 World Slams. Two of the Grand Slams have been completed using his PSE bows.

I took my Eastern gobbler for my Grand Slam in my home state of Ohio. I don’t know how the Eastern gobbler reacts to hunting pressure throughout his home range, but here in Ohio, the gobblers are very sensitive to hunting pressure. If you spot turkeys out in the field 200-yards away and stop your truck to look at them, those turkeys will take off running. I think the Eastern gobbler very well may be the most-difficult turkey to take of all four races of wild turkey, since these gobblers tend to receive the most hunting pressure. Regardless of which race of turkey you hunt, scouting is the most-important part of the hunt. This statement is especially true when you’re trying to take an Eastern gobbler with a bow.

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Many turkey hunters miss the point of being successful. You don’t have to be a world champion turkey caller to take a gobbler with a bow; being a good woodsman it far-more important. Learn the turkey’s daily movement patterns before you start to hunt him. When I scout, I try to get on the highest ridge in the area to listen for turkeys. We know when a gobbler flies-down off his roost, he probably is headed to find food and water. Next, a gobbler usually goes to an open field, a power line, a gas line right-of-way or a clear cut to feed on insects and young tender shoots of grass or to strut, drum and gobble to attract hens.

One of the differences in hunting turkeys from a blind and hunting whitetail deer from a blind is you can set-up a blind for turkeys the same day you hunt, especially if you use a Mossy Oak (http://www.mossyoak.com) blind and brush it in before daylight. When whitetail hunting, I try to have a blind set-up and in place for about a month before I hunt from it to let the whitetails become accustomed to it. Once you set your turkey decoys in front of your blind, if the turkeys respond to the decoys and start to come in, they won’t pay any attention to the blind.

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When you call to a gobbler to get him to come to you, you’re trying to get that tom to perform an unnatural act. Most of the time in nature, when the tom gobbles, the hens will go to him. When you call to a turkey, you’re trying to get him to do something he won’t normally do – go to the hens. Too, a gobbler has an audio global positioning system (GPS). As soon as he hears a hen yelp, a longbeard usually can pinpoint where she is within a few feet. Another reason you need to scout before you hunt is to make sure there are no fences, creeks or blown-down trees between you and the turkey. Although a gobbler can and will go around, under, through or over an obstacle, he doesn’t like doing that. So, you want to give the gobbler a clear and easy path to walk to your blind site. I always start my hen calls with a slate call. As the turkey gets closer, I switch to a diaphragm call like the Quaker Boy Split Notch Mouth Call (www.quakerboy.com), so I have my hands free to hold and draw the bow. If the turkey is a long way off, and I barely can hear him when he gobbles, I start calling to him with a box call instead of a slate, because the box call is louder and has a higher pitch. In this scenario, I’ll move closer to the turkey, set-up my blind, use a slate call and finally my diaphragm call.

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On this particular hunt, I was hunting out of a Double Bull Blind (http://www.primos.com/products/double-bull-blinds) on a picked soybean field edge where gobblers normally come out to strut. We knew the gobbler would show-up here, since we’d scouted the area before the hunt. The first thing I did after we set-up our blind was use a Quaker Boy Owl Hooter to get the turkeys to shock gobble. I wanted to know where the gobbler was, and what direction he’d be coming from when he got to the field. After I blew the owl call, and the turkey gobbled back, I knew the bird was 100- to 150-yards from the field. Once I saw the turkey step out on the edge of the field, I began to purr to him on the diaphragm call. He gobbled twice. When he saw those decoys, he gave them his full attention. I like to use a hen and a jake decoy, or a hen and a gobbler-in-full-strut decoy. Ninety-nine-percent of the time, the turkey will come to the gobbler decoy, because he wants to run that gobbler away from his hens and prove his dominance. So, I put the gobbler decoy closest to my blind at 15- to 18-yards out, with the hen decoy about 20-yards away.

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I like to hunt from a commercially-made ground blind, since having a cameraman in the blind with you is easier. Both of you have more room to work and you can get away with more movement. This gobbler came in at full strut, but he was very cautious. He came in and circled my gobbler decoy about three times. This gave me plenty of time to make sure he was in the right position for me to make a good shot before I released the arrow. I was using my PSE X-Force bow with a Spitfire broadhead (http://www.newarchery.com/products/mechanical/spitfire-2). When I shot the turkey, I aimed just behind the wing butt, and the turkey went down instantly.

Click here to get the ebook “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” by John E. Phillips, or go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Bill Epeards Hunts the Rio Grande Gobbler


Aloha From PSE’s Pedro Ampuero


By Pedro Ampuero
http://www.adventurousbowhunter.com/

PSE's Pedro Ampuero Surfing

PSE’s Pedro Ampuero Surfing

A few weeks ago I had to travel to the state of Hawaii for business. It was a great experience, since being there changed my whole picture of Hawaii as a hunting destination.

The different islands have almost every possible ecosystem, from deep rainforest to deserts and from sandy beaches to high altitude volcanic mountains. You can be surfing in the morning and hunting in the afternoon.

In these highly varied terrains, you can find species like the axis deer, hogs, goats, mouflon, sheep and turkey. It was also nice to discover that you can hunt all year, and that there were lots of bowhunters on the islands.

PSE's Pedro Ampuero

PSE’s Pedro Ampuero

I found some time to meet with my good friend Ryan Kohatsu to go out hunting mouflon. I was really surprised when we got up to 12.000 feet to find them! I would have never imagined myself hunting sheep at that height in HI.

PSE's Pedro Ampuero & friend Ryan Kohatsu

PSE’s Pedro Ampuero & friend Ryan Kohatsu

So if you are planning some vacations to relax, do not forget Hawaii!

Good luck in the mountains, be safe,
Pedro Ampuero

Pedro Ampuero was raised in Spain, a country full of hunting opportunities in which the hunting season goes year round. He spends many days each year in the field and traveling the world in search of new adventures. You will always find him outdoors scouting, hunting, filming or tracking with his Bavarian bloodhound.

Pedro is a mechanical engineer by trade and a bowhunter by heart. He is the co-founder of the blog AdventurousBowhunter.com and Cazandoconarco.es and has written many articles for the hunting industry and currently collaborates with the most prestigious companies on the industry.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


Five More Secrets to Scouting for Deer Before the Season with PSE’s Mark Drury


PSE’s Mark Drury

Editor’s Note: Mark Drury of Saint Peters, Missouri, the founder of M.A.D. Calls, co-owner of Drury Outdoor Productions with his brother Terry and a long-time avid bowhunter also is a member of PSE’s Pro Hunt team. This season Mark will be shooting the new PSE Dream Season EVO.

Secret No. 6: You’ve got to have good glass to scout for bucks. I want to stay at least 400-yards away from the fields that I’m scouting. For this reason, I’ll usually use 10X binoculars when I’m scouting and/or use a spotting scope. Eastern hunters don’t take advantage of spotting scopes nearly as much as western hunters do, and you’ll rarely see an eastern hunter scout with a spotting scope or 10X binoculars. However, remember, the further you stay away from the deer, the less human odor you’ll introduce to your hunting site, and the better your odds are for taking an older-age-class buck. Too, by using quality binoculars and spotting scopes, you can spend more time scouting from your truck, which keeps your human odor in your vehicle. I use a window-mount device for my spotting scope to mount the scope on the window.

Secret No. 7: I’ll begin to move tree stands or set-up new tree stands, as I learn more about the deer from my scouting program. I hang many tree stands on the farm I hunt during January and February, after deer season. Then, during July and August, I go check these tree stands to make sure they’re still safe and secure. I hang new tree stands, so that I will have stands in the location where the deer will be traveling in the beginning of bow season. The two factors that determine the day I will hang a tree stand are weather conditions and time of day. In the summer months, I try to hang my tree stand in the middle of the day when the weather is hottest, and when I’m almost certain rain will come in the afternoon. Because hot weather helps evaporate human odor, and a rain washes it away, I know that my human odor won’t linger long, and the rain will wash away what human odor I do leave. I wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts made of breathable material when I’m going through the woods. I want all of the stands I’m going to hunt from during the upcoming deer season to be in place by the middle of August or the first of September. This way when I start bowhunting in October and November, I’ll have fresh stands to hunt from that don’t have any human odor associated with them.

Secret No. 8: My brother Terry and I have several farms we hunt. Before the season comes in, we try to have 80- to 100-tree stands in place and ready to hunt from on these farms. With that many stand sites, there’s no way we can remember or find all of them. We plot out every tree-stand site with GPS. We log each stand site into the GPS and give each one a name. We also record all of our stand site names, location and every wind direction that the stand can be hunted from on paper. By using this method, we can turn on our computer in the morning and go to www.weather.com to learn what wind direction we will have that day in our area. Then we check our list of stand sites and see which stands we can hunt with a favorable wind. Once we have decided the stand sites we can hunt from, we pick-out the stand where we believe our chances are best for taking a buck that day. Then, we pull that stand site up in our hand-held GPS, go straight to it in the dark, get into the tree and are ready to hunt before daylight.

Secret No. 9: I begin to pick the bucks I want to hunt from the motion-sensor-camera information and from observing the deer in the field. The bucks I’ll try to hunt aren’t always going to be the biggest bucks I see. The secret is determining from the bucks you have identified which bucks appear on the trails the most often during daylight hours. Some bucks have a tendency not to move until after dark. If you attempt to hunt these bucks, you can hunt several days and not see those bucks during daylight hours. However, if you hunt for the bucks that have a tendency to move-down trails and be in the green fields during daylight hours, you drastically increase your odds for taking a buck during the first week of bow season. Once I identify these bucks, I may move some of the cameras and my tree stand to learn all I can about these individual bucks I’ve decided to hunt. Knowing which bucks move during daylight hours gives me a tremendous advantage when hunting season opens. I can learn which bucks move the most during daylight hours by scouting during the summer using binoculars, spotting scopes and motion-sensor cameras without spending much time in the woods and alerting or spooking the deer.

Secret No. 10: I want to find the best spot to take the buck I want to hunt and know where he is living and moving during bow season. If I try to take him over the green field or the agricultural crop, I may spook him and the other deer that are coming to that food source. I’ve learned from my motion-sensor cameras that most bucks will move to water before they’ll go to feed. My brother Terry and I have learned that often the most-productive place to have a tree stand site for older-age-class bucks in the early season is along the trail that the bucks use when they’re going to water.

To learn more about Mark and Terry Drury and Drury Outdoors, visit http://www.druryoutdoors.com/.

For more bowhunting tips, check-out “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” a new eBook for Amazon Kindle by John E. Phillips. You also can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks and type-in the name of the book to find it. Too, you can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


Five Secrets to Scouting for Deer Before the Season with PSE’s Mark Drury


Mark Drury

PSE’s Mark Drury

Editor’s Note: Mark Drury of Saint Peters, Missouri, the founder of M.A.D. Calls, co-owner of Drury Outdoor Productions with his brother Terry and a long-time avid bowhunter also is a member of PSE’s Pro Hunt team. This season Mark will be shooting the new PSE Dream Season EVO.

Secret No. 1: I plant green fields with Mossy Oak’s BioLogic in areas where I have easy access with my truck to study the green fields, but I don’t plan to hunt them. I plant long narrow strips that are invisible from a public road but very visible from a woods road. During the summer months, the wind direction in our section of the country often is a south wind. I want these long fields to be where I can either walk-in or drive-in and scout these fields with a south wind, so the deer won’t be able to smell me. I plant two different types of green fields. One is what I call an observation field, which allows me to see the deer on the property during the summer months that I have to hunt. The other field is what I call my hidey-holes. I plan to actually take the bucks from these green fields that are planted in or near thick cover. The way you plant your green fields determines whether you’ll be able to scout successfully for deer season or not.

Secret No. 2: I start hunting a buck in July when the buck’s antlers are just beginning to develop. One of the secrets to consistently taking bucks is knowing which green fields bucks are coming to, and which green fields does prefer. I plant BioLogic in the spring, so I’ll have summer green fields where the deer can feed. I go to these fields in July to identify the trails the deer are using to come into those green fields and put RECONYX motion-sensor cameras along these trails to get pictures of the bucks coming to the green fields. Then I know which green fields each buck is utilizing. Trail-monitoring cameras enable a hunter to find big bucks, and to know where they’re moving quickly and easily and what time of the day or night they’re moving and how big the deer are. Even when I’m scouting, I wear camouflage.

Secret No. 3: Deer change their nutritional needs from green fields to soybean fields, as the summer progresses in Missouri, my home state. One of the keys to scouting is noticing when the deer switch their feeding patterns and then moving your motion-sensor cameras to new trails to keep-up with deer movement. When the Missouri deer leave my green fields and go to soybean fields in August, I change my cameras from the green fields and put them on trails leading to soybean fields and other agricultural crops to learn which bucks are going to these fields. For trail cameras to be effective, you have to move the cameras as the deer change food sources. If you do, you can keep-up with the location of the bucks on the property and watch these bucks’ antlers grow and develop. Another advantage to using the trail cameras is that you disturb the area where you plan to hunt very little. All I have to do to scout efficiently is go to the trail camera and change-out the film, which means I have little human impact on the deer.

Secret No. 4: You must know when to go to the cameras. During the summer months, as I’ve said earlier, the deer will move very little. I’ve learned I usually won’t get more than four or five pictures of deer per day on a good trail during July and August. So, I don’t spend nearly as much time in my hunting area getting the pictures. Another big advantage this method of scouting gives me is that I’m scouting every day from 10- or 20-different locations and not leaving any human scent in those regions. I’m not pressuring the deer that I plan to hunt in the fall during the summer months. In addition to wearing camouflage clothing, I usually wear a head net and gloves when visiting my cameras. I want to get to the cameras as quickly and as quietly as possible, leave as little human odor I can and be invisible to the deer.

Secret No. 5: I like to actually see the deer, especially the bucks I’ll be hunting in the fall, besides using the trail-timer camera. But once again, I want to see the buck from a distance and not disturb him by getting too close. I’ve learned from my motion-sensor cameras that the first 10 days of a full moon is when I’ll see the most big bucks coming to a green field late in the afternoon. I’ll take advantage of the deer’s reaction to the phases of the moon during the summer months, just as much as I do during the fall and winter months. I want to see the bucks on the green field to try and determine their personalities and their temperaments. Some bucks will be very bold, while other bucks will be very skittish. Some bucks will walk right out in the middle of a green field, while other bucks will hold on the edge. By being able to study the bucks through binoculars or spotting scopes from a long distance, I can learn the personality of each buck. If you’re going to go to a green field and study the bucks, you’ll want to go to that field when the most bucks will be on it. I’ve learned that not only most of the bucks, but more importantly most of the big bucks that are using a green field will be out in that green field early in the afternoon for 10 days after a full moon.

To learn more about Mark and Terry Drury and Drury Outdoors, visit http://www.druryoutdoors.com/.

For more bowhunting tips, check-out “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” a new eBook for Amazon Kindle by John E. Phillips. You also can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks and type-in the name of the book to find it. Too, you can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


Choosing equipment for ASA and ISO Tournaments – Q&A with PSE’s Bobby V ft Nathan Brooks


Elite TEAM PSE Pro Staff Nathan Brooks talks with Bobby about his bow setup for the ASA and IBO Tournaments.

Come and visit us at www.pse-archery.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OfficialPSEArchery.


How PSE’s Spook Spann Chooses Tree Stand Sites


Spook Spann PSE

PSE’S Spook Spann

Editor’s Note: To be consistently successful at taking bucks and especially older age class bucks, you have to know the best places to put your stand. You can be in the best area to hunt, where you’ve found the highest concentrations of deer, but if you pick the wrong stand site you’ll go home empty handed. PSE has asked Spook Spann how he picks his tree stand sites.

Every hunting area is different, and each state is different. However, I can give you some tips that may help, regardless of where you hunt. I like to hunt from evergreen trees, especially cedars or pines, for several reasons. These evergreen trees really help to break up the hunter’s silhouette, and when you’re trimming limbs in evergreens, they generally give off a fairly pungent odor that acts as a cover scent to prevent the deer from smelling you. However, if I can’t find an evergreen, I’ll look for a tree with a lot of limbs that can help break up my silhouette.

If I’m hunting over a high-quality food source like a green field, a soybean field or a corn field, and deer are coming out into that field early enough to hunt them, I’ll set-up on the edge of that field. Any time I’ve got a food source like those, I’ll usually set-up three or four different tree stands I can hunt from, depending on the wind conditions. If I see the deer aren’t coming to the field during shooting hours, I may back off 100 or 200-yards from the field and look for a travel trail the deer are using to get to the field. My favorite places to set-up tree stands are between prominent bedding areas and high-quality food sources. For instance, the deer may be coming into a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) field and waiting in the tall grass before moving to the food source after dark. If I can locate a place where the deer are comfortable waiting for night to fall before they move in to the food source, that kind of site usually produces best for me.

Pro Staff Shooter Spook Spann

PSE’S Pro Staff Shooter Spook Spann

I’ll be looking for a tree stand close to that CRP field that will allow me to look down into the field and see deer, and give me an opportunity to take a shot. If I see a nice buck that’s too far away for me to take from my tree stand, I may try to come out of that stand and make a stalk on him. I usually like to climb 20-25 feet high in the tree. Sometimes there may be a need to get higher. If I don’t have any back cover, I may not climb that high, but this is a good average height for me. Also, any time I’m in a tree stand, I use a Muddy Safeguard Harness. I like this harness because it’s quick and easy to put on and take off, and it doesn’t restrict me when I’m trying to shoot my bow.

One of the most-difficult shots for most tree stand hunters to make is when a deer is right under the tree. Here’s what I do:

  • I don’t try to draw and aim at the deer with my bow pointed at the deer. I make my draw when I’m standing or seated, and then bring the bow down to aim at the deer. When a deer is close, I aim a little lower than I normally do.
  • You can make a better shot by waiting on the deer to walk past you. Then you’ll get a shot that enters behind the vitals and travels up through the heart and lung areas.
  • You can make a close in shot best by remembering to bend at the waist.
  • I start hunting the first day I arrive at the property, and here’s why: I’ve done all my scouting, and I’ve seen all the pictures from the trail cameras in that area. Too, this region may be somewhere I’ve hunted before. So, the first time I go into that area I want to leave as little scent as possible and not disturb the woods. I believe the first day of that hunt will be the best day to try and take the buck I’ve been seeing on my trail cameras.

To learn more about Spook Spann, visit his website at www.spookspann.com, or email him at spookspann@yahoo.com.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


Spook Spann’s Secrets to Hunting Public Lands


Spook S

PSE’S Pro Staff Shooter Spook Spann

Editor’s Note: Spook Spann, the host of “Spook Nation” on the Pursuit Channel for three seasons, has been producing TV shows for almost a decade.

I used to hunt public lands all the time before I got my TV show. Most of my whitetail hunting is on private lands now, but I do still hunt public lands out West when I’m mule deer hunting. I’ve discovered several different ways to hunt public lands successfully. You have to spend a good bit of time scouting and look for places that are difficult for the average hunter to reach. Most public land hunters don’t want to travel more than 1/2-mile from their vehicles or the road. So, if you’re willing to go further into the woods than the average hunter and get to remote spots you’ve discovered through scouting, you’ll increase your odds for seeing and taking more deer.

However, I’ve also been highly successful by finding places where deer travel and feed within 300 yards of a main road on public-hunting ground. Remember the first tier of public land hunters will be hunting the 1/2-mile area from the road. The second tier will be hunting much deeper in the woods than the first group. That means hardly anybody will be hunting in the first 300-yards from a major road on public lands. The reason most hunters overlook this region is they realize the deer can hear and see all the vehicles on the road, and they know hunting pressure will begin at the road and move away from the road. But deer pattern hunters just like hunters pattern deer. Deer realize that from just after daylight until about 10:30 or 11:00 am, there rarely will be a hunter within 300 yards of the road. They also know that in the afternoon from 1:00 or 2:00 pm until about an hour before dark, there won’t be any hunting pressure in that first 300 yards. So, they can move and feed in these areas during these times.

Spook

PSE’S Spook Spann

The deer are accustomed to seeing cars driving up and down the main roads and recognize that those automobiles don’t pose a threat. They also know hunters will park their trucks in places that have paths going further back into the woods, or where there’s a trail they can use to reach their stand sites. So, if you can find a place along a main road in a public-hunting area where most hunters don’t park their trucks and don’t walk into the woods, those are productive places to locate and take better bucks.

Most public-land hunters walk past the places where deer are holding to get further in the woods to find places where deer may move. So, my favorite two places to hunt are more than 1/2-mile from an access point to public land or within 300 yards of a main road on public land. I may walk 1/2-mile up a road away from my car to identify a thick-cover site where no one will enter the woods, and often that’s where I’ll find a buck. The number one rule on public land to find and take more deer is, “Stay away from the places where most people will enter or leave the woods.”

One of the classic examples of finding one of these kinds of spots was when I was hunting the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area that’s near my home. I found a place close to the road where three ridges ran together and dropped off into a hollow. There were numbers of white oak acorn trees down in the bottom of that hollow, and deer were crossing this bottom to get to another section of the public land. By reading the deer sign, I knew deer were crossing and feeding here, and then using a nearby cedar thicket to could bed and hide. So, I took a stand at this site and took a really nice Pope & Young buck. I’m sure everyone else who saw this spot just thought this area was too close to the road to have a chance at a buck.

To learn more about Spook Spann, visit his website at www.spookspann.com, or email him at spookspann@yahoo.com.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


How PSE’s Spook Spann Uses Trail Cameras


S. Spann

PSE’S Spook Spann

Editor’s Note: Today many bowhunters are relying on trail cameras to help them take more and bigger bucks. PSE has asked Spook Spann how he uses his trail cameras to locate, identify and take big bucks for his TV show “Spook Nation” on the Pursuit Channel.

Right now I have trail cameras out in Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. Some of these cameras have been out since the last week of July, and some of the cameras have been out since the last week in June. I don’t go to all the states where I plan to hunt in the coming season and putout the cameras myself. I have friends of mine who putout cameras for me in different states, maintain them, send me the pictures and tell me the areas from where the pictures have come. Right now we’re checking the trail cameras about once a week, and all our pictures have time and date stamps. So, we can get really detailed information about the deer passing in front of those cameras. We learn not only whether the deer are bucks or does, and what size antlers the bucks have while they’re still in the velvet, but also how frequently the big bucks are coming to where the trail cameras are positioned, and the time of day we’re most likely to see those deer.

So far, my trail cameras report four or five really nice bucks in Ohio that will score 170-185 on Boone & Crockett. We’ve photographed several bucks in western Kentucky with racks that will score 150-180, and four in Missouri that will score 155-175. In Tennessee I’ve got one or two bucks that will score 160 or better, and I’m excited about finding these bucks, because they’re here in my home state. I try to pick out the bucks I want to try and hunt in each one of the states I travel to, prior to the season. But often, there will be even better bucks that show up in front of our cameras between now and the beginning of bow season. If they do, we’ll change our plans on which bucks we intend to hunt.

PSE'S Spook Spann

Elite PSE Pro Staffer Shooter Spook Spann

Just because we’ve got these bucks on trail cameras and know where they live and the time of day they’re coming in right now doesn’t mean we have a slam dunk opportunity to take one of these bucks. Many things can change between now and hunting season. I like to think I possibly can take five or six of these deer this season, but I know better than to attempt to predict exactly which bucks I’ll take, and when I’ll take them. I prefer to go where I’m hunting with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised.

I’m often asked, “Which trail cameras are you using?” My answer is always SPYPOINT. Another question I’m often asked is, “How do you keep people from stealing your cameras?” I’ve found several different ways to solve this problem. SPYPOINT has a lock box you can put on your cameras to lock them to the tree with a cable. If you’re having problems with people cutting cables to get your trail cameras, they also makes a camera called the TINY-W, which has a receiver separate from the camera that you can hide in another location. Then if someone messes with your cameras, you’ll get a picture of them and you’ll know who borrowed your camera. They also have a 3G camera you can set-up in conjunction with a website, and it will send the pictures to the website so hopefully you can get pictures of the person who’s causing you problems. However, I have most of my trail cameras on private lands, and the landowners usually have a pretty good handle on the people who have been on his property, while my cameras have been up.

To learn more about Spook Spann, visit his website at www.spookspann.com, or email him at spookspann@yahoo.com.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


PSE’s Spook Spann Explains the Importance of Choosing the Right Equipment


Spook

Editor’s Note: Spook Spann shoots both the PSE Freak and the PSE Omen Pro. Many pros shoot more than one bow. PSE wanted to know why Spann shot two different bows, and how he chose which bow he’d use on a hunt.

I just started shooting the Freak this summer of 2012, and I’m trying it out to see what advantages it can give me. I usually try to match my bow to the terrain and weather conditions I’m hunting, and the type of game I’ll try to take. For instance, if I’m hunting in a ground blind, I want a shorter bow that I can draw easily and use to shoot through the window of a total concealment ground blind. Sometimes I choose the bow I’ll hunt with just because I’m in the mood to shoot that bow. I have a lot of confidence in both bows, the Omen Pro and the Freak. Too, as important as the bow is, there’s much more equipment that goes into making a good shot. I like the PSE 300 shafts, Swhacker broadheads, NuFletch fletchings and Whisker Biscuit rests.

Swhacker Broadheads – The reason I like these broadheads is first because of their tips, which are designed to penetrate bone. Although we all like to get a clean pass-through without our arrow hitting bone, you won’t always make the perfect shot. Often your arrow will have to pass through one or more ribs, the spinal column, the front shoulder, the hindquarter or even the neck. Big game animals have a lot of bones, so there’s a very good chance that the tip of your broadhead will come into contact with a bone. I like the Swhacker, because it’s designed to penetrate bone. I shot a fixed-blade broadhead for many years and didn’t think I’d ever change to a mechanical broadhead. But when I saw the devastation the Swhacker broadhead delivered that convinced me to try them. Another thing I like about this broadhead is it flies exactly like a field point, and I can practice with field tips. I also like the 2-inch cut the Swhacker delivers, and I’ve found it to be very reliable.

Whisker Biscuit Rests – The Whisker Biscuit is an easy rest to use, since it’s easy to load, easy to carry and easy to shoot. I do quite a bit of spot-and-stalk hunting, and when I nock an arrow on my Whisker Biscuit, I don’t have to worry about the arrow falling off the rest. Too, you don’t have to fiddle with it much like you do more sensitive rests. I’m a big proponent of simple, quick and easy-to-use equipment when I’m bowhunting.

PSE Spook

NuFletch System – This system is a fletching system all in itself that provides an inset for the fletching end of the arrow. You just screw it in on the fletching end of the arrow, and replacing fletchings is quick and easy. You don’t have to replace your nock. Taking care of my fletchings and keeping them in huntable shape is much easier with the NuFletch System than other fletching systems I’ve seen.

Camo – Most of the time I wear Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity, but if I’m hunting from a tree stand or in another type of terrain I may use Mossy Oak Treestand. The reason I use Infinity most of the time is because I like the 3D look of this pattern and the color scheme blends-in well with a wide variety of habitats and terrain. I hunt all over the country and I like to use a camo pattern that works almost anywhere.

Optics – I like the Nikon EDG binoculars and spotting scopes. The features that surprised me about Nikon was that I didn’t have to compromise in quality or light-gathering ability. I’ve found the Nikon binoculars to be just as good as binoculars that cost a lot more, like older, more expensive European brands. I like the 10×42 binoculars better than the 8X binoculars, since I like to see a long way, especially when I’m hunting out West. I also like how compact the Nikon 10×42 binoculars are compared to other 10×42 sets I’ve tested, especially for bowhunting. I’m sure other hunters have their own reasons for choosing the equipment they use, but these are the reasons I use these products when I bowhunt.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


TV Personality Spook Spann Shoots the PSE Freak and the PSE Omen Pro


Spook

PSE’S Spook Spann

Editor’s Note: Spook Spann, the host of “Spook Nation” on the Pursuit Channel for three seasons, has been producing TV shows for almost a decade.

I like PSE bows because the company’s committed to building the best-performing bows that can be built in the archery industry. I also like the speed of their bows and the dependability and reliability that’s built into them. Right now I’m shooting two PSE bows, the Omen Pro and the Freak. I like the Freak, because it has a long draw length and is a longer bow (38-inches axle to axle). I’ve been practicing with it and feel I’m shooting the Freak really well, and it feels comfortable to me.

The Freak is different since it’s a longer bow than many of today’s hunting bows, and has a longer draw length than many other bows on the market. It can adjust out to 33 inches, which is an especially beneficial feature to people like me, who have extremely long draw lengths. My draw length right now is 31-1/2 inches, and most other bows stop at about 30 inches. With a longer draw length, I also have a longer power stroke and can generate more velocity from that longer draw length. I’ve found that the longer bows like the Freak are more forgiving than shorter bows, and I think they’re somewhat easier to shoot. Although I haven’t used a chronograph on the arrow speed of the Freak, I’m pretty sure I’m shooting around 300-feet per second. The trend for most of the archery industry has been to make shorter, more compact bows, so the Freak really goes against what today’s trends are in hunting bows. Because of these differences, I think PSE had to come up with a name that was really different for this bow, and that might be the reason for the name – the Freak.

Spann

PSE’S Spook Spann

I’ve been shooting the Freak for about 2 months now, and I’ve built up a lot of confidence in it. But when I’m getting ready to go on a hunt, I don’t want to just have confidence in my bow’s ability to perform. I also want to know that I can physically do whatever’s required to have not only a successful hunt but also an enjoyable hunt. I’ll be hunting out West next week for mule deer, so I’ve not only been practicing 50 and 100-yard shots but also working out. This hunt will be a spot-and-stalk shoot. So, I need to get my body in shape not only for the type of terrain we may have to travel across to get to a nice mule deer but also for any type of climbing we may have to do over steep terrain. I play basketball, workout with weights and do other exercises to help me get in shape. Then I’m prepared if I have to make a really long stalk. I’m often asked how far ahead of time I start preparing for a hunt. I answer by saying; “I try to stay in shape all year long.” I workout, play basketball and run year round. I also shoot my PSE bows all year long, but I shoot an awful lot the month before a hunt. My preparation for a hunt never ceases.

To learn more about Spook Spann, visit his website at www.spookspann.com, or email him at spookspann@yahoo.com.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


How to Prepare for an Archery Tournament – Q & A with PSE’s Bobby V


PSE Pro Staff Scott Starnes drops in and talks about preparing for archery tournaments.

Come and visit us at www.pse-archery.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OfficialPSEArchery.


PSE’s Georgianna Braden Explains Why Ladies Should Consider Archery and Bowhunting


Target Archery

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

Editor’s Note: Georgianna Braden of Houston, Texas, is a petite, pixie like lady. If you saw her on the street or in the courtroom, you’d never consider her as one of the top female archers. She is not only a tournament archer, but also an avid bowhunter and an advocate for women’s archery. Georgianna, who’s been shooting a bow for 7 years, and her husband Michael are both members of the PSE Pro Staff.

Georgianna, why would you encourage other women to pick up bows, learn to shoot them, compete in tournaments and possibly become bowhunters?
Braden: There are a couple of reasons. Archery is a sport that helps build self-discipline. Archery also helps to relieve stress and to develop a calm spirit. When you go out and practice, you can focus on yourself and improving yourself. It also allows you to compete with yourself and see where you can make improvements. Archery is an avenue that allows you to have healthy competition with other people, meet new people, excel and become a better competitor. You many not be athletically talented, super strong or ever have seen yourself as an athlete, but archery provides the vehicle to attain these and many more skills, regardless of your strength and athletic ability. Archery also enables you to become friends with other people who have similar interests. You can really connect with them through this type of sport.

What percentage of archery are skills based, and what percentage is social based?
Braden: I believe that archery is 90% social and only 10% skill based. Sure, you have to develop your skills as an archer to improve competitively and to be an efficient bowhunter. But, when you look at the amount of time we all spend at archery tournaments and when we go bowhunting, the largest percentage of time is spent talking and visiting with our friends, and that is what I love about the sport. I love making friends with people at competitions. At an archery competition, you shoot with other archers in a group, and you move station to station with that group. Only when you are at the line are you participating in the shoot. The rest of the time you’re getting to know people in your group, and we talk on and off the field of competition. Each of the groups that I have shot with has been tremendously supportive, and they are also a lot of fun.

Target Shooters

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

Georgianna, why would you encourage mothers to get their children and husbands into archery?
Braden: Archery provides a chance to spend time with your children and your husband away from cell phones, TV, video games and all the other distractions that keep families from interacting together. Your family can see that their mother enjoys archery and has a passion for it. Everyone in the family can participate in the sport of archery. Archery is a healthy way to introduce youngsters to competitive sports. In archery, they can learn that to get better at a sport, they don’t have to beat someone else. They have to constantly improve themselves. At our local archery club, we have several single moms who bring their children, have them involved in archery and shoot as a family and practice together. Shooting archery is a way not only for single moms to connect with their children, but also moms in a more traditional family. Everyone in the family can participate in a sport that’s fun. It gives the family a way to connect with each other and share an interest together. When a mom is helping a child learn to shoot archery, there is a trust bond that develops to help the child to trust the mom more and also helps the mom to trust the child. Both the youngster and the mom want to spend more time together, when they’re participating in a fun activity like archery. If there is anything I can do to encourage more women to get involved in archery. I’ll do it in a heartbeat. I also encourage them to get into bowhunting. I believe bowhunting gives a lady a lot of self-esteem, because it may have been a sport she’s thought she can’t do. However, the main reason I encourage women to embrace the sport of archery is that it’s just a lot of fun.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


PSE’s Georgianna Braden Says Women Archers Are Welcome in Hunting Camps


Ladies in Archery

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

Editor’s Note: Georgianna Braden of Houston, Texas, is a petite, pixie like lady. You’d never consider her as one of the top female archers, if you saw her on the street or in the courtroom. She is not only a tournament archer, but also an avid bowhunter and an advocate for women’s archery. Georgianna, who’s been shooting a bow for 7 years, and her husband Michael are both members of the PSE Pro Staff.

Georgianna, how are you accepted when you go into a hunting camp with all men or maybe only one or two ladies?
Braden: All the guys are super friendly. They understand that I’m serious about bowhunting, and they’re very welcoming. I get the impression that in most bowhunting camps, guys would like to see more women in the sport. They’d like ladies to understand what hunting is all about, and why they have such a passion for bowhunting.

Georgianna, how do you feel about you and your husband hunting together?
Braden: Many times Michael and I hunt in a pop up blind. We take turns hunting and running the video camera, because we try to film all our hunts. This way we can hunt together and still be in the same blind together. We can get excited for each other, share the hunt and both be successful. One of us can take the animal, and the other can get the hunt on the video, so we both go home with a trophy, a great video and a great animal. This way we can be together in the outdoors and participate in a sport that we truly enjoy. Michael and I enjoy being with each other.

Why do you film all your hunts?
Braden: We like to share our hunts with other people, and we think a video is a much better keepsake of the hunt than just a picture with the animal we’ve harvested. We’ve found that the video allows us to relive our hunt anytime we want to, with whomever we want to share that experience.

 

Couple Hunters

PSE’S Michael Braden

How did you learn to become a videographer?
Braden: Two days before we were leaving for our honeymoon, we received a video camera. We were going to South Africa for a bowhunt. Michael spent the entire plane ride reading the manual and learning about the camera, and when we arrived at our hunting camp, Michael gave me a quick lesson on how to use it. We both learned to run the camera through trial and error. We really like hunting together, because we have the opportunity to share the same experiences. We get to watch the animals come in, and we get to share in the process of what happens before, during and after the shot. Another advantage that we have is that with two of us in a blind, we have another pair of eyes looking for game. We also can notice things that the other hunter may not see.

Michael and I are each others biggest fans. We go through the joy of a successful hunt together and the depression of a missed opportunity with each other. When I’m in the blind running the camera, I am focusing on the animal just like he is. As I look at that animal, I feel like I am aiming the bow for him. I go through this same range of emotions when Michael is in a shoot off in an archery tournament. My stomach gets in knots and I try to focus on the target, focus on Michael and mentally aim for him. When I won the Indoor Nationals, Michael was the first person to get to me and give me a hug. That’s a great feeling for us to share. We go through the same emotions that any family does if a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, a mother or a dad is a competitive athlete. Because we both compete, we understand how much time, energy and effort we put into practicing and trying to get better. When one of us is on the line in a major competition, we understand the number of hours and sweat equity that person has expended to get to that position, and we can cheer for them.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


PSE’s Georgianna Braden Explains How to Choose the Right Bow to Shoot


PSE'S Archer Georgianna Braden

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

Editor’s Note: Georgianna Braden of Houston, Texas, is a petite, pixie like lady. If you saw her on the street or in the courtroom, you’d never consider her as one of the top female archers. She is not only a tournament archer, but also an avid bowhunter and an advocate for women’s archery. Georgianna, who’s been shooting a bow for 7 years, and her husband Michael are both members of the PSE Pro Staff.

Georgianna Braden’s bow of choice is the PSE Bow Madness. “This bow is very stable, forgiving, and fast,” Braden explains. “This is my competition bow. Many archers choose the Bow Madness as their hunting bow, but I like the Bow Madness for shooting competition archery. I like its axle-to-axle length. Because of the shape of the riser, if my form isn’t perfect every time, the bow is forgiving enough that you don’t see a huge variation of the impact of the arrow when I shoot. I shoot 52 pounds, but the first bow I ever purchased was 27 pounds. As my muscles have become stronger, I’ve been able to increase the weight of the bow I’m pulling by 1 to 2 pounds, and within a couple of months, I was shooting 35 pounds comfortably.

PSE Georgianna

Georgianna Braden Shooting PSE

“After a year in competition, I knew that I wanted to try out hunting. So, I wanted to get my strength up to the point that I could pull a bow heavy enough to hunt with, which was 40 pounds, to legally hunt in the State of Texas. Often ladies think that shooting archery is like bodybuilding, and they say, ‘I don’t want to build up muscles, so that I’ll look like a bodybuilder,’ but with archery, this concern is not even an issue. I feel physically stronger when I shoot archery, but I don’t feel muscular. Archery just helps improve a lady’s upper body strength. I do feel sleeker. I feel like my arms aren’t so weak, and they’re not flabby.”

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


PSE’s Georgianna Braden Says Archery Isn’t a Man Only World


Target Shooters

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

Editor’s Note: Georgianna Braden of Houston, Texas, is a petite, pixie like lady. If you saw her on the street or in the courtroom, you’d never consider her as one of the top female archers. She is not only a tournament archer, but also an avid bowhunter and an advocate for women’s archery. Georgianna, who’s been shooting a bow for 7 years, and her husband Michael are both members of the PSE Pro Staff.

Georgianna, how did being a woman in a sport that has in the past been viewed as a man’s sport feel?
Braden: One of the things I learned from the first tournament that I attended was when I explained I never had shot tournament archery before, the guys, as well as the ladies, were willing to help me and show me not only what tournament archery was about but how to improve. Guys as well as women told me, “Okay, this is what this part of the tournament is all about, and this is what you are supposed to do. Make sure you check out your bow, and remember these tips and suggestions.” The impression I got from the first archery tournament I ever attended, to the latest tournament I went to, was that all the competitors wanted me to come back and shoot another tournament with them. They did everything they could to make that tournament fun for me. Unlike many other sports, the participants wanted me to come back and compete with them.

Georgianna Braden Shooting PSE

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

Today some of my best friends are archers, both guys and girls. One of the things I believe is different about archery from any other sport is that even though you’re competing against other archers, the competition is never you against them. You compete to improve your own score and to improve your proficiency with a bow. Everyone I know who shoots competitive archery is really trying to help everyone else do the best they can. In a tournament, technically, I understand that we are all competing for first, second, or third place in the competition. But, my main concern at the tournaments that I attend, and also for the archers I know is that we are all there to try and improve on the scores we’ve shot at the last tournament. So, archery competition is more about you competing with yourself than it is about competing against the other archers. At the end of every tournament, I’m thinking, “How can I get better?” Really and truly I believe that when a lady comes into competitive archery, that’s the mindset she should adopt. If you focus on what you can do to improve your archery score, then you can be really successful.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


The Vacation that Changed PSE’s Georgianna Braden’s Life


Women Archers

PSE’s Georgianna Braden

Editor’s Note: Georgianna Braden of Houston, Texas, is a petite, pixie like lady. If you saw her on the street or in the courtroom, you’d never consider her as one of the top female archers. She is not only a tournament archer, but also an avid bowhunter and an advocate for women’s archery. Georgianna, who’s been shooting a bow for 7 years, and her husband Michael are both members of the PSE Pro Staff.

Outdoorsmen are seeing a tremendous increase in the number of women who are shooting tournament archery and hunting with their bows. When PSE wondered why, Georgianna Braden said, “I think many women are now beginning to understand that you don’t have to be super strong or highly competitive to shoot tournament archery. You make a lot of friends in the sport, and I’ve noticed since the time I started shooting archery 7 years ago, that everyone was very friendly and welcomed me into the sport. I also noticed that at first there were only a few women coming to the sport of archery to be with their husbands or boyfriends, but I have seen a real change. Today a growing number of women are shooting bows just because they like the sport. At a field tournament for the National Field Archery Association (NFAA), you’ll often have 200 lady shooters or more. In 3D archery, like ASA or IBO, you’ll also have several hundred women competing in different divisions.

“The vast majority of women who shoot archery do become interested in hunting and actually pursue bowhunting. They all find that bowhunting is a great complement to tournament archery. I believe the reason that more women aren’t involved in archery is that they have no knowledge of it, and they never have had an opportunity to shoot a bow. I guess I’m a classic example. I went on a vacation one summer to a nice resort, which was much like a Club Med. This resort had a wide variety of activities in which its guests could participate – like boating, tennis and archery. I’d never shot archery before, so I tried it and was amazed at how well I could shoot. I almost seemed to have magnetic arrows – I couldn’t miss. So, I spent the whole weekend shooting a bow. I couldn’t believe I could do it, and I really couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. As soon as I got back home, I looked up the address of a local archery shop. I went down to the shop and bought my very first bow and arrows. Six weeks later I entered my first local competition. That’s where I met Michael Braden, who later become my coach, and still later became my husband.”

tournament archery

PSE’s Georgianna Braden Archery Tournament

One of the elements of archery that hooked Braden was that she didn’t have to be really strong to shoot the bow. The second most important factor was that she was successful in a short time. Because of the new designs and developments that have been made in bows, most women who come into the sport are amazed at how fast they can learn to shoot accurately. But, the real deciding factor that caused Georgianna Braden to dive into archery wholeheartedly was that she discovered she was good at it, and that she could improve and get better. “I have friends who run marathons, but I don’t have a desire to do that,” Braden explains. “I have friends who can exercise and lift a lot of weights, but I can’t do that. However, I do have the ability to pull my bow back, release the arrow and be competitive in archery. I’ve discovered that shooting a bow is an awful lot of fun.”

While Georgianna was having fun with competitive archery, she was also moving up in her ranking. She won first place in the NFAA Indoor Nationals, first place in the NFAA Outdoor National Field Championship twice, first place in the NFAA Marked 3D National Championship and won an ASA championship in the Known 40 division. So, in 7 years, Georgianna Braden has gone from being a woman on vacation with no experience with a bow, to winning national championships. “What I have noticed not only for myself but with other ladies who come into the sport of archery is that the sport almost becomes an addiction, because it’s so much fun, and you can make so many new friends. You want to practice and go to tournaments – both to visit with your friends and to compete. When people are having a good time and enjoying a sport, there’s a natural desire to do more of it. Also, I found a great coach (grin) who helped me improve my scores and talked me into competing in national tournaments. I learned that a lady could do more things and accomplish more in the sport of archery than she ever may have imagined.”

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


Michael Braden’s Longest and Shortest PSE Shots


Long Shot

PSE’S Michael Braden

Editor’s Note: Michael Braden of Houston, Texas, started shooting with PSE in the early 1990s, turned pro, shooting a PSE bow, in 1996, and won the ASA Rookie of the Year. Then in 2009, he came back to be a part of the PSE Pro Staff and has been shooting for PSE ever since, besides coaching shooters.

Michael, when you’re hunting, what’s the maximum distance and closest distance at which you feel proficient?

Braden: I do my best to keep my shots as close as I can possibly get them. That being said, you have to consider the game you’re hunting and the location and the terrain where you’re hunting. For me when I’m hunting Texas whitetails, I try to get the deer inside 30 yards. I think the deer out at 30 and 40 yards can react to the bow and possibly jump the string. When you’re getting deer in close, you have another problem with the deer being able to see, smell and hear you. But, as you begin to hone your skills as a hunter, you can get a white tailed deer within 20-25 yards regularly. That’s a good range for a bow shot. So, even though I can take a 30 yard shot, I prefer to have the deer within 25 yards or less.

What’s the longest shot you’ve ever had to make?

Braden: I shot a really nice mule deer in northern Colorado at 72 yards. I was in a pop up blind, seated in a chair, and the animal had no idea I was there. The deer was relaxed and feeding, and I came to full draw several times, but then let down because the shot wasn’t just right. I know there are many people who take shots that long and longer, and at that place and at that time, I felt confident to make the shot. On a bigger animal like an elk or a moose that’s won’t react as quickly as a whitetail, you may be able to push your goal distance out to 30 or 40 yards. But my main thought is that I want to make sure that the animal will be where I’m aiming when the arrow arrives at that spot. You can take long shots if your ability and the weather and terrain conditions allow you to take those shots. I practice at distances of more than 100 yards.

To get ready for bow season, always practice beyond the distance at which you plan to take an animal. For instance, if you say, “I only want to take an animal at 30 yards or less,” then I’ll recommend that you practice at 40 and 50 yards. Then when you do have that 30 yard shot at animal, you’re not thinking, “This is the outer limits of where I feel comfortable shooting.” If the animal is at 30 yards, and the bowhunter has been practicing at 40 or 50 yards, then the hunter thinks, “Thirty yards isn’t a problem, because I’ve been practicing at 40 and 50 yards. I know I can make that 30 yard shot.” Being efficient as a bowhunter has a lot to do with how confident you are when a shot presents itself, and by practicing at shots longer than you plan to take. Then you can build confidence in your ability when you do get a shot. Always practice at longer distances than you plan to shoot.

Short Shot

PSE’S Michael Braden

What about the short shot?

Braden: Most people don’t practice the short shot, a point that’s drastically demonstrated in competition archery. The best professional archers in the country usually miss the short targets more often than the long targets, because very few people really practice short shots. To be a better bowhunter, you need to practice at every distance that you may have to shoot.

What distances do the pros miss when they’re shooting short shots?

Braden: Usually 25-28 yards. In competitions we rarely have shots shorter than 25 yards, but every once in a while tournament directors will put a target out at less than 10 yards. For instance, at the tournament at Redding, California we shoot a 4 yard butterfly target. I advise bowhunters to practice a 4 yard shot, since to make that shot, you’ve really got to know your equipment and how to aim. When I was in Redding this year, I shot the 4 yard butterfly for 47 yards. In other words, I aimed at the butterfly the same way I aim at a 47 yard target. When you’re taking this shot, your arrow is much lower than your line of vision. So, your arrow takes off well below your line of sight. Right out of the bow, you’ll hit extremely low if your bow’s sighted for 20 yards. Your arrow will come out of the bow below that 20 yard pin. But, at 8-12 yards, your arrow will impact a target behind your 20 yard pin. Then it will climb slightly and start its descent for the rest of its flight. So, your 20 yard pin will hit dead on somewhere between 8-12 yards and out to 20 yards, but once you get inside of 8 yards, your arrow will hit low. You have to give the arrow more yardage when you’re aiming to hit dead on at 4 yards. Professional archers practice that 4 yard shot for the Redding shoot a lot, because the worst thing that can happen to a competitive archer is to miss a 4 yard shot. So, when you’re out shooting 30 yards plus, don’t forget that sometimes a deer will be right under your tree stand, or a big buck may be within 5 yards of your ground blind. If you don’t practice those two shots, more than likely your arrow will hit between the deer’s legs. Good luck this bow season, and I hope I’ve helped you.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


PSE’s Michael Braden on Teaching Shooters


PSE Compound Bows

PSE’S Michael Braden

Editor’s Note: Michael Braden of Houston, Texas, started shooting with PSE in the early 1990s, turned pro, shooting a PSE bow, in 1996, and won the ASA Rookie of the Year. Then in 2009, he came back to be a part of the PSE Pro Staff and has been shooting for PSE ever since, besides coaching shooters.

Michael, when a bowhunter comes to you and says, “I’ve been bowhunting for several years, and I want you to check me and my bow out to help me learn to shoot better this year,” how do you coach this person?

Braden: Each piece of the puzzle on how to shoot better is just as important as any other piece of the puzzle. Shooting better is not only about your equipment, but your form and all the elements that go into shooting accurately. I always start with the archer first. I want the archer to understand his or her shot sequence, his form and the execution of a good shot. Next, I want to help strengthen his ability to hold the bow at full draw and aim correctly. Archery is an individual sport, so you have to make sure that the individual is married to a bow that fits his or her individual needs. For me, the first considerations are draw weight and draw length. I start out by making sure that the archer can pull the bow easily and comfortably, and that the draw length is matched perfectly to the individual. The archer is the core part of shooting accurately. Therefore, the equipment has to fit that individual as perfectly as possible. If the archer feels good about his form, shot sequence, bow mechanics and execution, he’ll feel much better about releasing the arrow when an animal presents a shot. Once the archer is in good shape for bow season, then we start considering different equipment and why the archer may shoot better with certain types of equipment rather than other kinds of equipment. We match the arrow and the broadhead to each bow and each archer.

We’re seeing a lot of women coming into the sport of archery, and especially into the sport of bowhunting. One of the most limiting factors seems to be the ladies’ concern about the strength required to pull bows. How do you usually start a lady in the sports of archery and bowhunting and convince her that she can become proficient enough to be a bowhunter?

Braden: Women, like men, come in different shapes, sizes and strength levels. I feel that the most important consideration when teaching a lady to shoot a bow is to start out shooting very light poundage, so she instantly sees that she can draw and hold a bow. She doesn’t have to be a super strong athlete. We have to make sure that the bow is not intimidating to a lady interested in the sport of archery. I want a lady to be able to draw the bow really comfortably, even if I need to start her out on a very low draw weight. As new archers begin to shoot their bows, they will build muscle strength very quickly. If they shoot and practice regularly, they will build muscles they don’t use every day. Through practice and repetition, they will strengthen and hone those muscles, so they can move up in poundage relatively quickly. I think their shooting enough arrows in practice sessions to learn something new every time they practice is very important. If they only can draw the bow back five times before they’re fatigued, they won’t be able to shoot enough arrows to progress quickly as archers. A beginner who only can get off 3-5 shots in a practice session will be very intimidated.

If you had a lady come to you and say, “I want you to teach me to shoot the bow,” and you didn’t know her already or know how strong she is, what weight of bow will you start her with, and how many arrows will you want her to shoot in a practice session?

Braden: I’d start her pulling a bow weight in the mid  to the upper 20 pound range and know that the lady make sure she could draw this weight comfortably. Hypothetically, I’d like to have a lady shooting 25-30 pounds and possibly shooting 30-40 arrows in a practice session, if she can shoot that poundage and that many arrows comfortably. From that baseline, we’ll begin to build her skill, muscle memory and the amount of weight she pulls.

How fast can you take this new lady, who never has shot a bow before, and have her hitting the target at 20 yards?

Braden: Within hours. Learning to shoot accurately, even for a beginner who’s never shot before, doesn’t take nearly as long now as it did several years ago. Today we have better equipment, better targets and better teaching methods. One of the big improvements in the speed at which a beginner learns is our ability to get the newcomer fitted correctly with the right bow. In past years, many newcomers would just buy a bow and try to learn to shoot it. Today, we teach, “Let’s see which bow you can shoot most comfortably and enjoy shooting, and then make the buying decision.” If the student is fitted properly with the right bow, he or she can be proficient enough to hunt in an extremely short time.

How many coaching sessions do you think would be required to take a person who’s never shot a bow before to a level of proficiency that allows that person to bowhunt?

Braden: I think 2-4 months of consistent practice and building up strength, understanding and knowledge of the sport, is enough time for anyone who really wanted to learn to bowhunt to become proficient enough to go into the field and take game when bow season arrives.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


Michael Braden Discusses Young and Old Archers – PSE Has a Bow For Everyone


PSE Archery Bows

PSE’S Michael Braden

Editor’s Note: Michael Braden of Houston, Texas, started shooting with PSE in the early 1990s, turned pro, shooting a PSE bow, in 1996, and won the ASA Rookie of the Year. Then in 2009, he came back to be a part of the PSE Pro Staff and has been shooting for PSE ever since, besides coaching shooters.

Michael, you shoot almost all the disciplines of competitive archery, and you also coach almost all the disciplines. Why do you like competitive archery so much?
Braden: I guess it’s because archery fits everyone. There are categories of archery for every age, gender and skill level. There’s no reason that anyone can’t shoot competitive archery. We’ve even proven this with our physically impaired athletes – many of them compete in the Paralympic Games. So, there are no physical or age barriers that prevent anyone from coming into the sport.

Say you know a +65 year old man who’s retired, has bowhunted most of his life and wants to consider the possibility of shooting 3D archery now that he’s got some time on his hands. How are you going to teach him to shoot target archery?
Braden: The first step is to identify his draw length, and how much poundage he can pull comfortably. By using different cams, we can test some different draw cycles to find the one with which he’s most comfortable. If this gentleman can pull 55-60 pounds comfortably, that will open a number of doors to different types of bows and setups that he may enjoy shooting. He can buy a bow with a moderate draw cycle and use a faster cam. I think draw length and poundage that the person is comfortable with are the first and most important factors to consider when getting anyone into competitive archery. Then, we need to determine how harsh a cam he can draw comfortably. If he has a longer draw length and can pull fairly heavy poundages, he has the option of shooting almost any PSE bow. If he has a shorter draw length and can’t pull a lot of weight comfortably, we’ll look at some shorter axle to axle bows with lower brace heights, to help him get some speed out of his bow that he may need to be competitive. When we’re talking about target archery, one of the most critical factors is making sure that the bow fits the archer, and not trying to make the archer fit the bow.

Hunting at any Age

PSE Bow Hunting

As an archery coach, who is the oldest person you’ve ever coached to shoot competitive archery?
Braden: I had an older doctor friend of mine, and his objective was to be a proficient bowhunter. Money and time were no objects. He asked me to help him become the best bowhunter he could be, and I spent time preparing him for several different hunts. He went on his first grizzly bear bowhunt when he was in his mid-70s, and he had a successful hunt. He also took a moose with his bow on that hunt. At that time, he was pulling about 60 pounds.

Let’s look at the opposite end of the spectrum. How early do you start working with young archers?
Braden: I start with a youngster whenever he or she is old enough to pay attention and learn. I taught a youngster for several years, who is now 16 or 17, and she’s doing really well in FETA and NAA competitions. She also made the United States Junior Archery Team and will represent the United States at the Olympics in London. I also have my nieces shooting archery in their schools. I started them shooting when they were 10-12 years old, what I believe that 10-12 years old is a really good age to start a youngster shooting bows, They’re old enough to understand what you’re trying to teach them, and they learn quickly. They pay attention. Too, that’s the age when they’re exploring a lot of different sports.

With what bow would you start a youngster?
Braden: Both my nieces are shooting the PSE Chaos. PSE has this bow in a one cam or a two cam, so the youngster, coach or parent can choose which one of these two setups the youngster is prefers. I like the Chaos for youngsters, because it’s lightweight, the draw cycle is not very harsh, and the poundages go down very low. It also has modules that allow you to adjust the draw length as the youngster grows, a very important element for a bow to have when you’re starting children at 11-12 years old. They’ll hit growth spurts at different times and may grow a foot in a year, so you may have to change their draw lengths every 2 months when they’re in one of those growth spurts. Therefore, being able to adjust the bow as the child grows is important for several reasons. By adjusting the bow, you don’t have to buy a new bow, and the child doesn’t have to learn to shoot a different bow, since you can just adjust the one with which he or she is already comfortable.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


PSE Bows = Success in the 2012 IBO National Triple Crown Overall!


BOHNING X-FORCE X-PRESS

Bohning X-Force X-Press Team - Bill Epeards, Joe Burns, Rich Corsi and Larry Van

Congratulations to the Bohning X-Force X-Press Team for winning the 2012 IBO National Triple Crown Overall event in the Senior Hunter Class Division! This is their fourth time winning the event! The total score was 3643. The Bohning X-Force X-Press Team is Bill Epeards, Joe Burns, Rich Corsi and Larry Van. The whole team shoots PSE bows. Frank Burns – PSE Omen Pro, Rich Corsi – PSE Bow Madness XL and both Larry Van and Bill Epeards shoot the PSE X-Force Dream Season EVO.

BOHNING X-FORCE X-PRESS

Bohning X-Force X-Press Team - Bill Epeards, Joe Burns, Rich Corsi and Larry Van

The Bohning X-Force X-Press Team also won all three legs of the Triple Crown in the Senior Hunter Class. Way to go guys!!


PSE’S Michael Braden Loves His PSE Bows


PSE Archery Compound Bow

PSE’S Michael Braden

Editor’s Note: Michael Braden of Houston, Texas, started shooting with PSE in the early 1990s, turned pro, shooting a PSE bow, in 1996, and won the ASA Rookie of the Year. Then in 2009, he came back to be a part of the PSE Pro Staff and has been shooting for PSE ever since, besides coaching shooters.

Michael, what is it that you like about PSE bows?
Braden: PSE always has had really good bows in every area of competitive archery and bow hunting. This quality of PSE bows is important to me, because I shoot both 3D archery and spots, and I also bow hunt. So, my participation in archery covers just about the entire spectrum of the sport. I try to shoot just about every kind of archery that I can shoot.

PSE Archery

PSE Dominator Compound Bow

Okay, let’s look at your bows of choice, and why you choose them.
Braden: For shooting indoors, I shoot the Dominator Pro with the Mini Evo Cams. I’ve really grown to like the ME Cams, because I like a really hard wall. With this cam, you have the ability to create that wall. And, I’ve always been a fan of two cams. The ME, because it’s a hybrid, is little more like the two cams, so I’ve really grown to like that cam. This bow is the one I’ve primarily been shooting spots with, but I’ve also been shooting the Dominator 3D. This bow is somewhat shorter axle to axle and somewhat faster than the Dominator Pro, and it allows me to test different arrow weights, sizes and poundage. I’ve really grown to like the Dominator 3D with its stiff riser and bridge support, so that I don’t have a lot of lateral torque on the bow. Their shorter axle-to-axle and shorter brace heights are elements that generate some really good speeds to help me be more competitive in the 3D arena. For me, the PSE Dominator 3D bow will be set up for IBO, which allows 5 grains of arrow weight for every pound you pull. The IBO rules also take into consideration draw length. The more draw length you have, the faster the bow will shoot. The Dominator 3D, with a 29 1/2 inch draw, delivers 314 feet per second for me, IBO. When we shoot ASA, there’s a speed limit of 280 feet per second, so I may shoot a bigger, heavier arrow when I’m competing in IBO. I choose to change arrow weights rather than change bows, to shoot two different tournament circuits.

Which hunting bow are you shooting, and why?
Braden: That’s a tough question. I’ve got several hunting bows that I really like, and I’m not sure which one I like the best. I have the PSE EVO, and I’m also shooting a custom bow, which is a Supra with short limbs and the EVO cams. It’s similar to the PSE Freak, because it has a Supra handle with the big EVO cams. So, I’m basically shooting the PSE Freak with short limbs, and I really like that bow. This is one very important reason I shoot PSE that everyone may not know. PSE has a custom shop, so you have the ability to take component parts from different bows and find that magical configuration that you like. The reason I like the PSE Freak with short limbs is because I come from a target background, and I like a more stable, more forgiving bow for my hunting. This bow is a little bit longer axle-to-axle than most of the hunting bows on the market today.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality bows and bowhunting accessories, click here.


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