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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


The Hunt for the Grand Slam of Turkeys Plus One With a Bow By PSE’s Bill Epeards with John E. Phillips


Day 1: PSE’s Bill Epeards Hunts for the Osceola with His X-Force Bow

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.

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In my seminars, I encourage bowhunters to set their bows up for the game they want to hunt.

Many bowhunters set their bows at one weight and hunt all game with the same draw weight, but I don’t. One of the reasons bow manufacturers build bows that allow you to adjust the weights of the bows is so we can set our draw weights differently for various animals we hunt. When hunting turkeys, you need to set your bow, so you can hold it at full draw for a long time, if you have to do that. Sometimes a turkey will walk within bow range, step behind a bush or a tree and wait for a hen to come to him. The turkey will be within bow range, but you can’t take the shot. If you let the bow down, the turkey steps out, and you have to draw again, there’s a good chance the turkey will see you. Since turkey hunting requires a lot of patience, and you may have to hold your bow at full draw for a while, you don’t want to shoot a heavy bow. I normally shoot about a 63- or 64-pound bow when I’m hunting big game, but I turn the bow down to 60 pounds for turkey hunting.

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On this particular hunt for an Osceola, I was hunting with Cody Worley. We didn’t use a blind, but we did use decoys. We had created a makeshift blind out of natural foliage. Besides my 60-pound PSE X-Force bow, I was using a Spitfire broadhead made by New Archery Products (http://www.newarchery.com) and the Quaker Boy Old Boss Hen turkey call (http://www.quakerboy.com). I carried a little stool with me to sit on, so I’d be high enough to draw and shoot. When we got to the area, the turkeys were gobbling on the roost, and we worked them for about 40 minutes. I started calling with a Quaker Boy slate call. As the turkey got closer, I put a mouth diaphragm in my mouth. A mouth diaphragm allows me to have both hands free to hold and draw my bow. The gobbler came-in and went straight for the decoys. Having decoys really gives you an advantage, since as long as the turkey is concerned with the decoys, he won’t be worried about you. When the turkey was positioned broadside to me, I aimed and took the shot right at his wing butts. The turkey dropped and flopped, and my hunt was over.

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There’s one caution I think is important if you decide to hunt the Osceola turkey. Most of the time, you’ll be hunting them in the Florida wetlands where there are palmettos. Too, the property may be heavily forested. Often when a turkey gobbles, because the foliage muffles his gobble, you’ll assume the turkey is much-farther away than he actually is. Another factor I’ve noticed about the Osceola turkey is he gobbles much less than any of the other races of turkeys. Often, he will come within bow range silently. If I hear an Osceola turkey gobble at 100 yards, I’ll set-up immediately, because that gobbler actually may be within 50 to 80 yards. Just remember you really can be fooled about how far away an Osceola turkey is, especially if you primarily hunt other races of turkeys, like Easterns, Rio Grandes or Merriam’s.

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Click here to get the Kindle 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 Takes an Eastern Gobbler with His X-Force Bow


PSE’s Todd Carter on How to Hunt Trophy Bucks


By John E. Phillips

Editor’s Note: Todd Carter of Oldham County, Kentucky, manages about 7,500 acres for wildlife and has one 800-acre farm he manages intensively. He’s been a PSE pro for the last 3 years and shoots the PSE Evo. He’s also on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff.

Day 1: Todd Carter Talks about Taking the Black Widow Buck

I was hunting a 4-1/2-year-old buck named the Black Widow that eventually scored 188-7/8-points on Boone & Crockett. We had been watching this buck on trail cameras for about 2 years and found his scrapes on top of an oak ridge. We didn’t usually put our stands up until the day we planned to take a buck. On this particular day, we hung our stands at noon. I got in my stand at 4:00 pm. At 5:30, we saw this buck coming toward us from only 40-yards away. I waited until he got within 10-yards before I brought my PSE Evo to full draw. I was using a two-blade Rage Broadhead, and I had a good solid back wall. When the pin sight rested behind the deer’s front shoulder, I released the arrow. When the buck took the arrow, he did a mule kick and ran back the way from where he’d come. We waited for a good while, before we went after him. When we climbed down out of the tree, we located a really-good blood trail and went 100 yards before we found him.

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I believe the secret to taking trophy bucks is living with them. I’m on my land looking at the deer and the other wildlife on these properties about 360 days in the year. I’ve learned after a buck sheds his velvet, he’ll probably set-up his home range. So, when you find a deer like this, you not only have to learn where that deer is living, you have to find markers that tell you where that deer likes to be. We had found this deer’s scrapes and rubs and knew he was using this area. When we put-up our tree stands, we got about 18-feet off the ground. I believe in the first-strike strategy for taking these older bucks. If these bucks realize they are being hunted, especially older-age-class bucks, they’re much harder to take. We want to introduce as little human odor as possible into an area. I like to get high in the tree, so one piece of equipment I always have with me is a Gorilla Safety Harness. No one intentionally falls out of a tree. Tree stand accidents occur when you least expect them and when you’re least prepared to deal with the fall. So, I always wear a harness.

Day 2: PSE’s Todd Carter and the Buck Old 22

We had 3 years of trail-camera pictures of the buck Old 22. This buck was 5-years old, and during the early part of the season, our trail cameras revealed he already had been shot by another bowhunter and had an arrow sticking out of his back. We know no one on our property had shot this deer, so we assumed a hunter on the neighboring property had done it. To be honest, we thought Old 22 was dead, after we got the pictures of the arrow in his back. We didn’t get any-more pictures of him and didn’t sight him when we were scouting. I was really surprised when I finally saw Old 22 again, since it was the first time anyone had spotted him, because he’d stopped appearing on the trail cameras.

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On this particular day, I was near a water hole and spotted him at about 45 yards, headed toward the water. Old 22 had 12- or 13-inch tines, but his rack was really narrow. I could tell he had lost weight and wasn’t very healthy. Apparently the shaft of the arrow had broken off. I let him come in about 20-yards from my tree stand and released my arrow from my PSE Evo. I was shooting a G5 broadhead. He only ran about 40-yards before he went down. We watched him fall. He scored 180-3/8-points. We really wanted to take this deer, because we didn’t want him to die of his previous wounds. We know if we don’t get a good hit on a buck, we can’t assume that buck is dead until we find him. Old 22 had carried his arrow for a long time. No one likes to shoot a deer and not recover it, especially a trophy buck like Old 22, but it happens. So, anytime you see a wounded animal, take him if you possibly can, especially a really-fine buck like Old 22.

Day 3: PSE’s Todd Carter Tells about Taking Minivan – a 300-Pound Buck

We called this buck Minivan, because he was a really-big buck, well-over 300 pounds live weight. He was big and blocky and resembled a minivan. Minivan was 6-years old, and we’d tried to take him a few years earlier. He just didn’t look like he ever would have a quality rack. His rack had a lot of stickers on it and a lot of mass. The year before, he’d only had about a 120-inch rack. He had a few drop tines on the right side of his rack, but wasn’t an impressive deer. We’d labeled him as a management buck and planned to shoot him to get him off the property. I agreed to take this buck, even though I wasn’t expecting him to be very big or have good antlers. There were several-other trophy bucks on the property the landowner and his friends wanted to take themselves. Another buck living in the same area was a 4-year-old 10-point that scored 160 points. We didn’t want 6-year-old Minivan to run the 4-year-old off the property. We intensively manage the deer on the property where I hunt, and we know we can’t stockpile mature bucks in our area. To grow a trophy buck, he needs to be able to hold in his home area without being challenged by another big buck.

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Minivan always had lived close to a road. I knew Minivan was living in a certain thicket, and when he came out of this thicket, he would go eat some native grass and then move to a pond below where he’d been bedding.  I set-up my stand, so when the buck came out of the thicket on the way to the native grass, I’d be able to get a shot with my PSE Evo. Sure enough, he moved out of the thicket and came down the trail 15-yards from me. When I released the arrow, he took off running. He went about 70 yards and fell over in native grass. When we recovered him, we found he scored 168 points.

Day 4: PSE’s Todd Carter – the Hammer Buck

Hammer was a deer we’d been watching for 3 years that traveled to other properties too. We all had agreed to let him pass, until he got to be an older-age-class buck. The first year, we got good trail-camera pictures of him. He was 2-1/2- to 3-years old and scored 130 or more Boone & Crockett. The next year we had trail-camera pictures of him he was a 12-point, and his rack looked bigger. We found his sheds, which scored about 157 B&C. The next year he was scoring 178 B&C, so we decided to put him on the hit list. Hammer was in a thick-cover bedding area and was going toward water. On the farms I manage, there isn’t much water, so we try to take the bucks in-between the bedding area and the ponds where they water. This way we don’t disturb the bedding area or the watering sites. This buck had developed a scrape and a rub line out of the thicket, going toward the water. I took this buck at 15 yards with my PSE Evo by hitting him right behind the shoulder. He ran about 150 yards.

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Once again, I believe the secret for consistently taking trophy bucks is to know what bucks you have on your property, watch them over an extended time using trail cameras and make sure they have enough food. This way they can reach their maximum potential. If you keep up with your property’s doe numbers and keep bucks from competing with better bucks, you won’t have dispersal (deer leaving your property). The final element to taking a trophy buck like this one is once you gather all the information you can about him, don’t hunt him until all the wind and the weather conditions are right and are stacked in your favor.

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You can’t have trophy bucks on your property, if you don’t fulfill all the management requirements to produce them. We plant Mossy Oak BioLogic year-round to ensure there’s plenty of food for the deer on the property. We keep our doe numbers in check. Once we identify a buck we feel has trophy potential, we learn all we can about that buck. We allow him to live long enough to produce the body weight and antler development that we want him to have. If you’re patient and let that buck become a 5- or a 6-year-old, you not only have produced a trophy buck. At that point, you also will know where to put your stand and at about what time the buck should appear. If you set-up your stand within 20 yards or less of where the deer will be, and if you’re shooting a fast, flat-shooting bow like the PSE Evo, you can expect to harvest trophy bucks regularly.

Day 5: PSE’s Todd Carter Believes in Using Bowhunting as a Deer Management Tool

We manage our property for all types of wildlife. We have plenty of food and cover and very-little hunting pressure. On the 800 acres, we have about 80 does and manage them as intensively as we do our bucks. We know we have some does that consistently produce buck fawn twins. We have others that are producing three buck fawns per year. You can’t guarantee that a doe will produce just buck fawns or just doe fawns. But if you keep up with your does and watch the types of fawns they drop, you’ll see some have a tendency to produce bucks. You’ll also see some does consistently produce two or three fawns.

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For our management programs, these does are just as important as the older-age-class bucks on the land. The top-producing does are on the Do Not Hit list. We only take the does that are older and have stopped having fawns, or the does that generally produce only one fawn. Most biologists recommend you try to carry two does for each buck you have on the property, but I prefer to have four does for every buck. I go against accepted wisdom on deer management because the worst thing you can do is grow a buck up to trophy size, and then have him be harvested by one of your neighbors. If there are more does that are ready to breed on an adjacent property, your bucks will leave and go where the ladies are. I’ve found if I have four does for every buck, I can keep more of the big bucks on our property, even during the rut.

I’m often asked how I’m able to manage my does and identify the ones that are dropping the most buck fawns. The answer is quite simple. Does have a home range, just like bucks do. If you photograph and observe your does after deer season ends when they are dropping fawns, as the fawns mature, you can keep-up with which does are the most-productive in the herd. I want to watch them through at least one or two breeding seasons and be able to identify each of the does on the property. I live on the farm I manage, and one of those groups of does comes and feeds at my house. I can watch those does interact and can record their personalities. For instance, I’ve been observing one doe for the last 3 years, and I know for certain that she’s produced three buck fawns. This doe is 5- to 6-years old, stays within 100 acres and is definitely off-limits for harvest. In the winter, I get camera pictures of her in the Mossy Oak BioLogic Winter Bulbs & Sugar Beets plots. She follows the food.

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I’ve taken 15 does with my PSE Evo in the last year. One of the reasons I like to hunt does with my PSE bow is the arrow doesn’t make any noise. Guns going off and hunters moving around puts pressure on the deer herd and can cause dispersal of your trophy bucks. So, we prefer to bowhunt on this 800 acres. The hunters can go right to the stand we’ve put-up on the day we want to harvest that trophy buck. When they take that trophy buck with a bow, there’s no noise to spook all the other deer on the property. We can load-up the buck and the hunter and get out of the woods without spooking the other bucks. It’s not to your advantage to do an intensive-management program to produce trophy bucks and then put so much hunting pressure on those bucks that you run them off your property.

For more information on hunting deer, get John E. Phillips’ new eBook “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros.” Too, you can go to 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.


PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli, the Bionic Bowhunter


By Ernie Calandrelli with John E. Phillips

Day 1: PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli Takes the Biggest Buck of His Life in Kansas

Editor’s Note: When we asked Ernie Calandrelli, public relations director for Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, how long he had been shooting PSE, he answered, “Years and years and years.” Calandrelli can’t remember when he didn’t shoot PSE. Although he doesn’t remember the models of PSE bows he’s shot over the years, he does remember some of the better deer he’s taken with his PSE bows. As Calandrelli has gotten older, he has had medical problems that would cause most bowhunters to give-up the sport. With both shoulders completely replaced, he is still taking deer each season with his PSE bow. Ernie Calandrelli is the bionic bowhunter.

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The best buck I ever took with my PSE bow was a buck I killed in Kansas that scored 176-1/2-points on Pope & Young that I took at 17 steps. I had put a climbing stand in a tree on the edge of a river bank where I had hunted the year before. I climbed into my tree stand before daylight that first morning. As the light brightened-up the sky, I did a series of grunt calls. I just had put down my call when this buck came up over the edge of the river bank. At first light, I had seen a rub and ranged it at 17 yards. When the buck came over the river bank, he walked right beside that tree, before moving to within 12 steps of me. I thought he was at least a 130-inch buck. I made the decision to take the shot, but the way he was coming, I knew he would smell me. While he moved through a thicket, I came to full draw. When the buck hit my scent line, he whirled and ran back into the thicket. I thought the hunt was over, but luckily, he stopped by the tree I had ranged and looked back at me. I put the pin right behind his shoulder and released the arrow.

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I realized immediately I had the buck. I knew I had a clean release, and that my pin sight was behind the shoulder, where I needed it to be. When I touched the trigger on my mechanical release, there was no question in my mind that the buck was mine. One of the big advantages of shooting a PSE bow is if you practice with it, you have confidence and know your bow is flat-shooting and fast. You know when you touch that trigger that you’ll have your buck. I often am asked why I shoot PSE bows, and my answer always is, “They’re dependable, they fit me, and they do what they’re designed to do. They take deer and other big game.”

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Day 2: PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli Takes the Same Kansas Stand and Makes the Same Shot with the Same Bow to Equal a 160 Inch Buck

One of the things I like about PSE is I have years of history with the company. I believe if something’s not broken, don’t fix it. I’m the same way about deer hunting. After I took the biggest buck of my life in Kansas, I returned to Kansas the next year. The first morning of the hunt, I went back to the same stand where I had taken the 176-1/2-inch buck the previous year. I knew when I walked into the woods I’d start perspiring. So, I carried my outer clothes with me to the stand and put them on there. On this morning, I wore a hooded sweatshirt with a Quaker Boy Ridge Runner Grunt Call in the front pocket. Before I could take my outer clothing out of my daypack, I heard something walking and cracking limbs. To be honest, I thought it was another hunter. Then I spotted a deer at about 40 or 50 yards in my peripheral vision.

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I took out my grunt call. Because I was looking at the deer and trying to take out my grunt call out at the same time, somehow the plastic tube on the front of the call got hung-up in my pocket. So, when I pulled it out, I had just the call in my hand. In the early days of deer calling, grunt calls were just short calls with no hoses. So, I knew how to put my hand over the end of the call to muffle and deepen the sound. The deer turned and started coming to me. That buck walked right up under my stand. I couldn’t see exactly how big the buck was. However, I knew he was over 130 inches, so I took the shot. I waited about an hour in my tree stand, before I decided to track the deer. Instead of following the blood trail and going straight to the deer, I opted to go over the bank and walk the edge of the river.

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Before I came out of the tree, I identified a tree that I could recognize from the river bank. That tree was important, because it was the last place I had seen the buck. My plan was to stay out of sight and hearing of the buck I had arrowed and walk down the edge of the river. When I got to the tree where I had last seen the buck, I started looking for my deer. I took my time and walked as quietly as possible. When I was even with the tree, I sneaked over the edge of the bank. Just as I topped the river bank, I saw a huge buck with long antlers. I said to myself, “Oh my gosh, is that the buck I just shot?” I went over the bank and put my hands on the deer’s antlers. I couldn’t believe it. This buck scored 160 on Pope & Young. When I went back to the tree and stepped-off the distance, I found the buck only had been standing 6-yards from me when I took the shot. I had used my 10-yard pin, and that PSE bow shot so flat and fast that my arrow only hit a few inches below where I was aiming.

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Day 3: PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli Lets His Bow Down and Turns Around in the Tree to Get the Shot at a Missouri Buck

A week before I took the biggest buck of my life in Kansas, I had been hunting in Missouri. I had set-up a ladder stand in a creek bottom, where two or three ridges came together. This bottom was right on the edge of some Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land. During this afternoon hunt, the sun was going down over the hill behind me. I knew I didn’t have many-more minutes before dark. As the sun went down, it lit-up the CRP field behind me. Every blade of grass and every bush glowed like neon lights. In the distance, I could see something moving across the field. I picked-up my binoculars and saw it was a monster buck, and he was coming toward me but wouldn’t pass by me. I pulled my Ridge Runner grunt call out of my pocket and grunted to the deer. I hoped to get him to turn and walk to me. As soon as that buck heard that grunt call, he spun and started running straight to me.

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This hunt had to be one of the most-exciting ones I ever had in my life. I never had seen a buck run as fast or as hard straight to me as this buck did. For a minute, I was dazed and couldn’t think of what I needed to do. Finally, I grabbed my PSE bow and clicked on my release. The buck stopped about 80-yards away and stood in a little draw. As I listened and watched, that buck used his antlers like a wrecking ball. He tore-up trees, bushes and everything in sight with those antlers. After the buck had done battle with all the foliage, he stopped, looked in my direction and then looked away. When the buck looked away from me, I gave him a soft grunt call. He whipped his head around and took-off running again. Leaves and dirt were flying in the air as he dug his hooves into the ground and ran full out toward me. When he got within 12 steps of my stand, he locked-up and froze like a statue.

From the position of the deer’s body, I thought he was going to walk to my right side, so I was positioned to take the shot on that side. Instead, the buck went to my left side. I had to let the bow down to turn to the other side of my stand without him seeing me. When I got around the tree and came to full draw again, the buck was 12-yards from me and walking away. I started grunting, whistling and all the things I normally would do to stop a buck. Finally, I yelled at the deer. Once he stopped, I had my pin sight right where I wanted the arrow to go. I touched my release and fired. The buck took the arrow and only ran a few yards before he piled up. When I found him, I couldn’t believe the size of his antlers. This buck scored 166 on Pope & Young.

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Day 4: PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli Says All He Could See Was Antlers Coming Toward Him in Iowa

I was hunting in Iowa during early November. The temperature was 2-degrees below zero, and I was really cold. Icicles hung off all the limbs. The first time I moved in that stand, the icicles fell off and sounded like glass shattering as they hit the ground. I didn’t know what to do. I knew if a buck came in I wouldn’t be able to move without spooking him. Early in the morning, I had a 2-1/2-year-old 8-point buck walk right under my tree. I had a little trail in front of me that came out of some Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land, and there were scrapes and rubs on that trail. This 8-point was a nice deer, but I was really hoping to take a better one. As I watched the 8-pointer move down the trail, all of a sudden he stopped. Every muscle in his body seemed to lock-up. There was a ditch off the side of the trail, and this buck backed-up and went down in the ditch. Because I had the wind in my face, and I hadn’t moved a muscle, I knew the buck hadn’t seen, heard or smelled me. After the buck got down in the ditch, he took off running like a scared dog.

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I looked in the other direction, and I could see horns coming towards me – big horns. This buck was monstrous. When he came to a scrape, he began to work the scrape. Finally, he was at 17 yards. Once he turned broadside to me, I thought, “Oh my gosh, he’s as big as an elk.” I put my sight right behind his shoulder and released the arrow, hoping I could put this monster down. When the buck took the arrow, he only went 50-yards before he piled-up. The buck scored 148 inches, but he weighed over 300 pounds. Because I’d taken elk with my PSE bow before, I felt certain if I could place the arrow where I knew it should be that the speed and the power of my bow could drive that arrow all the way through this big buck, which it did. That buck might be one of the biggest-bodied bucks I’d ever taken.

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Day 5: PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli Downs an Iowa Buck at 20 Yards

I was hunting in Iowa, and one afternoon, I went into the woods to hang my tree stand. I had spotted a really-nice buck, but after several days of hunting, I hadn’t seen him again. I’d learned before in Iowa that those big bucks only might show-up in the same area every three or four days. Often I might go several days and never even see a deer. At about 9:30 or 10:00 am, I spotted that buck coming down a little draw. I grunted to him. He was on a hill, and I was on a bottom. After he heard me grunt, he came down the hill and went down in a little ditch. He was still coming to me. I was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to take him. When I get in my tree stand, I wiggle around in it a little bit to see if it squeaks. Sure enough, this morning I had heard my stand squeak. I knew if I stood to take the shot, or if I had to move around on the stand to get into position, the stand would squeak and spook the deer. So, I put some cotton gloves under my stand to prevent it from squeaking. When the buck got to the bottom of the ditch, he was about 20-yards from me. I had to stand to shoot. I was hoping I had solved the squeaky-stand problem. I was able to stand-up, come to full draw and arrow the deer at 20 yards with my PSE bow. The buck scored about 140.

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I don’t remember which PSE bow I was using then, and it doesn’t really matter. Over the years I’ve found one PSE bow is just as good as another. They’ve been everything I’ve ever wanted in my bows. Many years ago my friend Bill Epeards introduced me to PSE bows, and I became friends with Pete Shepley, founder of PSe. When I started having shoulder problems, Pete Shepley advised me on which bows I should use, and what poundage I should shoot. I had a complete shoulder replacement in my left shoulder 6-years ago. About 8-weeks ago I had another complete replacement in my right shoulder. Because I’ve had so many shoulder problems over the years, all the deer I’ve mentioned have been shot with a 55-pound PSE bow. I’ve learned that if you shoot a deer with a 70-pound bow and get a clean pass-through, the arrow just sticks deeper in the dirt after it passes through the deer. So, I don’t think shooting the heavier-weight bows is really necessary.

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Today, you can shoot a slower arrow and still produce enough kinetic energy to take any big-game species in North America. We don’t have to shoot those heavier bows. The cams on PSE bows roll-over smoothly, and I don’t have to jerk the string back to get it to full draw. These bows are much smoother and the let-off allows you to hold less weight at full draw. I come to a solid back wall. These PSE bows are just beautiful to shoot, especially as you grow older and have medical problems. Years ago, when I had my first shoulder replacement, I thought my bowhunting would be over, but it wasn’t. I learned I still could shoot a 50- to a 55-pound bow effectively. Now that I’ve had my second shoulder replacement, I still can shoot accurately with a 45- to 50-pound bow. Because of the new innovations PSE has designed into their bows, even though I have had both shoulders preplaced, I still can shoot a compound bow, which would have been totally impossible 10-or 20-years ago.

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To get “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” by John E. Phillips, 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.


PSE’s Emily Anderson on off season fitness


By Emily Anderson
http://www.fromthedraw.com/

Emily starts her off season fitness

Emily starts her off season fitness

January is a month that is readily filled with commitments for the New Year, and on the top of many resolution lists you are most likely to find something related to fitness. My encouragement this time around … resolve to ditch the yearly fitness resolution, and instead make it a habit to simply live healthy which is a daily commitment. January then simply becomes the reminder to do a heart check each year and make sure you are still on track.

PSE's Emily Anderson

PSE’s Emily Anderson

Going into the office before dark and watching the sun go down on the drive home in the evenings has me longing for warmer days and each year about this time the lack of Vitamin D seems to get to me. I find myself scouring the web for upcoming races and summertime events that provide a deadline or goal to train for. Sure, the ultimate goal is to be as healthy and fit as possible for when opening day rolls around toward the end of the summer, but I’ve found that having a competition type event helps to provide a little extra motivation. Simply put … if you’ve paid for a race or event, you can bet that crossing that finish line, whether it is by way of a run, walk or crawl, will become a priority.

Running Gear

Running Gear

Most events for the upcoming year are actively being posted on websites, and registrations will be opening soon. Don’t wait too long before making the commitment for a summer race / event. Now is the time to start training! Grab your shoes or hiking boots, throw some extra traction on your soles and hit the trails. It won’t be long before the days will begin to lengthen, and you won’t be sorry that you kicked up your training during the winter months so that you are ready to take your training to the next level when the weather turns warm. In addition the extra Vitamin D may help to get you out of the January blues that often come hand in hand with the ending of many hunting seasons. What are you waiting for? Get out there and create some tracks in the snow covered trails!

Emily Anderson’s hunting journey began shortly after she got married. She enjoys the passions for the outdoors, hunting and fishing as a team with her husband. She established www.FromTheDraw.com as a way to share her stories as a female hunter. Emily lives in Colorado which allows her to hunt elk each September in the Rocky Mountains. She is now a PSE Staff Blogger and will be posting daily about her experiences and views on archery and hunting.
 

Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!

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


PSE’s Albert Quackenbush Family Hunting


By Albert Quackenbush
www.SoCalBowhunter.com

My dad, my brother and I during the fall 2009 NY whitetail archery season

My dad, my brother and I during the fall 2009 NY whitetail archery season

My family is extremely important to me and is my top priority. Bow hunting is a very close second! Second to the excitement of filling one of my own tags is the thrill I get when my dad, Skip, or my brother, BJ, fills one of theirs. My California archery deer season for has been open for a couple months, but theirs has been less than a month. I try to keep up on their quest by texting my brother (who I know will usually answer from the tree stand) and calling my dad during the workweek. I have been keeping up with their progress since summertime as they have shared stand locations, deer they have seen, and trail camera photos. To be quite honest, I am a bit jealous. Whitetail hunting is a passion I share with them and hearing about it makes we crave it more!

BJ and his 2012 NY archery 6-point buck

BJ and his 2012 NY archery 6-point buck

Last week, I received a text from BJ saying he had a deer down. It was followed up by one that stated he had arrowed a 6-point. Then it stopped. No more texts. What? Where were the details? Not wanting to be left hanging, I texted him back asking for the story. He said he’d be posting it online. It seemed like a week went by, but my brother posted that afternoon and here’s what he wrote:

I was in my stand this afternoon and I surveyed the area to see what spot would be the best place for me to shoot a deer. There was one spot about fifteen yards away that seemed to be perfect. Nice and open with no obstacles. Guess where I arrowed this guy?? In that EXACT spot!! No joke. He wandered in tonight around 5:30 PM and came toward my stand, but stayed just out of bow range the whole time. He started going away from me so I hit my grunt call. He stopped. I hit it again and his head whipped around toward me. He turned and walked right in the spot fifteen yards away. I stopped him with a mouth bleat and the rest is history. A short drag out of the woods and a ride back to the truck and we headed home. Best of all, my wife had a huge Crockpot of venison pot roast ready to be devoured!! Thanks to my Dad for helping me out and I give him all the credit for this one. He’s the one who found the rubs and said we should put a stand up there. He picked the stands tonight and let me have that one. Thanks!! Happy hunting!

What a bow hunters dreams seeing this from a treestand.

What a bow hunters dreams seeing this from a treestand.

Knowing all the work that my dad and brother put in to hunting whitetails, this was huge for them. Getting some meat in the freezer is always a priority, but having one down with antlers is a bonus. I know they both have quite a few tags left to fill, but I also know that with the rut just kicking in and the cooler temperatures arriving that they are both fired up for the rest of the season. The best part for me is that even though I may reside 3,000 miles away, I am right there with them and I am also getting fired up for them.

My 2011 NY archery button buck

My 2011 NY archery button buck

With me taking my first elk this past September and now my brother taking a buck in NY, my dad is up to bat. He has said to me that his sons have set the bar high for him this year. All I have to say is he usually takes that bar, fashions an arrow, adds some fletching and a broadhead and arrows himself a few big deer by seasons end. Don’t let him fool you, he just saves the best for last.

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 28 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com, and also writes for Bow Adventures e-magazine. He is a Pro Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com, Piranha Custom Bowstrings and Field Logic. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.

Albert was born and raised in New York State where he learned to hunt everything from squirrels to whitetail deer. He currently resides in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.

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


PSE’s Dustin Jones on Trail Cameras


By Dustin Jones
http://www.highcountrybowhunter.com/

Trail Camera

Trail Camera

Setting out trail cameras is a way to keep hunting even when the season comes to a close. To me it is just as exciting setting one out and coming back a couple weeks later to see what it has captured. I’m like a kid on Christmas as I sit and wait in anticipation. I wanted to share with you some tips to help make sure you are getting decent pictures.

The first thing is finding a spot to put the camera. Find a well-used trail, a food plot, water hole, or just a spot that looks like it has lots of activity. There are sometimes that I have set up a trail camera on what I thought to be an awesome spot and came to find out that it was used very seldom. Look for fresh sign with lots of recent activity.

Trail Cam Shot

Trail Cam Shot

Don’t point the camera at 90° angle to the trail unless you are using a mineral lick, scrape, or bait. Majority of hunters setting out their trail camera place it on the nearest tree to the trail and set it perpendicular to the trail. This causes frustration when you go and pick up your camera because more than likely you are going to get blank pictures or partial pictures of animals. When you point the camera at a 45° angle down the trail you increase your odds of getting a shot of the entire animal versus a partial shot.

Remove any obstructions. I know that you want to hide your camera but if there are any obstructions in the way there are several things that can happen. First you will get pictures of nothing because that obstruction may be moving in the wind causing the camera to be set off. Second, whatever is obstructing the camera will be lit up by the flash whether it is an LED or white flash. The best thing to do if you don’t want people to mess with your trail camera is to invest in a security case for the camera. The last thing you want to do is spend money on the camera just to have it stolen a couple weeks later.

Early Season Buck

Early Season Buck

Lastly, pay attention to the sun. When at all possible make sure that when you set up the trail camera not to have it be pointing in the sun. Whether it is in the morning or the evening, try to make sure that the sun rises and sets behind your trail camera. This will help reduce blank images as well as wash out images. When the trail camera is facing the sun and it takes a picture, you will have an extremely white washed out image. The best thing to remember is to have your camera point to the north. The sun’s path will be slightly to the south of the trail camera if you do so and this will greatly reduce washed out images.

One thing that is always promising yet frustrating at the same time is setting up trail cameras. The promising thing is that you are able to see if there is anything moving through that area while you hunt. The frustrating part about it as well is you get to see some of the animals that come by and with my luck I’m either there a day late or a day early. But all in all it is a great way to monitor where you are hunting and it helps you try and pattern the animals. So get out there and have some fun setting up your trail camera.

Dustin Jones is a passionate outdoorsman who loves to hunt, especially bowhunt. He created his blog, HighCountryBowhunter.com, to share his experiences with others. He is a Field Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com and Adventure Team member for MINOX Hunting Optics.
 
Dustin was born and raised in Eastern Idaho where he currently resides with his wife and two sons.
 

Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!

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


PSE’s Will Jenkins “Why I Chose the Vendetta”


By Will Jenkins
http://www.thewilltohunt.com/

Will Jenkins

PSE’s Will Jenkins Vendetta

The PSE line up is a big one with a ton of great bows. They are all unique and offer something slightly different but it can be overwhelming. So I took to the internet reading everything I could about the various bows. I like a decent brace height and ATA. I like bows to be forgiving and comfortable. Eventually I was deciding between the EVO 7 and the Vendetta. As a bowhunter I wanted something smooth. I like being able to easily draw my bow smoothly when hunting.

Will Jenkins

PSE’s Will Jenkins Bow

After reading as much as I could I decided the Vendetta was my best shot at a smooth bow with a good brace height and still gets some good speed with my short draw length. With no pro shops close by I’m usually limited by my research and while I’m a huge proponent of shooting what feels good to you, I got lucky on this one. Once my Vendetta came in I frantically called and texted my good friend Tim Johnson so we could get together to set my bow up. Tim is an ace with a bow and by the time he was done with my Vendetta, it was a perfect fit.

I picked the Vendetta for it smooth draw and it definitely delivered. I can’t get enough of shooting this bow it’s simply that good. The smooth draw and solid back wall make it easy to draw undetected and stay at full draw for a long time if needed. For those reasons I have it at around 65 pounds of draw weight. With the Vendetta’s draw cycle it barely feels like I’m drawing any weight at all and I can stay at full draw for a long time with little fatigue. While speed is good these are the most important factors to me as a bowhunter. Speed is great but doesn’t do much good if I can’t get the bow drawn and hold it there when needed.

Will Jenkins

PSE’s Will Jenkins X Force Vendetta

I outfitted my Vendetta with the Aries sight, PSE X 5 Arrow Quiver and an 8″ 9oz Vibracheck Omega Stabilizer. All the pieces come together nicely to make a great shooting bow. I’m extremely impressed with my 2012 Vendetta and can’t wait to see how the 2013 models shoot.

Will Jenkins is creator of TheWilltoHunt.com and Harnesses For Hunters. He’s an avid outdoorsman who enjoys sharing his experiences through his blog. He also writes for Bow Adventures e-Magazine and is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association.

Will lives in Central Virginia with his wife and two kids. He hunts in Virginia and Maryland but has dreams of heading west to hunt Elk and Mule Deer.
 

Keep your eye out for the #elktour DVD over on huntography.com! Watch PSE’s Emily Anderson and Dustin Jones hunt elk DIY style on our amazing public lands in the Western United States. Huntography also films a deer hunting DVD called #deertour which you will be able to watch PSE’s Will Jenkins hunt whitetails. Huntography…filming America’s hunters, one at a time!

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


Spot & Stalk Tactics by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren


By Jared Bloomgren

Jared Bloomgren

PSE’s Jared Bloomgren Cold Morning Glassing

Like stated in an earlier blog my favorite type of hunting tactic is spot and stalk. This type of hunting pits your wits against that of your prey more than any other style of hunting in my opinion. The name of this tactic is self explanatory really. First you spot your prey and then you stalk them. Fitting name for it isn’t it?! This will be split into two blogs. First part will be spotting with the second part being the stalking portions on my next blog.

Jared Bloomgren

PSE’s Jared Bloomgren Scouting Above Treeline

During the spotting process I like to be on a high vantage point to help me glass as much of the terrain as possible. Often times you may be glassing at distant areas over a mile away or more! This calls for quality optics and the better quality optics you have the better off you will be. Your eyes will not fatigue as fast and you may avoid a headache at the end of the day! I like to use the Vortex Optics Razor HD line. My binoculars are 10x42mm while my spotting scope is 20-60x80mm which allows me to see those very distant areas. I will also be selling Vortex Optics at competitive prices on my website at http://www.triggeraddiction.com soon as well.

Glassing animals is not always the easiest to do. Animals that are lying out in the clear wide open are generally pretty easy to find but there are times when they remain hidden fairly well. At first look it may seem that there are no animals in the immediate glassing area but usually that isn’t true. Glassing requires patience and persistence because sometimes you may not see animals right away. You will need to look for something that doesn’t belong with its surroundings. Often times I have spotted a buck or bull by catching a glimpse of an antler because of the glare caused by the sun. Looking for lines that do not blend or match; an antler tip sticking out from the brush, a leg from under a tree, the outline of an animal’s back, etc…When I get frustrated or my eyes get tired I take a quick break; stretch, grab a quick snack or drink and then get back at it. It is amazing how much this can help you re-focus.

Jared Bloomgren

Jared’s optics are vital to success

When glassing big country I like to come up with a system of how to do it. The areas I generally look at first are those areas that are obvious bedding areas. Looking for the areas that offer the cover and the shade are very important as these areas hold a higher probability of deer bedding there. During early season the shade is very important. I like to look at ledged, cliffs, bigger rocks, anything that will offer shade throughout the day. I have seen numerous mule deer simply move around a rock throughout the day to keep in the shade. If I am having trouble located animals I like to set up a grid and move through each area of that grid as not to miss anything along the way. This will ensure that you cover all the terrain and will also yield more found animals than if you were just glassing randomly across the terrain that you can see. By doing a grid search I have found that I am much more successful at finding more animals faster!

After finding an animal of your liking you need to decide if it is in a good situation to carry out a stalk. Things to consider are wind direction and thermals, terrain, the animal’s behavior, your capability, and the time of day. Many stalks require a lot of time but just like an earlier blog of mine; they require patience!

My next blog will focus on the bread and butter of the two! The stalking portion to bring the hunt full circle and things to consider when you are stalking.

Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren is a hardcore Do-It-Yourself bowhunter who strives to better himself each year in the outdoor community. As a professional hunter, freelance writer and photographer, he likes to relive his outdoor adventures through written expression and photography making the reader feel as if they were along on the hunt. He attributes much of his success to the vital education he has learned from the various big game animals that he hunts. He is quoted as saying, “In each and every hunt, success or defeat, I learn something from every outing and that I can put in my arsenal of knowledge to use at a later date, a later date that will again put my wits against that of my prey.”

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


PSE’s Albert Quackenbush – A Die Hard Bowhunter


Albert Q

PSE’s Albert Quackenbush

What you see is what you get. That’s exactly how I have lived my life and how I want to be known. My name is Albert Quackenbush and I am a die-hard bow hunter. I have been a bow hunter for 28+ years and I most definitely passionate about it.

Up to this point, I spent most of my life living in Western New York State and utilized everything from a bow to a firearm. I hunted everything, but my passion was for whitetails. I now reside in Southern California where I strictly bow hunt and love to hunt anything I can. One of the things that make it even better is having a great group of hunting buddies out here. In NY I have two of the best hunting partners a guy could ask for; my dad and brother. We always swap stories, talk about gear and plan our next hunting trips. I always look forward to heading back to NY to hunt whitetails with them.

The SoCal Bow hunter blog (SoCalBowhunter.com) started for a few reasons. First and foremost, I love to write. I love telling stories and I getting people involved. I saw little to none of that here in Southern California. I also started it to share information and to get information. When I moved to California, I couldn’t get a hunter to help with anything. Everyone was super tight-lipped. It not only frustrated me, it angered me that my fellow hunters would even give me a tip or two. I wasn’t asking for hunting spots, just where to start. That is primarily the reason I started the blog. The second reason is that I love to test out gear and see what works, what doesn’t, and what I would recommend to my fellow hunters.

I am a Pro Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com, Field Logic and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. I am a member of the RMEF, California Deer Association, NWTF, and is a Life Member for the North American Hunting Club. Best of all, I am now part of the PSE Blogging Staff and a PSE Field Staff member.

Albert Quackenbush pse

PSE’s Albert Quackenbush & Daughter

Most of all I just want to be the best husband and father I can be. Being a hunter, while important to me, is secondary. Sharing what I know with my daughter will be ongoing as she grows up. I feel that sharing what I know will help keep our heritage alive for future generations.

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 28 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, SoCalBowhunter.com, and also writes for Bow Adventures e-magazine. He is a Pro Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com, Piranha Custom Bowstrings and Field Logic. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.

Albert was born and raised in New York State where he learned to hunt everything from squirrels to whitetail deer. He currently resides in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.

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


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