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PSE’s Bob Walker on How to Find Big Bucks Where No One Looks


Editor’s Note: A member of PSE’s and Mossy Oak’s Pro Staffs and a fixture on Mossy Oak’s TV show “Turkey Thugs,” Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, has guided for deer and turkeys  for 28 years at Bent Creek Lodge in Jachin, Ala. He’s been deer hunting for more than 40 years and has shot the PSE DNA since it was introduced. This week he’ll tell us how to find big bucks where no one is looking for them.

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I don’t get to shoot my bow as much as I once did, so I really like the consistency of the DNA. Even if I haven’t shot the DNA for a week, I can pick it up, go hunting and still feel confident the bow is as dead-on as it was when I put it back in my bow case earlier.  I shoot the two-blade Rage (www.ragebroadheads.com), a mechanical broadhead with a 2-inch cut.

My secret to taking big bucks on little properties is to find places to hunt that are overlooked by other hunters. Most hunters say they want to hunt big woods or large properties. They believe the more property they have to hunt, then the better their odds will be for taking trophy bucks. However, I’ve found the opposite is true. The smaller places you hunt where no one else is hunting often produce the biggest bucks. This week I’ll give you five examples to prove my point.

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The first deer on any property to feel hunting pressure is the mature buck. He’ll recognize that hunters are in the woods to try and take him more than they are interested in any other buck in the deer herd. So, that mature buck will be the first deer on the property to go to a spot that hunters don’t hunt. Smaller tracts of woods are the most-overlooked areas on any property, if a sanctuary has plenty of cover, food and water, or if the land is extremely close to the sanctuary.

On my first trip to the big buck state of Illinois, I was as lost as a ball in high weeds. I didn’t know the property, and I didn’t know anyone who knew the property where I was to hunt. All I had was a map of this public-hunting area with the boundary lines drawn on it. When I hunt a new place, the first thing I don’t want to do is to get off the property onto someone else’s land. So, when I got to this public-hunting region in Illinois, I took the boundary map and started walking the property line to learn exactly where I could and couldn’t hunt. I’ve learned over the years that often the boundary lines on a map aren’t exactly correct. For instance, if the boundary line of a public-hunting land is the edge of a creek, many times the public land may extend for 10, 20 or even 100 yards on the other side of the creek. The boundaries are usually marked with paint or signs on trees.

As I walked the edge of the creek of this public-hunting land in Illinois, I learned that the boundary of this public-hunting property had little pockets of land on the other side of the creek, although the map wasn’t marked like that. I thought, “Those little pockets of land on the other side of the creek probably get very little or no hunting pressure.” I also decided that since crossing the creek was difficult, that not many people would be willing to cross the creek to only hunt 50 to 100 yards of land from the creek to the true boundary line. Also, I could tell from where I had parked my truck that apparently, many other people had parked their vehicles close to this creek. I decided to park my truck about 200 to 300 yards down the road from where I entered the woods to keep anyone from knowing exactly where I started hunting.

When I got across the creek the first time, I thought that the public-hunting land over there might only be a 50-yard stretch of hardwoods from the creek to the boundary line. But after walking the boundary line, I discovered that in some spots the boundary line was 200-yards beyond the creek. I found a place where a creek bend was close to a soybean field that was on private land. Sitting in my tree stand, I could see houses not too far away.

The first afternoon I sat in my stand a fellow came down the edge of the soybean field walking his dog. The fellow waved to me, as nice as he could be. I climbed down out of my tree stand and walked over to talk to the man with the dog. He apologized for messing up my hunt. I told him not to worry about it. I was enjoying being out here and having a time and place to hunt. As we chatted, the man told me, “If I get home in time, about every other day, I like to walk my dog down this way. Sometimes, we don’t come this far.” He also showed me a branch that came from the public-hunting land and went out into the soybean field – a vital piece of information. We talked for a few minutes. I got my tree stand, crossed the creek and walked back to my vehicle. But from the information I had gained from talking with the man walking his dog, I learned I would have to hunt there in the mornings instead of the afternoons. I also figured out that I needed to move my tree stand about 50-yards closer to the funnel than I had it set-up that day to be successful.

The next morning before daylight, I crossed the creek and put up my tree stand in the location I had picked out the day before. As the sun came up, I saw people coming out of their houses and starting their cars headed to work. I spotted a number of deer coming out of the soybean field that morning and walking down that thick-covered ditch that came from the public land and went out into the soybean field. I could tell to be in the right spot to get a shot with my bow that I needed to move my tree stand one more time – closer to the ditch, which turned out to be a little creek. I picked out the tree where I wanted to put my stand, came out of the woods before lunch and hunted another place that afternoon.

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The next morning I crossed the creek again, moved my stand closer to the funnel and the thick- covered ditch that ran from the public land out into the soybean field. Just as the sun came up, I saw a huge 12-pointer following a doe down the ditch.  He came to within 24 yards of my stand.

I raised my PSE bow, came to full draw and shot the buck. That buck scored 160 points on Pope & Young.

I’ve learned that on many public-hunting areas, you may find small patches of woods that are within the public-hunting area that don’t show-up on the map. There may be only an acre or less that’s not shown on the boundary map. Because these places are so small, most hunters won’t go to the effort to try to find and hunt them. Therefore, they become safe havens for mature bucks.

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When I recovered my buck and started dragging him out, I met an older gentleman and talked to him. I discovered that his family had lived on a portion of what is now a WMA (Wildlife Management Area). We started talking about squirrel dogs, and that gentleman gave me the secret to taking the buck I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Bob Walker on the Hunt for Mr. Gary’s 45 Acre Buck

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros” and “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” click on the titles of the books. 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 and the company’s outstanding bows and bowhunting accessories, head to the PSE Archery website.


Better Bowfishing by PSE’s Dustin Jones


By Dustin Jones

http://www.highcountrybowhunter.com/

Throughout the summer months it can be difficult for hunters. There is the anticipation for the upcoming archery season with the lull of nothing to hunt. This time of year is well spent scouting for a new hunting spot or making sure the old stand will still be a reliable spot. Between scouting and practicing the excitement starts to build and the anticipation of the upcoming season becomes, well almost unbearable at times. One thing that I have found that is a great summer activity that scratches the hunting itch a little is bowfishing.

Curt Coates Bowfishing on Bear Lake

Bowfishing here in Idaho is a blast and there are several lakes and rivers that have an abundance of carp to chase. If you look online about bowfishing, you’ll see a lot of videos that shows people going out on a boat both in the daylight and the evening. While this is one of the most popular ways, I have had just as much luck shooting from the banks of the river or lake.

Melissa Coates Bowfishing on Bear Lake

One of the hardest things to remember about bowfishing is the aiming. The majority of people (myself included) who go out bowfishing for the first time end up missing the fish because they shoot too high. The reason is because of refraction. The fish looks like it is in one spot but because of the light reflecting off the water, the fish is actually lower than what it really is. A good rule of thumb would be to aim at the bottom of the fish, and then aim down about 6 inches or more. It takes some getting used to but just like any type of shooting, practice makes you better. Obviously if the fish are right on the surface of the water you wouldn’t aim low, but if they are down a little deeper you typically want to drop about 6 inches for every foot they are in the water. Just remember to aim lower than you think.

Carp on the Surface (photo by Kevin Jones)

Another important thing to pack is a good set of polarized sunglasses. Wearing a pair of polarized sunglasses helps take the glare off the water and you will be able to see more fish. Especially when fishing from the bank the glare off the water can be pretty extreme. The best time that I have found to bowfish for carp has been early morning or late afternoon and the glare on the water is very intense. I haven’t been out at night yet but I have heard that it is just as good if not better at night.

Curt Coates with his Carp

Lastly one thing to remember that you’ll be glad you have if you shoot one of those 30 pound carp is a glove. If you are shooting a bow without a reel and are pulling the line in by hand, you’ll be glad you are fighting the carp with a good leather glove on. I have the PSE Kingfisher set up and I just pull the arrow in by hand and I usually keep one in my back pocket just in case I shoot a big one. The last thing you want to do is shoot a monster carp and grab hold of the string just to get your finger or hand sliced open. These fish can fight like no other.

Bowfishing is a great way to get out and hunt throughout the spring and summer months. Be sure to look up the regulations in your state and get out there and enjoy some summer time bowfishing!

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.


Scout & Shoot by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Scouting and finding a good hunting spot can be a truly time-consuming process. The same might be said of archery practice and honing your skills. Why not combine the two and make for some fun scouting/target practice? It’s a great way to pass the time and shoot in the outdoors!

My friend Brett and I are always trying to come up with fun ways to practice at the archery range. Sure, we often set up a target on a bale of straw, but we also bring our 3D targets to the range. Not many people do this, but it’s fun and it certainly gets people’s attention. I also started bringing a ‘rabbit’ target made of a sock stuffed with rags. This allows us to practice on a very small target with judo points. It’s a great way to judge distance because we just toss it out in front of us and estimate the distance. It’s great fun!

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Now we just have to find the pigs with the little white circles on them.

While we are there, we almost always have a friendly competition to see who can get closer to the vitals on a target at longer range. We both are very confident even out to 60 yards and sometimes a little competition brings out the best in us. The last time we were at the range we were fine tuning or gear. We don’t usually say ‘let’s have a shootout,’ but we almost always inch closer and closer to the center. For me this is great fun and also brings out the best in both of us. When we concentrate and truly focus our shots improve with each arrow.

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Brett scouting the foothills of Southern California in search of mule deer.

Another way to have a great time while scouting is to bring along a smaller target like a Rinehart 18-1 for target practice. That way when you hike in, you can toss the target out in front, down a hill or on in an odd position you are not used to. This allows you a totally different shooting scenario and one that you are more likely to be faced with during hunting season. It makes for great fun, but also makes you focus more on your target. When you are shooting at a downhill (or uphill) angle there is a greater chance of losing an arrow or ten. No one wants to go searching further down a slope for errant flying arrows, so you should carefully choose your shot and make it count, just as you would on an animal in the wild.

A fantastic tool that I utilize is a range finder with angle compensation. By using this feature, you can practice those steep angles with the aid of a rangefinder in preparation for hunting season. You may not have the option of time during the season, so if you plan on hunting the steep slopes you will want to practice with and without a rangefinder. Building your confidence without a rangefinder can help immensely in the field.

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Practicing your steep angle shots in terrain like this will make you a better bowhunter.

 

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Spotting some deer on a far hillside always gets the blood pumping.

After each round of shooting, take a moment to glass the surroundings. I know that deer are curious and hearing a strange sound like an arrow hitting a target might spring them from their beds and have them staring in your direction. By using this technique, you can get some practice in while scouting. You will have hauled in some extra weight, shot a few rounds and cleared your head before scanning the brush with your optics in search of that elusive ghost. Enjoy the practice sessions and best of luck to you all this season!

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. 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 lives 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.


Women in the World of Bow Hunting by PSE’s Emily Anderson


By Emily Anderson

A general internet search or call to your local Division of Wildlife will easily reveal the fact that women entering the hunting community continues to grow each year. They now contribute millions of dollars each year toward wildlife and habitat programs through hunting license fees, taxes on bows, guns, etc., and donations to non-profit hunting organizations.

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With more women entering the hunting world, the idea of women toting around a gun or bow into the woods is becoming less and less of an anomaly. While this is good for the sport of hunting it may be cause for dismay for some women trying to stand out and make a name for themselves solely based on the fact that they are of the female gender and they hunt.

I will admit that I still enjoy the reaction on people’s faces when they find out I enjoy donning camouflage and venturing off into the woods with bow in hand. However, this reaction is becoming more of a rarity and quite honestly I’m okay with that. It simply means that women in the hunting industry is now more of a commonality, and if I’ve played a small part in making that a reality, it encourages my heart.

Gals, being recognized as part of the “hunting fraternity”, if you will, should not be taken lightly. We’ve proven that we are capable, willing to shoot, kill, clean and carry our quarry back to camp. We are all on the same playing field. There is no grading on a curve, or advantage points when hunting. When the arrow is released from the bow, it doesn’t matter whether or not the hand holding it has perfectly manicured fingernails. (Granted perfectly manicured fingernails may look nice in the photo while holding that 6×6 bull elk.) The bottom line is that the animals don’t know the difference, Simply because we are a different gender shouldn’t give us the right to boast about a kill more than the guys.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is that while the female hunter has been encouraged, highly marketed to, and maybe even stood out as having an advantage in the hunting industry simply because she is a thing of rarity, the shine may be lessening. The playing field is beginning to level, and I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. It is quite the contrary. The commonness of the women hunter means more opportunity to champion hunting in a positive light.

What do you think about the increase of females becoming involved in hunting? How has it benefited the hunting community? Do you feel women have had an advantage in some areas? If yes, how do you feel about that? Is it okay as long as it encourages more women to get involved? Sound off…

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.


Get to Your Stand the Right Way by PSE’s Will Jenkins


By Will Jenkins

http://www.thewilltohunt.com/

Finding your way to stand can be difficult and planning your entrance is essential to a successful hunt. How you get to your stand is often overlooked when hunting and can prove to be a deal breaker on bagging that record big buck.

The shortest distance between your parking spot and your tree stand is always a straight line but the best way to get there never is. First you need an aerial map of the the property preferably with a topographic overlay so you can not only see what tree cover is there but also what land features are underneath. Many of us are guilty of going a certain way to a stand location or specific area of a property simply because we’ve hunted there for years and that’s how we’ve always gotten there. If you haven’t done it I guarantee you will change some trails after sitting down and marking stand locations on a map and really looking at the property.

Second, you need to consider the right wind for hunting that stand. If a stand is set to hunt on a North East wind, you will want to enter from the South West. You want to walk in with the wind in your face so your not blowing your scent all over the area you expect the deer to come from. This may mean you have to make a much longer walk or completely change the trail you take in.

Now that you’ve done a good job planning it you have to see what it really looks like. Maps are a great first draft of the trail but seeing what’s really on the ground will define your trail. Take your time and make a smart route to the stand keeping in mind that you hope to drag a deer out the same way. If you get in early and leave late make sure you do a good job of marking the trail. Even if you know the property well the first season using new trails in the dark it’s super easy to get turned around. I prefer reflective thumb tacks over neon color tapes.

Summer is the perfect time to plan and set up your new trails. It provides a good time to scout and get to know deer movement while improving your access. Also use this time to set trail cameras and clear your shooting lanes and you’ll more than ready to go by fall!

 

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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.


First Buck with My New PSE – Guest Blog by Bass Pro Hunting Staff Member Dave Lee


By Dave Lee – Bass Pro Hunting Staff

I would have never thought that on December 26th, of all days, I would come face to face with my nemesis. The buck I’d been hunting for the last 80 days shows up at 1:00 in the afternoon, broadside, without a care in the world. Only one problem…he had broken off a portion of the left side of his head gear!

The pain really began to set in when I reflected on the Cuddeback pictures from the week prior at 12:42 in broad daylight. His entire 160-inch frame was still intact. I was in awe as I watched the largest whitetail of my 2011 season browsing eyes deep in the snow at 15 yards and I knew I couldn’t take the shot.

For a half-hour, the four-year old lumbered under my stand searching for acorns, carefree. I’ll never forget the calming effect that overcame me. I lost a whole year’s anticipation and nerves in less time than it took to hang my bow.

The Beginning

That night, I was able to reflect on my fondest memories of my youth when my family and I hunted a Wexford County Swamp. At that time, we weren’t looking for world-class animals, but instead shared unforgettable life experiences.

Many of us were fortunate to have mentors who made sure we were exposed to what the outdoors had to offer. For me, hunting revolved around family bonding and values.

These few years in a child’s life are critical. They need to see beyond video games and find a path to their primal instincts that, in turn, will make them better equipped for life.

Independent Years

In my mid-teens, I was on a mission to figure out the ways of the quarry I pursued. My friends and I focused on waterfowl for more than a decade, sharpening our skills on small flying targets. We spent a quarter of the year in their habitat, which without doubt, honed our overall predator and marksmanship skills.

My twenties led me to some of Michigan’s finest whitetail habitats as well as journeys throughout the Cascade and Rocky Mountain ranges, all the while soaking up information that heightened my skills even more. During that time, I realized that our planet’s amazing ecosystems had more to offer than could be found in one lifetime.

Throughout the years, my friends and I began a friendly competition on who would harvest the largest buck of the year. All of us had harvested countless animals and took on the challenge with a vengeance. During this period, the Quality Deer Management movement was introduced. Television began broadcasting this newly researched phenomenon. In my opinion, this was the tool to use in order to produce what every hunter dreams.

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We learned that by taking subordinate animals, we would end all opportunity for mature bucks with filled tags. This lesson took us to the next level. Looking back, I can’t even imagine how many mature bucks my friends and I simply did not know existed.

Networking

Twenty plus years into it, I finally figured it out. I’ve covered thousands of miles of ground, learned as much as I could about the game I’ve hunted, and the number one thing I learned was . . . location . . . location . . . location!

Time spent researching where to be in order to intercept a trophy animal means the difference between harvesting the intended trophy or another fruitless season. I’ve found that going in to it blind is worse than not hunting at all.

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked how I find the properties I hunt, I’d be hunting heavy horned sheep in Kazakhstan. The simple answer is networking. There is not a day that goes by that I do not throw hints to newly met people, almost subconsciously, picking their brain for any information leading to my next trophy. Hunters as a whole are very friendly group. Sharing experiences with new people can create lifelong relationships and that can lead to endless opportunities.

Technology

Every hunter has a wealth of information at their fingertips. A serious hunter can research the best areas to find any species of game on the planet. A simple browsing of the web can produce statistics, trophy areas, planning, and all the information needed to get the hunt started.

One of the most recent additions to the hunter’s arsenal are cell phone apps, such as Google Earth which gives you a birds-eye view of any spot on the planet. The GPS has evolved into a hunter’s guide to his own destiny. While hunting with my grandfather, he trusted his compass to negotiate his stomping grounds. We can now pinpoint our exact location via satellite photos and see what’s over the next ridge without even climbing it.

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Trail cameras have replaced the need to spend countless hours in the field scouting. This innovation is the mainstay of the trophy hunter. At any one time throughout the year, I have a half dozen or more cameras working for me, documenting every animal which crosses their path. I’ve been able to track antler development, travel corridors, pinch points, bedding and feeding areas, and ultimately find the largest bucks with little disturbance to my hunting properties.

One has to choose their path and realize what they can do economically and research the opportunities within their grasp. No matter where you live there are mature animals to be hunted. Time may not be on your side, but technology can maximize your time and fulfill your dreams. Hunting smart will line your walls faster than just depending on dumb luck.

Attitude

As I try to portray my experiences in this article, I’m reflecting on my own life and trying to decode my own efforts to share. During a recent seminar, I was asked if I believe I’m a better hunter than others. My answer was no. I’ve just spent the time and energy in the wild environment to realize that nature has a plan for everything. We make our own destiny. After all, we are the ultimate predator.

I’ve seen what our Nations Mountains, hard woods, river bottoms, thickets, and farmlands have to offer. Years of trial and error have molded me into what I am. I’ve done my share of missing, wounding, and killing. Because of that, I know that, when presented with an opportunity, I will follow through and harvest the animal. But, I would let a trophy animal pass if he presents no shot rather than wounding him.

Conclusion

Today, we have generations of people who have not been exposed to what we as hunters take for granted. It’s up to us to take the time to involve as many kids as possible. Realizing this, I’ve made it an annual mission to donate a youth hunt and take a new hunter out to harvest their first animal in order to help save our heritage. It’s a rewarding and humbling experience.

The buck I mentioned at the beginning of the article was no ordinary animal for the State of Michigan. It was a world-class animal that I followed with my trail cameras for the last three years. I knew he would become an animal of epic proportions and elected to let him pass last season . . . not an easy task.

Twenty years ago, I would have never seen a buck of that stature. I would have been tagged out and happy. Who would have figured that decades later, I would spend hundreds of hours hanging in a tree waiting for a certain buck to cross my path and ultimately let him go?

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On October 23 of the 2012 season, I harvested that very same buck with my PSE X-Force. If I had taken him in the past December, he would not have evolved in to this 180-plus inch giant. I love when a plan comes together!

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


Better Optics Make for Better Hunting by PSE’s Dustin Jones


By Dustin Jones

http://www.highcountrybowhunter.com/

Out here in the west, my style of hunting is mainly spot and stalk, and just like any style of hunting, it requires a lot of scouting to pattern the animal and ensure that you will be hunting in the right area. Once you think you’re in the right area, you still have to find the animals before you can put a stalk on them. One of the most important pieces of equipment that you will find with me every time I hunt are my binoculars. A good quality pair of optics will go a long way in almost any hunting situation.

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The best way to spot and stalk is to spend a good amount of time spotting the hillsides and drainage areas. Finding where the animal is and watching what it is doing helps you to set up a game plan to put the sneak on. One thing to do is get to a high vantage point where you can sit and glass a large area. Spend the time scanning over the area, taking your time and looking for different shapes: ears, antlers, or any part of what could be a deer, elk, bear, or moose. You can see in the pictures below a nice bull moose that we were able to sit and glass in order to get a good look at him.

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I always pack my binoculars with me on every hunt, but when I am headed out on an elk hunt I make sure to pack my spotting scope as well. Being able to set up a spotting scope and just glass mountainsides gives me the advantage on locating the elk to construct a game plan. I use the Minox MD 50 W when I go elk hunting.  It is lightweight enough that I can throw it in my pack and not take up room while providing high magnification to allow me to get a good look at the animals I am chasing. When you are hunting spot and stalk elk, you definitely don’t want to be packing a lot of weight in your pack as you go up and down deep canyons while you are putting on the sneak. The size and weight of the MD 50 W is just right to take along with a nice lightweight tripod to set it up on.

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Once you spot the elk and you are putting the sneak on, pack up your spotting scope and rely on your binoculars moving forward. A durable and lightweight set of binoculars is vital when spot and stalk hunting. Again, trekking up and down steep canyons is difficult as it is and having a heavy pair of binoculars will just slow you down. The BL 10 x 44 binoculars from Minox provides just what you need. They are lightweight and quick to focus on the object, which is exactly the kind of performance you want as you’re putting the stalk on a herd of elk.

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When moving in closer to the elk, you need to stop and take a break every once in a while in order to make sure you are headed in the right direction and the elk haven’t decided to move in another direction. You always need to check on your progress as you move in to get a shot. You don’t want to just pick a spot and head that direction without stopping to check if the elk is still there. So always make sure that you can stay hidden but be able to check on the elk every now and then.

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The key point is to take the time to glass and make sure you have some quality glass. It will surprise you how much you are missing if you just take the time to slowly scan a mountain side. It takes a lot of patients to just sit and glass but in the end you will see more animals. Best of luck and enjoy this time of year as you get out and scout for the upcoming season. Be safe and enjoy!

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.


Bow Hunting Set-Up by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren


By Jared Bloomgren

As far as archery junkies we are all wanting to know what each other has decided to shoot for the year. What bow are you using? What arrows? Broadheads? Rest? Sights? Strings? Quiver? Stabilizers? Etc, etc…I get asked this question each and every year and decided to touch quickly on my set up and the best way for you to go about choosing your equipment.

There are so many options out there today in the archery world and quite frankly it can be very overwhelming to say the least! I have lost count as to how many companies are producing bows these days and if we start talking about accessories it is even more overwhelming! To someone just getting into the sport it can get very confusing very fast!

So where does one start? I would have to say that getting to the local pro shop and shooting as many different bows as possible is the best idea out there. Deciding on one bow and buying that bow only because your buddy told you to isn’t always the best option! Get out there and educate yourself, shoot as many different makes, brands, and models as you can to form your own opinion! Also don’t let the Pro Shop employees tell you what you need to shoot. You need to decide! They will set you up with the correct draw length and poundage; from there it should be up to you to.

Of course my set-up is going to be highly PSE related because that is who I am! I am a died in wool PSE guy through and through and have been shooting PSE’s for over 20 years and to this day I am happy with the results! PSE has always treated me right in regards to the equipment they provide to the consumer.

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So what PSE has been my favorite? PSE really starting changing the game in 2007 when they introduced the original X Force. The HF was a trend setter for sure as it was fast and a great shooter. But to date my 2012 Omen Pro is my favorite bow by far with the 2013 DNA right on its heals! These two bows remain in my arsenal for 2013 and I am also waiting on my 2013 Omen Max which I am sure will be just as stellar as my Pro!

So let’s focus on the PSE flagship bow for 2013 for a bit. My custom dipped Kryptek Highlander DNA fitted with premium America’s Best Bowstrings. I had the dip work done by Hydro-dip out of Utah and they do some great work! This bow has the best draw that I have ever experienced! Some feel that they don’t like the valley but that can also be adjusted. Me, I like the short valley as it makes me stay hard into the wall which in turn increases my accuracy and consistency. I have it set up with a 6 pin CBE Tek-Hybrid sight, Phantom drop away rest, 5” Vibracheck Omega stabilizer, and an Eclipse 6 arrow one piece quiver. I am spitting a 428 gr. Easton Carbon Injexion at 305 fps with a 28” draw and 70# draw. Fletching of choice is the 2” Fusions and Trigger Addiction wraps by Onestringer.

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My release of choice this year is either a Scott Archery Silverhorn or Wolverine.  My broadheads will be the Hartcraft Xchange in 100 gr. These heads are relatively new to the archery industry and you need to take a look! These things are amazing as you can choose from five different blade configurations with the same ferrule. Not to mention the ferrule is also under a warranty that no other company can compete with! Damage a ferrule, send it back and you have a new one on the way! I have also been awaiting some Ulmer Edge expandable heads to show up in the Deep Six thread. I will also test those to see how they will perform. From past testing of their other heads in the standard thread they have performed very well.

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Clothing of choice will of course be Kryptek apparel in Highlander. This camo pattern blends like no other I have tried! The gear is amazingly comfortable, versatile, and priced right. The 2013 line is off the hook! I will be running Crispi boots in the Nevada and Idaho. Tenzing packs will come in handy for the pack out jobs as well. Great combination for sure!

So in a nut shell that is my set-up for this year. Does this mean this is what you should be using? No it doesn’t. There are many, many options out there for everyone and finding what works best for you is very important. Ultimately, only you can decide. You can only be as successful as you are confident in your gear!

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.


Caring for Your Archery Gear by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

The off season is the perfect time for bowhunters to take the time to review what gear they have and what they might need to replace. Bowhunting in Southern California has many advantages; there is plenty of public land, you can hunt in many ‘no firearm’ areas, and deer season is much longer. Due to the different land, weather and lengthened seasons, many bowhunters forget to stay on top of one key ingredient – caring for your archery gear.

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One of the major factors in the deterioration of your bow parts is dirt getting into places it doesn’t belong. Add in the dry heat of SoCal and you have a recipe for disaster if your gear is not attended to regularly. I have learned over the years that after each hunting trip I go on, whether it be a day trip or a week-long adventure, I need to carefully look over my gear and clean it if necessary.

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Cleaning should be easy. Wipe dirt away with a rag and also use an air compressor to blow dirt and sand out of any small crevices. If the limb pocket grease spreads out or splatters, clean it up. Don’t use water or harsh abrasive cleaners, just compressed air and possibly a bit of alcohol on a rag. Do this with the limb pockets, any holes or crevices and also the additional components such as the sight, arrow rest, etc.

Wax the string on a regular basis, but don’t allow dirt or grime to build up. That means you are putting too much wax on the string. Rub it into the string and wipe away the excess. Once you have everything clean, shoot a few arrows and make sure everything is functioning properly.

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The same principles apply for your optics and release aids, too. Check the eyecups of binoculars for dirt and debris. If there is debris, clean it out, but USE CAUTION! Don’t just stick a rag in the eyecup and wipe as you could scratch the glass. Blow the majority out of there and then use an optics cloth to carefully clean the lens. With release aids, check the trigger for dirt and rust. Use a scent-free oil to lubricate the moving parts of the release often.

By carefully checking and cleaning your gear after each outing you will decrease the chances of any malfunctions that may arise and increase the life of your gear allowing you to focus more time on bowhunting.

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. 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 lives 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.


Hunting Ethics: Do We Need Them? by PSE’s Emily Anderson


By Emily Anderson

How is ethics related to the world of hunting, and why as hunters is it valuable to incorporate into our way of thinking?

Let’s first discuss the HOW.

To understand how hunting ethics affect the hunter, let’s consider the definition.  According to Webster, “ethics” can be defined as follows:

 A system of moral principles; the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.

There are not only written but unwritten rules of conduct recognized by the hunting community, which all play a role in the moral principles of hunting. The written laws are clearly outlined in each state’s rules and regulations and if they are broken there are obvious consequences, e.g., shoot something out of season with the wrong piece of equipment, and you may find yourself losing your license, paying a hefty fine, and wearing a new name of “poacher.”

Where the lines tend to blur and become a little gray is when we cross over and begin discussing the unwritten hunting ethics.  Sure, you may not be doing anything labeled illegal; however there still may be consequences.  It is this unwritten code of conduct that I actually think has a bigger impact on the hunting community if not taken seriously and ultimately can give a bad impression to the non-hunting community as well.
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Most of us as hunters have encountered a situation while out in the field that makes us a little uncomfortable, and we question whether what we just observed was ethical.  Deep down we know it may be wrong and it may simply be a battle to bite our tongue, move on and do the right thing.  For example, while hunting public land there is an unwritten code to not hunt on top of other hunters.  I understand that this may vary slightly depending on where you are hunting and how pressured a piece of public land is.

In my experience, I’m typically hunting in the mountains where there are plenty of entry / access points and not one trail head into an area.  Therefore, if you’ve gotten up early and beat everyone to a certain spot on the mountain or in the woods, you’ve earned the right to hunt that location.  Now you may be saying, “wait a minute…it’s public land and we all have the right to be there.”  Yes, I agree.  However, when there is an entire mountainside with several entry points, I’m not sure why you would park right next to someone and hike in on top of them.  It’s just rude. I understand that you might have heard a bugle and it sounded like a real elk, but it might be good to consider that either 1) it is the hunter in the truck you just parked next to, or 2) they are working a real bull and you just stepped into someone’s hunt.

Obviously there will always be exceptions and times when you simply can’t avoid bumping into other hunters in the field.  I would encourage us all to be aware of our surroundings, and if you notice you’ve crossed into someone’s hunt, back out graciously.  It is the ethical thing to do.
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As mentioned earlier, the unwritten hunting code of ethics can also spill over and have a negative effect on the non-hunting community if not taken seriously.  My challenge to all hunters is to always conduct themselves in a respectful manner while out in the field.  It means not leaving trash behind, respecting the animal by taking ethical well-placed shots, and even taking all your meat out of the field.  The list goes on.

I can attest that always striving to take an ethical shot can be challenging at times.  When you have an elk staring you down at 30 yards away and the shot presented is not ideal, it is decision time.  It takes every fiber in your being to make the choice of whether to shoot or not to shoot, and then you are left wondering after the moment passes whether you made the right one.

The #ELKTOUR DVD Season 1 has just been released which I was honored to be a part of last fall.  I was privileged to be able to preview the DVD in advance and got to relive the close encounters I had with elk last season.  While it was fun to watch and see our past hunt play out again before my eyes, I also had to witness one of these “moments.”  I made the decision to not shoot at the time through a small grove of aspens and after watching the video I found myself yelling at the screen, “SHOOT!”  However, the reality is I feel comfortable with my decision in the field.  Ultimately if the shot doesn’t feel right and I’m not comfortable taking it, bottom line is that I’m not going to release an arrow.  (If you watch this hunt, I bet you will have fun yelling “SHOOT!” right along with me.)

After digesting all of this, I’m left with the second half of my question – WHY is it important to incorporate hunting ethics into our way of thinking?

Ultimately, I think it is simply this … incorporating ethics into our hunting lifestyle reveals a portion of who we are as individuals and as a hunting community as a whole.  It encourages us to promote hunting in a positive light, realizing that our actions affect ourselves, fellow hunters, and the non-hunting community.  If we realize as hunters the importance of holding each other accountable to a higher standard, the idea of toeing the line somehow becomes less enticing.  My challenge to all of as hunters is to raise the bar to incorporate the best practice of ethical hunting into each hunt we embark on.

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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.


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