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Benefits of 3-D Archery by PSE’s Dustin Jones


By Dustin Jones

http://www.highcountrybowhunter.com/

Spring is here which means that I am getting closer to chasing antelope and elk. Predator hunting is the only season that I’m hunting right now but there is one more season that I look forward to this time of year. I am taking advantage of practicing and participating in the many upcoming 3-D archery shoots.

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There is so much you can learn and grow from as a bowhunter by shooting 3-D targets. I’m not saying that shooting a block target is bad or that you should only shoot 3-D targets. When you get the chance to shoot at a life-sized deer, elk, turkey, or any animal you are pursuing, you gain that experience that you otherwise can’t from just a block target. I wanted to share some of the benefits that I have gained.

Shot Placement

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Sure the vitals on a deer are all in the same place, just as every elk has their vitals in the same place. But what happens when you get an animal just slightly quartering towards you or away from you? What about if they are bedded down? There are so many different possible situations that you could encounter while hunting that you couldn’t possibly prepare for everyone, but you can prepare for a lot of them by shooting at life-size targets. Being able to set up a quartering shot, long distance shot, or even a kneeling shot will help prepare you for those situations better. You can also quickly walk up and analyze the shot placement, make any adjustments and try again.

Realistic Situations

You can see different situations and scenarios in this picture

You can see different situations and scenarios in this picture

You spot your animal and you notice that there will be just this one little opening for a possible shot, should you take it or let it pass? Setting up a realistic situation is very easy to do and great practice. Set up your target with some brush in the way so you have to adjust a little, or even set it up at odd distances instead of at the regular 20, 30, or 40 yards. Sometimes those shots that are 36 or 43 are just enough to get you to over-think your shot. The two shoots I mentioned in the beginning are great examples of this as they are set up on a mountain and you scale the mountain to take your shot on different animals in different situations.

Pure Enjoyment

Teaching my son Fynch while he's young

Teaching my son Fynch while he’s young

When I shoot either at the 3-D range or at a local shoot, I am usually with friends or family when I go. Being able to have great company and friendly competition always adds to the level of enjoyment. Let’s be honest, it is much more fun to shoot at something that resembles the animal you will be pursuing rather than a cube. Having friends or family share in the archery experience is priceless. My wife actually owns a bow but has made it very clear she does not want to shoot a live animal, but she loves getting out and shooting 3-D targets.

Fynch and his Bear

Fynch and his Bear

These are just some of the many benefits of shooting 3-D. There are plenty of opportunities to get out and experience shooting 3-D. What are some of the benefits that you have encountered?

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.


Spot Shooting with PSE’s Jared Bloomgren


By Jared Bloomgren

www.facebook.com/jaredbloomgren

With the bow seasons 2012 fading away and spring seasons of 2013 just around the corner, many of us are left with the anxious feeling of what to do next!? For many this causes some extreme anxiety as well! The past seasons are always engrained in our minds and 2013 seasons will be here before we know it. This applies even more to those that do not hunt during the spring time. Now is not the time to let your shooting fall to the back seat! There is never a time for that for the serious archer…..

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The past seasons are slowly fading away and leaving those important memories and lessons burned into our minds forever; we are left with the “off season blues.” Now is the time to freshen up a few of our skills while patiently waiting for the next season. Many people hang their equipment up and leave it alone until just before the next season. However, this is when it is a good time to sharpen up on your shooting skills. It will pay off in the future seasons to come.

I find it very comical when someone comes up to me and when asked how the shooting has been going I get a reply along the lines of, “I only pull the bow out to shoot it just before season to make sure it is still on.” The customer is always right, right? Well not in this case, I just smile and say that I disagree with their thinking 100%. Generally they are very receptive and listen to what I have to say and why I feel that way.  So what is there to do during the off season I am often asked?

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This may include some 3-D shooting, league shooting, outdoor ranges, or getting together with some friends in the back yard and flinging a few arrows while telling hunting stories. Although 3-D shooting is hard to beat, if you don’t have the time to get away and commit to these events like I do, there are other options. Something I enjoy doing during the off-season is what I like to call “spot shooting.” Others may know this as “stump shooting.” There is no set schedule, just whenever you can get away.

Now I know when I say “spot shooting” most instantly think about punching paper at a spots league from 20 yards or something similar. But not this guy! Nope…..think of shooting that will challenge you with various scenarios and shot situations. Various stance and positions, standing and sitting. Listen up!

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This is something I have been doing for quite some time now and it helps me out a great deal. I got this idea when I was younger. I would go hiking or go for walks in the outdoors looking for sheds or scouting for future seasons. I got to thinking, “Why don’t I carry my bow with me and shoot at different spots while I was out?” This has helped me a great deal with range judgment. (Keep in mind this should only be done away from people in secluded and/or designated areas.)

You are offered with many different shooting scenarios in changing terrain and conditions. Simply pick out a dark patch of grass, a cow pie (preferably dried up), mounds of dirt, or anything you can find to shoot at that won’t ruin your arrow! The possibilities are endless! Also just an FYI, rocks are not a good choice for obvious reasons. But it never fails that I usually end up finding the rock that I am not looking for from time to time.

But no matter what you decide, one does come across patches of rocks that are unseen by the eye. Trust me, you will go through a few arrows but if you pick your spots wisely it will keep broken and/or bent arrows to a minimum.

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I have found carbons to be more forgiving for this type of shooting for obvious reasons. Aluminum tends to bend pretty easy as we all know because it retains memory. The nice thing about carbon arrows is: if they are not broke they are usually good to go. I flex check my arrows often to avoid downfalls. I also tip my carbons with 100-grain Zwickey judo points or some style of rubber blunt. This will keep your arrows from skipping into the next county. The judo tip usually makes it quite easy to find your arrow after the shot. The tip does not allow the arrow to completely bury itself under grass or dirt. But don’t get me wrong; the judo tip does not make your arrow invincible to loss. I have plenty lying around out there as well as many busted arrows to prove this. Despite the loss of arrows, I feel this hobby has helped me out a great deal with range judgment and depth perception as well as different shooting positions and elevations.

I will also use my broadheads every chance I get as well. There is nothing like using your hunting set-up year round to perk your confidence in your ability and equipment. There are also rabbits and squirrels that you may run across while hiking, scouting, or shed hunting that all taste pretty good! Prairie dog towns are also another fun place to practice hitting small targets at extended ranges! They don’t taste near as good as a rabbit though!

So even if you shoot league, go to 3-D shoots, or fling arrows in the backyard, and/or you just simply want to try something different to put a bit of a spin on your shooting, try “spot shooting,” it just may be something the “off-season blues” called for…below are a few things I do.

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When I go on a family hike or with friends you will see me toting my bow along. It is a great way to sharpen up my skills and keep on my A game. I like to think of my bow as an extension of me. I often times get weird looks from others on hiking trails but if they are bowhunters they often think, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

It is also fun to get together with a few buddies and go for a long hike. Each person takes turns picking out what they want to shoot at along the way. Usually the one who makes the least effective shot goes and retrieves everyone’s arrows in an attempt to redeem themselves on the next shot. I also like to carry a pack with weight in it to help  learn the best ways to shoot with a pack on and the additional weight and how to maintain your form and balance. The various shot scenarios will help you determine how to keep the correct form when shooting angled shots. It is a fun way to add a little competition all while increasing your effectiveness.

Another thing I like to do while out is to push myself in order to get my heart rate racing and my breathing going full force. Quickly look around and pick something to shoot at and take the shot while huffing and puffing. This helps me to control my breathing while completing that shot. There have been numerous times that this has happened while hunting. Knowing how to shoot under these conditions can reap big rewards for you in a future hunt.

So this spring I will be out shed hunting, this summer I will be out scouting, I will be hiking, getting myself in shape, fixing fence, etc….the options are endless, but you will find me with my bow right there with me as I sharpen up on my shooting. Will you?!

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 Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren- Priceless


By Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren

Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren

PSE’s Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren & Friend

What makes hunting complete for many? What makes hunting have more of a meaning for many as well? If you haven’t guessed yet it is hunting with family and friends. Although I am a hardcore DIY bowhunter and hunt many areas and times a year alone (basically because others can’t keep up) it is still impossible to put a value on hunting with family and friends. The friendship and love that is shared and forged through time hunting is unlike any other event that you can do in my opinion. It is a very spiritually passionate relationship that is shared with others while in the field chasing your game of choice. It is very powerful as well when you hunt with someone that you have a relationship with that allows you to think alike when it comes to hunting. This can really benefit you and the other hunting with you as thinking alike will ultimately make you more successful.

I will be the first to admit that I cannot hunt with just anybody. They need to have the same passion and love for hunting that I do. When I hunt I am a very patient person and every move of mine is thought out and not hasty. This has allowed me to be very successful with my stick and string over the years. I also admit that I have much better success when hunting alone; with that being said, I will never pass up the opportunity to hunt with family and friends that I trust and I am comfortable with. The bond that is built and strengthened in these experiences cannot be broke and it cannot be forgotten. Here is one such instance:

Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren

PSE’s Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren

This last spring turkey season I look my 2 year old daughter Emmalynn hunting with me. I knew the chances of taking a gobbler with her noisy antics in the blind could be difficult. But I was ok with that. After all, I just wanted this experience to be something that would teach her a little bit about hunting. I wanted it to be a learning experience that can be built on year after year. The first few evenings in the blind she was loving the experience and she was very excited. I taught her how to use a slate call and she was making all kinds of racket and even pulled a long beard into range! Couldn’t believe it! When the tom gobbled, the look on her face was priceless! I didn’t even know he was coming in….what were the chances!? Her idea of spinning around in the blind singing “Ring Around the Rosie” didn’t allow that bird to stick around long enough for a shot. But I wasn’t bothered at all…..it was a learning experience for her and a very good one too. We watched other wildlife move past the blind such as deer and various birds. She had never gotten the chance to see wildlife in this setting and I could tell that her gears were turning as she watched them. She was hooked like I was many many years ago when I was hunting with my late father. On our last evening hunt we were able to call in 8 different turkeys and she was able to watch me make a good shot at 30 yards on a big gobbler. I didn’t expect to harvest a turkey with her along this last season, but when I was able to it forged and built our relationship and our love for hunting that much more! I look forward to future adventures with my daughter and younger son and anybody else who I am lucky enough to share this amazing sport with. So get out there with a loved one and have the experience of your life!

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 – Proud Bow Hunter


By Albert Quackenbush
SoCalBowhunter.com

Albert Quackenbush

PSE’s Albert Quackenbush Target Practice

Hunting has been in my family for as long as I remember. My dad and brother are the two best hunting partners a guy could ask for. We would spend all year discussing the previous year, the weather, where to place stands and when October would arrive so we could get in the woods. Sure, we hunted for small game and turkey, but the animal we most desired was the whitetail deer. I took it for granted, until I moved 3,000 miles away.

Where I grew up in New York State everyone hunted. When I moved to California that all changed. It was a new place with new friends who didn’t understand hunting. Then married a woman who doesn’t care for hunting, but she appreciates the passion I have for it. I am a proud bow hunter and I am not afraid to share it.

I have actually made some great new friends through bow hunting in California. Some of the guys are my new bow hunting partners. Every week we hit the archery range to practice and talk about the upcoming archery seasons and what we can hunt. I look forward to it each and every week.

Now that my daughter is three and a half, I have started sharing more and more of the outdoors with her. I have never hidden the fact that I hunt, nor will I be ashamed of it. Sometimes, when I am watching a hunting show on television, she’ll hop on my lap and point out the animals onscreen. It makes me proud to know she knows the animals and sees the hunters in pursuit of wild game.

When I get home wearing camouflage face paint, she often jokingly asks me if I am wearing makeup. Of course I reply that indeed I am!

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PSE’s Al Quackenbush Teaching his Daughter to Shoot

Just recently, my daughter and I ventured to a sporting goods retailer and we picked out her very first bow. While I was introduced to archery when I was nine, I figured she could start earlier if she wanted to. Sure, she’s not going want to focus on it for more than five minutes, but she should have fun and shoot some arrows like her dad if she wants to. Enthusiastically, she said that she wanted the bow and also loved seeing all of the taxidermy around.

The next day, we got her bow out of the package and she shot for the first time. Like most kids, she was frustrated at first. With a little patience and coaxing, she was shooting arrows and smiling in no time. You can bet that I will be sharing more bow hunting tips and techniques as we both age gracefully.

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.


PSE’s Dustin Jones – An Unforgettable Moment


By Dustin Jones
HighCountryBowhunter.com

PSE  Dustin Jones

PSE’s Dustin Jones & Son

Sharing my love for bowhunting is something that I truly enjoy. When my wife and I were dating, she didn’t know very much about hunting. In fact when she would come over and we would watch old hunting tapes or watch hunting shows, she couldn’t stand watching. I made sure not to force it on her but to share why I enjoy it so much. To show her how much fun it could be, I gave her a bow and we started shooting the 3-D range in the evenings whenever we could. Her comment to me was that she could shoot targets but not a real animal. This was perfectly fine with me. I get to take her out and practice and share my love for archery with my wife.

I get to share it even more now with my son. He just turned 3 and taking him to archery shoots to teach him just as my dad did is an experience that I will never forget. I got him his first bow not too long ago and seeing his face light up and how excited he got is an unforgettable moment. I knew the excitement he felt and I know now how my dad felt.

Dustin Jones

PSE’s Dustin Jones’ Son

I got to take my son to a 3-D archery shoot and start teaching him how to shoot his bow. This was truly a memorable experience. He loved to see all the animal targets and of course he had to carry his “noculars” (binoculars) just like his dad. We pretended we were hunting and had to look for the animal and then sneak up to make the shot. His first archery experience was a success! Spending that time passing on what I have learned from my dad onto my son was a moment I’ll never forget.

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.

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


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


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

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


Mike Hopkins Takes His First Buck with a PSE X-Force 7


PSE's Mike

PSE’s Mike Hopkins

Editor’s Note: Thirty seven year old of Junction City, Kansas, has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. Hopkins is a classic example of how to become a better bow hunter. Mike decided to shoot 3D archery just before he took his first buck with a bow. As you’ll see, Mike consistently has been able to take more animals and a wider variety of animals, since he’s incorporated 3D archery into his bow-hunting program.

PSE: Mike, why did you decide to start shooting PSE?

Hopkins: PSE bows have a reputation for being quality bows and demonstrating some of the latest technology in bow design. I also like the way they feel in my hands. When I decided to buy a new bow in 2008, I shot four or five different bows at the archery shop. I wanted to find out which bow felt the best to me, and which bow shot the best for me. Back then I chose the original X Force 7. I guess one of the main reasons I bought the bow was because of the grip. To me, that bow had the best and most comfortable grip of any bow I’d picked up and tested.

PSE's Mike Hopkins

Deer Hunting

The first buck I took with that bow was a little 6 point in Louisiana. The day was a typical bowhunting day. I wasn’t spotting many deer, but I did see a lot of squirrels. Off to my right and a little behind me, I heard a tree shaking, and I thought to myself, “That’s a bunch of squirrels in a tree. I’m really getting tired of seeing and hearing squirrels.” Then I got to thinking, “That tree’s a little too big around for squirrels to be making that much noise in it.” I had done my pre season scouting in this area and seen a lot of deer and signs of deer. This region had everything a deer needed and had all the indications of being a productive bow hunting spot. It was an oak flat with plenty of acorns and a little pond, and I found a trail where a lot of deer were crossing on one corner of the pond. I’d been bow hunting for a while and had shot several different bows, but when this buck showed up and walked out to within 20 yards of my stand, I drew my PSE X Force 7, released the arrow made a good hit and took my first buck. Although I’d been bow hunting for 4 years, I hadn’t had the opportunity to make a shot at a buck. I had taken a couple of shots at bucks with other bows but I’d never connected. One of the things I like about bow hunting is that just when you think you know everything there is to know about the sport, you learn something new. When you think you’ve got a deer figured out and know what he’ll do, he does the exact opposite of what you’ve guessed.

In my opinion, one of the misconceptions about bow hunting is caused by sitting at home and watching all the hunting shows. There you see the hosts on the TV shows always taking big bucks. But that’s not the way hunting happens for the average guy. Before I took this buck, I’d taken four or five other shots that I felt really confident about, and I’d never shot at a deer at more than 35 yards. I try to never take a shot at a distance further than I think I can be successful. I shoot a lot of 3D archery, and I believe that practice and experience with 3D archery helped me tremendously when I had an opportunity to take this buck. Shooting 3D archery, in my opinion, will help anyone be a better bow hunter. You get a lot of great practice time when you start shooting 3D archery.

PSE: Tell us what happened when you released the arrow on that first buck.

Hopkins: I was shooting downhill. The shot hit the deer in the spine, just above the shoulder blade, and took out one lung. The deer dropped where it stood, rolled down into a ditch and stopped 30 yards away from me. This buck wasn’t the most spectacular one I’d ever seen, but he was my first bow buck. I got him mounted. In my opinion, he was the best buck I ever took.

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


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


Target Archery

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

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

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

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

Target Shooters

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

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

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


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


Ladies in Archery

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

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

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

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

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

 

Couple Hunters

PSE’S Michael Braden

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

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

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


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


PSE'S Archer Georgianna Braden

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

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

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

PSE Georgianna

Georgianna Braden Shooting PSE

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

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


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


Target Shooters

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

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

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

Georgianna Braden Shooting PSE

PSE’S Georgianna Braden

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

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


Michael Braden’s Longest and Shortest PSE Shots


Long Shot

PSE’S Michael Braden

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short Shot

PSE’S Michael Braden

What about the short shot?

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

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

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

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


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


PSE Archery Bows

PSE’S Michael Braden

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

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

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

Hunting at any Age

PSE Bow Hunting

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

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

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

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


PSE’S Michael Braden Loves His PSE Bows


PSE Archery Compound Bow

PSE’S Michael Braden

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

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

PSE Archery

PSE Dominator Compound Bow

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

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

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


James Nickols’ First PSE Buck


PSE's Field Team Member - James Nickols

PSE’s Field Team Member – James Nickols

Editor’s Note: Forty seven year old James Nickols from Sparta, Missouri, a PSE Field Team member, has been shooting PSE for 5 years. I shot another company’s bows for several years. But when PSE came out with its original Dream Season bow, I fell in love with the technology built into the bow. I also liked the company’s target archery bow, the Moneymaker. I was shooting target archery back then too, so I switched to PSE. I was shooting as a semi pro on the ASA circuit and had several top 10 places in competition archery. I got into 3D archery to help me become a better deer hunter because I was missing deer with my bow and felt shooting 3D archery would help me.

The biggest buck I’ve ever taken, I took with my PSE Dream Season. A storm was coming in to our area. I was hunting in Bruner, Missouri, about 35 miles from Springfield. About an hour before dark, the deer started moving, and I was set up in the woods in a ground blind I’d built using sticks and limbs that I picked up. I was hunting close to a white oak tree on the edge of a field, and the deer were feeding on white oak acorns. This was the only white oak tree in the area, and the only way to get close enough to that tree to make a shot was to build a ground blind.

PSE Archery - Compound Bows

PSE Archery – Compound Bows

I was wearing Mossy Oak Bottom Land, and that pattern really blended in well with the limbs and branches I’d used for my ground blind. I was wearing Scent Lok base layer and had sprayed down with Dead Down Wind odor eliminator. The deer were coming out into the field and then coming to the acorn tree. I had pictures of this big buck on trail cameras, but the problem I had was that he was coming into the field from three different trails. On this day, a big thunderstorm was about an hour away. I thought the deer might feed up ahead of the storm, and that this 160-class buck hopefully would be with the other deer on the field. Forty-five minutes before dark, the buck came out into the field and started feeding about 100 yards away from my blind. He slowly fed my way. Finally, when he was 35 yards from the blind, he turned broadside, feeding with his head down. But when I drew, a huge gust of wind blew my scent directly to him. He raised his head and looked in my direction, before putting his head down and started to graze. When the deer’s head was down, I released the arrow.

I got a double lung shot and the buck only ran about 40 yards before he piled up. Just as I released the shot, the wind blew, and I lost sight of my arrow. However, I saw the buck kick his back legs in the air like a mule kick. Then he bolted and ran before going down. When I checked my deer for the entry point of the broadhead, even with that gust of wind, I was only about 2 inches off from where I was aiming. That’s one of the advantages you have with a Dream Season bow, because it shoots so hard and so fast, I’ve found the wind has little effect on the shot. This buck scored 162 Pope & Young points and some change. I was shooting the Carbon Express Game Tracker broadhead with a Maxima Hunter shaft.

I never hesitate to carry a chair, build a ground blind and shoot from the sitting position when I can’t find a tree stand site from which I want to shoot. Today, I can shoot out to 100 yards from the seated position. I don’t shoot game at that distance, but I do practice that 100-yard shot. I also can shoot fairly accurately from a tree stand at 100 yards. I’m confident I can take animals at 70 yards with my PSE bow, as long as the conditions are right.

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


PSE’s Christopher Perkins – Bowhunter Who Became a World Class Target Archer


Christopher Perkins - Bowhunter

Christopher Perkins – Bowhunter

Editor’s Note: Christopher Perkins from Athens, Ontario, Canada, has been shooting for PSE for the last 2 years. In 4 weeks of 2012, this 20 year old earned $18,000 in two professional archery tournaments – not bad for a summer job. But, Perkins never really set out to be a tournament archer winning championships and money and gaining sponsors. Like many tournament pros, Perkins just wanted to shoot better, so he could become a more proficient bowhunter. However, Perkin’s love of bowhunting and the desire to become a better bowhunter lead him to participate in archery competitions and world championships. He discovered like many of us have that the marriage between target archery and bowhunting produces a much better target archer and bowhunter than just choosing one of these two archery sports.

Question: Christopher, when did you start bowhunting for deer?

I went on my first deer hunt when I was 12 years old. I had to be 12 to get a license, and in Canada, you had to take a test before the government would issue you your license. I’d been shooting the bow for a year before hunting season began. I started bowhunting with my dad as soon as I got a license. That first year, I took my first deer, and it was a doe. I shot her at 4 yards. She came across the field and walked right past me. I drew my bow and took the shot. After she took the arrow, she ran about 50 yards and piled up.

Question: What did you feel like when you took your first deer with your bow?

I had a huge adrenaline rush. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. I thought I could take a deer out to 20 or 30 yards, but I’d only been shooting for a year. I couldn’t believe that I’d gotten within 4 yards of that deer before turning my arrow loose. I guess that first deer is what really fueled the fires of my archery career. I knew that target archery, at least for me, was a necessity to be a good bowhunter. Since I’ve had my PSE Vendetta, I’ve taken three other bucks with it. The first buck I took with a PSE bow on October 4, 2010, was an 8 point and I took him with my PSE Omen. The buck was 16 or 17 yards away, when I released my arrow. He only went 10 yards before he tipped over. I shoot a Rage Two Blade Broadhead, a mechanical broadhead that makes a big entry hole and a big exit hole. When you hit a deer with this broadhead, you don’t have to do much tracking. I was hunting on the edge of a food plot at a pinch point, where the deer funneled into the food plot. This buck was the only deer I saw that day. If you’ll aim behind the deer’s shoulder at mid body, you’ll have a pretty good hit. But, I try and aim at the center of what I consider a 2 inch target on each deer. Target archery has taught me to not look at the entire target, even though it may be 2 inches in diameter. So, when I’m at full draw on a buck and have picked out the spot I want the arrow to hit, I try and aim in the center of that spot. I concentrate on exactly where I want the arrow to go and forget about the deer, and keep my total focus on the spot I want to hit. Whether I’m shooting target archery or bowhunting, I want to make the spot I’m aiming at as small as possible. Every time I put my pin on a specific spot, I want to make a shot of a lifetime. I want to shoot the best arrow I’ve ever shot. Again, this philosophy comes from target archery.

Question: What type of sight are you using?

I use a multi pin sight for bowhunting called the Axcel Armortech Pro. My pins are set from 20 to 60 yards. So, when this buck came in, I put my 20 yard pin just a little bit low on the spot I wanted to hit, and the arrow went right into the buck’s heart.

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

Tomorrow: PSE’s Christopher Perkins Tells about His Invisible Buck and How He Took Him


Why PSE’s Marty Henrikson Believes Everyone Should Shoot 3D Archery


PSE’s Marty Henrikson

PSE’s Marty Henrikson

Editor’s Note: Many of the best archers in the nation, never start out trying to become the best target archers in the nation. Many of these archers are bowhunters who decide to shoot target archery in the off season to increase their shooting proficiency. Off season target practice helps them to develop better mental attitudes and confidence to better equip them for taking shots when they’re hunting and animals come within bow range. When you’re shooting with a group of target archers, whether you’re shooting dots or 3D targets, when you step up to the line, all eyes will be on you. Everyone is looking at you, hoping that you won’t shoot as accurately as they have. When you first start shooting, you feel the same pressure that you may feel if a buck steps out in front of you within range. However, the more you shoot target archery in the off season, the less that pressure will affect you.  Whether you’re shooting 3D or dots, you learn to focus and concentrate on hitting a small part of a much larger target. Your target archery practice will come in handy when the deer, the elk, the bear or any other big game animal steps in front of you in a hunting situation. Instead of trying to shoot the entire animal, you can focus and aim at a small spot on that animal and be confident that you will shoot accurately. Too, when you’re hunting, a range finder can help you determine the distance of specific objects from your stand. However, many times an animal will come in from a direction you haven’t ranged, and you won’t know the distance of the animal. So, 3D targets can be helpful in preparing for situations like these to practice shooting at unknown distances. Many outdoorsmen are convinced that to become better bowhunters, they need to consider the possibility of shooting target archery this summer. You’ll not only be a better shooter, but you’ll be able to shoot with more confidence, one of the most critical elements for shooting accurately.

Question: Marty, why have you continued to hunt with PSE bows for 36 years?

The main thing I look for in a bow is how reliable is it. When you’ve got a big game animal in front of you that you really want to take, that’s not the time to have a problem with your bow. I’ve found that PSE bows are always smooth. Too, as I’ve aged, the PSE technology has continued to improve over the years. I’ve been able to turn down the weight of my PSE bows and still shoot with more energy coming out of the bow than previous bows I’ve used.

Question: What poundage of bow have you shot in the past, and how many pounds are you presently pulling?

Years ago I shot a 90 pound bow now. Today, I shoot bows in the 60 and 70 pound range, and these PSE bows are producing more energy with less weight than the bows I once shot.

Question: Marty, how much did shooting tournament archery help you as a bowhunter?

Shooting tournament archery was the most valuable tool I utilized to improve my accuracy. Whenever I leave a 3D archery shoot, I am reminded that I can shoot accurately at any range. I developed a great deal of confidence at shooting all types of targets, including different measures of angles and under any conditions. When range finder technology first came into use in the archery industry, my shooting became more accurate. In the early days, we missed a lot of critters, because the bows were slower, and we hadn’t become proficient in estimating distance. 3D archery has helped to increase this accuracy.

Question: Marty, why would you suggest for a newcomer to the sport of archery to shoot tournament archery during the hunting off season?

I know this greatly will improve his accuracy in the field. Too, tournament archer will increase the newcomer’s confidence and his ability to shoot the bow at any targets and distances, whether he’s shooting dots, 3D archery or taking game.

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


PSE’s Marty Henrikson Has Bear’s Teeth and Claws at 15 Yards


PSE’s Marty Henrikson

PSE’s Marty Henrikson

Editor’s Note:  Marty Henrikson of Tucson, Arizona, has been shooting PSE bows for 36 years. Henrikson, an avid bowhunter, competed for many years on the 3D archery circuit and also won the Arizona Cup in the compound division.

Question: Marty, tell us about your close encounter with a big bear.

I was hunting during springtime in Santa Rita. My friend and I both drew bear tags, and we’d been waiting a long time to get a tag for a certain area. These tags were hard to come by, so we were really excited. Eight weekends before the hunt we spent time setting up trail cameras, scouting water holes and glassing, looking for bears. We found a decent population of bears in a certain part of the region we were to hunt. We decided to make this the section of land where we would set up and hunt from there. On the second day of the hunt, my friend had gone to sit around a water hole, and I was stalking. I spotted some bears coming up to a cut. I knew that once the sun started to come up, the bears wouldn’t want to stay out in the open but would prefer to get into thick cover. I decided that I’d try and use a predator call to call one of the bears back to where I was. I sat up on a rock that was somewhat elevated and I started blowing on a jack rabbit in distress call. However, I blew the call to make it sound like a baby bear squalling. I had been blowing on the call for about 20 minutes and was almost ready to give up. Suddenly, I heard something in the bushes, and I looked up to see a big black bear coming toward me.

While the bear was making his way toward my call, he kept trying to get downwind of me. The bear wanted to smell what he was hearing, before he made the decision to come in completely. I decided to keep calling and let the bear continue to come in, knowing that at a particular point he would cross my scent trail, smell me and probably take off. I decided that I had to take the bear before he reached that scent trail. As the bear continued to come closer, the situation felt increasingly intense. I could see that this was a really big bear, and he looked to weigh between 350 and 400 pounds. Finally, the bear came to within 15 yards from where I was and turned broadside. I knew he was only seconds away from smelling me. Fortunately, I was able to get my bow pulled back and hang on to my composure long enough to be able to aim carefully and release the arrow. I hit the bear right in the lungs. Surprisingly, the bear didn’t run, but just turned and walked about 10 steps away. Then he looked back at me, and fell over.  I took that bear with a PSE AR 34.

Tomorrow: Why PSE’s Marty Henrikson Believes Everyone Should Shoot 3D Archery

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


The Elk Hunt That Took PSE’s Marty Henrikson 10 Years


 

PSE’s Marty Henrikson

PSE’s Marty Henrikson

Editor’s Note:  Marty Henrikson of Tucson, Arizona, has been shooting PSE bows for 36 years. Henrikson, an avid bowhunter, competed for many years on the 3D archery circuit and also won the Arizona Cup in the compound division.

Question: Marty, tell us about the elk that took you 10 years to hunt.

One of the prime units for taking trophy elk in Arizona is Unit 10, and I had made up my mind that I was going to hunt this unit. Since Unit 10 was known for having giant elk, I decided that regardless of how long the hunt took, I was going to hunt the unit. For 10 years, I put in to hunt this unit, and finally on the 10th year, I was drawn. When I finally drew the tag, I was more than excited. I made a point to scout the unit before the hunt. On the second day of the hunt, I was up and moving long before daylight. I went to a spot where I thought I could hear elk bugling, and I bugled before first light. I had elk bugling all around me. I could tell there was a bull in the distance that was moving my way. I was hunting with a friend of mine, who stayed behind me to do the calling. Just at daylight, my friend made three cow calls, and we watched the bull come in until he was about 30 to 40 yards away from us. I drew the bow and was at full draw, when I think the bull spotted me. The bull expected to see the cow that had been calling, and when he didn’t see her but saw me instead, he turned back and went in the direction from which he had come. However, when the bull was at about 60 yards, he turned and looked back, giving me a broadside shot. I took the shot with my PSE Mach 6. After the elk went down, I went over to him, and my buddy went to get the truck. We spent 3 hours skinning, field dressing and butchering the animal. Fortunately, we didn’t have too far to carry the meat once it was quartered, since my friend was able to bring the truck fairly close to where we were. This bull had a 52 inch wide spread and scored 135 inches.

One of the advantages of shooting tournament archery is that you have the opportunity to build a lot of confidence in your ability to shoot accurately from many different distances. In the West where I hunt, most of the archers practice shooting out to 100 yards. Our terrain is so open that most of the time you expect to have to take a shot at more than 30 yards. If you practice at distances from 0 to 100 yards, you can build your confidence to know you can make a 100 yard shot. Then, if an animal shows up inside 100 yards, you will feel confident in your ability to make a good shot, and the arrow will fly true. Because of this 100 yard practice shooting, I felt really confident that I could make a lethal hit on an elk size target at 60 yards. That was a great hunt, and this is the biggest elk I’d ever taken.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Marty Henrikson Has Bear’s Teeth and Claws at 15 Yards

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


PSE’s Marty Henrikson Takes a 170 Class Bow Buck


PSE’s Marty Henrikson

PSE’s Marty Henrikson

Editor’s Note:  Marty Henrikson of Tucson, Arizona, has been shooting PSE bows for 36 years. Henrikson, an avid bowhunter, competed for many years on the 3D archery circuit and also won the Arizona Cup in the compound division.

Question: Tell us about another deer you’ve taken with your PSE bow.

In 1973, I took a very memorable mule deer. I glassed him when he was up on a hill, and then he moved down into some flats. I had seen the buck in the morning and went back later in the day to try and hunt him. He had been traveling with a lot of does in the morning, and that made him hard to stalk.  When I went back in the afternoon, I found the buck again, but he only had one doe with him. So, I was certain I could get in close enough to get a shot, and I started stalking the deer. Moving silently, and using the terrain and cover to keep the buck from seeing me, I came to within 30 yards of the deer. When I’m stalking, I like to use my binoculars to see how and where the deer is moving. I only will take a half or one whole step before taking another look at the deer. I’ve learned that by going slow, and constantly reading the deer’s attitude as well as his movement, I can make better decisions on when and where to move, and where the deer is going.

After I had moved about 15 yards, the doe spotted me and started stomping her feet. When the doe saw me, I was on my knees crawling. Although she knew there was something moving in front of her, she wasn’t really sure what I was. She continued to close the distance between us, but was at full alert. The doe walked up to within 35 yards of me, and then started to turn to leave the area. The doe was out in front of the buck and now was staring at me. I went ahead and drew my bow, but the buck still wasn’t sure of what I was. So, he hesitated. Before the buck turned to leave, he gave me just enough time to release my arrow. I took that buck with a PSE Mach 6. When I saw that the big 170 class buck was down, I walked over to him and marked a waypoint on my GPS receiver. I always carry a hand held GPS receiver in my pack. Usually I have to walk to the truck and get my freighter pack and then walk back to the deer to butcher and pack him out. That hand held GPS makes finding your deer much easier when you go back in to bring him out. The type of country I hunt usually doesn’t give its hunters the advantage of being able to get an animal to the nearest road. Most western hunters know that when we take a mule deer or a Coues deer, we will have to do our own field dressing, skinning and packing the animal out in the field. For this reason, I always bring along a frame pack and a GPS. I don’t like to hunt with a frame pack on my back, so I usually leave it in the truck. I’ll mark a waypoint spot where I park the truck on the GPS and then also mark a waypoint where I leave the deer. When I mark these waypoint spots, it makes traveling to and from the truck and my deer quicker and easier. I can get to my pack, go back to the deer, carry out the first load of meat, make a return trip and depending on how big the animal is, get the rest of the deer out as soon as possible

Tomorrow: The Elk Hunt That Took PSE’s Marty Henrikson 10 Years

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


A Hunter’s Dream Bow and Buck with PSE’s Marty Henrikson


PSE’s Marty Henrikson

PSE’s Marty Henrikson

Editor’s Note:  Marty Henrikson of Tucson, Arizona, has been shooting PSE bows for 36 years. Henrikson, an avid bowhunter, competed for many years on the 3D archery circuit and also won the Arizona Cup in the compound division.

Question: Marty, why did you start shooting PSE bows?

I started shooting PSE bows as soon as I discovered that recurve bows weren’t very efficient. Even back in those days, like today, PSE had some of the newest technology in bow design. PSE made a bow called the Pacer, and as a graduation gift from high school, I received the PSE Laser Magnum.  I was very successful with the Laser Magnum and hunted with it for several years. The Laser was so dependable; I never saw a reason to change from PSE bows.

Question: Do you strictly bowhunt, or do you also shoot target archery?

For a number of years, I competed on the 3D archery circuit. I was also fortunate enough to compete in the Arizona Cup and won it a few years ago in the compound division. However, since that win, I’ve primarily been a bowhunter.

Question: What’s one of the best animals you’ve taken with your PSE bow?

In 2006, I took the number three Coues deer in the world taken with a bow. The buck scored just over 119 on the P&Y scale. In Arizona, we have a September hunt. At that time of the year, we normally sit over water holes to hunt, because it’s usually hot and dry, and the deer come to water holes. But in 2006, we had had a wet September, and there was plenty of water. So, I decided to go out and stalk. I found a group of deer with five bucks ranging in sizes from a spike up to the nice deer I took. My deer was a 4X4, which is considered a 10 point by eastern count. The herd of bucks was on the move, and I was hoping I could watch them bed down. The deer kept moving, and I finally lost sight of them. Because I knew the direction they were traveling, I decided to go look for them, once they were out of my sight. I was on a rock outcrop by the time I got close to the spot where I’d last seen the bucks. I spotted some movement below me, which was a whole herd of deer. The deer came out directly below me, and I ranged them at 35 to 40 yards.

The first two bucks in the herd were spikes – two nice looking 3 points, which were considered 8 points by eastern count. On any other hunt, I would have been happy to have a chance to take either one of those deer. Each of those bucks was in the 90 to 100 point range on Pope & Young, but I had seen that big buck and wanted to wait for him. Finally, my big buck showed up in the back of the herd. When my buck stepped behind a cedar tree, I drew my bow and waited. I had to hold my bow for a long time, waiting for him to step out from behind the tree. When he finally came out and presented a clean shot, he was at such a severe angle to me that I had to put my 30 yard pin about 2 inches above the bottom of his chest. The arrow entered the deer about 78 inches above where I was holding my 30 yard pin and went out the other side of the deer, taking out both lungs. He ran about 50 yards and stopped, and I got to see him fall over. Because I was hunting by myself, I had to field dress, pack the deer and put him in a freighter pack. I took that deer with a PSE AR 34.

I knew how to aim because of my years in tournament archery, and especially from being at the Redding Shoot in Redding, California. That entire tournament required the archer to estimate range from the tops to the bottoms of the hills, and all the distances in between.  It was at that tournament that I really learned how to shoot accurately from a severe angle above the target. Too, if you live in Arizona, rarely will you ever shoot an animal on level ground.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Marty Henrikson Takes a 170 Class Bow Buck

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


PSE’s Pro Rocky Drake Explains How to Get Ready for Deer Season


Rocky Drake3

Editor’s Note: PSE Pro Rocky Drake of Huntsville, Alabama, has shot PSE bows for 15 years and has been a part of the PSE pro staff for 10 years. He hosted “Rocky Drake Outdoors,” a regional TV show in the Southeast, and several years ago, hosted season one of the “PSE Adventure Bowhunting” television series on the Outdoor Channel. He’s an avid deer hunter and has evolved throughout the different phases of deer hunting to become a master of the sport. Drake shoots the PSE Bow Madness. This week, he’ll tell us how to prepare for deer season before the season opens.

Planting Green Fields to Prepare for Deer Season

Question: Rocky, what do you like about the PSE Bow Madness?
I like the way it feels in my hand. It has a small grip, and it’s lightweight. The Bow Madness is a single cam bow, and it’s really fast. Most importantly, the Bow Madness is very forgiving. I need a bow that’s forgiving, because I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest archer.

Question: How are you preparing for deer season right now?
I’m thinking about deer season right now more than I’m working to prepare for it. Since Alabama’s bow deer season doesn’t start until mid-October, I won’t start thinking about the season and preparing for it until about mid-August. The weather’s too hot right now to do much of anything in the woods. I don’t even start planting my green fields until mid-September.

Question: What do you plant in your green fields?
I plant Mossy Oak BioLogic Green Patch Plus and Big Buck Blend, which I get from the Alabama Farmers Co-op store. Last year, I planted about a 2-acre cornfield, and the deer wore-out that cornfield. There was a pile of deer coming into that cornfield last season.

Question: If your cornfield was so successful, why didn’t you plant it again this year?
I’ve got an old barn on my property in Tennessee that I’ve been converting into a camp house, where my wife and I can stay during hunting season. Planting a cornfield takes a lot of time. You also need plenty of equipment for turning, disking, fertilizing and planting. I didn’t have the time this year to get it done. I’ve learned that to have a really good stand of corn, you have to rotate your crop every year. So, I plan to plant Mossy Oak BioLogic Green Patch Plus, because I can kill the weeds, plow the ground, fertilize it, sow it and culti-pack it just before a rain. I only have four food plots I plant, and I’ll plant two of those plots with Green Patch Plus and the other two with Big Buck Blend. I prefer to mix-up my green fields and use different types of plantings to give the deer a choice of what they want to eat.

The Green Patch Plus has some seeds in it that the Big Buck Blend doesn’t. These are my basic two plantings, and then I sweeten both those with a mix of Australian peas, ladino clover, chicory and turnips. After I’ve culti-packed the Green Patch Plus and the Big Buck Blend, then I watch the Weather Channel on TV. When I see a rain coming to the area where my fields are, I try to top sow these other seeds just ahead of the rain. If you don’t watch the weather and sow your chicory, ladino clover and turnips just before the rain, the birds will eat up all the seeds. I’ve found that one of the main ingredients for a productive green field is studying the weather to make sure you’ll have enough moisture in the soil to germinate the seeds once you’ve planted them. I’ve also learned to plant the chicory, turnips and clover seeds no more than 30-yards from where I’ll hang my tree stands, to create sweet spots on the edges of my green fields. When I’m in my tree stand, the deer have more incentive to feed in front of that tree stand. Planting a green field is a good idea, and the bigger the green field, the more deer you’ll attract. However, as a bowhunter, I don’t want to just attract deer to my green field. I want them to focus their feeding and activity on an area within bow range. So, if you’re a bowhunter and you plant green fields, make sure you have some of your best plantings within bow range of your tree stand.

How to Physically Get Ready for Bow Season

Question: Rocky, how do you get in physical shape for bow-deer season?
When you’re shooting a bow with a lot of draw weight, you have to start getting your muscles in shape earlier than the rest of us who pull less weight. I’m only pulling 65 pounds. Remember that I’ve been shooting a bow for more than 30 years. I haven’t hunted with a rifle since 1977. So, for me, getting in the physical and the mental shape to go bowhunting is much like riding a bicycle. Once you learn it, you rarely forget it. I don’t practice shooting a lot before the season. With bow season in Alabama starting in the middle of October, I don’t start shooting my bow until about the middle of August, which is when I get serious about my practice. I’ve learned that if I start shooting early in the summer, I get burned out and bored and start slacking off just before hunting season, but I want to be shooting the best during hunting season. Another big advantage I have is that PSE bows don’t change from one year to the next. I haven’t shot my bow since last deer season, but I can pick up that bow and take it out in the backyard, and it will shoot just like it has last season. If my bow needs tuning, I’ll take it to the pro shop and let the folks there tune it. However, I’ve been shooting the Bow Madness for a couple years, and I’m not doing anything to it. It stays in tune. All I have to do is pick up the bow. Many guys like to tinker with their bows. Tournament archers are always trying to get the maximum performance they can get out of their bows. But I want to be in the woods hunting. I don’t want to be fiddling with my bow. The past 2 years, once my bow’s tuned up, I haven’t done anything to it. When I get a piece of equipment that works, I don’t want to mess with it.

Question: When you get ready to start practice shooting, how many arrows will you shoot a day?
I don’t shoot a dozen arrows at a time. I shoot three arrows, come down, pull those arrows and then shoot with them again, until my form gets sloppy. Then I quit. I’ll probably shoot the bow about 36 times a day. When I’m not hitting the target the way I think I should, I quit. If I don’t quit when I know I’m shooting poorly, I’ll pick up bad habits.

Question: How much more time do you spend shooting, the closer you get to deer season starting?

I don’t increase the number of arrows I shoot each day, but I don’t stop shooting during the season. When deer season comes in, many deer hunters spend a lot of time hunting and only a small amount of time practicing. That’s a mistake. I continue to shoot as much during the season as I have prior to season. You need to be the most serious about practicing during the season. When you draw that PSE bow back, you don’t need to wonder if you can make the shot. You should know from practice that you can make the shot. I don’t hunt much in the mornings. I’m primarily an afternoon hunter. So I, take time in the mornings to shoot my bow, to be confident in my shot. I always shoot six to 12 arrows before I climb in my tree stand to hunt. I don’t just take my bow out of the back of my truck and climb into a tree stand. Instead I shoot my bow six to 12 times first. This procedure builds-up my confidence in my ability to make the shot when a buck presents a shot. Also, when I’m practicing, I always shoot out of a tree stand. If I’m hunting in the West, where I’ll have to shoot from a ground blind or off my knees, I’ll practice shooting out to 40 or 50 yards from a chair or on my knees.

Rocky Drake2

PSE’s Rocky Drake Explains How to Scout for Deer During Bow Season

Question: Rocky, how do you scout for deer during bow season?
Trail cameras take a lot of the work out of scouting. A trail camera can show you the size of the deer on the property where you’ll be hunting. I generally put out four to six trail cameras on my hunting lands. In August, I put the cameras over salt licks and watering holes, because August in Alabama is really hot. Those deer need that salt. I want to know what bucks are on the property, because I want to hunt the oldest bucks.

Question: How many bucks will you generally try to hunt on the 1,000-acre property where you hunt?
Each year, I’ll see one or two bucks that I really want to hunt. I usually see more bucks than that, but I prefer to take only mature bucks. Last season, I didn’t even shoot a buck. But the year before, I took two young bucks. You can’t always pick out the buck you want to hunt, because when the rut starts, bucks will show up on your trail cameras that you may never have seen earlier. About 2-years ago, I took a wide racked buck that I never got any pictures of on my trail camera; he just showed-up one afternoon, and I took him.

Question: How do you hunt during the rut?
I set up my cameras in travel areas where I see a lot of deer activity coming into bottlenecks and pinch points. Once the rut begins, I’ll start spotting bucks that I don’t usually see on the property. I don’t really like hunting the rut, because the bucks are so unpredictable. I like to hunt before and after the rut. When I’ve watched deer during the rut, and 10 or 15 does are out on the green field, the buck may come out into that green field, pick up a doe, cut her out of the herd and take her to a thick cover area. Then I may not see that buck or doe again for 2 or 3 days. Or, a buck may be chasing a doe, and I can’t get him to stop long enough to take a shot at him. If you’re hunting with a rifle, the rut’s a great time to hunt. If you’re hunting with a bow, the rut’s a terrible time to hunt, in my opinion.

When to Hunt Trail Camera Bucks

Question: Rocky, once you decide on the buck you want to take, how do you hunt him?
That’s a hard question. About 2 years ago, I got a couple of photos of the biggest deer I’d ever seen on my property. I decided to try to hunt that buck, so I started hunting him in all the spots where I’d seen him on the trail camera. But he seemed to have vanished at the first of bow season. Then he showed up again on my property, just as the rut started. I saw the deer several times, but he’d either be chasing a doe or be out of bow range. This buck was such a nice size buck that when I saw pictures of him on my trail camera, I made the decision that I wouldn’t shoot him, unless he was at 30 yards or less.

One time I saw him at 35 yards, and another time I had him at 38. I hunted that buck the entire deer season, but I didn’t have a chance to take him until the last day of deer season. I finally closed the deal on that buck at 1:00 pm. A buck like that can get under your skin. On the day I took this buck, I saw him out in a hayfield in the warmest part of the day. Because I knew he’d return to his bedding area, I circled around in front of him, climbed beside a trail I knew he’d take and then waited for him to show up. The secret to taking the buck was hunting him at a time of day I’d never hunted him before and from a stand I’d never hunted from previously.

Young Bowhunters Don’t Need to Be Trophy Hunters

Question: Rocky, what tip about deer hunting will you give a young bowhunter who’s just getting started?
A young bowhunter doesn’t need to be a trophy hunter; he needs to shoot any buck he sees and wants to take. Don’t get caught up in this trophy hunting phase that seems to be prevalent today. Shoot as many does as you legally can take in the season. The only way you learn how to take deer is to take deer. Targets, even 3-D targets, don’t present the problems a young bowhunter will encounter when he attempts to take deer with a bow. You don’t have the pressure on you when you’re shooting a target in the backyard like you do when you’re trying to take a wild animal. Actually I’m under more pressure when I’m trying to take an older age class doe than when I’m trying to take an older age class buck. The older doe is smarter, more alert and can pick out a hunter in a tree faster than an older buck can.

Remember that the only difference between shooting an older doe and a trophy buck is the antlers on the buck’s head. You take the antlers off the old buck’s head, and you’ve got an older doe standing in front of you. Young bowhunters should take any deer they legally can take, and not worry about trophy bucks. Yes, I like to pick out one or two mature bucks on the property I hunt and take those bucks each year. But remember, I’ve taken several hundred deer. Just because I want to hunt this way doesn’t mean a young hunter should hunt this way. Bowhunters go through several phases of bowhunting. First, they need to take deer with their bows. Next, they need to take a number of deer with their bows. Then, they usually want to take big bucks. Next, they want to take a good number of big bucks. Finally, they want to identify one or two mature bucks each season and see if they can take those mature bucks. At this point, the hunt becomes more important than getting the deer.

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


PSE’s Michael Braden Tells Why Archery Coaching is Important


Editor’s Note: Michael Braden of Houston, Texas, has won both ASA 3-D tournaments and IBO tournaments. He’s won seven national championship titles and four Male Shooter-of-the-Year titles. In 2004, he won the first and the second legs of the IBO Triple Crown, and he claimed the title of IBO National Triple Crown Champion and IBO National Triple Crown Team Champion in the same year. He’s won the NFFA Male Shooter of the Year, the ASA Rookie of the Year and many state and local tournaments. He bought his first bow at a pawn shop in 1989, shot his first archery tournament in 1991 and became a professional staffer with PSE in 1996. As well as being a tournament archery shooter, Braden’s an archery coach.

PSE’s Michael Braden on How to Overcome Target Panic

Question: Michael, how long have you been a coach?

I started coaching in the mid-1990s. I was working at an archery shop and helping people learn how to shoot their bows. I’ve increased the amount of coaching I’ve done over the years.

Question: We usually think of an archery coach as being a coach for tournament archers. But does a bowhunter also need an archery coach? How can you help bowhunters?

Every one in a shooting sport should have a coach. A coach keeps a person pointed in the right direction and helps him or her stay grounded in the fundamentals of shooting. A coach also teaches the proper techniques for many aspects of shooting to help prevent symptoms of target panic. Target panic is a difficult thing for some people to understand. The word bowhunters use to describe this is buck fever. Many people will see an archer shoot, and when the archer isn’t shooting as well as they think he should, they’ll say that the archer has target panic. As a hunter, you set yourself up to have target panic, because you believe you have to control the release at the very moment the animal stops or walks into a shooting lane. Too, because bowhunters are in the woods all day, sitting-still in tree stands for hours, they may be cold. But more importantly, the number-one problem bowhunters have is they believe they have to control their releases. That belief sets-up bowhunters for making a bad shot or missing the animals they’re hunting.

Question: Let’s use a bowhunter in a tree stand as an example. He has a 250- to a 300-pound 12-point buck in front of him that will score 150 or more on Boone & Crockett. This buck is the biggest one this hunter ever has seen. Now he has to stand, draw and make the shot. How does a bowhunter overcome this problem?

That situation is exactly why a bowhunter needs a coach. The coach will teach you proper fundamentals and shot sequence and execution. Then when that animal presents that shot, you go through a shot process, rather than thinking about how many inches of bone are on that deer’s head.

Question: What’s the shot process?

The only reasons the hunter needs to look at the animal is to determine if it’s a shooter buck, how far away the animal is, and where the spot is on the animal that he’ll stare at to execute the shot. That’s the shooting sequence. You go through that same shot sequence just like you will in practice or if you’re shooting a 3-D tournament. You decide if you’ll take the shot, what distance you are from the target and where on the target to place the arrow. Whether the target is paper or a deer, the process is the same. The second step is the execution of the shot. I come to full draw, take a deep breath, hold my breath, feel my anchor, wrap my finger around the trigger and let my finger touch the trigger. Then I get lost because I’m so intently focused on the spot I want to hit that I’m not conscious of the bow’s firing. Actually pulling the trigger on the mechanical release is a subconscious process that the hunter shouldn’t think about.

PSE’s Michael Braden Explains Shooting Form and Style in the Field

Question: Michael, most bowhunters will be shooting from tree stands or ground blinds. Since the shooter won’t be standing at the line like he will be at an archery tournament, how can an archery coach teach form and shooting style? More than likely, the shooter won’t be able to place his feet correctly like he will if he’s standing at the line shooting an archery tournament. Too, he probably won’t have the proper posture like he will in an archery tournament. How do you coach a hunter to have proper form when he’s sitting in a chair in a ground blind or possibly in a tree stand and has to bend-over to shoot under a limb?

First, I’ll coach the shooter to maintain the best form he or she possibly can, whether he’s in a tree or sitting in a chair in a ground blind. I also coach my shooters to practice sitting in a chair and shooting from a ground blind. Sitting in chair not only changes your form, but it also changes your stability. When I coach bowhunters, I have them practice shooting from their chairs and tree stands. I try to simulate all the different ways a hunter may have to contort his body to get-off a shot. I coach my students to shoot as far as they can to the left and the right in practice, because I know a bowhunter doesn’t know exactly where a deer will appear. The bowhunter needs to find out how he can move his body to get-off an effective shot. He also needs to practice from a tree and shooting uphill and downhill from a ground blind. One of the tactics I recommend to my students is to practice every-possible shot they think they may be called upon to make well before deer season. Don’t just stand in the backyard, and shoot the same target at the same distance on level ground every day.

Question: The form a bowhunter uses is often completely opposite of the form a tournament archer uses. If you’re trying to get a hunter ready for bow season, and you put him in a tree stand and turn him sharp to the left and the right or have him half standing to simulate shooting under a limb, how do you correct his form to enable him to shoot properly from a sitting position?

The bowhunter’s form isn’t completely different from the tournament-archer’s form. I agree that rarely does a tournament archer have to shoot from a seated position in competition. However, it’s very likely that the bowhunter will have to shoot from a seated position. In coaching a bowhunter, I’ll take him to the extreme limits of his ability to execute an effective shot. I want that hunter to know what angle or body position is too extreme for him to shoot effectively. Once we know that, then we can determine where a deer or any other animal has to be for the hunter to take or not take the shot. A bowhunter sitting in a tree needs to know when a deer’s at such an extreme angle that he’ll have to contort his body into an extreme position to make an effective shot. In bowhunting, understanding when not to shoot is just as important as knowing when to shoot.

Knowing the extreme angles from which you can shoot plays an important role when considering stand placement. When I’m coaching, I have the bowhunter sit in a chair like he plans to hunt. In other words, if you’re sitting in a ground blind or a tree stand, where will the target be? Most bowhunters sit in their chairs facing the targets. But that’s really the worst position. You can’t shoot effectively straight-out in front of you. If you’re right handed, you’ll want the chair turned slightly to your left. I teach bowhunters that they need to set-up their tree stands, so that they’re sitting in the best-possible positions to get maximum form when animals come-in to them. So, many times we can solve shooting-form problems by how we set-up our tree stands, according to where the deer will come from, and where we want to take the shot.

Question: If you’re hunting a trail and looking straight-down the trail, where do you want to set-up your tree stand?

I’ll set-up my tree stand, so that the deer will come to the left-hand side of the tree stand, because I’m a right-handed archer. I want that deer to be 90-degrees from me, when I’m in my tree stand. I should be able to put-out my left arm straight-out to my side, and that’s the direction from which the deer should come. Then when the deer approaches, I can draw the bow and shoot to my left, while I’m seated. One of the biggest problems bowhunters have with form isn’t the proper alignment of their bodies before their shots, but rather putting their tree stands in the wrong places. Then they’ll have to use poor form if an animal comes-in to them. Many times the bowhunter wants to set-up his stand to see the animal coming-in comfortably, rather than setting-up his stand to take the shot comfortably.

Michael Braden Coach2

PSE’s Michael Braden Tells Us How to Make the Half-Standing Shot from a Tree Stand

Question: Michael, if a deer comes-in from a direction you’re not expecting, and you have to shoot under a limb to get off the shot, you’ll be in a half-squat position. How do you make this shot?

I’d recommend you not take the shot. This is where training comes into play. If you’ve never made a shot like this before, more than likely you won’t make this shot if you decide to take it. However, if you’ve practiced the half-squat shooting position and developed the form you need to accurately make this shot, then this will be a “take-it” shot. When an animal stands in front of us and presents this type of test to the shooter, we need to reflect on how our training has prepared us for this style of shot. That’s why I say if you’ve never practiced this type of shot, more than likely you won’t make it effectively. However, if you’ve practiced this type of shot and can remember how you’ve aligned your body to shoot accurately, this very well may be a “take-it” shot.

This is the reason I say that training for a bowhunter has to include every type of shot he possibly may be called-on to make. Having a coach watch you as you practice those different shots can help you make them more effectively. I want to practice and have my students practice every extreme shot they may be called-on to make in the field. Then, when an animal presents itself for a shot, the student knows immediately from practice whether he can make that shot. There are times when I’m hunting that I won’t take the shot, regardless of how big the animal is, if I know I can’t execute a perfect shot.

PSE’s Michael Braden Explains How to Shoot from a Ground Blind

Question: Michael, a number of hunters have started hunting from ground blinds, and most of the time when you’re hunting out of a ground blind, you’ll have to take a seated shot. In most blinds, you only have a certain amount of distance you can move up and down, because the blinds have horizontal slits instead of vertical slits. How do you coach a hunter to shoot under those conditions?

You need to practice in the environment in which you plan to hunt. If you’ll be shooting from a ground blind, then practice shooting from a ground blind. I know of quite a few archery shops that will let bowhunters set-up ground blinds at their ranges to simulate hunting conditions. My wife Georgina lifts her bow just a little as she draws. When she gets in a ground blind, she gets a little claustrophobic. She can’t lift her bow quite as high as she normally does when she draws it. She struggles the first time she tries to draw-back her bow in a ground blind at the beginning of hunting season. When she has that claustrophobic feeling of not being able to raise her bow high-enough to draw it, she has to change the position of her drawing motion until she practices in a ground blind a few times, and it becomes more natural to her. Before hunting season, she needs to practice drawing and shooting, if we plan to hunt from a ground blind. That may change her technique from the way she shoots in practice or in a tournament.

Question: Most archers who hunt from a blind want to get as close as they can to the opening they’ll shoot through when the animal comes-in to make sure the arrow gets out of the blind when they release. Is that a good idea?

Definitely not. I recommend will and coach the hunter to stay as far back in the blind as possible. The further you are to the back of the blind, the less movement an animal will see. Plus, you have more room to draw and move, and you’re less likely to have light reflect-off any of your equipment.

Question: What’s the biggest problem most hunters have when shooting out of a ground blind?

They don’t really understand the difference between line of vision and the path of the arrow. The bowhunter’s line of vision in a ground blind is above the path that the arrow will fly. So, there are times when a bowhunter shooting downhill will come to full draw and see the animal in his or her sight picture and nothing obstructing his line of vision. But the line that the arrow will take is below what the bowhunter is seeing. I’ve seen many archers shoot the bottoms of the windows they’re shooting through, because they don’t recognize the difference between their line of vision and the path the arrow will take when it’s released.

Michael Braden Coach3

PSE’s Michael Braden Explains How to Choose Bow Weight

Question: Michael, don’t most bowhunters try to over-bow themselves?

For many years, we’ve believed that the more bow weight we can pull, the better we’ll shoot, and the truer the arrow will fly. We know that the more poundage we pull relates to the speed of the arrow, the kinetic energy the arrow can deliver and the penetration of the arrow. So, the more poundage we can pull, the better-off we’ll be in a hunting situation. However, drawing a bow is easier when you’re standing than when you’re sitting. Also, when you’re practice shooting in the backyard and warming-up, pulling a heavy bow isn’t as difficult. However, when you’re hunting, you’re usually cold from a temperature standpoint, but you’re also cold because you’ve been sitting in one position for hours and haven’t drawn your bow. Therefore, your being able to draw your bow comfortably without contorting your body and being able to point your bow straight at your target and pull the bow straight back, without having to lift it, in a comfortable, controlled manner are important to your success. That’s far-more important than being able to pull heavier poundage. You may have to give-up all the advantages of shooting a heavy-weight bow, because you can’t pull it as easily as you need to make an accurate shot, if you’ve been sitting a long time, and you’re cold.

My wife Georgina has a short draw length and only pulls 48 to 49 pounds. But she can take any animal in North America shooting that weight, because she shoots accurately. With the compound bows and arrows we have today, we don’t have to shoot extremely-heavy weights to get great accuracy and performance out of our bows, like we had to in the past. The bottom line is that you should be able to draw-back your bow easily and comfortably when you’re cold, and when you’re wearing heavy, bulky clothes. Whatever weight you can draw under those conditions is the bow weight you need to use when hunting. If you train with a 65-pound bow and turn it down to 62 or 63 pounds, you’ll be surprised at how much easier the bow is to draw and shoot in hunting conditions. If you train with 65 pounds and shoot 60 to 62 pounds, more than likely you can shoot that bow comfortably under most hunting conditions. If you want to practice at 65 pounds and then turn the bow down to 60 or 62 pounds before you go hunting, you should be able to shoot that bow comfortably.

Question: How do you compensate for taking a shot going uphill or downhill?

As you shoot uphill and downhill, cut yardage (shoot the target for a lesser distance than your rangefinder tells you the animal is), because there’s not as much gravitational pull on the arrow as there is when you’re shooting on flat ground. Most people realize that when you’re shooting downhill, you need to reduce the yardage, but the same is true when you’re shooting uphill. There are some great computer programs that will help you with these two problems. Also, today there are some good rangefinders that actually compensate for uphill and downhill shooting. Those rangefinders will tell you the distance to the target, the angle uphill or downhill and the corrected range. So, when coaching a bowhunter, I have them train shooting uphill and downhill. If I ask the student how much he thinks the angle is, either uphill or downhill, and then check that angle with my inclinometer or rangefinder, I can tell them the exact angle.

Get a rangefinder that compensates for the angle of the hill, because it takes all the guesswork out of how much yardage you need to take-off, if an animal is uphill or downhill. So, if you’re hunting in hilly country, I strongly recommend you get one of the new rangefinders that compensates for uphill and downhill shots. I always suggest that every hunter use the best technology and equipment he or she can find to help him shoot accurately.

Question: What’s the biggest problem for bowhunters?

They don’t set-up properly. Also, perhaps their bows don’t fit them, and they don’t receive instructions from a coach to get them pointed in the right direction and to help them learn to shoot a bow accurately before they try to shoot animals. Also, they may not have practiced enough to know when to take their shots. As hunters, we owe it to the animals we hunt not to take any shots if we’re uncertain about whether we can make accurate shots. I advise any bowhunter to get with an archery pro or coach – well before deer season and have the coach check his form and equipment and advise him on how to shoot more accurately.

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


PSE’s Mark Drury on Why He Shoots PSE Bows


Editor’s Note: “The first bow I ever had was a PSE,” Mark Drury (www.druryoutdoors.com) explains. Today, Mark and his brother Terry are two of the industry leaders in TV production and video production, having produced more than 200 feature length videos in more than two decades as well as almost 350 TV episodes for four outdoor shows.

PSE’s Mark Drury’s Five Tips to Becoming a Better Bowhunter

Mark, give us five tips for better bowhunting.
Tip #1: Find a safe place to shoot and practice. Start practicing at 70 to 80 yards, even if you’re accustomed to shooting at 40 and 50 yards. Purchase a bigger target than you’ve had at the shorter distances to keep you from losing arrows. Make yourself shoot at 70, 80, 90 and 100 yards. Five or 6 years ago bows weren’t made to produce those types of shots. But with the speed that PSE bows can produce today, if you can force yourself to shoot at 70 to 100 yards, then when you get a deer to within 30 yards, making the effective shot is like shooting fish in a barrel. Remember, you make yourself a better shot with a bow by shooting at longer distances.

Tip #2: Plant a food plot. Hunting over food sources is critical to successful bowhunting. So, plant food, food and more food.

Tip #3: Consider hunting over water in mid deer season. If the current weather trends continue like we’ve seen this summer in many parts of the country, water holes may be the magnets to draw in big bucks and help you put one of those bucks in the back of your pickup truck. If the country stays as dry as it is right now, the weather patterns will be similar to those in 2006, when hunting over water was the key to taking big bucks.

Tip #4: Plan to take a bowhunting vacation trip outside the region you usually hunt, even if it’s a do it yourself public lands hunt. You’ll become a better bowhunter with the more experience you build each season. You’ll learn how to hunt various terrains, and how to locate deer in different areas.

Tip #5: Hunt the Internet. Never in the history of hunting has there been so much information available to the bowhunter right at his archer fingertips. You can get aerial photos of the property you plan to hunt and helpful maps, and during the season, you can learn the weather conditions where you plan to hunt. Check out www.archerytalk.com, www.bowblitz.com, your favorite outdoor TV shows and your favorite Facebook pages. Listen to what the other hunters are seeing and observing, and you’ll be surprised at what you can learn that will help you become a better bowhunter. Any information about hunting that you pick up can be the difference between a successful and a non-productive hunt. For instance, if a hunter in your area reports that the deer have switched from feeding on agriculture to feeding on acorns, or that a buck has been seen working a scrape, you’ll know that the rut is starting. So, instead of just talking to the guys in your hunting camp or at the coffee shop, you can research the Internet and build up conversations on social media networks that will help you take more deer this season.

Nationally Known Hunters Mark and Terry Drury and PSE Bow Designs

Mark, what really influenced your decision to use PSE equipment?
There are several things, but the main factor was the PSE staff. Too, I saw the shift the company was making into developing some of the most highly technical bows available. PSE bows have better performance and more accuracy and speed than other bows on the market. No one can touch PSE bows for reduction in vibration and noise. Also, PSE’s 200 to 300 feet per second is faster than their closest competition within the same price range. In my opinion, PSE bows are the best bows on the market.

Is it true that you and your brother Terry have had some input on the PSE bows produced under the Bow Madness brand? 
Terry and I aren’t bow engineers, but PSE does have some of the best engineers in the business. Our input has been more in the way of voicing our likes and dislikes to the PSE engineers. We tell them things like, “We wish the bow could do this,” or “We wish the bow could do that,” and then the PSE engineers make it happen. We give suggestions on what we think will make a bow better, but the engineers in Tucson, Arizona, where PSE is located, make the magic happen. We make suggestions on what we think will make the bows shoot better, more quietly and faster, just like any seasoned bowhunter can. We try to apply our experiences from using the bows in hunting situations to help the engineers come up with better ways to make better products.

What’s the farthest shot you’ve ever made with a PSE bow?
Last year, in Alberta, Canada, I double lunged a mule deer at 62 yards. The deer ran about 100 yards and fell over dead. Ninety five percent of the deer I’ve ever taken with a bow have been within 25 yard shot ranges. Terry and I are very limited on the distance we’re willing to shoot. Our experience in hunting has taught us that a white tailed deer are very sensitive to noise and to hunters, so taking a shot more than 25 yards is difficult. I’m not saying that you can’t take deer at more than 25 yards, but it’s more difficult to take a deer at longer ranges. Of course, it also has a lot to do with the conditions where you’re hunting. If there’s wind noise, and the deer are fairly relaxed, then you can reach out further than 25 yards. Another factor that determines the range at which we take deer is the amount of time we spend scouting, along with information we’re able to gain from our trail cameras. Before we get into our trees to hunt, we’ve usually got a pretty good idea about where the deer are going, and from where they’re coming. We generally already know where the deer are headed, what time they’ll show up, and which spots where we should take our shots. Other productive information to know is the direction of the wind from the stands we use. We try not to hunt unless all the conditions are right to take a buck at close range from those stands.

Mark Drury EVO

PSE’s Mark Drury’s Equipment for Bowhunting Success

Mark, which bow do you shoot, and why?
I shoot the PSE X-Force Dream Season EVO. I have tendonitis in my left shoulder, so I’ve had to reduce the amount of weight I pull to 55 pounds. Even though I’m only shooting 55 pounds, this bow still delivers 315 feet per second. The bow is forgiving, and there’s no vibration, so it’s quiet. This is the best bow I’ve shot in my entire hunting career.

What other equipment do you use with your bow, like sights, releases, stabilizers, etc?
I shoot Rage Broadheads and IQ BowSights with Retinol Lock technology. This sight has a little green light with a black dot inside of it. If that black dot isn’t in the center of the green light, then there’s something wrong with the way I’m holding the bow. This indicator really has helped my accuracy. I shoot PSE Carbon Force arrows, a Tru Fire release and a PSE Phantom rest and stabilizer.

Why do you like that set up?
It’s the set up I’m accustomed to using and works for me. The IQ BowSight has made me a better shot. The Rage Broadhead is the most deadly broadhead I’ve ever shot. The Carbon Force arrows are the strongest arrows I’ve ever shot.

What tree stand and safety harness do you use, and why?
I use the Big Game The Boss XL Tree Stand, because it has a huge platform from which I can shoot. It’s well built with steel construction. I like a tree stand that helps me feel secure when I’m high up off the ground. I also use the new Tree Spider Livewire safety harness from Robinson’s Outdoors.

Why do you like the Tree Spider Livewire?
It’s lightweight and ergonomically designed, so you don’t even remember you’re wearing a safety harness when you wear it. The Livewire system will decelerate your fall to 1 mile per hour, allowing a slow descent to the ground from your tree stand.

PSE’s Mark Drury Explains When to Take the Shot

Mark, how do you decide when to take a shot on a deer?
I have to understand the deer’s posture, body position and mood. Next, I factor in his distance from me to determine if he’s within an effective range, generally about 40 yards or less. I also factor in whether the deer is calm, especially if I’ve decided to take that 40 yard shot. If the deer appears to be a little nervous, I’ll think twice about taking the shot. Too, I look at the deer’s body position. If the deer is broadside and quartering away, I’ve got the green light to shoot. However, if the deer’s not in that position, I won’t try to take the shot.

What do you do when a deer is within range to take a shot, and you’re at full draw, but the deer is looking at you?
For me, that’s a no shot. Chances are I won’t be at full draw, since I don’t go to full draw, until I know for certain that the deer’s body position is correct for me to take the shot. If the deer looks up and sees me, even if I’m at full draw, I won’t take the shot. However, everyone has to set up their own parameters for a shot. These rules are the ones that Terry and I have set for ourselves and the way we choose to play the game of bowhunting. I want to make as effective a shot as I can when I decide to release the arrow. More than likely I’ve spent a lot of time finding this deer, planting crops to feed this deer, watching this deer’s antlers grow over a year or two and making plans to take this deer. So, I don’t want to blow this hunt with a marginal shot. I’d rather not take the shot and be able to come back and hunt that buck another day.

PSE’s Mark Drury Explains What to Do When You Miss a Deer

Mark, do you ever miss a deer with your bow?
My brother Terry is the one who misses deer, not me. {grin} Of course, I miss deer. In fact, I miss deer every year.

Let’s say you’ve got a nice sized buck you want to take, and you miss him. How will you hunt that buck after you’ve missed him?
When you’re shooting a PSE bow, and you miss, you won’t blow the deer out of the country. When I’ve missed in the past, I don’t believe the deer even has known what’s happened. Missing a deer doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

Tell us about a deer you’ve missed and then have returned and taken.
To be honest, I can’t remember missing a buck since I’ve been shooting my PSE bow, primarily because of the parameters I’ve set up. I’ve decided what constitutes when I take the shot, and when I don’t take the shot. In addition to the amount of time I spend practicing shooting, if the animal is 25 yards or less away from me, broadside and quartering away, it will be an automatic kill. Most times when you miss a deer, you’ve either rushed the shot or taken a marginal shot. Regardless of the size of the buck, I try not to ever take any marginal shots. Too, if I don’t take the shot, I’ve got a far greater chance of returning to that same stand and taking that same buck, especially if he hasn’t known I’m there.

After you’ve released the arrow and know you’ve hit the deer, how long do you wait before you start blood trailing?
After I release the arrow, I don’t take my eyes or ears off that animal, until he’s out of sight or hearing range. I watch the deer as long as I can, and when I no longer can see him, I try to listen for his movements or any sound he may make. If I don’t see or hear the deer fall, my cameraman and I usually will return to camp to watch the video we’ve taken of the hunt and the shot. We try to see where the arrow has gone, and if we’ve made a good hit. If I’ve made a double lung hit, I’ll wait for an hour or two before I start trailing the deer. If I’ve made a liver shot on the deer, I’ll usually wait 18 to 24 hours before I go find the blood trail and start tracking. If I see from the video that my arrow has hit the deer in the gut, I’ll also wait for 18 to 24 hours. All this also depends on the weather conditions.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever had a deer go after that deer has taken your arrow?
Probably 500 yards.

What’s the best shot you’ve ever made on a deer?
I’d have to say last year when I shot a mule deer at 62 yards. The shot was downhill, and my aim was dead on.

To learn more about PSE’s top quality products, click here.


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