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Scout & Shoot by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.

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

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


Caring for Your Archery Gear by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.

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

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


Patience leads to perfect practice by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Perfect practice leads to success in the field. We have all heard it many times, but it rings true. Not mentioned often is the art of practicing patience both on the range and in the woods, both with you and with other archers. Learning to harness it is something that does indeed take practice.

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One of the reasons I like to get to the local archery range early in the morning is that there is less pressure than later in the day. When I lived in New York I had the luxury of having a target set up in my backyard and could practice at a moment’s notice. I could shoot anytime and I didn’t have to wait for others to finish up. Here in California it’s a different story. In the city where I live, I am not allowed to shoot in my backyard. It’s a safety issue that I understand. The other options are to go to a local pro shop to shoot up to 30 yards, or to go to the local outdoor archery range. The outdoor range I speak of is the site of the 1984 Olympic archery competition. It’s a large range where you can shoot out to 110 yards if you like. On Saturdays and Sundays the range fills up quickly, so it is in your best interest to get up early and claim a bale target.

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Recently, my friend Brett and I have been hitting the range around 7:30 AM on Saturday mornings. The weather is cool, a bit overcast and we can almost always grab our favorite target area – the one on the very end. On two separate occasions, we have watched the range fill up quickly. This causes a bit of congestion. Here is where focusing on being patient comes into play. If you are late to the range, you must be patient and wait for a target to open up. If you are like Brett and I, we must be patient with ourselves. You have one of three decisions to make. You can give up your target to allow someone else to shoot. Not a likely choice as you made the effort to get there early. You can cave under the pressure and rush through your practice to accommodate the people waiting for you. This would be the absolute worst decision as it would cause poor form, poor technique, and quite honestly poor practice. The best thing you can do is shoot like you would during a perfect practice session. Take your time, focus on technique and worry about you and no one else.

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If you have ever gone golfing in a foursome there is bound to be someone in your group that is slower than the rest. Usually it is me, but that is beside the point. Before long, the foursome behind you is on your heels. You have three choices. You may continue to play slow and irritate the other group. You may allow them to play through. Or you can stress out under the pressure to speed up and totally mess up your day of relaxing on the course. The same will happen on the archery range should you allow it.

We had a gentleman come sit right by us at 40 yards after we had only been there a half hour. We usually shoot for two hours or so and I was sighting in a new single-pin sight, so I was patient. As the minutes went by, arrows flew downrange and we had a blast. Before long two and a half hours had elapsed and our arms were spent. We offered up our target and the man graciously took it. He was patient and so were we. Everyone was happy.

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My favorite part of the day was toward the end of our range session. A young boy walked up beside us and started shooting. You can see him in the left side of this photo. His first arrow in his aim was true and he exclaimed to his teacher, ‘I hit the target! Look, I hit the target!!’ His enthusiasm was pure and full of energy. It totally made my day to see someone so excited about archery. I hope all of us can get out there and let that inner child out as often as we can. We should all carry that enthusiasm and have fun when we hit where we are aiming. Even after nearly thirty years of shooting a bow and arrow, I still get a thrill out of my arrow hitting exactly where I am aiming.

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.

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

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

 


Preparing and training for that first shot by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Albert Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Picture this. You are running up or down the mountain and come face to face with a bull elk. Your arms are shaking with adrenaline. You can’t catch your breath and you are finding it extremely difficult to steady your pin. Now stop and think. How can you prepare for this situation without being in it 24/7? Actually, there are some good ways to prepare you for these specific situations. These different routines that I am about to share can be done in your backyard as well.

Having an Olympic sized archery range nearby is a blessing for me because I don’t have wide open spaces to practice. What this does allow me to do is to practice with my friends where we can all participate. It not only makes it fun to ‘compete’ against your hunting buddies, but it also helps you hone your skills as a bowhunter in a tough situation.

The first arrow is always the most important. In most hunting situations you will only get one shot and you need to make it count. So many archers tell me how they get frustrated when they shoot fifty arrows in a session and the last arrow flies off target. If you get to that point stop practicing! If your arm is exhausted or your shots are erratic, take a break. Poor practice will lead to bad form in the field. Instead of focusing on that last shot, focus on #1. Take your time and really focus and picture that arrow hitting dead center of the bullseye. That is your goal!

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Stretch out your arms and back lightly before you take that first shot. Loosen up and then fire a half dozen arrows down range. After you pull the arrows and get back to your bow, drop the arrows and get ready to elevate your heart rate! Remember doing wind sprints during practice? That’s exactly what you are going to do. Let’s say you are 40 yards away from the target. Set your bow on the ground with an arrow next to it. Then as fast as you can run toward the target, touch it, and run back to your set-up.

Slow down and safely pick up your bow. Nock an arrow, draw and settle your pin, and let the arrow fly. Try to complete this step in less than five seconds. What does this accomplish? First off, it gets your heart rate up. It also helps you create a shot scenario and shows you what your body will be doing in that shooting situation. It also shows you what you can improve on when confronted with a high adrenaline type of shot situation.

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For the next round, run the sprint, but before picking up your bow, slow down and do ten quality push-ups as quickly as you can. This will fatigue those arm muscles a bit, but that’s what you want for this scenario. Repeat the shooting sequence and record your results.

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Work on these exercises for only a few times in each practice session. Mix them up from time to time, too. Over time it will make you more confident and allow you more flexibility in your shooting. It allows you to condition yourself (to a point) to ‘buck fever’ and to mentally focus on the target and NOT your shaking hands. It is not meant to be a cure for buck fever, but more so as a training tool to help you mentally and physically prepare for it. If nothing else, it’s a great way to practice!

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and also writes for Bow Adventures e-magazine. He is a PSE Staff Blogger and a Pro Staff member for 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 lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.

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


Carrying your bow properly by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

One thing I take note of is how people care for their gear and I try to learn from it. No one is perfect and I love it when I can get extra life out of my gear. I am sure that this of you who watch bow hunting shows on television have seen this. A bow hunter walking down a trail or skirting a ridge while carrying his bow by the string. Even I have been guilty of it on more than one occasion. Did you know that you can throw off the way your bow shoot because of that?

Imagine that you are running a ridge in pursuit of a giant mule deer buck. You have spent an entire year practicing, getting in shape, and focusing your efforts into this one moment. Your bow is bouncing up and down as you cradle it by the string. As you crest the ridge, the buck is turned away from you, so you draw and settle in. Only now, your peeps is off enough where you can’t see the pins. You twist and turn it as the buck turns, spots your movement, and bounds off. Your hearts sinks. Frustration gets the better of you and you sit down in disgust. What happened?

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Most people wouldn’t be able to tell you right away what happened. I only recently learned why this happens because I have a good friend, Eddy, who knows bow strings very well and he busted me carrying my single cam bow by the string. What was I doing wrong? I had seen so many others doing it. The information I received was invaluable. I was carrying my single cam PSE Bow Madness by the string when Eddy shared with me how the constant bouncing up and down of the bow which I walked could cause the string to rotate on the single cam bows. This would cause peep rotation and throw off all the work I had invested in sighting in my bow. After all that I had done to prepare for my Colorado elk hunt, I didn’t want my peep rotating at the worst possible moment! I am very thankful he pointed that out!

q6EMtOzCblUaBpZyDjfxkWpYF3CVsBp20H97T3N0Zoo,Mn709iIIcH9b3b5QOIhYpSi3DSI_1HcTTp80PwC-uLMCarrying my bow buy the string, over time, could also cause it to stretch prematurely, especially when hunting in the hot California weather. I certainly didn’t want that happening as like every bow hunter, I want to get the maximum life out of my bow string that I can. I also don’t want it to happen to you!

For those that have to hike in a long way and are carrying their bows in their hands, I know how difficult it can be to find a comfortable way to carry it. My recommendation is to not only practice shooting the bow, but practice different ways of carrying it as well. This will help you on those days when a bow hunt leads to long walks and where you want your archery gear at peak performance.

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and also writes for Bow Adventures e-magazine. He is a PSE Staff Blogger and a Pro Staff member for 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 lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.

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


The Cure for Post Season Withdrawl by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

February is typically a month where we feel deprived of hunting. There is a void in our lives as not too many are out actually hunting, but more so just thinking about it and how they can’t wait for deer season to roll back around. Even for me it can be a tough time of year to get out, but with turkey season rapidly approaching getting into the woods to scout is key to success. A major plus is that while scouting areas for turkey in California you can also hunt coyotes or hogs year round so bring your bow and arrows when you scout, too!

Target Practice

Target Practice

Practicing should be a year round activity. Just because the snow is falling or there isn’t any hunting season open doesn’t mean you should hang up your bow for the next few months. Stay sharp year-round by practicing year-round. I am fortunate to have good weather and an outdoor archery range open throughout the year. This year I plan on also setting up a small target in my garage to allow me to shoot a few arrows every day just to keep my body fluid.

Bring a friend out scouting and introduce them to the wild! Another good way to get people interested is to take some of that hard earned venison and whip up a nice meal. Have some friends over for a venison feast, swap stories and share the wealth. You would be surprised at how many guys want to go hunting after tasting some steroid-free meat!

Bring a GPS…and be sure you are up to date with the current versions of software. Land may have changed hands, public land become private or vice versa. By bringing a GPS into the field you can mark different areas to review in the comfort of your home and give you exact locations for when you head back out to hunt.

Scouting

Scouting

Two more items that are a must when I scout are my binoculars and my camera. A good pair of binoculars like my 10x42s are great for scouting because they are powerful and I don’t mind the extra weight when it comes to optics. I want good quality, power and reliability (just like my compound bow). I also bring a camera along to document areas, things I find on the ground, and any animals I might see. It’s also a great way to document your trip to show your hunting buddies or your family.

So, if you get out there to do some early pre-season scouting or are fortunate enough to get some hunting in share your experiences and photos on the PSE Facebook page. We would all love to participate in your progress, excitement and all around success!

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and also writes for Bow Adventures e-magazine. He is a PSE Staff Blogger and a Pro Staff member for 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 lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.

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

 


Gear Review-PSE Phantom Micro Adjustable Drop Away Rest by PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Albert Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Having been a fan of drop away rests for years, I have tested many with decent results. Some are cable driven and others are limb driven. The PSE Phantom™ Micro Adjustable Drop Away Rest is a cable driven drop away rest that offers much more than your everyday drop away. Reviewing the Phantom Micro was very enjoyable and enlightening.

Phantom mounted at rest and ready to shoot

Phantom mounted at rest and ready to shoot

The PSE Phantom Micro Adjust is our finest drop away arrow rest and features a full capture platform for the arrow. The rest falls out of the way for complete arrow clearance. The oversize screws make adjustments and tuning very easy.

Installation of the Phantom Micro is simple, but there were no instructions in or on the packaging, so you have to get them online. This would have been better if they were in the package in my opinion. Follow the directions found here and you’ll be headed in the right direction.

My favorite part is the fact that the rest itself never touches the riser. Unlike most drop away rests, the Phantom sits slightly behind the riser thus allowing it to swivel and function quietly and more efficiently. One of the best features is no aggravating slapping sound when the rest drops. I can’t tell you how much time I have spent trying to quiet down other drop away rests. When the Phantom Micro drops it is ultra-quiet and super smooth.

The curved supports on either side have a rubberized coating providing more sound-dampening when your arrow makes contact. It contains the arrow and is quiet. No more needs to be said.

I did not like that there is no glue or sticky bottom to the rubber piece that sits on your riser. This is the piece that your arrow makes contact with to keep it from making noise. In order to utilize it, you must purchase an adhesive and glue the rubber rest to the riser. If you don’t, the arrow makes constant contact with the riser and metal-on-metal makes noise.

Nice grouping after tuning the Phantom Rest

Nice grouping after tuning the Phantom Rest

I spent two days at the range after I installed the Phantom where I shot a minimum of fifty shots. During that time I had a good friend listen to the bow while I shot. Specifically, I had him focus on the arrow rest. He said he heard no noise and was also impressed at how fast it dropped. The Phantom Micro is the quietest rest I have ever used. I plan on using this rest in 2013 as it boosts my confidence in knowing I have less chance of spooking game.

Overall, I have to say that the Phantom Micro Adjustable drop away rest is one of the best I have put to the test. I like it better than any of the other drop aways I have used and it’s a great buy at $99.99. I have and will continue to recommend this rest to my fellow archers looking for the quietest, most highly functional drop away arrow rest on the market.

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

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

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


Is there really an off season? By PSE’s Al Quackenbush


By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Resolutions are tossed around at the start of each year and most last but a few weeks. The off season can seem like it lasts forever, but does it really have to? Does it even exist? For the die hard deer hunter who hunts only deer the off season can feel like an eternity. For guys like me who hunt year round to stay sharp there is no off season. I don’t hunt all the time though. Taking part in other activities not only helps me prepare for whatever hunting I will do in the Fall, but it also helps me out a great deal. Some of my shared tips not only help sharpen your skills, but you might be lucky enough to have one or two lead you to some new hunting land.

As soon as the season is over I review the data I have compiled throughout the season and set a mental note for what areas I want to research through online mapping, zoning and to see if they are private or public land. During the deer season I found areas that were posted and others that I want to explore further. The off season is a perfect time to do that. I begin by scouring the internet, finding out who owns the property and then ask permission to either hunt it or, if I am lucky, seeing if it borders public land in any way.

Take part in events that get you out in nature. What do I mean? Do some shed hunting! Find an area of land and just search for sheds. Volunteer your time in a conservation effort. Take for example the Southern California Bighorn Sheep Survey. I participated in this last year to see what the local sheep habitat looked like and to help count whatever sheep I saw. Not only did I get to meet some new people now turned hunting buddies, but I also was able to hike into an area I normally would not have access to. Come to find out the area has a public access point and there is ample huntable public land. We glassed steep, rocky hillsides for hours and didn’t turn up one single sheep, but we had a great time and knew we’d be back. You can also take in a few hunting seminars. It’s a great way to learn more about the animal you are hunting and a great way to make new friends.

Taking part in the 2012 California Sheep Survey

Taking part in the 2012 California Sheep Survey

Scout, hike and get in shape! Some of you are probably curious as to why this isn’t my number one recommendation. If there is one thing that I avoid is making resolutions regarding losing weight because it is usually the first resolutions I hear made each year. I am not one of the masses who vows to lose weight each year. While I can always stand to lose a few pounds, my goal isn’t to lose a set amount of body fat. I aim more to get out more and hit the trail and better yet, hit the areas that don’t have trails. Get out there and glass new areas and hike them. Get a feel for the land and be sure to take your camera and GPS. Losing fat and gaining lean muscle is an added bonus!

Hiking into new areas is good exercise and can lead to new hunting spots

Hiking into new areas is good exercise and can lead to new hunting spots

You can make an effort toward conservation of the land by picking up trash. Make the hunting areas that much cleaner and safer by picking up what others have left behind. These past two years I have located some seriously trashed areas due to human negligence and we aim to clean them up. Plan a day or two with a group of friends where you hike in with trash bags and pack out every piece of movable trash you encounter. Be aware that there may be creatures making homes in certain items and you should verify each is empty before picking it up. If you can drive a vehicle into some of the areas, try to load them up with as much garbage that you can to reasonably  haul it out. Sure, I know this is hard work and that it shouldn’t have to be your job, but it does give hunters a good name, and more importantly it beautifies the land, make it safer for the animals and gives you greener pastures to hunt in.

Bad luck if you break the miror but good luck if you pick up the trash in the forest.

Bad luck if you break the miror but good luck if you pick up the trash in the forest.

This is also great time of year to utilize some gear you haven’t used often or a good time to pick up somethings you want to try out. Why wait until the hunting season? If you test them out now and list the pros and cons, you will be better off when hunting season comes around. I like to test out gear in the off season to see what works well or not so well in order to consolidate what is in my pack come September. You can find out what is effective for different hunting situations and remove the gear that is not.

Last, but not least is to research some new animals to hunt. Last year it was to hunt elk for the first time and that turned into one of the most memorable hunts of my entire life. This year, with the help of my friend Bill Howard, I am researching an alligator hunt in Georgia. It’s a hunt I have thought about often, but know nothing about. With his help I am going to be finding a way to bow hunt an alligator sometime in the next couple years, but it is not a hunt that I will take lightly. It’s a hunt that will take careful planning and practice while utilizing some bowfishing skills.

Researching hunts like an alligator hunt is exciting.

Researching hunts like an alligator hunt is exciting.

These are but a few of the things I do while preparing to hunt deer in the Fall. For me, there is no off season. In the Spring there are turkey’s to hunt and in Southern California you can hunt wild pigs year round. What a great opportunity to find new areas to hunt, meet some new friends and to hone my skills as a bow hunter. 2013 has much to offer and I plan to enjoy the off season as much as I possibly can.

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

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

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

 


PSE’s Albert Quackenbush’s Missed opportunities lead to success


By Albert Quackenbush
www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Riding the pine. Sitting the bench. Waiting your turn. Everyone has their own way of saying it and no matter which way you look at it, well, it’s never as fun as actually playing. For the past couple of weeks it has been difficult finding time to get into the forest. To be honest, it drives me a bit insane because the weather has turned cooler, much cooler in fact. It has been considerably cooler in the mornings and evenings, which is perfect hunting weather in Southern California. Instead of hunting, I have been reading and reminiscing about hunting.

California draws can hide a fair share of huntable animals

California draws can hide a fair share of huntable animals

I work hard to hunt here. There is a wealth of public land and a plethora of hunters. The deer are tough to hunt and live in rugged country. Finding these areas to hunt can be found with hard work, but can also be found be sheer luck! One of my local deer spots I stumbled upon by sheer luck through a friend. It is loaded with deer, but it’s also surrounded by non-huntable areas. I have been reading about how some of my fellow hunting brethren have gone deer hunting and have seen deer, but have had no shot or they have shot and missed. Sitting here thinking about these scenarios brought back to memory my last hunt from last year.

A few weeks prior to me sitting in my deer spot, my good friend had shot and killed his first deer with a compound bow. His vocal excitement could be heard for miles. He was so excited that he jumped up and down while yelling, which spooked the remaining deer off. There was no way to contain his joy and I was proud of him for all of the work he had put in. Now, I was sitting in the same spot, patiently waiting for a deer to walk by.

Glassing rocky hillside like this one can result in finding deer or sheep

Glassing rocky hillside like this one can result in finding deer or sheep

From my experience in this spot, my gut feeling was that I would start to see deer walk by between 9:00 and 10:00 AM. Sure enough, close to 9:30 I watched a far hillside as three doe ambled down the steep face on the trail I expected them on. They were still a quarter mile away, but it gave me time to prepare. Too much time really. As I sat waiting, I looked for a spot to let an arrow fly once the deer walked by. The trail was a mere thirty yards from the bush I was hiding near, but would that be enough?

SoCal mule deer spotted on a recent hunt

SoCal mule deer spotted on a recent hunt

Early that morning, I had erected a small turkey blind in front of my position to break up my pattern. To be honest, I wish I had brushed it in better because as the deer got closer and closer they knew that something was different. The deer around here aren’t like whitetails. They get spooked, but not like a whitetail. These deer just remain cautious and when you have three of them together you have to be aware of all three sets of eyes. As the deer drew closer and got within range, I drew my bow and waited for the lead doe to walk into the opening I planned for. The lead doe slowly walked into the lane and then I saw it; the small tuft of dried weeds sticking up right in front of her vitals. The weeds were at least ten feet closer to me and instantly my mind told me not to shoot. I let down and when I did the deer spooked about ten yards and stopped, but none of them gave me another shot. It was the last day of the season and while I had drawn my bow, my tag would remain empty.

A few weeks later, I sat down with a few gentlemen for lunch when the subject of me letting down came up. One gentleman, a former hunter, questioned why I let down. He brought up a good point that I was shooting a powerful PSE Bow Madness, a heavy arrow, and was only thirty yards from my target. Why hadn’t I just shot? I felt incredibly content when I told him that I was not about to wound a deer. I wanted to kill it with one shot, not have to track an injured animal. I mentioned it was a sharp downhill angle, the noticeable weeds, and the fact that the deer were on alert. He shook his head and said that he didn’t understand why, but that he was a rifle hunter and not a bow hunter. To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered if he was a bow hunter. The opportunity that had presented itself was mine and mine alone. I had held the choice in my hands and I opted not to shoot and I was content.

With all that being said, I want my fellow hunters to understand that a successful hunt doesn’t always have to end with a shot. Sure, I would have loved to have filled my tag, but I had found a spot, located deer, and had drawn on a mature doe. I won’t say I wasn’t disappointed, but I also felt sure of my decision to pass on the shot. In a couple weeks I’ll be headed back to that spot and I hope this year the odds are in my favor.

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

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

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


PSE’s Albert Quackenbush Family Hunting


By Albert Quackenbush
www.SoCalBowhunter.com

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

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

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

BJ and his 2012 NY archery 6-point buck

BJ and his 2012 NY archery 6-point buck

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

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

What a bow hunters dreams seeing this from a treestand.

What a bow hunters dreams seeing this from a treestand.

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

My 2011 NY archery button buck

My 2011 NY archery button buck

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

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

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

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


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