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Mike Hopkins Shoots a PSE Supra HP for Tournament Archery and a Dream Season EVO When Hunting


Mike Hopkins Archery

Mike Hopkins Tournament Archery

Editor’s Note: Thirty seven year old Mike Hopkins of Junction City, Kansas, has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. Hopkins is a classic example of how to become a better bowhunter. 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 bowhunting program.

PSE: What bow were you shooting in 2011?
Hopkins: I was shooting a PSE Supra HP. My PSE rep had told me how great the Supra was, and he encouraged me to try one. He let me take his bow home for a few days to practice with, so I’d have a better understanding and a better feel for the bow. He allowed me to set his bow up with my equipment, and I was really impressed with that bow. After shooting the bow, I decided that the Supra was one of the best bows a person could shoot in tournament archery, and in five out of seven national tournaments, I was on the podium to receive an award and a check. I won the Augusta, Georgia, shoot for my division, and I finished second in the Shooter of the Year competition in the Known 45 division. I gave the rep back his bow, but he helped me get one of my own.

PSE: What bow were you hunting with in 2011?
Hopkins: Last hunting season, I decided to try the Dream Season EVO. There had been a redesigning of the risers on this bow, and the improved design of the riser and the improved design of the limb pockets in this new bow made it a step up bow in the Dream Season line.

PSE: Why is it so important to you to shoot the newest PSE bows on the market?
Hopkins: I don’t necessarily have to shoot the latest and the greatest bow that PSE comes out with every year. When I choose a bow for tournament archery or for bowhunting, my first concern is, “Am I comfortable shooting this bow?” Just because a new bow comes on the market doesn’t mean that new bow is suited for every archer in America. That’s why PSE brings out so many new bows each year, and even has a custom shop if you want a custom bow built. Because PSE knows that different people like various types of bow configurations, the company offers a wide variety of bows that can fit almost anyone and will be comfortable for almost anyone to shoot. But since I’m on the PSE Pro Staff, I feel I have a certain responsibility to at least try the new bows that are brought on the market, and if they fit me and my style of shooting, I step up.

As a tournament archer, I’ve got to make sure that if I step up to a newer bow, it actually helps me shoot better than the bow I’ve been using. If it doesn’t, I’ll stay with the bow I feel most consistent with, and the same is true when I choose a hunting bow. I’ve got to make sure if I’m shooting a new hunting bow that it fits me, I feel comfortable shooting it, and that I have confidence shooting it. So, I don’t just shoot the latest and greatest, because it’s the latest and greatest. The new bows have to help me improve in both tournament archery and bowhunting, and if they do that, then I have no problem laying my old bow down and picking up my new bow. I feel that if I don’t have confidence in the new bows that PSE brings to the marketplace, then I can’t tell other bowhunters why they should consider one of PSE’s new bows if they want to step up. I really believe that I need to be shooting the bows that I’m talking about and promoting. I’m not going to shoot a bow or promote a bow that I don’t have confidence in and haven’t tested to know how it performs and why it performs the way it does. That’s the reason I shot my PSE rep’s Supra before I committed to owning one. There was no point in me getting a Supra, until I had tested it and knew it would help me shoot more accurately. The same is true of the Dream Season EVO.

Mike Hopkins Pro Staff

PSE Pro Staff Shooter Mike Hopkins

PSE: Where did you hunt last season?
Hopkins: Last year I moved to Augusta, Georgia, to go to military school. I didn’t move until October, but I went to Florida in September, and my boy and I got to do some hog hunting. We each took a hog in Florida with our PSE bows. My son’s hog weighed right at 100 pounds, and I shot three hogs, two that were 50 60 pounds and one that we didn’t find the last day we were hunting. The fella we were hunting with found it a day or two after our hunt, and he said it weighed 180 185 pounds. I was experimenting with a couple of different broadheads, while we were hunting in Florida. I used the G3, the Grim Reaper and the Spitfire. I felt, for my type of shooting, the Spitfire was best for me. I like the Spitfires because they’re very simple. By that I mean, those broadheads don’t have as many moving parts. They’re expandable, with a good cutting diameter, and when I’ve shot animals with the Spitfires, the blades haven’t broken nor the arrows. The blades deployed on impact, and one of the other broadheads’ blades didn’t deploy. The reason I mention the hog hunt is because I didn’t take a whitetail with my bow last year.

PSE: Mike, let’s recap for a minute. The only reason you started shooting 3D archery was because you’d gone 4 years without taking a buck deer, and you’d missed several. You were a hunter who was using the sport of 3D archery to become a better bowhunter. Now, you’re primarily a 3D archery shooter and go hunting when you can. How did this change take place?
Hopkins: I really like the competitive aspect of 3D archery. I can’t really say that I hunt any more or less than I used to, but I have drastically increased the amount of tournament archery I shoot, mainly because I have more opportunities all year long to shoot tournament archery. Bow season has a very limited time frame. The law stops me from bowhunting all year long, but no one can prevent me from shooting tournament archery all year long. So, I discovered that I had a lot more opportunity to shoot my bow by both bowhunting and shooting 3D archery than I had when I only bowhunted.

PSE: If you have to make a choice of whether to go to a 3D archery tournament or bowhunt, which do you pick?
Hopkins: Fortunately, I haven’t had to make that choice yet. If I had to make that decision, the animal I had the opportunity to hunt, and where I had the opportunity to hunt would be a major factor in which way I would go. To me, part of the excitement of bowhunting is visiting different parts of the country, seeing various types of terrain and hunting under different bowhunting conditions. I’ve hunted in the swamps of Louisiana, the deserts of Texas and the hills of Tennessee and many other areas. The opportunity to go to a new place, a new state and a different type of terrain will make choosing to go to a tournament really tough.

PSE: What types of tournaments are you shooting right now?
Hopkins: I’ve just moved out to Kansas, and I’m primarily shooting state tournaments right now. I haven’t shot any national tournaments since I’ve moved here, and I’m primarily shooting the Known 50 class. I’ll only be here for a year or two, so I may not be able to shoot the national circuit, but I’m not giving up tournament archery. When I move again, if I can get back to the southeast, I’ll be right back into shooting national tournaments.

PSE: What’s a major reason that you advise bowhunters to shoot tournament archery?
Hopkins: A bowhunter who’s been shooting tournament archery knows his limitations and his equipment’s limitations, because of how well he’s been able to shoot in tournaments. There’s no question of, “Can I make the shot, or should I not take the shot?” If you’re honest with yourself, you find out for sure what those limitations are through tournament archery. So, when a deer comes in and presents a shot, you already know whether or not you can make that shot.

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


Mike Hopkins Shoots a PSE Vendetta XL for Tournament Archery and an AXE 6 While Hunting in 2010


M.Hopkins

PSE’S Mike Hopkins

Editor’s Note: Thirty seven year old Mike Hopkins of Junction City, Kansas, has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. Hopkins is a classic example of how to become a better bowhunter. 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 bowhunting program.

PSE: Tell us about your 2010 bow season and tournament archery season.

Hopkins: Due to military educational requirements, I didn’t have the time to travel and compete in tournament archery as much as I would have liked to that year. I was able to shoot in the first three tournaments of the season, but then I had to restrict my tournament archery participation to local tournaments and state level tournaments. That summer I moved to Tennessee and didn’t have as much success deer hunting that fall as I’d had in the past. I only took one 5 point buck and didn’t even shoot a doe that year. Not many bowhunters that I talked to that year were very successful at taking deer. But even though I had a poor fall deer season, at the opening 3D archery tournament in Florida, I had a second place finish with a new bow, the Vendetta XL. I had decided to move up to this bow for tournament archery.

PSE: Why did you decide to start shooting the Vendetta XL?

Hopkins: I liked the specifications of the bow. The Vendetta XL was somewhat longer axle to axle than the bow I’d been shooting the previous year and had a faster speed. I thought the bow would perform better in tournaments than my previous bow. I finished in the top 10 in several other tournaments that year and also did very well in shooting state level tournaments. For some reason, I can remember those state tournaments better than I can remember the national tournaments.

PSE's Mike Hopkins

PSE Bows

PSE: What hunting bow were you shooting in 2010?

Hopkins: I started shooting the Axe 6 in 2010, and it was faster than the PSE hunting bow I’d been using previously. I felt that the cams on the Axe 6 had a little bit better draw cycle than the Dream Season bow. But I really didn’t get to hunt with this bow very much, because the 2010 season was uncharacteristically slow for me. There had been an outbreak of Bluetongue two years earlier in the area I was hunting, and the deer herd was still trying to recover. That year it was down considerably from what it had been in past years.

Editor’s Note: Another big advantage to shooting tournament archery and being a bowhunter is that if you’re having a bad hunting season, you still have a chance to have a good tournament archery season. As we’ve seen so far, success in tournament archery , especially 3D archery, directly relates to bowhunting, and bowhunting success directly relates to tournament archery. For both sports, the more you practice, the more confidence you build, the more proficient you are with your equipment and the more successful you’ll be at the tournaments and in the woods. Besides that, both tournament archery and bowhunting are fun. So, why would you not want to have fun?

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


Mike Hopkins in 2009 Took Turkeys and Continued to Win at 3D Tournaments with His PSE Bows


PSE's Mike Hopkins

PSE’s Mike Hopkins Turkey Hunt

Editor’s Note: Thirty seven year old Mike Hopkins of Junction City, Kansas, has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. Hopkins is a classic example of how to become a better bowhunter. 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 bowhunting program.

PSE: Let’s talk about the third year after you shot your first buck with your PSE bow. From the first year to the second year, you really stepped up your tournament archery participation, and you took five more animals the second year than you did the first year. You also moved up in class in tournament archery from Bow Novice, to Open C, to Open B class. Tell us about the third year, 2009. What bow were you shooting?

Hopkins: I was still shooting my  X-Force Dream Season hunting bow. In tournament archery, I started shooting a Dream Season bow that I had built in PSE’s Custom Shop. This bow was set up with a single cam system for shooting in the Open B class.

PSE: Tell us about your 2009 hunting season.

Hopkins: That year, I shot more turkeys than deer. I shot a couple of does in the fall, and then in the spring I took three gobblers with my bow.

PSE: What was your most memorable turkey hunt?

Hopkins: I was walking into the woods around lunch time and wanted to go to a spot that was right beside the lake. As I was walking into the area I wanted to hunt, I heard some turkeys. I was just barely able to see the turkeys down by the lake, although they were out in the open. I knew that to approach them I’d have to be very careful. Luckily, bushes and trees already had greened out. When I got into position, the turkeys started walking toward me down the edge of the bank. When the birds got about 20 yards away, I drew my bow and looked for the 12 ring that you see on a 3D archery target, as I prepared to aim at this gobbler. I was accustomed to shooting the 12 ring on a 3D turkey target, so when I had the opportunity to take a gobbler, I knew where the 12 ring would be, and I aimed for that portion of the turkey’s body.

PSE'S Mike Hopkins

Mike Hopkins Turkey Hunt

When I released the arrow, I got a clean pass through, and the arrow went out into the lake and sank, so I couldn’t recover it. I shot the largest gobbler in the group, but that tom didn’t drop like they do on the TV shows. It got into the air and flew out over the lake. I had to leave my bow on the bank and swim out into the lake to retrieve my gobbler. But the good news was, I saw it fall, and I plainly could see where it was. I was wearing Mossy Oak Break Up camouflage at the time, and it was a very memorable turkey hunt. I wasn’t using a blind. I was hunting from the ground, and the hunt was more or less unscripted. The other two turkeys I took, I shot from a blind. I had patterned the other two turkeys like you’d pattern a deer. I decided they were coming through one corner of this corn field, and if I set up a blind, called and waited, they should come out at the same place they’d come out before, and they did.

One of the reasons I didn’t hesitate to make this shot on the turkey was that I’d built up a tremendous amount of confidence in my ability to shoot the 12 ring on a 3D turkey target. A turkey is a very unique animal to try and take with a bow, especially with a broadside shot. Some people like to shoot a large guillotine type blade broadhead at the head of the turkey, but I just shoot the same broadheads at turkeys that I use when I deer hunt. Then I don’t have to change anything on my bow or my shaft that I’m comfortable shooting.

During the fall of that year (2009), I moved over to Fort Jackson in South Carolina and took an 8 point buck with my  X-Force Dream Season hunting bow. I had just finished my first year in the Open B class before deer season, and I won out of Open B and knew I would have to move up a class for 2010. So, I was shooting a lot before hunting season, and once again, several things about 3D archery helped me become a better bowhunter. I was shooting at the kill zone on animal sized targets, shooting at varying distances and shooting a lot, and I built up confidence in my ability to draw, aim and shoot, not only at 3D targets. When an animal presented a similar type of shot that I had shot when competing in 3D archery, I had no hesitation in taking the shot and knowing that I could make the shot. That confidence is another very critical key to being a successful bowhunter. Each one of those factors impacting tournament archery also relates very specifically to my bowhunting success.

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


Mike Hopkins Uses His PSE X-Force Dream Season Bow to Successfully Hunt Deer and Wild Hogs


Mike H

Editor’s Note: Thirty seven year old Mike Hopkins of Junction City, Kansas, has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. Hopkins is a classic example of how to become a better bowhunter. 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 bowhunting program.

PSE: Mike, what was the next buck you took with a bow?

Hopkins: The next season I was shooting a PSE  X-Force Dream Season bow and shot several does and 4 point bucks and a hog. I was in the army, stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, as a human resources officer, and I was able to hunt about 1/2 mile from where I lived on the base.

PSE: Tell us about taking that wild hog with your bow.

Hopkins: My buddy had been hunting with me just about every afternoon, and we’d split up once we got into the woods. I’d get in my tree stand, and he’d get in his. We hadn’t been in our tree stands very long before we heard thunder and saw lightning, and rain started falling. After we’d been hunting about 30 minutes, I called him on the radio and told him I would climb down to try to move some deer toward him, before the weather got really bad. While I was walking through a thicket trying to drive a deer out to my buddy, I went by a large pine tree and saw something black in my peripheral vision. Looking harder, I realized the black object was a 110 pound wild hog. The hog didn’t move, so I walked up about 15 more yards to the next big pine. I stopped, turned around so I wasn’t facing the hog, nocked an arrow, drew my bow and released the arrow. The hog never moved from the spot where he was.

PSE: How far were you from the hog before you took the shot?

Hopkins: I was only about 15 yards away, and I hit the pig behind his right shoulder. I was shooting a 100 grain Slick Trick broadhead that lodged in his shoulder, but didn’t go all the way through. I quickly nocked a second arrow, and as I walked up to him, I shot the second arrow.

Mike Hopkins pse

PSE’s Mike Hopkins

PSE: You also said that you took some does and 4 point bucks that season, which was only 1 year after you took your first bow buck. So, you must have gotten very active with your bowhunting.

Hopkins: I really did. You know the old saying, “Your first buck’s the hardest,” and I found that to be absolutely true. I filled all six of my tags the year after I took my first buck and added a hog to boot. I took one spike, two 4 points and three does. I went from bowhunting for 4 years and taking no deer to buying a PSE  X-Force 7 bow and taking my first buck. Then the next year with my PSE  X-Force Dream Season bow, I filled all my tags and took a wild hog also. I believe one of the key factors of my success was that between the year I took my first buck and the second year when I took the hog and the six deer, I drastically increased my participation in tournament archery. That year I started to shoot the national 3D archery circuit almost year round, instead of just local club tournaments.

PSE: What circuit were you primarily shooting?

Hopkins: The Archery Shooters Association circuit – ASA. When I first started, I shot in the Bow Novice class. That’s the first class available for a hunting style bow set up. Then, after four tournaments, I won my way out of Bow Novice and finished the year shooting in the Open C division. The following year, I moved up to Open B.

PSE: What bow were you shooting in the tournaments?

Hopkins: I was shooting my  X-Force Dream Season hunting bow. When I won $350, I moved up in class. When I got to the Open C class, I started using a single pin, movable sights and longer stabilizers, and that was all foreign to me, because I was basically a bowhunter. So, I spent the second half of that season getting comfortable with all the new equipment. When I started in Open C, I started shooting the PSE Shark.

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


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