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PSE’s Ernie Calandrelli, the Bionic Bowhunter


By Ernie Calandrelli with John E. Phillips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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To get “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” by John E. Phillips, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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


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.


My Bow Choice by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren


By Jared Bloomgren

I am often asked what makes me decide which bow is best for me. Ever since I began shooting my first PSE nearly 25 years ago I always looked forward to the next year when the new bows were introduced. It was always like Christmas in October when PSE would introduce the new bows and that hasn’t changed one bit today! I always look forward to what PSE will bring out for new bows and technology. This last October was no different! It has came a long ways since I was shooting my PSE Deer Hunter.

I decided to give the DNA a try and I have finally gotten my hands on my own. I have only shot the DNA at 20 yards in an indoor range so I cannot say for sure how I feel about the bow at longer distances. But when I have shot it, it has felt and shot like a dream bow. Smooth draw, vibe free, and very fast. Accuracy and forgiveness will have to be determined after I get it back. I have stripped my DNA down and sent it off to Hydro-Dip in Utah to have it dipped in the new Kryptek Highlander pattern! Once I have it back in my hands and get it put back together you can expect I will be out there shooting this bow out past 100 yards to determine if it will take the place of my Omen.

DNA fresh out of the box!

DNA fresh out of the box!

Okay, I got a bit sidetracked; back to it….what makes me decide which bow is best for me? I am a spot and stalk hunter as you know if you have been following my blogs. I hunt in the west in open country often and having a bow that is fast and forgiving is what I prefer. There are times when a 70 yard shot may present itself and having a flatter, faster shooting bow can make a huge difference. Granted speed doesn’t kill but it does sure help with these circumstances! Having a faster and flatter shooting bow will make judging yardage not as critical. This also increases my maximum effective shooting range. (Watch for a future blog on Maximum Shooting Range)

Ever since the introduction of the X Force HF in 2007 I was very excited! The speed and shoot-ability of this bow was better than ever in the PSE line. Since then the X Force line has continued with new bows over the years and there is an X Force for every style of archer. The speeds are phenomenal and yes, the shoot ability is top notch!

That brings me into the year 2012. I acquired an Omen Pro, black riser with skullworks limbs and accessories. The thing looks saweet! The black and skullworks combination just pops! I was pulling 74# and shooting a 390 grain arrow around 330 feet per second. I was drilling the bulls-eye out to 120 yards and very confident in my shooting and in the bow! I have never shot another bow as good as I am shooting this bow. The thing is a dream for me to shoot!

Omen Pro

Omen Pro

So that leads me back to the DNA. Will the DNA stack up to my Omen Pro? Time and testing will soon tell and I will keep everybody up to speed on my findings. Granted, what bow shoots best for me and what I prefer will not be the case for others. Each person needs to find the bow that compliments them. The Omen Pro has worked great for me and I look forward to trying out other bows as well. I hope to get my hands on an Omen Max too and I assume that will be just like the Omen Pro with a few refinements that I am sure will shoot just as great!

Another all time favorite bow of mine has been my 2012 Revenge. This thing is short and shoots incredibly well. I used it to hunt turkeys last spring and it will likely let the air out of a few more thunder chickens this spring! I would have to put my Revenge right behind my Omen Pro as far as shoot ability and accuracy. The Omen Pro had the edge over the Revenge as the Revenge just doesn’t have the speed and accuracy of the Omen Pro out to farther distances.

2012 Revenge

2012 Revenge

I will do another blog in the future about the DNA and what I think of it. I am pretty confident that it will be what I like in a bow as it is lighter and that would really help in my backcountry hunts. Saving every bit of weight on these hard to do hunts will help out a great deal. As a backcountry hunter I am always looking to shave weight somewhere. But the biggest question remains. Will I be able to shoot the DNA as well as the Omen? Time will tell and I will share my finding with you in the near future! Watch for a one of a kind DNA coming your way!

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.


Loosen your grip by PSE’s Emily Anderson


By Emily Anderson

http://www.fromthedraw.com/

When first shooting a bow there is a lot to learn … stand this way, find an anchor point or two or three, back tension, don’t punch the trigger, level, breath, etc.  The list goes on and on.

I remember getting so frustrated with my husband when I was first learning because he wanted me to get everything right.  Now don’t get me wrong, he had my best interests in mind which is admirable.  While I appreciate his concern for my accuracy and desire for excellency, it can also be exasperating when you are trying to remember everything and your spouse is whispering in your ear, “You did it wrong, again.”  I know he was just trying to help, but I felt like he was secretly enjoying pointing out my errors.  Ugh.  I wanted to throw an arrow at him, and since I’m confessing, I think I chased him around with one at some point. Don’t worry, a broadhead was not fixed to the tip of my arrow!

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Gals, if you are just learning to shoot, here’s a piece of advice:  Find a non-biased friend or someone from a local pro-shop to help with your shooting technique.  I’ve found that it is much easier to hear constructive criticism from a non-husband source.

With that being said, after years of shooting a bow, I am still working on perfecting my shot.  I know there is always room for improvement.  Sometimes a minor adjustment here or there can bring you to that next level of consistency in your shot.  Since we are now in a hunting off-season where most deer hunting has come to a close, don’t put your bow away! I would encourage you to take a look at your form.  Is there any room for improvement in your shot?  Video yourself and evaluate your form.  Have someone else give you a second opinion.

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I know what I’ll be working on … how I hold my bow, specifically loosening my grip.  I need to make sure I’m holding it correctly with the bow grip in the meat of my palm, letting my fingers relax, and trusting my bow sling.  After a missed shot this last year, I can almost guarantee it was because I was so excited that I gripped my bow which ended up giving just enough torque to throw my shot off.  So, I know I need some work in this area.  I’ve asked a friend at a Pro-Shop to make sure I’m holding my bow correctly. I know it will take practice… I can consistently shoot 20 yard shots all day long, but I quickly learned the hard way that if I haven’t formed the habit of consistently holding my bow correctly, it is way too easy to grip and torque your shot during the heat of the moment when the shot counts. I have a date with an elk in about 9 months from now, and I’m not going to make the same mistake twice!

What about you?  Are you taking strides this winter to improve your shot?  What areas do you need to improve on?

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

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

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


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.

 


Taking a Good Picture by PSE’s Dustin Jones


By Dustin Jones

http://www.highcountrybowhunter.com/

Nothing is more exciting than taking an animal with your bow. All of the time that you have put into scouting, preparing, and finally taking that shot has finally paid off. After all of the celebration of recovering your animal has taken place, the next step that most anyone will want to do is take a picture to remember the hunt. Something that I like to take into account is showing respect to that animal. Now I am not saying that the way I take pictures is the way that you should take your pictures, because trust me I still need some work in this area, but there are some tips that will help you capture a good trophy picture.

My first antelope.

My first antelope.

First of all, do your best to remove any blood from the animal. If you are near water it makes it pretty easy to clean up some of the blood using a rag or something to wipe down the bloody area. If cleaning off the blood isn’t possible, usually there is one side that is less bloody than the other. Try and roll the animal or even position the animal in a way that hides most of the blood.

This is an antelope that I had taken and I was so excited to have shot my first antelope with a bow that I hurried to take the picture. You can see there is some blood that I could have washed off and I could have gotten in a better position to see the horns.

My first deer with archery equipment.

My first deer with archery equipment.

Secondly, take care of the tongue. Shove the tongue back in the mouth, hold the bottom jaw, sew it shut, or just cut it off but either way do something to get the tongue out of the picture. That has been one of the biggest things that I have learned to help make a photo look more presentable. I tend to get in a rush after I kill an animal that I forget to take the time to check for the tongue. As you can see in my picture that I could have stuck the tongue back in his mouth and it would have made the photo look a little better.

Dustin Goose 2008
Lastly, show it off. Get down so you are able to show off the antlers (if you were blessed enough to shoot one with them) or just the animal itself. Pictures tend to look better if you are down on the same level as the animal versus you standing over top of the animal. This allows you to truly show off the animal and it just looks better.

 

My dad's elk.

My dad’s elk.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad. As you can see, he got down at the same level of his elk and you are able to see the size of the antlers, there isn’t any blood, and the elk’s tongue is not hanging out of his mouth. I’m not saying this is the perfect picture but you can tell the difference between the previous photos and this photo. This is a larger animal with a bigger rack but there were plenty of things that I could have done in my photos to be a better photo to show off.

So when that moment arrives that you get to take some pictures of your kill, take the time to prepare for a great photo that you’ll be proud to show off. You put forth a lot of effort to hunt the animal, so put forth the effort to take a great picture to show off the animal.

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.


Patience by PSE’s Jared Bloomgren


By Jared Bloomgren

It doesn’t matter what you hunt, where you hunt, or how you hunt; there is one thing that you need on every hunt you partake in, in any location at any given time of the year. The one constant that is needed on any hunt is patience. With patience, you are able to stalk or wait on that animal of your choosing without pushing the envelope too far and educating them. Patience will yield you more animals than any other factor that comes into play. I will touch on various types of hunting situations and my three favorite ways to harvest an animal as well as provide an example of how I used patience to turn the situation into a positive outcome.

The Omen Pro getting it done!

The Omen Pro getting it done!

Spot and Stalk:

More animals are missed during spotting than one would think. When you find a good vantage point and you are glassing the terrain and you think that there is nothing there to look at; slow down and go over it again. More often than not I have missed bedded bucks on the first look. I have to remind myself to be patient and go over the terrain again and look for any little thing that might show signs of life. Look for something that doesn’t fit the terrain, look for shadows and look for shady areas that could provide that buck or bull with the shade needed to stay comfortable. I have found that after initially glassing an area, I may find a few animals but by slowing down and taking more time, I often find numerous animals that most often are over looked. One situation in particular comes to mind. I had been glassing for what seemed like an eternity, my eyes were tired, my legs were numb and my butt was sore. I was sure the buck that I was searching didn’t stop in this basin. He had to have moved on. I took a break, ate a snack, drank some water and enjoyed the view from my perch. I took in a few deep breathes, stretched and went back to glassing. I felt revived as I pressed the spotting scope to my eye. A few minutes passed and suddenly I noticed something out of the ordinary; my buck bedded in a location that I had already glassed numerous times! He had been bedded there all along! A simple break was all I needed to regain my concentration and get my patience back in check.

When it comes to stalking an animal, patience isn’t an option; it is a virtue. Stalking pits your skills against that of your prey on their terms. They are very familiar with the terrain in which they live. You must be too. Being patient will make it easier for you to complete that stalk. Impatience will cause you to step on the twig or brush up against that branch that you should have seen. I have found myself numerous times rushing a stalk and have to remind myself to slow down and be patient. By doing this I begin to notice more things that could ruin that stalk. Numerous stalks pop into my head when thinking about this topic. One such stalk I found myself bewildered and lost. I couldn’t figure out where I was in relation to the terrain. I looked back towards my vantage point where I was and realized that everything looked much different now. From over two miles away things sure look different when you get to that location! I pressed on not sure of exactly where I was. Just then I bumped a buck that I didn’t know was there. He jumped up and blew out of the basin taking the big boy with him. I had become impatient and ruined that stalk. I didn’t take the time to do terrain recognition like I should have. I rushed myself. If I would have been patient the outcome may have likely been much different.

Ever since watching that monster cross over the ridge something inside me changed. From then on, I remind myself more constantly to remain calm and keep patient. That was many years ago and patience has rewarded me many more animals since that time. When I know I am rushing things or becoming impatient I will take a knee or sit down, grab some water and say a quick prayer, recheck my position to ensure that I am on track and go about my stalk.

Tactics combined took down this old buck!

Tactics combined took down this old buck!

While sitting in the treestand or in a ground blind, I have seen many people lose concentration and an animal will come along only to bust them because they weren’t paying attention. Yes, I am that guy! Patience comes into play again. It can be hard but keeping an open mind that an animal could come walking along at any time can keep a person going. Knowing that you are so close to either success or defeat and thinking about it can help remind you to stay alert at what is going on around you in any situation. Sitting in an antelope blind can be exhausting to say the least. I am reminded of sitting in a blind at a waterhole in 100+ degree heat or perched in a treestand during the rut all day long in freezing temperatures. In either situation you are almost guaranteed to see an animal! 12 hours in on my 14 hour sit, I finally had a shooter antelope buck come in to quench his thirst and 4 hours in on my 6.5 hour sit I had a mature whitetail sneaking along the trail in search of a hot doe. Both animals are now on my wall! Why? Because I was patient!

Patience is a must in this situation as generally you are on the move with the animal and keeping at least two steps ahead of them and what they are going to do is essential. Anticipating what the next move will be can be difficult at times because animals can be so unpredictable. Paying attention to the habits of animals is important. If you are able to watch the animal of your choice before going in for the kill always helps but is not always possible. Many times while planning how to ambush an animal, I have had to change my plan numerous times to adjust how I was going to kill that critter. The wind can change, animals can change heading, you may run out of cover, you may be hot, tired, and wore out but maintaining patience is vital to success. I am reminded of this last season, twice. Spot and stalk situations turned into ambush situations. Spot and stalk and ambushing are much the same to me but in an ambush you have an animal that is still on the move. I had spotted three whitetails moving from their feeding area to their bedding area; as I stalked closer I realized that they were moving faster than I initially thought. I quickly decided to slip in front of them. After a couple of failed attempts I was hard after it again. This time it paid off as the three bucks passed by around 40 yards. I opted to take the most mature but not the biggest racked buck. My arrow hit its mark from 44 yards! Patience and staying two steps ahead of these bucks made it possible. Another situation this last season was with a mature muley that I had spotted at first light. At 8 am I was moving along a shallow draw towards 14 deer; one of which was the buck I had hoped to pass an arrow through. I did get impatient and a doe spotted me. I had become impatient and was moving too fast. After a long stare down the doe moved her group off to safer pastures. A half a day later I was inching forward on the same group as I had a couple of more times throughout the day. There was very little cover and patience forced me to remain pressed to the ground and moving very slow. I knew it was the last stalk/ambush of the day. I had run out of cover and the deer were moving my way. I had planned for them to move down this low area headed in the direction they had came from that morning. I had 75 yards to crawl to get to the only cover available to conceal me. Once I was there I prepped the area and moved the weeds/grass that I needed to for a shot. Numerous deer, and that doe, finally picked me out when they were at 30 yards. The buck was still pulling up the rear. I remained calm, range finder pressed to my eye, bow in my hand, and patience at bay. The buck came into the opening at 62 yards, I lowered my range finder and hooked my release and pulled my bow back slowly in one motion without spooking the deer. I watched as my arrow ended my 2011 season perfectly! This same type of patience ended my 2012 season much the same as you read in my last week’s blog Post Rut Whitetail! Both of these hunts were made possible by using spot and stalk and ambush scenarios combined.

Patience made this dream come true

Patience made this dream come true

Still hunting has proved very productive for me in my backcountry elk hunt less than a month ago. Getting in the bedroom (bedding area) of whatever animal you are hunting and almost making time stand still between each step you take can be very rewarding but only if you are again, patient! In order for me to still hunt correctly I need plenty of patience and I need to be spot on with my movements. In doing this I like to take no more than three steps at a time and stop, glass what is in front of me, and move on with a few more steps when I am sure there is not an animal within eyesight. I pay particular attention to each step making sure not to step on tree branches, pine cones, dried leaves, or anything that might cause unnecessary noise. The goal here like many other types of hunting is to see that animal before it sees you. Once you spot an animal you can finish up the hunt by closing the distance by spot and stalk or with an ambush situation.

One of the largest general area bulls of all time

One of the largest general area bulls of all time

Regardless of what type of hunting you are doing; spot and stalk, ambush, still hunting, treestand, blind, etc….the list goes on and on. You can often combine a couple of these types of hunting together to fit the scenario and make you more successful in the field. The sky is the limit and patience is key! Patience has its place in each and every hunt. Increase your patience and I guarantee you will increase your success!

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.Preview


Holding a First Bow Kill Close to Heart by PSE’s Emily Anderson


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

PSE's Emily Anderson

PSE’s Emily Anderson

I hope the thrill of my first deer kill doesn’t fade away too quickly from my memory. There is something truly wonderful about the whole experience, and I’m sure I am not alone in the endeavor to hold a first bow kill close to heart, and safely tucked into the deep recesses of one’s mind.

I still remember the feeling – it was as if time stood still.

Morning

Morning of First Hunt

The morning of my first whitetail deer hunt I found myself up in a tree stand for the first time in my life, and just as I was getting comfortable with the distance from my feet to the ground below, the silence was interrupted by the sound of brittle leaves being crushed. Something was making its way along the path below, and closing the distance to our stand fast. I glanced up at my husband above in a tree stand, attached to the same tree as mine, and smiled. We watched together in anticipation of what was coming our way. It didn’t take long for the disrupter of the morning silence to make an appearance, and from our perch above the ground we could clearly see the mule deer as he made his way along the path below. Our tags said “whitetail” so we watched and admired the buck as he continued on his morning journey.

Emily Anderson

As a western hunter who is used to hunting from the ground, spot and stalk style, this new view from above had me intrigued and fascinated. I loved being above the action and felt like a giddy school girl when again the sound of *crunch* *crunch* echoed through the trees, signaling the closing distance of another buck. We watched a buck work his way down from the field above and mosey around a big oak towards my side of the tree. After a brief nonverbal discussion, my husband nodded, giving me the green light to take a shot. I slowly reached for my bow, took a breath, came to full draw, picked a spot and settled my top pin. The arrow released and I watched as it made impact on the chosen spot. Thwack!

I remember looking at my husband, looking back at my deer running down the path, looking back at my husband, and then starting to shake uncontrollably. It was an adrenaline rush like none other I’ve ever experienced. I had arrowed my first buck and I was hooked! After shooting that buck, I felt a sense of relief and sheer excitement all wrapped up together in a ball of emotions. Relief due to the sense that all the practice and preparation finally had cumulated into the desired result. My arrow flew true and found its mark. Buck fever had been replaced by a calming feeling just before the shot, and the instant flow of adrenaline as I realized what I had just done, had found its appropriate time to flow through my veins … directly after the kill shot.

First Bow Kill

First Bow Kill

When I first took up bowhunting, I often dreamt about and wondered what I would shoot first with my bow. That question has now been answered for me, and I’m proud to say it was a whitetail.

What about you? What was your first bow kill? Do you still vividly remember the details of that hunt? If it is starting to fade, I would encourage you to take a moment to write it down. You’d be amazed at how that moment in time comes flooding back when you start journaling it out.

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

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

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


PSE’s Albert Quackenbush’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 Dustin Jones on Release Aides


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

TRU Ball Release

TRU Ball Release

When I purchased my first compound bow, I purchased the ready-to-shoot option which included a release aid. I thought to myself that I would probably need to upgrade at some point thinking that the release that came with the bow must not be a very reliable one if they were just giving it away in an archery package. I am still using that same T.R.U. Ball Cyclone release that I got 5 years ago to this day. I have always told myself that when this one starts acting up or fails on me then I’ll upgrade, but it has yet to do so.

There are many different styles of release aids to choose from and my biggest suggestion is if you can, try some different ones out and pick the one that best fits your needs. There is the wrist/caliper release, handheld or finger release, back tension release, and an automatic or hydraulic release. I personally use the wrist/caliper index finger release with the double jaw or caliper which is probably one of the most common releases used among bowhunters. Here are some of the reasons why I still shoot this style of release and probably will for quite some time.

Trigger On My Release

Trigger On My Release

1. The release uses a trigger that is similar to a trigger on a firearm. Even if you have never fired a firearm, there is something familiar to us all that by pulling a trigger results in an action. This is why I have felt the most comfortable with this style of release. I initially started hunting with a firearm before I started archery hunting and have been very comfortable shooting something with a trigger using my index finger.

2. The draw weight of the bow is supported by the wrist. This is a huge reason why I enjoy using this style of release. I am able to draw my bow and hold it as it is drawn much easier and longer because it is supported by my wrist. This allows me to keep my hand and fingers relaxed which helps reduce any extra tension or torque on the bow while I am drawing or shooting.

Calipers

Calipers

3. It’s quick and easy to attach to my bowstring. The calipers, or jaws, quickly and easily attach to the d-loop allowing for a quick draw and release when needed. When that moment comes and I am not completely ready I know that my release can easily be attached and I can quickly draw my bow.

Caliper Release

Caliper Release

Will I upgrade? Yes I more than likely will upgrade to a new release at some point but I will definitely be using the same style of release. I know that there are many hunters out there who use some of the other styles and it works for them. When you are searching for that piece of archery equipment that is one of the biggest factors when looking around, find what works for you. Get out there and try out some of the different release aids and find out which one you are the most comfortable shooting with. For me I will definitely stick with a wrist/caliper release.

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.


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