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The Ultimate Practice Routine – TechnoHUNT – NY Bowhunter

Archery Tips

The Ultimate Practice Routine – TechnoHUNT

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When I purchased my bow at my local archery pro shop a few months ago the bow tech was telling me about this new TechnoHUNT system that they were having installed and would be up and running the following week.
I was clueless as to what exactly TechnoHUNT was so on my next visit to Flying Arrow Sports in Carmel they let me shoot it for free for fifteen minutes which was all I needed to get hooked! The TechnoHUNT system uses a projector and large screen to display 30 second clips of wildlife from whitetail deer to cape buffalo – your choice – and the archer then takes aim and shoots his arrows with special tips from 20 yards away. The animals are walking, eating, running, rubbing trees, lying down, etc. and the shot distance is simulated with life size game from 20 out to 40 yards (the shots are physically all at 20 yards, but the simulation can make a deer look to be as far as 40 yards away). It is up to the archer to decide if the shot is ethical or not. In some scenarios a buck will have a doe in front of him, or a buck will be walking and there is only a small opening between two limbs so you have to make a judgment call.At Flying Arrow Sports they charge $15 for one person to shoot a half hour round of TechnoHUNT and the more people you get in your group the cheaper it is per person. I chose to shoot whitetails and was able to get off about 50 shots shooting four arrows within the half hour. It was a very good session and I only had one miss – it was at a running deer and the clock was ticking so I decided to let an arrow fly and, of course, the deer stopped and I just cut its brisket. In real life I wouldn’t have taken a shot at that deer unless I was able to stop it, but this is just a game so you can take those shots you would question in the field and see what the end result would actually be. In my case the end result is – don’t shoot a running deer unless it stops. In the field I would have grunted at the deer to stop it, but unfortunately the deer in the simulator won’t hear you grunt so you can’t stop them.

 

TechnoHUNT is starting to pop up all across the country in local archery shops and even taxidermy studios. I would highly recommend shooting one if you have one in your local area.

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Archery Tips

Keep Your Bowhunting Skills Sharp with 3D Shooting

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Over the last few weekends we’ve been headed over to Blue Mountain Sportsman Center to shoot 3D. The course has been a lot of fun to shoot. There’s several targets to shoot at including deer, turkey, bear, and fox. The terrain makes it very realistic practice for hunting with shots at inclines and declines to simulate actual hunting scenarios.

One thing I like to do is shoot from the furthest stakes and guess the yardage. Then after we all shoot we range the target to see how close we were to guessing the distance. This really helps me to learn how to judge distance in the field and is a valuable tool for when an animal catches you off guard in the field. Shooting from the furthest stakes also make the closer shots seem easier.

If you haven’t been out shooting 3D this summer then you better hurry up and get out there because hunting season will be here before you know it. Blue Mountain Sportsman Center is open Thursday – Sunday and holidays. Shooting a round of 3D costs $12 with a county park pass and is $15 without a park pass.

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Archery Tips

Indoor Archery Leagues at Extreme Archery

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Team NYB will be joining the Hunter League at Extreme Archery set to begin on September 3rd. The Hunter League will be held on Fridays for 6 weeks and feature various animal targets.

We’re looking forward to participating in the league and sharpening our skills for the upcoming season. The indoor league is a great way to meet fellow archers and practice shooting under a little bit of pressure!

Here are the details on the Indoor Archery Leagues at Extreme Archery:

Kids League ($70, 8 weeks)
– begins Saturday, September 4th @ 10:00am

300 Target League ($90, 7 weeks)
– begins Wednesday, September 1st @ 6:30pm

Hunter League ($90, 6 weeks)
– begins Friday, September 3rd @ 6:30pm

Traditional League (TBD)
– call to find out more

To sign up for any of the Indoor Archery Leagues call Extreme Archery at 914-777-7500.

Extreme Archery is located at 801 East Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

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Archery Tips

How to Set the Perfect Treestand

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This is something new I’m adding to my arsenal of tricks this season to help me set the perfect stand (works for trail cams too)! It’s called the Photographer’s Ephemeris, a tool designed to help landscape photographers take the perfect picture at sunrise or sunset.

The tool allows you to pick a location, date and time to see exactly where the sun and moon will be. This allows you to follow the path of the sun and moon on any given date and at any given time.

So how does this help the hunter? Simple. It allows the hunter to find a stand location on the map and then see how the sun will rise and set during the hunting season so that the sun is never in the hunter’s eyes.

I entered the location of our lease in the program and changed the date to opening day. Where we have our stands situated is in the perfect spot with the sun rising to our right and circling behind us before setting to our left. That means if the deer are out in the hunting plot where we hope to shoot them we will have the sun behind us which will make it much harder for the deer to pick us out of the tree.

This is a great tool I will be playing around with more and more this season as I hang some tree stands over the next few weeks. Below is a video on how it works:

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The Ultimate Whitetail Experience – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Ultimate Whitetail Experience

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Picture this…you’s bowhunting out of a ground blind and a mere 10-yards away out of nowhere steps a giant 170″ whitetail. I’d absolutely freak out! But that’s exactly what happened to the guys at Whitetail Properties. What an experience!

170″ buck at 10 YARDS. See it and more from this season’s show on @SPORTSMANchnl here: http://t.co/dpYdWcGfXi pic.twitter.com/6DX5aC0jkn
— Whitetail Properties (@WhitetailPropTV) August 2, 2013

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Deer Hunting

Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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Deer Hunting

7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The Unique Buck – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Unique Buck

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Chris sent in this picture of a great Long Island buck he took back on October 29th. It happened fast. Just as Chris was standing with his back pack and ready to lower his bow down, two bucks raced in with one chasing the other. Chris was able to get a shot off at the trailing buck, but it was actually the leading buck that was much bigger. Chris’ buck has a mainframe 7-point rack with a unique 8th point growing between the other two, almost like a separate main beam.

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Deer Hunting

Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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Deer Hunting

7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The Randazzo Buck – A Westchester County 10 Pointer – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Randazzo Buck – A Westchester County 10 Pointer

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My good friend Joe Randazzo sent me this picture last week of a great 10-point whitetail he took in Westchester County. Randazzo had watched this buck over the last few seasons, but the buck wasn’t getting any bigger. This year when the buck gave Randazzo the opportunity, he took the shot and put the big whitetail down. Congrats to Joe on this awesome Westchester whitetail.

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Deer Hunting

Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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Deer Hunting

7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The Rzepka Buck – A Late Season Whitetail – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Rzepka Buck – A Late Season Whitetail

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After an incredible season passing up over 30 bucks, patience and determination finally paid off for Damien Rzepka on December 2nd. This brute was searching for a hot doe at noon and Damien was able to sneak an arrow in him. He was well worth the wait!

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Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The Secret Spot – A Lesson Learned in Food Plots – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Secret Spot – A Lesson Learned in Food Plots

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This year I decided to plant a hunting plot in one of my suburban spots. The area is a well used deer travel corridor that seems to connect several pieces of woods together.

I didn’t find this particular spot until December and even then I was getting a lot of activity by the camera and picked up several bucks on trail cam including two beautiful shooter bucks.

There were plenty of acorns in this spot to keep the deer coming through to feed, but I thought I might have some early season luck if I could plant a small hunting plot at this spot. Nothing crazy something around 20 yards by 60 yards.

I knew I couldn’t get any sort of equipment back there besides a rake, hand saw and hand seed spreader. I went online and purchased a bag of Secret Spot XL from Whitetail Institute which is a throw and grow type of seed that can tolerate an extremely low pH of around 5.0, but optimally .

With the thought in my head and the seed ordered I headed to the woods and began clearing some small saplings. Once that was done I realized my 20 yard by 60 yard hunting plot was a little too ambitious so I cut it down to about 20 yards by 20 yards. Then the fun part began.

I spent the next few hours raking a good 10 years of fallen leaves off the ground until I hit bare dirt – this took a good four or more hours. Once the ground was clear I took a few soil samples so I could have the BioLogic lab analyze them for me and tell me the true pH of the plot.

The next step was to get some lime down. I had purchased 500 pounds of pelletized lime as the package suggested as well as 100 pounds of 13-13-13 fertilizer. After dragging 120 pounds of lime uphill and through the thick tangled brush, I decided it was enough.

The soil test came back a few days later with a pH of 4.6 – about as bad as you can get for planting anything. Most food plot forage needs a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 – what most people don’t realize is that the pH scale moves at a factor of 10. So while a pH of 4.6 doesn’t look so bad compared to a pH of 7.0 on paper, in reality the soil is over 100 times more acidic than a neutral pH of 7.

Even though I spread enough lime on my hunting plot to raise the pH above 5.0 it’s just barely enough for the seed to grow. The correct pH is critical because it allows the roots of the plants to absorb the available nutrients in the ground. The more nutrients available to the plants the more tonnage they’ll produce.

Here’s a breakdown of pH and how it relates to the available nutrients in the ground:

  • At a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 plants can utilize 95% of the available nutrients in the soil
  • At a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 plants can utilize 85% of the available nutrients in the soil
  • At a pH of 5.5 to 6.0 plants can utilize 45% of the available nutrients in the soil
  • At a pH of 5.5 and below plants can only utilize 15% of the available nutrients in the soil

So why am I even attempting this? To be honest, I’m only moving forward with this small hunting plot because it’s not worth it to return the seed. I’ve already put the time and effort into clearing the plot and liming it, so it’s not much more effort for me to spread 40 pounds of fertilizer and 3 pounds of seed.

If there’s one thing you take away from my story please remember to always soil test first! Then worry about what you’re going to plant. If you don’t have a good foundation to start with, no matter what you throw on the ground, it’s not going to grow to it’s full potential.

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Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The Tellone Buck – A Giant Long Island 8-Pointer – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Tellone Buck – A Giant Long Island 8-Pointer

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On November 3rd, Greg Tellone was hunting on the east end of Long Island when this giant 8-pointer walked past Tellone’s stand. After 20-years of hunting Tellone finally had a shot at a monster buck and was able to put the beast down at 6:45 am.

The buck weighed a whopping 232 pounds and unofficially scored 171″ with 25 4/8″ main beams and 14 4/8″ G2s.

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Deer Hunting

Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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Deer Hunting

7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The LeMon Buck – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The LeMon Buck

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On November 6th, Robert LeMon was able to get out of work early and head to the woods for the last 2 hours of day light. LeMon made his way in to the woods and when he kicked up a small buck just 70 yards from his stand. As the sun started to set, LeMon heard some movement out to his left.

Six does were making their way up the hill to a nearby field. Shortly after, LeMon then turned his head and saw some movement in the brush in front of his stand. LeMon kept his eye on the brush and watched as a rack popped up above the brush. LeMon grunted at the buck and after the third grunt the buck stopped 30-yards out and began to make a scrape. While the buck was occupied, LeMon drew back on the buck and was able to make the shot.

LeMon’s 7-pointer was a heavyweight buck tipping the scales at almost 200 pounds. LeMon was hunting in the town of East Fishkill in Dutchess County when he arrowed this nice buck.

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Deer Hunting

Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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Deer Hunting

7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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The Longbow Longbeard – NY Bowhunter

Turkey Hunting

The Longbow Longbeard

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For the last few seasons, Terry has been successfully taking a longbeard on opening morning with his trusty stick bow. However, the 2011 season would soon prove to be a bit more challenging than previous seasons had been.

Unable to hunt opening morning, Terry headed to the woods on May 2nd to his favorite turkey hunting spot – a natural funnel between a small field next to a creek and a much larger field. Each night the birds roosted on a ridge just above the small field and as the day would break the woods would come alive with the sounds of turkeys until it was light enough for them to pitch down into the field.

With a lone decoy set up in the larger field just past the funnel connecting the smaller field to the larger one, Terry was set up and ready for a morning as he had experienced for the last four seasons.

As day began to break Terry heard multiple gobblers up on the roost. Terry let out some calls and got the birds fired up. He had four gobblers to his right and three gobblers to his left – it was bound to be an exciting morning.

When the first gobbler hit the ground he was on the wrong side of the creek, but he quickly started running towards Terry and flew right over the creek landing a mere three feet from him right in the funnel. Terry moved just a fraction of an inch and the bird picked him up and quickly disappeared into the larger field. With time running out before he had to head for work, Terry decided to get out of there and try again the next day. Of course, as Terry got up there were two more birds in full strut that had come in silence and the birds left as quick as they came.

The next morning Terry was back at it and this time had six gobblers sounding off at first light. Four of the longbeards hit the ground, shut up and chased after a few hens in another direction. Once the longbeards had their ladies there was no changing their mind – it’s tough to compete with the real thing.

Wednesday brought heavy rain and the birds were either silent or it was raining too hard to hear them – needless to say, it was a wash, pun intended.

Thursday brought clear skies and more rowdy gobblers. With three gobblers to his right and a group of hens on his left, Terry was smack dab in the middle of the entire flock. When the first bird gobbled Terry was shocked to realize the bird was roosted just 40 yards away with a second roosted in a tree not too far behind.

Terry let out a series of calls followed by a fly down cackle while flapping his hat to simulate a hen flying off the roost and just as he finished his calling sequence he heard one of the gobblers fly down. As the birds flew down into the field they saw Terry’s decoy and came charging in at full strut. With gobblers in full strut and their backs to Terry he drew back his longbow and aimed for the bulls eye. Fifteen yards later the bird was done.

It was a “long” season for Terry, but he was able to get it done with his stick and string again this year. Congrats to Terry on the ultimate challenge in bowhunting!

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Turkey Hunting

Spring Turkey Season Opens May 1 in New York

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Bowhunters take to the woods this spring after weary old gobblers in New York.

It’s my favorite time of year after deer season – the spring turkey season (probably because it’s the only other time I’m out hunting with my bow). Following suit of previous seasons, the 2014 spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of upstate New York lying north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and the annual youth turkey hunting weekend is April 26-27. The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County.

Not nearly as popular as deer hunting, there only 100,000 turkey hunters expected to head afield this spring. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can’t get excited about calling to a bird and have it respond and watch it work its way in. It’s a very interactive hunt.

According to the DEC, hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their small game hunting or sportsman license (if purchased before Feb. 1) or hunting license (if purchased after Feb. 1).

  • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.
  • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day.
  • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow and arrow.
  • Crossbows may not be used for the spring 2014 turkey season.
  • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested.
  • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird.

One thing that caught my eye is that the state’s enacted 2014-15 budget includes language authorizing the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances. So while hunters cannot use crossbows to take wild turkey during the 2014 spring season, they might be able to in 2015. It will be interesting to see if the changes go through for next year and what affect that would have on the number of hunters taking to the field for turkey hunting.

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Turkey Hunting

Bowhunting Turkey in New York

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Teresa took this big longbeard on the opening day of the 2012 Spring Turkey Hunting Season in Orange County, New York. This is Teresa’s first turkey kill and she got the job done with a heart-pounding 23-yard shot. Congrats to Teresa on an awesome longbeard!

Did you have success this spring? It was tough with the warm weather we had in April before the opener.

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Turkey Hunting

NY Bowhunter Takes Turkey During Fall Archery Season

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Last Friday morning my cousin Ken had the day off to enjoy a day afield. He was set up in his tree well before first light, but the morning was really slow and Ken only saw one deer. The tall spike came down the hill 50 yards to his right and kept on walking to wherever it was that he was going.

With no rubs or scrapes in the general area, Ken and his father Nick decided to hunt a different area that afternoon. On the drive to their hunting spot that afternoon they spotted a flock of turkeys and ten deer out in a field just a few door down from where they would be hunting.

Ken headed to his stand at the top of the hill and waited in anticipation for the deer and turkey to leave the field and move back into the hardwoods. Around 5:00 pm the woods exploded with noise and movement and the deer and turkey came barreling through the woods. Shortly after, Ken heard a lady yelling at her dog who must have decided it would be fun to chase the deer and turkeys out of the nearby field.

Then Ken heard a single turkey coming towards him from the bottom of the hill. Ken got ready and drew back with the bird at 20 yards. The bird took two more steps and Ken made a chirping sound to stop it and let the arrow fly. The bird only made it a few more yards before going down.

Congrats to Ken on taking a turkey with the bow, that’s never an easy thing!

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The October Lull Myth – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The October Lull Myth

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The October Lull keeps many hunters wondering where all the deer went. For these hunters, there wasn’t much of a lull.

If you haven’t taken a buck yet, or you still have another tag left, remember to share your photos and stories with us by emailing them to info@nybowhunter.com.

Mike Clark sent in this picture of his first bow kill in Hancock, NY on October 4th. The doe came in around 6pm right before sunset and the drag out was during a thunderstorm – that’s part of early season hunting.

Mike Kinsella took this nice 8 pointer down on October 16th while hunting his property in 7F. A blind grunt early that morning got the curiosity of this buck and he came in looking for a fight.

Jim Francis took this great Westchester County buck on October 17th.

Tyler Bean sent in this photo of his dad with his first bow kill after having a shoulder replacement. Tyler’s dad was using a 40-pound draw weight bow and as you can see, it was plenty enough draw weight to take down a whitetail.

Christopher Manning sent in this photo of his buddy John’s buck taken on October 14th. John arrowed the buck at in Columbia County, town of Taghkanic, at a mere 7 yards.

Chris Smolka arrowed this buck on October 19th in Otsego County. This was Chris’ biggest buck to date.

Dominic Interlicchia arrowed these two does on October 18th after traveling home from school.

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Deer Hunting

Crossbow Deer Hunting – The 8 Best Tips & Tactics for Success

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Crossbows are powerful and sensitive pieces of hunting equipment, and it can take years to master the art of crossbow deer hunting. It’s a skill that requires patience, a steady hand and a firm grasp of the concept of aerodynamics. Hunting deer with a rifle is challenging enough but learning how to successfully hunt deer with a crossbow takes things to an entirely new level. Below we’ve broken down the eight best tips and tactics for hunters who want to improve their crossbow hunting skills.

1. Know the law

Hunting regulations can be difficult to understand and adding crossbows to the mix only complicates matters. After you learn that crossbows, in general, are permitted you should determine if there are any equipment restrictions.

Next, you need to find out exactly when they are permitted and specifically how they are to be used. Many states have head and minimum draw requirements. If you can’t find any specific information on crossbow deer hunting in your state then look for generic archery regulations and talk to other hunters who use crossbows for hunting deer.

2. Stay ethical

Ethical crossbow hunting means displaying respect for yourself, nature, the deer and other individuals (whether or not they are hunters). Avoid hunting fawns as they will keep deer populations healthy for future generations. Don’t kill simply for sport – use as much of the animal as possible and always try to make a clean kill. Only hunt in season and avoid trespassing or using illegal baits to lure deer to you. Sticking to “fair chase” rules is what makes hunting an honorable pastime.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Your crossbow shouldn’t be collecting dust when deer are out of season. These deadly devices can be catastrophic in the wrong hands so you should practice consistently year-round. Attend archery classes and engage in target practice with fellow crossbow hunters on a regular basis. Staying in shape and in practice all year will make you a safer and more accurate hunter when a deer crosses your line of sight.

4. Make safety your primary concern

An arrow through the head is only entertaining when it’s nothing more than a novelty hat. Your crossbow’s safety should always be on until you have a clear shot. As is the case with guns, with crossbows you should never point the bow at anyone or anything that you aren’t preparing to shoot, and you should always be aware of what is on the other side of your target.

You should always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, gauze, scissors, eye wash, smelling salts, alcohol wipes, sterile pads, latex gloves, aspirin, medical tape, a tourniquet, blister pads and hydrocortisone or another type of cream to soothe cuts or insect bites. Keep a fully-charged cell or satellite phone handy too, in case you need to call for help.

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

Deer hunting will require you to use a crossbow with a draw of 75-125 pounds. Certain areas have draw requirements for specific types of game so be sure to look into that before choosing a bow. The draw weight determines the speed of the arrow when it is released.

Many crossbows are outfitted with dampeners and scopes, but you can also buy aftermarket parts and add them to your bow. Crossbows are available in different materials, and as a general rule crossbows that are more lightweight and silent cost more.

Arrow selection is of the utmost importance. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon or a composite of both of these materials. Aluminum arrows are more precise, but they are not as durable as carbon or composite arrows. Inexperienced hunters will likely want to start off with carbon arrows and work their way up to the more accurate yet more fragile aluminum arrows. You might also want to look into full metal jacket arrows, which are more expensive but are known for being deadly accurate, fast and durable. Most arrows are between 15-23 inches long and you should check the crossbow manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure you use arrows of an appropriate length.

6. Take advantage of modern technology

You can add equipment to your bow or carry certain tools with you that will aid your crossbow deer hunting efforts. Use a scope sight because even though many crossbows have open sights a scope sight will greatly increase your accuracy. Rangefinders are also extremely useful for crossbow hunters as they can tell you the exact distance from you to the target with just the click of a button.

You might also want to invest in a cocking device to make bringing the bow to full draw easier on yourself. Another tip that expert crossbow hunters recommend is to use a rest. You can also use shooting sticks or a pod to give the bow more stability and take some of the work-load off your arms.

7. Care for your gear

Your arrows need to be sharpened before each hunt. You should also keep an eye on your strings and cables as they can wear easily and need to be replaced regularly. Caring for your gear also means keeping everything clean and organized when you aren’t hunting. This guideline doesn’t just apply to your bow and arrows but to every single piece of hunting equipment you use.

8. Remain completely undetectable

Deer are known for their finely-tuned senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Wear as much camouflage as you can, and use rubber boots to avoid leaving behind scents that could be picked up. Your clothing should be washed with scent-free detergent prior to the outing, and you should seal it in a plastic box until you’re ready to hunt. Keep scent eliminator on you at all times and use it on your clothing, gear, tree stands, blinds, and trail camera locations.

Be aware of wind direction and stay downwind of potential targets. Keep movement and noise to a minimum at all times, and have your crossbow cocked and ready so you are fully prepared to take the shot when an opportunity presents itself.

Conclusion

There is no feeling like successfully bagging a big buck with a perfectly-placed arrow from a crossbow. We hope you found these eight crossbow deer hunting tips, tricks and tactics helpful. What strategies do you employ to give yourself a better shot at success with a crossbow? We’d love to hear your suggestions, questions and other remarks regarding this topic in the Comments here at NYBowhunter.com.

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Deer Hunting

7 Best Tips for How to Adjust & Sight a Crossbow Scope

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Shooting an arrow from a bow isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. Even once you’ve mastered drawing the crossbow, you still have to focus on things like adjustments, sights, arrow material, bow strength, and arrow size. In this article we’ll break down the 7 best tips for how to adjust and sight a crossbow.

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

You should shoot 500-1000 arrows before you attempt to sight your scope. If you can’t shoot tightly grouped arrows and your grouping is off then you aren’t ready to use sight. When you add a scope, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The dot at the top of the scope represents 20 yards out.  The middle and lower dots represent 30 yards, respectively. The number and type of marks depend on the scope and the crossbow’s intended use. You need to “zero” the top dot, or calibrate it, to ensure that it is set for 20 yards.

Your scope should have a wind adjustment know and an elevation adjustment knob. These knobs allow you to adjust the scope depending on height and wind conditions. Each adjustment is followed by a “clicking” sound, which represents a ¼” adjustment at a 100-yard distance, and the other click represents a 1/20” adjustment at a range of 20 yards.

To sight your crossbow, you need to make sure that the weapon does not move at all during firing. Stands 20 yards from your target. Shoot the target using the top reticle three times, and just barely pull the trigger to avoid moving the crossbow. Repeat this action three times. Depending on where the arrows landed, you might need to remove the protection cape from the scope adjustment knobs. Use a screwdriver to adjust the settings. 20 clicks equal one full inch on the elevation, and counterclockwise  40 clicks equals a 2” change in the scope’s directional pattern.

2. Mounting the Scope

Mounting the scope is relatively easy for most crossbows. It’s simply a matter of clasping the scope onto the gun, making sure it is secure, and making sure it doesn’t interfere with the gun in any way. Scopes can be removed and replaced relatively easily, though you should consider things like size, weight, detection range, night-vision capabilities and more when shopping for a gun scope.

First of all, the gun and scope should be completely clean. The mounting system you choose should be compatible with your rifle. Your scope rings should also be compatible with the device. Mount the scope as low on the rifle as possible. Usually, this is done using Torx keys, Allen wrenches or a screwdriver. Position the scope and tighten the top rings slightly, but leave them lose enough so the scope can move slightly. Make sure the scope is far enough up on the gun that you won’t get any facial recoil. When the scope is in position then tighten the ring screws alternatively for the tightest fit.

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

For all intents and purposes of this article, there are four kinds of crossbow scopes:

  • Single Red Dot Scope – The red dot usually represents 20 years and the crossbow should be heightened or lowered to strike the target.
  • Single Reticle Optical Scope – This scope also has a 20-yard marking, and it’s equipped with crosshairs. Upward crosshair movement equals a longer shot and this type of scope is also used for hunting animals that are on the run.
  • Triple Red Dot Scope – This scope provides you with three points of reference. Apart from the standard 20-yard marker this scope also has 30 and 40-yard markers. In many respects, the markers are simply simulated spots due to factors like elevation, wind, and movement.
  • Multi-Retical Optical Scope – This scope contains horizontal and vertical crosshairs, as well as three points of reference for distance (20, 30, 40 and 50 yards). The higher the crossbow is pointed the scope allows you to track the distance of the target.

4. Parallax & Accuracy

Parallax is often used in astronomy, photography, and 3D math. However, parallax is also extremely important to crossbow hunters. Most of us have two eyes and the two eyes piece together everything and send a single image to your brain. This is why one-eyed shots are preferred. You can buy parallax adjusters, which are extremely important for ling range shooters and snipers.

Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to crossbow hunting. You want to make a safe, clean kill. Otherwise, you could injure the animal (another hunter) or completely destroy the carcass.

5. Make Sure That All of Your Equipment is in Good Shape

If your scope is of then you’re going to get an incorrect reading every time. Your laser sight should also be calibrated to make sure it’s providing you with the correct distance (new batteries and a reset button usually do the trick). You should also check your bow, strings, arrows, heads and other related equipment to ensure that a possible failure of one system wouldn’t affect the other mechanisms.

6. Wind & Elevation

Snipers aren’t just trained for accuracy in a vacuum – they have to be prepared for changing winds and elevation. If you’ve ever been crossbow hunting then you know that the wind can change at the drop of a hat. You always want to remain downwind from your prey to keep them from catching your scent or noise.

As far as elevation goes, you might be on a flat surface but what about your target and the difference in elevation between you and said target. Train with an expert to learn how to best use wind and elevation to your advantage.

7. Size, Length & Weight

You shouldn’t start off with a giant crossbow without experience. Luckily, crossbows come in many sizes and you can properly learn how to operate these devices at a relatively young age. The length of the arrow is another key point. Arrows that are too large can misfire and damage the bow itself. Arrows that are shorter than the manufacturer’s recommendations can also cause problems, so always be sure to check your owner’s manual and stock up on arrows of the right length. Most standard arrows are between 15 and 22 inches. Additionally, arrowheads can be extremely heavy depending on what they’re made of, and they could crack or break the bow if fired incorrectly. Arrows are usually made of aluminum, carbon, or an alloy of those two products.

When it comes to the arrow, things like weight and size matter, too. A heavy arrow may provide you with greater velocity, but a lighter arrow is easier to shoot but it might not be as accurate. Arrows are usually made of steel, a far cry from the wood and stone arrowheads used centuries ago.

Conclusion

Increasing your target hit rate with a crossbow isn’t as hard as it might seem at first, as long as you follow the 10 aforementioned steps. Not everyone can master the crossbow but there’s no feeling in the world like getting that perfect shot that you’ve been preparing for all season. Which tips do you find the most helpful when adjusting and sighting a crossbow? We’d love to hear your questions and suggestions in the Comment box below.

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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Bowhunting is like golf in a lot of ways. It can be extremely exhilarating or it can be extremely frustrating, and oftentimes it’s both within just a few minutes. If you want to improve your bowhunting skills in order to get more enjoyment out of the sport then maybe you just need to work on something specific that’s common to many bowhunters. Below we’ve listed 10 of the most common bow hunting mistakes, and we will discuss each one in detail to help you improve your results when bowhunting.

  1. Using the Wrong Bow & Arrow Combination – Unfortunately, we see this mistake made far too often. Knowing which arrows (sizewise) and broadheads (weightwise) to combine with a crossbow is as easy as opening Google or the owner’s manual. We’re not sure if it’s impatience, incompetence or a combination of the two but a lot of bow hunting mistakes could be avoided simply by matching the right bow to the correct arrows. Most bow manufacturers provide advice for the type of arrows that should be used and ignoring that advice is counterproductive and unsafe. Make sure that your bow works with carbon fiber, aluminum, and hybrid arrows, and determine the minimum and maximum lengths for each arrow. Additionally, make sure your arrowheads are compatible with the arrow shafts and the bow itself.
  1. Losing Form/Not Practicing Regularly – Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you aren’t having bow hunting success then maybe all you need to do is practice more – in the right way, and with the proper form. Ask someone who you respect as a bowhunter to give you some guidance, and follow their tips closely. If you notice that they do something that you don’t do then ask them why and try to emulate their form. Even if you have a solid shooting form it can be easy to lose your touch during the off-season, so prevent that from happening by engaging your practice targets regularly.
  1. Overbowing – You gain absolutely nothing by overbowing (using a bow that requires too much draw) and you could potentially be putting yourself and others in danger. Yes, you can achieve a higher arrow velocity with a higher draw. Far too often, though, hunters think they need more velocity when speed isn’t the issue. Bowhunting isn’t about who can pull the tautest bow back the farthest – it’s about successful hits. Anyway, practicing with a heavy draw might seem like a good idea in June but when December comes everything from your fingertips to the arrowhead acts differently. Use as much pressure and velocity as you need, but don’t let your ego take you too far.
  1. Misjudging Distances – If you often think that your arrow is dead on point but it goes flying far or end up short…you’re not alone. Don’t worry, though, because this error can usually be cleared up by improving on your range finding. With time and experience, you’ll become a better judge of distance. Until you learn the ropes, however, there are two tricks to correctly judging the distance from you to the target: rangefinders and pre-ranging. Rangefinders are like digital tape measures that you can attach to your bow.
  1. Improper Shot Placement – Shot placement is a concern for hunters whether the weapon is a bow or a gun; the problem is that bow hunting leaves more room for error. A lot of the shot placement mistakes made in the field have something to do with the #1, #2 and #3 mistakes on this list, but sometimes the issue is simply aiming for the wrong spot or not knowing how to aim. The best spot to hit a deer is about four inches above the first joint that’s below the shoulder. Aiming for a wild hog’s weak spot near the heart will take down these sometimes seemingly invincible animals, while the “middle of the middle” rule works for larger game like elk or bears. If your target is fleet-footed and likely to react to the sound of a bow then you should usually aim for the heart – this will allow you to inflict maximum damage whether or not the animal drops before it sprints.
  1. Getting Trigger-Happy or Waiting Too Long to Shoot – They are exact opposites yet they both cause equally bad results. If you shoot too soon then other animals might get spooked by the sound of the bow, or you might be passing up the opportunity for a perfect kill. If you shoot too late then the animal might have already detected your presence. The key to solving this common bow hunting mistake is being aware of your surroundings. Know the distance and wind conditions. Shoot as soon as you have a clear shot of the area that will do the most damage to vital organs and when you’ve completed a pre-shot checklist.
  1. Choosing the Wrong Location – There are few worse feelings than planning on a major hunt but then spending the entire time waiting. You should use trail cameras to plot out the best spots, and try to figure out where other hunters are heading, if possible. You want to be in the hunting hot spots but you don’t want to be limited by inexperienced hunters or crowded areas. You should set your tree stands ahead of time, and don’t forget to plan your shooting lines and paths. Try to find a location that proves advantageous to you as a bow hunter.
  1. Lack of Stealth – No matter how many times it’s written or spoken about, there is always “that one guy” who is seemingly always bumbling around, failing to use scent eliminator, not having his bow cocked, breaking twigs, and making noise. We call him the “Mr. Magoo” of hunting but the only difference is that the real-life version ruins things for everyone, including himself. Deer can detect a human the way humans can detect a skunk in a suitcase, so take every possible precaution to eliminate all human odors before heading out. Your hat, clothes, boots, tree stand and even your bow should leave no traces of your existence for a deer to find. One advantage of hunting with a bow is that you can shoot while keeping your location undisclosed, but you give up that advantage if you stink or are making noise unnecessarily.
  1. Failure to Arrive Early & Stay Late – The most dedicated hunters are usually the most successful. There is a definite correlation between persistence and achieving a goal, as long as you aren’t failing due to Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The first days of the hunting season are known as having the highest success rates because the animals have had time to “forget” that the presence of humans can also mean the existence of predators. And late in the season there are fewer hunters in the area so you have a better chance of bagging that big buck everyone’s been talking about for the last few months. You should even use the “arrive early, stay late” philosophy when deciding when to head to the stand and to pack it in.
  1. Overconfidence – No matter how good of a bow hunter you’re considered to be there is always room for improvement. Nature is always ready and willing to humble us when we think we finally “get it” so keep your head small and your broad heads sharp. Whether you think you’ve got the perfect shot or you think your archery skills are unmatchable, hunters consistently make the common mistake of overestimating their skills with a bow and arrow. It feels good when everything goes right, but don’t let that go to your head because the next time you are in a similar situation there is a good chance that things will wind up differently.

Conclusion

Have you been sabotaging your bow hunting efforts with one of the aforementioned common mistakes? If so, we hope we’ve given you some helpful advice on how to rectify the issue. Bow hunting can be frustrating and it can be easy to fall into bad habits, but the goal of this article is to aid you in identifying and correcting problem areas. Use the Comments section below to let us know if you think you might be making bow hunting errors, or if you see people committing a specific bow hunting mistake too often and you’d like us to address it in an article.

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