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The Gillespie Buck – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Gillespie Buck

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For the past few years Sean Gillespie found the sheds from an impressive buck roaming through a maze of suburban woods in Westchester County. Finding the buck’s sheds year after year in the same vicinity could only mean one thing – this was the buck’s core area.

Although Sean had seen the buck while hunting in past seasons he opted to pass on the buck on three separate occasions, hoping the buck would continue to add inches and mass to his already impressive rack.

It was Sunday, November 27th when the southeast winds began to blow and Sean was finally able to sneak in and hunt a stand that led to a bedding area. Sean knew this buck was in there with an even bigger one and had high hopes on this day.

Settled in his stand almost an hour before first light, Sean patiently waited for the woods to come alive and shadows of deer to begin moving in the early morning light. As day began to break, Sean had a small buck and some does move through the area. While the morning started off with deer movement, things quickly got quiet.

Around 8:30am things started to change and three does came in to Sean’s set up. As he watched the does work their way closer he began to get nervous – another ten yards and they would pick up his scent.

That’s when the big buck came charging through the woods right at the does. At the 30 yard mark, the buck began scent checking the does – it was now or never.

Sean ranged the buck at 32 yards, moved his HHA slider sight to the 32 yards mark and drew back. A quick grunt from Sean stopped the buck in it’s tracks and Sean sent the lighted nock on its way watching it bust through the buck’s vitals.

Forty yards later the buck stopped and looked around wondering what had just happened, but it was all over. The majestic whitetail tipped over and Sean had his whitetail on the ground.

The buck was aged at 5 1/2 years old, weighed 225 pounds and grossed 142 3/8″ P&Y. This buck is Sean’s 12th Pope and Young buck from Westchester. Congrats to Sean on another great 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 Herbert Buck – Suffolk County Whitetail – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Herbert Buck – Suffolk County Whitetail

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Gunnar Herbert took this great Suffolk County buck on Friday, November 7th. It was a cool morning and Herbert was off from school due to post-hurricane Sandy damages. Herbert’s brother invited him out east for a morning hunt.

Around 10a.m. Herbert was bummed as he didn’t see a deer all morning. Then out of the heavy brush came a big buck. The buck trotted in right to Herbert’s blind and Herbert stopped the buck dead in his tracks at 10 yards.

Herbert was able to make a perfect shot on the whitetail and it was down for the count after 70 yards. “I couldn’t help but scream after i saw him drop,” said Herbert, “What a rush!”

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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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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 Janes Buck – 154" Whitetail – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

The Janes Buck – 154″ Whitetail

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Twenty-two year old Chris Janes hasn’t been hunting for many years, but is having a great season so far. On November 3rd, just after first light, Janes had a doe coming straight to his stand. As he looked further behind her Janes noticed a big buck trailing behind. Janes slowly and carefully positioned himself as the doe stopped about within 20 yards of his stand.

As the buck came up behind her, Janes realized he was about to see nature at its finest. Janes watched as the buck mounted the doe and hoped the genetics from the bruiser would be passed down to future whitetail generations. As the buck dismounted Janes drew his bow back and waited for the buck to take one last step.

With the pin settled on the buck, Janes let the arrow fly and dropped the buck in its tracks. The buck has 11 scorable points with an inside spread of 20 4/8 inches and a green score of 154 inches. Congrats to Janes on an awesome 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 Last Few Weeks of Velvet Bucks – NY Bowhunter

Trail Cameras

The Last Few Weeks of Velvet Bucks

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This monster 8 pointer is one giant buck I’d like to run into during the season. If I had something this big in front of me I’d be shaking so bad from all the adrenalin running through me.

The body on this buck is huge and you can see he’s an older deer by his filled our rear quarters and low sagging belly. The buck also has very broad shoulders and I’m sure his neck will swell up nearly twice the size once the rut is on.

If I see something like this in Kansas I’m letting an arrow fly. Hard to believe this is a New York buck, they don’t get this big that often!

Here is a different New York buck that’s looking pretty good. Team NYB was out scouting a new property today and we found some fresh rubs so the velvet won’t be around for much longer.

Check back soon for more updates from Team NYB. We’ll be hunting in CT come September 15th and we’re pumped!

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Trail Cameras

Putting together the Hitlist for the 2014 Bowhunting Season

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Trail cams are running and big bucks are showing up. Time to put together the hit list for the upcoming archery season.

This year is shaping up to be a good one! Several good bucks have shown up on trail cam and hopefully, I can catch up with one of these deer during the season – the Tall Tine 8 pointer (pictured above) would be an awesome encounter.

I’ve been setting cameras along travel routes and focusing on trails between bedding and feeding areas as well as pinch points such as creek crossings. So far the strategy has paid off and I’m catching the same deer on multiple cameras which has given me more insight on how they travel this property

crooked-g2-eight

Another nice deer on camera has be the Crooked G2 Buck. He’s got great mass and fairly symmetrical rack with long sweeping main beams. He’s going to be a tough one to pass up.

heavy-wide-eight

Then there’s Wide Guy with great mass and width, but weak brows and G3’s. This buck is similar to the wide 8-pointer I took last year during rifle season. There’s no doubt this is a great deer, but I’d like to pass him up.

ten-point-buck

I rarely get 10 pointers on my hunting properties so I was pleasantly surprised to see this guy. This one is going to be tough for me. I think this buck could use another year, but there’s no way any of the guys hunting the surrounding properties would let him walk. Do I shoot him or do I let him walk? I guess it all depends on whether or not the Tall Tine 8 shows up first.

I have a lot to look forward to this season and still have a few areas to scout. Who knows what else will show up on camera, but there are still a few big bucks from last season who haven’t showed up. Hunting season can’t get here soon enough.

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Trail Cameras

Trail Cams Tell the Story of My Halloween Buck

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Trail cameras are an invaluable information gathering tool for deer hunters, they tell the story of the deer and give you a look into their habits and home range.

On Halloween morning I was fortunate enough to connect on a mature 9 pointer in Westchester County. It’s my biggest buck and a buck my brother didn’t know he had on trail camera until he pulled a card from a card on another property a few days after I arrowed the buck (you can read the story on NY Antler Outdoors and NYBowhunter.com).

The day I arrowed this buck you could just tell his testosterone was through the roof. Every tree in sight was being rubbed and torn to shreds. He was looking for a doe – or a fight. The trail camera pictures from the day before I shot the deer show him trailing a doe and looking for love. It was a sure sign that the bucks were losing their patience and the rut was about to get underway.

What’s really interesting about these pictures is that they’re not from the same property we were hunting on Halloween morning, but a different neighborhood that the woodlot we were hunting connects to. The buck was over 700 yards away from where I ended up getting a shot at him. Just goes to show you how big the home range of these animals are – even when we’re hunting tiny suburban woodlots.

A lot of times I wonder where these bucks that show up on trail cam in the summer ‘disappear’ to, but the truth is these deer have home ranges much larger than the size of the woodlots I have permission to hunt. It was cool to get these pictures of my buck and get a little idea of how he was using the land. Its information we can use to our advantage next year as we try to put another mature buck on the ground.

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Trail Cameras

Big Bucks on Trail Cam During the October Lull

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Trail cameras allow me to pinpoint when bucks are moving and tell me which stands to hunt and what times to hunt them.

On Sunday, October 6th at 6:38 pm this big-bodied, heavy antlered whitetail walked within 20 yards of my stand. This is a Pennsylvania buck so there’s no hunting on Sunday and he seems to know this. The good news was it motivated me to stick it out on the stand for the rest of the week – the bad news was after 25+ hours on the stand I only saw one deer and it was a spike at last light.

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The Bowhunt for Spring Turkey Continues – NY Bowhunter

Turkey Hunting

The Bowhunt for Spring Turkey Continues

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It’s been a really tough week of hunting with lots of highs and lows. Locating the birds seems to be the easy part, calling them in isn’t too much of a challenge either it’s getting a gobbler to get in front of my one opening in the blind within 30 yards that’s the part I’m struggling with.

I’m hunting longbeards that live in hardwoods rather than the ones that spend most of their mornings strutting in open fields.

After watching a longbeard circle the blond yesterday a mere 50 yards away I figured it was time to bring back the decoys. I stopped using the decoys after they spooked a Jake on an earlier hunt.

This morning I stepped out of the truck and heard a familiar gobble on a nearby ridge. I had gone after this bird once before but he flew down away from me and never came in. This time I knew where he was headed so I circled down below him set the decoys up on the old logging road I figured he walks down on and set the blind up against a deadfall.

I took out my trusty diaphragm call an started talking to the bird. He liked what I was saying and I heard a crash behind me. The bird had flown in off the roost a long distance to get to me. He let out a thunderous gobble well within bow range of the blind – but of course, he picked the window to my right which was closed.

I waited in anticipation for the gobbler to charge the Jake decoy and give me my shot opportunity. That opportunity would never come. The next gobble I heard was considerably past the blind and he was walking away from me. I could hear he had crossed the creek and I quickly packed the blind and went up the hill to cut him off. I had a good idea of where he was headed.

I ditched the decoys at the top of the hill and headed to a strut zone in the open hardwoods. The bird continued to gobble as I quickly set up the blind. Once inside I started calling and the bird responded. Then the gobbles started getting further away and less frequent. By 6:45 a.m. the bird had gone silent on me and the woods got quiet…

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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 Bowhunt for Spring Turkey Continues – NY Bowhunter

Turkey Hunting

The Bowhunt for Spring Turkey Continues

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It’s been a really tough week of hunting with lots of highs and lows. Locating the birds seems to be the easy part, calling them in isn’t too much of a challenge either it’s getting a gobbler to get in front of my one opening in the blind within 30 yards that’s the part I’m struggling with.

I’m hunting longbeards that live in hardwoods rather than the ones that spend most of their mornings strutting in open fields.

After watching a longbeard circle the blond yesterday a mere 50 yards away I figured it was time to bring back the decoys. I stopped using the decoys after they spooked a Jake on an earlier hunt.

This morning I stepped out of the truck and heard a familiar gobble on a nearby ridge. I had gone after this bird once before but he flew down away from me and never came in. This time I knew where he was headed so I circled down below him set the decoys up on the old logging road I figured he walks down on and set the blind up against a deadfall.

I took out my trusty diaphragm call an started talking to the bird. He liked what I was saying and I heard a crash behind me. The bird had flown in off the roost a long distance to get to me. He let out a thunderous gobble well within bow range of the blind – but of course, he picked the window to my right which was closed.

I waited in anticipation for the gobbler to charge the Jake decoy and give me my shot opportunity. That opportunity would never come. The next gobble I heard was considerably past the blind and he was walking away from me. I could hear he had crossed the creek and I quickly packed the blind and went up the hill to cut him off. I had a good idea of where he was headed.

I ditched the decoys at the top of the hill and headed to a strut zone in the open hardwoods. The bird continued to gobble as I quickly set up the blind. Once inside I started calling and the bird responded. Then the gobbles started getting further away and less frequent. By 6:45 a.m. the bird had gone silent on me and the woods got quiet…

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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 Bucks Are Getting Bigger – NY Bowhunter

Trail Cameras

The Bucks Are Getting Bigger

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The bucks are getting bigger and putting on more bone! We’ve been scouting out a few new areas and looking for bucks in the 3.5-year-old range with over 100″ of antler come September and I think this guy is one of our first contenders.

He’s grown a good amount over the last two weeks and hopefully he’ll impress us next time we pull the cards from the camera. I can’t wait to see what this buck looks like after two more months of antler growth.

This little guy caught my attention when I noticed his right beam was growing down instead of up. This buck must have been injured at some point and seems to be growing a non-typical rack. If it continues like this he should be an interesting deer to watch grow over the next few years.

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Trail Cameras

Putting together the Hitlist for the 2014 Bowhunting Season

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Trail cams are running and big bucks are showing up. Time to put together the hit list for the upcoming archery season.

This year is shaping up to be a good one! Several good bucks have shown up on trail cam and hopefully, I can catch up with one of these deer during the season – the Tall Tine 8 pointer (pictured above) would be an awesome encounter.

I’ve been setting cameras along travel routes and focusing on trails between bedding and feeding areas as well as pinch points such as creek crossings. So far the strategy has paid off and I’m catching the same deer on multiple cameras which has given me more insight on how they travel this property

crooked-g2-eight

Another nice deer on camera has be the Crooked G2 Buck. He’s got great mass and fairly symmetrical rack with long sweeping main beams. He’s going to be a tough one to pass up.

heavy-wide-eight

Then there’s Wide Guy with great mass and width, but weak brows and G3’s. This buck is similar to the wide 8-pointer I took last year during rifle season. There’s no doubt this is a great deer, but I’d like to pass him up.

ten-point-buck

I rarely get 10 pointers on my hunting properties so I was pleasantly surprised to see this guy. This one is going to be tough for me. I think this buck could use another year, but there’s no way any of the guys hunting the surrounding properties would let him walk. Do I shoot him or do I let him walk? I guess it all depends on whether or not the Tall Tine 8 shows up first.

I have a lot to look forward to this season and still have a few areas to scout. Who knows what else will show up on camera, but there are still a few big bucks from last season who haven’t showed up. Hunting season can’t get here soon enough.

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Trail Cameras

Trail Cams Tell the Story of My Halloween Buck

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Trail cameras are an invaluable information gathering tool for deer hunters, they tell the story of the deer and give you a look into their habits and home range.

On Halloween morning I was fortunate enough to connect on a mature 9 pointer in Westchester County. It’s my biggest buck and a buck my brother didn’t know he had on trail camera until he pulled a card from a card on another property a few days after I arrowed the buck (you can read the story on NY Antler Outdoors and NYBowhunter.com).

The day I arrowed this buck you could just tell his testosterone was through the roof. Every tree in sight was being rubbed and torn to shreds. He was looking for a doe – or a fight. The trail camera pictures from the day before I shot the deer show him trailing a doe and looking for love. It was a sure sign that the bucks were losing their patience and the rut was about to get underway.

What’s really interesting about these pictures is that they’re not from the same property we were hunting on Halloween morning, but a different neighborhood that the woodlot we were hunting connects to. The buck was over 700 yards away from where I ended up getting a shot at him. Just goes to show you how big the home range of these animals are – even when we’re hunting tiny suburban woodlots.

A lot of times I wonder where these bucks that show up on trail cam in the summer ‘disappear’ to, but the truth is these deer have home ranges much larger than the size of the woodlots I have permission to hunt. It was cool to get these pictures of my buck and get a little idea of how he was using the land. Its information we can use to our advantage next year as we try to put another mature buck on the ground.

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Trail Cameras

Big Bucks on Trail Cam During the October Lull

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Trail cameras allow me to pinpoint when bucks are moving and tell me which stands to hunt and what times to hunt them.

On Sunday, October 6th at 6:38 pm this big-bodied, heavy antlered whitetail walked within 20 yards of my stand. This is a Pennsylvania buck so there’s no hunting on Sunday and he seems to know this. The good news was it motivated me to stick it out on the stand for the rest of the week – the bad news was after 25+ hours on the stand I only saw one deer and it was a spike at last light.

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Teatown Lake Reservation to Hire Sharpshooters – NY Bowhunter

Bowhunting News

Teatown Lake Reservation to Hire Sharpshooters

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The Teatown Lake Reservation plans to hire sharpshooters to cull 75 deer from the park.

According to Kevin Carter, executive Director of Teatown Lake Reservation, the deer have been nibbling the reservation to death. It’s now time to do something about the overabundant deer. The solution – hire sharpshooters to hunt over bait at night and take out up to 75 deer from the herd.

While the goal may be to protect the ecosystem and all plant and animal species, using sharpshooters is expensive and frankly a waste of taxpayer dollars. Why not take advantage of local bowhunters who would be willing to offer their services free of charge?

In fact, the Westchester County Bowhunters Association holds quarterly meetings at the Teatown Lake Reservation. Why isn’t this qualified group of bowhunters that has been instrumental in organizing controlled hunts in other parks in the county being used as a resource in Teatown?

One thing is for certain. Hiring sharpshooters is not a long term solution. At some point bowhunters will have to be introduced to the nature preserve to maintain the population of animals so they’re kept within the carrying capacity of the land.

You can read the full story on lohud.com.

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Bowhunting News

How to Shoot a Compound Bow Properly – Ultimate Guide

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Shooting a compound bow might seem as simple as picking up the bow, drawing the string with an arrow, and releasing it. If that’s how you think it works, then you’re dead wrong. It takes a world of knowledge and practice to learn how to properly shoot a compound bow. Luckily for you, we’re going to teach you how to do it with this compound bow shooting tutorial.

Preparing the Bow

Your compound bow should use high-quality strings that aren’t worn or heavily used. Your bow should be in good shape and properly maintained. You should be aware of how much draw pressure your bow can handle. If possible, use a compound bow that you’ve used before and that you’re familiar with, or use a compound bow that an expert archer has provided. Ideally, you should learn how to shoot a compound bow from someone who has a lot of experience shooting such a bow successfully.

Stance

You should face the target at about a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be parallel to one another and about 17-25 inches apart. Your toes should be directly facing the target. If you use such a stance you’ll have a much easier time drawing your bow and you’ll have a better chance of hitting your target dead-on.

Grip

Use a firm but relaxed grip with your bow-holding hand. If your grip is too tight on the bow then you won’t have as much accuracy on your shot. Try using a wrist sling if you are unable to master the art of a firm yet comfortable grip. Don’t be ashamed because the main point is accuracy and whatever you can do to attain the perfect shot is fine. Never, and I repeat NEVER, shoot with an open hand. You don’t ever want to grab the bow with your drawing hand during a shot – this is undoubtedly the worst mistake you can make when shooting a compound bow because it can lead to fatal errors.

Anchor

When you draw the string, you should be locking your string hand against the side of your face. This is what’s known as the “anchor” position. The string and your hand will be on the right side of your face, and vice versa if you are left-handed. You can achieve the highest level of archery accuracy by anchoring the string at the corner of your mouth – or under your chin.

Draw

You should extend your bow arm directly toward your target with the string gripped firmly between your fingers… or by using a mechanical release device, if you prefer. Point the bow at the target and pull the string smoothly and firmly. Extend the bow all the way, pull the string back to its maximum point of a full draw, and resist the urge to move the compound bow forward. Make sure that you use a bow that is suited for you because a bow with a draw that is too heavy will destroy your accuracy.

Aim

If you’re using a bow that is equipped with a sight then aiming will be easier, but it still won’t be perfect. Bow sights are good for average shooters, especially if a laser sight is involved. The key to natural aiming is practice. The best archers usually aim slightly above the target (depending on wind conditions) so they can aim while still looking directly at the target.

Release

Your release can determine whether or not your shot hits the mark. You need a smooth release, and you need to relax all of your fingers completely before you release the string for the shot. Even the slightest amount of finger tension can disrupt your aim. If you have a mechanical release aid the shot will be easier because all you have to do is draw, aim, and pull the release trigger for the compound bow. This type of mechanism can fail you, however… if you slap the trigger then the arrow will go astray.

Follow-Through

Just as in golf, the follow-through is extremely important in archery. Why? The arrow has already been released, right? You need to keep aiming until your arrow hits the target. The follow-through is largely a mental thing. You need to see your arrow hitting the target while you are steadily holding your bow. Never lower your bow after the arrow has been released. Stay in formation and hold your position until the arrow hits the target.

Practice

If you want to become an expert at shooting a compound bow then you need to practice. The saying “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true. You need to invoke the saying of “perfect practice makes perfect” because practicing something the wrong way will get you nowhere. When your target of choice is out of season then you shouldn’t lay back and watch TV until it’s time to hunt again. Set up targets and keep a compound bow in your hands as much as you can.

Conclusion

After reading this article there’s no excuse for becoming an expert compound bow shooter. From choosing the right equipment to shooting correctly there is an equation to correctly shooting a compound bow. Do you have any tips on shooting a compound bow? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the Comments section below.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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New changes are heading our way for the 2015 deer season in New York. For those of us hunting in Westchester County and a few other WMUs that have historically had an overpopulation of deer we now have a newly created 2-week long antlerless-only season – the only problem is that it’s the first 2-weeks of bow season.

For some, that’s not an issue, but to others, it just crushed their chances of killing that buck they’ve been patterning since the season ended in 2014. Why? Because those first 2-weeks also happen to be the last few days you can catch a buck on its summer pattern.

The DEC says that management goals are not being met in these WMUs which is why we need the antlerless-only season. Well, I can tell you changing the first two weeks to antlerless-only is going to have a minimal impact, if any, on the antlerless harvest. The guys that want to shoot bucks will be spending their time in NJ or CT and the rest of us, well, we kill does all season long so it’s business as usual for us.

If the DEC really wanted to increase the antlerless harvest we could have looked to our neighbors over in CT and simply extended the hunting season for another month by starting in September, extending into January or both.

We also are still a 2-buck state (1 Regular Season buck tag, 1 Either Sex archery tag). If we dropped one of the tags, like most of the ‘big-buck’ states, and became a 1-buck state I think you’d also see the antlerless harvest go up…not to mention we’d probably have a few more decent bucks running around.

Time will tell how these new regulations end up working, but I think we already know, this isn’t going to work.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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First meeting of 2014 for the WCBA

The Westchester County Bowhunters Association will hold its winter meeting on January 21,2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Teatown Lake Reservation Ossining, NY.

One of the hot topics for discussion I’m sure will be the plans that Teatown has for using sharpshooters to cull 75 deer from the reservation property. Why Teatown isn’t using a free resource like Westchester County’s own bowhunters and is choosing to use taxpayer money to hire sharp shooters is beyond me. Hopefully, we get some answers on this Tuesday night.

About the WCBA: Since 1979, the Westchester County Bowhunters Association has worked at expanding the knowledge of local non-hunters in order that they understand the importance of sound wildlife conservation, and by that we mean effectively controlling Westchester County’s deer populations through Bow hunting.

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The Art of Stabilization – NY Bowhunter

Archery Tips

The Art of Stabilization

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One of the most overlooked accessories in archery is the stabilizer. When it comes to hunting stabilizers many archers say they don’t notice a difference in their shooting when they have a stabilizer on or have a stabilizer off – when in reality they don’t understand the true function of a stabilizer and have never used the correct one. In addition, many of today’s manufactures make stabilizers that serve as shock absorbers rather than stabilizers. To understand the purpose of a stabilizer we must take a look at some basic physics.

When you draw your bow back there are directional forces pulling on the bow in several directions – your sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer and you pulling the string back all create forces on the bow’s riser. All of these directional forces have an effect on pin movement. If you draw your bow back and you’re pin is floating in big circles or a figure eight around the bulls eye on your target then you most likely do not have the right type of stabilizer for your bow. While it won’t be possible to eliminate all of that movement, it is possible to decrease it significantly which will help you hold your bow steadier and increase the tightness of your groups at longer yardages.

First, lets go over what a true stabilizer should accomplish. A stabilizer should be rigid all the way through without vibration dampening material in the middle of the stabilizer. Any vibration dampening material in place of a rigid bar stabilizer will allow the stabilizer to flex, reducing the stabilizers ability to resist movement (a stabilizer with a flexible end will still balance a bow, but it will never be able to effectively resist movement). Another feature you want to look for in a good stabilizer is a stack weight system at the end of the stabilizer. To effectively stabilize a bow the weight of the stabilizer should be as far in front of the bow’s riser as possible (hence why 3D archers use 30″ stabilizers with the weights at the end of the rod). The stack weight system allows the archer to use various weight combinations until the perfect resistence is found for the particular bow/shooter combination.

Newton’s first law of motion states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Unless the object is acted upon by an outside force, the object will remain at rest. We can use this theory to understand how a stabilizer helps reduce pin movement. Pin movement can be resisted by reducing the leverage your bow hand has on moving the weight at the end of your stabilizer. A longer stabilizer will have a greater effect on reducing the leverage your bow hand will have on moving the weight at the end of the stabilizer, thus making it harder for you pins to move off target. With the correct stabilizer screwed onto your bow’s riser sudden deliberet movements become difficult, which means subtle, unintentional movements are resisted and your pins remain steadier.

I went from using a 4.5″ SIMS S-Coil stabilizer weighing 4.7 ounces to a rigid Posten Woodsman 8″ stabilizer weighing around 9.5 ounces and instantly noticed a difference in both the weight of my bow and how much steadier I was able to hold the pins on my target. I didn’t want to go longer because this stabilizer is going to be used in hunting situations and I didn’t want it to get in the way, but I would go up to 10″ or 12″ to keep the stabilizer lighter – I needed to use heavier weights on my 8″ stabilizer to achieve the feel I would have been able to get from a 10″ stabilizer using lighter weights. The thing to remember here when trying to choose a stabilizer is that you can’t shorten a stabilizer that is too long, but you can add weight to a stabilizer that is too short to give you the feel of a longer stabilizer.

For more indepth information on stabilizers visit Jim Posten’s web site here. Jim also makes custom stabilizers and does a great job communicating with archers to help build them the perfect system to fit their needs.

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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 Big Old 11 Pointer – NY Bowhunter

Trail Cameras

The Big Old 11 Pointer

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Check out this buck that recently showed up on the NYB Forum and caught my attention. This a monster for New York and has great mass and tine length. I also like the chocolate-colored rack, although it’s not as dark as his Canadian cousins it’s got a nice deep brown color.

You can just tell by this buck’s body that he’s an old warrior and I can’t imagine what he’s going to look like in a few months once he builds up his neck muscles and starts fighting during the rut. He’s going to be a giant for sure!

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Trail Cameras

Putting together the Hitlist for the 2014 Bowhunting Season

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Trail cams are running and big bucks are showing up. Time to put together the hit list for the upcoming archery season.

This year is shaping up to be a good one! Several good bucks have shown up on trail cam and hopefully, I can catch up with one of these deer during the season – the Tall Tine 8 pointer (pictured above) would be an awesome encounter.

I’ve been setting cameras along travel routes and focusing on trails between bedding and feeding areas as well as pinch points such as creek crossings. So far the strategy has paid off and I’m catching the same deer on multiple cameras which has given me more insight on how they travel this property

crooked-g2-eight

Another nice deer on camera has be the Crooked G2 Buck. He’s got great mass and fairly symmetrical rack with long sweeping main beams. He’s going to be a tough one to pass up.

heavy-wide-eight

Then there’s Wide Guy with great mass and width, but weak brows and G3’s. This buck is similar to the wide 8-pointer I took last year during rifle season. There’s no doubt this is a great deer, but I’d like to pass him up.

ten-point-buck

I rarely get 10 pointers on my hunting properties so I was pleasantly surprised to see this guy. This one is going to be tough for me. I think this buck could use another year, but there’s no way any of the guys hunting the surrounding properties would let him walk. Do I shoot him or do I let him walk? I guess it all depends on whether or not the Tall Tine 8 shows up first.

I have a lot to look forward to this season and still have a few areas to scout. Who knows what else will show up on camera, but there are still a few big bucks from last season who haven’t showed up. Hunting season can’t get here soon enough.

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Trail Cameras

Trail Cams Tell the Story of My Halloween Buck

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Trail cameras are an invaluable information gathering tool for deer hunters, they tell the story of the deer and give you a look into their habits and home range.

On Halloween morning I was fortunate enough to connect on a mature 9 pointer in Westchester County. It’s my biggest buck and a buck my brother didn’t know he had on trail camera until he pulled a card from a card on another property a few days after I arrowed the buck (you can read the story on NY Antler Outdoors and NYBowhunter.com).

The day I arrowed this buck you could just tell his testosterone was through the roof. Every tree in sight was being rubbed and torn to shreds. He was looking for a doe – or a fight. The trail camera pictures from the day before I shot the deer show him trailing a doe and looking for love. It was a sure sign that the bucks were losing their patience and the rut was about to get underway.

What’s really interesting about these pictures is that they’re not from the same property we were hunting on Halloween morning, but a different neighborhood that the woodlot we were hunting connects to. The buck was over 700 yards away from where I ended up getting a shot at him. Just goes to show you how big the home range of these animals are – even when we’re hunting tiny suburban woodlots.

A lot of times I wonder where these bucks that show up on trail cam in the summer ‘disappear’ to, but the truth is these deer have home ranges much larger than the size of the woodlots I have permission to hunt. It was cool to get these pictures of my buck and get a little idea of how he was using the land. Its information we can use to our advantage next year as we try to put another mature buck on the ground.

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Trail Cameras

Big Bucks on Trail Cam During the October Lull

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Trail cameras allow me to pinpoint when bucks are moving and tell me which stands to hunt and what times to hunt them.

On Sunday, October 6th at 6:38 pm this big-bodied, heavy antlered whitetail walked within 20 yards of my stand. This is a Pennsylvania buck so there’s no hunting on Sunday and he seems to know this. The good news was it motivated me to stick it out on the stand for the rest of the week – the bad news was after 25+ hours on the stand I only saw one deer and it was a spike at last light.

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