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Late Season Chasing Brings Big Bucks Down – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

Late Season Chasing Brings Big Bucks Down

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Joe and I hunted hard all season long and time after time had hunts ruined by weather, coyotes or the “quad guys” as we called them. Last season we saw several deer each time we went afield and this season was drastically different.

The deer sightings dropped off and hunting these elusive bucks was extremely difficult. I only saw one buck while hunting this season that was similar in size to the one pictured above that Joe took on December 19th.
Earlier in the week, Joe set up a new stand in a thicket that funneled the deer off of a mountain. He had witnessed a younger buck breeding and saw some chasing. On Sunday morning he climbed up in his stand and as the day began to break the deer were on their feet moving and this buck made his way towards Joe.

Joe drew back and was able to put a good shot on the buck, watching it go down in sight. It’s a great way to end the season and this is truly a buck to be proud of. It just goes to show you that you can’t ever give up. The season isn’t over until it’s over and there’s always a chance to put your tag on a nice buck.

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Deer Hunting

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

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

1. Know the law

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

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

2. Stay ethical

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

3. Practice, practice, practice

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

4. Make safety your primary concern

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

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

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

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

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

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

6. Take advantage of modern technology

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

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

7. Care for your gear

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

8. Remain completely undetectable

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

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

Conclusion

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

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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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First Bowkill of 2012 – NY Bowhunter

Deer Hunting

First Bowkill of 2012

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Bowhunting has ended in New York, but continues for the month of January in neighboring Connecticut which just so happens to be a quick 15 minute drive from my house.

My favorite time of year to hunt is the late season and Connecticut allows me to stay in the woods a whole extra month – if they would just change the law to also allow Sunday hunting it would probably be where I spent all of my time.

Yesterday I took advantage of the freshly fallen snow to hunt whitetail deer as they scoured the covered landscape in search of food. The morning hunt was interesting and after arriving late due to my alarm not going off and the snow covered roads I walked up on four deer, drew back on one and killed a tree – so much for that.

By mid-afternoon I was back on stand and spotted two deer at 3:00pm. As the deer worked their way in a third ran towards them and instead of walking by my shooting window they all ran by it. It wasn’t until roughly an hour and a half later when I spotted my next deer. With my rangefinder battery dead, I estimated a 45 yard shot and watched as my arrow sailed over the deer’s back. The deer went 10 yards and I nocked a second arrow.

The deer then turned and walked back the way it came and I began to draw back in anticipation for a shot. The deer was a few steps away from an opening I know is 40 yards, but right before the opening the deer made a hard right and started walking right at me. I continued to hold at full draw as the deer slowly worked its way in. When the deer was about 15 yards away it knew something was up and I could tell the deer was getting ready to bolt. I had to lean around the tree to take the shot and as I released the arrow I watched as it buried into the deer’s shoulder. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pass through, but I knew that at close range shooting a 425 grain arrow out of my 75 pound Hoyt Turbo the deer wouldn’t make it far.

After 45 yards the deer wobbled, but then got a second wind and charged up the hill. With no blood in the initial area, I decided to back out and return in the morning to trail the deer. After following tracks in the snow for 40 yards I found the first sign of blood. The pictures below tell the story of what happened next:

Not exactly how I wanted to get my first kill with the new bow. Last season I saw several coyotes, but this year I haven’t seen, heard or taken any trail cam pics of coyotes in the area so I figured they were hunting somewhere else. Obviously I was wrong and the coyotes are hungry – this is the deer after 16 hours. Looks like I won’t be leaving any deer over night anymore.

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

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

1. Know the law

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

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

2. Stay ethical

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

3. Practice, practice, practice

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

4. Make safety your primary concern

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

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

5. Select the proper bow and arrow combination

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

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

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

6. Take advantage of modern technology

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

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

7. Care for your gear

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

8. Remain completely undetectable

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

1. Adjusting Your Crossbow Scope

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

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

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

2. Mounting the Scope

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

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

3. Know the Different Types of Crossbow Scopes

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

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

4. Parallax & Accuracy

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

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

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

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

6. Wind & Elevation

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

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

7. Size, Length & Weight

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

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

Conclusion

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

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Deer Hunting

10 Most Common Bow Hunting Mistakes – How to Correct

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

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

Conclusion

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

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Coyote Hunting – NY Bowhunter

Coyote Hunting

Coyote Hunting

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A few of us from Team NYB went out to the woods early this morning in the 4-degree weather to try and call some coyotes in. We had two rifles, a shotgun, a bow, and our camera equipment. There were tracks everywhere and the cottontail calls and fawn distress calls did little for us.

It was fun to get out there though and just be back in the woods. Deer season is a long way off and it will be nice to get back out there once the snow melts and see if we can find some sheds and try our luck again at some predator hunting.

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Coyote Hunting

The Wild Dogs

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Michael Shaw of Westchester County headed to the woods early one morning in hopes of coming face to face with a mature whitetail. As day broke Mike noticed some movement in a nearby field and to his amazement, it was a pack of five coyotes.

One of the coyotes broke off the pack and headed right towards Mike’s stand. As the coyote came within 25 yards, Mike drew back and sent his Rage broadhead right through the coyote’s boiler room. After the dog hit the ground Mike looked up and couldn’t believe his eyes. The other four coyotes ran in and started circling Mike’s tree as to taunt him for killing one of their pack. This went on for over twenty-five minutes before they decided to run off.

After making sure the coyotes left for good, Mike climbed down out of his tree to retrieve his trophy. A gorgeous forty five-pound coyote laid steps away. It’s a great trophy and not many people can say the arrowed a coyote. It’s definitely something to be proud of. Congrats to Mike on a great coyote and great story.

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2010-2011 NY Hunting and Trapping Guide – NY Bowhunter

Bowhunting News

2010-2011 NY Hunting and Trapping Guide

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The 2010-2011 NY Hunting and Trapping Guide is now available on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html.

Check out the NYBowhunter.com advertisement on page 29 of this years Hunting and Trapping Guide. We hope this helps spread the word about NYBowhunter.com and brings a few more hunters to the website.

What’s really cool about the online Hunting and Trapping Guide is that you can flip through it using the Interactive Viewer. Additionally, you can download specific sections or the entire guide itself! Print copies of the guide will also be available to license holders at all license issuing agents.

This year’s guide includes short articles including:

  • Managing Habitat on Your Land
  • Research on Coyotes’ Impact on Deer
  • Quality Deer Management on Private Land
  • National Archery in the Schools Program – New York
  • New Pheasant Plan
  • Overabundant Snow Geese
  • Preventing the Spread of Invasive Species

Notice, Deer Management Permit (DMP) odds of selection are not printed in this year’s guide but will be posted at each license issuing agent and are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30409.html.

FYI: 2010-2011 sporting licenses and DMPs may be purchased beginning August 16, 2010.

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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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