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August 20, 2017

Spent a few hours at an outdoor store fall event yesterday. Good event. Way short on BBQ though. Spoke with Hoyt and Mathews reps. It's interesting to listen to some of the challenges they have had in their shooting careers. Similar stuff. They just shoot a lot more arrows than I do. One thing I have spent a lot of time on this year is arrow weight. It was interesting to see their reaction when I told them the weight of my arrow. Yes I have a heavy arrow. I don't want there to be any questions if I hit the the front shoulder on a big Iowa buck. Told them their arrows were little wimpy arrows. It was fun.

Got some new arrows for my wife and cut those off last week. Have her fletching plan now so can get them wrapped and fletched and ready to go for hunting. Had a good discussion yesterday with the reps on broadheads. It's funny. There are probably a thousand answers as to what is the best broadhead. My only comment is if you don't hit the vitals and don't get penetration you will not recover the critter. I am going to try a handful of different broadheads this year. The does don't have a clue that I will be gunning for them this year.

I ordered and received two ladder stands this weak with seats that flip up so I can lean against the tree. Nice! Why do we need a big fancy seat? Go figure. I don't want that. Just want a simple flip up seat so I lean against (hug) the tree. One thing I might do is fill the metal tubing with expandable foam (Great Stuff). Read that somewhere that it quiets the metal tubing as you climb. Shouldn't add much weight. Might try it.

Did shoot a little this week. Working with both the primary and backup bows. Want to make sure they are both good to go. Received my replacement vital for the GlenDel Full Rut. Already shot holes in the new one.

Have yet to see or get pictures of any gaggers. I am hoping one exists close to my neck of the woods and he moves in shortly or at least when I am on hunting vacation. What's a gagger? One of those bucks that you will shoot on any day of the hunting season. You see the deer for the first time and you get that mouth open, wide-eyed look on your face as you suck in some O2. A gagger! I can't take credit for that. That is something Gene Wensel told me once. However, I have used it to this day. We all like gaggers that are close to our farms. They really get a hunter wound up!

 

August 13, 2017

Not much shooting this week. Still letting my shoulder recuperate from last weekend. Arrow flight has been fairly consistent all week when I did shoot. Have been spending more time working on form and release in that five to ten yard range. Easier on the brain to focus on the release at 10 yards than at 20 yards. 

A little over six weeks and we can officially sling some arrows. Time in the woods in the fall with bow in hand always feeds the soul. "Calling

 

August 6, 2017

Good week of shooting. Fine-tuned my yardage tape yesterday (20-60). Had a good low-wind day. Shot so many arrows my right shoulder was toast. One thing I have learned this summer. I want a no-wind period of time to shoot my bow. Windy days suck. I know it will be windy in the deer woods. That's fine. I can deal with it. To fine tune a bow there can't be any wind and the terrain needs to be fairly level. My arrow flight is very good on the calm evenings. However, on windy days, I'm lucky to get one out of ten arrows to fly well. Too much movement with my bow hand trying to steady the wind sail.

Have four arrows fletched with AAE Max Hunter vanes. They are 3-fletched. Not sure I gained much. I was extremely excited the first four arrows I shot. Stacked the Max Hunter fletched Full Metal Jacket 340s right on top of one another. Thought I was on to a major revelation. I was soon brought back to earth as the next four arrows were normal to not so good. They fly well but my AAE Max Stealth (4-fletch) fly equally well and they are quieter in flight. Trying to determine which ones fly better on windy days but they both fly poorly. Really need a stiff vane for windy days.

Starting to mentally prepare for new stand sites. Have trees eyeballed. Just need to bring the climbing ladders. Have three cameras deployed for the first time on one farm. Had left it alone but need to get up to speed there. No idea what to expect. Looks overgrown. Yes! I like it. Hopefully a Booner shows on camera.

Purchased a new GlenDel Full Rut a month ago. Vitals already worn out. Been rotated numerous times. Need replacement. Not sure if I've been shooting that much or the new one is not of the quality of my old one. HHHMMM! I do have a trail worn in my grass from the 3D to my shooting spot. Maybe I have been shooting a lot? Never worn a trail before.

For all you big buck chasers it's time to go. Get your stuff ready and get out there! If your spouse says stay home! Tell him or her to........just kidding. Make absolutely sure you take care of stuff at home or the end of October and the month of November will be void of your ass in the Iowa deer woods. Not good. 

 

July 30, 2017

Summer going fast. Prep time is winding down. I guess it depends on your level of prep. For me, still have lots of work to do. Others haven't even deployed a camera yet. Seriously? Get your lazy ass out there and get those cameras up. Shoot that bow. At least make me think you care. Just kidding. For me it's all Fun. For others it's work. I get it.

Got some fancy new arrow wraps this week from three different on-line places. They are cool. Here is what I've learned regarding wrap length, for all you Blazer shooters out there 4-inches is probably OKay but 4-1/2 inches is probably better especially when setting the back of the vane 1-1/4 inches from the groove of the nock or one inch from the end of the bare arrow shaft. Blazers are 2-inches long. For me, I'm going to shoot AAE Max Stealth vanes. Around 2.6-inches long. To take advantage of my arrow wrap little icons and pictures I need about a 5-1/2 inch wrap. You can get the darn things in about any length you want so for you arrow builders out there, set the Bitz to fletch about 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 inch from the groove of the nock. Do some experimenting. Then think about your wrap length and vane length and how it will sit on your wrap.

Cut my hunting arrows this week. Note to self! Make sure the HIT insert is fully pushed in with the little green tool. Damn! That was an expensive lesson. I must have checked all of my arrows but one and the next day learned my insert either floated back out or most likely I forgot to push it all the way in with the little green tool. Tried to remove the insert but the epoxy did it's trick. No go and recovering $10 is not worth an injured hand. To the arrow bone pile!

Experimenting a lot with grip, sight bubble levelness, and back shoulder pull. I sure get some crappy arrow flight at times when I torque the bow or pluck the D-loop with my thumb release. Really chaps my hide when I do that. Lots of shooting. Have worn a path in my yard to the deer target. I hope the path results in a shot at a Booner and I settle the pin just before the shot.

 

July 23, 2017

Well, its nearing the end of July and the bucks are shaping up nicely. Lots of shooters floating around on Twitter and other social media sites. Looks like a potential for a good year for some. I have yet to fully deploy my cameras. Have been saving a farm until later. Have the Carbon Defiant 34 tuned about as good as I can get it. Picked my 20-60 sight tape yesterday after shooting at 20 and 60 yards. The 60 is iffy for me but close enough to select a tape. Bow is set at 59 lbs and the arrow weighs 546 grains. Very heavy arrow. Kinetic energy calculator says I should be able to take down a water buffalo. Sounds good to me. I want a complete pass through. Have decide on using four AAE Max Stealth vanes. Not sure about color. These vanes are stiffer than some and ribbed. Plus they are quiet. Should steer my 125 grain fixed blade broadheads just fine. My bow is quiet too after adding new Brownell speed nocks to the new string. Time to stop focusing on archery equipment and focus

 

July 15, 2017

So what is new this week? Decided on 4-fletch, Bohning Blazers for the backup bow. The 5 mm, X-nocked, FMJs might be decked out in a patriotic theme. Haven't decided yet. The nock will most likely be a Nockturnal nock of some color. Blue possibly? I did move the fletching down the shaft a good quarter inch. One of the vanes was making contact with my face before release and pretty sure impacting arrow flight. Ordered some wraps from Onestringer and Nock On Archery. Should be cool.

Measured a stud of a buck this week. Definite beauty.

Need to get a couple of ladder stands. I really like the Bowman from Rivers Edge. I want a stand where the platform is full depth and the seat folds up but I also want to be able to lean against the tree. The Bowman does not have a seat back so I can get much closer to the tree when I stand and the seat is folded up.

 

July 8, 2017

Got some cameras checked this morning and lots of archery mechanic work accomplished last week. Changed some fletching on some arrows, fine-tuned the backup bow, found a kink in my shooting form and captured some pictures of the new and improved bucks this week. Still nothing special on camera but there are a couple that definitely look to be at least 4 years old.

Deployed the Covert cell camera this week. The camera looks like a keeper so far (knock on wood). The WGI cameras have been a pleasant surprise as they haven't faired too well in past Trailcampro tests. They keep taking pictures for me. Have other cameras that need to be deployed. I can't get the wifi to extend any significant distance on my Browning Defender but that thing really takes some nice photos.

Have whittled the fletching down to two challengers: Bohning Blazer 4-fletch at 90 degrees or AAE Max Stealth 4-fletch at 90 degrees. The Blazers are definitely louder but fly very well. They both hit the same spot on the GlenDel Full Rut at 20 yards...at least with the backup bow (I am having some string and cable replacement done on the new bow). The AAE Max Hunters were challengers until just a few days ago but clearance issues with my cables and face during my anchor dropped them out of the running. Then there were two. I was really hoping the Max Hunters were going to be the winner as I expected them to really steer my fix blade broadheads. My wrap and vane color choices are much greater with the Blazers but I do like quiet arrow flight. Forgot to mention I have also dropped the Bohning Heat Vanes out too. They have great cable and rest clearance but I was a little concerned about steering my fixed blade broadheads.

 

July 2, 2017

Checked cameras yesterday. My two WGI cameras seem to take decent night photos. Limited blur. I still can't get the wifi on the Browning Defender to extend to any significant distance...but it does take some really nice photos. Some decent bucks on camera but nothing extraordinary.

Shot a lot of arrows and spent a lot of time a week ago doing the 20 yard and 60 yard thing with my one pin slider (yardage tape selection). I've never shot at 60 yards before for an extended period. I had purchased a new field sized target to reduce the potential of losing an arrow. It worked great! What I have learned after those 300 arrows and focusing on my nock fit is that arrow flight is significantly affected by improper nock fit...and shooting in the wind sucks! Nock pinch affects arrow flight way more than I imagined. I've been working to improve that and it appears I am making major headway.

With three months until season begins, its time to start finalizing equipment. I'm getting closer but need to complete a few things first including replacement of my bow string. My bad, too much jacking around with D-loops, new center servings, rotated peeps, etc. I hate peeps that don't come back and settle perfectly.

 

June 24, 2017

Wow! Very busy weekend. Finally figured out some of my issues with my arrow flight. Nock pinch. Once I figured that out, I headed for BPS to pick up some center serving. They did not have the size I wanted but I think I bought the size I needed, 0.014. Wanted 0.018. Re-served my center serving last night. Hit the target range (my back yard) at 6:15 this morning and promptly Robin Hooded two brand new arrows. Finally! Stupid I didn't realize this sooner. 

I had to figure out the serving size on my own. Trial and error. Manufacturer would not tell me that info. Proprietary they said. Seriously? I have learned recently that they only answer questions they want to. I've sent a few e-mails asking for help. 50% response at best and most of the time the response does not get me the info I need or want. One thing that makes absolutely no sense to me is the size of the OEM string serving in the first place. It's way too big for an X-nock. Hell, it appears way to big for any small nock. I would say somebody goofed in the quality control department. Due to all the messing around I've been doing, my original string looks scarred up and beat to crap. Will probably order a new one soon. Might try a Winner's Choice this time.

First time checking three new cameras on Saturday. Two WGI and the new Browning wifi camera. The wifi camera takes great photos but not sure the wifi works as described in the owner's manual. If I remember correctly, the owners manual says I should be able to download photos from 60 yards. My 60 yards measures like 10 yards. HHHMMM! 

Wish the WGI cameras had burst mode. This is my first time trying the WGI cameras. Got a picture of a decent looking buck with one of the WGI cameras but due to lack of burst mode the number of pictures of the buck was limited. I like lots of pictures. Always delete the ones I don't want. I promptly swapped that camera for a new Bushnell Aggressor that does have burst mode. Hope he shows back up. He looks decent for the end of June.

Based on the pictures this week I would say antler growth took a big jump last week. Let's hope it takes another big one next week. Can you believe first day of archery season is only three months away?

 

June 17, 2017

I was on vacation the last two weeks. We were deep in the canyons of Montana in Missoula. Stopped at Jackson along the way. You can tell the billionaires chased away the millionaires in Jackson Hole. The Tetons are always cool to see.

Why did we pick Missoula? The Boone and Crockett Club offered me one of 48 total seats at their April or June measurer's training sessions (24 each session). I chose June. Really didn't want to fight any winter weather in April. Four-and-a-half days of learning the history of B&C and measuring two animals from each of the major categories. I am officially a Boone and Crockett measurer now. It took my time and some treasure but something that was definitely on my bucket list. And for you rocket surgeons that think being a measurer (P&Y and/or B&C) is something where the Clubs just call you up and and say "You are a measurer", you are quite mistaken. It's an invite and most the of the treasure is yours. And yes, there are tests and quizzes. 

I have been P&Y certified since 2000 but have desired the certification of B&C measurer as well. I know much more about the club than I ever knew before. I bet most of you did not know Teddy Roosevelt started the club in 1887 and the main mission of Boone and Crockett is conservation. The antler and horn records is

We visited the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Cool place on the north end of Missoula. We have added three new Cabela's stores to our Cabela's stores list. If you ever make it to Missoula, Cabela's is on the south side of town and a great barbeque place is Notorious P.I.G.

Getting a couple of bucks on camera that may have some potential. Early yet. Maybe one that will push B&C minimum of 160 by the time he is done growing. We will know more in August.

I picked up some AAE Max Hunter vanes. Have wanted to try them for a while. Fletched three arrows up yesterday. Two fly great but one not so great. It had something funky going on with one of the vanes and I did not notice it until it was done the first time. I stripped it and reflected it last night. Will check it today. The Max Hunter profile is higher than most other vanes. I can tell that full cable and riser clearance is tight on the Carbon Defiant 34.

 

June 4, 2017

Fawning time! Captured my first fawn photos last week.

Nice to have a break from the rain. Have had to put my scythe to use the last couple of weekends knocking the grass down in front of my cameras.

Looks like the Trail Camera Shootout results are in. Wow! There are a lot of cameras to choose from.

Forced myself to walk away from my constant paper tuning checks last week. Been difficult. Withdrawal! Always looking for the perfect bullet hole. Think I achieved it. Tried French tuning for the first time last week. That works okay as long as you can hold the pin steady on the string from your plumb bob type setup and get consistent releases. My string was a little on the large side but the process seemed to achieve my goals. Drove the string into the target quite a few times. I think that is the idea. My arrow flight is much more consistent. It looks good at 18 yards. For those of you interested in French tuning there are lots of videos on the web to guide you through the process. It's simple. Just remember sight first, rest second.

Still doing lots of reading on fletching and broadheads. I'm kind of zeroed in on vane noise right now. Never realized it before but different vanes are much louder than others. I suppose it's logical but I can definitively hear a difference. I have some new lower profile, stiff vanes. Very quiet. I would think that would help the string jumping but we are dealing with fractions of a second. Tough to tell. However, I'm not 100% satisfied with the flight of those arrows yet.

 

May 26, 2017

I have been doing lots of trail camera education, lots of John Dudley video watching, lots of Hoyt shooting, yard mowing and a home project or two. I am currently working on my movable, rustic, bow mechanic bench.

Love the new Browning cameras from TCP. Definitely keepers. These cameras just keep chugging along. Looks like Trailcampro finished up some major camera testing this week too. Their tests always provide a lot of insight to what the manufacturers are up to.

Have accepted that I shoot a slow arrow but very satisfied with the momentum my setup creates. It should hit with a wallop.  Evidently, my setup was giving some false positives during my earlier paper tuning tests. My rest was initially set and resulted in a bullet hole....but the rest location was not in the power path of the Carbon Defiant 34 and the sight pin did not line up with the end of my FMJ 340 arrow. I have had that happen before. This always bugs me.

I decided to move the rest out to the bow power path. After a couple of paper shots I got my bullet hole. HHHMMMMMM! Not sure what is going on but I will take it. Bullet hole as a result of the QAD HDX in the power path and now my sight pin lines up with the arrow. Yes! that's my goal.

Now I'm focusing on shooting form and release. John Dudley videos to the rescue. Lots of good stuff here and presented in a form that I understand. Good job John.

 

May 13, 2017

Getting the hang of the new cameras and what they like best for setups. Bucks are growing but nothing stands out quite yet. Have captured a few pictures of a real healthy bobcat. Big boy.

Zeroing in on my fletching setup. Have some new Full Metal Jacket 340s to get setup. Trying the QAD Exodus fixed blade broadheads this hear. Everything I've read so far leads me to believe my arrow flight will be good. Focusing more on a hardened tip versus a cut on contact type tip.

 

May 4, 2017

Been a while. In the last month I finally got my cameras redeployed. I purchased a new Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34, Hoyt one pin slider sight and QAD HDX rest. I paper tuned the Hoyt and have a pin dialed in at 20 yards. I have fletched and refletched numerous arrows. I am currently evaluating four 2-inch Bohning Blazers at 90 degrees set 1-3/4 inch from the nock groove, four 2.5-inch Bohning Heat vanes set 1-3/4 inch from the nock groove and my normal three 4-inch AAE vanes set about 1-1/4 inch from the nock groove. Been using 125 grain field points. Now I have a 531 grain, 5 mm FMJ. Calculated velocity is around 230 fps. Slow arrow but good momentum. Flight is really good but the wind noise from the Blazers appears quite a bit louder than the Heat Vanes. Makes sense due to the profile difference.

It's only 5 months until season is open and we are chasing critters again! I'm looking for the vane setup that gives me the best fixed blade broadhead arrow flight. Stay tuned.

One last thing, for you bow mechanics out there I've been watching a lot of John Dudley YouTube videos thanks to a colleague's recommendation. Good stuff. Endless amount of information.

 

April 8, 2017

Yeah I know, this site has been a dead zone for a month. I took a break. It's been way too muddy to access the farm and maintenance burning caused me to pull my cameras. Bucks should have started growing horns however I did receive a text last week with a picture of a buck still carrying both sides and he was decent.

 

March 5, 2017

Been looking for sheds but not any luck for me. Still a fair amount of bucks carrying horns and the sheds I'm sure are out there are not on my side of the fences. I've never really let my lack of a shed pile bother me as I'd much rather have a shoulder mount with the real horns anyway.

Cameras continue to take photos. Captured some really nifty pictures the last few weeks. Only four months from now there will be some bucks with awfully big horns already. Lets all hope those bucks call our hunting properties home.

Been spending a lot of time watching John Dudley Youtube videos. Love the bow mechanic stuff. I need a bow press. Well need might be a strong word. Want a bow press is probably more accurate.

 

February 5, 2017

Been test driving a few new cameras (Brownings), looking for sheds and messing with my arrows.

The Brownings are like their earlier models. They do many things really well. So far so good.

No luck finding sheds for me. A few of the older bucks have shed but sill a fair amount of bucks carrying horns.

Watched a video the other day about vane placement relative to the nock throat (1.75 inches from the nock throat). That sure looks like a long ways when they are on the arrow. I am trying some 4-fletch Blazer vanes, helical, 90-degree spacing and 125 grain field points. In the past I had always been a three, 4-inch vane proponent with 100 grain field points. I am trying to move my FOC (Front of Center) location farther forward. Shot briefly last evening (half time of ISU game) to see how my arrows flew. I may be on to something. Very tight groups. That was the intent of the adjustment...to tighten up my groups. Maybe this FOC thing isn't over-thinking it. Liked my results so far. My calculations last weekend showed me that with a Full Metal Jacket it will be hard to move my weight forward a lot. I would almost have to go to a lighter arrow. Not sure I'm ready to do that. I would gain more velocity but I really like my FMJs. However, there are a couple Easton models I may try.

 

February 5, 2017

Went for a good shed hunting walk yesterday. Still nothing. Deer have dispersed somewhat and not focused on one feed field. Might be tough to find the treasures. Still quite a few deer carrying their horns.

Test driving some new cameras now, the Browning Strike Force 850, Browning Dark Ops 940 and the Browning Strike Force Pro. So far so good. The Pro is a very small camera with a view screen like the Recon Force from last year. I like it. LED arrangement is much different.

Shot the Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34 this week. Liked it. I like a spongy backwall. The 2017 lineup allows the removal a certain peg on the cam to allow for this. Otherwise, left in, it maintains that hard wall feeling...which I do not like. Most others like the hard backwall.

I purchased myself a little grain scale for $30. Ass an arrow builder, why I didn't own one of these 10 or 20 years ago is unknown to myself. Weighed my arrows. 507 grains fully outfitted. At 55 lbs the online arrow calculator tells me 247 feet per second, plus or minus. Weighed my broadheads too. My Slick Tricks and Muzzy heads weigh 100 grains or a smidge under at 99+. My G5s all weigh over 100 grains (105). This is going to be a fun little tool. I am also learning there is quite a bit of variability between arrows. My Realtree Camo FMJs weigh 7-10 grains different from my other FMJs.

 

January 10, 2017

Pulled my camera cards yesterday. Looked for sheds a little too. Reached my 10,000 steps. Foot hurts. Some yahoo felt the need to shed hunt mine before me (tracks in the snow). Many bucks still carrying both sides anyway.

Going to revamp my tree stand types next season. More bowhunting type ladders. Not sure the stand makers get it yet. Stands need to have a full platform beneath the seat and a flip up seat like a hang on so a person can lean against the tree. Might have found one that is close but still has light extended metal platform. Many of the existing flip up seats don't allow a guy to lean against the tree.

Browning came out with their new 2017 cameras already. It was Christmas at my house again this week as the new Dark Ops 940 HD and Strike Force 850 HD came in the mail. Looks like Moultrie has also released some of their 2017 lineup.

Spent a little time last week trying to lengthen the draw on my back up bow. My Hoyt Carbon Element has always felt a little short at 30 inches. Got the bowpress out and untwisted by bow string a few times. Had to redo my string look and peep sight but think I got it done. Feels longer. Would like to shoot outside for my final approval. Will wait for warm weather however.

The legislature is back in session. Make sure to keep apprised of proposed legislation affecting your favorite recreational habit.

 

 

 

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