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Bowhunting

Twenty-seven-year-old Mark “Buck” Owen of Wooster, Ohio, found and took a buck of a lifetime with his PSE Dream Season DNA bow. The story of how he found the deer, how he got permission to take the deer, and the agony of his defeat before the thrill of his victory makes this story interesting and exciting. This week Owen gives us the secrets of finding big bucks and getting permission to hunt them, the techniques he used to pinpoint when and where that buck would appear, and the way he took this 2nd biggest Ohio bow Buck ever.

1

 

I’ve been hunting deer in Iowa for 10 years with a gun and 4 years with a bow. I’ve taken one buck that scored over 140 plus points Boone & Crockett and two bucks over 130 points Pope & Young. To take a monster buck, you have to find the deer, get permission to take that buck, know exactly what time and when the deer will show up, and then make a clean and lethal shot when you have the opportunity.

I sell cattle genetics (semen) for both dairy and beef cows as a living. My territory is northeast Ohio. A couple of years ago, one of my customers and I began to talk about deer hunting. He’d ask me questions about deer hunting, and I would tell him what I thought, to help him take the deer he was hunting. I also scouted his property to try and help him take deer. I wasn’t scouting for myself. My customer had taken plenty of deer in the past, but his purpose for taking deer was to put meat in the freezer. I wasn’t trying to get permission to hunt his land or to hunt this deer by helping him.

In June, this landowner said, “When I was riding over my land, I saw four bucks and a doe bedded down. Two of the bucks looked pretty big. There was one buck that seemed to have a lot of horns.” I asked the landowner why he didn’t put out a trail camera to try and get pictures of the deer he had seen. Then I told him I’d bring my Moultrie trail camera (www.moultriefeeders.com) and put it out to enable him to see the size of bucks he had to hunt that year.

A big buck means various things to different people. I wanted to get a picture of this deer. The landowner put out some shelled corn, and I placed the camera, so it would photograph any deer coming to eat the corn. This landowner liked to feed deer through the summer to get deer coming to his property, and then he would have deer to hunt when the season arrived. At the end of a week, we took the flash card out of the camera, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw a really-big 9 point that would probably score 140 and lots of little 2-year old bucks and does. Then, I saw the monster buck that was in the velvet. He took my breath away. He had a drop tine that looked to be as big as my forearm, and the rest of his rack was really huge. I was excited just to see this deer and know that the landowner would have an opportunity to take him. I told the landowner, “You’ve got a magazine buck here. If you take this buck, I promise you he will show up in someone’s magazine somewhere.”

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I was so excited to see a deer like this in the wild on my trail camera. I said, “I would do anything to kill a deer like that. But he’s on your property, and you need to take him. I just want to put my hands on him, after you shoot him. We need to devise a plan to dial this buck in, so, you can get a good shot at him.” The landowner laughed at how flustered I was about seeing that big buck. He thought my enthusiasm over this big buck was hilarious. I told the landowner, “I’m going to bring another trail camera to pattern the buck better.” The first picture I got of the buck showed the angle he was coming into the feeder. I brought two cameras back to the property, set-up one camera on the left-hand side of the tree that I could see in the background of the photo and put the second camera on the right-hand side of the tree. This way, I could determine which side of the tree the buck came from to go to the feeder.

When I knew the direction he was coming from, I moved up the trail another 10 yards once again placed a trail camera on the left side and one on the right side of a tree. In early bow season, bucks are very patternable. So, I kept moving my cameras until I had gone up the trail about 50 yards and finally spotted a trail going into a thick cover area. I was pretty sure this was his bedding area. This little neck of woods where the deer lived was between a soybean field and a corn field. On the other side there was a very narrow strip of woods that would put the buck within bow range for the landowner, who hunted with a crossbow. When I reached the bedding area, I backed out. I didn’t want to spook the deer that might be in there.

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From the pictures I had gotten from the trail cameras, I knew this monster buck was using the same trail every day and night to go to the feeder. To keep from being confused, I put an “R” on the flash cards that I kept in the trail camera on the right side of the tree and an “L” on the flash card on the left side of the tree, as I was facing the bedding area and my back was to the feeder. This way, each time I checked my flash cards, I knew which camera was photographing the big buck. We got a ton of pictures of the monster buck, the 9 point and all the other bucks that were coming to the feeder. The feeder was in open hardwoods that funneled back to a very brushy bedding area. There were multiple trails going into the brush, which had a little knoll in it. Too, the brush connected to a pine forest. Several trails were coming out of this bedding area. I wanted to make sure we knew for certain which one of the trails the monster buck preferred.

I checked the trail cameras about every week, to learn when the huge buck was coming to the feeder. For quite a few days, the buck only fed before daylight and after dark. Then, he vanished for about 3 or 4 days, and I didn’t get any pictures of him. In the morning, he was coming to the feeder about 20 or 30 minutes before daylight. In the evening, he would show up about an hour after dark. I needed some daylight pictures, so, we would be able to hunt him during daylight hours. I hoped that buck was not totally nocturnal. Hopefully, sometime during the season, he would show-up during daylight hours. I learned that none of the other bucks were using the trail the monster buck was using. He was the only buck traveling this trail during the summer months.

We put the trail cameras out in July 2013, and the Ohio bow season didn’t open until September 28, 2013. The first picture I have of the big buck during daylight hours was on September 16. I figured out why the buck started moving during daylight hours on that day. When the soybeans are green, the deer feed on them heavily. When the soybeans are dry, the deer feed on them heavily. But when the leaves on the soybeans turn yellow, for some reason, the deer won’t feed on them at all. Also, when the soybeans’ leaves turn yellow, this is when we saw the bucks start to lose their velvet. As I mentioned earlier, there was a soybean field on one side of the woodlot, and a corn field on the other side. The corn hadn’t matured and hadn’t been harvested yet. Therefore the tastiest available food was the corn coming from the feeder every day.

Most of our Ohio deer have hard antlers by the first of September. But this buck was just losing his velvet in mid-September. In most of the pictures that we were getting of this buck, he was only showing up every other day. When the buck was gone for 4 days, I really got nervous. The first daylight picture taken of this buck, when he was in hard horn, was at 3:58 pm. His eyes were wide open, and he looked like he was out-of-sorts. I told the landowner I had really-good pictures of the buck in the velvet. He asked me not to show those pictures to anyone and not to tell anyone where those pictures were taken. I told him I’d like to show the pictures to my buddies, but I wouldn’t tell them the property where this buck was.

Here is another key to taking a big buck. The first thing that most of us do, including me, when we find a big buck, is show all our buddies the pictures. However, you have to make sure that no one knows where you’ve found that big deer. Although you may trust your buddies not to go after that buck, you don’t know what other hunters your buddies may tell the location of the big buck, if they know it. At 27-years old, I realize that I am a young hunter. I don’t know everything or nearly as much as other hunters who have been hunting 50 or 60 years know. But I do know enough to stay hushed-mouth about a big buck like this one.

4

As we got closer to deer season, I took the landowner’s crossbow and put a new America’s Best bowstring on his crossbow. I shot the crossbow several times to make sure it was lined up and sighted in, and at 20 yards, the crossbow was really lethal. Once I had his crossbow sighted in and ready to take this big buck, I went with him to hang tree stands. I picked a tree that had three trunks coming out of the same big trunk, because I knew then a deer couldn’t skylight me. I wear Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity when I’m hunting. I have the utmost confidence in that camouflage pattern, but I still like to use limbs and leaves to break-up my silhouette. I’ll place my tree stand about 30-yards from where I expect the deer to appear. Then, if I make any noise before I take the shot, the deer is less likely to hear me. I placed the platform of the tree stand at 27 feet, so, when the landowner stood-up, he would be 30-feet high in the tree. I like to hang my tree stands high, because if I have to move to take the shot, the deer is less likely to see me.

We set the tree stand up on a rainy Saturday. The landowner had a different tree in mind where he wanted to set his stand to be right over the feeder. But I suggested, “This is a big buck. We don’t want to take any chances of spooking him, before we take him.” We moved back 20 yards from the feeder and set the tree stand up in this triple-trunk tree, from where we should be able to see the buck coming from at least 50-yards away. Then I asked, “Would you mind if I put a second stand on one of the other trunks of this tree? Then I can video you taking this big buck, on the first day of bow season.” The landowner looked me in the eyes and said, “No, I’ve been thinking about this hunt. You’re going to hunt this stand on the first day of bow season. If you don’t get him on the first day, you also can hunt him on Saturdays. I am going to hunt the buck too. If you get him, he’s your deer. If I get him, he’s my deer. You have been doing all the work keeping up with this deer. I know this buck will mean more to you than he does to me. I wouldn’t have done the work you have done to find this buck, pattern him, keep up with the trail camera pictures of him and do all the things you’ve done to make sure I would be able to take this buck. You definitely deserve first chance to take this buck.”

That was on September 21, one week before the season opened when the landowner told me he wanted me to hunt the first day of bow season and have the first chance at this buck. The 21st held a lot of meaning for me, because my father, Jim Owen, passed away at the age of 62 on April 21 from a massive heart attack. He was an outdoorsman, a life-long trapper and a coon and coyote hunter. I shoot white fletchings on my Gold Tip arrows (www.goldtip.com). So when I got back home that afternoon, I wrote on the fletching of my best arrow, “Dad’s Shot,” because this was the arrow I planned to use to hunt the big whitetail.

For 8 days, from the time I had permission to hunt the big buck, until the day I climbed into the tree stand, I hardly ate. I had butterflies in my stomach the entire week. I really didn’t realize I wasn’t eating. All I could think about was trying to use my mental powers to make sure that buck would come in on opening day. Too, I was thinking how I would walk into the stand. I wanted to make sure I could get to the stand without using a light. I talked to the landowner and he explained, “I always fill the feeder that the buck is coming to at the same time every day – 9:00 am. I think your best plan is to walk exactly the same route that I walk when I am putting corn in the feeder, since the deer are accustomed to smelling human odor there, and it doesn’t spook them.”

I asked the landowner if he would mind pacing-off the route he took to put the corn in the feeder. He always parked his Gator at a corner post. Then, he walked 60 steps to the spot where he put out minerals, turned left, walked 24 steps to the feeder and then walked 40 steps from the feeder to the tree where we had the tree stand. My plan was to park my truck about 450-yards away from where the landowner parked his Gator and walk as quietly as I could to that corner post and follow the landowner’s route. Once I got to the feeder, I would be able to see the tree where I had hung my tree stand, because it was the biggest tree in the area.

On the morning of the hunt, I had all my Mossy Oak clothing that I had washed with Hunter’s Specialties Scent-A-Way (http://www.hunterspec.com/products/all/all/Scent-A-Way) and a little mat that I also had washed in Scent-A-Way. When I got to the place where I planned to leave my truck, I took my other clothes off, took the mat out of the scent-free bag, stepped onto the mat, put on my Mossy Oak camo, put on my Hunter Safety System safety harness, took out a Hunter’s Specialties Fresh Earth Cover Scent Wafer, sprayed down with Scent-A-Way and then walked to my tree. No, I am not being paid by Scent-A-Way – I just believe in the product. When you expect to be that close to a monster buck, you have to do everything to keep that buck from seeing or smelling you. I like the fresh earth scent wafer, because the earth scent is as natural as you can get. When I got to the tree, I tied my PSE Dream Season DNA bow to my pull-up rope, climbed into the tree, pulled up my bow, hung my fresh earth scent wafer, put my bow on my bow hanger, tied my back pack with sandwiches, water and a bottle to go to the bathroom into the tree and waited on daylight. I planned to stay in the tree all day to have a chance to take this monster buck. I had my Gold Tip Pro Hunter arrow shafts (www.goldtip.com) and the new Hypodermic Rage Broadhead, one of the newer broadheads from Rage (www.ragebroadheads.com). I had been shooting Rage Broadheads ever since I first started shooting my bow. I was as ready as ready could be to take this big buck.

I chose the PSE Dream Season DNA when I wanted a new bow for hunting after shooting three bows from every archery company that the bow shop I went to had in the store. I like a lot of speed from a bow and plenty of kinetic energy delivered to the point of the broadhead. I liked the weight of this bow and its warranty. The PSE Dream Season DNA just had come into the shop, when I was trying to pick a bow for hunting. The DNA I bought was the first PSE DNA to leave that shop. I have had the bow technicians at this shop work on every bow I ever have had. And, they promised they could deliver service after the sale, which was important to me.

2

I got into my tree stand at 4:00 am on opening day of Ohio’s bow deer season, realizing I would be sitting in the dark for at least an hour. As I sat in my Ameristep (www.ameristep.com) tree stand and waited for daylight, I kept thinking, “Did I spook any deer as I walked to my tree stand? I don’t think I spooked any, but I’m not sure.” When daylight finally arrived, I watched chipmunks and squirrels for the next 2 hours, while using my Bushnell range finder (www.bushnell.com) to check and recheck the distance I was from landmarks all around my stand. I know this sounds stupid, but I just wanted to make sure and have the confidence of knowing that wherever that big deer came in sight, I would know the range before I drew my bow. Occasionally, I used my Bushnell binoculars to look up the trail and scan other trails, in case, the buck possibly might have switched the trail he used, since the last trail camera picture I had of him. About 6:45 am, off to my left, I could hear a deer walking near the area where I thought the big buck was bedding.

I stayed in the stand all day. Before I left the house, I had checked when dusk would occur. It was going to be too dark to shoot by 7:11 pm. At about 6:55 pm, I took my Dream Season DNA off my bow hanger and put it in my lap. When I deer hunt, I always want to have my bow in my lap for the last 30 minutes of daylight, because I have seen more deer at that time than any other time. After I put my bow in my lap, I checked it again to make sure my sight was in place, my arrow nock was tight against the string, and the bow was ready to go, if I needed it. I also checked the time on my cell phone. When I looked up, I saw that big buck coming down the trail about 60-70 yards away from me and spotted that big drop tine. Then, I told myself. “Don’t look at the deer’s head. Look at the place you want to hit.”

He was walking straight to me, coming down the trail from my west to my east. There was a big tree he had to walk behind, before he got into bow range. I had preplanned that when the buck stepped behind the tree, I would make my draw. Each time I looked at the buck, I would look at the trail in front of him. I was searching for other trees he would have to walk past. Then if I couldn’t draw when he got behind the big beech tree, there were three really good sized trees the buck had to pass by that would block his vision to my stand. I made another quick check of my bow to make sure the blades on my broadhead were tucked to the back of the arrow, that the arrow was sitting on the rest and that my mechanical release was clipped on the D-loop. I did a thorough but quick visual inspection of the bow. I knew I was ready to take the shot, but I also needed to know the bow was ready to make the shot.

The buck came in like I thought he would. When he turned to go around the big beech tree, I came to full draw from the sitting position. Now, all the buck had to do was step out from behind that big tree, and the moment I had been dreaming about would happen. The first time I saw the buck on the trail camera pictures. I began to practice shooting from the seated position. I realized if I had a chance to take this buck, I didn’t want to have to stand-up to shoot and give the buck a greater opportunity to see me.

The tree he was behind was one of the main trees I had ranged when I got bored in my tree stand. I knew for certain that tree was at 33 yards. The buck only had to travel about 8 yards from behind the tree to reach a pile of corn that we had put out. Then the buck could see it, and he wouldn’t have to look for individual kernels of corn being thrown out by the feeder. The buck stood behind the tree, stuck his head out, looked at the corn and then looked in all directions with his body still behind the tree. When the buck stepped out, he used his nose to smell all around the corn pile. His right front leg was up close to his nose, giving me a perfect broadside shot to his vitals. Just as I started to release the arrow, the buck jerked his head up, and I froze. As he put his nose back down to feed on the corn, he shifted his weight and moved back just a little bit. In that millisecond, just as he was moving, I had released the arrow. My broadhead hit just in front of his shoulder blade. But because the deer turned a little quartering to me, the broadhead cut the vein that fed the jugular vein.

The arrow was moving so fast. I got a clean pass-though. But when the buck took the arrow, he charged forward straight toward the tree where I was, before veering a little to the right, as he passed about 8 yards from the base of my tree. He only went 12-yards from my tree before he hit the ground face first. My eyes and ears were glued to him. He started making a gurgling sound. Then, all movement stopped. When I saw he wasn’t moving, I told myself, “Don’t get up. Stay seated, stay quiet, and keep your eyes on the buck.” As I sat and watched the deer, I was shaking like a leaf. I waited as long as I possibly could stand to wait – about 5-10 minutes. Finally, I took my Bushnell binoculars, looked at the deer and saw he looked dead. I let my bow and my pack down to the ground. As I sat silently in my stand, I told myself. “Don’t fall. Take your time getting out of the stand, and think through every move you make.” Just before I stepped on the climbing sticks, I detached my safety harness from the tree. I began to slowly and deliberately climb down my climbing sticks. I couldn’t believe how big the deer was, until I put my hands on his antlers. Most of the time, when he was walking toward me, I wasn’t looking at his antlers.

I looked at where the broadhead had entered. The hole was right where his neck and shoulder met. The arrow came out a little behind the offside shoulder. In the pictures, the shot looks like I shot him in the neck. But remember, I was shooting down on him, and the arrow made a complete pass-through. He had two drop tines and a beam that came off one of the drop tines. I couldn’t believe his antlers weren’t outside of his ears. As I looked more closely at his ears, they looked like the ears on a child’s teddy bear, since they were short and rounded. From the trail camera pictures, we thought the buck had between 20-25 points. When I counted the points, he had 22. When the buck was scored, he gross scored 256 on the Buckmaster scale, which doesn’t give any credit for inside main beam width. He won’t be scored for Boone and Crockett, because he had three pedicles (instead of having two places where antlers come out of the skull, this buck had three). Boone and Crockett only recognizes deer with two pedicles. On the Pope and Young scale, the buck should score between 248 and 260. At this writing, the antlers have not been officially scored by P&Y.

I immediately called the landowner and said, “I got him. He’s down.” The landowner said, “Ok, I am eating dinner. I will be right there, when I finish eating.” Next, I called my wife, Nicky. I told her, “I got the big buck.” After what seemed like an eternity the landowner showed up with his ATV. Before we loaded the deer, I got my arrow and looked at the writing on the white fletching of the arrow that said, “Dad’s Shot.” Adrenaline, excitement, and a feeling I can’t describe went through me. I knew how proud my dad would be, if he could see this buck I just had taken. I believe that from somewhere, he saw me and the buck (see Day 2).

I learned later that as the landowner and I were dragging the buck to the ATV, the trail camera took a picture of us. When we reached the end of the road with the buck in the back of the ATV, my wife was there waiting and was as excited as I was. We got the buck back to the landowner’s house and field dressed him. I called a buddy of mine, who has a walk-in cooler. I asked him if I could leave the buck in the cooler overnight, because I wanted to shoot a lot of pictures of him the next morning. I called some of my other buddies and told them to meet me at the walk-in cooler, and that is when the celebration really took place.

Everyone wanted to know where I had taken the buck. I didn’t tell anyone, since I had made that pledge to the landowner. We shot some pictures that night. The next morning was a fairly lengthy photo session. Jason Danbury, who is the investigator for wildlife crime for the State of Ohio, is a friend of my buddy who owned the walk-in cooler. We notified Danbury that I had harvested a big deer he might want to look at, and we sent a bunch of pictures to him via text. He asked if we had trail camera pictures of the deer. I told him, “If you want to investigate this deer, I will take you to the landowner and to the spot where I killed the deer and give you any information you want.”

Then Danbury started calling around to my friends and neighbors to check me out to learn what kind of person I was and what type hunter. I showed him my trail camera pictures going back to July to make sure I had plenty of documentation. By having Danbury investigate all parts of the hunt, there really couldn’t be any question about whether I took the buck ethically or not. When Danbury had completed his investigation, he said. “Congratulations, you’ve killed a real trophy buck.”

3

I believe this buck had lived his entire life in that 90-acre woodlot between the two fields, because no one else in the county ever had seen this deer. All the property around this spot was corn fields and bean fields. So, these deer that I was seeing on the trail camera really didn’t have any close-by cover where they could hide in – other than this woodlot. The buck had everything he needed – a bedding area, does and food. As I mentioned earlier, the landowner started putting out corn after deer season. Just as importantly, I don’t believe this deer ever had had any hunting pressure.

The buck’s rack hasn’t been officially scored by Pope and Young. However, it was officially scored by Buckmaster. According to Buckmaster’s scoring system, the buck had a 256 gross score. Buckmaster didn’t give any credit for the inside spread of the main beam on its scoring system, so the buck officially scored 239-7/8 inches. In Buckmaster’s record keeping system, this puts the buck at number 13 of all deer harvested with a compound bow. I’m also having the buck scored by Pope and Young, because Boone and Crockett doesn’t recognize the buck’s third pedicle. Therefore, they won’t score the buck’s third pedicle.

In the State of Ohio, this buck scores as the number two archery buck ever taken. The only buck ahead of my buck in the state record books is the Beatty buck, officially scored at 304-6/8 (I believe). On the Pope and Young measuring system, my buck should score either in the top 15 or top 10 bucks ever harvested with a compound bow. I’m taking the buck to the Bow Hunting Super Show (www.bowhuntingsupershow.com) held in Columbus, Ohio, March 21-23, 2014. He will be shown at the Greatest Buck of the Year competition sponsored by “Outdoor Life” and “Field and Stream” magazines at the Deer and Turkey Expo. I took the buck to the Archery Trade Association (ATA) show in Nashville, Tennessee, January 6-9, 2014 and already been in contact with someone who will replicate the buck’s antlers. So far, this is all the plans we have for this buck.

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But I don’t believe this is the end of our story. Quite a few landowners in this area have been managing their properties for trophy bucks. We are already starting to see some good 3-year old bucks. This section of Ohio has the soils, the food and the sanctuary to produce trophy bucks. I really believe that if we continue to pass up young bucks, as we have the last 3 years on many of the landowners’ properties, we will continue to see many more 3-1/2-year-old bucks and older coming from this region. Deer management for trophy bucks has been slow to catch on in my area of Ohio, because our deer grow so fast and so big. Many of our 2-year old bucks would be trophy bucks anywhere else that most hunters hunt. Let’s face it. Passing up a nice 8-point that scores 120-130 is really tough for any hunter, especially if you haven’t seen a buck that size, in the state where you hunt. But more landowners have begun to see the value of letting younger-age-class bucks walk. I feel certain we will have more big trophy bucks coming out of Ohio that are as big if not bigger than the buck I’ve taken. I really believe that our state has the potential to produce as many if not more trophy bucks as any other state, if we continue to manage our deer for older-age-class bucks.

Editor’s Note: A member of PSE’s and Mossy Oak’s Pro Staffs and a fixture on Mossy Oak’s TV show “Turkey Thugs,” Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, has guided for deer and turkeys  for 28 years at Bent Creek Lodge in Jachin, Ala. He’s been deer hunting for more than 40 years and has shot the PSE DNA since it was introduced. This week he’ll tell us how to find big bucks where no one is looking for them.

1 Turkey Thug autograph cards

I don’t get to shoot my bow as much as I once did, so I really like the consistency of the DNA. Even if I haven’t shot the DNA for a week, I can pick it up, go hunting and still feel confident the bow is as dead-on as it was when I put it back in my bow case earlier.  I shoot the two-blade Rage (www.ragebroadheads.com), a mechanical broadhead with a 2-inch cut.

My secret to taking big bucks on little properties is to find places to hunt that are overlooked by other hunters. Most hunters say they want to hunt big woods or large properties. They believe the more property they have to hunt, then the better their odds will be for taking trophy bucks. However, I’ve found the opposite is true. The smaller places you hunt where no one else is hunting often produce the biggest bucks. This week I’ll give you five examples to prove my point.

2

The first deer on any property to feel hunting pressure is the mature buck. He’ll recognize that hunters are in the woods to try and take him more than they are interested in any other buck in the deer herd. So, that mature buck will be the first deer on the property to go to a spot that hunters don’t hunt. Smaller tracts of woods are the most-overlooked areas on any property, if a sanctuary has plenty of cover, food and water, or if the land is extremely close to the sanctuary.

On my first trip to the big buck state of Illinois, I was as lost as a ball in high weeds. I didn’t know the property, and I didn’t know anyone who knew the property where I was to hunt. All I had was a map of this public-hunting area with the boundary lines drawn on it. When I hunt a new place, the first thing I don’t want to do is to get off the property onto someone else’s land. So, when I got to this public-hunting region in Illinois, I took the boundary map and started walking the property line to learn exactly where I could and couldn’t hunt. I’ve learned over the years that often the boundary lines on a map aren’t exactly correct. For instance, if the boundary line of a public-hunting land is the edge of a creek, many times the public land may extend for 10, 20 or even 100 yards on the other side of the creek. The boundaries are usually marked with paint or signs on trees.

As I walked the edge of the creek of this public-hunting land in Illinois, I learned that the boundary of this public-hunting property had little pockets of land on the other side of the creek, although the map wasn’t marked like that. I thought, “Those little pockets of land on the other side of the creek probably get very little or no hunting pressure.” I also decided that since crossing the creek was difficult, that not many people would be willing to cross the creek to only hunt 50 to 100 yards of land from the creek to the true boundary line. Also, I could tell from where I had parked my truck that apparently, many other people had parked their vehicles close to this creek. I decided to park my truck about 200 to 300 yards down the road from where I entered the woods to keep anyone from knowing exactly where I started hunting.

When I got across the creek the first time, I thought that the public-hunting land over there might only be a 50-yard stretch of hardwoods from the creek to the boundary line. But after walking the boundary line, I discovered that in some spots the boundary line was 200-yards beyond the creek. I found a place where a creek bend was close to a soybean field that was on private land. Sitting in my tree stand, I could see houses not too far away.

The first afternoon I sat in my stand a fellow came down the edge of the soybean field walking his dog. The fellow waved to me, as nice as he could be. I climbed down out of my tree stand and walked over to talk to the man with the dog. He apologized for messing up my hunt. I told him not to worry about it. I was enjoying being out here and having a time and place to hunt. As we chatted, the man told me, “If I get home in time, about every other day, I like to walk my dog down this way. Sometimes, we don’t come this far.” He also showed me a branch that came from the public-hunting land and went out into the soybean field – a vital piece of information. We talked for a few minutes. I got my tree stand, crossed the creek and walked back to my vehicle. But from the information I had gained from talking with the man walking his dog, I learned I would have to hunt there in the mornings instead of the afternoons. I also figured out that I needed to move my tree stand about 50-yards closer to the funnel than I had it set-up that day to be successful.

The next morning before daylight, I crossed the creek and put up my tree stand in the location I had picked out the day before. As the sun came up, I saw people coming out of their houses and starting their cars headed to work. I spotted a number of deer coming out of the soybean field that morning and walking down that thick-covered ditch that came from the public land and went out into the soybean field. I could tell to be in the right spot to get a shot with my bow that I needed to move my tree stand one more time – closer to the ditch, which turned out to be a little creek. I picked out the tree where I wanted to put my stand, came out of the woods before lunch and hunted another place that afternoon.

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The next morning I crossed the creek again, moved my stand closer to the funnel and the thick- covered ditch that ran from the public land out into the soybean field. Just as the sun came up, I saw a huge 12-pointer following a doe down the ditch.  He came to within 24 yards of my stand.

I raised my PSE bow, came to full draw and shot the buck. That buck scored 160 points on Pope & Young.

I’ve learned that on many public-hunting areas, you may find small patches of woods that are within the public-hunting area that don’t show-up on the map. There may be only an acre or less that’s not shown on the boundary map. Because these places are so small, most hunters won’t go to the effort to try to find and hunt them. Therefore, they become safe havens for mature bucks.

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When I recovered my buck and started dragging him out, I met an older gentleman and talked to him. I discovered that his family had lived on a portion of what is now a WMA (Wildlife Management Area). We started talking about squirrel dogs, and that gentleman gave me the secret to taking the buck I’ll tell you about tomorrow.

Tomorrow: PSE’s Bob Walker on the Hunt for Mr. Gary’s 45 Acre Buck

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros” and “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” click on the titles of the books. Or, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

 

Editor’s Note: Jeff Propst of northeast Missouri has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. He was a factory rep for another bow manufacturer for many years. Propst recalls that after he left his previous archery provider, “A very, very close friend of mine, Mark Drury, suggested I try PSE bows. So, I got a PSE X-Force, started shooting it and fell in love with the bow.” Today, Propst shoots the PSE Dream Season DNA and prefers PSE bows, because they’re smooth, quiet, fast and accurate. He says, “With my bow, I’ve taken elk, whitetails, moose and turkeys.”

PSE’s Jeff Propst Takes a Spring Turkey with His Bow

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Sometimes, food-plot preparation is the best scouting you can do, as I learned a few years ago. In Missouri, I was doing some pre-food plot work, checking to determine whether there was enough moisture in the soil to germinate seeds if we planted them. I looked-up from checking the dirt, and across the hollow was a big, cut soybean field from the previous year. A pair of gobblers were strutting their stuff for the invisible hens in the area. There was a little island of brush right in the middle of the soybean field. I quickly realized that brush created a perfect place to set-up a ground blind. Abandoning my soil-study project, I left the region to make a plan for the next day. That evening, I was pretty certain that the gobblers were going to fly-up and roost close to the field. I decided to set-up my blind and decoys early in the morning on that patch of brush.

By the time the sun rose the next day, I was hidden in my Ameristep Dream Season ground blind, watching a pair of faux turkeys, one Flambeau Master Series King Strut and a single hen decoy. At daylight, turkeys started gobbling close to my blind. I waited until the gobblers flew out of the tree and were on the ground before I started calling. The turkeys answered back and walked toward me. There was a little ridge between the turkeys and me, which meant I could see their tail feathers, but they couldn’t see my decoys. The turkeys made their way slowly around the ridge. Finally, I could see them – two gobblers following a hen. I watched the turkeys walk off to my right and out of sight. After just 30 minutes, the birds returned to the soybean field. This time, the turkeys came up to the crown of the little ridge of the field and finally saw my decoys. As soon as they spotted those decoys, they started heading right for me.

The show began. Handsome gobblers strutted in front of the gobbler decoy, as jealous hens ran around and around the hen decoy. I enjoyed their dance for a few moments before I picked the gobbler I wanted to take. A big tom was strutting straight toward me. I aimed a little bit to the left of his beard and somewhat low, below where the beard came out of the turkey’s chest. My Rage broadhead (http://www.ragebroadheads.com/) traveled all the way through him, coming out his neck. The gobbler took off running and disappeared behind that little ridge in the middle of the field. I waited a few minutes, walked over the ridge, nodded in the direction of the food plot that had started it all and retrieved my turkey.

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PSE’s Jeff Propst Relives His and His Son’s Bowhunting Success in Iowa

Amazingly one instant can change an entire season of hard, unfruitful hunting. No one knows this better than my son, Chris, and me. Iowa’s deer population hadn’t been the most accommodating one year for Chris or myself. We’d been hunting hard with absolutely nothing to show for it. We had come up before the season, scouted the property that belongs to a friend of mine and put in some food plots. I’d hunted this land since 1994, so I knew the caliber of bucks there. But none seemed to want to play. To add to our frustration, we had seen a lot of big bucks and had several “almost” opportunities. However, we just couldn’t connect with a big buck. We’d been hunting at the peak of the rut, a time when the bucks should have been out in full-force, but they weren’t. Our buck sightings had steeply declined. The only reason we could come up with was that most bucks must already have found a doe to stay with for 2 or 3 days.

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At about 10:30 am, I spotted a buck working a scrape about 150-yards away on the edge of a creek. As he was about to move, I grunted to him. I knew he heard the grunt call, because he lifted his head and turned in our direction. When the buck looked away, I soft grunted to him again, and he started walking to us. Since he was on the opposite side of the creek from our stands, he had to go down one side of the creek and up the other side to get to us. When the buck was out of sight, I stood-up, while Chris got the camera ready. As silently as possible, I retrieved my PSE bow from the hanger, clipped my mechanical release onto the string and waited on the buck that was still advancing our way.

When the buck was within 20 yards, he put his nose to the ground, attempting to pick-up the scent of the deer that had been calling to him. Not picking-up any scent, the buck immediately turned and walked straight away in the opposite direction. When he got about 30-yards from our tree, I played a soft grunt with my voice. The confused buck swung around and started walking straight back to us. Finally, when the buck went broadside, I came to full throttle with my PSE Dream Season X-Force (http://psearchery.wpengine.com/c/compound-bow), released the arrow and saw the Rage broadhead (www.ragebroadheads.com) go right behind the shoulder to double-lung the deer. The buck fell at 35 yards. When we found him, he was much larger than we expected – scoring 152 points. After the hunt was successfully completed, Chris and I both released a sigh of relief. We had hunted so hard. We had seen a large number of shooter bucks but just couldn’t get one within bow range. If you’ve ever had a season like that, you understand that feeling of joy and release that accompanies the conclusion of a hard hunt when you’ve finally taken a nice buck.

Our bowhunts started as two guys, a father and a son, with a camera and a bow. Now, we’re on television. Chris and I won the Dream Season hunt in 2008; we were “Team Missouri” at that time. We really enjoy bowhunting but we really treasure hunting together. I’m a very-lucky dad. Not only do I get to spend time hunting with my son, but it’s a shared passion, a shared love of the outdoors. And each year, we’re both like children on Christmas morning, waiting to see what Santa Claus will bring us that deer season.

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” click on each. Or, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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

 The Moose Hunt of a Lifetime with PSE’s Jeff Propst

Meet Jeff Propst: Jeff Propst of northeast Missouri has been shooting a PSE bow since 2008. He was a factory rep for another bow manufacturer for many years. Propst recalls that after he left his previous archery provider, “A very, very close friend of mine, Mark Drury, suggested I try PSE bows. So, I got a PSE X-Force, started shooting it and fell in love with the bow.” Today, Propst shoots the PSE Dream Season DNA and prefers PSE bows, because they’re smooth, quiet, fast and accurate. He says, “With my bow, I’ve taken elk, whitetails, moose and turkeys.”

All my life, I’ve dreamed of going to Alaska; I’ve always wanted to take a moose there. As luck would have it, one of my friends had booked an Alaskan moose hunt and was suddenly unable to go. He called and asked me if I’d like to take his place on the hunt. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. The hunt was booked with Knik Glacier Adventures. My buddy who wasn’t able to go had hunted brown bears with the same outfitter. He had gone on and on, telling me of his amazing experience. Braun Kopsack, my guide, was a legend himself, so I was extremely anxious prior to the hunt.

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The hunt would span 10 days. I arrived on the 20th of September; we started hunting the next morning on the 21st. For 3 days, we hunted in the high mountains with the rain pouring-down, along with cold temperatures. When we saw there was more bad weather coming, we knew we had to relocate. Kopsack contacted the bush-plane pilot to come pick us up, so we could move camp. I knew the weather was getting bad. But I was hesitant to try another spot, since we knew moose were in the area, where we were, and in fact, I could have gotten one our first day. Alaska hunting regulations specify that a legal bull moose is one with antlers that exceed a minimum width of 50 inches. The moose that I started to take on the first day, looking back, probably met those specifications. However, neither me or my guide were completely sure of his antler width, so we decided not to pursue the bull further.

During those first 3 days, I saw five bull moose. We also spotted Dall sheep, mountain goats and even black bears. Although I was hesitant to leave the moose we had seen, I didn’t regret leaving that region, since we were hunting up and down several steep climbs in 3-4 inches of snow. I’ve experienced difficult hunts in rough terrain but nothing compares with being guided by a world-class mountain marathon runner. I’m a 55-year old man, and I consider myself in pretty good shape; however, I definitely was not in the same shape as Kopsack, who tackled the mountains as if they were flat ground.

We left high camp, flew down to the Knik River by airboat, camped on the river, left base camp before daylight and climbed into the high mountains all morning. Then we started hunting about mid-to-late morning. All the moose tended to be up high on the mountains where there was better cover and habitat. Since the land we were hunting was public, there was a lot of boat pressure and moose hunting pressure down low, near the river. So, we were forced-up, much to the joy of my guide. Once we found a series of ditches and draws that provided ideal habitat for the moose, we decided to camp and spend the remaining 6 days there. Finally, on the ninth day, I had an opportunity to take a moose.

We had spent the whole of that day hunting with no luck. In the evening, we started making our way back to camp. After 9 days of mountain climbing, I was mentally and physically worn out. Too, the rain and the snow were taking their toll. But as we took a break on the side of the big drainage ditch, Kopsack said, “There’s a big outcropping of rocks just above us. I’m going to run up there and do some glassin’.” A few minutes later, he emerged, saying, “I spotted a big moose a good ways off. I don’t know if he’s legal or not, but I really think we should go and check him out.” To be honest, I was beat, close to calling it quits, but Kopsack was encouraging and said, “The moose is in a spot we can get to, and he’s in a place where I believe you can get a shot. Let’s go!”

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We went down a mountain, across a glacier stream, and before I knew it, we had moved fairly close to where we thought the moose was feeding. Kopsack made one call, and I could hear the moose coming to us. When the moose got in close, we weren’t sure his rack was more than 50 inches, although Kopsack believed the moose was legal. Even when the bull was 10-yards from us, we couldn’t make a definite measurement. The moose gave us time to check out his antlers; he kept looking and looking for the cow that had been calling to him. He was searching, almost asking, “Why did you call me over here, but I can’t find you?” Kopsack, my son, Chris, and I were all wearing Mossy Oak camo (www.mossyoak.com) that blended right in with the alders and brush. To this day, I am confident that our camo was the reason why the moose couldn’t see us. After a handful of tense moments, the moose turned to walk away. At that moment, Kopsack whispered, “He’s legal, I’m sure of it.”

From that point, the stalk was on, and the bull moose was 50-yards away from where we’d stopped. I didn’t hesitate to take the 50-yard shot for two reasons:

* I had practiced at more than 50 yards, and I knew I could hit the spot where I was aiming.

* I had shot my PSE Dream Season EVO enough to know that when I put my pin on a desired spot, the EVO always delivered the shot.

When I released the arrow, I saw the RAGE Hypodermic Broadhead hit the bull right behind the front shoulder and go all the way in to the fletching of the arrow. As soon as the bull took the arrow, he went over a little rise. We were filming this hunt for Bow Madness so I could, thankfully, replay the shot on the video camera. When I saw for certain I had made a good shot, I turned to Chris and Kopsack, saying, “I’m going to ease up to that rise and try to see the bull.” When I peeked over the rise, I saw that the bull moose hadn’t traveled more than 40 yards after taking my arrow. As a group, we field dressed the moose. Since Kopsack was the only one well-suited to transport meat, he said, “I’ve got my frame pack, and I’ll carry one hindquarter out now. We’ll come back in the morning and get the rest of the moose; we’ve still got a 2-hour hike to get back to camp, and I’d like to get to camp before dark.” So we boned the hindquarter out, and Kopsack carried it on his back.

The next morning, Kopsack called-in some additional packers to bring out the rest of the moose. My son, Chris, went with the packers and he carried the head and rack all the way back. Kopsack knew my leg wasn’t doing well, so he asked me to stay in camp to get everything packed up. Then we could leave as soon as the packers returned. My dream to hunt moose in Alaska had come true. Best of all, my son was by my side when I showed off my trophy, a 57” wide bull moose.

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 Public Land Elk Hunting

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) public-land hunting for elk is a challenge, and I love it. I’ve hunted New Mexico’s elk on public lands since 1997. Throughout the years, I’ve taken 16 bull elk in that state with my bow. Of those elk, 13 were taken on public lands.

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In 2010, I was hunting in New Mexico with two friends, John Williams and Nick Pelagreen. We were on a DIY hunt on public lands, hunting in the southwestern portion of New Mexico. We set-up camp at 7,200 feet above sea level. Then we hiked up into the mountains to about 8,000 feet above sea level, found a big canyon and started hunting up it. We happened upon an elk wallow. We could tell by the substantial foot traffic that local elk were frequenting this wallow. I was really surprised that other hunters hadn’t come across or hunted the area. The secluded wallow was only about 2-miles from our camp. Looking over the pristine elk habitat, I leaned to Nick and told him, “Just watch- we’ll take an elk off this wallow.” Less than 30 seconds after I had made that statement, we heard a bull bugle off to our left and above us. I called to the bull; he answered me with another bugle. We ran about 50-yards up the hill toward the bugling bull and set-up in some bushes.

After we were ready, I called two more times. Both times, the bull answered. Finally, I saw a hearty 6X6 bull headed to the wallow. As long as I live, I never will forget seeing that bull walk through the meadow to the wallow. The bull closed the gap from 100 to 25 yards quickly. When he was close enough, I gave him a cow call. He stopped; I released the arrow from my PSE X-Force. The arrow dug-in deeply, all the way to the fletching. After the bull took the arrow, he went about 75-yards before going down. Luckily, transporting the meat and head wasn’t too difficult, because we were able to pull our truck fairly close to where the bull fell.

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The next year, fueled by memories from the previous season, I had planned to hunt that same wallow. But when I hiked up to the wallow, I was shocked to find that another bowhunter already had set-up to hunt. That’s the risk you run when you hunt public land. But, I still enjoy the challenge of not only finding and taking bull elk on public lands but also trying to pinpoint a place to hunt that won’t be disturbed by other hunters.

Double-Down Bucks

November 3, 2012 is a date I’ll never forget, because it marks the date my son, Chris, and I took two nice, mature whitetail bucks within 15 minutes of each other; interestingly, both bucks were taken with my Dream Season EVO PSE bow. We were hunting our farm in northeast Missouri, sitting in our tree stands, while Chris filmed me. We hadn’t seen much deer activity that morning when Chris whispered, “Dad, when do you think these deer will start moving?” Quietly, I answered, “They should be moving starting anytime, because the rut should be starting.”

Five minutes later, I looked down a hardwood ridge and saw a buck coming toward us. I immediately recognized the big 9 point, because he had appeared on our trail camera with a pair of distinct features: two separate white throat patches under his lower jaw. Given that he was already a trail-camera star, I knew he was a shooter. When he meandered into bow range, I grunted to him with my natural voice, but the buck didn’t stop. I grunted again a second time; the buck spooked and took off down a hill, some 35-yards away. I shoot a slider sight with no fixed pins, which was dead-on at 20 yards. I knew the flight of the arrow would be slightly lower than it would be if I shot the buck at 20 yards. So, I calculated I only needed to shoot 3-inches high of the spot I wanted to hit; the EVO delivered the arrow exactly where I had aimed. Because of the speed of the EVO, shooting 313 feet per second (fps), I made the shot I wanted to make. Before I switched to PSE, my old bow, which shot at 216 fps, would have been too slow and never would have made that shot. I hit that buck in the liver, the arrow traveled forward, up toward the deer’s heart, and then he ran out of sight. I felt good about the shot, however, I wasn’t exactly sure where the arrow had hit him. Even after we had rewound the video, we couldn’t see exactly where the arrow had entered the deer. After we had sat in the tree for a while, I told Chris, “Okay, let’s get down out of the tree, go find my arrow, and look for the deer.”

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Before climbing down from the tree, I let my bow down to the ground with a pull rope. Once I was down, I untied my bow from the pull rope when I noticed movement- another buck was coming our way, and this one had a name – Joust. He was an interesting 11-pointer. When we had discovered him on the trail camera earlier, his most-noticeable feature was a main beam that protruded straight forward, just like a jousting lance. And, so, his nickname was born. Joust was taking his time heading in our direction, eating acorns and hitting brush with his antlers. Chris quietly said, “Dad! Send your bow up!” I retied my bow to the pull-up rope, and Chris pulled the bow to his tree stand. Minutes passed by, and while I was leaning up against the tree where Chris was, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Lowered from the heavens, there appeared a video camera hanging on the pull-up rope. Chris and I exchanged our weapons of choice and waited.

Once I got the camera off the pull rope, I attempted to blend into the tree, which wasn’t easy. We were bowhunting during the Missouri Youth Rifle Season. If you bowhunt during the youth rifle season, you have to wear hunter orange. I felt like a gigantic, neon STOP sign, but I stood still as a statue, filming Joust as he came nearer. I became extremely nervous, because I didn’t know when Chris was going to shoot. Weirdly enough, I’ve always preferred to shoot a quiver on my bow. I know many bowhunters who prefer to shoot sans quiver. However, that day, I was glad I still had my quiver, as well as release, on the bow when Chris pulled-up my PSE bow. Luckily, Chris and I always have shot each other’s bows, because we hunt together so much. I felt certain that one day, we’d have the opportunity to possibly take two bucks out of the same tree. And now, that possibility was fast becoming a reality. We generally like to capture both the hunter and the hunted in the same shot, but since Chris was directly above me in the tree, there was no way I could video both he and the deer at the same time. Communication with Chris was also impossible, so I decided to stay focused on the deer with the camera and wait to see what happened.

Joust hopped across a little ditch and started staring at me. I thought for sure Joust was going to spook. From the viewfinder of the camera, I could see a little, green leaf in front of the deer’s nose as Joust nibbled at the leaf, swished his tail and kept coming straight toward us. Suddenly, through the viewfinder, I saw an arrow coming from the sky. The buck was only about 17-yards from the base of the tree when Chris took the shot. The arrow hit exactly in the pocket to double-lung Joust and made a clean pass-through. The buck only walked 4 yards after taking the arrow.

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Luckily, we had a HuntVe four-wheeler. Since Chris’ deer only had gone 4 yards, we loaded Joust before searching for my arrow. We had no success. We quickly went back to the house and looked at the video of the shot I made on my deer. After forming a game plan, we went out to follow the blood trail. We found my deer 200-yards from where I’d hit him. When we look back on that day, we always remember it was the day of the Double-Down Bucks – when we took two bucks out of the same tree, 15-minutes apart, shooting the same PSE EVO.

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

Tomorrow: PSE’s Jeff Propst Takes a Spring Turkey with His Bow & More

PSE’s Matt Drury Tells How to Become a Professional Hunter

Editor’s Note: Thirty-two-year-old Matt Drury is the son of Terry Drury of Drury Outdoors (https://www.druryoutdoors.com/) fame. For 10 years, Matt has been the man behind the scenes of Drury Outdoors. For 2 previous years, he interned at the family business. When Matt went to college, he didn’t really know what he wanted to grow up to be, although he knew he wanted to use his creative mind and art talent to take raw video and create masterpiece hunting TV shows and CDs. According to Matt, “I was making Edit Decision Lists when I was in high school.” Today, according to brothers and well-known outdoorsmen Mark and Terry Drury, “Matt is the man in charge.” His official title is Drury Outdoors Brand Manager.

Being in the professional outdoor world, we get a lot of questions from hunters here at Drury Outdoors. By far, we’re most often asked, “How can I become a professional hunter like Mark and Terry Drury?” Most people really don’t understand that job opportunities in the outdoor industry aren’t limited to simply being a professional hunter; there are many careers available if you’re driven. Despite popular belief, growing up in the Drury family didn’t automatically guarantee me a job working for Drury Outdoors. I had to prove to my family that I took my education seriously and was willing to work hard to make myself an asset to the family business.

Whether you strive to be a professional hunter or a behind-the-scenes person, more education, especially being educated in matters related to the outdoors, is the key to opening doors in the outdoor community. The more time and effort you’re willing to put into becoming a professional outdoorsman, the better your odds will be for getting your dream outdoor job. For your best chance of working in the outdoor industry, I strongly recommend that young hunters attend college. After I graduated high school, I was gearing up for college but didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. Like many college kids, I couldn’t identify where I was going to land, but I really wanted do creative work. I took a lot of different courses in college, including computer animation, graphic design, art and my most favorite, video production. When I learned what was required to take raw footage and make it into a TV show, I decided, “This is for me.” I found out I had a talent for video production and realized I’d use that as a basis for my future career.

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Every year my Uncle Mark and my dad gather 25 teams of hunters and videographers, known as field producers, to help produce footage for the Drury Outdoors TV shows. At this meeting, our producers are given production tips and are taught better ways to shoot video. A major part of that team meeting is an awards presentation. The first award show for our producers was 11-years ago, my senior year of college. As I watched the different teams being awarded for videos they had shot the previous year, I got really excited. After the show was over, I went up to my Uncle Mark and said, “I think this is something I’d like to be a part of,” and the next day, Uncle Mark offered me a job. As with any family business, I was offered a very modest starting salary.

Drury Outdoors’ social-media sites often are bombarded with questions like: “I want to be in the outdoor business, where do I start? I’m going to college, and I want to be a professional hunter. What classes should I take?” Unfortunately, collegiate counselors don’t have course lists for a B.A. degree in Hunting Professionally, but there are courses that will help you in your journey. If you want to get into the video side of the outdoors, find courses that teach video production and the operation and mastery of video equipment, generally found in journalism departments. New cameras with new features are coming out every year; being able to know new technology will make you a benefit to any outdoor operation. Courses in photography also will be appealing to future employers. Do you know what aperture is, and how it works or the importance of shutter speed? What does ASA mean? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, take photography courses on lighting and framing.

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However, always remember that hunting is primarily about shooting. Our field producers, the lifeblood of our hunting trips all over the world, are both hunters and videographers. Some days they are in front of the cameras, and on others, they’re behind the cameras. So, if you’re serious about becoming a part of the outdoor business community, you need to be as good, if not better, with a video camera as you are with a bow and conventional and blackpowder rifles. In college, professors teach students how to be videographers in 4 short years, but learning how to be a true outdoorsman requires more time.

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” click on each. Or, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

 

Growin Up Drury Part 1: PSE’s Matt Drury Tells about His Bow Madness and the Marriage of PSE and Drury Outdoors

 

 Editor’s Note: Thirty-two-year-old Matt Drury is the son of Terry Drury of Drury Outdoors (https://www.druryoutdoors.com/) fame. For 10 years, Matt has been the man behind the scenes of Drury Outdoors. For 2 previous years, he interned at the family business. When Matt went to college, he didn’t really know what he wanted to grow up to be, although he knew he wanted to use his creative mind and art talent to take raw video and create masterpiece hunting TV shows and CDs. According to Matt, “I was making Edit Decision Lists when I was in high school.” Today, according to brothers and well-known outdoorsmen Mark and Terry Drury, “Matt is the man in charge.” His official title is Drury Outdoors Brand Manager.

 

Seven years ago, Drury Outdoors and PSE archery began a working relationship. One year after the beginning of that union, these companies began working on a single-cam line of bows known now as Bow Madness. I shot the PSE Bow Madness for 3-consecutive years. Someone would have to pry that bow out of my hand to get me to shoot anything else. I know many hunters fall in love with particular equipment, and I was in love with that bow. The Bow Madness was such a smooth bow and solved some major problems for me. I didn’t have a lot of time to practice or a good place to shoot, so I needed a well-put-together bow that was extremely forgiving. Fortunately, this bow fit the bill; I could just pick it up, shoot it a few times and be ready to go hunting. For me, the Bow Madness gave me the same ease of use as my favorite rifle. When I had it in my hand, I had the confidence that I’d hit my target every time.

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PSE, Drury Outdoors and I have learned plenty of information through fellow hunters’ trials. After talking to numbers of hunters, we realized many didn’t have enough time or space to practice archery. Like me, they needed rugged bows that could be set-up once. In a perfect world, they’d become proficient with their bows and only have to shoot a couple of practice arrows pre-hunt to stay in shooting shape. I also noticed that the hunters I talked to would love to be able to shoot 100 arrows every day to reach the high degree of skill that my Uncle Mark and my dad have reached. However, the majority of hunters, myself included, work long hours to meet financial obligations. We also have family and social engagements that don’t allow for much archery time. Therefore, by having a bow like Bow Madness, busy hunters can spend less time practicing, while still retaining the confidence and ability to successfully draw on a deer.

 

“Bumps” is the name of the deer that is my crowning Bow Madness achievement. This interesting deer had been photographed many times on my Dad’s Reconyx trail cameras (http://www.reconyx.com/). I hunted him on Halloween. Dad had shot a deer late in the afternoon the previous day with his PSE bow. We decided to wait until the next morning to recover him, which is how I ended up shooting Bumps. Before sunrise, Dad suggested that my cameraman and I go to a stand that had a lot of trail camera buck activity. On the way to the stand, we suddenly remembered we were hunting during the Missouri Youth Deer Rifle Season. As Missouri hunters know, rifle season means we were missing two bright things: an orange hat and a vest. Quickly, we stopped the HuntVe (http://www.huntve.com/). We were far from home and so near the stand that we would have had to take precious time away from hunting to return home. But we had to be legal. My cameraman was about to turn around when I reached into my trusty hunting bag. Sure enough, I had four orange hunting vests. I still don’t know why I had so many orange hunting vests, but I wasn’t questioning it that day, I was just happy they were there. However, one thing was missing – an orange hat. Shooters in Missouri had to wear orange hats, and unfortunately, I didn’t have one. Thinking like MacGyver on the TV show, I wrapped the third vest over my hunting hat, making it probably the dorkiest-looking hat in the woods. But at least for the moment, I was legal. I remember sitting in that tree laughing to myself and asking my cameraman, “How goofy do I look?”

 

About that time, Bumps walked out in front of us at about 20 yards. When the deer had his head down, I drew my PSE Bow Madness, aimed just behind the shoulder and shot. My Rage (http://www.ragebroadheads.com/) two-blade broadhead, pushed by a Carbon Force (http://psearchery.wpengine.com/p/carbon-force-bow-madness-200-shaft-dozen) Bow Madness 200 Shaft, met its mark; I had finally taken Bumps. He scored about 135 Pope and Young points. Bumps was the biggest buck I had taken up until then with a PSE bow. I’ve taken bigger PSE bucks since then, but when I look at the video and see I looked as goofy as I felt with the orange vest on my head, I realize Bumps is one of those hunting stories that will keep me laughing the rest of my life. Bumps and I, goofy hat and all – were up on “Bow Madness,” the TV show with Drury Outdoors that PSE sponsors.

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To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle ebooks, “The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow: Secrets of the PSE Pros,” “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska,” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” click on each. Or, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

By Dustin Jones

http://www.highcountrybowhunter.com/

Throughout the summer months it can be difficult for hunters. There is the anticipation for the upcoming archery season with the lull of nothing to hunt. This time of year is well spent scouting for a new hunting spot or making sure the old stand will still be a reliable spot. Between scouting and practicing the excitement starts to build and the anticipation of the upcoming season becomes, well almost unbearable at times. One thing that I have found that is a great summer activity that scratches the hunting itch a little is bowfishing.

Curt Coates Bowfishing on Bear Lake

Bowfishing here in Idaho is a blast and there are several lakes and rivers that have an abundance of carp to chase. If you look online about bowfishing, you’ll see a lot of videos that shows people going out on a boat both in the daylight and the evening. While this is one of the most popular ways, I have had just as much luck shooting from the banks of the river or lake.

Melissa Coates Bowfishing on Bear Lake

One of the hardest things to remember about bowfishing is the aiming. The majority of people (myself included) who go out bowfishing for the first time end up missing the fish because they shoot too high. The reason is because of refraction. The fish looks like it is in one spot but because of the light reflecting off the water, the fish is actually lower than what it really is. A good rule of thumb would be to aim at the bottom of the fish, and then aim down about 6 inches or more. It takes some getting used to but just like any type of shooting, practice makes you better. Obviously if the fish are right on the surface of the water you wouldn’t aim low, but if they are down a little deeper you typically want to drop about 6 inches for every foot they are in the water. Just remember to aim lower than you think.

Carp on the Surface (photo by Kevin Jones)

Another important thing to pack is a good set of polarized sunglasses. Wearing a pair of polarized sunglasses helps take the glare off the water and you will be able to see more fish. Especially when fishing from the bank the glare off the water can be pretty extreme. The best time that I have found to bowfish for carp has been early morning or late afternoon and the glare on the water is very intense. I haven’t been out at night yet but I have heard that it is just as good if not better at night.

Curt Coates with his Carp

Lastly one thing to remember that you’ll be glad you have if you shoot one of those 30 pound carp is a glove. If you are shooting a bow without a reel and are pulling the line in by hand, you’ll be glad you are fighting the carp with a good leather glove on. I have the PSE Kingfisher set up and I just pull the arrow in by hand and I usually keep one in my back pocket just in case I shoot a big one. The last thing you want to do is shoot a monster carp and grab hold of the string just to get your finger or hand sliced open. These fish can fight like no other.

Bowfishing is a great way to get out and hunt throughout the spring and summer months. Be sure to look up the regulations in your state and get out there and enjoy some summer time bowfishing!

Dustin Jones is a passionate outdoorsman who loves to hunt, especially bowhunt. He created his blog, HighCountryBowhunter.com, to share his experiences with others. He is a Field Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com and Adventure Team member for MINOX Hunting Optics.

Dustin was born and raised in Eastern Idaho where he currently resides with his wife and two sons.

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

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

By Al Quackenbush

www.SoCalBowhunter.com

Scouting and finding a good hunting spot can be a truly time-consuming process. The same might be said of archery practice and honing your skills. Why not combine the two and make for some fun scouting/target practice? It’s a great way to pass the time and shoot in the outdoors!

My friend Brett and I are always trying to come up with fun ways to practice at the archery range. Sure, we often set up a target on a bale of straw, but we also bring our 3D targets to the range. Not many people do this, but it’s fun and it certainly gets people’s attention. I also started bringing a ‘rabbit’ target made of a sock stuffed with rags. This allows us to practice on a very small target with judo points. It’s a great way to judge distance because we just toss it out in front of us and estimate the distance. It’s great fun!

Scout_Shoot_1

Now we just have to find the pigs with the little white circles on them.

While we are there, we almost always have a friendly competition to see who can get closer to the vitals on a target at longer range. We both are very confident even out to 60 yards and sometimes a little competition brings out the best in us. The last time we were at the range we were fine tuning or gear. We don’t usually say ‘let’s have a shootout,’ but we almost always inch closer and closer to the center. For me this is great fun and also brings out the best in both of us. When we concentrate and truly focus our shots improve with each arrow.

Scout_Shoot_3

Brett scouting the foothills of Southern California in search of mule deer.

Another way to have a great time while scouting is to bring along a smaller target like a Rinehart 18-1 for target practice. That way when you hike in, you can toss the target out in front, down a hill or on in an odd position you are not used to. This allows you a totally different shooting scenario and one that you are more likely to be faced with during hunting season. It makes for great fun, but also makes you focus more on your target. When you are shooting at a downhill (or uphill) angle there is a greater chance of losing an arrow or ten. No one wants to go searching further down a slope for errant flying arrows, so you should carefully choose your shot and make it count, just as you would on an animal in the wild.

A fantastic tool that I utilize is a range finder with angle compensation. By using this feature, you can practice those steep angles with the aid of a rangefinder in preparation for hunting season. You may not have the option of time during the season, so if you plan on hunting the steep slopes you will want to practice with and without a rangefinder. Building your confidence without a rangefinder can help immensely in the field.

Scout_Shoot_2

Practicing your steep angle shots in terrain like this will make you a better bowhunter.

 

Scout_Shoot_4

Spotting some deer on a far hillside always gets the blood pumping.

After each round of shooting, take a moment to glass the surroundings. I know that deer are curious and hearing a strange sound like an arrow hitting a target might spring them from their beds and have them staring in your direction. By using this technique, you can get some practice in while scouting. You will have hauled in some extra weight, shot a few rounds and cleared your head before scanning the brush with your optics in search of that elusive ghost. Enjoy the practice sessions and best of luck to you all this season!

Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 29 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, www.SoCalBowhunter.com and is a PSE Staff Blogger. He is a Pro Staff member for TightSpot Quivers, HHA Sports, and Piranha Custom Bowstrings. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.

Albert was born and raised in New York State where he learned to hunt everything from squirrels to whitetail deer. He lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.

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

By Emily Anderson

A general internet search or call to your local Division of Wildlife will easily reveal the fact that women entering the hunting community continues to grow each year. They now contribute millions of dollars each year toward wildlife and habitat programs through hunting license fees, taxes on bows, guns, etc., and donations to non-profit hunting organizations.

PSE_Photo1
With more women entering the hunting world, the idea of women toting around a gun or bow into the woods is becoming less and less of an anomaly. While this is good for the sport of hunting it may be cause for dismay for some women trying to stand out and make a name for themselves solely based on the fact that they are of the female gender and they hunt.

I will admit that I still enjoy the reaction on people’s faces when they find out I enjoy donning camouflage and venturing off into the woods with bow in hand. However, this reaction is becoming more of a rarity and quite honestly I’m okay with that. It simply means that women in the hunting industry is now more of a commonality, and if I’ve played a small part in making that a reality, it encourages my heart.

Gals, being recognized as part of the “hunting fraternity”, if you will, should not be taken lightly. We’ve proven that we are capable, willing to shoot, kill, clean and carry our quarry back to camp. We are all on the same playing field. There is no grading on a curve, or advantage points when hunting. When the arrow is released from the bow, it doesn’t matter whether or not the hand holding it has perfectly manicured fingernails. (Granted perfectly manicured fingernails may look nice in the photo while holding that 6×6 bull elk.) The bottom line is that the animals don’t know the difference, Simply because we are a different gender shouldn’t give us the right to boast about a kill more than the guys.

PSE_Photo4

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while the female hunter has been encouraged, highly marketed to, and maybe even stood out as having an advantage in the hunting industry simply because she is a thing of rarity, the shine may be lessening. The playing field is beginning to level, and I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. It is quite the contrary. The commonness of the women hunter means more opportunity to champion hunting in a positive light.

What do you think about the increase of females becoming involved in hunting? How has it benefited the hunting community? Do you feel women have had an advantage in some areas? If yes, how do you feel about that? Is it okay as long as it encourages more women to get involved? Sound off…

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

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

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

By Will Jenkins

http://www.thewilltohunt.com/

Finding your way to stand can be difficult and planning your entrance is essential to a successful hunt. How you get to your stand is often overlooked when hunting and can prove to be a deal breaker on bagging that record big buck.

The shortest distance between your parking spot and your tree stand is always a straight line but the best way to get there never is. First you need an aerial map of the the property preferably with a topographic overlay so you can not only see what tree cover is there but also what land features are underneath. Many of us are guilty of going a certain way to a stand location or specific area of a property simply because we’ve hunted there for years and that’s how we’ve always gotten there. If you haven’t done it I guarantee you will change some trails after sitting down and marking stand locations on a map and really looking at the property.

Second, you need to consider the right wind for hunting that stand. If a stand is set to hunt on a North East wind, you will want to enter from the South West. You want to walk in with the wind in your face so your not blowing your scent all over the area you expect the deer to come from. This may mean you have to make a much longer walk or completely change the trail you take in.

Now that you’ve done a good job planning it you have to see what it really looks like. Maps are a great first draft of the trail but seeing what’s really on the ground will define your trail. Take your time and make a smart route to the stand keeping in mind that you hope to drag a deer out the same way. If you get in early and leave late make sure you do a good job of marking the trail. Even if you know the property well the first season using new trails in the dark it’s super easy to get turned around. I prefer reflective thumb tacks over neon color tapes.

Summer is the perfect time to plan and set up your new trails. It provides a good time to scout and get to know deer movement while improving your access. Also use this time to set trail cameras and clear your shooting lanes and you’ll more than ready to go by fall!

 

PSE Topo For Article

 

Will Jenkins is creator of TheWilltoHunt.com and Harnesses For Hunters. He’s an avid outdoorsman who enjoys sharing his experiences through his blog. He also writes for Bow Adventures e-Magazine and is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association.

Will lives in Central Virginia with his wife and two kids. He hunts in Virginia and Maryland but has dreams of heading west to hunt Elk and Mule Deer.

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

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

Vapor Bow Tech

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Standard on Xpedite™ and Beast™

FL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

FL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

FL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

• For shooters who want pure performance
• Increased Speed, Reduced Let-Off
• Comes Standard on the Xpedite™

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)

• For shooters who want ultimate comfort
• Super High Let-Off
• Comes Standard on the Beast™ ECS

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off) - (Optional)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off) - (Optional)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off) - (Optional)

• Designed for the target shooter
• Comfortable Lower Let-off

FRS Torque Reducing System

FRS Torque Reducing System

FRS Torque Reducing System

PSE’s all-new Flex Rod System (FRS) is specially engineered to eliminate torque during your draw cycle, delivering an incredibly stable shooting experience under any weather conditions. The FRS is highly adjustable for precise tuning and clearance, and is designed to work with PSE’s new RollerGlide™ or a traditional cable slide. The flexible rod can also be swapped out with a solid carbon or aluminum rod for additional tuning options.

RollerGlide

RollerGlide

RollerGlide

The PSE RollerGlide™ is the smoothest cable slide on the market, rolling with your cable to eliminate cable friction. It’s compatible with Flexxslide™ 1 and Flexxslide™ 2 bows, or any standard 3/8″ diameter cable guard rod. The RollerGlide™ is a leap forward in cable guard technology.

Evolve Bow Tech

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Standard on Carbon Air® Stealth and Evolve bows

FL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

FL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

FL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

• For shooters who want pure performance
• Increased Speed, Reduced Let-Off
• Comes Standard on the Carbon Air® Stealth EF

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)

• For shooters who want ultimate comfort
• Super High Let-Off
• Comes Standard on the Carbon Air® Stealth EC and SE, Evolve™ 35 and Evolve™ 31

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off) - (Optional)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off) - (Optional)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off) - (Optional)

• Designed for the target shooter
• Comfortable Lower Let-off

FRS Torque Reducing System

FRS Torque Reducing System

FRS Torque Reducing System

PSE’s all-new Flex Rod System (FRS) is specially engineered to eliminate torque during your draw cycle, delivering an incredibly stable shooting experience under any weather conditions. The FRS is highly adjustable for precise tuning and clearance, and is designed to work with PSE’s new RollerGlide™ or a traditional cable slide. The flexible rod can also be swapped out with a solid carbon or aluminum rod for additional tuning options.

Vapor RollerGlide

Vapor RollerGlide

Vapor RollerGlide

The PSE RollerGlide™ is the smoothest cable slide on the market, rolling with your cable to eliminate cable friction. It’s compatible with Flexxslide™ 1 and Flexxslide™ 2 bows, or any standard 3/8″ diameter cable guard rod. The RollerGlide™ is a leap forward in cable guard technology.

Target Bow Tech

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Evolve Cam System (ECS)

Standard on Target Series bows (except Phenom and Supra)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

LL Module (65-75% Let-Off)

• Standard Module in Target Series bows with Evolve Cams
• Designed for the target shooter
• Comfortable Lower Let-Off

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off) - (Optional)

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off)  - (Optional)

HL Module (80-90% Let-Off) - (Optional)

• For shooters who want ultimate comfort
• Super High Let-Off

FRS Torque Reducing System

FRS Torque Reducing System

FRS Torque Reducing System

PSE’s all-new Flex Rod System (FRS) is specially engineered to eliminate torque during your draw cycle, delivering an incredibly stable shooting experience under any weather conditions. The FRS is highly adjustable for precise tuning and clearance, and is designed to work with PSE’s new RollerGlide™ or a traditional cable slide. The flexible rod can also be swapped out with a solid carbon or aluminum rod for additional tuning options.

Vapor RollerGlide

Vapor RollerGlide

Vapor RollerGlide

The PSE RollerGlide™ is the smoothest cable slide on the market, rolling with your cable to eliminate cable friction. It’s compatible with Flexxslide™ 1 and Flexxslide™ 2 bows, or any standard 3/8″ diameter cable guard rod. The RollerGlide™ is a leap forward in cable guard technology.

L.A.S. (Lateral Adjustment System)

L.A.S. (Lateral Adjustment System)

L.A.S. (Lateral Adjustment System)

PSE shook up the target bow market in 2015 with the first ever Lateral Adjustment System (L.A.S.) for compound bows, and for 2018 we are making it even better with our improved Micro-Adjust Lateral Adjustment System!
The micro L.A.S. offers advanced tuning capabilities and makes adjusting center shot and tuning bows more simple than ever before with a single micro-adjust screw.

      1 day ago

      Huge applause for Team PSE's John Cairns for taking archery gold at the NI Championships and Opens in Belfast!

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