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Thread: Accuracy & Equipment

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    Default Accuracy & Equipment

    I have been using an old “new” (1996 PSE Lightning Flite II – D-shaped) bow for about a year – set at 65lbs. It is equipped with extremely crappy pin sights, a cheap arrow rest, and a kisser button. It does not have a peep sight. I have practiced out to 30-35 yards, and feel comfortable at that range (can group in a 8” plate). I have done little to no practice further than that. I passed my state bowhunting proficiency exam with 7 of 8 shots made out to 30 yards.
    I just got back from hunting the haul road for Caribou, and was able to stalk a couple within 50-75 yards before being busted by smell.
    My question is, what is missing from my practice/equipment/experience in order to become a successful bowhunter?
    Do I need to work on accuracy out to 50+ yards? Put in more and more stalks to be successful? A main concern is my equipment/ability. What would benefit me the most, peep sights & newer components? Newer bow with larger riser? Or is this as simple as more practice needed and more time in the field?

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    If you are comfortable with your equipment (and it appears you are), then you don't have an equipment issue. You very well may upgrade one day, but in my opinion, you should concentrate your efforts on gaining experience (stalking critters) and practice, practice, practice vs buy a more expensive bow. Speaking of practice, put some realism into your practice. Shoot from awkward positions (kneeling, leaning etc) work on getting more comfortable reaching out to 40+ yards. Shoot in the rain, shoot in the wind. Hold at full draw for 60 seconds, then shoot. Think of something you experienced on the hunt and tray and replicate it in practice. Make practice fun!

    There is no substitute for time in the field, and realistic practice will pay off big time.

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    There's nothin' wrong with pushin' the envelope when it comes to practice...however, pushin' the evelope when it comes to actual hunting, is wrong...should you feel that you're accurate out to 30, goto 40 then 50...

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    Plenty of people kill lots of animals with equipment that is more challenging than what you are shooting, traditional, age of equipement etc. However archery is a hobby "you reap what you sow" is coming to mind. There may be a hypothetical line that your equipment will not cross, your cheap rest may not adjust minutely enough, your arrows may not be the best fit for your bow or spin correctly with broadheads, etc etc. The one thing that sets apart a lot of archers is simply practice and knowledge. How well do you know your weapon? Could an experienced archer with proper form and knowledge take your exact set up and in a day be grouping out to 60 yards with some adjustments? Make friends with someone who has the knowledge, glean all that you can and practice practice practice and you will quickly learn your limits and your equipments limits and how to exploit them through increase in skill or by understanding what equipment modifications will help you achieve the accuracy you need.

    If it were easy everyone would be doing it!

  5. #5

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    A successful bowhunter is not determined by the headgear that adornes there all, the photobooks of years gone by. It's not how much you can pack on your back, how far you can hike, how far you can shoot, or how many robin hoods you have this year. These are all accomplishments yet dont define success.

    Stick with it, you'll know success when you find it in yourself!!!

    If scores and numbers, punched tags and filled freezers are what define you as a succesful bowhunter, you will be chasing your tail through more then just the woods!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TradBow View Post
    A successful bowhunter is not determined by the headgear that adornes there all, the photobooks of years gone by. It's not how much you can pack on your back, how far you can hike, how far you can shoot, or how many robin hoods you have this year. These are all accomplishments yet dont define success.

    Stick with it, you'll know success when you find it in yourself!!!

    If scores and numbers, punched tags and filled freezers are what define you as a successful bowhunter, you will be chasing your tail through more then just the woods!
    Very well said, just to be out there with a stick and string stalking and matching wits with the wild is thrill

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    Those Haul Road caribou can leave leave you frustrated that is for sure. If your asking if new and better equipment (along with practice!) will allow you to harvest more animals.....the short answer is yes.

    People bowhunt for a lot of different reasons. More challenging, more hunting opportunities, more time afield, etc. If your in it for the challenge, stick with what you have and in time you WILL kill a caribou. If your are looking to give yourself the best chance of killing more caribou more often, an upgrade in equipment and change of practice will help for sure.

    One piece of advice if you buy a new set up or not.......practice out at the longer ranges. It demands that you concentrate and follow though with good form. Makes those close in shots seem simple. Not that you have to take the long shots on animals but the confidence of knowing that you can group arrows in that pie plate out to 60, 70 and even 80yds will make that 40yd shot at a bou seem "close"

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    not trying to pick this apart or anything but for curiosity's sake, how is new equipment along with practice going to allow someone to harvest more animals when he can already shoot proficiently out to an average shotdistance?

    Tune that pse fireflight (great bow btw) and you'll do just fine on the range, it still doesnt make you a successful bowhunter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TradBow View Post
    not trying to pick this apart or anything but for curiosity's sake, how is new equipment along with practice going to allow someone to harvest more animals when he can already shoot proficiently out to an average shotdistance?

    Tune that pse fireflight (great bow btw) and you'll do just fine on the range, it still doesnt make you a successful bowhunter!
    I'm afraid that's right. I hunted for several decades with a longbow and wood arrows. That gear was not only sufficient but was highly successful. My 70# split bamboo longbow and I took first place in the First Alaska Archrey Tournament on the park strip in Anchorage.

    In short, it ain't the gear - - - - - it's the woodcraft and the stalk. As for caribou, you can actually call them up to bow range, even if your bow range is thirty yards! They're as curious as geese, and will fall for the same techniques.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TradBow View Post
    not trying to pick this apart or anything but for curiosity's sake, how is new equipment along with practice going to allow someone to harvest more animals when he can already shoot proficiently out to an average shotdistance?

    Tune that pse fireflight (great bow btw) and you'll do just fine on the range, it still doesnt make you a successful bowhunter!
    Proper practice, or better yet, realistic practice will in fact help harvest more animals. Being proficient at shooting a target from a standing position while wearing street clothes does not equate to being proficient or comfortable at taking a shot while kneeling and shooting under a branch (or shooting from a tree stand, or shooting uphill or countless other situations) while wearing hunting clothes/rain gear.

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    Default Chance favors the prepared...

    Good advice here - and the emphasis on practice and field experience is worthwhile for us all.

    Although new to hunting/bowhunting, I get so few opportunities each year that the rest of the time I spend figuring how to make the most of any opportunities I do get. Whether it's 5 yds further out, or 2 inches tighter accuracy, I'd like to be confident about a variety of situations. These are just my thoughts, maybe they won't apply for you, but for instance:

    1. Work at effective shooting farther out - as already suggested. If I practice all winter out to 35 yds, then no doubt my first big game opportunity will be 40 yds. Personally, I look for what Lon Lauber (Bowhunter's Guide to Accurate Shooting) calls "effective range", the maximum range that I have confidence I can put arrows on the kill zone.

    2. Practice: Shoot a lot. Hunt small game too - they aren't caribou, but anything that gives me the opportunity to stalk, ambush or make shooting decisions is worth it.

    3. Consider my limitations. Accuracy: Reading about techniques to shoot more accurately can help - and as I've proven to myself , a 1 inch "miss" at 20 yds grows at ranges of 40 yds and more. Speed: Usually at the practice range other archers' arrows seem to fly quicker. At 65#, you surely have all the draw weight you need, but I started working my draw weight up a bit this year. Speed is good, but a torn rotator cuff is not. I exercise with an emphasis on what it takes to keep hiking, rowing, hauling loads and shooting my bow. Quiet: I also listen to my bow - especially the noise it makes with or without certain accessories - especially the quiver.

    4. Consider the limitations of my equipment: There are no guarantees in life, and gear is easily overrated, but there are aspects worth considering IMO that can improve the bowhunter's odds without great expense/trouble. A pie plate is too big for practice. My target block has an 8" target on one side, but small, 1.5-2" spots on the other. Most of my arrows are in a 3-4" groups nowadays at 20-30 yds, but at 40-50 yds the groups are more like 8-10". To me, an 8-10" "miss" that happens to be in a big 8" target just doesn't tell me much - and on a caribou 8" left or high at 38yds, might not have a happy ending.

    All my error is likely technique, but I wonder if a peep sight, better rest or new bowsight might not be worth thinking about for you. Even a good 1-pin or 3-pin system with few moving parts could add to the precision of your bow. Also, some rests seem like they'd be more vulnerable to fail under adverse field conditions. Paul Asman (Archer's Den, Eagle River) equipped my bow with the Octane Hostage Pro, a rest which shouldn't fail even in freezing rain. Can you imagine getting a good shot opportunity on a nice caribou only to have ice in your Whisker Biscuit interfere with an accurate shot?

    If you can afford the time (selecting/buying new accessory then shooting it in) and can budget for some upgrades, it might improve your chances. After all, the Dalton Hwy is a long drive. The good shot opportunities few. Why not look at all aspects that might become factors? Life is short. Good luck either way, man.

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    There are many here that know far more than me about bow hunting/shooting but I will offer my .02 Keep the bow you have, that's the big expense. Keep practicing and try to increase your distance. Once you become proficient at 40, 30 is easy, 50/40, 60/50 and so on. Spend a little cash and upgrade your pins and your rest. If you have crappy pins, you won't need to spend much to see an upgrade. Peeps are cheap and will help. I would guess that you can put a good sight, peep and rest on your current bow for under $200. Piece it together and you won't spend a lot of cash at once. Aside from that, make sure you have a good release and I'm sure you'll see your proficiency increase.

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    Grizzly, where you shooting one of John Schulz's bows? I have two split bamboo longbows and am in the research stage of learning to build them! Obviously I'm a stickbow guy . If it was one of Johns bows do you still have it?

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    If you were busted by smell you are not using the wind to your advantage. In my mind you are already a successful bowhunter.. you know you limits and you stuck to them. A lot of schmucks would have launched arrows in frustration. As a point of reference I would not have taken shots beyond 50 yards and I have extensive target archery experience. I can keep arrows on a pie plate beyond 80 yards and won't take a shot beyond 50 yards in most hunting situations.

    I had the same bow and relatively the same setup in the 90's. I practiced extensively and easily could shoot 4" groups with broadheads at 40 yards with it. In fact, my longest kill to date with a bow came with that bow. I smoked a feral domestic rabbit (we were removing them from a large property) at 80 yards with that setup.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Rabbit at 80 yds. Wow. Good shooting, AKDoug.
    Nothing beats confidence in your equipment, eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    If you were busted by smell you are not using the wind to your advantage. In my mind you are already a successful bowhunter.. you know you limits and you stuck to them. A lot of schmucks would have launched arrows in frustration. As a point of reference I would not have taken shots beyond 50 yards and I have extensive target archery experience. I can keep arrows on a pie plate beyond 80 yards and won't take a shot beyond 50 yards in most hunting situations.

    I had the same bow and relatively the same setup in the 90's. I practiced extensively and easily could shoot 4" groups with broadheads at 40 yards with it. In fact, my longest kill to date with a bow came with that bow. I smoked a feral domestic rabbit (we were removing them from a large property) at 80 yards with that setup.

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    I still shoot aluminum arrows, many folks laugh but I am comfortable. My arrows are very slow but they hit where I aim. One of the most valuable ways that I learned to judge distance is on a Hgh School football field. Put som rubber blunts on your arrows then have a buddy or kid throw out a basketball for you to shoot at. Your eye will get sue to pick up the different size of the ball and its a reat deal of fun. Practice as much as possible....Take care

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    Can't add much more than what TradBow said.

    BOWHUNTING IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EASY!!

    Patience, practice, and persistence. A few good quality practice shots are much better than slinging arrow after arrow for the sake of shooting.

    You can't buy your way to succes with the latest or most expensive equipment. Woodsmanship will beat out equipment every day.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ibohnt View Post
    You can't buy your way to succes with the latest or most expensive equipment. Woodsmanship will beat out equipment every day.
    Well, when I bought PSE X-Force TS, I bought a capability to use just one pin for up to 30 yrds. distances. I used to have three of these on my older rig to cover this range. Does this transition contribute to my potential success? I guess, it could. If I manage to add woodsmanship skills, whatever it is, it will be even better. So, I agree that one can't buy an entire way to success, but some shortcuts to this goal have a price tag attached. IMHO, certainly.

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