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Burn Zone
May 21, 2004





Young Orc

glynnenstein posted:

If the fit works for you, I think any of these brands have really good options. For years I used an old Sitka outfit and it was really well made and nicely featured, but as it got worn out I've moved to a mix of Kuiu for early season hot weather stuff and First-Lite for later season. The fit, features and fabric of the Kuiu warm weather gear really suits me in Northern Virginia when it's in the 70s in November, but the First-Lite Catalyst worked great for when it finally gets colder. My old Sitka stuff was kinda in-between in weight/temp, but it was an old style and they revised the fabric at some point and I haven't used their newer stuff. I still use an old Cabelas suit for stand hunting when I don't have to hike - super warm but incredibly heavy and bulky. Heh.

I went with a huge Kifaru pack last year too since I like to do a 3-5 day camp while hunting the WMAs, but that's not really anything most people need in the east at all. For more than a decade I liked my Osprey Trailblazer 26L pack to carry all my little stuff and it worked great for day hunting in drag-out territory.

Weather is kind of the same here in Tennessee. I ordered a KUIU jacket to use through the fall, and I'm eyeing Sitka / First Lite for cold weather gear.

Flatland Crusoe posted:

What state are you hunting? Iím currently living in TN but have also hunted in Northern AL as well.

I donít think the camo pattern matters much at all. If I had to pick one Fusion is the best all around pattern Iíve seen for varied environments. Iím pretty partial to Subalpine personally as well. Elevated is fine on the ground as well as in the air. Elevated 2 fixed the first generation issues. Valo is definitely the better late fall and winter camo pattern from Kuiu. Verde is too green and Vias doesnít have quite enough micro disruption with too much contrast.

One thing to note is of the 3 companies Kuiu is the only 1 without a Whitetail hunting line of clothing. Of the 3 Sitka is the most athletically cut and First Lite is the most relaxed fit. Kuiu is somewhere in the middle. Sitka is the only 1 of the 3 you can find to try on in store anymore.

I like Sitka and First Lite the most. I have at one point or another had at least half dozen pieces of gear from Sitka, First Lite and Kuiu. Iíve returned, sold or given away the most Kuiu gear of the 3.

I really feel like First Lite has really improved over the last 3 years or so. I also think First Lite is the most economical way to put a system together with General pieces. I would say First Lite has a more straightforward line up to navigate than Sitka and Kuiu. I feel First Lite has the best rain gear of the 3 companies. First Lite has good sales at Black Friday and intermittent smaller sales on seasonal gear. Iíve probably kept the most First Lite pieces so far of the 3 companies.

Kuiu was supposed to be cheaper than Sitka, it was started by the cofounder of Sitka after his non Compete was up to be consumer direct only. I donít think itís been less expensive in quite a few years. To me Kuiu seems like itís lost itís direction a bit, itís now been 2 years since the founder died and he was a cult of personality love him or hate him. Kuiu is supposed to be minimal and lightweight. It will definitely have fewer pockets and gizmoís than Sitka. Kuiu doesnít put poo poo on sale anymore. Also donít buy a Kuiu pack, I know from experience. I DO use some random Kuiu gear like their boned out meat bags, those are the best going for deer.

Sitka makes hands down the best pants of the 3 brands IMO. They just have the knee pad thing figured out. I probably have 150 days on my Timberline pants and they are amazing as are the Apex pants. Sitka some times over does their features and makes some hyper niche products. Sometimes I think itís brilliant like the integrated face mask on their hoodie and sometimes itís dumb when they put a grunt tube holder specific pocket mid calf. Sitka has the warmest Treestand and Waterfowl gear going hands down. Like set you on fire warm. Sitka is pricey but itís on sale January thru March. The biggest issue Iíve had with Sitka is buying redundant pieces of gear because they have too many options. Also their packs suck too and their rain gear is mediocre. Watch Hunt of the day and camofire for Sitka closeout sales.

One thing to consider with southern deer hunting is that it feels pretty cold the first 2 hours of the day until the sun breaks and then itís flat out hot. For this reason plan around layering rather than relying on a single layer of really warm gear.

About the camo pattern, I'll spend way too much time comparing them so good to know it isn't so important. I'll be hunting in TN as well, just deer though...not getting into waterfowl yet. I really like First Lite's bib pants, and considering the price VS Sitka it's probably the better option for me. I'm gonna try to find some Sitka gear in a store near me to see if it's what I'm looking for though. I'd be willing to spend a little more to get something I can wear for at least the next few seasons, but it sounds like all three of these brands are solid buys. Good call about layering. I think some zip-off thermals as a base layer, regular shirt/pants, and a solid bib / jacket combo would be perfect for November, December, and January.

Appreciate all the info guys.

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Flatland Crusoe
Jan 12, 2011

Great White Hunter
Master Race

Let me explain why I'm better than you


Burn Zone posted:

Weather is kind of the same here in Tennessee. I ordered a KUIU jacket to use through the fall, and I'm eyeing Sitka / First Lite for cold weather gear.


About the camo pattern, I'll spend way too much time comparing them so good to know it isn't so important. I'll be hunting in TN as well, just deer though...not getting into waterfowl yet. I really like First Lite's bib pants, and considering the price VS Sitka it's probably the better option for me. I'm gonna try to find some Sitka gear in a store near me to see if it's what I'm looking for though. I'd be willing to spend a little more to get something I can wear for at least the next few seasons, but it sounds like all three of these brands are solid buys. Good call about layering. I think some zip-off thermals as a base layer, regular shirt/pants, and a solid bib / jacket combo would be perfect for November, December, and January.

Appreciate all the info guys.

Depending on where you are in TN, Binks lodge in Franklin is by far and away the best Sitka dealer Iíve ever been too. Bass Pro and Cabelas definitely have it but the selection varies wildly by store and season.

I have the First Lite Sanctuary bibs and they are definitely overkill for TN, really they are for the Midwest where I had lived up until recently. Depending on how far you are going you may want to look at First Lite Uncompadgre Puffy pants instead of bibs. They thing that sucks about bibs is that they are huge and usually need to be rolled up on the outside of a pack.

Iím interested to hear about your tactics and experiences hunting in TN. To be honest getting away from people in TN hasnít been all that productive for me because it usually means trading off for worse habitat and lower deer density with bigger timber blocks instead of more broken terrain. Personally Iíd rank TN as about a C+ hunting opportunity wise but Iíve also been spoiled to have hunted a dozen other states. Iím pretty confused by it because their seems to be a lot of pride in TN hunting and fishing by the locals and I donít get it.

Elmnt80
Dec 30, 2012

OH NOOOO!





Ophidian posted:

There is one in TFR but I’ve never found it very informative unless you are shooting just target recurve.

Target recurve kinda feels like the easy dip my toes in option, so I'm very interested. Would you happen to have a link?

crazypeltast52
May 5, 2010




Elmnt80 posted:

Target recurve kinda feels like the easy dip my toes in option, so I'm very interested. Would you happen to have a link?

https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3197043

Elmnt80
Dec 30, 2012

OH NOOOO!





Thanks.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Well, in the lull before the season (but while it's super hot to scout) I talked to my taxidermist and mentioned the area my tag is in. His response was "Oh, there are some massive bucks over there but it seems like it's that or absolutely nothing." So my odds are still low but if I do find a buck it may be a decent sized critter. Been looking at some maps and I'm not super happy with my options so far, gotta look for the guzzlers that are planted and see if I can find good access between them and a bedding area.

I was able to do this two years ago, so hopefully I'll find another guzzler out in this area. It's pretty much the only water that wildlife has at this point in the season, and we typically don't get rain before the hunting season starts.

I might go out to scout with some shot and be ready to take a jackrabbit or a coyote. Still want to try cooking those. We'll see how it goes.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Well, I think I have completed the next step in the decent into madness that is getting into hunting. Ive purchased a vehicle specifically for hunting.



Now, instead of having to worry about my truck getting stuck in the mud I have to worry about passing emissions and automotive electrical stuff! At least I finally have a project to post in AI.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


Very Noice. What year is that?



Hi five new car buddy. I just agreed to pay probably too much for an 04 lifted taco that I plan to get stuck and or broken far from help. It's gonna be so much fun.

Outrail fucked around with this message at 04:56 on Aug 4, 2020

charliebravo77
Jun 11, 2003



post incoming!

Since it's only just barely becoming hunting season in most places, a lot of us are still in scouting mode. Unless you're fortunate enough to live super close to where you hunt, or just hunt the same place(s) over and over again e-scouting to find and analyze new places is the way lots of us do it. Traditionally this has been a combination of Google Earth/Maps, OnXMaps, USGS topo maps, etc. I'm an OSINT nerd both professionally and personally and I really enjoy digging up data and analyzing it - visually in particular if I can.

I've been dabbling in doing GIS-lite type work for almost 10 years now, making custom maps in Google Maps, plotting WiFi APs from wardriving (hello 2003 how are you), Geocaching, looking up property ownership data, etc. When I got into hunting seriously about 7 years ago I found that the Illinois DNR website is/was atrocious and there was no easy way to see what public hunting land was where. It was just an alphabetical list by region, there was no overview map of the state locations, site maps were often very vague with descriptions like "5 miles from the Townsville blacktop East of Cityname." Here's one of the better examples of a 'bad' site map:



I got fed up with having to figure out what was where and spent ~12 hours one day going through each site listing and figuring out where exactly it was and made a custom Google Maps map, dropping pins on every state public hunting area. I then threw it up on the website that Flatland Crusoe and I were using as a place to share photos and stories from hunts that wasn't Facebook. Should have charged $.99 for the map, because today it's had over half a million views and gets mentioned all over the internet and in-person by tons of people talking about hunting public land in Illinois. It's a cool claim to fame and one I'm pretty proud of producing before OnXMaps and Huntstand became a thing.

https://engineeredpursuit.com/illinois-public-hunting-areas/


Fortunately for IL, there is a new hunting website, mapping system and hunt planner being unveiled within probably the next week. I'm friends with the IDNR staff member responsible for pushing it and have offered a lot of input and feedback on features and usability.

Even with state websites offering a variety of interactive maps and hunt planners, it's usually a preset collection of data that often can't be filtered easily or manipulated. Two days ago my wife was trying to create a 'delivery zone' map and zip code listing for the catering company she works for to integrate into their new ecommerce solution (since custom catered 200+ person weddings and corporate events are off the table for a while) and asked if I knew of an easy way to figure out how draw a border and get a list of the zip codes contained within. I have had QGIS installed on my computer for a while but had only really figured out how to add an Open Street Maps basemap. I knew there had to be a way to do it with QGIS so a few YouTube videos and 2 hours of finding and adding shapefiles of zip code data, creating zones and outputting the table data I had exactly what she needed.



From there my gears started turning and I knew I had to see what other data I could find related to hunting and fishing. Flatland and I are actually going elk hunting in October with the above mentioned IDNR biologist and he's already done a bit of GIS work looking at the unit we are going to, so I knew there was probably data out there publicly. I found a bunch of shapefiles from WY GFD and was able to add them to QGIS along with OnXMaps locations and other data. We've sort of done this before using a combination of OnX and Google Earth but it's a bit clunky. This allows very easy toggling of all sorts of layers like calving areas, seasonal ranges, critical ranges, topo lines, satellite imagery, etc. all in one place.



I then set my sights a little closer to home and looked to see what is available in WI. Turns out quite a bit.

Here's national, state and county forests; deer, bear and turkey zones; and trout streams all in one place.



I actually was talking with another friend about what I was doing and he said he'd be interested in what I could find related to grouse habitat in northern WI. He then jokingly added that I should also plot the proximity to the nearest bars and cheese curds That got me thinking about how one might do that and sure enough WI liquor licensing maintains a collection of licensed breweries and brewpubs you can download. I added the data table to QGIS, geocoded the locations, added labels based on the business name field and tada:



Unfortunately liquor retailers appear to be licensed at the municipal level and I couldn't find a database listing of them, same for restaurants, so this is as good as the "Grouse & Grub" map will get for a while but it's still pretty cool to be able to ingest that much data.

Because many of the shapefiles supplied from gov agencies contain a ton of data table attributes within the actual vector paths you can pretty easily manipulate the data. For example, WI offers a trout stream shapefile which shows you all of the trout streams in the state. As you can see two images above, it's just a bunch of blue squiggly lines all over the state. However, within that overall layer each stream section is its own feature and contains a table of data associated with it, including the stream classification (I, II, III) with I being the highest quality streams and III being the least. There's also some cool data in there too about how they classified the stream and when. In the example below they mention having done a Macroinvertebrates IBI package which examines the macroinvertebrates within the water to see how healthy it is.



I filtered each class into its own layer and colored them individually so now you can see exactly which streams are class I, II and III at a glance.



Strava has a global heatmap of all public rides/runs/hikes/whatever fitness activity gets tracked through their app. They have data from all over the world and it's led to some interesting discoveries like using it to identify US military/gov black sites and classified bases since why would there be dudes running in a 10 acre circle in the middle of the desert with nothing else around. The browser version is alright and you can kinda tell what you're looking at with the satellite imagery like these tracks from an area near where Flatland and I elk hunted in CO last year.



I found a way to pull that data into a different map building program (JOSM) and can overlay USGS topo lines and other base maps with it and it really kind of comes to life.



That line all the way left? Someone climbing to the high point, probably a hiker but maybe a hunter getting to a glassing point. Either way it shows lots of alternate paths and deviations from the main trail and studying them you might be able to put some patterns and reasoning together for why people went certain places. Looking at a bunch of trails in the area also demonstrates that people really don't like to leave the trail in most places as there were only a few places that had scattered paths like that.

You can also shed light on how much non-consumptive user interaction an area might face. Here's where I have a deer tag for this year, it's IL's most popular state park. The area to the right of the green circle is a trail system through canyons and other areas that are always crowded with people. The green circle is the biggest portion of huntable land on the property and recreationally it seems like almost no one ever goes there.



Another interesting exercise for using heatmap data is to identify unmarked trails through thick forested areas. Here's a piece of public ground in OnXMaps's satellite view and topo view. At first glance you'd assume that there's probably no real footpaths through there.



However, when you look at the heatmap of the same area it's an entirely different picture and shows some heavily utilization over the same paths suggesting it's likely very navigable.



Another interesting analysis to do is look at how tightly established trails adhere to the heatmap. Last summer my wife and I were hiking in Colorado and at one point there was a bit of an argument over exactly where the trail was and if we were on it. I was following the path of least resistance and what in hindsight was probably just a lightly used game trail.

Here's the GPS track I recorded showing a whole bunch of back and forth in a few spots as we tried to eventually fall back into the established trail.



If you look at the heatmap of the same spot it widens out and becomes a bit scattered in the same places as opposed to the nice tight heavily trafficked sections, suggesting that we were not the only ones to encounter the same issue.



I'll be continuing to see what else I can come up with in regards to this type of data, but hopefully it's been interesting and someone might find some value applying it to their own locations they're scouting. If you want me to try and examine something in particular I'd be happy to, just post here or PM me if it's a potential honey hole.

Coxswain Balls
Jun 3, 2001



That is all extremely cool. I've always found GIS stuff to be neat, so thanks for sharing how that process goes and the work involved. It's making me want to do something similar with making a crown land database for my area.

CarpenterWalrus
Mar 30, 2010

The Lazy Satanist


I just picked up a recurve bow with the intention of (eventually) hunting small game such as rabbit and squirrel. Gonna be keeping my eye on both this thread and the archery thread previously linked. I've never been hunting before and am probably going about it in the most difficult, dumbest way possible, so this thread will be invaluable, I'm sure.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

Is there any particular reason you've decided to go with trad bow for getting started?

CarpenterWalrus
Mar 30, 2010

The Lazy Satanist


Money, partly. If I'm going to spend the money on a compound bow, I might as well get a rifle. I also want to develop the skill and physical strength a recurve requires. Honestly, if I can't pull of hunting with it, then at least I'll have it for target archery.

The rabbits in my area are extremely complacent. Most of the hunters in central IL go after deer exclusively and, even in the fields, you'll just about trip over a rabbit before it runs. I'll be the first to admit I am talking out of my rear end, as I've not gone out there yet, but I want to at least give it a try.

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

If you want to start out going for a hard mode like trad bow for small game, by all means Im not going to try to talk you out of it(well, maybe just a little). It may be much more difficult with far less game taken, but what you take will be extremely gratifying and definitely something to feel proud of. With that said, jeez, hitting a small game sized target with a trad bow is going to be crazy hard. I think you would have a much more enjoyable experience going after larger game that has a much bigger point of aim, like whitetail.

Its also worth noting that more typical methods of taking small game like a shotgun or rifle chambered in 22lr are very affordable too. Shotguns in particular are really versatile and useful tools for hunting.

Flatland Crusoe
Jan 12, 2011

Great White Hunter
Master Race

Let me explain why I'm better than you


CarpenterWalrus posted:

Money, partly. If I'm going to spend the money on a compound bow, I might as well get a rifle. I also want to develop the skill and physical strength a recurve requires. Honestly, if I can't pull of hunting with it, then at least I'll have it for target archery.

The rabbits in my area are extremely complacent. Most of the hunters in central IL go after deer exclusively and, even in the fields, you'll just about trip over a rabbit before it runs. I'll be the first to admit I am talking out of my rear end, as I've not gone out there yet, but I want to at least give it a try.

Like you run into rabbits in the woods you can hunt or see them in your yard because those are very different things.

I spent almost a decade hunting in northern IL and never felt like I ran into very many rabbits while hunting. Illinois in general has decimated nearly all its upland small game habitat with road to road fields with neatly mowed ditches and itís small game participation has plummeted over the last 3 decades.

I have heard a lot of aspiring hunters wanting to start with archery and often trad gear because they think gun hunting is too easy before they have tried it. The reality of it is in most cases the learning curve for even gun hunting is really steep especially if you donít have a mentor and donít have access to a bunch of sweet private land.

If you donít want to spend a bunch of money to small game hunt go buy a cheap shotgun. Otherwise if you are concerned about keeping hunting as an inexpensive past time I recommend looking elsewhere.

If you are serious about trying hunting in Illinois look up the Illinois Learn to Hunt program. They host a lot of workshops, match people with mentors and have a growing library of online resources to get started. I volunteered with the program while I still lived in IL and the guys and girls running it know what they are doing.

alnilam
Nov 10, 2009


Posting in the springtime


Trad bows are hella fun to shoot at targets but yeah hitting a bun bun, who is likely in motion, is going to be really hard. But best of luck!

Even with an easier weapon hunting is harder than you might think going into it! I started hunting a few years ago and I always thought small game was going to be easy pickins because I'm always seeing buns and squirrels in nature, but the second I'm holding a gun they're suddenly nowhere to be seen.

fat bossy gerbil
Jul 1, 2007



CarpenterWalrus posted:

Wabbit season.

I would also recommend a shotgun to start with for rabbit hunting. I love to hunt them. I do it every free moment I get from opening day in September until it drops to below freezing all the time at which point Iím just going to put on a cardigan and curl up on the couch because gently caress going out into the frozen midwestern tundra in search of a single pound of meat. I taught myself as a complete novice with a fresh hunters safety license and not a clue about how to hunt anything eight years ago. Ive bagged quite a few of them since then. Nothing I say here is gospel mind you, but I can tell you what Iíve learned through trial and error.

If youíre using a bow (or a rifle) youíre going to have to stalk and spot them while they sit still. You say that rabbits in your area arenít likely to run even if you get close which is actually true of rabbits everywhere because thatís how they stay alive. They sit dead still and hope predators donít see them. And those little bastards are drat near invisible in the wild even when they are sitting in plain sight among brush and trees. So you have to hope that you can walk quietly enough to not spook them and spot them at the same time. Problem is, when rabbits hear you moving through the brush - which they will - and suddenly you stop moving they often think youíve spotted them, and thatís when they break and run back to their burrow. And if they break your chances of hitting them on the run with a bow or a rifle are next to zero even if youíre a crack shot. Theyíre just too fast and they zigzag everywhere. Even if you manage to spot one a target as small as a rabbit is extremely hard to hit with a bow. Much less so with a rifle or a shotgun.

But when youíre hunting rabbit with a shotgun you want them to break because your shotgun sprays a mist of steely death which makes a shot on a fleeing target much easier. So you walk through the brush and you make a lot of noise, stopping for a few seconds every few yards in case you passed one and it didnít move. Do this long enough in the right spots and one will eventually break, and thatís when you get your shot. This method is more akin to hiking and hoping to kill a rabbit while you do it. This isnít the only way to hunt them obviously, but itís brought me a lot of success over the years and itís certainly the easiest way for a single novice hunter to go about it in my experience.

And from a monetary standpoint a decent shotgun shouldnít run you more than $150-300, especially if youíre buying used. Pawn shops are a great place to find a good deal on a used ones.

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



Re: bun chat, if you hit a standing rabbit with a shotgun spray you gonna lose like...half of your rabbit. Definitely aim for the head if they are still, and if you can make them break and you're confident in your shot go for it.

Also be ready to hunt them in low light. I've found them most active *right* before shooting times close for the night.

Edit: Hoping to have something good to contribute in a day or two, I've been spending most of the week doing amateur taxidermy work on some birds I got last season. So far things are going well but we are on the second drying stage so let's see if it rots or not.

CarpenterWalrus
Mar 30, 2010

The Lazy Satanist


Flatland Crusoe posted:

Like you run into rabbits in the woods you can hunt or see them in your yard because those are very different things.

I spent almost a decade hunting in northern IL and never felt like I ran into very many rabbits while hunting. Illinois in general has decimated nearly all its upland small game habitat with road to road fields with neatly mowed ditches and itís small game participation has plummeted over the last 3 decades.

I have heard a lot of aspiring hunters wanting to start with archery and often trad gear because they think gun hunting is too easy before they have tried it. The reality of it is in most cases the learning curve for even gun hunting is really steep especially if you donít have a mentor and donít have access to a bunch of sweet private land.

If you donít want to spend a bunch of money to small game hunt go buy a cheap shotgun. Otherwise if you are concerned about keeping hunting as an inexpensive past time I recommend looking elsewhere.

If you are serious about trying hunting in Illinois look up the Illinois Learn to Hunt program. They host a lot of workshops, match people with mentors and have a growing library of online resources to get started. I volunteered with the program while I still lived in IL and the guys and girls running it know what they are doing.

My immediate family has about 500 acres of lightly wooded farmland in central IL and I'm thinking of the rabbits there--pretty fat and lazy. Whenever I visit to help out around the farm, it's not unusual to get within twenty feet of them before they take off. Clearly, I'll not be picking off rabbits in Naperville yards. As for guns, my spouse has chronic depression and I do not want a gun in the house, so I'd have to store it somewhere and it'd be more trouble than it's worth to get out of storage for practice or hunting. I'm not anti-gun, per se, and I enjoy shooting them, but I'm going to fail at bow hunting before I get gun. I've looked into the Learn to Hunt program and they're not offering anything now, but I will certainly keep my eye on anything they offer in the future.

There's no way I'll be ready to go for the upcoming season, so in the meantime, I'm going to focus on learning good archery habits and as much as I can about what I'm getting myself into, and maybe take some meat home next year.

iammeandsoareyou
Oct 27, 2007
Nothing to see here

CarpenterWalrus posted:

My immediate family has about 500 acres of lightly wooded farmland in central IL and I'm thinking of the rabbits there--pretty fat and lazy. Whenever I visit to help out around the farm, it's not unusual to get within twenty feet of them before they take off. Clearly, I'll not be picking off rabbits in Naperville yards. As for guns, my spouse has chronic depression and I do not want a gun in the house, so I'd have to store it somewhere and it'd be more trouble than it's worth to get out of storage for practice or hunting. I'm not anti-gun, per se, and I enjoy shooting them, but I'm going to fail at bow hunting before I get gun. I've looked into the Learn to Hunt program and they're not offering anything now, but I will certainly keep my eye on anything they offer in the future.

There's no way I'll be ready to go for the upcoming season, so in the meantime, I'm going to focus on learning good archery habits and as much as I can about what I'm getting myself into, and maybe take some meat home next year.

Hi there "wants to jump straight into bow hunting" buddy. I'm a new hunter looking to start out with bow hunting too. The more I look at it, the more likely my first couple of hunts at least will be rifle, but, you have a totally valid reason for not wanting firearms in the house. Still for small game hunting, particularly rabbits, any bow and especially a traditional bow is going to present difficulties even if your rabbits are as non-pressured as you think. In addition to the hide in plain sight behaviors mentioned previously, rabbits obviously have excellent hearing. They are going to hear the arrow leave the string and be bolting in an unexpected direction before the arrow clears the rest. They might not know that the sound of a bowstring is dangerous per se but at best they will know its not normal and their reaction is going to be to flee. I'm not sure what your predator situation is but rabbits are generally very attuned to raptors (i.e hawks, etc.) and the sound of something flying towards them will once again trigger a bolting reaction, even if they don't bolt at the sound of the string. Even very good hunting recurve bows do not generally have the speed factor of an entry level compound bow from an established manufacturer. And very good recurve bows are very expensive (though very cool). Assuming a rabbit doesn't bolt when you stop and draw, you will definitely need to be able to line up and then lead the shot, which brings you into holding the draw. Compound bows have "let off" meaning that a bow might have a draw weight of say 60 pounds but at full draw you only have to hold 25%% to 20% of that weight. That's (one of) the reasons hunters overwhelmingly use them. You can draw and then take your (relative) sweet time to line up your shot. Traditional bows do not have this. You can check out recurve shooters on Youtube but holding full draw for a five count would be a pretty long hold. On the other hand I watched a guy on a hunting show hold a compound bow at full draw for over a minute waiting for an Elk to break cover and then successfully execute the shot at around 35 yards.

Really for your situation I would look into an air rifle. One suitable for hunting small game can be had for under $200.00 with an effective range of ~30-50 yards. However at very close range you are looking at something as potentially deadly as a .22 long rifle, so if that concerns you and you really want to stick to a bow, then I would suggest looking into an entry level compound bow. You will have to learn your draw length, because a compound bow will have to be set to that, but you can do that at home. There a number of methods you can google. Diamond Archery and Bear Archery both offer entry level bows that you can adjust both draw length and draw weight without anything more than an Allen wrench. I found a seller on ebay selling the new old stock of the discontinued version of the bear entry level (Bear Cruzer vs Cruzer G2) set up in a "ready to hunt" package (means it included sights, quiver, whisker biscuit, etc.) for $240.00.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Bear-A...fac95%7Ciid%3A1

Before shipping they set it to my requested draw length and draw weight. I started at 50 pounds which was really heavier than I should have, but I am at 65 pounds now, and it is very easy to adjust at home. As long as you don't draw longer than 30 inches (you probably don't) its also pretty easy to adjust the draw length if you need to change it for some reason. If i stick with this I am sure I will want something nicer, but this provides a decent place to start and room to grow. What is not included is a release aid, which for a decent budget model will be another ~$50.00 and can go much higher. All this does bring you into the lower end of budget hunting rifle territory even on a close out deal like above.

Now if I were going to get a budget recurve I would probably get this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bear-Arche...fac95%7Ciid%3A1

Bear is known for good traditional bows. You would still need a sight (and maybe a stabilizer), but this is a pretty good set up. While a 50 pound draw on a recurve might be overkill as far as killing force for a rabbit, any lower and I don't think you would have even a fighting chance as far as arrow speed versus fleeing rabbit. The arrows included might be fine for practice but I would not expect them to be good enough to hunt with. You will also want a release aid for traditional bow. I am not sure what those go for. If you are new to archery this will be very heavy especially with no let off at full draw. Sights run from $25.00 to the hundreds of dollars, depending on features. The one that came with my bow is probably $25.00 retail. Add that and the package above is about $185.00. You still save some money but I think you will be wishing you paid the extra $55.00 for more holding time, adjustability of draw weight, arrow speed, and other features if you hunt with it.

Whether you go compound or traditional, arrows will be something you will want to study up on. You will likely want around a dozen at least. Six for practice and six for hunting. Gold Tip and Carbon Express make moderately priced quality hunting arrows. You can get them pre-fletched but you will need them to be cut to correspond to your draw length. Some bow packages include them (like the one above) but the arrows are usually not high quality. This actually can have a place for practice as low quality arrows will punish your mistakes more and as a result tighten up your form. However hunting arrows that are the correct stiffness and length are simply a huge step up. After about a month of my crappy amazon practice arrows I got a set of Gold Tips. It was like going from launching telephone poles to shooting lasers. I would think a set of 12 hunting arrows and small game points would set you back somewhere around $100.00-150.00.

It sounds like you have your practice situation already in mind, but since I've paddled down this far on my stream of consciousness, you might also look into getting a target for home. I use a Morrell double duty in my garage. I only have about a five yard shooting lane, but it is enough space to build muscle memory and work on form. Its no substitute for a 50 yard range, but thirty to forty five minutes per day will build up your archery muscles, let you iron out your release and is a pretty good way to decompress at the end of the day. They are usually around $70.00 but I've found them for as low as $50.00 on amazon and I have never had an arrow penetrate more than half way through using field points.

If someone tell you not to listen to me, take their advice. I am very new to this too and I am learning from the internet, the most unreliable teacher there is and I may never be able to successfully hunt anything more challenging than a 3D course.

Any way you choose to go, good luck! Its really just about getting outdoors anyway.

iammeandsoareyou
Oct 27, 2007
Nothing to see here

So Iím not really the best person to write this (and I welcome corrections where I am wrong) but bow hunting is something that I think is of interest and hasnít been covered in a cohesive way here or in TFR so in the name of being the change you want to seeÖ

Bow hunting:

ďWho are you to write this? Are you a seasoned hunter?Ē
I am not. I did some half assed small game hunting when I was young this will be my first year hunting large game. I actually was planning on gun hunting only, but one too many beers and boredom browsing on e-bay landed me with a beginner compound bow set up and I have been traveling down the rabbit hole ever since.

ďSo why would I want to hunt with a bow?Ē
Seasoned hunters appreciate bow hunting for the increased challenge, but more practical reasons are you typically have an expanded season, access to bow only units, game is generally not feeling as much pressure, its easier to travel with your weapon, you just donít want a gun in the house and if you are hunting public lands you donít have to worry as much about randos shooting you by mistake. In some places bow hunting may be the only type of hunting allowed. The venn diagram of people who are pro gun control and anti-hunting is probably pretty close to a circle, but in general bows tend to freak non hunting and non gun people out a lot less than guns. Without getting into politics, state and national gun regulations can shift on pretty arbitrary grounds. The concerns that drive these decisions don't usually affect bows so much.

Having said all that:

Flatland Crusoe posted:

Whatís crazy is how variable bowhunting advantages are place to place. When I hunted Mark Twain national forest in MO I could go all fall and see one other person during bow season in a place with 50 trucks at a trailhead during gun season but in NW Illinois bow season pressure was nearly worse than gun season. Where I am in TN now there is next to no reason to bow hunt because all you really get is October which is 90 degrees still and solidly prerut with gun seasons running November-January. Two Firearm elk tags Iíve drawn in AZ and WY are actually harder to draw during archery than rifle season. Itís all over the place and archery/muzzleloader seasons arenít really a statistical advantage in a lot of cases anymore.

So your results may vary in regards to extra season, reduced pressure, etc. Hunting forums geared to your particular locality are a good source for which type of hunting makes more sense for you. The consensus on my local forums was that general gun season in my area is poo poo show on public land, but that might not be your situation.

EDIT: "Why should I not hunt with a bow?"

Flatland Crusoe posted:


With regard to archery hunting I think that the specific pursuit is a bit over romanticized and I think a lot of people do it for the wrong reasons. Namely extended seasons in most cases without putting in the time shooting while minimizing issues around wound loss. I love archery as a shooting discipline and I enjoy the hunt quality but I really do not like the efficacy of killing animals with archery equipment. Iíd consider myself a casual bow hunter but Iíve taken deer and a turkey with a bow and Iíve bowhunted in 4? States. There is just no getting around how perfect a shot setup needs to be with a bow and the discipline required to wait for that opportunity otherwise itís gets pretty ugly pretty quickly. People donít talk about that part enough.

I think anyone who wants to take up bow hunting should take bow hunters education regardless of whether itís required or not where you are hunting.

So I didn't originally cover ethics, humane shots and arrows vs. bullets, mainly because my knowledge is limited to the academic and also because this got much longer than I a planned so I sort of just quit, but this part is worth talking about. So lets jump straight to the gore. I assume we all know this, but to reiterate, no matter what you are using the ideal ethical shot would drop an animal in it's track with it never knowing what hit it. I am assuming that if you have read this far you understand rifles are not laser beams so I won't go into ballistics. Suffice to say that at 30 yards a bullet in reasonable hunting caliber is moving much faster and carrying a metric poo poo ton more kinetic force than an arrow. Its also moving on a much flatter trajectory. Even if your country or state doesn't specifically forbid full metal jacket ammo for hunting (and it probably does), hunting ammo is almost always expandable tipped, meaning that supersonic lump of metal dumps all its remaining energy into its target, pretty much all at once. The end result, assuming a clean vitals shot with an appropriate caliber, your animal has good chance of dropping where it stands. Even with rifles this is not guaranteed. You can still just wound an animal with a poor rifle shot (or even a good rifle shot) but you have more working in your favor. Arrows still have a kinetic force aspect (see the Realtree calculator below), but they really more about bleeding than knock down force. Bottom line is a clean hit on the lung/heart sweet spot can still result in a clean and humane kill based on bleeding out very quickly. But if you miss that you are more likely to get into a wounded animal situation. Season 8 Episode 2 of Meateater shows the host make a bad archery shot on an Elk. I couldn't find the clip as of this writing but it is worth watching for what can go wrong. And they eventually recovered the animal so it would still be considered a moderately successful archery shot.

Since this is a pro bow hunting thread here is a video of America's most trusted Meat Head executing pretty much dead on shot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1okPzr4wVlI

I will defer to more experienced hunters but I think the Elk he shot dropped just about as quickly as you could hope for from a rifle shot. You will notice Joe Rogan also pointed out he had been practicing that shot on a daily basis at home, and if you ever listen to him discuss his practice routine, he claims to shoot one hundred arrows a day. Obviously Joe Rogan has resources at this disposal we can only dream of, but putting the work in should be the take away.

EDIT: A note on Joe Rogan: I really just posted the video above to illustrate an effective long range archery shot made in what would be easy rifle range, and to make the point a lot of practice goes into being able to make it. As has been pointed about below (and elsewhere on the interwebs), Rogan has the resources to pay for guided and heavily supported hunts on otherwise closed lands and uses them. In this video he also happens to have one of, if not the, foremost names in archery on hand to personally coach him through the shot. Joe Rogan's name comes up a lot because he has a huge platform and has become a major ambassador of hunting in general and particularly bow hunting. That makes many hunters cringe. Personally I think he is a big step up from Ted Nugent. Having said that but I did not include him in the resource list. He might be an introduction to good hunting resources (Steven Rinella, John Dudley) but I would not consider him a source of practical advice that the average person can use. If on the other hand he ever gives you tips on how to kick someone's head off, you should probably listen.

The Hunting Public isn't really how to per se (though they have a few tip videos) but they do a lot of bow hunting, and they are not afraid to show the hunts that fail (which are quite a lot). If you want to watch examples of what can go wrong, what can go right and effective strategies that a normal budget hunter could employ for DIY hunting, watch their channel. Their hunts are what hunts will look like in the real world.

Randy Newberg's show "Fresh Tracks" is on Amazon Prime. Its not bow hunting centric but one episode follows him through a spot and stalk bow hunt on an elk, in open New Mexico country. He ultimately lets the Elk go because he's not comfortable with the shot once he is in very close range. Its very worth watching for his discussion of why he passed on the shot, because it looks like a gimme shot and he had spent three hours crawling over three miles to get to it.

So I might have drifted a bit but the bottom line is that solid shot placement is much more critical for bows over rifles and it is harder to achieve. Plenty of rifle hunters act like they don't even like guns, and will go to the range just enough to sight in their rifles. If you are going to bow hunt, you are going to need to practice a lot more aggressively. Also take bow hunters education. If you have access to a 3D course, use it.

ďAre bows less expensive than guns?Ē
Not really, and in fact after you add in associated cost of arrows and other things you are likely going to come in the same as a or more than a decent rifle, even if you get a inexpensive compound bow from a trusted manufacturer. I got into this almost on impulse because I ran across a bargain on my bow package but after everything else I am easily in for the cost of budget rifle from a reliable manufacturer.

Here is a guy from The Hunting Public demonstrating a budget entry into bow hunting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnhFyxDA93Q

Obviously there are online options and you can find heavy discounts buying used or new old stock. You absolutely need to know your correct draw length first (see below) and you should take your purchase to a local archery shop for inspection and fine tuning. If you buy used off ebay I would probably upgrade "should" to "must". Beware of buying too much bow. Entry level models aimed at new archers tend to offer a very wide range of adjustability on draw weight. Higher end models tend to have a narrower range. As you advance you might want to upgrade but your new you probably won't grow into an advanced bow. If you get a bow with a weight range of 60-70# and you find you are only ready to pull 45#, well obviously you have a problem. They also tend to have features that make them faster but at the expense of making them less forgiving of new archer mistakes.

ďWhere do you practice ?Ē
So the nice thing is you can practice some important things in pretty small areas as long as you have a solid target. I generally shoot for about thirty minutes a day in my garage in a five yard lane with a target rated for crossbows. This will allow you to practice form and release as well as group small areas. I aim for a silver dollar sized group at five yards (see the pie plate at 30 yards below).

alnilam posted:

Re: backyard/garage archery setups, always consider the worst case scenario of an errant shot and make sure there's no chance whatsoever of an errant shot hitting a passer by or neighbor. Like what if Dennis the menace comes in and hits you in the back of the knee the moment you're releasing. A 6 ft wood fence alone is not enough.

EDIT: This is a good point. My set up is in a garage made out of concrete block. When I first started, I did miss the bag. The very "slow" arrow I was using coming off a bow set at 50 pounds, with bullet style (not pointy) field point, and a not very clean release (further slowing things down) still had plenty of force to lodge itself in a concrete block. I had to use pliers and a significant amount of oomph to get it out. Even at low weight arrows are moving fast and are dangerous. Have a good back stop!

For real practice you need an area about 50-100 yards of open space. A lot of towns and cities have 3D archery courses as well, which starts training you for actual hunting.

ďSo anyone can jump right into this?Ē
Well you can, and depending on where you live you really might not have any other options for hunting, but if feasible rifle hunting is the recommended starting point and then a move to bows. As I said above the number one reason you will hear for bow hunters being bow hunters is that they are experienced hunters wanting more challenge. I still plan to start with guns myself, but bow hunting is where I want to end up. Eastern style bow hunting, particularly from stands or blinds, is not insane for a newer hunter as your shooting lanes are often at 25-50 yards no matter what you use. I would never jump right into western style spot and stalk big game hunting with a bow. Thatís just asking for heart break. However you can watch YouTube videos of very experienced western style bow hunters executing shots in the 75-80 yard range. Donít try and start there. Typical rule of thumb I have seen is once you can reliably hit a pie plate size target at thirty yards you can start thinking about hunting. If you are out West and hunting open areas I would just automatically add twenty yards to that.

ďSo what kind of bow should I hunt with?Ē
You can use traditional (ďTradĒ) or compound bows. TFR already has a thread that covers traditional archery, so I am going to stick to compound bows, especially since this is the overwhelming choice for bow hunters and is probably where you will start. For bow hunting traditional bows are hard mode (even if the bows themselves are simpler) and that is for a sub-group of hunters already upping the challenge level.

"What about crossbows?"
These are forbidden by the Church! Seriously I don't know much about them. Some states treat them the same as bows, some have separate seasons, and some simply don't allow them. My state (Florida) has an separate but overlapping season Statewide , but a lot of the individual hunting units set their local rules to make bow and crossbow season the same months. Other units don't ever allow crossbows. If you are interested check your State regulations and unit rules to make sure you can use one.

ďSo a compound bow is the one with the cables and pulleys right?Ē
Thatís right.

ďThey look complex! And there is a ton of jargon! What does this mean?Ē
So letís look at the terms:

Draw Weight: how much force to draw the bow. This is usually adjustable within a ten to fifteen pound range (i.e. 55-70 pound range). A lot of beginner sets up have an even bigger range and are designed so you can adjust them at home with only an allen wrench. Draw weight is used by a lot of states as a stand in for humane harvest, typically with minimum weights generally being 35-40 pounds. Honestly this is not the best measure for actual kinetic force on target, but be aware of your stateís required draw weight for hunting. Heavier draw weights equal faster arrow speed and more force. Most bow models max out at 70 pounds, but higher end models can go to 80 pounds. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN GREAT SHAPE DO NOT START AT MAX WEIGHT. I started at 50 pounds about three months ago and it kicked my butt. I practice daily and I am just now closing in on 70 pounds. If my shoulders tell me they donít like what I am doing I listen and stop and you should to.

Let Off: Compound bows typically have somewhere between a seventy and eighty percent let off, which means at full draw your ďholding weightĒ is only twenty to thirty percent of the draw weight. Once again on high end bows this can go as high as ninety percent let off. In hunting situations you will often have to draw and then hold your draw for a relatively long time. Typically you want to draw when the animal canít see you, for instance as they are walking behind an obstruction, then hold until the animal presents a good shot. If your animal finds something interesting on the other side of the obstruction you might be waiting at full draw for a while. Higher let off percentage gives you more time.

Draw Length: In traditional archery the draw length is basically how far you can pull the string but compound bows need to be set your particular draw length, which is based on you arm length. You can do this at home fairly easily or if you go to an archery shop, they can do it for you.

Here is a video of John Dudley (a very big name in bow hunting) setting up a new archer on a compound bow:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvgyI-Zyf-U

Itís well worth watching for how to set your basic stance, actually grip the bow, anchor your shot and if you plan to buy online pay particular attention to the part where he measures draw length. If you are interested enough to have read this far Nock On archery channel should probably be on your YouTube subscription list.

Anyway longer draw length also equals faster arrows but donít try and set your bows draw length long. You are basically born with your draw length

IBO Speed:
Compound bows speeds are measured by a couple of standards but the main standard is from the IBO. Speed is measured in feet per second by using a machine to release an arrow of standard weight from a bow set to 30 inch draw length with the limbs set to 70 pounds. Even if you pull the maximum weight and maximum draw length you will not get these speeds in the real world. To know how fast your bow really shoots you will need to shoot it through a chrono after you have a hunting set up including the arrows you will use but here is a handy broad strokes guide to figure how your shooting speed will be affected by pretty standard factors:

http://bestcompoundbowsource.com/whats-bows-real-speed/

And here is a calculator to give you an idea of what level of game your set up is suitable for.

https://www.realtree.com/kinetic-energy-and-momentum-calculator

I would treat both of these are ďbroad strokesĒ resources.

Axle to Axle (ATA):
How long your bow is measured from the cam or pulley axle. This is good to know when trying to find a bow to fit your build. See the video above.

Brace height:
Basically the distance from the forward strings to the grip. Broad strokes longer brace height equals more forgiving while smaller brace height equals faster. There is a lot of weeds in this areas but from what I have seen recommended is 6 to 7 inches for hunting. Most hunting bows will be in that range and you probably wonít have to worry about it.

Cams and pulleys: This is the heart of your bow. Once you start diving into the gadgetry this could be a thread all of its own but basically you have bows with dual cams and single cams. Dual cams have the issue of ďcam timingĒ which basically means at arrow release they have returned to the release point at the same time but are generally faster. Single cam bows do not have this issue but are generally slower.

Release aid: (not part of the bow but you will need this) Trad bows typically use leather gloves or patches for arrow release, but on compound bows you typically use a handheld mechanical release. There a bunch of different types and can be as long a discussion as discussing bows but the most popular are wrist strap releases with a trigger mechanism. A note on operation. The temptation for someone who is coming from guns is to use the trigger the same way you would on a gun. I am sure there are archers who get away with this but this is not the correct way to use it.

Here again is John Dudley on how to use a trigger release.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHh2_OdZ-8Y

At first I was using the trigger on my release the same as I would on a rifle. Once I switched to the "pull through" method in the video my shots immediately released cleaner, straighter and based on the arrow penetration on my target, much faster. There are a class of releases called "back tension" releases (most famously the "Silverback") which are becoming very popular. Without getting too deep into operation the idea is that their release mechanism works based on pulling through the shot to make the mechanism release rather than using trigger. They are expensive, but even with practice and knowing you are doing something different, years of trigger finger muscle memory can be tough to overcome. I haven't tried one yet but I am looking into getting one.

ďHey that sure was a lot! Iím glad we got through all of that!Ē
It sure was! Now letís talk arrows!

So what to look for in arrows:

Spine: Spine is the term used to describe the stiffness of an arrow. To add to the fun, different manufacturers seem to have slightly different ideas of how to measure spine. Fortunately they have calculators on their web sites to help you select the appropriate spine. Gold Tip and Carbon Express make quality arrows. For daily practice I typically shoot a target in my garage at five yards with garbage arrows I got from Amazon. These are great for practice because they magnify every little mistake so good habits are built. I would never consider hunting with them however.

Length: This will be a function of your draw length. You will probably want to have your arrows cut to about a half inch to an inch longer than your draw length. Consult with your pro shop.

Fletching: These are the vanes on the back of the arrow that stabilize the arrow in flight. You can do this yourself if you wish, but assuming you are having a pro shop build your arrows you will likely want helical fletching. This means the vanes are attached at an offset to spin the arrow in flight. This tends to keep broad heads more stable in flight.

Grains per inch (GPI);The grain system is used for measuring arrow weight. Just like it sounds, GPI is how many grains your arrow shaft weighs per inch of shaft. This does not include the weight of the nock, fletching, insert (where you screw in the point) or weight of the point you have on the arrow. Heavier arrows hit harder but move slower and vice versa. The Realtree calculator I posted above can help you work out the trade off for selecting arrow weight.

Nock: What holds you arrow on the string. For hunting arrows you will probably want to spring for lighted nocks. They will light up on release and act like a tracer to your target.

Pointy things you stick on the end of the arrow shaft:

Field points: You can technically (but donít try) bring down an animal with these but really these are to practice with.

Fixed broadheads: Nothing fancy here. Just a fixed point with three or four blades. These can be further broken down in to cut on contact and chisel heads. Which is better depends on game and whatever internet raving you want to believe but broadly chisel heads are designed to break through bone while bleeder blades open up the wound channel, while cut on contact go straight to cutting. Fixed broadheads are simpler but more likely to throw off your arrows flight characteristics.

Mechanical Broadheads: These are like switchblades in that blades are folded into a point and expand in flight or on contact. The idea is that they fly more like field points, improving accuracy. However they are subject to mechanical failure, most notably blade deployment failure.

Hybrids: A combination of the above. Typically fixed bleeder blades are stationed behind mechanical cutting blades.

Small game and bird points: Hey if you can hunt it with a gun, you can hunt it with a bow! Its just harder! Small game points are also called Judo points (I donít know why) and are basically clubs on the end of an arrow. Bird rigs look like snares attached to an arrow. I know of the existence of these specialty types but not much else.

So that covers arrows, and now we are all doneÖexcept for accessories!

Front sight: Come in multi pin and single point models. Basically multipin have three to five pins that are pre positioned to different ranges. This is quick but can get confusing if you are in the heat of the moment. On a single pin you adjust the pin to the range of target. No confusion but you can get caught screwing with your sight as an animal moves. Multipin seems to be the best option for hunters.

Peep or rear sight: A peep sight is basically just a disc inserted into your string so that when you are at full draw your eye lines up with the front sight. This is the industry standard but can be subject to failures. Other options on rear sight attached directly to the front sight or no rear sight at all, but you would need a very consistent anchor point to pull this off. My bow came with one installed but on bare bow you will need a tech to put it in.

Arrow rest: nope that flat part on the grip is not the rest. You will need something to hold the arrow in place. Most common is the ďwhisker biscuitĒ. This is a disc with stiff bristles that holds the arrow straight with the nock point. This is very reliable but places a fair amount of drag on the arrow as it Is released. Going up the chain you have a ďdrop awayĒ rest. These are built that as the arrow releases the mechanism hold the arrows drops out of the way. This is to reduce drag. To make it all work you have to hook it up to the cable system.

Quiver: Holds your arrows. On hunting set ups you will typically have one that attaches to the bow.

Stabilizer: A rod that hooks onto your bow and, does... good stuff. Seriously they are supposed to do something about weight balance and shock reduction to increase accuracy. Target bows and long range set ups tend to have giant stabilizers on them and sometimes stabilizers hanging off the back and sides to. Mine came with a pretty short stabilizer and I don't know that it really does anything useful. We will see when I get to the range after the current heat wave breaks.

Wrist sling: to keep your bow falling off your hand after release. In one of his q/a videos John Dudley said he didn't feel like they were really that useful or necessary. I have tried with and without and while the psychological effect of having it was somewhat comforting, I didn't really notice much difference either.

"That a lot of stuff!"
Yep so for beginners most manufacturers offer their bows in ďReady to HuntĒ (or RTH), or ďReady to ShootĒ ( RTS) packages particularly on entry level bows. It wonít be top of the line but will get you started.

Resources:
The aforementioned John Dudley. His youtube channel has a lot of great information. He also has cool stuff on his website though its more for his shop https://nockonarchery.com/

https://www.bowhuntingmag.com/ Peterson's Bowhunting. Lots of articles on bow hunting topics.

https://www.archerytalk.com/ Most bow hunting (like hunting and gun) websites can be terrible. Archery talk is not always that great either but I have gleaned useful information and so far have not been horrified by the posters. The layout does hurt my eyes though.

The Hunting Public: Already in the OP but they do lots of bow hunting and they show the failed hunts.

DapperDraculaDeer has been bow hunting pigs and posting after action reports. Definitely worth reading.

EDIT: Moved Cameron Haynes to the bottom of the list due to this valid criticism.

Flatland Crusoe posted:

Please donít recommend Cameron Hanes as a bowhunting resource in the same vein as John Dudley. John Dudley is a wealth of technical knowledge and Cameron Hanes is just a social media ego comparable to that of a Kardashian.

Cameron Haynes is another big name in bow hunting. I donít necessarily find him to be very informative for a beginner but you can watch him do cool hunts that mortals like myself will most likely never be able to do. Heís on Youtube and https://www.cameronhanes.com/

So this got much longer than I intended and honestly there is plenty more that could be covered but I am stopping here for the present. More experienced peeps (like people who actually have moved beyond aspiring to hunt with a bow) feel free to fill in what I missed and point out my mistakes.

iammeandsoareyou fucked around with this message at 13:15 on Aug 12, 2020

crazypeltast52
May 5, 2010




Thanks for that post! I took my bow out to the local haybales and did some shooting this morning. I have a ways to go before turkey season this fall, but it was good to get some shots in.

I acquired my bow from a friendís parents on a whim and have been doing various things to improve it. I put a new sight on this spring and am working on replacing my arrows as one hit the steel backing on a haybale today and is no longer an arrow, just a shaft and some fletchings!

HamAdams
Jun 29, 2018

yospos


Oh look an archery post! At the start of this working from home I setup a cheapo bag target in my basement and have been working a ton on my release. Probably the most confident Iíve ever been going into bow season. I tried out my brothers back tension release and I think it really made something click for me when I went back to the wrist rocket. Iíll probably try to pick up a silverback or similar next off season and spend some time with that.

Ophidian
Jan 12, 2005

Woo WOO, Look a Parrot...
LOOK AT IT!


FWIW I spent a lot of time and (partially recovered money) loving around with different releases including the silverback, nock2it etc.

I didnít really notice much improvement with anything until I sold all the releases and snagged a used wise guy off of eBay for 65$ once I started shooting with it I noticed more of an improvement in group size past 30y which I think can be attributed to how good the trigger on the wise guy is and how little pressure you need to make it take off vs a non-sear type caliper release which is what I used for a few years before that.

alnilam
Nov 10, 2009


Posting in the springtime


Re: backyard/garage archery setups, always consider the worst case scenario of an errant shot and make sure there's no chance whatsoever of an errant shot hitting a passer by or neighbor. Like what if Dennis the menace comes in and hits you in the back of the knee the moment you're releasing. A 6 ft wood fence alone is not enough.

Flatland Crusoe
Jan 12, 2011

Great White Hunter
Master Race

Let me explain why I'm better than you


With regard to archery hunting I think that the specific pursuit is a bit over romanticized and I think a lot of people do it for the wrong reasons. Namely extended seasons in most cases without putting in the time shooting while minimizing issues around wound loss. I love archery as a shooting discipline and I enjoy the hunt quality but I really do not like the efficacy of killing animals with archery equipment. Iíd consider myself a casual bow hunter but Iíve taken deer and a turkey with a bow and Iíve bowhunted in 4? States. There is just no getting around how perfect a shot setup needs to be with a bow and the discipline required to wait for that opportunity otherwise itís gets pretty ugly pretty quickly. People donít talk about that part enough.

I think anyone who wants to take up bow hunting should take bow hunters education regardless of whether itís required or not where you are hunting.

Whatís crazy is how variable bowhunting advantages are place to place. When I hunted Mark Twain national forest in MO I could go all fall and see one other person during bow season in a place with 50 trucks at a trailhead during gun season but in NW Illinois bow season pressure was nearly worse than gun season. Where I am in TN now there is next to no reason to bow hunt because all you really get is October which is 90 degrees still and solidly prerut with gun seasons running November-January. Two Firearm elk tags Iíve drawn in AZ and WY are actually harder to draw during archery than rifle season. Itís all over the place and archery/muzzleloader seasons arenít really a statistical advantage in a lot of cases anymore.

Please donít recommend Cameron Hanes as a bowhunting resource in the same vein as John Dudley. John Dudley is a wealth of technical knowledge and Cameron Hanes is just a social media ego comparable to that of a Kardashian.

iammeandsoareyou
Oct 27, 2007
Nothing to see here

Thanks for input! Rather than reply I am incorporating feedback into the post.

armorer
Aug 6, 2012

I like metal.

I agree completely regarding bow hunting ethics. I have a compound bow I inherited from an uncle who hunted, but I'm not good enough with it to use it. PA allows crossbow hunting during archery season, so I use a crossbow instead. Even still, I've passed on countless shots that I would take during rifle or muzzleloader seasons simply because they were a bit longer range than I'm comfortable at with the crossbow. (Granted, among my few hunting friends, I'm the one most likely to lose an animal because I wasn't comfortable with a given shot opportunity. )

alnilam
Nov 10, 2009


Posting in the springtime


armorer posted:

I agree completely regarding bow hunting ethics. I have a compound bow I inherited from an uncle who hunted, but I'm not good enough with it to use it. PA allows crossbow hunting during archery season, so I use a crossbow instead. Even still, I've passed on countless shots that I would take during rifle or muzzleloader seasons simply because they were a bit longer range than I'm comfortable at with the crossbow. (Granted, among my few hunting friends, I'm the one most likely to lose an animal because I wasn't comfortable with a given shot opportunity. )

on all counts

I moved from PA to OR though and they don't allow crossbow so I got a used compound and am beginning to train with it. It's so much easier than a recurve! but I still need a lot of practice becoming natural and confident with it

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

iammeandsoareyou posted:



Since this is a pro bow hunting thread here is a video of America's most trusted Meat Head executing pretty much dead on shot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1okPzr4wVlI

I will defer to more experienced hunters but I think the Elk he shot dropped just about as quickly as you could hope for from a rifle shot. You will notice Joe Rogan also pointed out he had been practicing that shot on a daily basis at home, and if you ever listen to him discuss his practice routine, he claims to shoot one hundred arrows a day. Obviously Joe Rogan has resources at this disposal we can only dream of, but putting the work in should be the take away.

Id encourage anyone getting into hunting to be kind of skeptical of Rogan and the stuff he does. This is someone who is routinely pay $50,000+ in order to go on guided hunts in heavily managed, private areas. He had multiple guides helping him and helping setup that shot on an animal that probably rarely experiences any form of pressure. I find Rogan really difficult to talk about because he routinely presents himself as an experienced hunter who talks at length about stuff like ethics, health, etc while seeming to never mention the help he has from guides and the amount he pays for access. The reality is he not particularly knowledgeable, experienced or ethical a hunter. In fact hes more like someone who pays $700 a lbs for elk meat and the privilege of picking out the animal himself. The dressing up in the silly camo and carrying around a bow is just window dressing.

Anyways, more on the topic of bow hunting. Bow hunting is hard! Ive found the act of actual harvesting an animal with a bow rather than a gun has been surprisingly different and difficult. Its something anyone interested in bow hunting should consider. Im used to hunting on the ground in fairly dense brush. In a typical encounter with animals there are basically two ways the encounter plays out. If the animal(s) havent spotted you you pick one and shoot it. If the animal(s) have spotted you, you freeze, once they have determined you are not a threat and return to minding their own business you shoot the one you picked while frozen. Its a very simple process where the emphasis is on quick decision making and action.

With a bow this type of encounter plays out really differently. You need to range the animal and draw the bow, and if you are really unlucky nock an arrow in between. So you are going to have to do a fair bit of moving around to setup the shot. You are also going to be holding the bow drawn waiting for the perfect shot opportunity, possibly for a while. That is a lot more steps to perform while feeling the pressure of being close to an animal worrying if it will spot you, or if the wind will shift and it will scent you, or maybe the animal will just get bored and walk away. And then on top of that you have the occasional weird event that happens in nature and can throw you for a loop, like a pig popping up on the other side of the bush you are hiding behind to make things even more chaotic. When I watch experienced bow hunters in these type of situations on Youtube Im always really impressed, their movements are slow and smooth and incredibly efficient. The emphasis is on staying calm, moving slowly and decisively. For me, a person who did pretty well at gun hunting this is a big shift in thinking that Ive struggled with. Im curious if learning it will make me a better gun hunter or cause me to slip up more. I guess theres only one way to find out. I suspect getting up in a tree will also change the dynamic a fair bit but since I usually hunt from the ground that will just be a band aid rather than a real fix.

Im also really curious to see how things go for people who are starting out bow hunting instead of gun hunting. Will you folks struggle with the same stuff I have or will having a blank slank to start make it easier? Should be fun to find out.

DapperDraculaDeer fucked around with this message at 00:41 on Aug 11, 2020

Chaosfeather
Nov 4, 2008



I'm especially interested in archery chat, too. I vastly prefer rifles and shotgun slugs to an arrow, but mostly because it's harder for me to gently caress up in a way that makes the life of the animal absolutely horrible with a huge bullet over an arrow sticking out of a critter. Props to the people who can do it on public land, I'm much less impressed by people who hire a guide or do it on private land.

I mean sure, you get an animal and it counts, but you're really not learning all you can about the animal before making a single shot attempt. But I'm super biased. Also it costs $$$$$.

I've been a little slow to catch up but I have learned a couple of things. Behold!



This spring I had the pleasant opportunity to go hunting with fellow goons Andamac and Ryanrs, in which we pursued duck, a single coot, and a handful of pheasants and chukar.

Since I botched the preservation of my first duck a while back, I let the professionals handle my second duck. Pheasants I have had the pleasure to take a few times though, so I was ready to play with my own attempts.



As of right now this is as far as I've gotten on the skulls. I'm used to cleaning deer skulls and I am incredibly frustrated by how delicate many of these bones are. As you can see I managed to punch a hole in the back of the eyesocket to the brain case on the middle skull, which is a chukar. Although it made cleaning the brain case much easier it is definitely a damaged product now. Whoops.

I did find that cleaning the brains out with a q tip were much, much better than trying to scoop them out with toothpicks. Definitely cooked these babies twice so far - once to cook everything to make it easier to de-flesh, and a second time to further degrease it once I removed the brains. This is achieved with some dishwashing powder for the degreaser and some extremely hot water. Just boil em in the...bird head soup... for a bit before continuing.


So I have two pheasant corpses, one skinned whole and one in pieces. Since I use the feathers to tie flies for fishing I'm much more practiced in parts, and since I intend on giving these as a gift to my friend DapperDraculaDeer I wanted to try both methods. If I pull off the whole skin it'll be much more impressive, but the parts are a good fallback.


All of these parts had the benefit of being frozen asap after leaving the bird, so in order to thaw them I gave them a bath in lukewarm water. Once they were properly thawed, I gave them a bath in warm water and liquid dish soap - degreasing, cleaning up the majority of blood, feces and other debris from the body parts, and overall giving it a nice clean look.


Now I'll admit I've had a problem here before - if you let the feathers dry on their own they get all gross and scraggly, which is something that doesn't happen on a live bird. After looking up some youtube videos on how museums do it for their specimens, I've discovered the magic of the hair dryer.


A hair dryer on a low setting takes a while to take care of all of the downy and underlying feathers (each one of these attempts takes hours depending on how wet they are) but the gentle setting of low keeps the feathers from being blown off of the skin, and the less intense heat means I can move my hands around to better angle the feathers for the ultimate fluff. A living bird would normally do this themselves getting sun-dried, with lots of minute adjustments on their skin and fluffing up once in a while. Simulating that really got these dry, and I dried a bit of the skin itself for good measure.


Q-tips have been essential to packing salt into the hard-to-reach pockets, such as the legs and the wings, but have been quite effective at salting these. I pack them with as much salt as I can, ziplock baggy them and place them in the dry outdoor closet I have in my apartment.

Salt does need changing though, as it can only absorb so much water. I leave the first salt in there for 24 hours, then completely trash, blow-dry the corpse again (you'll find it has gotten wet in the attempt to suck all the moisture out of the body), re-salt and re-seal it. The next salt application I left for a week.


The parts (including the deer hoof) have gotten impressively dried, to the point it's starting to be difficult to position them. I've repeated the unsalt-drying-resalt method, but this time with the parts I've positioned them and am leaving them open in their arid environment. I've placed thin nails and pins between the feathers and talons in order to encourage them to harden in this pose and hope it'll look quite impressive when done.


The full skins continue to suck out a lot of moisture, which I suspect is from leaving the legs and wings attached and hollowing out those limbs in an effort to dry them. Since the process seems slower I've re-bagged them packed with salt after the drying today and will leave them in the bags for another week and check on them.

So far no rot, no smell past the 'animal skin/flesh' smell and honestly blow-drying it makes it smell like I'm making bird jerky, so it makes me a little hungry.

This is the most adventurous I've gotten in apartment taxidermy, and I'm thankful my roommate is tolerant of my habits to allow this to happen. I know a huge encouragement in this case is 'gets the dead animal parts out of the freezer so we can put more food in there".

Hopefully I'll leave them alone for a week and they'll be much closer to being ready to go, but I'm not quite sure how long it will take to get all that moisture out of the full bodies.

CarpenterWalrus
Mar 30, 2010

The Lazy Satanist


DapperDraculaDeer posted:



Im also really curious to see how things go for people who are starting out bow hunting instead of gun hunting. Will you folks struggle with the same stuff I have or will having a blank slank to start make it easier? Should be fun to find out.

As the dummy who's decided to learn hunting and archery at roughly the same time, I would be happy to report my experiences as they happen. It'll be a while, though, since there is no way I'll be ready to go out this year. I'll be more active in the archery thread for the foreseeable future, but I appreciate all the input so far, in this thread and I'll be lurking and asking questions as I go.

Today, I learned that for the type of game I'm interested in, I'll most likely be using blunt heads. Does anyone here have any experience with these? Do they require special practice as opposed to pointed heads? Are there styles/brands that work better on rabbits vs squirrels vs grouse?

Any and all guidance is appreciated!

CarpenterWalrus
Mar 30, 2010

The Lazy Satanist


My bow came in today, a week and a half ahead of schedule. I don't have any arrows yet, and was thinking about getting dedicated target practice arrows. Should I get the arrows I'll be using in the field to practice with, or will it make much of a difference?

Ophidian
Jan 12, 2005

Woo WOO, Look a Parrot...
LOOK AT IT!


Train with what you plan on taking game/competing with.

To a point a slightly different outer diameter or weight wonít make a huge difference but for the sake of consistency itís best to use the same setup for arrows.

CarpenterWalrus
Mar 30, 2010

The Lazy Satanist


Ophidian posted:

Train with what you plan on taking game/competing with.

To a point a slightly different outer diameter or weight wonít make a huge difference but for the sake of consistency itís best to use the same setup for arrows.

Awesome, thanks!

iammeandsoareyou
Oct 27, 2007
Nothing to see here

So for those of us who live where cool weather is a relative concept and winter is not guaranteed, scent control is obviously an issue. I ran across this guy's system of "smoking" his hunting gear as a method of scent masking. According to the article he does his hunting in Florida and N.C. Has anyone tried this system?

https://www.mossyoak.com/our-obsession/blogs/wild-hogs/hunting-for-deer-and-wild-hogs-in-florida

DapperDraculaDeer
Aug 4, 2007

Shut up, Nick! You're not Twilight.

I really struggle to wrap my brain around the way animals perceptive scent and use that perception to assess danger. If I remember right whitetail have something like 300,000,000 smell receptors in their nose. Compare that to 5,000,000 for humans. Its just such an alien approach to perceiving the world that its difficult for us to comprehend.

But, as best I can tell doing things like smoking your clothes is just going to put one more smell out there for the animal to process. It creates a type of olfactory "noise" that might work on the smell glands of mere humans, but for a game animal with that many smell receptors it is going to do very little do confuse them. They are going to pickup the smell of smoke, sure, but they are already processing hundreds of smells at the time so one more is nothing to them. If your body is giving off any scent at all, and it pretty much always is, they are going to catch it.

Outrail
Jan 4, 2009

www.sapphicrobotica.com


I've got a Driza-bone coat that I wear sometimes. It's waterproof cotton impregnated with lanolin (sheep/wool oil). It's pretty great and warm and smells just like a sheep so I wear that sometimes hoping it'll mask me a little bit. Then I think about the wisdom of smelling like a sheep in grizzly habitat and reconsider my genius.

Flatland Crusoe
Jan 12, 2011

Great White Hunter
Master Race

Let me explain why I'm better than you


iammeandsoareyou posted:

So for those of us who live where cool weather is a relative concept and winter is not guaranteed, scent control is obviously an issue. I ran across this guy's system of "smoking" his hunting gear as a method of scent masking. According to the article he does his hunting in Florida and N.C. Has anyone tried this system?

https://www.mossyoak.com/our-obsession/blogs/wild-hogs/hunting-for-deer-and-wild-hogs-in-florida

I think scent control in hot weather is nearly impossible if you arenít walking very short distances to a fixed stand. You really have to resign yourself to hunting the wind IMO.

I do think it helps to wash your clothes in scent free detergent after every trip in hot weather, but thatís as simple as using sportwash. You will be more definitively busted by smell if you can smell your own clothes. Regular washing your hunting clothes often causes a few seconds of confusion long enough to get a shot.

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ThePopeOfFun
Feb 15, 2010


My dad, big time Hunter, stores all hunting clothes in baking soda. Including under clothes/shirts/underwear.

Morning of, showers with specific de-scenting soap.

After, washes clothes in de-scenting detergent and they go back into bins with baking soda. I don't know if this is necessary, but it helps.


I was hoping to get out this year, but I'm moving again so it's not going to happen.

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