TRUGLO, A Broadhead For Every Need
By Patrick Meitin
By now most serious bowhunters have heard of TRUGLO’s new lineup of Titanium X Broadheads. These remarkable broadheads were designed with input from Bruce Barrie of past Rocky Mountain Broadhead fame, milled from Grade 5 titanium to include TRU-CUT cut-on-contact tips and holding stainless steel TRU-THRU .031-inch-thick, precision-sharpened blades. Titanium provides the strength of steel with the weight of aluminum—in other words, the best of both worlds. The TRU-CUT tip assures deeper penetration and bone-splitting performance. TRU-THRU blades includes spooky sharpness needed for superior penetration and fast kills on the toughest big game. All are spin and sharpness tested for assured field-point flight and devastating results on game. Each model comes in three packs with free broadhead wrench.
There are six models included in this new lineup, each filling an important niche in the bowhunting program. So let’s take this opportunity to investigate the inherent advantages of each design and where they best fit into your bowhunting pursuits.
White-tailed deer, especially tough old bucks, have a tenacity for life reviling a desert shrub. They’re also regularly hunted in thronged vegetation which complicates tracking efforts. The new standard in whitetail coverts has become a wide-cutting mechanical design, providing pin-point accuracy during the most demanding shots, and opening a world of hurt and blood-spilling wound channels which result in faster kills and blood trails that are much easier to follow under demanding conditions.
For whitetails taken with average equipment (according to most bow manufacturers I talk with, this means 65 pounds at 29 inches, or 65#@29”), it’s pretty tough to beat TRUGLO’s Titanium X 2-blade mechanical. It includes a solid-titanium ferrule like the rest, including TRU-CUT tip to start penetration off right. The two scissoring blades include a torque-balancing design that start cutting instantly on impact, self adjusting to push around bone without shedding energy (which also means it’s impossible for blades to open in flight), opening to a full 2 3/16-inch cutting diameter through soft tissue to inflict maximum damage. The blades remain folded flat against the ferrule in flight for superior accuracy, a design feature making them welcomed for archers who invest the time and effort required to become long-range proficient.
For those shooting energy above the national average (like my own standard 70#@30”) the Titanium X 4-blade offers yet more devastating, cross-cutting action. The 4-blade model works on the same principle as the 2-blade but inflicts twice as much damage. The cutting TRU-CUT starts penetration out right, opening to 1 ¾ inches to spill copious amounts of blood.
BIG Big Game
Mechanicals will certainly get the job done on the largest big game, like elk and moose, but I choose to prepare for real-world, worst-case scenarios, like the substantial bone comprising an elk’s shoulder. When game is larger than 250-pound Midwest whitetails, I turn to fixed-blade broadheads. TRUGLO has you covered there as well, including Titanium X 3- and 4-blade versions.
The TRUGLO Titanium X 3-blade includes an industry-standard 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter. This is a cutting diameter offering an ideal balance of easy tuning from today’s fastest compound bows, but also enough cutting diameter to produce ample trailing blood. With its blade-aligned TRU-CUT cut-on-contact tip and TRU-THRU sharp blades these heads slick through game like butter.
I’m also intrigued by the Titanium X 4-blade because it mirrors lines of the traditional broadheads I started bowhunting with, but with replaceable main and crosscutting bleeder blades. The TRU-CUT tip streamlines right into cutting edges to enhance penetration. It includes 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter. It’s a head that would give me utmost confidence while chasing bugling bull elk.
These fixed designs also make excellent options for smaller or weaker bowhunters—women, youth or elderly shooters with achy joints—while shooting average game such as whitetails.
TRUGLO didn’t forget the crossbow enthusiast while designing the Titanium X line. Crossbow-specific models include a 1 ¾-inch-wide 4-blade mechanical and 1 3/16 4-blade mimicking vertical-bow design, but including larger-diameter ferrules to better match larger-diameter crossbow bolts. Modern crossbows give you energy to burn, making the 4-blade mechanical ideally suited for blasting through any sized game, even at extreme ranges. The 4-blade fixed is perfect in states where mechanical designs aren’t yet legal, or for added insurance when hunting the largest big game at extended ranges.
Average, he-man or limited kinetic energy vertical bow shooters, or crossbow aficionados; TRUGLO has your broadhead needs covered with the new Titanium X series!
Precise Rest Setup for Improved Bowhunting Accuracy
By Patrick Meitin
Of all the moving parts of a bow and arrow outfit setting up and tuning an arrow rest is trickiest. You can leave this chore to a professional archery technician of course but I highly recommend learning to conduct this task on your own. Learning to tune your own bow saves money, but more importantly assures independence should the pro shop get swamped with work in the heat of hunting season, or your rig break down far from home during an important hunt. Setting up your own equipment also instills confidence that it is done as carefully as possible.
With that spirit in mind, let’s get started.
Before you begin always read the instructions for your rest. I’ve been setting up and tuning bows (including a couple stints in pro shops) for three decades, but still find this step helpful. Every design is unique, and I often glean time-saving advice by perusing instructions. Too, before you begin assure your arrows are properly spined for your draw length and draw weight, consulting manufacturer arrow-selection charts if unsure.
The general rule is to set launcher height so a nocked arrow passes through the middle of the mounting taps/holes when viewed from the side. Nocking an arrow is important, as launcher arms are spaced differently between various models. With a drop-away rest this might require disconnecting the activation cord (limb-driven design, spring continually tensioned upward) or wedging a piece of foam beneath the launcher to hold it in the shooting position (buss-cable operated system, spring continually tensioned downward). Ballpark is fine, as nocking point will be adjusted finely for clean flight.
Center-shot refers to launcher arms positioned so a nocked arrow viewed from behind, sighting along the cam flats, rides straight behind the bowstring. In other words, during launch the arrow is pushed perfectly straight by cams and bowstring. Roughing center-shot involves exactly that: sighting along cam flats, loosening the windage adjustment bolt and moving the rest left/right until the arrow rides exactly behind the bowstring nock to point. If done carefully this is often good enough to start, but I take an extra step to assure perfection.
Attach a laser center-shot tool, nock an arrow and align the laser with the nocking point/serving center. Rotate the mechanism to assure the laser rides down the center of the shaft and through the sharp tip of a field point. At this point the rest can be adjusted no finer.
Sans laser center-shot tool, you can also center a nocked arrow by measuring from riser edge to arrow edge in front and behind the riser, adjusting windage until two equal measurements are discovered.
Correlating Nocking Point
A simple T-square nocking-point tool is then used to assure your D-loop or nocking point is positioned properly. Generally, release aids allow a dead-zero to 1/8-inch high nocking point, while finger shooters might position nocking points up to ¼-inch high due to the added pressure of two fingers under, one over.
To fine tune use a bow vice plus bow and arrow level set, as launcher fork depth and arrow diameter can affect how precise readings are with primitive T-square tools. Place the bow in a vice and use bow level to level bow precisely. Then nock an arrow, attach the arrow level, level the arrow and mark the proper nocking-point position with silver felt pen or white correction fluid. This offers the most precise nocking point possible.
Check your work via paper tuning. This involves standing 5 to 6 feet before a taut face of newsprint or butcher paper stretched across a simple frame and stapled into place and shooting an arrow through. The tears produced provide insight into how arrows are exiting your bow. The goal is a clean bullet hole with three clean fletching cuts. Tears to the right (right-hand, reverse for left-hand shooters) indicate arrows that are under-spined or a point that’s too heavy. Correct by choosing a stiffer (or shorter) arrow, reducing draw weight, reducing point weight or adjusting launcher windage inward (toward riser). Tears to the left indicate an arrow that’s too stiff or a point that’s too light. Correct by choosing a lighter-spined (or longer) arrow, increasing point weight, increasing draw weight (when possible), or moving the launcher arms outward (away from riser). High or low tears are an indication of an improperly positioned nocking point, corrected by moving nocking point in the opposite direction of the tear; lower for high tears, higher for low. Work in small increments and patient trial-and-error fashion until clean tears result.
The Perfect Release … For You
By Aaron Carter
Are you in the market for a mechanical release? Here’s what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
For many archers, abundant consideration goes into selecting a seamless bow setup; however, seldom is much emphasis placed on a component that’s essential for extracting the utmost performance from the aforementioned outfit—the release. To attain top-notch accuracy with any bow requires a clean, consistent discharge of the arrow, and on a high-performance compound bow, employing a mechanical release is the best method to achieve such. With so many styles from which to choose, how do you know which release is the best for you? Read on.
Of the releases utilized by archery hunters, the overwhelming majority falls within the index finger- and thumb-activated categories, with the former being the most popular—for good reason. Why? Typically, index finger-activated releases have an attachment system consisting of hook-and-loop fasteners, buckles, or some combination of the two. TRUGLO’s unique and user-friendly BOA closure system (available separately to upgrade your current connection system, too), that affixes it to the archer’s wrist, keeping it nearby and ready at all times. This is obviously an important consideration when hunting. As the release is secured to the archer, it cannot be dropped from a tree stand. Unlike a handheld release, which the fingers must hold during and after the draw, the wrist strap of an index finger-activated release places the drawing burden on the wrist.
As a class, index finger-activated-releases are quick and easy to attach to the bowstring—even in low-light conditions. Considering that most trophy-class animals appear suddenly and in diminished light, this is significant.
Index finger-activated releases use one or two jaws to attach directly to the bowstring (not suggested), D-loop, or metal nocking loop and, true to their name, are activated by the index or “trigger” finger. Archers who hunt with also firearms will find their operation instinctual and comforting; there’s nothing new to learn. And, like firearms, high-quality models—such as TRUGLO’s Nitrus —have a trigger that’s customizable for both sensitivity and travel. Additionally, these releases enable the user to shorten or lengthen the release head. Due to their numerous benefits, as well as myriad makes and price points, index finger-activated- (wrist-style) releases are the best choice for most hunters—especially new archers, those with compromised strength, and hunters who don’t practice sufficiently to master a target-style release.
Some archery hunters use thumb-activated releases which have features found on index finger-activated and target-style releases. Most thumb-activated releases are handheld—like tension/hinge- and resistance-activated “target” models. For the archer, this means back, shoulder, and arm muscles are used during the draw cycle, finger strength is still needed to hold the release. The string, which is held by a loop or jaw, is released by pressing the trigger with the thumb. It takes some practice to get used to—especially for firearm hunters. However, after sustained use most archers tend to stick with thumb releases.
Except for models featuring a wrist strap or lanyard, or are retrofitted with one, thumb-activated releases need to be attached to the bowstring (and thus left dangling) or placed in a coat or vest pocket. As such, there exists a risk of inadvertently dropping it from a tree stand, or not having it immediately accessible when needed. But, the benefit is that there’s nothing attached to one’s person for lengthy periods, which can also clang on the side of a tree stand. Price-wise, most thumb-activated releases are typically more expensive than index finger-activated releases.
Typically utilized in competition, a small segment of archers are now using back-tension/hinge- and resistance-activated releases for hunting. Attached to the bowstring, D-loop, or metal nocking loop in a manner identical to other releases, these finger-held variants don’t have a “trigger”. As the name suggests, the back-tension-activated release is activated after the bow is drawn and the back muscles are tightened (i.e. shoulder blades cinched), which causes the hand and release to naturally rotate. The rotation permits the string to free itself in a surprise manner—similar to that of a surprise break of a lightweight rifle trigger—so that one cannot flinch. Resistance-activated releases, on the other hand, fire from a build up of pressure and not rotation of the hand, or as Carter Enterprises explains, “pulling through an amount of poundage greater than your holding weight.” There’s now a new generation of mechanical releases that combine both release options of thumb- and resistance-activated releases, all in one model. Because of the nature of their operation, target-style releases require considerable practice to perfect, and even then they’re not the best choices for hunting because of the amount of movement associated with the sport—especially from an elevated position on a tiny platform, and where proper form is hard to achieve. All it would take for a poor shot would be to unconsciously make a wrong movement. Some hinge-type models have a click feature that signals to the user that it’s ready to fire; however, this wouldn’t be a good idea for hunting, as it could inadvertently alert game animals, too. As these releases are intended for competition, user adjustability is guaranteed; however, finding the perfect setting takes time and practice. As for other benefits and detractions, those of these release types are similar to thumb-activated releases.
In the end, the release that’s best suited for you will depend on a host of considerations, many of which were mentioned within this article. Once you’ve considered these, the choice will be clear. For me it’s the TRUGLO Detonator index finger-activated release. How about you?
Picking the “perfect” crossbow optic isn’t as straightforward or easy as you might think, as there’s a lot to consider. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
By Aaron Carter
The crossbow market differs from others in that all-inclusive “packages” dominate, and for good reason, too. Rather than having to piecemeal his or her way to a range- and field-capable crossbow, the bundler gets all of the items necessary for practice and hunting (except broadheads) with one buy. Included among the many articles is generally found some sort of optic for sighting; except for some bowfishing-specific and low-cost models, seldom are modern crossbows equipped with open sights. But, what if you’re displeased with the pre-packaged optic, the crossbow didn’t come with one, or it no longer works (for one of myriad reasons)? Below is a primer for purchasing a new, improved, or first crossbow optic.
The traditional-type optic rules the marketplace. Not only do these crossbow scopes resemble and function similarly to their firearm-mounted brethren, aiming is also by way of a crosshair (or multiple crosshairs and/or geometric shapes, such as triangles, or some combination thereof). Scopes with multiple aiming points (i.e. trajectory compensating reticles), such as TRUGLO’s TRU-BRITE XTREME, are preferable to those with a single one because you’re provided with exact holds at various ranges. Why? Despite the high velocities attained by modern crossbows, bolts still drop considerably—especially at the crossbow’s furthest practical ranges.
Key to accurate aiming points, however, is using a scope that enables you to match your crossbow’s velocity to a specific, preprogrammed trajectory setting on the second-focal-plane scope. Found on the magnification band, this feature provides precise aiming points for multiple ranges—most go from 20 yds. to 50 yds.—based upon the trajectory of your setup (i.e. crossbow, bolt, and tip/broadhead). For this reason, using published velocities by manufacturers isn’t “good enough”; you must chronograph the setup that you intend to use afield. It takes only minutes, and chronographs today are relatively inexpensive. I prefer Competition Electronics chronographs, which retail for around $100 and can calculate the velocities of everything from bows to high-velocity rifles.
Once set, you’re typically ready to shoot (not necessarily hunt) out to the scope’s maximum range without guessing holdovers. Verify the holds, though. Do not change the setting or the aiming points won’t be accurate. Too, if you change your setup in a way that affects the velocity you must chronograph it again. To eliminate confusion, some such optics have the distances (i.e 20, 30, 40, 50) listed beside the aiming points, though this isn’t necessary.
Your crossbow scope should be no less feature-filled than a riflescope. For example, it should be at least water resistant, though waterproof is preferred, as well as shock resistant and fog proof. Moreover, demand that it have fully multi-coated lenses and consistent, repeatable “clicks.” It’s also nice to have an illuminated reticle, particularly if you’re hunting from a ground blind during low-light conditions or hogs at night (where legal). These are usually rheostat controlled and have multiple colors from which to choose.
Surely you’re wondering if your riflescope can pull double-duty on your crossbow. To this I must say “no.” Standard riflescopes typically have a single aiming point, which would mandate zeroing and firing at a single distance. Do you want to be that limited in the field? Since you’re relying on hemorrhaging to kill an animal, not the tremendous terminal ballistics of a high-velocity rifle bullet, precision is key. Therefore, relying on “holding on hair” or some other imprecise compensating method can be viewed as unethical. Even riflescopes with trajectory compensating reticles wouldn’t necessarily correlate to a crossbow’s trajectories. Stick to crossbow scopes.
Dot- and Reflex-Style Optics
In general, dot- and reflex-style optics have grown in popularity—especially in the shooting sports. But, they’re not as popular for crossbows … yet. Unlike traditional-type crossbow scopes, the aforementioned optics are generally both lightweight and unobtrusive. For example, TRUGLO’s 1X 34 mm DUAL-COLOR red-dot sight weighs a trivial 5.5 ozs., and the 1X 30 mm TRITON is only 7 ozs. The TRU-BRITE XTREME scope is more than double the weight of the latter. The eye quickly focuses on the glowing aiming point, and that illumination is invaluable in compromised lighting. The only downfall is that there’s no magnification, which makes sighting at-distance more difficult than with the traditional-style scopes.
As for the reasons mentioned in the section above, single-aiming-point, dot-style sights that are meant for firearms shouldn’t be affixed to your crossbow; instead, select one that has multiple aiming points (i.e. trajectory compensating system) that get smaller as they descend. Why is this important? Remember, there’s no magnification so you don’t want an oversize dot to take longish shots. One of the best compensating systems I’ve seen on a dot-style sight is found on the TRUGLO DUAL-COLOR, as you can select from one of four speed settings to provide the correct aiming points for your crossbow. Will it be as precise as selecting the exact velocity of your crossbow? No, but it’ll be very close (unless your bow is way outside of the norm with regard to velocity). As mentioned previously, you want your dot- or reflex-style sight to be rugged and dependable.
Once you’ve selected your favored design, the only thing left to do is mount the optic and adjust it, then spend time practicing. Then, come fall, you’ll be confident to take the shot at that once-in-a-lifetime buck, bull, or bear.
By Brad Fenson
I have to admit that I’m extremely fussy when it comes to which mechanical release to use with my bow. I believe it comes from my long-held affinity for marksmanship values stemming from my years of hunting and shooting rifles. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind—the better the trigger, the more accurate and consistent the shot.
A release is an interesting device, capable of holding back extreme weight with a simple hook or caliper. Releasing that weight smoothly and consistently is paramount to anyone being a good archer. The release is likely one of the biggest advancements in archery, as anyone that used to shoot fingers can attest.
When I was at the Archery Trade Association show earlier this year I checked out some new releases and used them to shoot a variety of bows. I learned a few things and have now become even fussier about what I’ll use.
If you’re looking for a new release, try to compare an open-hook with a caliper or jaw-design release. The best way to narrow down your preference is to look at the options.
The TRUGLO Detonator is streamlined, fast and accurate. It uses an open-hook single-jaw design for fast and easy loading, especially with string loops. Shooting the release, I found it easy to attach to the string loop without even looking, which could save time and reduce movement when hunting. The trigger was sweet and broke clean and crisp. The shooter does have the ability to adjust the trigger pull to make it extremely lightweight.
The release just felt good in the hand, which is one of the biggest considerations. The forward trigger position adds safety and draw advantages. Plus, the release is made to last with stainless steel wear-free jaws and firing mechanism, and the head itself rotates fully to ensure there is never torque on the string.
My favorite feature of any TRUGLO release is the BOA technology in the release strap. A dial and wire system increases tension on the strap to hold it in place. You simply pop the dial up to release the tension to take the release off or reposition it. The wrist strap itself is easy to adjust with the BOA system, and will fit everyone from junior shooters to people with large wrists. The BOA system was designed for comfort and allows for unlimited adjustment to accommodate different custom fits for clothing or changing conditions—especially in the colder months.
One of the features I liked best on the Detonator was the one-inch of adjustment in the connection rod, allowing you to custom fit the release to your exacting standards. The adjustment increments—six holes spaced at 3/16th of an inch—are extremely fine, allowing for an easy fit your hand, shooting style, and trigger finger.
The rod on the Detonator is notably superior to many other brands, which often offer no adjustment, limited adjustment, or require threading or cutting to shorten the rod-to-trigger length.
When you are glassing, traveling, or just want the release out of the way, there is pivot that locks the release up or down, keeping it out of the way when doing anything besides shooting. Simply click it into the center position when you want to shoot.
Any seasoned archer will immediately see the quality and engineering in the NITRUS line of releases. They are similar looking to the Detonator line, but have a dual caliper jaw design for smooth consistent release from the string or D-loop.
The NITRUS is also available with the BOA or Velcro versions. As described in the Detonator line, this Cadillac of releases comes with the same rod/yoke adjustments.
If you’ve been looking for an upgrade to your current release, the NITRUS is the one you’ll want to check out. It is the top of the line, and is worth a look.
SPEED•SHOT XS BOA
The Speed Shot XS BOA has the dual-jaw design that also works great on D-loops. Like the Detonator, there is over one inch of length adjustment to custom fit the release for any sized shooter and five color matching covers. They also offer the Speed Shot XS BOA in a junior model with specialized wrist strap to accommodate smaller shooters.
The BOA system has been a favorite of mine for many years, as it allows me to keep the release at the perfect length no matter what the conditions.
The caliper or dual-jaw release itself is compact and easy to attach. Simply pull the trigger to open the jaws and grab the D-loop or string.
The Speed Shot XS BOA is an economical option for those looking for a mechanical release. ThSpeed Shot XS BOA is a great entry-level release or one for a junior shooter that might want to look at different options as they grow.
Dutch Carp Cakes
by Brad Fenson
Could you imagine the unfortunate situation of having to scrounge for food during World War II? I can’t help but think of the people of the Netherlands and how they struggled to put a meal on the table during the incredibly difficult times. Obviously nothing would go to waste and being known for extensive waterways, which also produced coarse fish, they often found what others might consider unpalatable poisson is what would sustain and fulfill people for days.
The Netherlands is also recognized for their incredible dairy and cheese products. Perhaps what they are not as well known for, are the potatoes and corn. Now, put it all together and imagine a monstrous carp that was big enough for five dinners along with leftover boiled potatoes and corn. It was a recipe that we would call “Dutch fish cakes” in modern terms, but was nothing more than fancy leftovers at the time. Netherlands is home to a variety of fish species, including bullhead, mullet, and different species of carp, and if anyone was lucky enough to obtain one, it definitely got turned into a meal.
I bring this up, to reflect on a possible “what-if” scenario around if people who lived along the Illinois River were in the same situation, looking for sustenance and nourishment in whatever was available around them. The exploding population of invasive carp is palatable protein if people would try to find a way to cook it. Families and communities could be supplied with an ample amount of freshwater fish with white flakes that would make you want to cook leftovers for a week. Picture this – avid sportsmen and women tailgating with their favorite “carp cakes” as the center of attention.
Hint – carp are known to be very bony. The best thing to do is fillet them and remove as many bones as possible. You can then run the fish through a food processor or grinder to make remaining bones unnoticeable, much like they do with commercial fish sticks you would buy in the store. Another trick is to put poached or steamed fish into a coarse screen and work the fish into a bowl, leaving the bones behind.
- 3 cups of cooked white fish fillets
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup finely diced onion
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Shape into patties and fry as is, or for a crunchier taste, press each side of the patty into panko crumbs or cornmeal.
- Fry patties in ¼ inch of vegetable oil on medium heat until golden brown, turning once.
Bringing Home the Fish
TRUGLO, Inc. has new kits available for bow fishermen that make it easy to get started bow fishing with a new archery passion. And, trust me, it will become a passion. The TRUGLO Spring-Shot Bowfishing Kit includes two SPEED•SHOT™ bowfishing arrows, as well as a SPRING•SHOT™ bowfishing arrow rest. The unique arrow rest provides a stable full-containment launching pad for arrows, and it isn’t affected by water due to its stainless steel spring-coil construction. When time is of the essence, the arrows and arrow rest allow for a quick draw and release. When you do arrow a fish, the pivoting barb on the end of the SPEED•SHOT™ arrow allows for quick fish removal. The barbs also provide improved penetration on your scaled quarry. This is tough gear to withstand the rigors of bowfishing on the fly.
This simple approach to shooting form will improve accuracy, consistency, and fix problems you may not even know you have!
by Rob Reaser
Let us start this conversation by stating the obvious: there is no single, magic bullet to improving bow-shooting accuracy.
As any experienced bowhunter will tell you, many elements are involved in properly executing a shot. Stance, grip, draw, breathing, hold, aiming, release, and follow-through all contribute to the accuracy or lack thereof for every shot you take. Add to that the equipment variables (sighting system and release type…assuming all else being equal), and it’s easy to see there is a lot that can go wrong between nocking an arrow and releasing it.
Think of the moment of release as the capstone of building a pyramid. Aside from the follow through, everything involved in making the shot builds up to the moment you break the trigger. All of those elements mentioned are the foundation stones of a properly executed release. If one of those stones fails, a chain reaction of failures can ensue and your shot will suffer.
I’ll be the first to admit guilt of having not always shot with proper form. I got into archery as a seven year-old shooting in the backyard with a 15-lb. fiberglass bow, and it went from there. My informal entry into the sport meant that I did not learn correct form and, as a result, many bad habits followed me through the years. I did not realize I had one of those habits until I picked my traditional bow back up a few years ago.
Shooting the stick-and-string gave me fits. My arrows were correctly spined and flying straight, and my aiming and other shot essentials were spot-on, but all too often, and for no apparent reason, my arrows seemed to go wherever they wanted.
Something was wrong, and it was time to swallow my pride and go back to the basics. That is when I discovered that little thing called back tension.
I did not really discover back tension—more like I rediscovered it. I had known that using the back muscles (primarily the major and minor rhomboids) was the correct way to draw and hold a bow, but thanks to years of shooting with an improper form, I never developed the technique or even thought about it. I just drew my bow and let fly. Once I picked up the recurve, however, I knew that way of shooting wasn’t going to “fly” anymore.
So, I made a conscious effort to do things right—and I can tell you from first-hand experience that until you try to do it right, you may not realize that you have been doing it wrong all along. I sure did not.
How do you draw and hold anchor with your back muscles? It sounds like a simple thing, but you do need to think about it. Many sources describe how to do this, but what you are attempting to do is contract the short and powerful rhomboid muscles that connect the scapula (shoulder blade) to your spinal column.
The way I learned to do it was to think of my drawing arm as an inanimate hook—meaning I do not use any of my upper or lower arm muscles in the course of drawing and holding the bow at anchor. If you can think of your arm this way, you will necessarily draw and hold your bow with only your back muscles. Try this a few times and once you feel it, you will understand.
I immediately realized the benefits of true back tension when shooting my traditional bow. My stability at anchor seemed to improve ten-fold, creep (the tendency for the bowstring to move forward while at anchor) seriously diminished, and those erratic shots disappeared.
I took this lesson learned from shooting my recurve and applied it to my compound bow. Now, if you have shot both traditional and compound, you may think there is a large separation between the two in terms of isolating the draw and hold forms with back tension, but there is not. You use the same muscles the same way. It is just that the massive let-off afforded by the compound reduces the “felt tension” when compared to holding with a traditional bow. In fact, the let-off of a compound bow makes it even easier (at least for me) to isolate the back muscles because the resistance is so much less than with a traditional bow.
Back to the pyramid example we started with. Your foundation blocks are solid (stance, grip, and now draw and hold) thanks to the proper application of back muscle tension. At draw, all tension is in your back and not your arm, which is as it should be. Your draw arm is a “dead hook” and your aim and body is stable. Now it is all about the release.
When I say “release,” I mean both the act of releasing the string and the mechanism by which you release it. If you are correctly applying back tension, this is where an index finger trigger release like the Speed Shot™ XS BOA® truly shines.
The BOA® mechanism allows you to snug the wrist strap just right—neither too tight nor too loose. Because of this perfect and adjustable fit, the Speed Shot™ XS BOA® minimizes muscle tension in the wrist and forearm. This further isolates your back tension and facilitates proper follow-through upon release.
The key advantage of the combined application of back tension and a quality trigger release like the Speed Shot™ XS BOA® is you now have the ingredients for the “surprise release.”
Whether you are shooting a firearm or a bow, the surprise release is always the goal. Anticipating the moment of release can introduce errors in shooting form and concentration, and it can lead to more serious issues such as target panic—something to avoid at all costs. With the Speed Shot™ XS BOA® and good back tension, you are better able to aim and depress the release trigger without introducing muscle movement that can disrupt either. By limiting muscle activity to the back and the index finger only, a steady trigger pull will deliver a surprise release and a proper follow-through of your release hand.
And that is what we call Launching the Perfect Release.
The Zen of a Perfectly Balanced Bow
By Patrick Meitin
Balance is everything in archery, from pure physical balance, to matching bows with ideal accessories to balance needs particular to specific conditions faced in the field. So with that in mind, let’s delve deeper into balance and how it can help you shoot better and enjoy increased bowhunting success.
A bow that balances perfectly in the hand, while at rest and full draw, is essential to top-notch accuracy. Your bow must sit up straight when cradled loosely with an open hand (I don’t like the term “grip,” because gripping is exactly what you want to avoid), a wrist sling like TRUGLO’s CENTRA SLING PRO alleviates the fear of dropping your bow on release.
You should not have to manipulate your bow in any way while aiming. This normally starts with the right stabilizer. Not all compounds are designed alike, meaning the perfect stabilizer for one bow can be poison to another. One bow might prefer, for instance, TRUGLO’s 6-inch TRU-TEC CARBON PRO with minimum weight added (4-7 ounces), while another behaves better holding an 8-inch model with maximum weight (5-8 ounces). Auditioning many models, looking for that just-right feel, is important here.
Adjustable systems give you more options in this quest. TRUGLO’s TRU-TEC CARBON PRO, for instance, comes in 6- and 8-inch models; the 6-inch including adjustable 4-7-ounce weights, the 8-inch 5-8 ounces. The brand-new TRUGLO CARBON XS (which comes with a wrist sling) is offered in 7- and 9-inch models, with 5-7-, and 5.8-7.8-ounce weight adjustment, respectively.
Finding a perfect balance sometimes requires a stabilizer to the rear of the riser, many bow companies now including standard rear-facing taps. Short stabilizer models such as the 4.6-inch, 4-ounce TRUGLO DEADENATOR XS can prove ideal here.
Physical balance is often influenced by added accessories. As an example, while a milled-aluminum, mover design like TRUGLO’s RANGE-ROVER PRO might balance one bow perfectly, another might do better wearing a feathery carbon-composite CARBON XS XTREME. Also keep in mind micro-adjust, tool-less features can come at the cost of added weight, basic dove-tail designs, like the new TRUGLO CARBON XS XTREME, typically lighter. While each has a distinct advantage, they should be viewed separately in terms of philosophy of use, and treated differently in terms of physical balance.
Arrow quivers have a big effect on bow balance—side weight that can tip balance off kilter. Two options: choose a quick-detach model with hanging loop that’s removed but kept handy while on stand, or an altogether lighter and better-balanced quiver. I recommend something like TRUGLO’s TRU-TEC LT quick-detach quiver with hanging loop for the former, TRUGLO’s CARON XS ultra-lightweight carbon composite quiver with vertical adjustment and back-set mounting bracket for the later. The other option is to simply tote fewer arrows. Full four arrow quivers—TRUGLO TUF-LOC and LOC-DOWN quivers—weigh less than hauling five or six arrow setups. And how many arrows do you realistically expect to shoot in a single hunt?
A balanced bow rig can also include matching actual needs with conditions most often encountered in the field. For example, let’s say your whitetail/tree-stand bow holds a TRUGLO RIVAL FX or CARBON HYBRID MICRO 5-pin sight. But you very rarely take a shot past 30 yards. Why add to the confusion when a simpler RIVAL HUNTER or TSX PRO SERIES 3-pin or single-pin PENDULUM SERIES sight would better suit your needs? The same can be said of limiting yourself with minimal aiming options. If you’re intent on taking shots beyond 40 or 60 yards—even if just during off-season practice—why “pin stack” or use “Kentucky windage” with pins sighted at shorter ranges, when you can choose a TRUGLO RANGE-ROVER mover good for pin-point aiming out to 100-plus yards? Each style has its own playing field. Using the appropriate sight for your hunting setup can maximize your hunting capability and efficiency.
Another common problem comes with release aids. Do you engage your release directly onto the bowstring serving beneath an eliminator button? Or do you use a string loop? Choosing the correct tool for the job increases efficiency and means you never have to take your eyes off the target. Translated this means caliper releases for direct-serving hookup, like TRUGLO’s NITRUS or more economical SPEED SHOTs, open-sear or claw design, like TRUGLO’s DETONATOR, for string loops.
Likewise, the arrow rest you choose should be dictated by the type of shooting hunting conditions demand. Full-containment, drop-away arrow rests like TRUGLO’s UP-DRAFT (limb driven), DOWN-DRAFT or CARBON XS (buss-cable driven) are wonderfully accurate, but do you really need that degree of precision when shooting nothing more than whitetail deer standing beneath stands at less than 27 yards. For long-range Western game, go with one of the drop-aways. Tree-stand hunting? You’re likely better served by a simpler full-capture rest like TRUGLO’s CARBON XS or STORM Full-Containment Arrow Rests, which are also easier to set up and maintain.
Finally, is the peep you use best suited to the shooting conditions you regularly face? For instance, a 1/8-inch TRUGLO CENTRA PRO-SERIES or CENTRA PEEP XTREME might provide precision on the summer 3D range, but at the edge of legal shooting hours, perched in a dark tree, a 3/16- or ¼-inch peep is a more practical choice, allowing you to aim confidently in poor light. The choice between 3/16- and ¼-inch really comes down to details like sight-extension length and string angle (short bows automatically move the peep farther from the eye) and maintaining a tight concentricity between peep and highlighted sight-aperture ring. In other words, a sight aperture ring that fits perfectly inside the peep can provide just as much accuracy as a single pin centered in a smaller peep. Better yet, TRUGLO’s VERSA-PEEP allows you to switch between 1/8-, 5/32- and 3/16-inch peep apertures (and three colors) as needed.
Everything worthwhile requires balance, often literally, more often figuratively. A bow that sits level in the hand automatically helps you shoot better. While choosing accessories best suited to your specific bowhunting needs assures efficiency and deadly effectiveness.
Ground Blind Basics: Tips for a Better Ground Blind Experience
By Aaron Carter
Want to hunt with archery tackle from a ground blind? Before heading afield here are a few things to ponder.
For the archer, who must get close to his quarry for an ethical shot, the ground blind is an indispensible tool. Why? Ground blinds permit the hunter to position him- or herself at the desired range for the pending shot, reduce scent dispersion (especially when combined with other odor-minimizing measures), and hide game-spooking movement. In inclement weather, they also keep the hunter comfortable longer, keeping them afield. But, as with treestands and tripods, hunting from a ground blind presents its own unique set of challenges. Here are a few things to consider before climbing inside your ground blind for the first time.
Holding The Bow/Crossbow: Ground blinds shroud the majority of action occurring within its walls; however, any movement has the potential to alert nearby game—especially whitetail deer. For this reason, the bow (or crossbow) should be in as close to “ready” position as possible. Bow stands, such as TRUGLO’s lightweight Bow Jack and Bow Jack Mini, keep the bow in the vertical position so that the bow need only be lifted for a shot. (You can actually take the shot without ever removing this compact, lightweight bow stand from your bow.) Similarly, using a two-point rifle rest, such as the Caldwell DeadShot Field Pod or one of the camera tripod-mounted models, minimizes movement and provides a rock-solid hold for an accurate shot. Making height and leveling changes to the rest for the anticipated shot during set up reduces gross changes later—again, minimizing movement.
It’s personal preference as to whether you have an arrow nocked or bolt loaded with the bow on the stand or crossbow on the rest. Due to the length of an arrow extending from an at-rest compound bow, I do not nock the arrow until I’m preparing for the shot. It’s not only less cumbersome but also safer; there’s less opportunity to get cut. For the crossbow, though, I opt to have the bolt loaded. Here’s why: When the crossbow is atop of the two-position rifle rest and positioned for the shot, the barrel will be in the open and movement to insert a bolt will be highly visible. Further, bolts seldom project beyond the front of the crossbow so there’s less potential to get accidentally cut. Make no mistake, the potential still exists so be careful. To reduce the risk, select a mechanical broadhead with no exposed sharp edges.
Quiver Placement: Whether on a compound bow or crossbow, quivers can be cumbrous and a nuisance—especially in the confines of a ground blind with a small footprint. As such, removing the quiver is among the first things that I do upon entering a blind. But, you must keep it nearby for quick and easy access. Companies, such as HME, offer accessory hook systems that attach to the fiberglass supports of hub-style ground blinds to hold accessories at the ready—including quivers. For a low-cost alternative, rigging an S-hook or attaching a small bungee cord to one of the blind’s fiberglass poles will accomplish the same goal. Key is keeping it close enough to minimize movement.
Lighted Sights: As ground blinds are intended to hide movement, the interiors of most are black. That opaque color, when combined with the flaps lowered to further reduce movement, greatly lessens the amount of ambient light accessible to the fiber-optic bow sight. For this reason, it would behoove the ardent ground blind hunter to select a fiber-optic sight with extra-long strands to capture available light, or, if legal, opt for one that has ability to utilize an LED light, which can provide the supplemental light needed to brighten the pins. Featuring lengthy fibers, large aperture, glow-in-the-dark shooter’s ring, and Pro-Brite Technology Pins, TRUGLO’s New Carbon XS™ Xtreme sight is among the best choices currently in the marketplace. Regardless of what sight you choose, pair it with a larger peep sight to allow additional light to enter. You can check-out TRUGLO for your peep sight needs too.
By no means an all-inclusive listing of considerations, this should nonetheless provide food for thought and help make you a safer, more effective ground blind hunter. Safe and happy hunting.