Category Archives: Archery

 

DSC_0045_Banner 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.

Traditional-Type Scopes

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.

A typical Bolt-drop-calibration style crossbow reticle. (This illuminated reticle is from TRUGLO’s TRU•BRITE XTREME)

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.

Dual•Color Crossbow Open Dot sight with 4 different reticles

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.

Comparing Releases
By Brad Fenson
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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.

DETONATOR

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.

TRUGLO Detonator with BOA system

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.

NITRUS

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

Speed Shot XS BoaThe 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 Fensoncarp_cakes_wide

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.

carp cakes brad fenson IMG_5359The 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.

carp cakes brad fenson IMG_5354Hint – 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.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of cooked white fish fillets
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 12 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

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Shape into patties and fry as is, or for a crunchier taste, press each side of the patty into panko crumbs or cornmeal.
  3. Fry patties in ¼ inch of vegetable oil on medium heat until golden brown, turning once.

Serves 8-10

Bringing Home the Fish

TRUGLOCARP_FeaturedTRUGLO, 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

launching the perfect release lead

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.

launching the perfect release back_tension

Drawing and holding with back tension centers on the major and minor rhomboid muscles that connect the scapulas to the spinal column. Use these muscle for improved stability, form, and shot consistency.

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 TRUGLO Speed Shot™ XS BOA® index finger trigger release is ideal for maximizing proper back tension form, especially when custom-adjusted. The Speed Shot™ XS BOA® allows you to adjust not only the wrist strap for optimal comfort and position, the trigger assembly can be adjusted for length of pull, and you can adjust the trigger pull weight to fit your shooting style.

The TRUGLO Speed Shot™ XS BOA® index finger trigger release is ideal for maximizing proper back tension form, especially when custom-adjusted. The Speed Shot™ XS BOA® allows you to adjust not only the wrist strap for optimal comfort and position, the trigger assembly can be adjusted for length of pull, and you can adjust the trigger pull weight to fit your shooting style.

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.”

Notice how the Speed Shot™ XS BOA®, when properly adjusted to the shooter, requires only the index finger to execute the shot. This makes it easy to execute a surprise release, and facilitates proper follow-through upon release.

Notice how the Speed Shot™ XS BOA®, when properly adjusted to the shooter, requires only the index finger to execute the shot. This makes it easy to execute a surprise release, and facilitates proper follow-through upon 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

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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.

Physical Balance

A bow that balances perfectly in the hand, while at rest and full draw, is essential to top-notchzen of a balanced bow 009 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.

TG840L

Carbon XS™ Adjustable weight stabilzer

TG5805L - Side View

Carbon XS™ XTREME lightweight 5-Pin sight

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?

Balanced Needs

A balanced bow rig can also include matching actual needs with conditions most often zen of a balanced bow 028encountered 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.

ground blind basics carter TRR_0632

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.

ground blind basics carter Double_BJM_CrossbowHolding 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.

ground blind basics carter TRR_0748Quiver 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 ground blind basics carter TG5805F - Side Viewlight, 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.

Green LED Bow Light with Picatinny Rail Mount
by Brad Fenson

I’ve often stumbled down a trail through the forest, trying to be as quiet as possible, when exiting or entering my stand or blind location. Being able to see where you are going is critical to staying silent, and more importantly, ending up in the right place. Regular headlamps and flashlights produce bright, white light, which can spook wildlife. Here are some options to minimize your impact and presence on game.

Green or red lights are not alarming to wildlife as they see them differently than a bright, white light. There are more and more options being offered all the time for game-friendly lights and bowhunters can now attach a powerful LED directly to their bow.

TG85BLG_Group
TRUGLO®
recently came out with a Green LED Bow Light with Picatinny rail mount.  The light has been specifically designed for bow hunters and offers a 520 nanometer green LED with high and low settings. The light can be powered to the brightest setting when searching for something or dimmed to keep you in stealth or scan mode. The settings offer 180 lumens on “Bright” and 25 lumens on “Low”. The power of the CREE LED is impressive, with a beam distance of 160 meters, which allows hunters to use the light to search a large area.

TRUGLO Green LED Bow LightHaving the light mount to your bow provides several benefits, including handsfree use. You simply carry your bow and use it to guide the way. The on/off switch on the light is easy to operate. But, there is also a pressure switch on a cord that runs from the light to the riser that can also be used to turn the light off and on with your hand holding the bow.
If you’re into hunting hogs or predators at night, this LED will allow you to illuminate your quarry when you come to full draw, so you can maintain the element of surprise by seeing your target more clearly. If you’re into bow fishing or chasing alligators, the bright LED light will be a definite advantage for seeing below the surface of the water after the sun sets. And, of course the light is waterproof!  And the Picatinny rail can be used for any other add-on accessory that is designed to fit the rail system, like small cameras or even range finders.
TRUGLO LED Bow Light

The TRUGLO Green LED Bow Light includes two CR123A batteries for a runtime of two hours on high or 18 hours on low. And the light automatically dims when the batteries reach 10%. There are a multitude of uses and advantages for purchasing this new light.  The biggest advantage is the ability to quickly and easily mount the light on the bow and align your powerful LED with your line-of-sight and the path of your arrow.

Sighting Options: Going Solo (Part 1)
by Joe Byers

A young man moved into my neighborhood and we quickly became friends when he saw the 3-D deer target in my back yard.  “I’ve always wanted to learn to bow hunt,” he remarked one day and I soon had him set-up. An athletic person, he grouped arrows in the heart of the kill zone consistently with just a few shots.  After practicing all summer, he was finally ready for opening day and I put him in my best treestand.  An hour after daylight a big doe walked down the trail at 20 yards and I heard the arrow launch and clang among the rocks.   “I forgot to look through the peep sight and missed by five feet,” he said later.  “I just got so excited when the animal showed up.”

We laugh about that first hunting episode today, yet my buddy’s experience typifies the intense excitement that archers face at the moment of truth.  With adrenalin pumping, it’s easy to act hastily, especially with multi-pin sights.  Vertical archers usually remember to use their peep sight, yet getting confused with multiple pins is common.  The solution is remarkably simple and so low-tech that many archers overlook the possibility—use a single-pin sight.

Speed and Technology

Single-pin sights come in varying forms, yet in keeping with the “simpler-is-better” theme, select a sight with one pin or use a three-pin set-up and drop two of the pins to the bottom of the housing.  With today’s fast bows, sighting in at 25 yards results in an arrow that strikes a little high at 20 yards and a little low out to 30 yards providing an on-target hit without thought- literally a “no-brainer”.  Bow set-ups will vary and you need to experiment to see if this works for you.

TRUGLO STORM™ 3-Pin Bow Sight

Start with a good 3 pin sight and simply push two of the pins down out of the way. This gives you a single pin sight, with the option of going back to a 3-pin.

Prime Candidates for Single-Pin Setups

Single-pins are ideal for special situations such as:

New Hunters- Pin confusion can be a real challenge for new bowhunters and simplifying the sighting picture reduces stress at the moment of truth.  Use a range-finder to practice on a 3-D target and you will quickly learn the arc of your arrow.  If you hunt from an elevated stand, be sure to practice shooting at a downward angle.

Early Season– Most bow seasons begin long before the leaves start to fall and shots are often 20 yards or closer due to limited visibility.  As soon as you are safely buckled in, range in reference objects immediately and establish that 15-30 yard kill zone.  If that big buck suddenly steps out, you can quickly and confidently aim and shoot.

Set-Ups- If you use scents, attractants, or other tactics that tend to focus deer at a specific spot, set that attractant at your 25 yard sight-in spot.  This also allows a little extra distance from your stand or blind so that movement is less detectable when coming to full draw.

Visual Acuity- Multiple pins can become difficult for archers who wear glasses or have less-than-perfect vision.  One single dot is easier to focus on and you can opt for a TFO (Tritium/Fiber-Optic) sight pin, which doesn’t require batteries and literally glows in the dark.

Tritium + Fiber-Optic Pin

TFO pins stay illuminated in any lighting condition, including complete darkness!

Other Single-Pin Options

TRUGLO Pendulum Bow Sight Pendulum sights automatically adjust for distance and allow a hunter to aim low-in-the-shoulder in case the deer ducks at the sound of release.  Pendulum sights don’t use strings, batteries, or gizmos to work, so you don’t have to worry about mechanical failure.  Gravity and mathematics drive this cool invention and they rarely fail.

 

TRUGLO Range Rover Single Pin Bow Sight

Archer’s Choice RANGE ROVER

Adjustable Range- Many 3-D shooters use a single-pin and a dial to adjust the sight for a specific range.  You can still use the 25-yard dial-in for close-in action with the ability to shoot at longer range without hold-over.  Additionally, you can use your hunting sight on the 3-D range and be ready for game at any distance.  Most archers practice at distances much longer than normal hunting shots, which forces them to fine-tune their form.  When you can ace a 12-ring at 50 yards, a buck at 30 yards becomes a piece of cake.

Single-Pin vs. Multi-Pin Bow Sights
By Rob Reaser

Forget the arguments. Bow sight selection comes down to personal hunting style.

We all like a good controversy, especially when it helps to pass a long evening in hunting camp or a rainout at the 3D range.

Today, one of bowhunting’s hottest “issues of passion” involves bow sights; specifically, whether single-pin “slider” sights or conventional multi-pin sights are best for bowhunting.

The truth is, both single-pin (or single-dot) sights and multi-pin sights are ideal for bowhunting, so don’t get drawn into the argument of which is best. Both will help you put an arrow in the kill zone. The real question is, “Which one is best for you and your style of bowhunting?”

Since you can’t take a new sight out for a thorough test drive, we want to discuss both sight designs, explain the advantages and caveats of each, and explore the hunting applications they are most suited for. With this information, you can make an informed bowhunting sight purchase for the upcoming season.

The Basics

Rob Reaser Carbon HybridMulti-pin sights have been around since the resurgence of modern archery. Although the current crop of sights, with their lightweight bodies and advanced fiber-optics, are light years ahead of the old-school designs, they still work on the same principle of multiple pins providing point-of-impact aiming for established distances. A typical multi-pin sight will have four to six adjustable pins enclosed in a circular housing. The shooter sets each pin to a specific distance. Most bowhunters set the top pin for 20 yards, the second pin for 30 yards, and so on. You can adjust windage (left and right) by moving the sight housing left or right, or adjust elevation by moving the individual pins up or down. Simple stuff.

 

rob reaser TG700_LSingle-pin sights are as the name implies. There is only one aiming reference, yet this reference provides point-of-impact sighting throughout a bowhunter’s effective lethal range—from close up to around 100 yards. Setup can vary between models, but generally you sight the bow in for 20 yards and 40 yards and mark the sight bracket accordingly. Next, select a pre-calculated yardage tape where the selected 20- and 40-yard ticks line up with the 20- and 40-yard sight-in marks on the bracket. Because the yardage tape matches arrow drop at two points-of-impact (20 and 40 yards), you can move the yardage adjustment mechanism to any yardage point on the tape and be sure of your point-of-impact.

 

Advantages

Single-pin sights have become increasingly popular in recent years for several reasons, most notably for their ability to provide precise point-of-impact at variable distances. If you range a deer at 46 yards, simply adjust the sight to the 46-yard mark and you’re on target. Another big advantage to single-pin sights is the reduced sight picture clutter. There is only one pin or dot within the sight housing, giving you a clear view of your target and any obstructions that might be in the way, such as tree limbs or brush.

With multi-pin sights, all of the pins will be visible in the sight picture, and you must be careful to select the correct pin for the distance you are shooting. The advantage of the multi-pin sight is that no adjustments to the sight are required prior to taking the shot. In a fast-changing hunting situation where your target is moving, target acquisition is quicker with a multi-pin sight than it is with a single-pin sight.

 

Caveats

Of course, the quicker target acquisition of multi-pin sights comes at a slight cost. Each pin is zeroed for a specific yardage, and that means shooting at a target between the sight-in yardages requires some practiced “guesstimating.” We call this “pin-gap sighting.” Taking our hypothetical deer at 47 yards, you’ll shoot slightly high if you aim with your 50-yard pin, and shoot a good bit low if you use your 40-yard pin. Through practice, you’ll learn how much over or under to hold at these in-between distances when using multi-pin sights. In this case, you would want to use your 50-yard pin and hold slightly under your intended point-of-impact.

rob reaser TG6401GB_LThe single-point sight, on the other hand, eliminates this challenge. Simply adjust your sight to the 47-yard mark on the bracket and you will be spot-on. The caveat is that you have to take time to adjust your sight pin. That’s fine if the deer is standing still and not looking at you; however, if the deer is moving about and changing its distance from you, you’ll need to readjust the pin as the situation demands. Fortunately, single-pin or single-dot sights, such as TRUGLO’s ARCHER’S CHOICE® RANGE•ROVER™ or RANGE•ROVER™ PRO, have an easy-to-use yardage adjustment wheel. This wheel lets you dial-in your sight quickly with just one hand and with minimal body movement.

 

Hunting Applications

While bowhunters use both single-pin and multi-pin sights for all hunting conditions, as we mentioned earlier, which style is best for you depends on your hunting style and the environment you typically hunt in.

Many bowhunters find the single-pin sight to be optimal for treestand or ground blind hunting when the targeting opportunities are controlled or predictable. An example would be when you know that deer approaching from direction X will present a shot opportunity at distance Y. Treestand and blind hunting also usually give the bowhunter more time and cover to make adjustments if the deer are moving.

One tactic single-pin enthusiasts sometimes use when hunting from treestands or ground blinds is pre-setting their pin for the average distance deer are likely to be. For example, by setting their pin for 25 yards and understanding (through practice) the arrow’s point-of-impact at 15 through 35 yards when using that 25-yard setting, they can adjust their hold-over or hold-under accordingly and not have to adjust the sight pin if the deer is within that range. Essentially, this is a spin-off of pin-gapping.

The other hunting application where the single-pin sight really shines is when the target tends to be at longer distances. Not only does a single-pin sight allow you to shoot from short to long distances without cluttering up your sight picture, you typically have more time to adjust your sight if an animal is at 70 or 80 yards. There is also less chance of spooking a game animal when you make the adjustment.

Although single-pin sights are quickly gaining popularity among experienced bowhunters, multi-pin sights continue to dominate the sport, and for good reason. Bowhunting is an unpredictable pursuit, as game animals rarely do exactly what you think or want them to do. While single-pin sights can provide that pinpoint, no-guess accuracy, many bowhunters feel more confident using multi-pin sights in close-quarters (under 40 yards), where there may not be time to make manual sight adjustments. Furthermore, a bit of gap-shooting practice will ensure that you know where your point-of-impact will be at those in-between yardages.

 

To Each His or Her Own

As you can see, there is no “better” or “best” when it comes to bowhunting sight selection. The right choice for you depends on your hunting style and the typical conditions in which you hunt. If you hunt in an environment where your target distance can change quickly and you have no trouble with pin-gap sighting, a multi-pin sight may be the perfect sight for you. If you are capable of shooting longer distances (such as when hunting elk or mule deer), or your hunting conditions allow you the time and cover to make the necessary manual adjustments, a single-pin “slider” sight could be your ticket.

 

And One More Thing…

While we’re on the subject of variable point-of-impact sights, you may want to consider a pendulum sight if you hunt exclusively from a treestand. Pendulum sights, such as the TRUGLO® Pendulum, automatically compensate for changes in distance when shooting from an elevated stand. This eliminates any holdover or holdunder guesswork that must be taken into account when shooting from an elevated platform with either a conventional single-pin or a multi-pin sight. Although the TRUGLO® Pendulum is made for shooting from a treestand (out to 35 yards), the pendulum can be locked in place and the sight used on the ground as a single-pin slider sight. In short, you get two sights in one (adjustable single-pin and pendulum).

 

TRUGLO Carbon Hybrid MicroTRUGLO® CARBON HYBRID™

State-of-the-art multi-pin sights, such as TRUGLO’s new CARBON HYBRID™, continue to be the sight of choice for bowhunters who are comfortable with pin-gap sighting and expect unpredictable hunting conditions. With its aluminum-carbon hybrid construction, durable metal pins, and bright light-gathering fibers, the CARBON HYBRID™ is the high-tech workhorse of the multi-pin sight world.

 

TRUGLO Range Rover ProTRUGLO® ARCHER’S CHOICE® RANGE•ROVER™ PRO

Whether you’re shooting 20 yards, 100 yards, or any distance in-between, a single-dot “slider” sight like the TRUGLO® ARCHER’S CHOICE® RANGE•ROVER™ Pro, will deliver true point-of-impact sighting. Simply range your target, adjust the sight to the distance marked on the sight bracket, and aim with confidence.

 

TRUGLO PENDULUMTRUGLO® PENDULUM

When shooting from an elevated stand, the TRUGLO® Pendulum automatically compensates for elevation angles out to 35 yards. Get on the ground and the pendulum can be locked into place, allowing you to use the sight as a conventional single-pin “slider” sight. You get the best of both worlds!

Choosing the Right Pin Size for Your Bow Sight 
By Brad Fenson

bck_Archery_RivalHunter

TRUGLO Rival Hunter Bow Sight

I can vividly remember my first bow and the sight that it came with. It was awkward compared to today’s standards, with brass pins fastened to the housing, the end of each pin tapered to a small ball which were painted different colors. The sight worked great and allowed me to harvest several animals early in my archery career and stressed just how advantageous the right sight pins can be.

TG500XB_L

BRITE•SITE XTREME by TRUGLO

You would be hard pressed to find a sight nowadays without some type of fiber-optic to gather and transmit light back to your eye. It allows for quick target acquisitions and more importantly makes the sight much more usable in low light conditions. The big question for most archers is what diameter of sight pins to choose. Sight pins usually come in three sizes .029, .019, and .010 inches. Obviously the easiest pin to focus and get on target would be the largest option. A good example of a sight with these larger diameter pins is the TRUGLO® BRITE•SITE™ XTREME, with 0.29 inch pins. It has been a favorite for tree stand deer hunters who are usually shooting shorter distances and looking for quick target acquisition. The larger pin diameter can also be advantageous for older eyes and people that are farsighted, that is, your quarry at any distance is easy to see, but the pin close up is hard to find and focus, making the larger the best option. The downside is that it often covers a larger area of your target, making it harder to fine tune arrow delivery.

 

 

bck_Archery_CarbonHybridMicro

TRUGLO Carbon Hybrid Micro

People that like hunting open country, or spot-and-stalk style of hunts, the medium-sized pin can be advantageous, as it provides a blend of quick target acquisitions with fine-tuned arrow placement. It is also easier to stack multiple pins in a sight. This is the most popular choice for hunters and when you look at quality sights, like the TRUGLO® CARBON HYBRID™ series, it comes preloaded with 0.19 inch pins in all four of its models.

The smallest diameter pins allow for precision arrow placement as you can often see your bull’s eye behind the pin. The downfall is they can be very jumpy as the sight pin moves with the slightest motion from the shooter. I feel the small diameter pins are for a more disciplined shooter with good style and form.

 

Most hunters and shooters have experience with a specific diameter pin and perhaps haven’t considered the options to make them more successful. If you have never looked at all three sizes at the same time, I’d strongly recommend you go into an archery shop and pick up TRUGLO’s RIVAL HUNTER, which is a sight that incorporates DDP (Decreasing Diameter Pin) Technology.  With TRUGLO’s patented DDP™ Technology, you get smaller pin sizes for longer distances as well as the larger pin sizes for close shots, providing the perfect solution for all hunting scenarios.  Another advantage of RIVAL HUNTER with DDP™ Technology is if you are farsighted, you may be able to reduce your frustrations of focusing on a pin while a big buck is coming down the trail.  The pin placement on a shot flows naturally with this technology.

Pick up some of the bows with mounted sights and see how quickly your eye focuses and picks up on the different pin sizes and styles

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