John's Journal...

Tips to Better Bowhunting

Some General Tips for Better Bowhunting

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note:Bowhunting can be a complicated skill, because it combines two sports that both have a certain degree of difficulty. Archery itself requires a great deal of eye-hand coordination and the abilities to release properly, judge distance and place an arrow where you are looking. Then when you add hunting skills to archery to produce bowhunting, you have not only got to be able to find the deer and see him, but the deer must be within 30 - 40 yards of the bowman for most of the time and standing or walking a particular way. Then you can place the arrow in one of the vital organs of the deer to bring it down. Since a broadhead shot from a bow does noClick to enlarget have knockdown power of either a shotgun or a rifle, an arrow must be placed so that bones will not deflect it.  Therefore the accuracy in shooting must be must greater with a bow than with a rifle.

Know Where Your Arrow Strikes the Deer:

One of the critical keys to recovering your deer is to know where your arrow has hit and what organs it’s penetrated as it passes through the deer’s body. You should be able to tell from the shaft if you have a gut shot by the amount of undigested food on the arrow. Much redness of blood on the shaft indicates an artery or a heart shot, while foam in the blood means a lung shot. If there is hair on the arrow, you should know where on the body that type of hair can be found. The shorter, darker hair is from a deer’s back. The lighter, medium-length hair is from the sides of the deer, and the longest and lightest hair is located on the belly and tail areas. The more information you can read from the arrow, the easier and quicker your recovery will be. If you find stomach content on the arrow, and you know you’ve made a gut shot, then you must understand that you are going to take a long time to find the deer. And the best thing you can do is wait an hour or two before you start looking. If you find blood on the arrow which reveals a heart or lung shot, then you realize that you may find your deer in a short time. So being able to read that arrow is very important to your ability to recover your deer.

Stay On Your Stand:Click to enlarge

When a hunter has loosed an arrow and missed a deer, the inexperienced woodsman may come out of his tree and head for the house.  However, the veteran bowhunter will realize that he may get as many as three shots at the same deer, if the deer is not spooked badly.  Staying with your stand - no matter how many times you shoot and miss - is something that bowhunters often will overlook. If the deer doesn’t hearyour string twang and doesn’t see or smell you, the chances are real good that even if the arrow’s hitting the ground does frighten him momentarily, he may come back. This characteristic is especially true of young bucks. I’ve seen 1-1/2-year-old bucks return to a feeding area and be shot at as many as three times in the same afternoon. They don’t know what’s spooked them, but they’ll come back to find out. An archer who leaves after his first shot will have missed two additional opportunities to bag his buck. Knowing when to leave your tree stand often determines how many deer you’ll take.

Don’t Click to enlargeRuin Your Hunting Area Before You Reach It:

The hunter’s approach to his stand is often as critical if not more critical than what he does once he arrives at the stand. If the hunter has the wind at his back when he is going to his hunting area, his scent will blow across the region before he ever climbs into his stand and drives every deer out of the area. So, you have to make sure you approach your stand from the direction that won’t cause your odor to be blown into the place you plan to hunt. You also need to be as quiet as possible when approaching your stand. I believe that the hunter should stalk to his stand. By that I mean move as quietly and slowly as possible as you can to your stand, so that you don’t spook any animals on your way. Once you arrive at your tree stand, you should be able to get into your stand without making any noise. This is the reason I prefer a permanent stand or a ladder type of stand like the Apache tree stand. With those tree stands, you can climb a tree without making racket that many climbing stands make.

Realize Why Your Boots May Be Your Downfall:

I prefer rubber bottom-boots to leather-soled boots for deer hunting. Leather tends to hold your scent longer and puts more of it on the ground than do the rubber-soled shoes. I’ve seen deer walk up and smell where I have walked when I’ve been wearing leather-soled boots. A young buck will often follow my trail because he may be curious and never have smelled human odor previously. But if an old buck smells where I have been walking, he will keep his head low and back-up until he reaches a place where he can turn and run. So I believe that wearing rubber-soled boots is better than leather soles. Paying attention to details in every area of your hunting and shooting will pay off in more deer and better hunting for all of us.

Check back each day this week for more about "Tips to Better Bowhunting"

Day 1: Know Your Equipment
Day 2: Understand the Deer’s Habits Where You Hunt
Day 3: Shoot Instinctively and Watch Human Odor
Day 4: Place Your Tree Stand Properly and Use Back Cover
Day 5: Some General Tips for Better Bowhunting


Entry 526, Day 5