John's Journal...

Archery Hall of Fame Recipient Hugh Blackburn Tells His Tips to Better Hunting for Deer

Day 5: More Bowhunting Tips for Taking Deer with Hugh Blackburn

Editor’s Note: The late Hugh Blackburn, a member of the Archery Hall of Fame, won many field-archery competitions in his lifetime, hunted deer with a bow for over 40 years and was one of the masters of the sport at a time when most hunters never hunted with bows. As a manufacturer’s representative for the Fred Bear Archery Company and an instructor at the Westervelt Lodge Bowhunting School in Aliceville, Alabama, Blackburn taught thousands of sportsmen the fine art of bowhunting. This expert’s tips are timeless even today and may be just what you need to put a buck on the meat pole this season.

Recovering Your Deer by Knowing Where Your Arrow Strikes the Deer:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOne of the critical keys to recovering your deer is to know where your arrow has hit, and what organs it has penetrated as it’s passed through the deer’s body. You should be able to tell from the shaft if you’ve made a gut shot by the amount of undigested food on the arrow. A lot of redness of blood on the shaft indicates an artery or a heart shot, while foam in the blood means a lung shot. If there’s hair on the arrow, you need to know where on the body that type of hair grows. Shorter, darker hair is found on the deer’s back. Lighter, medium-length hair is from the sides of the deer, and the longest and lightest hair is located on the belly and tail area. 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 finding the deer probably will require some time. 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.

Staying on Your Stand:

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’s 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 hear your string twang and/or see or smell you, the chances are very good that even if the arrow’s hitting the ground frightens him momentarily, he may return. This characteristic is especially true of young bucks. I’ve seen 1-1/2-year-old bucks come back to a feeding area and be shot at as many as three times in the same afternoon. They don’t know what’s happened, but they’ll come back to find out. If the archer leaves after his first shot, he will have missed two additional opportunities to bag his buck. Knowing when to leave your tree stand often determines how-many deer you take.

Realizing Your Boots May Be Your Downfall:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI prefer to wear 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 the rubber-soled shoes do. I’ve seen deer walk up and smell where I have walked when I’ve been wearing leather-soled boots. A young buck often will follow my trail, because he may be curious and never has smelled human odor before. But if an ole buck smells where I’ve been walking, he’ll keep his head low and back up, until he reaches a place where he can turn and run. So, I believe that rubber-soled boots are better than leather soles.

Paying attention to detail in every part of your hunting and shooting will pay-off in more deer and better hunting for you.

You’ll learn more about deer hunting in the new Kindle eBooks, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the names of the books and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Check back each day this week for more about "Archery Hall of Fame Recipient Hugh Blackburn Tells His Tips to Better Hunting for Deer"

Day 1: Knowing Your Equipment to Successfully Bowhunt Deer with Hugh Blackburn
Day 2: Understanding the Habits of Deer Where You Hunt with Hugh Blackburn
Day 3: Shooting Your Bow Instinctively to Take Deer with Hugh Blackburn
Day 4: Bowhunter Hugh Blackburn on Positioning Your Tree Stand to Bag Deer
Day 5: More Bowhunting Tips for Taking Deer with Hugh Blackburn

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Entry 690, Day 5