John's Journal...


Inspect the Edge and the Wind Checker

EDITOR’S NOTE: "Yes!" I exclaimed as the arrow I released from my bow hit the bull's-eye 30 yards from my backyard deck. Well, I still seemed to possess my bowhunting magic from the previous year's season. Later, feeling confident after a week's worth of practice in my backyard, I packed all my equipment into my bow case and left my house in a last-minute frenzy for a bowhunting trip to Montana. When I arrived at the famous Milk River in Montana near the Canadian border, I took a few practice arrows out of my bow case and started shooting. Although my arrows did hit the target, they wouldn't consistently fly straight. I asked Ralph Cianciarulo, an archery pro from Lanark, Illinois, to check out my equipment and my shooting form. I wanted to know what changes he thought I should make in my bowhunting tackle. I realized that when you hunted with a master hunter, you needed to learn all you could from him to idiot-proof your bowhunting. He'll enable you to hunt better, shoot straighter and take game more efficiently.

Click to enlargeI practiced shooting with my broadheads before my hunt to make sure my arrows would fly true later. After I'd shot five arrows into a 3-D deer target, Cianciarulo pulled out my arrows and told me what needed improving. "As I looked at the broadheads, I could tell that the blades weren't as sharp as they should be," Cianciarulo commented. "After you shoot a broadhead into a Styrofoam target, remember that blade will not be as sharp as it needs to be when you use it to shoot an animal. The more you shoot your broadheads into Styrofoam or any other type of target, the more dull the blades will become." Cianciarulo suggests that you use a different set of blades when you practice than you shoot when you hunt. "Always put new fresh blades in the broadheads you plan to hunt with," Cianciarulo advised. "But before you put the sharp blades in the broadhead, check the tip of each broadhead to make sure it's sharp, straight and clean. The channels your blades sit in can build up with Styrofoam and cause your blades not to seat properly. I use a small toothpick or a straight pin to clean each channel before I put in my blades."

Click to enlargeBefore you hunt, have a piece of thread, light-colored yarn or even a thread with a marabou feather attached to the front of your stabilizer. This lightweight wind checker will allow you to determine wind direction when you hunt. "Because a little piece of thread, yarn or a feather can get torn or broken off as you take your bow in and out of your bow case, make sure you have your wind checker in place and ready before the hunt," Cianciarulo added. "By being aware of the wind's direction and where it's taking your human odor, you'll know when and where you can take a shot before the deer smells you." Cianciarulo pays close attention to detail when he tunes his equipment for a hunt. Cianciarulo misses fewer shots, spooks fewer animals and consistently harvests more deer and other big game than most other hunters do because of his absolute perfectionism about his equipment. Cianciarulo believes that if you can eliminate noise from your bow, dirt from your equipment and all the problems that cause you to spook or miss an animal, you can hunt 50 to 80 percent more effectively. Work up a checklist of the tuning and maintenance procedures reviewed here, and go over the list prior to every hunt. If you do, you'll consistently bag more bucks when you hunt with your bow.

Click to enlarge To learn more about bowhunting, order John E. Phillips’ book “The Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting” for $13.50, which includes shipping and handling, and his “Jim Crumley’s Bowhunting Secrets” (Crumley is a longtime, avid bowhunter who created Trebark camouflage) for $15.50, which includes shipping and handling, by sending a check or money order to Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243, or using PayPal, account – . You can see more information at
To order both bowhunting books, pay only $25, which includes shipping and handling.

Check back each day this week for more about “IDIOT-PROOF YOUR BOWHUNTING”

Day 1: Spin-Check Your Arrows and Stop the Rattle
Day 2: Listen for Quiver Noise and Squeaks
Day 3: Check the Tube and the String
Day 4: Have a Clean Release
Day 5: Inspect the Edge and the Wind Checker



Entry 319, Day 5