Archery 2009

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Today is July 26, 2009 with a couple months of archery practice under the belt already and things are looking up this year so far.  I don't have any physical injuries that plagued me last season with a strained left rotator cuff muscle which was my drawing shoulder and that did cause some serious pain along the way and took a good ten (10) months to get it back into shape.  Also, my new Mathews Drenalin bow purchased late last archery season is dialed in pretty good.  I have changed the peep sight to one with the latex tubing and anyone that tells you the new bow strings will not rotate; just try it for yourself...I know mine starting rotating after about a month or so of shooting and had enough of putting it back in the bow press tweaking it and went back to the "old school" for peep sights.  I modified my HHA sight bracket and adapted an Impact Archery 2.25 inch diameter single vertical pin fiber optic scope which works like a dream.  It has the older clear poly housing which lets more light onto the fiber optic and would appear there is a battery pack hooked to the pin but it is not.  I mean, it is really that bright even in low-light conditions.  For whatever reason, Impact Archery is now pushing the black aluminum housing of which their original patent was based on the clear housing.....so much for technology!

Below a few pix of my back yard practice 3D range with most of the Cabala targets shot completely out.  My good friend John Gaddy of Polkton, NC keeps me supplied with his left over targets and target inserts and I will get another couple years out of them.  However, this year I started a little earlier than normal and have shot the center inserts out with my practice broadheads and hopefully the targets will make it another season.  I guess frugal is the word for today again!

These targets are at 11, 15 and 20 yards but look a little further from my shooting/platform tree stand.

   

These two 3D targets are at about 12 and 16 yards.  That is a wild looking and bright fletch on this arrow for sure!

Pix looking down from the 20 foot shooting stand/platform.  The lower telescopic platform portion was fabricated from an old clothing rack which had 2 inch diameter tubing and the rig weights about 100 lbs....luckily it has been on this tree about 20 years and don't plan on moving it either.  The ladder was made from 3/4 inch EMT and similar to a silo type ladder.  There is a 4 inch diameter PVC bucket to raise/lower arrows and a dog hook for the attachment to the bow strap.

Close up pix showing the extend of the broadhead damage to the insert.  The insert will not stop an arrow but at least you can see where your broadhead goes through.  I shoot yellow vanes or feathers on top of a bright red dipped arrow and it is highly visible in flight.

Backside view of the broadhead arrows that went through the target still showing a good grouping.

This old 3D target insert will stop an arrow if not hit directly into the sweet spot or "honey hole".  I have a mixed bag of fletching on my practice broadheads which some say is a no-no but I can't see any difference at 20 yards and that is my maximum shot from my hunting platform.  The 4 inch plastic vane does shoot a little flatter out to 50 yards being less wind resistant than the 5 inch heavy helical feathers.  In my tournament days, I definitely would not shoot a mixed quiver of fletches!   All my hunting arrows have 4 inch plastic vanes on them and I still shoot heavy aluminum logs by today's standards.  I did shoot Easton ACE arrows back in the mid-80's from a Hoyt Gold Medalists and was getting 250 fps at 45 lbs. and that is not bad for a recurve bow either.

My corn barrels are filled up and have a few extra sacks of corn and keep the deer coming to my feeding station and it want be but seven (7) weeks before our archery season comes in for the Eastern and Central counties of North Carolina.

So far this season, Murphy's Law has been asleep and hope will remain asleep in my neck of the woods.  Grin if you must!  Hopefully there will be some pixs to add to this page in September along with a few short hunting stories.  Bill aka Mickey Porter July 26, 2009.

Today is September 6, 2009 and after watching deer coming to my feeding station for the past eight (8) weeks very late in the afternoon about dusk dark, I decided to put my EOTech Holo sight on my main hunting bow which is the Mathews Drenalin and hope it is not a mistake.  I have harvested a good number of deer using the Holo sight and normally don't make any sudden changes or serious adjustments to archery equipment this late prior to the opening archery season but the impulse hit.  The Holo sight allows you to shoot an additional 10 minutes or so since you do not have to use a string peep sight for rear sight alignment due to the laser heads up type display and the double reticle with a center dot of which is brightness adjustable down to about nothing which keeps your low limited light vision.  Also, lately I have been having an eye dominance problem and it is hard to get use to closing one eye when you have been shooting with both eyes open since age eleven (11).  I guess this is a product of maturity since my long range vision is getting better and having to add more magnification for close up stuff like reading, etc., and my progressive lenses reduces my peripheral vision since you have to point your nose where you are looking if you want things in focus and moving your head deer hunting is not good when you can move your eyes instead!  Below is a pix of the Holo sight mounted on the Mathews Drenalin bow:

The sight is a "dawg" to set up without an assistant since you have to tilt the sight bracket forward to give you a clear view when you are at full draw at your regular anchor looking through the sight view finder.  Also, to adjust the windage, it is necessary to move the forward portion of the sight (outward) from the bow sight window to align with the path of the arrow and once you have the dot and center laser circle centered with the outer laser circle centered in the sight view finder, you have to rough tune your windage by moving the sight either in or out maintaining a centered circle and dot within the view finder.   The elevation is easily adjusted with the movable arm on the sight mount but the windage is another story.  I rarely move the elevation but simply hold high for longer yardages but I harvest most of my deer between 11 and 20 yards and the bow is flat enough to keep the POA at 15 yards.  There is an internal adjustment for the windage but your POI (point of impact)  needs to be within a couple inches of your POA (point of aim) at 15 yards and still have the circles and dot centered in the center of the sight's view finder at your normal anchor point.  When using a peep sight, the bow string is touching the center of my nose and with the EOTech Holo sight, the bow string is beside my nose and not centered with your eye as with the peep sight.  I don't think it is as accurate as with a string peep sight for longer yardages (50 plus yards) but for my normal close shooting, less than 20 yards, it works great.   The key with using a sight/scope of this type is to have a consistent anchor point.  As long as the inner and outer circle is centered within the view finder, you will shoot accurate.  If you move your anchor up or down or east and west, or tork your bow, the two circles will be out of alignment.  I used a Bracklyn scope mounting bracket and an Ultra Dot scope with a rheostat for a number of years with great success which works exactly like this sight but this set-up is superior in my opinion due to the much wider field of view and you keep a constant anchor, whereas with the Bracklyn Hi-Tech scope mount/bracket you have to move your anchor slightly (down) for the longer yardages.  On the negative side, EOTech doesn't make the archery version of this sight anymore due to the demand for the gun version supplying our Military which is a good thing for our troops out there in harms way.

Below is a 1993 archived pix of the Holo sight mounted on another bow with the "heads up" display in the view finder.  The laser image with the center dot and circle with the four tabs appears to be projected away from the scope toward the target but the image remains only in the view finder.  This is the same technology that is used in a fighter pilot's helmet which is referred to as a "heads up display".   At full draw, the below is what you will normally see through the view finder, however the bow is relaxed and not drawn in order to get the pix taken.

 

With the sight zeroed in, I have less than a week before our annual NC Archery Deer hunting season comes in and getting antsy for sure.

I am still shooting the medium to heavy weight Easton XX78 Super Slam 2315 arrows 30.5 inches in length and with the 125 grain Thunderhead three blade broadhead with a total weight of 562 grains and this arrow is heavy by most archery standards today.  However, with the extra weight, I get full penetration from most angles of arrow contact and can break a deer's spine with the arrow going down into the diaphragm area as well.  I see plenty of professional and semi-professional archers with half their light weight carbon arrows (400 grains or less) sticking out of deer as it is high tailing it out of the area.  It appears that arrow speed is the goal of many archers today and that is what keeps the bow manufacturers pursuing faster and faster and lighter bows but arrow placement and penetration is what keeps venison in my freezer!   The fast light weight arrow does allow one to have a flatter shooting rig with a greater margin of error but with the advent of the laser ranger finders, I don't really see the need trying to shoot IBO specifications (70 lbs. bow weight, 30 inch draw and a 350 grain arrow) at deer!  Fred Bear's AMO standard (60 lbs. bow weight, 30 inch draw and a 540 grain arrow) has brought many a game animal down, especially tough and dangerous game animals.

Bill aka Mickey Porter 09-06-09. 

Our NC 2009 Archery season came in this year on 09-12-09 and the weather the past week has been in the low to mid 80's and the moon phase on opening day was one day past the last quarter of which the deer have been feeding mostly during the night hours.  I have watched the area near my platform tree stand and the deer have been coming in there at about dark with a few days around 7:23 P.M.

I was up about half an hour before my regular daily wake-up time which is around 5:30 A.M. and had not established a hunting routine yet since this is opening day but managed to get all my gear together and looks as if I would be going on a two week Safari but old habits are hard to break.  I had much rather have some extra gear to keep the ole Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared" alive than to be without.

I got on stand much too early around 5:30ish and the deer had cleaned my feeding area out of the corn that I broadcast a couple days before and figured I would freshen the area up with a 5 gallon bucket of corn and the reason for such an early start.  There is much debate over "baiting" a hunting area as to the ethics but baiting is allowed in our State on private land for deer hunting but not turkey and bear hunting.  Many argue against baiting an area but then the same will hunt large or small acreage food plots so "six of one and half a dozen of another".  I hunt mainly for the freezer and it does help the odds in areas where there are not enough natural food such as the white, red, willow and black jack acorns.  On the other hand, I have taken a good many deer hunting natural trails from bedding to food areas and vice versa whether it is agricultural crops such as soy beans and corn or a good stand of oak trees, etc.

The early morning temperature was in the low sixties and it felt great to be hunting again.  The wind was nil and after daylight a slight gentle breeze was coming from the North which is excellent for that platform tree stand.  I stayed on stand until around 9:15 A.M. and didn't see or hear any deer and I was fidgeting around after a couple hours not use to staying still that long since our April turkey season but you are on the move turkey hunting and not confined to a tree stand. 

I had the little digital camera with me and took a pix or two while on stand.  The sun was shinning through the opening onto my feeding area which is about 15 yards from this platform stand and the platform is 27 feet above the ground but the feeding area is elevated at least 5 to 7 feet above the base of the sweet gum tree platform which has a small branch running beside it and still gives me an elevation of at least 20 feet above the feeding area.  Pix below:

The deer have worn the ground down several inches over the years exposing various tree roots and deer normally approach the feeding area from the 1 to 3 o'clock position which is perfect for a west to north wind direction.  A south or east wind doesn't work with the placement of this platform stand.  I have the EOTech Holo sight dialed in pretty close on the Mathews Drenalin left hand bow and the 4 inch length yellow vane is very bright sitting on top of the Bohning rocket red dipped arrow.  I went back and used my ole recurve Bitzenburger fletching jig that has a good amount of left helical on it which adds a lot of spin to the arrow and does help for a bad release which does and can happen every once in a while.  I have seen arrows without a lot of spin on them hit a deer and deflect in directions that one would not believe an arrow would depart such radically from it's trajectory path.  As I have eluded to many times in the past, arrow speed doesn't impress me as I shot a bow I put together from Hoyt cams,  PSE riser,  limbs, long custom made over draw, custom cabling with a 48 inch axle to axle length with a 11 inch brace height and this was back in the early to mid 1980's before the heavy "hatchet" cams took over and had an arrow speed  of 272 fps with practically a round wheel since the Hoyt round wheel had only a slight cam to it but did out perform a standard round wheel.  It doesn't sound like much speed today with the advancements in cam and limb technology, etc. but it was "blazing" back then and the bow had a ten (10) yard margin of error on the older McKenzie targets before the12 rings were added to their 3-D targets.  I shot in the North American Bowhunter Jamboree Held in Union Grove, NC and entered in the Unlimited Class which there were 23 manufacturer's reps shooting with the latest technology and long carbon stabilizers, etc.  and I placed 12th using a short hunting stabilizer and not to shabby for an amateur!   

I got back on stand yesterday afternoon around 5:05 P.M. and the weather was extremely hot in the 80's and the wind direction was good at times and then not moving much at with while the mosquitoes buzzed around trying to get a free meal but the face mask netting worked pretty well and had to keep swatting them off my hands which were gloved but they tried none the less.  There were at least six Cardinal birds enjoying the broadcast corn and late in the afternoon three Bobwhite quails visited the area making a racket as they normally do.  I took a pix of a small limb that I shot through with the .270 Winchester last deer season which netted me my first Coyote ever and the first Coyote I had seen in the wild around here.  Check out my story Coyote 2008:

The above limb was not visible when I placed the crosshairs of the Leopold 3.5 x 10 Vari-X III on the coyote and held low and this is the reason my bullet struck the coyote very low breaking both front legs......back to my deer hunting...grin...Yea, I know, every hunter always has a reason why he or she misses or doesn't make the perfect shot...grin if you must!

I stayed on stand until about dark and didn't see or hear anything until I was exiting the area and heard a deer snort from behind my platform stand about 50 yards which is a guesstimate at the best on the distance.

My friend John Gaddy of Polkton, NC harvested a good doe yesterday morning around 6:45 at 17 yards with his Mathews Drenalin bow and I will be back on stand again next week in the afternoon since my day time job takes priority and plan to take a couple weeks vacation time during opening muzzleloader and regular gun week.  Hopefully, more to follow. 

Bill aka Mickey Porter 09-13-09. 

On September 15, 2009 I got on my favorite hunting stand around 5:36 P.M. and the temperature was around 86 degrees with the  mosquitoes buzzing around doing their thing as usual.

Around 7:11 P.M. a doe fawn came out that was out of her spots and was very interesting to watch.  I nick named her my "Bird Dog" because she would go on point at the least sound and most of the time she was hearing things that I could not.  Around 7:30 it was getting dusk dark and I heard a deer making very slow steps circling around my stand and it came out around 17 to 19 yards and was a very decent buck.  I can't remember when I have gotten so excited seeing a nice buck bowhunting but I could hear my heart beating and knew the ole dreaded "Buck Fever" was fast sneaking up on me.  I tried to calm myself down and it was nearly impossible since this deer was only a  4 pointer, no brow tines with heavy mass and 18 to 20 inside beams.   He came into my shooting area facing toward me and was on the edge of corn that I had broadcast earlier and would not make a move to turn broadside.  I finally decided I would try for a spine shot down between his shoulder blades while he had his head down and I guess I timed the draw wrong because when I cam to full draw he raised his head and looked around as he chewed the fresh shelled corn offering.  He was looking my way or at least in my general direction and decided it would not be good to let down with the buck facing me and the 80 percent left off was beginning to feel like I was holding a hundred pounds and my heart was continuing to race a little faster.

I guess by now I had gone beyond the point of any clear logic or thinking and decided to place a broadhead in his brisket dead center or at least that was my plan anyway.  The Holo sight's adjustable brightness was set too much too high and forgot to adjust it down whereby loosing my low limited light vision.  My bow hand was shaking like a wet dog and the sight was dancing all over the deer but I touched the release aid anyway and the arrow hit very solid in the ground beside the buck.  The buck and yearling both exited the immediate area and I could hear the deer walking around in the shadows but did not snort an alarm sound.  Maybe he thought a limb or something had fallen from a tree....Ok, go ahead and grin now because I am sure you have had a mild touch or extreme touch dose of the dreaded buck fever too!. 

I spotted the large 4 point buck briefly come into the feeding area of the above stand on 09-17-09 at around 7:22 P.M. but he did not stay any length of time and he definitely looked toward my tree stand checking things out.  I saw a total of 5 deer but was not hunting that stand.   Plan to give it a day or two rest and hopefully the large 4 pointer with the wide rack will show himself again.  This afternoon, I took the Holo sight off the Mathews Drenalin and put the fiber optic hybrid sight and the string peep sight back on the bow and checked the POI with the POA and everything was still zeroed in.  At least I want have to bother with adjusting the level of scope brightness with the hybrid sight!

Bill aka Mickey Porter 09-17-09.

Note:  On October 17, 2009 at about 6:45 P.M., I missed a good six point basket rack buck at about 17 yards and it appears that I can't hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle.  I Had trouble getting my anchor point and string touching the center of my nose with several layers of clothes on due to the sudden cold front that moved in and the horrendous gusting wind and my face mask was partly obscuring my vision through the peep sight.  I hunted about 12 years without a peep sight using a Bracklyn Scope mount with an UltraDot scope and the Holo archery scope and why I decided to go back to the peep amazes myself.  Anyway, I put the EOTech Holo sight back on bow and adjusted the elevation and should be back in business.  If I don't stop changing sights, I will wear the threads out on the bow....grin if you must...Oh well, every shooter has a reason for his/her misses...grin again.  Don't guess I will add any horns to my deer horn stew pot today which is about filled up and over flowing...grin if you must!

On November 2, 2009 I decided to hunt this afternoon since the weather is rapidly cooling down and the wind is coming out of the North which an excellent wind direction for the stand I chose to hunt this afternoon.  The moon is full and coming out very early and hope the deer will come out before dark.

Before getting on stand I went about 16 yards upwind from my stand where I had a couple scent vents capped shut and opened them up and hung them by their wicks to fill the air with some seductive deer urine and had one vile that contained urine that I had collected the past few years with contained a mixture of rutting bucks, does, etc. and it seems to work at the start and during the rut.  I will normally use it a week or two prior to our opening muzzleloading season and bucks will actively seek those smells out.   I got on stand around 4:07 P.M. and several grey squirrels were working the white oak trees near my stand and very noisy at times as the acorns are frequently falling making a thud sound as they make contact with the ground.  There is the distant sounds of the ever present loggers using their hydraulic tree cutting machine, skidders and "cherry picker" loading the mature harvested pine trees onto waiting tractor/trailers for the trek to the lumber mills.  I hear a few chain saws in operation apparently removing limbs that the machines did not remove and/or cutting damaged stumps.  The feeding area in front of this stand still has some broadcast shelled corn on the ground and the Cardinals are coming in by pairs and one female is the dominant one and she kept the others at a distance and if they got too close would fly at them and they would give way to her "bullish tactics".  It is very easy to form a mental image of the pecking order watching the Cardinal keeping the others away.

The evening shadows were getting very long and thin and the sun went down behind the trees giving off an orange cast to the back lit sky around 5ish or so.  At about 5:20,  I saw a good sized 8 point buck come out slightly down wind about 50 yards in front of my stand and started working his way coming to the scent following a well used deer trail.  He had his head up checking the wind and came directly on in and can't remember if he actually started to eat any of the broadcast corn or not but don't think so.  He smelled the ground several times trying to get a fix on the scent vents which I had about six feet off the ground mimicking the odor given off from a fresh scrape.  He presented a good broadside shot at about 16 yards and I drew the Mathews Drenalin bow back effortless  and had trouble getting the holographic image in the EOTech scope centered and very sure that I had an eye dominance problem getting the Holo sight centered behind his left shoulder and released the arrow of which hit to the far left of my point of aim striking him forward into the shoulder area hitting his spine.  The buck dropped like a huge cargo container had fallen onto him and he rolled over breaking the remaining portion of the arrow off.  I immediately got down from the tree stand and finished him off with a couple stab wounds to his heart/lung area from the Old Timer folding hunter knife and he quickly expired.    The live estimated weight of the 8 pointer is around 150 lbs. and a heavy drag to get him away from my hunting area and field dressed him.  The buck was not in full rut as his neck was not swelled that much and his hind leg hock "tuffs" were not smelling of strong urine yet.  He had 12 inches inside spread and will be some good eating for sure!  Below pix of the 8 pointer:

The 125 grain Thunderhead 3-blade broadhead entered in the front left shoulder and went at an angle downward through the spine and was partly lodged in the other leg/shoulder on the opposite side.  Below pix of the broadhead after I separated the shoulders from the deer exposing the broadhead.  I was unable to pull the arrow and broadhead back through the deer even with a pair of adjustable pliers, however it was no trouble getting it out the other side:

That was definitely some awesome penetration and the point and blades were still intact.  This was another one of those "luck" shots since the arrow definitely did not go where my point of aim was.  My last practice session was pretty good but my shooting form is definitely off this season for whatever the reason.  Hopefully, next season I will have the "bugs" worked out!  I believe an eye dominance problem is the culprit and I have shot with both eyes open all my life and it is hard to get in the habit of closing one eye while shooting but I will have to retrain myself.  I am basically right handed and have shot long guns and bows left handed because of a dominant left eye and both eyes now are getting about the same strength leading to my current problem.

The buck was quickly skinned and quartered up and placed in my game refrigerator in the basement and will be ground for burger in a few days.....I am about out of ground venison, otherwise I would not think about grinding  those "beautimous" loins up.

Bill aka Mickey Porter  11-02-09. 

Note:  I didn't have the "heart" to grind those "beautimous" loin aka back straps but sliced them instead and will hand cube them when I need to prepare some Venison cube steak n gravy!

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