A collection of real life experiences in the pursuit of whitetail deer and other big and small game with
archery equipment. Learn from my mistakes and share in adventures in the field. Watch for regular updates.
2010 Hunting Season
This year finds me in a good position – finally. I have again earned access to a large tract of land very near my home. It is, for the most part, a swamp. It is also bordered by residential areas – which means deer love it – a lot from what I have found. It is very challenging to scout due to standing water that is in many cases very deep as well as vegetation that during traditional scouting periods of late summer and early fall is still very thick. Deer trails look more like rabbit runs and I have yet to find a scrape on the property as it is covered and uncovered with water from one week to the next as it rans and then dries out. However, land like this holds big bucks without a doubt. I don’t have trail camera pictures or observation to back up my belief here. It just looks like it should hold deer.
I did, in fact, screw up on what would have been my largest buck ever in this very parcel two seasons ago. Never saw the buck before that day, nor did I see any sign from him as I suspected he was living very close to the homes which are off limits due to property lines. But he visited the swamp looking for does and I was waiting. So, again this year I will be waiting in that swamp. Close to home. Obscured from view by thick vegetation. Fighting through trails that are under 2 feet of water. And I will undoubtedly see deer. Sometimes you just have to believe they are there.
I went out and purchased a block archery target this year. What a great buy. It allows me to shoot a few arrows a few times a week right in the yard which will pay off as the season gets closer. The Reezen is shooting well as it always has and I’m gearing up for the archery season which is right around the corner.
2009 Hunting Season
Through some good fortune, I found I had enough cash reserves to buy a new bow – a nice new bow. In fact, it would be the best hunting bow I had ever owned. I began to shoot and research and eventually settled on the Mathews Reezen – a speed bow built for hunting. I got the bow set up with a whisker biscuit rest and a workhorse site by Black Gold and a G5 Peep as I liked the simplicity of this setup. I also picked up a dozen Easton Axis N-Fused arrows. These arrows would be topped off with 100-grain Rage 2-blade broadheads for deer season. Shooting through the chronograph with a 29-inch draw length at 63 pounds of draw weight produced 192 fps. Plenty fast for deer.
The first few trips to the indoor range had me shooting better than I had ever shot with 2 of the three arrows I generally shoot in each group touching one another nearly every round. I had never shot so well.
A few warm days gave me the opportunity to shoot outside and I am very impressed with how flat this Mathews Reezen shoots. I made it through the course without loosing an arrow which is more than I can say for my partner who broke two shafts on poor shots. He took it better than I would have. He’s usually a great shot, but just goes to show you that you need to make your practice as realistic to hunting situations as you can.
Well, winter is back so we have been shooting 23 yards in the basement of my friend’s house. It’s a nice setup as he had 9 foot ceilings in the basement. I have picked up a bad habit or two lately and haven’t been shooting very well. I even adjusted my sights thinking they may have been bumped, but it wasn’t the case and I moved them back. I did a bit of reading and watched some videos on archery form and shooting and found I was changing my grip on the bow and causing the bow to torque badly at the shot throwing everything to the right or left of the bullseye. A correction in form and I’m driving tacks again.
Had a chance to shoot outside the other night and walk back to 30 yards which is long when you haven’t been able to shoot more than 23 yards for 3 months. Glad to report I did ok and my form seems to be settling down. It turns out that the worst part fo losing my bow at the end of last season was losing all confidence and having to start all over from scratch with a new bow. Kind of like giving up your first car – I had shot that old bow for 10 years and it was like an old friend that I could always rely on. The Reezen is a great shooting bow, but make sure you can shoot it……
Well, it was a tough month. For the first time in my archery experience, I was going through a very difficult time with my bow. The new Reezen from Mathews was obviously a great shooting bow and early on I could do no wrong with it. In the past month though I began to suffer from what I learned was “Target panic”. The desire to shoot so precisely and bear down a bit too much in my form was causing me to slap the trigger while giving me fits with the pin floating all over the dots. Well, last night I concentrated on focusing on my target before I even drew. Once at full draw I would look through my pin at the dot I wanted to hit and squeeze the trigger. It’s perfect again – groups of arrows all touching one another nearly every time. This bow is very, very consistent. Next month I’ll move onto some greater distances and see what I’m capable of.
I was shooting with my friend the other night and he was all over the target. Very strange for him to shoot so inconsistently. Over the course of the hour, we started to pay attention to his form, release, etc. Nothing was presenting itself. He complained a bit about his peep sight moving on him and we started to look over the bow. A quick glance at the limbs and we noticed the pin holding the idler wheel was backing out. The lock washer had come off at some point and the situation could have been very bad. We quit shooting and he’ll take it to the shop to get it put back together properly. Just a reminder to give your equipment a good once over before and after shooting – you never know what you may find. Not sure if any of these items are related to the next, but it is just the way the night played out and luckily we came across a potential disaster in the making before it was too late.
Well, the season is coming really close now with the opening here in NY in mid-October. I shot the best last night that I have in months. We were trick shooting and had a ping pong ball hung in front of the target. Shots were from just over 20 yards and I can’t remember how many times I hit the ping pong ball – the Reezen was smokin’. Hoping to get out and do some scouting this season. I have a residential area of about 10 acres to hunt this year. Brand new property for me and looks pretty vanilla from aerials, but we’ll have to see – options are limited this year with the lack of good permission. Also planning my second ever trip to bow hunt southeastern Ohio – great time a couple years ago hunting the Woodbury Wildlife Area which is a huge piece of public property. Saw plenty of bucks and can’t wait for that trip in early November.
Another great month of practice with the Mathews Reezen has passed. Still dialed in and shooting better with this bow than I ever have shot in my life. I’m good out to 30 yards now and practice at 40 yards although not ready to take that shot in the woods. I did have to replace the bottom suppressor on the bow as it wore out. I figured it was time as I have had the bow since January and shoot it quite a bit. Also started some scouting this month. I have 2 new properties to figure out before our opener in the middle of October. Early indications are that they are full of deer, I just can’t be sure if they are traveling through my stand sets during daylight hours. Only time will tell.
A friend of mine has been getting some great shots of bucks in and out of velvet. One of his latest camera shots is seen to the left of this copy. Big old buck enjoying the morning sun in the middle of a public park in a major suburb of Buffalo, NY. Sure does get the blood pumping!
October – November 2009
Wow! What a crazy archery season it has turned out to be. Poor deer movement in Western New York that I attribute to warmer than average temps. I was struggling to see deer. I made a trip to Coshocton County Ohio for a week of deer hunting with a good friend of mine and finally scored – middle of November. I shot a small deer, but he shot an absolute monster. Hunting public land, he shot a 13 point buck that gross scores just over 190″ – that is some serious antler. There is a picture to the right. The deer of a lifetime for him and I was very happy to be a part of it all.
For me, the new Reezen claimed its first animal with a very clean kill at about 10 steps below my tree stand. The Rage broadheads were deadly and I saw my first deer fall within sight of the stand – mere 40 yards away it piled up. Awesome! Gun season opens in Western New York on Saturday, November 21st and I’ll be out there. We have an archery season for 10 days following the gun season and I’ll try to have some updates of that action as well.