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Back In The Saddle

I remember the first time I heard about saddle hunting. My boyfriend was so excited, telling me all about it; the pros, the cons, and what he thought about it. They’re affordable, require minimal set up, and are remarkably light. Hunting from a saddle allows you to move 360° around a tree and therefor makes more shots available than a typical tree stand. Naturally, we decided we had to add these to our hunting setup.

I also remember the first time we used our saddles for hunting. Let me tell you, there was a lot to learn. We had watched lots of videos on peoples first impressions, their first time setting up and climbing with them and even more experienced saddle hunters’ how-to videos. There was still a bit of a learning curve. We learned many things that first day. The first issue I was starting on a tree that wasn’t quite straight. From the ground it looked straight, but once I was 20 feet up in the air hanging form a tether, I realized there was certainly a lean to the tree. I managed to set myself up so I was facing into the lean, so I had the tree to keep me form swinging around or losing my footing.

The next time we went out, I chose a tree that was way too big. It was the only one around with good shooting lanes, so I decided to stick with it. Trying to get the straps for the steps around a big tree was so time consuming and difficult, but eventually I got up there and enjoyed my hunt.

I remember one time I wanted to get higher in the tree, so I placed my climbing sticks as far apart as I could possibly reach. I figured I was tall enough to manage. As difficult as getting up the tree was, getting down was almost impossible. I ended up hanging myself from the tree and was unable to get to the ground. Thankfully I was with my boyfriend who was able to pick me up, loosen the climbing sticks and get me to the ground. Another time I chose a tree with too many branches and lost my grip as I tried to maneuver around the large branches. I came uncomfortably close to falling and was shaking the rest of the hunt.

We finally get the hang of it, and I remember the day perfectly. We found a new location near an old favorite hunting spot; in a tree line overlooking a big field. The trees were small and there were tons to chose from so we could both have different shooting angles and a great view. When we walked into this spot, everything clicked. We each picked our tree and the climb went smoothly. No branches, no slipping, no forgetting to tie our bow to its cable having to climb back down to get our bow. We got up to our trees and set up our gear and I remember looking out over the field thinking “this is it”. We had a great spot, with shooting lanes in every direction. A group of 8 deer ran right under us that day. We didn’t get a shot off, as they wouldn’t stop running and playing. But it just reinstated that this was the perfect setup for us.

You don’t need crazy equipment to be successful in your hunt. But if you are thinking about investing in something, I’d suggest looking into something that allows versatility, comfort, quietness and confidence. For me, the saddle has been a game changer.

 

About the Author:
Kyla Bielert is a pharmaceutical chemist living  in Eastern CT with my boyfriend and their dog and cat. She's been shooting for two years, and last season was her first time hunting. In her own words, "I picked up a bow for the first time in summer 2018, and immediately fell in love."

Checking Your Arrows at a Component Level

It seems like arrows have almost a polar rating.  Yes or no.  Good or bad.  True or false.  While this is true in some cases, we can also take the time to check the arrow at a component level.  How?  Simple really.

The Arrow Inspector from Pine Ridge is a truly simple tool, buts its INCREDIBLY effective.  In the past I have used this spinning gadget to simply check my arrows, or at the most check my broadheads.  But as of late, I have used this tool to check the arrow, the square of the nock, insert straightness, and even how evenly my fletching job was done.

Interested?  Check out this video that outlines how this tool can be used to ensure that your arrow is as close to perfect as possible holistically and at a component level.

Social Distancing Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Outdoor Distancing

The Wildlife Resource Agency confirmed my hopes: “Turkey Season to Start As Scheduled; Lakes and Rivers to Remain Open.”  It was the best headline I think I had ever read.

PRACTICE TIPS FOR BOWHUNTING TURKEYS - by Tracy Breen

Turkey season is right around the corner. If you are planning on turkey hunting with a bow this spring, now is the time to start preparing. Bowhunting turkeys can be extremely challenging and often the most successful bowhunters are the ones who pay attention to the little details. Below are a few details that all bowhunters must think about long before opening day of turkey season if they want to be successful.

Arrow Reverse Engineering

I’m a numbers guy when it comes to archery.  As soon as I get a bow setup, I then start pairing that bow with an ideal arrow, but I typically make that selection opposite of what many archers do.  I call it Arrow Reverse Engineering, or A.R.E. for short. 

Perfect Arrows = Better Downrange Accuracy

pine ridge archery arrow inspectorDid you know that taking your arrows for a spin can be the difference between driving tacks and missing the mark? When one of your arrows doesn’t hit the mark, it is sometimes hard to tell if you made a mistake or if the arrow has a flaw. An inexpensive arrow spinner can increase your downrange accuracy.

  1. If your arrow has a dent, isn’t straight, or has some other imperfection that can’t be seen by looking at the arrow, the Arrow Inspector from Pine Ridge Archery will reveal if something is wrong. If the arrow spins perfectly on the Arrow Inspector, the arrow is ready for your quiver. If the arrow wobbles when you take it for a spin, chances are something is wrong.
  2. Often the imperfection isn’t in the arrow; it is in the insert. If an insert isn’t glued in properly or has any imperfections, it will likely cause the arrow to wobble on the spinner. When an arrow wobbles on a spinner, archers often assume the arrow is bad when it could be something else. Often the culprit is the insert. Making sure the tip of your arrow is square before gluing in the insert will help ensure the insert is seated properly. Using too much glue on the insert can often cause the insert to not be seated perfectly, resulting in poor arrow flight. Attention is often given to gluing vanes on a shaft. Gluing in the insert requires just as much attention.
  3. In some cases, a broadhead isn’t built to spec or the weight isn’t what it is advertised. It can be hard seeing all these imperfections unless an arrow is spin tested. It is not uncommon to find a few arrows that don’t fly true in every dozen arrows purchased. Making sure the arrow that doesn’t fly true isn’t in a quiver when a tournament is on the line or a buck is standing at 40 yards is necessary. An arrow spinner is the easiest way to make sure every arrow in a quiver is flying like a dart. 
Archery is all about the little details. Having an arrow spinner and using it is an insurance policy

TURKEY DECOY TRICKS THAT WILL BRING GOBBLERS IN CLOSE

Bowhunting turkeys can be tough. They have eyes like an eagle, a small vital area and can disappear after the shot, never to be seen again. To kill one with a bow, it is best if you are super close to them when taking a shot so you can aim and execute the shot perfectly and take out their head or chest cavity, depending on which one you are aiming at. The easiest way to get up close and personal with a long beard is by using a turkey decoy. Below are a couple tactics that work well for bringing Tommy boy in close. 

Many bowhunters make the mistake of setting up their Jake or Tom decoy so it is facing away from the hunter or the blind, which can be a mistake. Instead, place the tom decoy so it is facing the blind or the hunter. This forces the incoming tom to circle around and face off with the decoy. The real tom will want the decoy to know he is challenging him. When he circles around to face the decoy, the hunter will have a close broadside shot at the turkey. If the decoy is facing away from the hunter, the tom will often stand just out of shooting distance from the decoy, strutting back and forth, because the real bird is convinced the decoy can see him. Always force the real bird to come in close.

Last year, my son shot a longbeard at ten steps. It was the last day of turkey season but the tom was still lovesick over the ladies. By the late season, many toms are call shy and this one was too. I only called to him twice in an hour. What brought him in close was the lay down hen decoy I had out in front of us. The lay down hen looks like a hen that is ready to breed. Even a call shy gobbler will come running when he sees a hen is ready for business. You don’t have a breeding hen decoy? Get one. Toms are obviously distracted when they get on top of the decoy which gives you plenty of time to draw your bow and make a good shot. 

Most bowhunters only bring one or two decoys with them when they hunt. How often in the spring do you just see one hen by herself? When I turkey hunt, I often bring three or four lightweight, packable decoys with me. A bigger flock often eases the fear of the real birds and brings them in close. Packing extra decoys can be a pain, but it is worth the effort.

When bowhunting turkeys, keeping your bow positioned for the shot can be difficult. Consider using a Pine Ridge Archery Kwik Stand. The Kwik Stand keeps your bow out of the dirt and in a vertical position while you wait. When the time comes, you can simply lift your bow and shoot.

Good luck this spring!


BY TRACY BREEN
About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discusses how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at www.tracybreen.com

3 BOWHUNTER STOCKING STUFFERS

arrow inspectorarchers allen wrench

Christmas is almost here. Buying something for the bowhunter in your life is often difficult. Most bowhunters I know don’t really have a wish list. If they want something, they go out and buy it. Every once in a while, there are items out there that a bowhunter doesn’t even know they want or need but once they have it, they will wonder how they ever lived without it. Below are a few things we offer here at Pine Ridge Archery that every bowhunter would love to find under the tree or in their stocking.

  • This year we introduced the Kwik Stand Bow Support. This unique stand can attach to the limb of most any modern day bow and keep it upright and ready for the shot. Whether a hunter shoots a Hoyt, Mathews, or any other brand, the Kwik Stand will keep their bow out of the dirt or off of the concrete, making this the perfect accessory for the bowhunter or the target shooter.
  • Another item we offer that bowhunters love is the Arrow Inspector. This nifty device is extremely portable and is used to spin test arrows. Do you ever wonder if your broadheads are flying true or your old arrows are still flying like darts? Spin test them on the Arrow Inspector and you will quickly notice a wobble if something is wrong.
  • Every bowhunter needs an Archers Allen Wrench set. With this set, most every size Allen wrench a bowhunter would ever need is in one easy-to-use set. Bowhunters will never have to look around the workshop for the right size wrench again. The set can even be purchased with a holster so it can be kept on a belt.
Best of all, 2 of these these items retail for less than $20, and one is under $35  so you won’t break the bank!

Blood Tracking Basics

BLOOD TRACKING DOGHere we are, smack dab in the middle of bow season. I thought I would give readers a few blood tracking tips because a friendly refresher course never hurts anyone. For this article, I interviewed Tracker John, one of the best known blood trackers on the planet. Each year Tracker John tracks monster whitetails across the midwest for hunters who can’t find their buck. Below are a few mistakes he sees many hunters make in the field that often costs them their deer.

1. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

“Many hunters are so jacked up when they take a shot that they don’t pay close attention to where the deer was hit or where it went after the shot. This information is extremely important. Hunters should try to pay very close attention to where the deer goes after the shot. Many hunters I work with insist it went one direction when if fact we find out later it went another direction altogether,” Tracker John said.

2. THE WAITING GAME 

Another mistake Tracker John sees hunters make is rushing into the woods to look for the deer. “Every experienced hunter knows they shouldn’t get down right after the shot and look for the deer, but often that is what hunters do. This often pushes the deer and can end up costing a hunter his buck. This can make my job and the job of my bloodhounds harder if we get called in. Wait 45 minutes or an hour before climbing out of your stand.”

 3. ONLY BRING A FRIEND

Some hunters bring too many friends with them on the tracking job. “When you bring a lot of people along, things can get confusing. Blood can get missed or even worse blood can get on the bottom of boots and be tracked all over the place which can be confusing for my dog and make her job harder. I suggest hunters only bring one or two friends with them when tracking.”

4. BRING TOILET PAPER

Always bring toilet paper. Ever since toilet paper was invented, hunters have used it to mark last blood but sometimes in a rush, hunters forget to bring it along. “Marking last blood can make putting the pieces of the puzzle together easier for the hunters tracking the deer and easier for me. Many hunters forget to bring this along on a tracking job.”

5. MAKE THE CALL RIGHT AWAY

Don’t think of hiring a tracking dog as a last resort. “Many hunters don’t call a tracker in until they have spent hours or even days wandering around looking for their deer. The moment a person thinks they have a problem they should find a good blood tracker. The older the trail is and the more people there have been walking around looking makes finding the deer more difficult. If a hunter is having difficulty shortly after they start tracking, they should call a tracker.”


BY TRACY BREEN
About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discusses how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at www.tracybreen.com

Western game...on your own!

Nitro Vanes on Deer

Here at Pine Ridge Archery, we love watching our customers be successful. We recently interviewed Jake Rush, Manager of the Outdoorsmans in Phoenix, Arizona. The Outdoorsmans sells a line of high-end backpacks and tripods designed for hardcore hunters so it is safe to say Rush knows about bowhunting western game. Rush uses the Pine Ridge Nitro Vanes and recently tagged a nice Arizona buck. One of the keys to his success is shooting almost every day of the year. “I shoot my bow almost daily. Even if I don't have time to spend 30-45 minutes shooting, I walk outside and shoot one arrow before leaving for work. Practicing this way helps boost my confidence and after a while, the bow feels like an extension of myself,” Rush explained.

Nitro Vanes on Deer

PUT IN FOR LIMITED DRAW TAGS

Many hunters believe the only way to tag a nice buck or bull is by paying an outfitter. Jake and many like him know that is not true. He puts in for limited draw hunts in units where larger animals live. “This was a draw only tag. Much of Arizona is open for OTC archery deer starting in August every year. Typically I hunt the desert units closer to home. This was my first time putting in for a draw only archery tag and hunting deer in the pine trees of Northern Arizona.” Putting in for a limited draw hunt requires extra time and effort, but the payoff can be huge.”

SCOUT

Once Jake had the tag in his hand, the scouting and hard work began. “I spent a few weekends up in my unit getting a lay of the land and looking for areas I thought may hold deer. This time of year, the deer move quite a bit so even though I had seen deer in the same area, this was the first time I had seen this group of deer.”

GLASSING

Many people who hunt out west spend most of their time running and gunning. They cover as much ground as possible in search of a big buck or bull. Jake and the guys at the Outdoorsmans spend a lot of time glassing instead of running and gunning. They let the optics do the job for them. If you spend a lot of time glassing, you will want high end optics and a good tripod. These two things can drastically reduce the odds of getting eye strain and make the glassing experience more enjoyable. “Optics played a huge role in this hunt! I used the Swarovski EL 12x50s mounted to the Outdoorsmans tripod system for glassing the open areas where the bucks would come out to feed in early in the morning and evening. When I got into the thicker forested areas, I switched over to a pair of Leupold BX-4 10x42s for finding deer bedded in the shady areas.” Spending a lot of time glassing paid off for Jake.

Jake wasn’t extremely worried with how big the buck was he; was more concerned with meat. “I don’t know the score yet. All I know is that it made a good amount of snack sticks and breakfast sausage,” Rush exclaimed.

For many hunters, going on a Western bowhunt is a dream. The dream can become a reality if you hunt in units that offer over-the-counter tags or if you start putting in for limited draw hunts. I have been successful on limited draw hunts and have filled tags without breaking the bank. If you dream of hunting big bucks or bulls, start applying for draw hunts. Learn more about the Outdoorsmans by visiting www.outdoorsmans.com


BY TRACY BREEN
About the author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, consultant and game dinner speaker who often discusses how he overcomes cerebral palsy. Learn more about him at www.tracybreen.com