Latest Blog Posts

Build a DIY Bow Rack

DIY PVC Bow Rack for Target Shooting
Lightweight – Inexpensive – Easy to Build

When you’re out on the archery range or in your backyard targeting shooting, getting ready for the upcoming hunting season, how many times do you find yourself trying to find a place to set your bow down while you retrieve your arrows? I know it can be inconvenient to find such a place where you don’t get your bow dirty. Well, not anymore! This simple and inexpensive bow rack is just what you need to keep your bow off the ground and a place to put your arrows while target shooting. This simple DIY tutorial will line out everything you need to build your own Bow Rack right at home.


BowRack_Final_6
BowRack_Final_2
Material & Tools Needed:
• 1 – 10’ stick of 1” PVC
• 4 – 1” PVC T’s
• 2 – 1” PVC 90 degree elbows
• 4 – 1” PVC end caps
• PVC cement
• PVC cement primer or sand paper
• Foam insulation for 1” copper pipe
• Hack saw or sawsall
• Tape measure
• Spray paint (optional)

Measurements
These measurements can be adjusted based on the overall length of your bow, since not all bows are created equally.
Measure out and cut the following lengths form the 10’ stick of PVC:
• 1 @ 30”
• 2 @ 12”
• 6 @ 10”
• 2 @ 3”

BowRack_1

Base Configuration:
• 2 – 12” sticks (middle)
• 4 – 10” sticks (outer legs)
• 2 – 3” sticks (arrow holders)
• 3 – T’s
• 2 – 90 degree elbows (arrow holders)
• 2 – end caps

Use one ‘T’ fitting in the middle with the ‘T’ point up for the top portion to fit into. Use the 12” pieces to extend out of the middle ‘T’ and into the two outside ‘T’s for the legs. Insert the 10” pieces into the outside ‘T’s on both sides. Choose a side to be the front of the rack where your arrows will be placed. Connect the 90 degree elbows to the other end of the 10” pieces and point them up. Insert the 3” pieces into the other end of the 90 degree elbow. Finally, use the end caps on the other 10” pieces to complete the base.

BowRack_4
BowRack_5

Top or Rack Configuration:
• 1 – 30” stick (may be longer depending on bow length)
• 2 – 10” sticks
• 1 – T
• 2 – end caps

Now, connect the 30” piece to the bottom end of the ‘T’ fiiting and the two 10” pieces to the remaining open ends of the ‘T’ fitting. Place the end caps on the other end of the 10” pieces to complete the top portion of the rack.


BowRack_2BowRack_3

Overall Configuration:
Fit everything together before cementing or gluing anything to make sure everything looks right. Once you are satisfied with the setup you can now cement the base and top portion separately. I recommend not gluing the top portion to the base for easy storage, but that is up to you. I also recommend not gluing the top portion end caps on in order to make it easy for the foam replacement.

BowRack_7

Speaking of the foam, which is optional but nice to have, measure the distance between the top portion ‘T’ and the end caps on each side for the foam. Cut the foam according to the measurements and slide them on each side and replace the end caps.
Once you have painted it the way you want it and glued everything together you are ready to go! It’s that simple!


BowRack_Final_4BowRack_Final_5

Return to the Sage: Wyoming Antelope

Getting so close a few weeks ago and coming home empty handed changed our plans for the rifle opener. Initially we were planning on scouting for 2 days, and rifle hunting the rest of the week. But after tasting the challenge that spot and stalk archery hunting provided, we modified our plans and headed over 4 days earlier, hoping to get the job done with archery tackle. We’d then have a day or two to pick up our rifles if needed.

Wyoming Desert Sunrise
In this sage country, cover is very scarce. Our tactic consisted of driving and hiking into canyons and draws, looking for bucks that were in stalk-able locations. We each had multiple stalks every day — some better than others. It wasn’t an issue of getting within range, but being close enough, and letting an arrow fly are much different things in the bowhunting world.

Buck through the brush

Dad came and met us after a couple of days, and a good friend, Jewkes, also showed up the Saturday before the rifle hunt opened. We spent a lot of time driving, walking, and glassing bucks to stalk.  Cole showed up Sunday afternoon. He would only be rifle hunting, but came out a couple of days early to get familiar with the unit and look at some bucks.

Jewkes came about 3 inches shy of killing a buck on Sunday, but the buck had moved a few steps farther than he had though and he shot just under its belly. The young buck dashed off and quickly learned to keep his distance from Jewkes-sized predators.

Running Pronghorn Buck

Monday morning we headed out to check on a few of the bigger bucks we’d seen. We were hoping to find them in their usual haunts, so we could be there at first light on opening morning. But we couldn’t locate any of them. We checked a half dozen different areas, and none of our bigger bucks were to be found. Disheartened we decided to head to another part of the unit that we had visited just once over the past 4 days.


Glassing for Bucks

I’d like to say that we put on a difficult stalk, but that wasn’t the case. As we were arriving in the other area and had barely driven onto a strip of public land, we spotted 8 bucks feeding from the truck.  We managed to get the truck pulled off the road without spooking them too much, and Jewkes made a short and effective stalk to within range.

I was sizing the bucks up, trying to pick the largest one. They all looked to be about 2.5 year old bucks — none significantly bigger than the others. They all lined up in a row and looked our way as they had caught our movement. The third from the left, however, did have a pretty hook and was a bit more appealing to my eye. I was looking through the camera eyepiece whispering “Third one from the left…third one from the left.”

The arrow flew, the herd jumped and scattered, and the third buck from the left ran off untouched. The second buck from the left, however, had taken an arrow to the spine and dropped on the spot. The shot was a little high, but the buck was down and expired quickly. It was done. We had a pronghorn buck down — spot and stalk style with archery tackle. We were all on cloud nine as we took a few moments to let it all sink in, snap some photos, and then headed back to camp. Tag 1 of 5 was notched. Rifle season started in the morning.


Jewkes' Archery AntelopeJewkes' Archery Buck Closeup

With pronghorn, an inch makes a big difference. In this sense, antelope hunting differs quite a bit from most other hunts as we looked over dozens of different bucks every day, trying to judge an inch here, and an inch there.  The majority of the bucks we would see were around 13 inches tall or smaller with small to average prongs and not much mass.  As the day wears on and the desert warms, heat waves make discerning inches at distances over 300 yards nearly impossible, even with good optics. We made the decision to split up opening morning. Cole and Jewkes went one way, while Ben, Dad and I took the other truck down into the canyons where we had seen several good bucks on multiple occasions, hoping that they would be back for the rifle opener.

Pronhorn Buck on Skyline

They weren’t. We drove through the usual haunts of several different bucks, only to find them empty. We did find several 14+ inch bucks early in the morning, one in particular had sweeping horns, but we decided that only 10 minutes into the rifle season, he could live a little longer.

We covered a lot of ground, and finally found a solid buck that warranted a stalk, but he was a mile away and two draws over. We consulted the GPS (thanks to GPS Hunting Maps) and found a road that would bring us close. After a bumpy drive and a stalk of a few hundred yards, we eased our way over the edge of the ridge. The herd had moved several hundred yards west and had us pegged. I rushed to find the buck, rested over a large sagebrush, checked the range, and took the shot. I hit low and the buck trailed his fast moving girlfriends across the draw and up the canyon. I had an incorrect range, and must have picked up some brush somewhere between myself and the buck and missed low because of it.

We made our way back out of the canyons and onto a big flat that always holds good amounts of antelope — they lived there because they could see for long distance so getting close to them was tough. We found several herds, and Ben and I were able to stalk up a draw, passing several bucks on the way, but ultimately not getting the bucks we were after.

Ben Watching Buck through Scope

We returned to camp to find Cole had killed the first buck he saw that morning. His luck paid off big time as his buck was big and had character. We exchanged high fives and stories of the morning, grabbed some lunch, and headed out to find some more bucks.

Cole's Big Character Buck

Trek Tent Camp

We found another nice buck, who managed to elude us and were driving back past camp, when we spotted a herd on backside of the ridge above camp, close to where I had one of my closest archery stalks several days prior. This looked to be the same buck and I decided I’d make a stalk. Ben took Dad south to try and find another buck, while Jewkes followed me with the camera as we made our way back to camp and up the draw. Hoping we could sneak around the ridge and find the herd within range.

I left Jewkes when I thought we were close and he stayed back with the camera, as there was very little cover. I had to use the topography of the gradual ridge to make my way towards the herd. I crawled forward and saw a doe, she was moving up the hill so I backed off, looped uphill and crawled forward again. The buck was standing next to a doe at about 200 yards, and for a long time either she was in front of him or he was in front of her so no shot was offered. I studied the buck, trying to decide whether I wanted to fill my tag. The doe cleared and he turned his head to look up the draw, his ivory tips glinted in the sunlight and he made up my mind. I grabbed my pack (which I had set behind me) and laid on my back as I pulled it across my chest to use as a rest. The buck caught my movement and looked my way. He stared me down, as I lay flat on my back in some very short grass. After what felt like an hour (more like a minute) he turned and fed. His lead doe was getting nervous and turned, looking to go around the ridge from me where I wouldn’t be able to see them. The buck was following but turned back. I abruptly sat up and shot. His does raced uphill, quartering towards me as they hurried to the top of the ridge. The buck turned downhill at first, then whirled back and I shot again, but the first shot had found its mark.

Brad's Pronghorn Buck

Brad's Buck side view

Brad's Wyoming Buck


Dad and Ben were coming back past camp, so we called and they came up to take a few more photos. They then headed back south of camp to look for a couple more good bucks. Ben found a buck that evening that had a pretty curl, great mass, and good prongs. He put on a very long stalk to within 70 yards in tall sage brush, capping it off with a short shot and tagged out. His buck is 13″ but will likely score the best of all the bucks due to his mass and strong cutters.

Ben's massive hooked pronghorn buck

We capped the night off with some rice and fresh backstraps, enjoying good company, tired companions, and reliving memories of the day. The next morning Dad, Ben and I headed out to try to find a buck for Dad. We drove down onto a large flat where we had gone the morning prior. The bucks make their way across this flat as they move from water each morning. We spotted the sweeping 14″ from the morning before and Dad decided he wouldn’t pass on him twice. With a short stalk his tag was punched and we had tagged 5 bucks in 36 hours.

Dad's sweeping antelope buckDad's Buck Closeup

I’ve long believed that antelope hunting is a great first hunt — but ultimately, it just makes a great hunt whether you’re new to the sport, or a seasoned veteran. The North American Pronghorn truly is a unique and amazing animal, hunting them in the sage deserts of Wyoming is hard to beat.


Morning Glassing for Antelope

Wyoming Horned Toad

Speedy Spot and Stalk

As a kid, Dad and I would always put in for Antelope together. We’d typically spend a single day hunting. I’d often be tagged out by 9 am, and then we’d drive around for a few hours until Dad would take one in the mid afternoon. Then we’d drive home — after all it was archery elk season and we’d rather spend our available time doing that. Antelope hunting was always a fun hunt that we shared, but Elk hunting was always our priority.

This year is a bit of a throwback as I decided to spend my points on the same unit that Dad and I hunted when I lived in Wyoming. This isn’t known as one of Wyoming’s trophy units, but the population numbers are always good and it is rare to go more than 20 minutes without seeing a buck. Antelope hunting in Wyoming can be as hard as you make it, and this year I wanted to devote a few more days, including some “spot and stalk” hunting with bow in hand.

Wyoming has always been one of my favorite states to hunt — probably because it is where I first hunted. The country is familiar and opportunity is abundant. For and extra few dollars we can hunt the archery season and when the rifle season comes along, can pick-up the guns. This weekend Ben and I decided to head out to the unit to get our feelers out for some better than average bucks, and bring our bows along for fun. After all — spot and stalk Antelope hunting has a reputation of being very challenging, but something I had never tried. Dad came over the mountain as well, as he drew a tag.

We arrived friday evening with just enough light to look over a few herds across a large sagebrush flat where I’d taken several bucks in the past. Standing in the short sage brought back a lot of great memories hunting with Dad. I’m sure this hunt, when it’s all said and done, will be another chapter of great memories hunting with family and close friends.


sunset1
lookingaround
We were back overlooking the same flat at first light in a stand-off with a vocal buck. The buck circled us and headed east onto the flat. I caught a few pics of the rising sun and the fleeing buck.


goodbuck
sunrise

I won’t get heavy into the details of the hunt up to this point as I’ll be posting a video of this hunt later. We hit it hard all day — heat waves made glassing difficult most of the day, but we managed to screw up some great stalks and found a few above average bucks for the rifle hit list. I will say that I’m addicted. Spot and Stalk Pronghorn hunting is a blast!


flatstalkbuck_rubtwogoatsrainbowfenceBen GlassingcanyonwatchingBen_StalkBrad Miss2

Bow Hunting

Success is in the Details

Bow HuntingThere is an advantage to being a relative new-comer to bow hunting. The lessons I have learned in my relatively short ‘career’ are still vivid in my mind and memory. The basic instincts and awareness that seasoned veterans may take for granted, I still consciously account for each time in the mountains during elk season, in the tree stand waiting for wary whitetails, or patiently stalking late season mule deer.

This September, I will embark on only my 7th big game hunting season with stick and string. The memories of that very first elk hunt; walking up the drainage at dawn, moving slowly, brushing the heavy dew off of my pants, and listening to my very first elk bugle still make the back of my neck tingle like it did that crisp autumn morning. It is this clarity that gives me an advantage in relating some of my hard-earned lessons to those starting out or anyone looking for an edge.

As clear as my memories are of that maiden hunt with my good buddy Jason, the knowledge that I was completely clueless are even more pronounced. Other than a few close calls, probably more like blind luck, our efforts were pretty futile that year. However, it was the lessons of that season and the next few that built the foundation for whatever hunting prowess I now have (or don’t have in some cases).

One of the most important lessons that I have learned, and continue to learn is to listen to what the animals are telling me even when they are not there. What clues did they leave? Some are easy to spot, some are much more subtle but they are there nonetheless. ‘What were they doing when they were here?’ ‘Have they been here more than once?’ ‘How long has it been since they were right here?’ Examples of these clues are elk wallows, whitetail rubs and scrapes, bear marking trees, creek crossings, etc.

downsized_1030120930

One of the best examples of this took place several years ago when one of my hunting buddies and I started seriously hunting whitetails here in southern Idaho. After elk season, we talked nonstop about setting up some trail cameras and hanging some tree stands, but we continued to procrastinate well into October. Finally, one day, I decided to take my Labrador out to look for some pheasants in the same area we planned to chase the whitetails later in the season. Combing through the brush and crossing the creek, I began to see deer tracks everywhere and lots of potential choke points to hang some cameras. I began to get excited.

I quickly packed up my dog and started the hour plus long drive back to my house. As I was driving I called Doug and told him to leave work early and meet me at my house, we were going to do some scouting work. He debated for a minute or two and then agreed. As it was already late afternoon, we hustled as fast as we could to our destination. Frantically, we loaded our gear and disappeared into the tangle of river bottom foliage. As we traveled through the same area I scouted earlier, Doug began to point out to me all of the things that my inexperience and excitement hid from my eyes earlier.

“Look at this rub!” He exclaimed. “And this scrape here, there is a lot of buck activity in this area!”

As he showed me some of these signs, it felt like the blinders were removed from my eyes. I started to slow down, look harder and–surprise–see more. I knew what each piece of sign was I just wasn’t looking hard enough. I was only seeing the surface, not what the clues were telling about what was going on below the surface. It was a matter of

knowing what to look for and where to look, but most importantly to just be aware of all of it.

Good Whitetail Buck

I can think of countless scenarios before and since that point to the importance of paying attention to these clues. Several years ago, while hunting elk here in my home state, I took off after an unsuccessful morning glassing session. In a meadow not far above our camp I noticed a cluster of elk tracks that appeared to be extremely fresh because the dry, cocoa colored dirt was still pressed down solid in spite of little moisture. In an area like ours, there are a lot of tracks so telling fresh and old apart is a much needed skill.

Again, Doug was with me so I motioned for him to come and check out my find. “Those are really fresh,” he acknowledged. We quickly made a plan. We would move down the drainage, alternating calling sessions with one guy as a ‘shooter’ and the other as the ‘caller’. I volunteered to call first, nothing. We moved down 100 yards and he started calling, nothing. We moved again…nothing. Less than an hour after seeing the tracks and on our fourth session, Doug called up a nice 5-point bull that I arrowed at 16 yards. You have to love when a plan comes together.

Sometimes it is more than visual clues that tell us the habits and whereabouts of our quarry. Learning to pay attention to the sounds and smells of the outdoors is a skill to be honed like any other. Most hunters are aware that elk have a very distinct odor and hunting into the wind can help lead you in the direction of the herd if you are paying attention to your senses. Some people like to charge through the forest, a lot like we did during that maiden season. A ‘hunter’ has the discipline to slow down and be aware of all of his senses and surroundings.

The year before the elk hunt mentioned earlier, I was probably still in that class of hunter–charging through the mountains, mostly oblivious to my surroundings. However, curiosity was something that I had in spades. So, much to my best friend Jason’s dismay, I scrambled off of our intended path to investigate a strange sound I had heard on the finger ridge above us. Several minutes later, and only two hours into our week-long adventure, I had arrowed my first bull elk, a nice 6-point Idaho monarch. To this day, Jason swears that it was a bird squawking and not any sound an elk would make that drew me up the hill that evening.
196527_1009345246062_2275_nPaying attention to my surroundings paid off that day as it has many times since. It doesn’t always lead to harvesting an animal but all of it contributes to my education and knowledge bank. Again, sometimes it is a familiar smell or a nearly inaudible sound that leads us in a direction. Sometimes it is the way the grass is still folded over in a peculiar way. Other times it is a splash of water from hooves or paws leaving a stream. All of these things tell us something, even in the absence of game. It’s how we process and use this information that makes the difference.

I have been lucky enough to have mentors that have showed me some of these things, which definitely expedites the learning curve, and that is what I hope to do for others by sharing my experiences. I have had opportunities to take a few young hunters with me on an adventure or two and passing this knowledge on is highly rewarding. Seeing the light bulb flicker on when you show them some of these tell-tale signs can be just as much fun as the hunting itself.

What’s on your List?

Hunts have either started or are starting within the next few weeks in most western states. This time of year seems to sneak up on a guy. Sure, we’re always looking forward to the upcoming hunt –shooting  bows, sighting in  rifles, anticipating the opener. But every year, I feel like I’m rushing around, trying to get the last few items in my pack, the last few arrows shot, and the last few plans made.

I wasn’t planning on having an early hunt this year. I didn’t draw my favorite deer unit in Utah and scaled back my out of state applications as I knew I wouldn’t be able to make them with a new addition to the family coming soon. I was casually glancing over the leftover list and noticed there were a bunch of tags left over for the unit where I live. I haven’t hunted this unit for 4 seasons, but am excited at the prospect of hunting so close to home. Being as picky as I am, I know I’ll likely end up not finding something I like enough to shoot – or if I do will likely screw up the stalk somehow, but I’m still excited to get out and enjoy it. So if you see me in the hills of Northern Utah – come say hello.

That being said, I do have a few new gear items in my pack this season that I’m pretty excited about. Here’s a few of the new products I’ve added to my arsenal this season that I think you might be interested in:

I’ll be slinging some new broadheads this season courtesy of Wac’em Broadheads. They make a solid head and are a Utah based company. I know their product is solid and have always been a big fan of fixed blades. Hopefully I can post a photo of one covered in BIG buck blood!

I also will be testing out my new DIY homemade Digiscoping adapter. I paired it with an old camera I had sitting around. I’ll give it some thorough field testing and probably make some modifications. I’ll post up a step-by-step once I know I like it.

Catoma tents will be coming with me on my early season overnighters as well. They make a very lightweight bed net system that is permethrin coated (to keep out the bugs). The coolest part is how light it is, and how quick it is to set up and take down. Keep watch, I’ll be showing everyone how it works — I think it’s going to be a good gear addition.

The new product that I’m also very excited about is a unique hydration system developed by Geigerrig. These aren’t your average water bladder, they are pressurized, bomb-proof (literally – watch this video) and have the perfect filtration capabilities. I’ve got a video in the hopper for this as well. I really think this product is head and shoulders above any other hydration system I’ve ever used.

What new products are you adding to your collection this season? Leave a comment and let me know!

Public Land Elk Hunting: 5 Steps

By Brad Carter

I watched my Dad peer through the eyepiece of his binoculars. Barely old enough to keep up, I desperately wanted to take a look. I tried to search with my eyes in the direction that the binoculars were pointed, and finally could make out small tan spots in a meadow on the very top of the highest peak around. I finally had my turn to view what made my heart pound with anticipation. They were elk, and they were living at 9,000 feet where we had seen them several times before, and several times since. Now later in life, as I carry my own rifle, I have found myself climbing that same rocky peak in search of the elk I hunted with my father years before.

I have seen elk up close in that same meadow consistently year after year. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Elk have similar patterns that they follow every year almost to the foot. This is just one of the many things I have learned about hunting successfully for Bull Elk. By following the tips below, you can increase your success when hunting on public land for pressured Bull Elk.

1. FIND YOUR ELK: Elk are going to be found in the same places year after year, unless they have been moved out by an irregularity. For example, an area that I, along with my family and friends, had found success in just wasn’t clicking for us one particular year. As I glassed the opposite mountain side where I had previously seen elk nearly every time I went, there wasn’t an animal to be seen. To investigate further, I hiked to the top of that ridge. Sheep tracks littered the ground. This event ruined my hunt until I figured out that the herd had moved across the canyon, to nearly the same clearing that I was glassing from the day before. Nothing can replace pre-season scouting for finding where elk will be during the hunt. The most critical days are those right before the hunt. However, once an area has produced results during consecutive years, there is a good chance you will find elk in the same place the next year.

2. PATTERN YOUR ELK: Elk aren’t likely to stay in the same area year round. Several factors play into this phenomenon. Hunting pressure will move elk out of their summer areas and into areas where we are less likely to reach them—unless we’re just plain crazy. Frankly, I have been called crazy several times for killing elk where I have.

During a public land bow hunt in Wyoming several years ago, I was out of my tent well before the sun had even thought of rising. The elk had been bugling all night, and I knew exactly where they were. However, upon crossing the river that flowed between the elk and me, they had already begun to move off. I couldn’t get a shot at the bull I was after, so I started my trek back to camp for lunch. I met up with my father, and we took a shortcut on a game trail through a patch of heavy timber. We plodded along, not expecting, or thinking about chancing onto an elk that may be out late in the morning. I was looking through the timber, and caught some motion out of the corner of my eye. Realizing it was an elk, we dropped and crouched behind some brush. It was just a cow, so we waited and watched. Then another cow materialized out of the trees, and she slowly fed away from us. I looked up at my Dad, and I could see excitement in his eyes. He motioned with one finger as he leaned over and informed me that a good bull was bedded about 70 yards away. We huddled silently as the bull stood up and fed away from us and over the ridge. We didn’t have an opportunity to stalk, and we had to go home because of other obligations. We returned later in the season, and after a morning of hunting returned back to camp on the same game trail. We sneaked in and thoroughly scanned the trees for elk. There weren’t any there, so we continued through the trees back to camp. My father was leading and suddenly stopped. I froze in my tracks, he pointed with one finger behind his back. I looked ahead, and there was the same bull facing us at 80 yards. He had spotted us before we spotted him, and he scuffled off and over the same ridge he’d disappeared over earlier that season. This old bull had found a place very much to his liking. After he had the slightest hunting pressure, he moved into his favorite old hiding place and stayed there.

3. GET DOWN AND DIRTY: If you want to kill a trophy bull on public land, you’re going to have to get to places others just plain won’t. The peak I watched with my father as a young boy was one such place. As soon as the fist rifle shot was fired, these elk went as high as they could go—9,000 feet into the sky on the top of Elk Mountain. Elk, however; don’t always climb the mountain peaks; they often find the deepest and darkest patch of timber around. These big bulls only feed out at night, and when faced with any danger from a hunter can escape with a few quick kicks of their feet. One of the only ways to get a shot at these elk is to sneak your way into the timber after them. Usually these big old bulls won’t go to such extreme measures during an archery season because the hunting pressure isn’t as great and success is a lot quieter. I have been faced with this dilemma many times during my rifle hunt experiences. I have found that sneaking through elk-filled timber as quietly and slowly as possible creates results. By slowly, I mean very slowly—taking a step and studying the trees, then taking another five steps, and then stopping to search the trees. This method does often present difficult, running shots, which under some circumstances may question our shooting ethics. Other times, however, you can see the elk before they see you. I often sneak into timber along a worn game trail as the morning wears on, and have frequent sightings of mature bulls.

4. PRACTICE: I am a firm believer in practice. Of course going out to the shooting range and putting a few rounds through your rifle is going to help. But I think an important part of practice is stepping back and learning from your experiences. Decide what you could have done better in a certain hunting situation that would have made it successful. Feel comfortable shooting at distances that you have fallen short in real situations. Your surroundings will not always be perfect when that bull of your dreams comes around the nearest pine tree, but you need to be.

5. BE PERSISTENT: Even seemingly hopeful situations can end up falling apart. For instance, the sun had already fallen below the horizon when my father and I plucked an arrow from our quivers and pushed them back into our nocks. I cow called, and the brush began to crackle under an old bull’s feet. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest. I caught a glimpse of his ghostly silhouette; my release grasped my bowstring as I drew my bow. To my right, my Dad was doing the same thing. The bull froze; I set my pin behind his shoulder blade. But a lone branch from a deadfall log blocked my arrow’s path, so I informed my Dad that I didn’t have a shot. He decided to take the shot. The arrow clanked as it disappeared into the darkness. The bull circled us and holed up for the night, all the while still barking at us. I could no longer see the bow in my hand, and knowing that my father had missed, we returned to camp for the night. The next day we chanced into the same clearing. Wondering what caused the miss, I followed the bull’s tracks from the night before and froze in the very place that it had. My father stood where he had drawn his bow the previous evening. As we replayed our experience, my father spotted his arrow. It had lodged nearly six feet in the air in the same branch that had obstructed my way.

Things don’t always go as planned. Realize that it’s just part of the game, and continue to join me in being consumed in the passion of hunting elk.

Product Review: Lumenok

In anticipation of an Archery Elk hunt this year, I had a chance to test out the “Burt Coyote Lumenok.” I was not planning on hunting with them because I didn’t want to adjust my bow with only a few days to go until the hunt started. I was already dialed in and didn’t want to take any chances. However, those plans went out the window one evening as I was practicing as the sun was going down. I was shooting 30 yards and under and decided to put a Lumenok on to see how it worked. Needles to say I had them in my quiver while I chased bugling bulls a few days later. Here’s what I found: (Ratings are based out of 10 possible points)


Lumenok

Overall Rating: 9/10

Function: 9. The Lumenoks were easy to use. I was shooting Gold Tip Hunter XT 5575 arrows. Installation was as simple as removing my other knock and pushing the Lumenok into place until the knock lit. Then gently pulling the knock back to where the light turned off. I shot the Lumenoks several dozen times in the limited amount of practice time I had using them and never had a failure. They were especially fun to shoot as the evening light was fading. The arrow path could easily be seen, and it was easy to see where I hit from upwards of 60 yards away.

Design: 10. Lumenoks come in red, green, and a new man favorite; hot pink. They are made in different models ranging from 24 – 30.6 grains in weight. They do not require any special tools, or even any glue to install. They will fit most arrows without any modification. These knocks are designed to also help with arrow and game retrieval depending whether the arrow passes through, or stays with an animal.

Their innovative design uses the conductive qualities of the arrow to close a circuit, causing the light to turn on. Store your arrows with the knocks pulled pack, just far enough that the small wires don’t make contact with the arrow itself. When you are ready to shoot, put the arrow on your string, pull back, and release. Upon release the knock is forced forward – closing the circuit and turning the light on as the arrow flies towards your target. This design is very cool, and they are more fun to shoot than I thought they would be.

Quality: 10. As far as knocks are concerned these seemed great. Battery life is boasted at 40 hours. And they should be re-usable as long as they don’t break on impact. In dozens of test fires, I had zero failures – and the knock stayed lit in the target until I removed the arrow and turned off the light by sliding the knock back until the small wires were not touching the arrow. I did not shoot any errant arrows that struck hard objects and would be interested to see the results.

Price: 7. I wish they were a bit less expensive. While these are an innovative item: they do run close to $10 per knock. That is more than my arrows and broadheads. However, they do have electronic parts and batteries included which do increase manufacturing costs. There are other lighted knocks on the market, but their prices are very similar. Luckily these knocks shoot groups with my other knocks and I will have a couple in the quiver for shots in low light.

For more information visit: www.lumenok.net, or follow them on facebook.