Monday, December 6, 2010

Tom’s 196 square mile lease is covered up with antelope and I mean some real dandies.

A respectable number of requests for a good Pronghorn Antelope hunt have crossed my desk and I promised to see what I could uncover. Maryland member, Ron Williams provided me with a lead for an outfitter operating out of Douglas, Wyoming and guaranteed that we would like what he has to offer based on twelve consecutive years of hunting there. I spoke with the owner, Tom White about his company, Tom’s Antelope Adventures and he invited me to come out and see what he had to offer. Ron Williams said that he would come along on the maiden voyage and when I mentioned an Antelope Roundup to ACF member Gene Strie, he said he would come along to help evaluate.

We had to apply for licenses by March 15th and received them in the mail in July. Hotel reservations were made and we headed out for the third week of Tom Whites season arriving in Douglas on the 28th of August. During the trip, we learned that Tom had been running his bowhunting-only operation for 16 years and has 196 sections in his exclusive territory. He has primitive camping available or you may stay in Douglas at a variety of good hotels at reasonable rates.

Tom’s lease is covered up with antelope in big numbers and sizes. Both Ron and Gene filled their tags within the first half-hour of their hunt. I could have filled my tag too, but spent the first day and a half in the blind snapping hundreds of photos of antelope and a wide assortment of critters that came to the water hole for refreshment; it was fantastic! Late in the afternoon of the second day, I took a respectable Billy ending the hunt for our threesome in just over twenty-four hours. Tom and his wrangler, Clark were wonderfully accommodating about helping get the carcasses into the locker plant to be taken care of. Mine was skinned and cut up right at camp and placed in a cooler as I like to have my groceries processed at home.

Read the rest of this article....
Thursday, December 2, 2010

by Geoffery Toye, HBM European Correspondent

With ever more states in the USA encouraging the use of the crossbow for hunting, an enormous market has opened up.Crossbow sales have increased on an unprecedented scale, so much so that crossbowyers can scarcely keep up with demand.Predictably, in a society driven by free market forces, and with material and sourcing cost increasing, the retail price of hunting crossbows has increased apace; for some of us, perhaps prohibitively so.

Canadian Crossbowyers Excalibur have responded with their new crossbow, the Axiom.This is offered as a hunting crossbow of high quality, but with costs pared where possible without compromising that quality, which has made the company a world leader.

I have previously reviewed Excalibur bows and in my personal bow collection there are two, which I often shoot.I have found them to be robust, delivering excellent and dependable performance qualities which have seen them used in some of the hardest conditions on earth, and at sea, notable for scientific work, wildlife management and whale tagging.They are uncomplicated, recurve designs which have stood the test of time and not been found wanting.The founder of the company, Bill Troubridge, accidently drove a truck over one of his bows after which he reportedly dug it out of the dirt and shot it at a target only to discover that it had not lost its zero.He thought that would be a great thing to advertise his bows so he drove over it again, this time with a camera running, and filmed it all, including the same result.Do not try this at home; but you have to be impressed.

When I asked Bill what the Axiom was like he replied, “Like the Phoenix, but without the lipstick and high-heels.Want us to send one over?”Of course I did.

Read the rest of the article.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Todd Graf has been a good, personal friend of mine for a decade and a half; and over the course of those years he has established a reputation within the industry as a serious bowhunter as well as a very competent business man. In recent years, he has entered into the field of hunting DVD production and I am here to report that he maintains his personal level of excellence in this endeavor as well.

I must confess that Todd presented me with a copy of his first production at the 2009 Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo and asked me to check it out. A year later at the same show, he asked what I thought of the DVD. I sheepishly had to admit that I had not taken the time to watch it in the past twelve months as I don’t spend my spare time watching hunting shows or videos. He admonished me, clucking in disapproval and then presented me with another copy of Volume One and as well as a copy of the newly released Volume Two. Culpably, I promised him that I would take the time to watch them sometime before the 2011 Expo.

Several weeks after returning home I sat down with a note pad and a inserted Volume 1 into the DVD player for a quick look. I settled in and spent over two hours delightfully entertained and at times even on the edge of my seat, watching one bowhunt after another as Todd and his friends pursued the wily whitetail deer with a stick and string. Read More......

Monday, July 12, 2010

When I found myself recently invited to prepare for an African Safari, I telephoned Anne Reeve and told her I already owned a good pocket knife but, as I did not want to use a rigid knife on this trip so I wanted a really strong folding hunter, very high quality but not too big and able to be stripped in the field. It had to be a Sebenza, a working tool and the benchmark against which all others are judged.

Anne is a charming conversationalist; the generous result of our discussion was two Sebenza 21 models for review, one large one small, both named to commemorate twenty-one years of manufacture.

These knives are plain and in photographs which could not possibly convey their subtlety, frankly look it. However, to see them in reality is to see how they came to be the recipients of so many prestigious design awards. The underwhelming illustration on the page manifests incarnate as an eloquent expression of precision, robustness, functionality and understated elegance. The grind-lines of the heavy-gauge blade are perfectly symmetrical in exquisite hollows which curve down to a perfect edge.

Read more.....
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CrossbowThere is a certain pride in a job well done in any sport, and so I would like to express my pride and appreciation to the Crossbow Archers who came to the First ACF State Crossbow Championship ever held in the United States. Sanctioned by the American Crossbow Federation, Fort Polk Louisiana was the starting point for future events, with the world class Shooting Complex being able to host any shooting sport event you can imagine.

Read the rest of this story by John Simeone......

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Author and His AlligatorIn late September of 2008, my good friend, John Dale from Natchez, invited me to participate in the first private lands alligator hunt ever held in Mississippi. Although I had only one night to hunt, I eagerly accepted the invitation. The Dale camp on Brierfield would be our hunt headquarters. The club caretaker, Scott Skipper, would be operating the boat; I would be manning the crossbow; John would be in charge of the video camera.

The weather turned foggy and cool - not the best situation for hunting alligators at night. The big lizards simply would not cooperate! Every time we got within range, the gators would silently slip beneath the surface and disappear. I did manage to get one arrow into a big alligator, but he managed to pull off after a brief fight in the thick brush and aquatic vegetation. I had to leave the next day, but Scott was able to fill all the club tags during daylight hours with his rifle over the next few days while the big ones were sunning along the shore.

Fast forward to Friday, September 18, 2009, this would be my second attempt at getting an alligator on Davis Island with a crossbow. This year I would be shooting my new Horton Vision 175. I arrived early in the afternoon, and Scott and I prepared our equipment for the hunt. Boat batteries had to be charged, arrows and buoys checked, and the boat launched before dark.

Read the complete story here...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My curiosity about TenPoint’s new Defender CLS immediately went off the scale the moment I laid eyes on it at the 2009 SHOT Show. My first thoughts were: this looks a lot like my TenPoint Phantom CLS, minus the camo pattern on the riser and barrel. When I read the specs on this new crossbow, I knew I had to have one. My test sample arrived at home base not to long after I had finished unpacking my bags after returning home from the SHOT Show. I eagerly opened the box, and began to assemble the crossbow. It was still early enough in the day to take it out for a test run. I quickly laid down a layer of string wax and rail lube, grabbed my chronograph and headed outside to the test range.

Read the rest of the review here....

Friday, January 29, 2010
Greetings Dan! - Hope this note finds you and Karen doing well. Our elk season began September 1st and is now over. I called in a spike for Judy on the 4th and as luck would have it, her arrow clipped a small branch and she shot under him. 4 days later I called him back up and Tim Martell, a friend of ours managed a 20 yard shot from his Hoyt. Then on September 16th Tim called in a cow for me. I'd been practicing shooting with either hand and it paid off!
The cow had apparently seen me move and came in out of range on my strong side then began circling. When she disappeared behind some cover I switched to shoot left handed and had to lie on my side to get the opening I needed. She stopped broad side about 40 yards out and stared at me. Tim called again and when she looked back at him I released the arrow from my Horton XS, the same bow I was shooting when you were out here. The arrow hit it's mark and she went less than 100 yards.
Read the rest of this member story here....
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Every year, smack dab in the middle of October, a half a dozen ACF members gather for the Fall Rendezvous in Houston, Missouri, the home of Ozark Mountain Outfitters. Jim and Darlene Wilson and son Eric play host to our group in some of the most beautiful deer and turkey country that America has to offer. The hunt allows the taking of a whitetail buck and doe as well as a wild turkey. The hunt this year was a three day hunt, but in 2010 it will be expanded to five full days of exciting hunting with toasty-warm hospitality, lots of great home-cooked food and plenty of wildlife being seen by all who are sent out to guard Jim’s lush food plots.

This year I was joined by ACF members, Jackie Seale of Alabama, Harold Webster of Mississippi, Bob Jacobs of Minnesota and Randy Archer of North Dakota for four days of what turned out to be wet and colder than normal weather. Still our dedicated hunters managed to drag six whitetails and one turkey to the meat pole. Harold Webster and Bob Jacobs each took two whitetails and Jackie and Randy each took one. The big bucks managed to evade the arrows on this go-round. Plenty were seen, but they were either out of range or else really lucky. The last night of the hunt, Bob had a really big buck grazing just fifteen yards from him, but behind some heavy brush. As the animal slowly began to move into the open, a herd of spooked whitetails sped by, taking Bob’s buck with them. And that, my friends, is why they call it hunting.

Read the rest of this story and view photos....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Daniel James HendricksI watched as the animal meandered through the dense brush, disappearing occasionally only to reappear closer than it was before. Suddenly I thought that I saw sun glinting off an antler. I raised my crossbow to my shoulder, located the deer in the scope and was delighted to discover that the fat doe I had been watching was a “Poke `em Young” buck. It was show time! Immediately the context of the moment changed. The first surge of adrenaline immediately swept over my system causing tremors to ripple through my body as an increase in blood pressure made my eyes feel like they were being squeezed in a vice. Oh how I love the very instant the decision is made to shoot! It is the point in time that all hunters work towards and live for, the moment of truth and ultimate test. And as the buck continued to close the gap that separated us, I prepared for my final exam.

The nearer the animal came, the more it angled directly towards my position. Straight out in front of me was a 4-wheeler trail that would give me a clear shot out to forty yards, but as the animal angled closer, I knew that it would probably be under twenty when the it cleared the brush. As luck would have it, the whitetail stepped onto the trail right in front of my twenty-yard marker and then started to turn away from me. I had been focused on the spot even before the fledgling buck entered the kill zone so when it began to turn, my finger quickly applied pressure to the trigger of my bow. As the bow’s bark shattered the quiet landscape, the arrow was launched, entered the hapless whitetail at mid-body, just short of the rib cage, exiting behind the scapula on the opposite side of the animal and buried its head deeply into the rich, black soil.

Read the rest of this story by Daniel James Hendricks...

For 16 years I have been “confined “to a wheel chair following an ATV accident. Being an avid hunter & outdoorsman prior to my accident it's been very hard for me to “settle” for the very limited access to the outside that I loved & still love so much. Tim Swenson from Action manufacturing is now selling an item that redefines more than just confinement, it redefines life for me.

The Action Track Chair by action manufacturing in Marshall Minnesota has come a long way in removing common obstacles from the person wanting to be outside. Though not capable of going anywhere, it definitely makes most places & terrains obtainable to the ambulatorily weakened individual. From the elderly person that basically has trouble getting around the yard or garden. To the paralyzed folks that require to go to that place they used to go. Hunting spots, fishing holes, hiking trails, beaches, swamps, etc. are accessible again with the Action Trak....

Read the rest of Mike Hoff's Action Trak Review....
Friday, January 22, 2010
Patrick McGinleyI first saw the Excalibur Exocet crossbow in the 1998 Cabela’s Fall Archery catalog. Thinking back over the bows I have owned,, most were recurves just like the Exocet, from one of those green fiverglass kid’s bows at age ten to the Ben Pearson Javelina 66” target bow I shot in high school archery club to the Bear Black Panther Hunter that I used to hunt everything from squirrels to deer. I just had to have an Exocet, and as easy as a phone call to Cabela’, my new toy was on its way.

Having had the crossbow for the better part of a year, I needed to find somewhere and something to hunt. The answer came in the form of an ad in the back of an archery magazine “Where to Hunt” section. Forest of Antlers, located in Minocqua, Wisconsin offers hunts for whitetail deer using the crossbow. I was met at the Rhinelander, WI airport a guide named Bob. He told me the lodge was brand spanking new. The handsome building was handicap-accessible and the ground bathrooms were designed with the disabled hunter in mind. The food was top shelf and never ending. A large sitting room offered TV, books, magazines, a stereo system and a video library.

After unpacking and lunch, I headed to the target range...
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Reviewed By Geoffrey Toye, HBM European Correspondent

Tagged Out BowsightBad River Outdoors offers bow-type open sights for field or hunting crossbows, with mounts tailored to suit the crossbows made by the principal bowyers. When I was invited to test one I requested a mounting to suit my Excalibur. This is my favorite bow for shooting with the open sights with which it is already fitted, so I am use to how it performs without the now ubiquitous telescope sight.

The Tagged-Out aperture sight is a simple, robust peep, adjustable for windage and elevation and which mounts onto the rail normally used for the telescopic sight option on the Excalibur. Immediately I could see a practical advantage in this in that, were a telescopic sight to receive serious damage in the field, perhaps a far and foreign field, the aperture could be ready to replace it on the scope rail.

The rear-sight is well finished, perhaps too well for the incautious that could actually slice a finger on the dovetail so precisely was it machined. So fine was the tolerance, when I fitted it to the rail, it needed a drop of gun oil to allow it to slip on. Once in position, it was anchored with an interference grub screw. This set the screw well down in its own threaded hole, and I would have like to have seen the option of a slightly longer screw to take into account dovetails with a deep valley, as is the case on the Excalibur...

Read the rest of the "Tagged-Out Bowsight Review.....
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
This British made sight from Hawke Optics is the one Jim Kempf selected for his Scorpyd crossbow. It is a conventional multi-reticle sight with a particularly nice image quality and evidently, as you will see, robust build.

To the uninitiated, it might seem that a telescopic sight is just a telescopic sight, but actually the application for which it is intended has critical implications for the design, one size done not fit all. For a crossbow, parallax adjustment has to be within the same parameters as the normal shooting range of the bow, units of adjustment for elevation have to be realistic and the delicate innards have to be protected from vibration and done so specifically with regard to the directions from which impact will arrive – the recoil patters of a crossbow may feel like a medium bore rifle but are actually quite different.

Read the the rest of the review of the Hawke Optics 3x32 Multi Reticle Crossbow Scope...

Starting in the Summer of 2007 the American Crossbow Federation instituted a new award to be presented on a quarterly basis to an outstanding supporter of the grassroots crossbow movement. The ACF Lion Heart Award is presented to a deserving member that has gone the extra mile in helping to promote and preserve the crossbow hunting opportunity during the course of his or her daily life.

Any ACF Member whose dues are current or is a paid Life Member may present the name of a nominee for the ACF Lion Heart Award. The criterion is simple. Each candidate should be nominated because of the effort that he or she is putting forth to expand the crossbow hunting opportunity. We are not looking for the professional writers, TV personalities or other industry figures; we are instead looking for the grassroots crossbow advocate. You folks know who they are when you see them. They may be working with legislators or doing public speaking on a local basis. They may be working to organize crossbow events or found organizations. They may be posting on web sites and taking the lead in crossbow discussions and debates. But, whatever they are doing, they are doing it to help create more opportunities to hunt with and shoot the crossbow, worldwide...

Read more about the ACF Lion Heart Award...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Paul Wells
My road to recovery, since my fall, has been a long and painful one. And, I am still not 100%. But throughout my recovery, I have set a series of GOALS to strive for. And yesterday I achieved one of my most difficult.

About a week ago, I climbed back into one of my treestands, to check it out, with the aid of my new full body harness! I have to admit that I was shaking a little. Considering that the last time I was in a treestand, I fell twenty-five feet, changing my life dramatically.

But my confidence level for sitting and waiting for a deer was not there.......After getting my EAB Doe from the ground, I contemplated returning to my treestands, for several reasons. Mostly because it was one of my goals and secondly, I just couldn’t get this buck’s image out of my mind. I had several photos of him around my stand at dusk and dawn as well as shots taken in complete darkness.

Spurred on by the photos, I made the decision to make my first treestand hunt in the afternoon, rather than trying to ascending for the first time in the pre-dawn darkness....

Read "The Therapy Buck" by Paul Wells....

Daniel James HendricksBorn in 1949 and schooled during the 50’s and 60’s, the year 2010 seemed a million miles away to me during those formative years. But now that it is here, not only does 2010 denote the passing of the first decade of this century, but for me, it marks another important milestone in my life as a hunter. This is my fiftieth year of hunting gigantic game animals in the wild. Tacking on another seven years or so for tiny game hunting is necessary to complete the document, but it was half a century ago that I shot my first whitetail deer along the edge of a thick, willowed swamp after a long, chilled day of hanging in the limbs of a tiny poplar tree (without a stand of any kind). I still recall it as if it occurred yesterday. What a triumph it was for that twelve year elderly farm boy that was frozen stiff by the time they pulled the trigger of the elderly Stevens 30-30 dropping his first whitetail deer.

Much of the credit for a life dedicated to the chase of wild things rightfully belongs to my beloved father and sister.

Much of the credit for a life dedicated to the chase of wild things and a passionate devotion to the promotion and preservation of our hunting heritage rightfully belongs to my beloved father and sister. Both recognized early on that I not only possessed an abnormal passion for animals of all kinds and the great outside, but they quickly realized that my psyche leaned heavily toward the feral side of nature. However, they took all of my wildness in stride and encouraged, enabled and abetted my need to be the woods in any way they were able...

Read the rest of "Thanks Mom and Dad" by Daniel James Hendricks
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sixpoint GT FlexThe GT Flex crossbow is made by U.S. Crossbowyer TenPoint, but they label it “SixPoint” a logo type reserved for bows marketed within the lower finish of their price range. Interesting as that may seem, somebody who reads my reviews will know that I recognize & applaud high quality; what is less widely known is that I warn companies to take care over what they send me. If they need a nice review it had better be a nice product. & there, on my doorstep, I see an cheap bow from a company famed as the marketer of the Cadillac of crossbows. Cheap is a relative term, but the GT Flex is around a third of the price of some.

The box felt light. In it was a crossbow in three main parts, a recurve prod & a mainframe with stock attached, & some bits & pieces.

A striking feature is the fact that fact of the barrel of the bow being in three separated sections with the deck & the lower part (to which the fore-hand is attached) secured only at the latch finish, & otherwise free-floating, like a giant tuning fork. SixPoint or not, all of the machining & general quality of the engineering were up to normal TenPoint standards & a joy to behold.

Click here to read the rest of this review of the Sixpoint GT Flex Crossbow by Geoffrey Toye...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Photo Courtesy of Doug GrayMiss fast or eat well. It sounds a bit silly, but this is a query that all modern archers must think about when purchasing new equipment. It seems that every new bow on the market hypes its speed capabilities. Though the feet per second that a given bow has the ability of throwing an arrow is fun to know & even to joust about with other archers in the off season.

I submit to you that the real query is “how accurate” is this new bow I’m thinking about. The fastest arrow in the world won’t ethically harvest your animal of choice, if it isn’t married to the accuracy of the archer. That’s right; it is still the responsibility of the individual archer to become proficient with the outfit that is finally decided on. Sure you do require to do your due diligence when shopping for new equipment & there's a whole lot of great new gizmos & gadgets that possibly could help you become a better shooter.

I would suggest that the two most important things you can do to become a more prolific hunter are as follows & in order of importance....

Read "Miss Quick or Eat Well" by Mike Hoff

Monday, January 11, 2010
Over the decades my attitude regarding hunting whitetails has wandered from one extreme to another. When I first started crossbow hunting for deer back in the 70s it was all about the challenge of harvesting any deer. Gigantic, small or in between, they were all the impossible dream. Heck, I counted it as a great week’s hunting if I even saw one, and it took me 4 or 5 years of hard work and experimentation to kill my first deer. Every outing was about the possibility of shooting a deer, any deer; every minute was packed with anticipation that something brown with cloven hooves would happen my way. Happy times!

2009 has been a very “interesting” year for all crossbow manufacturers. “Interesting” in the Chinese sense, as in “may you live in interesting times” that is. Sure, it’s great to see the new opportunities opening and welcome all those new potential crossbow hunters in to the fold, and yes, it’s great to see our sales figures soar in these uncertain economic times. That said, it’s been a madhouse here at Excalibur with new building expansion, new machinery, and lots of new crossbows to build, ship, and service. Personally, I was over ready for the sales season to trail off and I have welcomed the peace and relaxation that deer hunting near my home has brought to me recently....

On the eve of the 2009 firearms season and as was their nature the hunters in our family deer camp were talking around the campfire. Their normally jolly mood was slightly tempered, however, and I knew why. A lack of deer had subdued our normally high expectations.

Then, at a quiet moment, “Guys, this year if you have a choice, shoot the bucks and let the does walk” spilled out of my mouth. Although I was saying what everyone was thinking, I still cannot believe I said it. We have always let small bucks walk so this was quality deer management in reverse. It was like reliving the hunts of the sixties and early seventies when deer were scarce. I could swear it was my father speaking, not me.

We did not easily arrive at this decision. It came about after many years of watching the deer herd intentionally depleted (reason for this is a future article). With deer numbers lower than ever, it made sense to hunt the way our mentors had. Our father told us that shooting a buck kills one deer but shooting a doe kills two, three or four. “Quantity” deer management was going to be implemented. We were going back to the way we first hunted to improve our future hunts.

Read Back to the Future by Ike Isackson
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This year has been a whirl-wind rollercoaster ride for the crossbow movement as the names of five more states have been added to the list. North Carolina went first carrying on the great tradition of the South leading the way. The North finally got busy by adding Pennsylvania and the lower two-thirds of Michigan after long and intense struggles that were intellectually argued by the local pro-crossbow movements. The South spoke loudly once again, when Texas stepped across the line by legislating crossbow inclusion nearly unanimously in both their House of Representatives and their state’s Senate. The cherry on the sundae in 2009 was the sweet little state of New Jersey, which is the most recent convert to the crossbow cause.

Read Crossbows 2009 A Year In Review By Daniel J Hendricks

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