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How To/Pro-Tips

Scent Stop

The proper use of deer scents can help your hunting success, but scent strategy can backfire. Using the wrong scent, or the right scent the wrong way, can spook a deer or at least put it on alert. Cover scents are meant to cover human odor, but they should also match the natural odors in the area. An unnatural scent is going to smell "wrong" to a deer, which will probably make the deer start looking around. The same goes for the "food-lure" scents. At best, an apple scent isn't going to mean much to a deer that's never smelled an apple. The "sex scents" can be the most effective; however, they can actually hurt your chances, too. Timing is critical. Check with local experts to see exactly when your rut occurs. Remember, when you use sex scents, deer, particularly bucks, will come looking for the source, so you don't want the sex scent on or near you. However, by placing mock scrapes, drags and sex scents out around your stand, you can attract bucks in. The sex scents may also stop the buck for a clean shot.

Bow Hunting Follow Up

Though most deer hunters need to know how to follow a blood trail, this ability is absolutely essential to bowhunters. Most bow-shot deer will run off, and you have to be able to find them. Remember exactly where the deer was standing at the shot, which way it ran and where it was last seen. Also remember the deer's reaction to the shot. Did it kick and leap, hunch up, stagger

Picking A Bow

With all the new compound bow designs around, it can be difficult to make a choice. Wheels or cams? Single or double cams? Overdraw? The choices are both complex and confusing. Beginners should start by reading archery magazines, talking to experienced archers and shopping in serious archery pro-shops. I think beginners should start with a good quality, basic compound that is easy to tune and keep that way. Many of the super-high-tech, high-performance bows and accessories need more care and attention and more experience to shoot well. As a general rule, choose a compound bow with a draw-weight poundage that is approximately double what you pull with a recurve. However, you should try it out in odd, awkward and uncomfortable positions. Can you draw it smoothly and hold it comfortably? Is the grip comfortable? Remember, little annoyances while practicing can haunt you in a big way while hunting. Virtually all modern compound bows are good products but only you can decide what's right for you.

Troubleshooting Arrows

With today's high-speed, high-performance archery equipment, even the most insignificant problem can reduce accuracy and efficiency. If you practice with field points, which most archers do, be aware that changing to broadheads can amplify any number of arrow inconsistencies. Even a slightly warped shaft that shoots fine with a field point will not fly true behind a broadhead. Hunt only with arrows that are within ..004 of perfectly straight. Spin your arrows to ensure a good match up between broadhead and shaft. On the other end of the arrow, the nock should also be perfectly aligned. Spin again for straight nocks. Weigh your heads. Broadheads do not always weigh exactly what the label says. If changing brands, verify that the new head weight is correct for your arrow spine. There even can be weight variations within the same brand. For the best bow accuracy, individually weigh your broadheads and sort and match them by weight class. Realtree Tips -- Archery -- Jul.-Aug.

Follow the Food

Deer can be very picky eaters when given the chance, and bow season still gives them that chance. Succulence is a key issue. Deer want the juiciest, freshest food available. In late summer and early fall, many food sources start to dry out. The deer start shifting to what is still flavorful. Recognizing this subtle shift in food sources is very difficult for most hunters. Study the preferred food sources. Some Pros will take a field guide to local plants into woods when scouting and when hunting. Learning the identities of the plants deer obviously prefer is a great advantage. They will also carry a notebook and record what plants are being browsed in a given area. Determine what is preferred food by keeping a sharp eye peeled for the subtle signs of deer browsing. Look for living but bare twigs at "deer height" on otherwise leafy plants. There is so much browse beyond the obvious that draws and holds deer that you really have to do your homework. Realtree Tips -- Archery -- Jul.-Aug.

Camo Pattern by Realtree
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