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  • April 10, 2014

    Spring Scouting: The Search for One Killer Spot

    By Dave Hurteau

    It’s finally spring, and I’ve been walking some of my hunting properties in earnest. As Hurteau and I have pointed out previously in this space, if you really want to know your deer ground, now — in the narrow window separating snow-melt from green-up — is the time to be out there. 

    Spring scouting has been my annual ritual for years, but most of that recon has focused simply on getting a better overview of a property and how deer use it. Lately, I’ve added a new, more specific, mission: finding, then setting up, one killer stand location for next fall’s rut. To be even more specific, I want that stand to be in or near a bedding area or other spot that’s difficult to set up during the season.

  • March 28, 2014

    Deer Hunting Tip: Cut Your Shooting Lanes Now

    By Tony J. Peterson

    Last November I hung a portable stand in a peninsula of high woods that jutted into a cattail slough. During the first sit I noticed a single red osier dogwood that blocked a 20-yard shot to the best trail through the sawgrass. As soon as I called it quits I snuck out to the dogwood, snipped it clean and left.
    The following evening I sat the stand again and readied myself to fill an antlerless tag as a doe noisily walked through the slough. When she hit the spot I had trimmed, her eyes bugged out and she back-peddled. She offered no shot as she walked stiff-legged back into the cattails. Nearly 30 hours had passed since I’d handled that brush with gloved hands, yet it was more than enough to turn the doe inside out.

  • February 5, 2014

    Poll: Should Yearling Buck Protection Be Voluntary or Regulated by the State?

    By Scott Bestul

    I thought the thermometer and Peyton Manning’s bid for best quarterback ever were the only things bottoming out. But according to a press release from the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), the percentage of yearling (1-1/2-year-old) bucks in America’s annual whitetail harvest is lower than ever.

    Among the fascinating stats in the QDMA’s annual “Whitetail Report,” a yearly compilation of all things whitetail, only 37 percent of bucks killed by hunters nationwide during the 2012-13 season were yearlings. Back in 1988, when the QDMA started tracking this number, 62 percent of bucks shot by hunters were yearlings. That’s a 25-percent drop in as many seasons.

    Kip Adams, QDMA’s Director of Education and Outreach and a certified wildlife biologist is naturally pleased with the numbers. “Hunters in some states still shoot a high percentage of yearling bucks,” he says. “But overall, the trend is moving toward protection of at least some yearling bucks, as hunters are recognizing the benefits of having some mature bucks in the population—and it’s not just about antlers.”

  • January 31, 2014

    New Rangefinder: Bushnell The Truth with ClearShot

    By Dave Hurteau


    Four years ago, peering through a screen of branches, I thought I saw a clear lane for sending a shaft into a decent New York buck. What I forgot to consider was that my arrow wouldn't follow the straight-line path my eye drew to the target, but would instead arc above my line of sight and then back down. 

  • January 13, 2014

    New Hunting Bow: Obsession Evolution

    By Dave Hurteau

    Specs: 32-inch axle-to-axle; 6-inch brace height; 4.1 pounds; 353 IBO

    Of all the bows at the show, this one surprised and impressed me most. This company debuted only a few years ago—yet another up-and-comer spearheaded by the wildly talented Kevin Strother. The 2014 ATA show was Obsession’s coming out party, and the pretty young thing, all dressed up for the occasion, is their flagship bow, the Evolution. I’ll stress again that the show floor is not a place to evaluate bows, but based only on the half a dozen shots I took, I’m not sure I’ve ever shot a bow this fast that was this pleasant to shoot. I can’t wait to shoot it for real.

  • January 13, 2014

    New Hunting Bow: Elite Energy 32

    By Dave Hurteau

    Specs: 31.75-inch axle-to-axle; 7-inch brace height; 4.3 pounds; 335 IBO

    What always stands out with Elite bows in general is how pleasant they are to shoot. We absolutely gushed about last year’s Hunter in this regard. But it was slow. Too slow to rank it among the very top bows. The Energy is significantly faster at 335. The company had to update the cams and strengthen the riser to pull it off, but, based on the little bit of shooting one is able to do at ATA, pull it off they have.

  • January 13, 2014

    New Hunting Bow: Bowtech RPM 360

    By Dave Hurteau

    Specs: 31-inch axle-to-axle; 6-inch brace height; 4.4 pounds; 360 IBO

    Last year, Bowtech throttled back in the IBO race to produce the smooth-shooting and very accurate (for me, at least) Experience, which won our 2013 Best of the Best Award for bows. So it was time to jump back onto the gas pedal. The RPM 360 is a speed bow with several major new technologies, the most apparent of which is the trapezoidal I-beam riser, designed to handle lots of energy with minimal torque.

  • January 11, 2014

    Apex Covert: Top-Line Bow Sight at a Reasonable Price

    By Michael R. Shea

    Specs: 1.8” single-pin slider; swappable .010 or .019 pin, 8.5 oz.; First, second and third axis with illuminated levels.

    With the new Covert single-pin slider, Apex packed every single feature you’d want in a high-end hunting bow sight, and priced it under $150. At 8.5 oz. it’s among the lightest sliders out there. Only the Archer Xtreme Driver, so far as I know, is lighter, but that was achieved with a good bit of plastic on the housing. The Convert is solid aluminum construction throughout. Only the pin itself is plastic, much like Black Gold sights, but with the Apex you can swap in and out a .010 or .019 pin. The pin itself is clear and slides backward and forward on a small track, letting the user select a green, red or amber pin color. It’s a neat feature and may be helpful for colorblind guys needing an off-the-shelf option.

  • January 11, 2014

    New Hunting Bow: Prime Alloy

    By Dave Hurteau

    Specs: 33.25-inch axle-to-axle; 6.75-inch brace height; 4.2 pounds; 335 IBO

    Here’s what I said last year about Prime’s 2013 flagship, the Impact: “This would be one hell of a bow if it wasn’t such a club.” Well, the Alloy, which shoots very much like the Impact but is a little shorter and significantly lighter, is not a club. As so therefore, it is a hell of bow. Of course, the other companies have stepped up their game, too. But this is a major improvement in my opinion.

  • January 11, 2014

    New Hunting Bow: Hoyt Faktor Turbo

    By Dave Hurteau

    Specs: 33-inch axle-to-axle; 6-inch brace height; 4.0 pounds; 340 IBO

    Last year’s aluminum Spyder Turbo took third place overall in our Best of the Best testing, and it was the top-ranking speed bow. (You may think that a 340-IBO bow doesn’t quite deserve the “speed bow” tag, but that rating was conservative; it lit up the chronograph.) This year’s version, the Faktor Turbo, has the same (probably conservative) IBO rating and yet a new cam designed for a smoother draw. Is it smoother? As I say in the vid, that’s pretty much impossible to evaluate at the show. Basically, it feels a lot like last year’s Spyder Turbo, which we really liked, except it’s 1 inch shorter and .4 pounds lighter.