Sun, 05 Jan 2014 16:40:04 EST
Being Prepared for the Archery Deer Season
By Tom Lounsbury
Personally, I’m not much into using big words and as a result I’m occasionally a bit like a deer in the headlights when one gets thrown at me. My wife Ginny, being a school teacher, has been known from time to time to throw a big word at me that has me later scrambling for a dictionary to find out just exactly what she meant, and what I may or may not have just agreed to without appearing like an oaf.
The first time this happened was not long after we were married and Ginny told me she had come to the firm conclusion that I was the “world’s greatest procrastinator”. I took that as being a compliment of some sort and became curious enough as to what a procrastinator was, it only took me three days to look it up. That popped my bubble.
Ginny also noted that when it came to getting ready for a fast approaching hunting season I didn’t procrastinate at all and she wondered if my priorities were a somewhat askew at times. Be that as it may, I must admit I like to be fully prepared for any hunting avenue and hunting in general is a pastime that I literally live for. I guess it is simply an indelible part of my character, and I haven’t changed much over the years, and probably never will.
Needless to say, the archery deer season that soon opens on October 1st is a top priority of mine and being fully prepared for it is an ongoing daily affair for me right now. Because I thoroughly enjoy to do it all by hunting with traditional bow and arrow, compound bow and arrow, and crossbow, I need to be fully intimate with each hunting arm, which requires practice and more practice. Since I have an archery range in my backyard and dearly love to practice, and more practice, this isn’t a problem for me at all. And yes, I have been known to be out endlessly casting arrows when I should have been mowing the lawn, raking leaves or performing one of those mundane tasks written down on a “honey-do list” (personally I prefer the term “rascal” over that of being a “procrastinator”).
The beauty of all this practice is that it allows me to make sure all the hunting equipment is up to snuff. Traditional bows require the least amount of maintenance and I do appreciate the simplicity factor here. Bowstrings (on all the types) however do become worn and need to be replaced and new bowstrings need to be shot a bit (and broken in) to allow a proper arrow nock point for the best accuracy when hunting.
Compound bows need to tuned and lubed properly (I take my compound bow to an archery expert for this) for ultimate accuracy and the best possible quietest release when hunting tenacious and wily whitetails.
The crossbow is a relatively new hunting tool for me and is therefore the most complex in my mind to deal with and has been a continual learning process as a result. A key component to this is cocking the blooming thing for each shot, which I found can be a real adventure if things go amuck. A case in point is the time I wore thick insulated boots that didn’t allow me to fully insert my foot into the crossbow’s cocking stirrup. The end result was the nearly cocked crossbow (with around 175 pounds of thrust) launched up and smacked me right in the chest. That will get your attention, I can assure you, at least when you are able to breathe properly once again. I ended up with a beautiful bruised “tattoo” on my chest that featured every detail on the crossbow’s buttstock pad, including writing. You never forget those lessons learned the hard way.
A friend of mine had a similar crossbow cocking incident when his cocking rope decided to break with the bow nearly at full draw. Apparently a knot had formed in the cocking rope creating more torque and pressure at the knot location, and crossbows create a lot of torque and pressure when being cocked (I’m sure my friend ended up with one of those unique chest tattoos as well). This is a key reason I now use a cocking winch, and even with that, due to my friend’s experience, I make sure there are not any knots in the cord.
Because of the abrupt shock effect created by the crossbow’s release when shot (although it is expelling a lot of energy, there is no felt recoil) I have found that it is necessary to routinely tighten all screws and bolts, including those of the scope and sights, because I have discovered they tend to loosen up after frequent use (I even carry the tools to do this in the field if needed).
Another of my must-do projects before “bowhunting season” is making sure the metal ladder-stands (on private property) I have left out all year at key hunting spots are safe and secure. This includes resetting the stand itself and readjusting the nylon ratchet straps (and replacing them if they look even slightly damaged or weathered). Annual tree growth by itself can do amazing things to otherwise tough high-tech materials, including separating welded chain links, stretching sturdy nylon to the breaking point, and even easing past screws and lag bolts. I take nothing in this regard for granted. Mother Nature is an unforgiving taskmaster.
I also make sure my portable Lucky’s ground blinds are placed where needed well before that long awaited opening morning. As you can see, with all this detail to (assorted) hunting equipment preparedness and practice and more practice on the archery range, I’m sure it is clear that I have my hands real full right now.
Come to think of it, my lawn does need to be mowed. Tomorrow, maybe, will be a good day to get that particular task done.
So much to do and so little time!
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