Take advantage of others’ knowledge and experience to become a better bowhunter.
By Dale R. Larson
There’s nothing magical about being a successful whitetail bowhunter. Like everything else in life, there is no shortcut to success. The individual who applies himself will be the most successful. Learning the tricks of the trade is a process that never ends. Just when you think you know everything, you will discover something new.
The first part of the process is to learn everything you can about your targeted specie and, better yet, an individual animal. In this computer age, the amount and availability of print and video information is astronomical. Years of knowledge and skill can be honed by accessing this material. Forty years ago when I started bowhunting, very little reference material was available, so my knowledge was gained by personal experience in the field.
Keep in mind, a lot of research material speaks in generalisms. Be sure to read through those to pick out small details. For example: Everyone knows how crucial scent control is in being successful. Scent-elimination products are a major part of bowhunting. Again, there is no one magical pill, clothing or scent-elimination spray that gives you a 100 percent scent barrier. These products, when used properly with good personal cleanliness, will make you more successful if all your bases are covered.
Small details can make a difference, such as: When de-scenting your bow, spray it completely, including quiver, arrows and other accessories. Pay particular attention to accessories like wrist straps, bow grips, string silencers and releases, as these items are easy to contaminate with human scent, some even acting as a sponge. I like to wear lightweight gloves even during practice to help slow down this problem. Also, wearing gloves is a must in the field, so put them on as soon as you are out of the vehicle.
Think about items that are often be switched from one set of clothing to another: belts, safety harnesses, hats, arm guards, watch straps and backpacks. An easy method to cover your bases on scent control is make an outline of your procedure from body cleanliness, de-scenting your clothing, de-scenting your equipment to transporting both you and your equipment, and storage.
Next, you need to hone your hunting and equipment skills. Researching other successful bowhunters, paying attention to their strategies and techniques, will speed up the process. Look for the small tricks of the trade that often get overlooked.
Strategies such as a unique stand placement, methods of lure placement, using back eddy winds for scent control, unconventional hunting times or unusual scouting methods may be unearthed. For example, I’ve been successful sitting in stands, on a fairly routine, noninvasive schedule, in areas that are used by other hunters. I hunt these stands at times than everyone else. Deer, even big bucks, get comfortable with these human schedules. Also, the deer expect to smell human scent in these areas, which gives you a leg up.
I have always believed that simplicity is a major key to success, however, staying simple with today’s technology is a full-time job. Observing successful bowhunters’ techniques while using their equipment can save a lot of headaches or heartaches. Look for tricks of the trade such as methods of silencing equipment, type of equipment being used, and bow setup. Scrutinize the small things like type of arrow nock, peep sight, strings, string silencers, rests, sights, quiver and stabilizer. Then ask why he uses those particular components. An example of knowledge gained could be something as simple as a tied-string nocking point.
The simplicity of the tied string nocking point pays big dividends in loss of bow string weight, equals an increase in arrow speed, and aids in tuning by being easily adjusted. Additionally, the tied string nocking point causes no damage to the serving or bow string, which can occur with standard string nocks.
The tied string nock is a series of overhand knots (the first half of a square knot) with one being tied on top of the string and next knot tied on the bottom string. If nocking your arrow under the string nock, start your knot at this point and tie the sequential knots up the serving towards the top wheel or cam. (Just the opposite if you nock your arrow on top of the string nocking point.) Finish off the knots with a square knot and melt the loose ends together.
I usually tie seven overhand knots, starting and finishing on the top of the string. Finishing on the top makes tying and melting the square easy. It might take you several tries to get the right tension on your knots, but with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it. If the knots are too loose, the nock point won’t stay in place. If they’re too tight, you will have trouble screwing the nock up or down the string serving. This knot will travel up and down your serving by screwing it one way or the other. This makes nock height adjustments a snap.
Successful bowhunters know the tricks of the trade and usually are more than happy to share with you.
This article was published in the October 2005 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.