On target

July 12, 2011

Faith Outdoors

Image licensed under Creative Commons license.

I have been diligently shooting my compound bow since I picked it up from Gander Mountain about five or six weeks ago. This week, it seems like the practice is paying off.

When I first started, I was trying to get nice groups at 10 yards. If I got a bullseye or two out of six arrows shot, I was happy. Now, I am hitting the bullseye nearly every time, or within an inch of it.

Then, I went to an outdoor archery range in Eagan at Walnut Hill Park and tried some longer distances — 20, 30 and even 40 yards. The results astounded me. I hit the bullseye a number of times at 20 yards, and the other shots were within two or three inches, with one exception.

Then, I moved to 30 yards and put three out of four arrows in a bullseye I made with duct tape — about two inches wide and three inches tall. Then, I tried one shot at 40 yards, and the left/right alignment (called windage) was good, but the arrow hit about 4 inches high. That’s an easy fix by adjusting my sight pin.

I was thrilled! That makes me think I will be ready to bow hunt in the fall. Of course, I realize that hitting a standing target is different than hitting a moving deer, but I think I’ll be ready to at least try hunting, and be reasonably confident. In bow hunting, confidence is the name of the game.

Thinking ahead to hunting

As I continue to practice shooting my bow, I’ll also do research on the next piece of the puzzle — broadheads. Based on what I have seen so far, there are some excellent choices out  there. I have debated between fixed blades and mechanical (blades open up on impact), and am leaning toward fixed blades at this point. They’re cheaper, reliable and work for a lot of hunters based on the reviews I have read.

That’s one nice thing about the Internet — you can find product reviews on just about any product you’re interested in. Two good sources for me have been Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops. Both stores carry a wide range of hunting and fishing products, and have lots of reviews posted online. I find that to be very helpful.

As I have researched fixed-blade broadheads, several brands have emerged as both widely used by bow hunters and highly effective for hunting — Muzzy, Montec G5, New Archery Products and Slick Trick. All have gotten numerous great reviews, with hunters telling story after story of taking deer with them.

Seems to me like you couldn’t go wrong with any of them. The key is to practice with them and make sure they shoot the same as your field points. Also, it is important  to keep the blades sharp, as sharp as you can get them. With some broadheads, you replace blades when they get dull. With others, you can resharpen them. One company, Montec, actually makes a sharpener for its broadheads.

The right broadhead for me?

At the moment, I am leaning toward either Muzzy or Montec. Muzzys have been around for a long time, and I have seen many reviews  in which the hunters have used them for years and have been very satisfied.

But, the Montec appeals to me, too. It is a one-piece design, which eliminates installing blades and replacing them. Thus, it is a simple head to use. Also, the blades can be resharpened, using the Montec sharpener.

Perhaps, I will buy a set of each and see which one flies closest to my field points. I have no doubt that either head will do the job. I have been told by at least one archery expert that broadhead technology has advanced so far that most of the brands will perform well.

That’s good news for novices like me. Probably the best advice I have gotten so far about archery and bowhunting came from the manager of the archery department at the Lakeville Gander Mountain store. He told me to keep everything simple. That’s the best way to have consistent success with both shooting and hunting.

I agree. Thus, when it comes to broadheads, I more than likely will go with the simplest one to use. Can’t wait to try shooting with them!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek