Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Too Much FOC - Bow Hunting

Q: Hi Joe. I just switched to Victory’s VAP arrows, which use outsert-type adapters. I like the arrow’s slim design a lot, but I’m concerned about the arrow’s front-of-center (FOC) weight.

These arrows offer two types of outserts: aluminum (33 grains) or stainless-steel (92 grains). So far I really like the stainless steel version since it’s extremely durable, but they do increase the arrow’s FOC a lot when using a 100-grain point. I know adding FOC is a good thing for long-range accuracy, but will this setup take this factor too far? How much would you consider too much FOC?


C.P., via email

A: You can’t really put a number on ideal FOC weight. It’s best to shoot groups and decide for yourselves. As you point out, added FOC can be a very good thing because it creates better arrow control. Anytime there’s less weight at the rear of the arrow, then the fletching doesn’t have to do as much to properly steer the arrow on course. This adds up to enhanced flight stability, especially with fixed-blade broadheads.

This is why Olympic archers that shoot 90 meters prefer heavy FOCs—to optimize accuracy while using small fletching for reduced wind drift.

In addition, higher FOC weights go better with shorter arrows. This has to do with the distance between the center balance of the arrow (the point at which it balances on your finger or pencil) and the weight of the fletching. This measurement is reduced anytime the arrow is shortened, and for this reason, shorter arrows are theoretically less stable in flight, thus the need for more FOC. 

However, going beyond say 18 to 20 percent FOC will certainly come with a trajectory tradeoff. If you often shoot beyond 50 yards, then you’ll notice a drastic arrow drop at this distance compared to a normal FOC of 8 to 12 percent. 

To counter an extreme FOC weight with your arrows, you can consider a couple options: 1. You can switch to 85-grain heads.
2. And you can start using an arrow wrap at the rear of the shaft.

Both of these will lessen your FOC value.  –Joe Bell

Source: Bow & Arrow Hunting

Monday, February 18, 2013

Full Cry for Bruins

Hunting behind a pack of hounds is more exciting than most know.
By Chuck Adams

It was late morning when we found the track—a kidney-shaped flat spot on a snow-covered bank by the road. My heart leaped to my throat. The print was made by a hind foot … an oval impression wider than my hand. It was the biggest I had seen on the hunt.
Bucky Stone inspected the track, falling on one knee to study every detail.

“Nice bear,” Bucky finally said. “Let’s try him.”

Bow Shooting
He dropped the tailgate on the 4×4 pickup, exposing two dogbox doors with wire-mesh centers. Behind milled a dozen Walker hounds, scrunching their noses against the wire with nervous whines. Bucky slipped an arm behind one door and pulled out Toughie, a raw-boned hound with badly tattered ears. He closed the door and led the dog to the track. Toughie sucked in air and uttered a drawn-out bawl of joy. The other dogs went absolutely nuts. It looked like we might have a bear race after all.

Four days of hunting had made me begin to wonder. Bucky was one of northern California’s most widely respected bear guides, scoring close to l00 percent for hunters every year. As a matter of fact, he operated on a no-kill, no-pay basis—proof of his ability to produce. If a hunter wanted a bear, Bucky could get him one for sure. The only hunters who did not score were too soft to walk to the bear once hounds put it up a tree.

The past few days had not been dull. I had seen a bear every day but one. My problem was a desire to shoot a really big bruin with a bow. It was November l98l, and I had taken average bears with archery tackle in the past. Now, I wanted a magnum hide with thick, late-fall fur. I knew that California produced some of the biggest bears on the continent. All I had to do was find one.

What to Look For

Track size is not always an indicator of trophy size, but it usually tells the tale. A few small bears have big feet—just as a few small people wear size l2 shoes. But a bear with big feet normally has a big frame and a big skull to match. As Bucky opened both hound boxes and a stream of dog flesh poured over the tailgate, I crossed my fingers and hoped the bear at the end of the tracks had plenty of distance between its ears.

On the surface of things, hound hunting seems simple. Hunters drive roads until a bear track is found along a cutbank or road shoulder. A sharp-eyed hound man can spot a track in the snow at 30 miles per hour. For insurance, a “strike dog” is put on the back of the pickup to test the wind as the rig moves along. When air currents are right, a seasoned strike dog can smell a bear track up to eight hours old. If scent remains, the hound bawls its head off.

Excerpted from a recent issue of Bow and Arrow.

Post Source: http://bowandarrow.blog.com/2012/12/06/full-cry-for-bruins/

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Western Trail Cam Use

Using trail cams in western big-game country is catching on, but with so much public-land real estate involved, knowing where to set up can be tricky. Here’s how to do it right.

BAH-1212-CAM-PIX-01: Big mulie bucks are often nomadic and difficult to pattern. Trail cams help immensely with locating bucks and determining which areas hold the most deer.

I was speaking recently with one of my hunting buddies from Wisconsin. When I told him I was just out checking my trail cameras, he immediately stopped the conversation. “Wait a second,” he said. “You actually put trail cams up out there? I figured that was mostly an eastern thing.” I think he may have even thrown a “don’tcha know” in there for emphasis too.

I could only shake my head. That statement exemplifies one of the bigger misconceptions in hunting today. While they may have originated as a tool primarily used by whitetail deer hunters east of the Rockies, trail cameras have now worked their way into the western hunting scene in a big way. Our eastern hunting brethren may not fully realize it, but trail cameras most certainly have a place in the western hunter’s tool chest.

Scouting cameras out west are invaluable tools when used properly. After putting cameras to work in my local hunting areas over the last few years, I look back and almost chuckle at how I used to walk the woods rather aimlessly, without much of a strategy. Trail cams changed all that for me, and since their employment, I’ve enjoyed far greater hunting success.

The key to an effective trail camera strategy can be summarized with the old adage often referred to when discussing real estate… location, location, location. This is no different.  Your camera must be placed on good real estate to be effective.

When one thinks of hunting in the West, the mind may conjure up images of big country–wide-open vistas, perhaps expansive sage flats, aspen or evergreen pockets, alpine mountains, or maybe even an open desert environment. It could be intimidating to look out at such an expanse of country and attempt to determine proper camera placement. We must break each setting down to determine optimal locations.

Focus on the Basics
Regardless of the type of habitat, there are three components that all good hunting country will have: food, water and cover. We must learn how to use these elements to our advantage when seeking good camera locations.

When considering food, the obvious place to set a camera is over a bait or mineral station. That, however, is illegal in many western states. Agriculture may be the next best thing. Alfalfa abounds in the West and attracts deer and elk like a magnet. A camera placed on a well used trail entering a field can be an excellent resource to find out what kind of animals are using the area. Better yet, multiple cameras placed on several trails surrounding a field can help to pinpoint exactly which trails are most commonly used and when.

In the absence of bait or agriculture, effectively placing a camera on a food source may be difficult. In a natural environment, food sources can be of multiple varieties and spread out over a large range. It could be nearly impossible to narrow the feeding locations down to a very specific small area in which to hang a camera. Under these circumstances, you may be better off keying in on the remaining two elements, water and cover, when deciding where to place your camera.

Story and photos by Nate Treadwell

Posted by Bow & Arrow Hunting