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Contributing Writers

BowAmerica The e-Magazine for Bowhunters

Emily Anderson

A monthly online publication.

Troy Anderson


Timothy Borkert

Contributing Editor



Tony Catalde Lester Harper

Art and Cover Design AlbertQuackenbush Advertising/Marketing

Bill Howard

BillHoward Circulation

Mark Huelsing


Will Jenkins Darren Johnson Dustin Jones Amanda MacDonald Albert Quackenbush Britney Starr Scott Thryselius Nick Viau

For distribution to your bowhunting group or organization, or for media kits contact:

BowAmerica is a Bill Howard Outdoors Publication. Any reproduction of copy or images without prior permission from BowAmerica or its contributors is strictly forbidden. ŠBowAmerica 2012

On the Cover: Nutria with bow. Bill Howard This page: Rabbit and recurve. Nick Viau

COMPOUND 7 - Reflect and Respond MarkHuelsing

18 – End of Season Gear Care AlbertQuackenbush

22 – Swamp Rats BillHoward

WOMEN IN BOWHUNTING Time for New Camouflage Pants - 12 EmilyAnderson My Hunting Partner, My Wife - 15 TroyAnderson Love and the Outdoors - 48 ScottThryselius

50 – Small Game Addiction DarrenJohnson

52 – Goose with a Bow DustinJones

TRADITIONAL 10 - Stickbows, Stumping, & Small Game NickViau

46 - The Small Game Challenge LesterHarper

BOWFISHING 39 – The Zen and Art of Bowfishing TonyCatalde

TARGET Cold Weather Practice - 29 AmandaMacDonald

DO-IT-YOURSELF / HOW-TO How to Tan a Hide - 41 TimothyBorkert

BOWHUNTING LIFE Archer’s Shoulder - 27 WillJenkins

WILD KITCHEN Camp Dog’s Baked Rabbit - 17 PapaScott

REVIEWS 33 - Piranha Custom Bowstrings AlbertQuackenbush

Butcher Holler Possum - 45

HABITAT & GAME MANAGEMENT Habitat Management - 31 DarrenJohnson

Bill Howard BowAmerica is back with its second issue. After just one issue, the response had been tremendous from our readers. As said before, we look forward to providing stories and information to you each and every month. Be sure to tell your hunting buddies about our magazine as well! We want EVERYONE to enjoy! I constantly look for ways to extend my season and enjoy the outdoors with my bow in hand. With this issue, we want to show you how the season never ends. The winter months often mean the end to whitetail deer season. But, what we do not always realize is small game season is just getting hot. So, there is this month‟s themes. Small game bowhunting and the season never ends. We have some great articles on hunting

squirrels and rabbits, going after the swamp rats known as beaver and nutria (I will share a little more on this a little further down), how to tan a small game hide, how to care for your gear at the end of the deer season, and how to practice during these frozen months. Of course, February is also the month of love, so you will see two articles included in our women bowhunting section written by men. Why? Because they share what it means to them for their wives to share in the passion of bowhunting with them. And there was a surprise in those two stories. Their wives (contributors with BowAmerica) had no idea these stories were being submitted. Happy Valentines! We also want to make sure you read our bowhunter‟s life section special this month on Archer‟s Shoulder. This is a two part story, the first getting you acquainted with what goes on with those muscles and the second coming in March on how to prevent damage. With that, be sure to hit that subscribe button as seen to the left. We do not want you to miss any issue of BowAmerica. You can also subscribe at by filling in your email address there. Now that little extra news; the nutria on the cover and in the swamp rats story happened to be the North Carolina State Bowhunting Record for nutria. Let‟s all get out there and get to know all of our game animals! BA

“At least someone admits it,” she said. I looked up to find my wife flip my hunting magazine over and point to the advertisement on the back cover…“It's Not A Passion. It's An Obsession!” My wife was right, and although I never used to admit it, there is now no denying it. I am, like many of you, obsessed with bowhunting. This time of year can be tough for guys and gals like us. Our fall hunting season has come and gone, and no matter how successful that season has been, it is easy to wind up in a post-season slump. Don‟t let that happen! Last season, no matter how good or how bad, is gone. With the arrival of the New Year there is also a new hope. Your hunting this coming year can be whatever you make it out to be. Next fall may seem far way, but it will be here before you know it. Now is the time to take control of your off

season and begin working towards your hunts for the year. Anyone can get lucky now and then, but do you really want to bank your season on luck? If you want to be a truly effective bowhunter then you should know that there is always room to improve. I want you to do two things this offseason – Reflect & Respond REFLECT – Take some time to reflect on this past season. Figure out what went well and needs to stay. Also determine what did not go well and needs to change. Be specific about what worked and what did not. Write your reflections down now so you have something to come back to throughout the rest of the year. RESPOND – Now that you know what you need to change, figure out how to make it happen. Make a plan, and just

like your reflections, be specific and write your plan down. For many of us, our plans will fall into three major areas: equipment, shooting, and land management/access. Equipment As a bowhunter it is easy to get caught up in the constant onslaught of new equipment that is hitting the market. Bows are getting faster, quieter, and more forgiving. Arrows are getting stronger and more accurate. Broadheads are flying better and doing more damage. Well, at least that is what they try and sell us anyway. And let‟s admit it, new stuff is fun! Here is the truth – if you are comfortable and effective with the equipment you are using now then you should not

consider changing much, if anything. Archery is all about confidence. If you have a lot of experience with your setup, and if you are confident in shooting it, then it would be foolish to change things up. Does equipment improve year to year? Sure, at least marginally. But, in my opinion, familiarity and confidence is much more important that any supposed gains that this year‟s whathaveyou may claim to give. If you have the time and money to try new things then sure, go for it, but I would be very critical about adapting changes in your setup. If it works for you, then stick with it, PERIOD. Let‟s say you are not comfortable and confident with your current setup. My advice to you would be to “explore”

before you head to the store. That is, explore what specific changes may need to be improved in your setup, and do not just assume it is this year‟s new x, y, or z. There has no doubt been many folks that have sold their bows and laid down a good wad of cash to pick up a new one, when in reality maybe they were just shooting an arrow with the wrong spine, their string needed replacing, or their cams needed to be timed. You can buy, buy, buy, and try, try, try, but what will really get your equipment sorted out is knowledge. Either learn as much as you can about archery equipment, or find someone you can trust (not someone who will sell you something new for the sake of it) who has that knowledge and can really fix your problems. Shooting There is nothing worse as a bowhunter than the gutwrenching feeling of blowing a shot. It is hard to get in shooting range of our intended targets, and when our hours of scouting and hunting pay off and we are in range we need to be absolutely sure that we are ready to make the moment count. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to the game we are after.

If you are one of those guys (or gals!) that wants to be effective, and rely on more than just luck, you need to learn to be a deadly shot in all kinds of scenarios. Becoming that hunter will require practice, and a lot of it. It does not take long each spring and summer for me to become a backyard pro with my bow. I can stand at a known range and stack arrows one on top of another into my Rinehart target at 20 to 50 yards all day. The setting is familiar, the distance is known, the ground is level, the target is stationary, and I have all day to make my shot. That is not bowhunting. Becoming an effective bowhunter will required more intense practice. Change your setting. Shoot at unknown distances. Shoot from different angles. Shoot at different types of targets. Shoot with an elevated heart rate. Shoot with limited arrow flight paths. Shoot while standing, sitting, kneeling, and twisting. Determine what specific types of shots you are least comfortable making and practice, practice, practice. Land Management & Access Okay, so we have our equipment dialed in, we have our shooting confidence up to

par, now we just need to actually have a chance at getting in range of some game. If you are lucky then you have some honey holes already lined up. You have your own land, a lease, or maybe some permission to hunt private land. The off season is the time to take inventory. Get some cameras out, maybe with some attractant (if legal), and see what kind of shape your herd is in after the rut and throughout the winter. If you are that guy, then lucky you! The rest of us, those without some prime land all setup, those of us that hunt public land, we need to be diligent in the off season. Summer scouting is great, but scouting throughout the winter is especially effective. Sign is apparent and the lack of foliage will allow us to “see� the land

better. Funnels are easier to find and minor terrain features become apparent. Add some snow into the mix and you really have an advantage at finding sign and travel routes. Another huge benefit to scouting through the winter months is that you do not have to be too concerned with spooking game. Venture into

the thick bedding areas or sanctuary section of the property. Do not worry about busting out deer; they have all spring and summer to fall back into natural patterns. Throw on a couple of layers of clothes and lace up your boots, now is the time to find out what is over the next ridge. Bust out the maps, and think outside of the box. What spots will others overlook? Find a place that is hard to reach and hard to hunt. If you are willing to put in the extra effort then it may be just what you are looking for. Now is the time to find out. There is no offseason. Now is the time to become the bowhunter that you want to be. It will take dedication and sacrifice, but in the end it will all be worth it. BA

If given the choice, there is no game I would rather pursue than small game. The elusive squirrel and cottontail rabbit, in particular. This is primarily due to my fondness for shooting my bow rather than draping it across my lap or hanging it from a tree while waiting on that doe or buck. I find the urge to cast arrows at oblivious critters nearly impossible to fight, especially when leaving the woods emptyhanded is such a frequent reality. I would rather leave with a vest full of squirrels. I find them equally tasty if properly prepared. Stickbows and small game are the perfect marriage of tackle and quarry given the traditional archer‟s knack for quick, instinctive shooting, and fondness for roving. Game and shots are abundant, and you never know where the hunt will take you. The variety of animals and multitude of ways to hunt them makes small game a worthwhile pursuit for any bowhunter. From busting bunnies with beagles and

emptying your quiver during the squirrel rut, to stalking javelina or shooting the occasional groundhog, there truly is something for everyone. While the endeavor of shooting small game with a bow is extremely rewarding, actually harvesting game is a tremendous challenge. The targets are small, the window of opportunity is microscopic, and seldom does the amount of meat you take equal the amount of arrows you break. In the past three years I have shot at more animals than I can count and have only successfully connected with three. Two resulted in a harvest, while the third, a particularly irritated and indestructible black squirrel, ran away virtually unscathed despite suffering a direct hit with a rubber blunt and 30 foot dive from the limb of a pine. To hunt small game means to aim small and miss smaller, and you can do that more effectively by adding one simple activity to your practice regiment; stump shooting. Arguably the most enjoyable of all traditional archery activities, stump shooting or “stumping” is

essentially going for a walk with your bow, and shooting at random objects with blunt tipped arrows. While decaying stumps and logs make the best targets, anything that will stop your arrow without damaging it will suffice. The beauty of stumping is that it is essentially small game hunting without the intention of taking game. The environment, obstacles, angles, and equipment used are identical and you can make it even more realistic by stalking from target to target in a hunting fashion. This teaches you to move quietly, maneuver your bow more effectively through obstacles, and study game in the field while you are shooting. Bring a friend or two for a change of pace and some friendly competition. Social stumping (also known as “roving”) is an excellent activity that has been around nearly as long as the bow itself. While immensely popular in Britain, organized roving clubs began popping up in the United States in the early 1900‟s and have existed ever since. Try it, and you will immediately see

why. Stumping provides hours of entertainment and will make you a better hunter.

tricks to keep your wallet and quiver full throughout the year.

Building the ultimate small game seeking missile A common theory for crafting small game ammunition is to use arrows you do not mind breaking or losing. I initially subscribed to this school of thought, wanting to save money as much as the next person, but after two seasons of limited success I changed my mind. Bowhunters live and die by the arrows they shoot. An arrow drawn through your bow should be worthy of the cast and capable of fulfilling its task quickly and efficiently, no matter what the quarry. You would not shoot an arrow resembling a knotted rope at a trophy buck; every animal deserves that respect, large or small. Plus, it is easy enough to miss small game without the hindrance of lesser quality equipment. Constructing quality small game arrows is the best thing you could possibly do to enhance your hunting experience, and if you do it right you will not have to do it often. Here are a few

Make them easy to find In the frenzy of small game hunting, you will miss your target and will not remember where that arrow landed. Your eye will follow your target and your hand will be fumbling for your next arrow. Use large, bright fletching consisting of colors that do not belong in the woods, such as pink, fuchsia, blue, purple, and blaze orange. Orange florescent nocks are also a good idea, especially in snowy rabbit hunting situations. Use the appropriate point The variety of small game points on the market is enough to successfully pair them with the game that you

are hunting. Blunt heads of rubber or plastic construction work great for aerial shooting into trees, while those of the bladed or springloaded arm variety are better suited for shooting on the ground. Ultimately, you want something that will not burrow into the ground or get lodged into a tree. Hunters must always keep the toughness of the animal in mind. I have seen rabbits fall to a stiff breeze and squirrels survive direct hits from steel blunts. Choose your points accordingly. Continued on page 35

The buzz of the alarm on the phone indicates it is time. There is no possibility of bulldogging the sun in order to get a few more hours of sleep. It will soon be slipping up over the horizon, casting brilliant rays across the landscape's edge. Enough time has been planned to shake out the wool socks worn yesterday, put one leg and then the other in camouflage pants. I am secretly thankful to wear the same pants for several days in a row. It keeps things simple. These pants now have the perfect forest floor scent, earned from the hard hunt yesterday. Everything is still stored in designated pockets. Front right pocket? Mouth reed. Front left pocket? Chap stick. Lower right cargo pocket? Range finders. Back pocket? Toilet paper. The list goes on. Why change things up just for the sake of new pants? Why would you want to mess with a good thing?

The buzz of the alarm on the

I often wonder if perhaps similar thoughts run through guys‟ minds when girls are invited to come along on a hunt... E.g., "Why did you invite HER?" or "Why mess up a good thing?" or even “This is a guys‟ only thing.” Please hear me out. I am in no way wanting to trespass on sacred ground. I truly understand and appreciate the need for guys to have guy time. I think it is important for guys and gals to each have their own space - if you will. However, let's not exclude each other all the time. I enjoy it when my husband comes shopping with me, but do I also enjoy my girl time at the mall? Yes! And *gasp* sometimes I even shop alone. Unless you have been hiding under a rock over the last several years, you will have noticed the significant trend in women getting involved in the hunting and shooting industry. I am proud to be part of it. I would be amiss if I did not confess there are some challenges with being of the female gender while participating in what is traditionally considered a male dominated sport. I have endured some funny looks when guys find out I hunt. (I either make a funny face back at them or simply smile.) I guess it is all in how you look at things. When I hear the

word challenge, it makes me want to be better. I still remember a quote a friend once inspired me with; "be better today than yesterday." While that can apply to all areas of life, it hits home with the hunter in me. Often at the end of a season, I find myself reflecting on how I could have done things better. There is always room for improvement. In some small way, I think that is part of the fun. Sure, I may have missed that up-close and personal shot at a 6x7 bull elk, but I had the experience which will forever be ingrained in my memory. For a moment in time, it was just me and that elk. He won that day. However, I have the memory and a lesson of how to do it better the next time. Around hunting camp we all have similar stories, regardless if we are male or female. I may have let the emotions overtake me the next day and cried over my missed shot. I am okay with that. I am a girl after all. My challenge to women who are actively participating in the sport or may just be starting out, is to not be intimated by the obstacles that crop up such as camouflage or gear that does not fit, snide comments received, or even feeling like you are not invited. Hang in there! There are now clothing lines that make

hunting gear tailored just for women. And if you are having trouble finding someone to hunt with, a general internet search will reveal hunting trips set up by gals; or contact me and I would be happy to point you in the right direction. Women are coming together and enjoying the same camaraderie in the field that guys have been participating in for years. Jump in, learn all you can, enjoy the thrill of the hunt and bring home dinner, gals! My challenge to men who may have a woman in their life possibly interested in hunting is simple. Give her a chance. Who knows? You may have discovered your best hunting partner. It could be that she has been contemplating asking to come for a while and all she needs is that nudge or invitation from you. After all, why would you not want to share quiet moments in the woods or mountain top with your lady? However, a word of caution... your hunting hobby may have just gotten twice as expensive! On the other side of the coin, she may prove her weight in gold when she hauls your elk off the mountain for you. It will then be time to shop for new camouflage pants, and that is a good thing. BA

My wife Emily and I married twelve years ago in Estes Park, Colorado, the land of the elk. Prior to us marrying I had planned a deer hunt in southern Colorado with a rodeo buddy of mine. Now, he and I both had cars, (not four wheel drive but four door cars), so I ever so politely asked Emily if we could use her Jeep

Cherokee for the hunt. Emily came from Minnesota and her father was a deer hunter and always asked her brother if he wanted to go hunting. Emily never gave her dad any inclination that she wanted to go for a little adventure in the woods and Emilyâ€&#x;s father never thought to ask Emily if she wanted to join them on one of

their little excursions. Emilyâ€&#x;s Dad is a great man so I know this was just an oversight and not intentional. Back to the story‌ It is 1998 and I am planning a deer hunting southern Colorado and Emily asks if she was welcome to come on the hunt. Now a small portion of my past is we always had ladies

in hunting camp and I have pictures of my mom in elk camp with her spike elk. So my response is, “let‟s go get you some camo!” This began a great adventure for us as Emily became my spouse, my friend and my hunting partner. I work as a firefighter and have a lot of buddies that think hunting is their time away from their spouse. A vacation of sorts. But not I. I love waking up on top of the mountain in a one man tent with my wife, and using her tent for storage of back packs and gear. We look over the mountains together as the sun rises and God‟s creations come alive while having a Jet-Boil cup of Starbucks coffee. I get to enjoy the long walks in the mountains with a sixty five pound pack on my back and

As for my wife Emily, I will never

hunt in a camp that

you are not welcome in. I promise! being able to watch her stalk up on her pray with tactics that would make any military special ops unit proud and Elmer Fudd jealous. I remember the first time she shot an elk with a rifle. I was so proud of her because she shot it, helped field dress it, and packed it off of the top of the mountain without any complains. Then we started

bowhunting together. Now that gets a little costly but the money is well spent. I got to watch from a distance as I called a 6x7 bull elk within 5 yards of her as she sat in a bush on a two track road. No, unfortunately she did not get him. But this was as entertaining as it can get to me. To all you men that do not think to ask your wife to hunt, then try it. You might like it. And to all the ones that think it is a man camp…well you should try it as well. Here is my thinking. I love having my wife with me in hunting camp, fishing or any other outdoor activity you can think of, because she has really become an integral part of our hunting camp. Now the other guys‟ wives have joined us too. It really has turned into a family event for all of us every year in the mountains of Colorado. So I hope this will inspire more ladies to say “hey, I want to start going hunting” or maybe inspire the men to ask their spouses to join them in the beautiful woods that God has created for all to enjoy. As for my wife Emily, I will never hunt in a camp that you are not welcome in. I promise! BA

Wild Game Recipes presented by Papa Scott’s Camp Dog

Baked Rabbit Ingredients          

1 or 2 cleaned rabbits, (depending on size) cut into pieces Smoked sausage cut in 2” slices or bite size 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped 1 or 2 cloves garlic, sliced ½ can of Campbell’s Golden Mushroom condensed soup flour to coat pieces rabbit Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning original blend 2 cups of water to start cooking oil to coat bottom of heavy oven proof pot (I like cast iron)

Directions Season meat with Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning. Cut slit in rabbit legs and insert garlic slices (one each). Roll in flour and shack off excess. Brown in batches to a med. to dark brown color (careful not to burn), remove when browned. Add smoked sausage and brown for a few minutes before adding onions. Add chopped onions and bell peppers. Sauté or brown onions until soft and brown around the edges. Add in the Golden Mushroom condensed soup, stir and cook with onions for a bit. Add rabbit back to pot, along with the water. Put lid on and bake for 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours at 375 degrees or until rabbit is tender, check and add water as needed. You can also cook this on top of the stove on a low fire for a few hours, until meat is tender. Serve over a bed of hot rice with sides: ENJOY!

As hunting seasons end for many of us, we need to think about stowing our bowhunting gear. We wash our camouflage, hang it up to dry and put it away with care, but what about our archery tackle and hunting equipment? Do you take proper care of it after the season ends and throughout the off-season? I have had to learn the hard way and I am going to try to cover some essentials to keep your archery gear in tip-top shape! I am going to focus on the compound bow archers out

there because of all of the extra bells and whistles we keep on our bows. In the high-desert of Southern California, we bowhunters should be taking great care of our gear during AND after the season. Carelessly, years ago I used to hang the bow up and leave it untouched for months, never even giving it a second thought. Times have certainly changed. Now I go through a checklist of gear care, but also some offseason routines to keep me sharp and to keep my

equipment in great shape. Top priority is to keep your gear in tip-top shape. Why on Earth would we spend our hard earned cash on quality gear only to let it turn to scrap? The first thing I do, after my camo is washed, dried and packed away, is to go over each piece of my gear to be sure it is going to stay working well for the next season. Instead of singling out each piece of my equipment, because I know each of our systems is different, I would like to generally cover what I do in the off-season to properly care for it. Take inventory. The first step is to lay everything out on the floor or some surface where you can view everything. If your hunting bench or garage looks anything like mine, then you know you have your work cut out for you. Laying everything out gives you an idea of what you have and where you will need to store it. It will seem like a daunting task to have everything laid out before you, but trust me, this will be beneficial. Your checklist will

vary and I encourage you to create one for yourself and the type of hunting you do. The photo below is just a sample of some of what is in my pack during the season. Look over your compound bow and any added parts. Each year, as I start to stow my gear, I tackle the biggest item first. I look over my compound bow (and any backup bow) and its different essentials (sight, stabilizer, quiver, etc.) for missing or loose parts. On a few rare occasions, I have had some very close calls with my gear. A couple years ago, while I was practicing, I set my bow down to retrieve my arrows and noticed something odd. I could not put my finger on it right away, but I knew something did not look right on my bow. As I looked closer, I noticed one of the e-washers on my upper limb was gone. I realized that if I kept practicing there was a chance the bolt could slip out and I would be in a world of hurt or that it may cause some irreversible damage to the bow.

The small stuff.  Check your sight pins for loose bolts and broken fiber optics. Replace any that need replacing.  Be sure your stabilizer is locked in tight to the bow.  Go over your rest with a fine tooth comb. If you have a rest like a Whisker Biscuit then you will want to make sure that the brush part does not need to be replaced. If you shoot with a drop-away, then make sure that it is functioning properly, has everything locked down and if you are like me and use moleskin to keep the noise level down, be sure it is not frayed or falling off. You may need to replace it or glue it down.  Check the quiver and any mounting

hardware. Be sure that nothing is cracked, vibrating or loose. Be sure to do the same with your release and any spare release. During one of my hunts in 2011, right before our evening watch, I found something that made my heart sink. The trigger on my release was GONE! (See photo below.) I knew what had happened and it made me feel pretty stupid for leaving it attached to my bow, which was mounted on the ATV. The vibrations had somehow loosened up the trigger and it promptly dropped off. Fortunately, I had packed a spare, but that is beside the point. My point is when the

season ends, go over the release aids you had and be certain the fittings are lubed, tight and rust free. Remove the Dust! High desert = Dust. Farmland = Dust. Even in your house or garage your bow will attract dust, dirt and grime. Anywhere there is dirt, you will find that dust creeps into the nooks and crannies of your bow. During the season I may not clean my bow as often as I should, but afterwards I am sure to take a toothbrush and an air compressor and remove the dirt, dust and grime. I do not care if my gear looks elegant or brand new, but I sure want it to perform when it comes to go time. Also be sure to check over your other gear for dust. Pretty much everything I own gets a covering of dust

throughout the season. Even my rangefinder gets coated and needs a quick blast of air to remove most of it. Be sure to try and use some air to get most of the dust away before using any cloth as that may push the dirt into the glass and scratch it. Oil moving parts and exposed nuts & bolts. Two years ago I was at the archery range and as I was about to shoot, my release locked up on me. If you hunt in the rain, your release is bound to rust a bit. I got caught in a few rainstorms while hog hunting, and when I returned I failed to properly dry my gear. Huge mistake, as I realized later that

week. I hit the range and could not get my release to work. I played around with it and while stiff, it worked. The next week it totally locked up. It had rusted just enough to stop functioning properly. I took it apart, cleaned it and lubricated it with scent-free oil. I worked it back and forth and after a few shots it was back to working order. Do not make the mistake of procrastinating. It will eat up your cash faster than the IBO rating on your bow. Cover the fragile essentials. What is the most fragile piece of your archery gear? I would say it is your sight and most of you would agree. Some cost nearly as much as your bow, so you want to take great care of it. Plus, you have spent a great deal of time getting all of the pins where you need them. Wax the bow string. Wax your string often! I cannot stress this enough. If you want your string to last longer, maybe even double the

life of the string, wax it often. Not only do I wax it at the start of the off season, but I wax it after each practice session and each hunt. Dry air and high heat will dry out the fibers faster than you can imagine. It is easy to keep your string waxed, too. Pick up a stick of bow wax ($5 at most proshops), rub it into the string and cables and then work it in with your fingers. Clean off any residue as it will collect dust and could gunk up some parts. I recommend this for colder climates, too. It will help keep your string young! Storing your compound bow. Did you know that one of the biggest mistakes a bow-hunter can make is to hang his bow by the string? Even carrying the bow by the string will prematurely stretch it. When storing your bow you want to lay the bow in a protected case, if you can, to keep the dust, moisture and gear protected. Personally, I prefer this method, but if you must hang it, do so by laying the bow across two hooks or protrusions, evenly under each limb. Arrows. Take an inventory of what arrows you have and what

condition they are in. Go over each one carefully checking for cracks in the shaft. This is a good time to refletch the arrows that need it and to keep your eyes peeled for sales. In the spring you can usually find some great deals for bare shafts, too. Battery operated equipment. I am going to venture a guess and say that you have at least one piece of equipment in your pack that uses batteries. If you are like me and pack into the backcountry you probably have more than one. I can easily say I have at least six pieces of gear that use batteries. In the off-season every single piece has the batteries removed. The reason is that batteries can and will corrode, thus damaging your gear. How would you like to spend $300 on a GPS unit only to have a leaking AA battery damage it beyond use? I refuse to allow that to happen, so I carefully remove the batteries and check each unit for corrosion. If there is any corrosion I take care to remove it. After all is said and done and you have checked everything off

the list, you can rest assured that one thing will keep you in tip-top shape for the next hunting season. Practice! If you can keep up on practicing, it will make your future hunts that much more enjoyable, but more importantly it will show you if any gear needs to be replaced or fixed up. There is no perfect solution Continued on page 44

BEAVER It was 5:00pm and I was heading to my hunting land. I have developed a strong peripheral vision and as I crossed over a bridge I spotted something in the corner of my eye on the banks of the creek below. I was getting a late start to my deer hunt that evening, but there have been bear sighted in the area and it looked just like a cub. I decided to turn around at the next intersection and head back. My curiosity was too great. I pulled up to the side of the road before the guard rails. I hopped out of the truck and eased my way done the embankment. Well, it was not a bear cub. Instead I saw a slide just below the surface of the water. Not a kiddies‟ slide; a beaver slide. Across the creek, about 30 yards down was a beaver pulling at a small sapling. Due to the wording in a law in North Carolina, you could not bowhunt beaver for a period of a couple of decades. The wildlife commission eventually helped in getting the law reworded so beaver could be taken by bow, rifle, shotgun, or trap. Just a couple of months after the new reworded law had been enacted; I took my first beaver with the compound. I studied

the habits of beaver and other swamp creatures. I learned the history of their near extinction due to the unregulated fur trade and how they were reintroduced. I also studied what different parts of the animal can be used for. Many times we get into the „cut out the backstrap and leave it‟ frame of mind. Back in the 1800‟s the buckskin was a valuable part of the deer for instance. As for beaver, I wanted to know what else I could use it for other than skinning the hide. The castor glands are valuable attractants that can be used for animals such as bobcats, coyotes and bears. They also work great as a curiosity scent for deer. Now that will save me a few dollars at the store. Lessons such as these make the hunt much more enjoyable.

Personally, I hunt year round. If there is something in season, I will be after it. It also provides more time to scout. For instance, if I am deer hunting, I take note on turkey, squirrels, coyote, groundhogs, foxes, you name it. I am observing and learning every

time I go out. A journal goes a long way in this type of hunting/scouting combination. So, after noting the time and snapping a few pictures of the beaver with the cell phone, I headed back to the truck and to the deer stand. The beaver happens to be North America‟s largest rodent. Yep, it is just a giant rat with a flat waffle tail. My wife never thought of the beaver as a rat until I shared this with her. Now she is a little hesitant to go to the swamps with me. Especially after I took one in 2010 that weighed a whopping 57 pounds. Beavers are also a creature of habit. If you see one swimming at a certain time, in all likelihood, it will swim that same stretch around that time the next day. So, noting the time, I made sure I was back at the creek the next day. I had a short hike down to the creek and decided to carry just two arrows armed with Muzzy 3 blade 100 grain broadheads. Once at the creek, I spotted a couple of trees they had been working on as well as a few slides from the bank to the water. The water was not shallow, but it was not deep either, and I could see several longnose gars prowling through the water, their bodies‟

dark compared to the light colored sandy bottom. After no more than 30 minutes, I saw the familiar V of breaking water. The head popped up 100 yards downstream. I took cover behind a tree, peeking around the base. The beaver hit the slide, most of its back exposed at this point. After crossing the shallow, it paused. I was hesitant to make too much movement as I could tell it sensed something wrong. After it turned a few circles in the creek, it decided to continue toward its destination. I drew back the bow, only allowing the broadhead and fore part of the shaft to be visible. 20 yards. 15 yards. 10 yards. I stepped out from behind the tree and squeezed the finger release. When targeting an animal in the water, you have to break the water to get to its body. The Muzzy and its chisel point do a great job of this. Forget an expandable blade. It will pop open and plane over the surface of the water. You have to have the intention of the blade striking about 3 to 4 inches below the surface where the animal is. Otherwise you will just have a glancing blow. The arrow struck true and the beaver rolled and dipped. As it spun in a tight circle in its last death throes, I caught a

glimpse to my right. Upstream, yet another beaver was heading my way. I backed up a step, pulled my other arrow and waited. The new beaver swam past the now lifeless one and I let another arrow fly. It swam away after a loud and wet slap of its tail. Then I saw my arrow fletching pop up some 20 yards downstream. The body floated toward the surface shortly after.

NUTRIA I headed out to the duck blind early. It was about 6am, another 45 minutes before shooting time. I spotted some a commotion deeper in the swamp. I adjusted my LED Lenser headlamp from wide angle light to a spotlight. I saw a bunched up brushy area ahead. It was likely a beaver hut. I scanned the water and could see ripples, but I could not find the source. Shooting light came and after a 20 minute span of high flying wood ducks and ringnecks I knew the hunt was likely over except for just a few stragglers and maybe some Canadian geese. Down near the beaver hut I saw some more ripples. I figured it could be a grebe, merganser, or maybe a woodie

Swamp Rat Tips & Facts - Use fixed blade broadheads with chisel style points. - Carbon arrows float. - Aim approximately 6 to 8 inches behind the back of the head if the beaver or nutria is swimming. - Aim about 4 inches below the surface of the water where the beaver or nutria is. - Beaver hide is difficult to skin. It takes time. Start at the anus and work toward the bottom of the lip. - The castor glands, located near the anus, are excellent for natural scent. - Nutria meat is low in cholesterol and fat. It is considered a delicacy in some countries. - Some states offer bounties on nutria. - Nutria can breed just one day after giving birth. Young can mature to breeding age within 4 to 6 months.

swimming from deeper in the swamp. Nope. Dead wrong. I caught the furry head. Trailing was a motion filled „Sâ€&#x;. Not a beaver. But it was huge. Nutria usually make their homes in holes they build on the shoreline. Often, their digging will tear and expose roots. This particular one had not made a home of the beaver den; rather it seemed curious as to whether it was occupied.

Nutria are as rat-like as it gets. Their long tail is round and slender like a rat, rather than the waffle shape of a beaver. Their head has rat features other than being much larger and having a blunt nose. Also unlike a beaver, its fur is of different lengths and appears unkempt. They were introduced to North America, relocated from South America, due to the fur trade industry. They were valued for both their meat and their hides. Once the value of the fur increased to a premium, at one time as valuable as mink, farmers found a way to raise them. They were easy to keep, had large litters, and females could breed the day after giving birth. Due to the farming of the nutria, the fur become over abundant and the value plummeted. A hurricane hit the Southeast and many of the farmed nutria escaped. Like many invasive species, they began to take over their habitats. Nutria feed only on the bottom of saplings and plants, leaving over 80% of the plant useless. They choked out the muskrat, as they shared habitats and dens. And with the beaver falling to near extinction, the nutriaâ€&#x;s breeding habits, able to give birth nearly 3 times in a calendar year, the nutria overwhelmed many areas.

If you know where to look, you can find nutria in nearly any southern state, and they range as far north as Ohio. They can expand further north if there are subsequent mild winters. The only barrier is they tend to get frostbite on their tails, causing infection and death. As mentioned prior, I took note of where I saw the nutria and the time. The next time I would be in the water, the bow would be in hand rather than the shotgun. A couple of days later, the nutria had a head start on me. As I was headed to where the blind was, I saw him already swimming well ahead as the water and air was clear. I positioned myself near the blind and could see it still swimming amongst the trees in the swamp. It only took 15 minutes for it to become curious enough to see what I was. Once it was in range, about 20 yards, I released the arrow towards its mark. No thrashing, no circling, no fighting. Just a roll over and the arrow was sticking nearly straight up. Once there, I had to look to see if it was a beaver and not a nutria. It was as huge up close as it looked the other day. I pulled it into the boat and headed to shore. This was by far the largest I have taken. BA

Before I get too deep in the anatomy and biomechanics of the shoulder let‟s talk about why you need to know this as an archer. The shoulder is a very unstable joint as far as structure goes and neglecting your shoulders or letting any kind of injury go without proper care can drastically shorten your archery career. I am going to cover some basic anatomical terms first so the rest of the article makes sense as we talk through the anatomy and how it affects an archer. Humerus: The humerus is long bone in the upper arm, it articulates with the radius and ulna in the elbow and inserts into the glenoid fossa of the scapula to create the shoulder joint. Clavicle: Commonly known as collar bone and goes from the upper portion of the sternum to the shoulder blade where it creates the AC or acromio clavicular joint by attaching to the acromion process of the scapula. Scapula: The scapula, commonly referred to as the shoulder blade, is considered a floating bone as it has a wide range of motion and only attaches to the rest of the skeleton by the clavicle.

Rotator Cuff: This is a group of four small muscles that originate on the scapula and attach to the head, or rounded upper portion of the humerus. I have heard it call „rotator cup‟, „rotary cup‟, rotary cuff‟ and just about any other variation, but it is a cuff of muscle attachment that stabilizes the humeral head and generates internal and external rotation of the shoulder. The rotator cuff consists of the following muscles; supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis Deltoid: The deltoid is the large 3 headed muscle that over laps the shoulder joint. This is the muscle you see when you look at the shoulder and gives it the rounded shape. The 3 heads are the anterior, lateral and posterior groups of muscle fibers. Labrum: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that goes around the glenoid fossa and encircles the humeral head to make the socket deeper and help hold the humeral head in place. Since the end of the scapula (glenoid fossa) that articulates with the head of humerus is almost flat the cartilage acts like a cup on

top of the flat bony saucer with the head of the humerus sitting down in that cup. Alright now that we got that out of the way, here is why you need to know all of that and for any of this to make sense you really need to make use of the diagrams. So letâ€&#x;s start to talk about why all of this matters to and archer. When drawing and maintaining full draw you use a lot more muscles than you think and to explain all of it could be a book in itself, so I will trim it down to what is the most important to shoulder joint health. I fully understand that I am leaving out many of the muscles that contribute to form but are not as often injured. We can cover those in another series of articles. When you draw the bow, the arm that is holding the bow must remain outstretched and stabilized. For this to happen, your rotator cuff must contract and pull the head of the humerus in compressing it into

the glenoid fossa to create a pivot point for the deltoid to pull against and lift the arm. Then once elevated to shooting height, the rotator cuff, along with various other muscles, must dynamically stabilize the humerus for any adjustment, then hold steady for the shot. This is truly the more difficult task for the shoulder because with your arm outstretched the bow is essentially a weight at the end of a lever which is your arm. While all of this is going on, your opposite shoulder is doing a lot of work and the rotator cuff again tightens to stabilize the humeral head, and several other larger muscles work to pull back the string. Once at full draw both shoulders are working overtime to maintain proper form and stability because in a split second all of the tension that your drawing arm is holding will be gone and the weight of the bow will be instantly on your outstretched arm. While most bows now are not very

heavy, that sudden change can wreak havoc on a damaged or unstable rotator cuff or shoulder tendons, especially because most people with instability or damage lack proper form to start with. Even though the bow most likely does not weigh very much with your arm outstretched, your arm essentially becomes a lever and the bow is at the furthest point, giving the weight of the bow the mechanical advantage. I am going to let you digest all of that until next month when we will review some common shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff tears and impingement, SLAP tears, dislocation, and subluxation and how to prevent them. I will also challenge you with keeping a mental image of these diagrams the next time you are out shooting and visualizing the different muscles working that create your shot sequence. BA

Do not let weather control your practice schedule! In Sweden, they say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. You can and should practice in all kinds of weather, as you never know what you might run into during a tournament, or a hunt for that matter. If you compete on outdoor ranges, you should be comfortable with wind and rain, and in some cases some wet snow. If you are prepared, it can be a lot of fun. Most of us do not need to be out in subzero weather, unless you live in Alaska. Find a nice, friendly indoor range with hot coffee for those days. Preferably with some friends who tell good jokes. Or try Hawaii! Stretch out. Unless you are Chuck Norris, cold muscles get hurt. Your old high school coach agrees. Bonus, you will feel less old the next day.

Be nice to your equipment. Protect your bow limbs from temperature swings. If you have wood laminate limbs, as many of us do, do not leave them in the freezing car all day and then go practice in a warm room. Give your equipment enough time to adjust before shooting. Older bows seem to have more poundage swings in the cold below freezing. Test yours if it has been in the family for a while by leaving it in your car overnight and see what it does in the morning. You might need to adjust your sight accordingly to keep from shooting high. Check your arrow flight in the cold. Different shafts types flex

differently if below freezing. Experiment ahead of time so you can anticipate and make changes when necessary. temperature changes your form. Lots of people have trouble when cold coming to full draw, especially when hunting and pulling 60 to 70 lbs. If you hunch your shoulders because you are chilly, you will lose some of the strength and connection in your back. Also, wear enough warm layers to keep your core limber. When your core is cold, it is hard to achieve proper alignment. If your metal grip is turning your bow hand into an icicle, you can wind a wrap or two of selfstick bandage around your grip to keep the cold directly off your hand. Your local feed store has it in the equine section in colors to match your bow, including hot pink.

Know the limitations of your equipment when going from cold to warm quickly.

Layer. Layer. Layer. Recurve people work up a sweat while shooting. Lots of information on outdoor wear has already been written. Wear high-tech fabrics and things that breathe. Cotton = wet and cold later on. Wool is great if you can find it in a close cut option. If you are like me and bolt for the outdoor range as soon as the snow melts, you will be shooting in the rain. You will not melt, I promise. Rain pants and a well-fitting jacket that does not get in the way of your bowstring are keys. You might want to try a

chest protector over your jacket to keep it from snagging. Some tall stomper rain boots are great for holding down tall wet grass when looking for lost arrows. It is not a fashion show. Finger shooters have cold fingers. I have tried glommets, but the feel is different, so I do not use them much unless the temperature is around freezing. Mittens are not an option for me, as my bow needs to swing back on follow through. Make sure your pressure points (release fingers and palm of bow hand) do not lose feeling. Try your release with your

hunting gloves on. You will not have time to take them off before that buck moves behind the tree. Play Garage Band. If the weather is wet, you can still shoot if you have a garage or covered deck to shoot out of. I also shoot more arrows each end to limit all the trips back and forth to pull. I have even heard of a person that would shoot at distance from his window in the winter to a target outside to get in 70m or 90m practice. Hmmm, I wonder how far it is across the pond‌ BA

with Darren Johnson Managing wildlife habitat is one of the most rewarding actions you and your family can implement to benefit wildlife and your property. It is not easy, but on the other hand, it is not rocket science either. If your property currently has wildlife living within its boundaries, or travelling through it, and you have the desire to improve it, then it is a good candidate for a wildlife management program. Before we get started, a quick discussion about what wildlife habitat management is and is not is in order. First and foremost, it is not about building a property full of record book bucks running everywhere, nor is it about having a property chock full of pheasants. While this does happen often on properties with successfully managed habitat, it is the outcome rather than the goal. If you focus only on trophy caliber animals then failure is certain, but if you focus on improving the overall quality of the entire population and the habitat it utilizes, then trophy animals will exist.

Wildlife habitat management is also not about building high fences to keep game in or being guaranteed that you limit out each time you hunt the property. It is not about immediate results with just a little work. Positive results from wildlife habitat management can sometimes take years to fully realize the beneficial impact. Finally, wildlife habitat management isnâ€&#x;t for large properties only. Sound wildlife habitat management can be applied to properties as small as your backyard. What it is about is really quite simple. Habitat management is about maximizing value of the habitat so that species populations are healthy and as dense as possible while still being well within the carrying capacity of the land. It is about having adequate shelter, water, and nutritious food sources so that the animals choose to use your land as their home range rather than living elsewhere and traveling to/through your property only when other more preferred food is not available. With this in mind, letâ€&#x;s assume you have decided to

take the plunge and want to start a wildlife habitat management plan in place. While each plan is unique, there are a few steps that are the foundation for every effective management plan. Decide what you want out of your property. This may sound like an easy proposition, but it really is not. Do you want a larger whitetail deer population, more ducks and geese utilizing the property, more small game like rabbits or squirrels,or more game birds like quail and pheasant? Are you trying to reintroduce a species, increase the population of a species, or just better balance the species populations? You might be happy with your game populations but want to maximize the health (size) of the animals. Maybe your motives are not hunting related at all and you just want more wildlife to watch. Often, the plan will seek to accomplish a combination of these goals rather than just focus on one. There is not a boilerplate answer to this question; it is unique to your property and

your goals. Whatever the goal you choose, you will need to write a wildlife management plan to help you reach your goal. Begin a species inventory of the plants, birds and animals sighted on your property. Keep a running list of the species and each time you see a new one, add it to the list. You can also add photos and a sighting frequency determination such as: common, occasionally, seasonal, or rarely. Ask your family members and neighbors to help with this. You will probably be amazed at how many species you actually have using your property, and how fun this process can be. Be sure to not just focus on the animals listed in your wildlife management plan; keep track of all of them. Many animals are interdependent on each other and can directly impact the population levels of your targeted species. Also, high or low levels of one species can be a symptom of issues with your property that you can deal with easily. Get to know your soil. Start taking soil samples within the food sources on your property. Maximizing food

source growth is much easier when you understand the soil and its nutritional needs. For a small price, these samples can be tested by local extension offices or farm co-ops and will help you in deciding on the correct application of fertilizers and soil supplements. Get to know the animals. Begin to learn the habits, food requirements, predators, etc. of your targeted species. Understanding their needs and behaviors will help you become more successful. Besides, itâ€&#x;s fun to be able to get into the heads of the critters running around your property. Take to the sky. Get an aerial photo of your property, as well as neighboring properties, and study it so that you are familiar with all of the details. Water sources, planting areas, wooded areas, and transition edges are all very important and will come into play when developing your plan. Google Earth is a great place to get aerial photography of your property. Also, walk your property so that you can see from a ground-level view what you are studying from above as well.

Take an inventory of the tools and equipment that you have to work with. From tractors to mowers to chainsaws, it is all important. Inventory your potential labor sources and helping hands. If you have neighbors with similar goals, pool your labor and equipment resources and help each other out. Also, talk to other partners such as farmers, co-ops, extension offices, and local branches of organizations. Quality Deer Management Association, Ducks Unlimited, etc. will all have access to equipment, expertise, and seed that can prove invaluable and the new relationships you will build are a great thing. If you have been contemplating starting a wildlife habitat management plan there is no better time to start than now. With two to three months left before planting season you still have plenty of time to study your property, develop the plan, analyze the soil and get ready to plant. In next monthâ€&#x;s column, we will begin to get into more detail about how to turn your property into a wildlife paradise. Until then, enjoy the great outdoors! BA

By Albert Quackenbush Understanding how important having a quality bowstring on your bow may seem obvious, but please bear with me. Without a quality string and cables installed, your bow it will not perform to its highest potential. Brand new bows have factory strings installed and many archers just leave them on their bow. They are good, but not great. Your best bet is to go to a pro shop and have strings made or find a good string maker on your own. I was fortunate enough to find Eddy Erautt, the owner and string maker at Piranha Custom Bowstrings. I met Eddy a couple of years ago through www.DIYbowhunter. com and we became instant friends. When he started his company back in 2010, we talked strings and my bow set up. Turns out we were both shooting the same brand of bow and he offered to set me up with a set of strings and

cables. I passed at the time because I already had a new set of strings on my bow and liked the ones I was shooting. In 2011, I purchased a used compound bow and the previous owner explained it still had the original string. Trust me, I could tell. The string, while intact, was frayed and thinner than custom strings I had seen. I went to the range and shot the bow and you could feel how sloppy the string performed and how slow the arrows were flying out of the bow. I called Eddy and he said that the string on my bow was probably only 20 strands. He

explained that he uses 22 strands on the string and cable with 24 strands on the split bus cable. By building a 22/24 strand string and cable not only do you get a better, more stable set of strings, but it also eliminates most timing issues. This insures there is no reduction in speed and your bow remains in tune. He then sent me a set of strings and cables to test out on my bow. Now let me tell you, Eddy gets his strings to you quickly. He doesnâ€&#x;t rush the process, but the strings were in my hands in just a couple days. After having my local pro shop install them, I hit their indoor range. Immediately I noticed a difference in performance. The bow didnâ€&#x;t have the sloppy feel to it anymore and there was a noticeable difference in arrow speed when I shot, too. I locked my peep sight in and the test was on. Piranha claims that their strings are prestretched and there will be no peep rotation.

After putting over 600 shots through the bow, I can tell you that statement rings true. The peep stayed where it needed to, no rotation and the strings performed extremely well. String care is something I preach, as does Eddy. Bowstrings will dry out if you are not careful and he knows this far too well. While he now resides in Colorado, Eddy grew up in Southern California and he knows how the weather, temperature and extended use will affect a string. He also knows quality string making. One thing he explained to before I started shooting was to be sure wax my string after each practice. This has extended the life of my string.

From Piranha’s website: Every string we custom build is pre-stretched to 300 lbs. Using the industry’s leading Trophy Fibers by BCY, along with 3D End Serving, and #62 Braided Center Serving. To provide you with the highest quality bowstring that will last you thousands of arrows. We stand behind our strings 100%, with a NO peep rotation, NO stretch, NO creep, and, NO serving separation guarantee along with a one year warranty on all factory defects. Piranha Custom Bowstrings also has the best customer service. Many times I have had questions regarding string, or a bow that needs a new string

and even my own bow. Eddy has always picked up the phone or returned my emails promptly. He makes it his goal to be certain that each customer is satisfied with his or her purchase. He cares about the performance of his strings and he‟s just a downright nice guy with a wealth of knowledge.

Stickbows, Stumping, and Small Game

footing. It really does boil down to preference, but I find wood to hold up better with direct hits and survive deflection more consistently due to its ability to flex and return to normal. Should you select wood, I suggest giving poplar or ash a try and leaving them a tad longer in case you break a taper.

down and make it easier to track in the air or on the ground. They also cut down the flight if shooting at aerial targets. They are loud, slow, and easily dodged. I do not utilize them when shooting at animals on the ground for this reason. They do, however, make an excellent stumping arrow, as they are difficult to lose and fun to shoot. I keep one in my quiver just in case.

Continued from 11 Choose a quality shaft While it seems like carbon or aluminum would be the most durable choice of shaft, I have the most success with wood. Aluminums tend to bend when hitting something solid and carbons often banana at the insert, following a direct hit. On the other hand, I have never bent a thicker walled aluminum arrow and my Dad swears by carbon arrows with aluminum

Flu Flu fletching I am not exactly sold on flu flu fletching for small game hunting. The concept behind the flu flu is to slow your arrow You can call Eddy at (866) 926-3339 or fax him your bow specs at (866) 342-7047. Email Piranha at: Piranha Custom Bowstrings P.O. Box 1000 Cortez, CO 81321-1000 BA

Whatever your selection, I guarantee you will have a blast. Good luck, and happy hunting! BA

Emily Anderson


My hunting journey began shortly after I got married. That fall as opening season for deer was drawing near, my sweet husband asked if it was okay if he went hunting over the weekend. I quickly responded with, "Sure! As long as I can come with." Ever since then, we have been enjoying our passion for the outdoors / hunting / fishing, and all that comes with that... together as a husband and wife team. I enjoy sharing our stories of the times spent in the woods. They can be quite interesting at times. As a female hunter, I've learned a few lessons of how to keep up with the guys in camp. Because when you are hunting, it is not about looking good and smelling pretty for those elk. Instead you learn to not be seen or smelt at all. I also write the blog Scent Free Lip Gloss.

Troy Anderson


Troy has been hunting ever since he can remember. He grew up in Wyoming with a father who introduced him to hunting and loved taking Troy with him whenever he would go hunting or fishing. The hunting part stuck. The fishing‌ well, he is working on that. As a career firefighter Troy is able to spend many days hunting in the mountains of Colorado with his beautiful wife Emily; one of the benefits of working 24 hr shifts with 4 days off in between some of those shifts. Troy also writes the G2GExtreme blog.

Timothy Borkert


Tim is an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He writes about his adventures in his blog, The Unlucky Hunter.

Tony Catalde


I am a California born country boy that grew up with a gun in one hand and a fishing pole in the other. I have been able to turn my passions of bowhunting and fishing into my day job where I am the Southwest Sale rep for Elite Outdoor Sport. Western big game is my passion, but I am not opposed to bow fishing for carp either.

Lester Harper

West Virginia

Lester Harper is owner and operator of LH Custom Archery located in West Virginia. He specializes in making custom recurves and longbows. You can visit his website at or email him at

Bill Howard

North Carolina

Bill is a hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) instructor, lifetime member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association, associate member of Pope and Young, and official measurer for both. He writes a weekly outdoors column for several newspapers in North Carolina, is a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter magazine, and writes the blog BillHowardOutdoors and is publisher of this magazine.

Mark Huelsing


Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. In addition to writing for BowAmerica, Mark runs the bowhunting blog Sole Adventure, and is also a contributor to several other outdoor outlets such as Filson Life and Bowcast. Connect with Mark at, or say hello on twitter @SoleAdventure.

Will Jenkins


Will Jenkins runs Hunting Blog where he recently started the ‘Harnesses for Hunters’ Program. He also writes for Maryland Whitetail Magazine.

Darren Johnson


Darren Johnson is the author of Taking a Walk on the Wild Side, a blog born out of his personal love of nature and his desire to help youth and adults improve their lives through higher self-esteem, good decision making and strengthening family bonds by building a relationship with nature. He lives in central Indiana and spends as much time as possible in nature activities such as hiking, photography, archery, hunting, fishing, food plot and habitat development, as well as other conservation projects.

Dustin Jones

with her husband, two naughty cats and a lazy dog. When she is not shooting she is making stuff in her studio, taking the dog for a hike with Matt, baking something carb-tastic, or making excuses to ditch the gym and go shoot.

Albert Quackenbush


Al writes the bow-hunting blog site SoCalBowhunter. He is a graphic designer, photographer, life member of the North American Hunting Club, and a pro staffer and primary gear reviewer for

Britney Starr


Britney Starr is a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She is currently part owner, client services representative, and social media manager of Starr & Bodill African Safaris. Britney enjoys working side by side with her father and licensed Professional Hunter, Dwaine Starr, to provide their clients a worry-free safari. She also writes gear reviews for The Women's Outdoor News, an online resource for news, reviews, and stories about women in the outdoors.

Scott Thryselius


Scott is a proud dad of 2, married to Michelle, pro staff member of Storm Dog Outdoors and a Huntographer. To learn more, follow him on Twitter @sdo_stt.


Husband, Father, and Avid Hunter. A DIY public land hunter born and raised in the great state of Idaho! I am a marathon runner, hunter, fisherman, and find any excuse to be outside. I am a field staff member for and manage my blog Idaho Bone Collector.

Nick Viau

Amanda MacDonald

Thanks to ALL of our contributors and writers and be sure to check out their blogs and websites between issues!

New York

Amanda MacDonald is a competitive target archer and writes the blog Bow Meets Girl. Amanda lives in Upstate NY


Nick Viau authors the traditional archery blog and is a frequent contributor to the website and publication. He is also a member of the Michigan Traditional Bowhunters (MTB) and Michigan Longbow Association (MLA).

I read a book a long time ago called Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel, who was a German philosopher who taught in Japan in the 1930s. In his book he describes that in archery hitting the target is secondary to the focus and awareness the archer brings to the task. It is not about the target, but about everything that builds to that point where you release the arrow and accomplish your target. First, I am not a Zen Buddhist nor do I pretend that I am a master at archery. I do recognize though there is a valuable lesson to be learned from Herrigelâ€&#x;s book, especially when it comes to bowfishing for carp, gar, gators

or whatever your taste of fish is. I will admit that I have had days where nothing goes right and I could not hit the ground with my arrow if I dropped it. If you want a painful laugh watch my video Day of 20 Misses and you will see my worst day ever behind a bow. That is a day that I will never forget to say the least. It was also the day where I remembered Heir Herrigelâ€&#x;s book and some of the things that he said. I had let the fish become the goal for me instead of the bow, the water and the art of bow fishing. I had been clouding my head with the need to rack up the fish counts and film big fish getting drug on shore and for what? Was it because someone on Youtube I watched or something a guy on a forum said that carnage is the true sign of a bowman? Was pride creeping in and blood lust taking over? Not sure to be honest, but one thing I do know is I missed a ton that day and I had to shame myself by posting it.

Bowfishing to me truly is about the skill, timing and understanding your target. Stripping down all of the unfiltered muck that clouds what we are and do helps us to realize that we are perusing an animal that lives in another world and his whole being is trying to evade us. Really that is bowhunting at its core, hunter looking to our smart prey that is trying to survive at all costs. They say that a trout has an IQ of 2 and that a carp has an IQ of 4. They are not dumb as far as fish go for sure. I think that you need to be able to realize that we are not out to fill a bucket or barrel. But rather we are out to fulfill something greater, to make us

better archers and people. Patience, thought, and the understanding that we are there to enjoy the day or night and let the Art of Bowfishing take over. For me I know when I am in that spot when I am not thinking. I turn off everything else in my mind and I am simply focusing on releasing the arrow. It is a wonderful place to be for sure. I will be honest, duck season is almost over, deer and bear season is long gone so my attention is now devoted to fish (and pigs but that is another post). I am really excited to start walking the banks and

drifting the rivers and lakes in search of carp. Anytime I can get ready to go hunting by putting on a pair of sandals and a short sleeve shirt I am really excited about. So as the silt starts to clear up from the lakes and the rivers are starting to flow again I am looking to my Matthews MQ1 and my homemade PVC bow to shape me into being a better archer. I am sure I will miss and miss and then miss again, but I know that if I walk with one or two fish in a session it has been a good day. Though if I come back with 20, I will not be complaining either. BA

How to Tan a Small Game Hide By Timothy

Ask a dozen hunters how to tan a hide and you will get a dozen answers. Go ahead, do a search online. You will find hundreds of different ways. Most people think their way is the best (or only) way to do it properly. In reality, there are quite a few ways to do it. Each has its own merits and drawbacks. One thing that is often confused is the difference between tanning and preserving. Preserving is done by simply removing any meat

and fat from the skin, then the hide is left to dry. You often hear of people "tanning" a hide by scraping off the fat and drying it with salt. While this works fine for taxidermy or hanging a pelt on the wall, it is not tanning. A preserved hide will slowly continue to decompose, eventually the hair will begin to slip, and the hide will disintegrate. If it is handled often, this will happen in a few years or less. If it is hanging on the wall, it could last for decades.

Borkert Tanning permanently changes the protein structure of the skin. After a hide is tanned it can be used as clothing or for some other use. Its hide will not decompose and its fur will not slip. I am going to show you how I tan a hide. It is not the only way; it may not be the best way. It is my way. I like to do an “egg tan�. It is not common, but it is effective. My way is cheap, easy, and quick.

1. Obtain something dead with fur. Start out by tanning small hides such as rabbit or squirrels. The first few times you try this it may not work out. Do not use a trophy bear skin as your first attempt at tanning. 2. Skin the dead thing. I prefer to case it out. The tail needs to be deboned and split down the middle. This can take some practice. Be careful, your finished hide is only going to be as good as your skinning job. 3. Wash the hide. I use a 5 gallon bucket. Just get the dirt and blood off. It should not take much scrubbing.

4. Stretch the hide and nail it to a board, fur down. I like to use finish nails. Staples do a lot of damage and are hard to remove. Large nails make large holes. [Fig 1] 5. Coat with salt. (Optional) Put a Âź to ½ inch layer of salt on the exposed hide. This is an optional step that I always do. The next step takes time. If you do not have the time to do it right away, salting will preserve your skin until you are ready. It can also make the next step easier by soaking up the moisture in the fat. 6. Flesh the hide. This is a crucial step. Remove all of the salt by brushing off as much as possible. Take a dull knife, spoon, file, or anything handy and start scraping all of the meat and fat off the skin. You kind of push it off. Depending on your skinning skills, this can take a long time, or no time. All of the fat and meat must be removed. If you do not have time to finish, just re-salt and you can start back up later. [Fig 2] 7. Tan the hide. I use egg yolks to tan my hides. This is a version of brain tanning. I prefer it because I do not have to dig around for the critterâ€&#x;s brain. If you have an extra brain lying around you can substitute it for the egg yolk. I used two eggs for this squirrel skin, it was barely enough. Beat the yolk until it is smooth. Gently rub it into the skin. You should cover every bit of the skin, but it should not get on the hair side of the skin. [Fig 3]

8. Cover the skin with a clean, wet rag. This helps keep the egg from drying out. 9. Let it sit overnight. Just do not let it dry out. 10. Remove from board. Do not worry about the nail holes. You will take care of those later. 11. Wash again. Use the same 5 gallon bucket as before. Use a degreasing detergent. Get all the salt and egg off the hide. I usually have to change the water at least once. [Fig 4] 12. Let dry, but not all the way. It needs to be slightly damp for the next step. 13. Work the hide. While it is still damp, work the hide over a board, rope, or just about anything fairly smooth. You are softening the skin. If you do not do this it will dry hard as a board. It takes a long time. Do it until the skin is totally dry. I like to do this in the evening as I watch TV. [Fig 5] 14. Sew any large holes closed. I just use a plain needle and thread. Do not worry about small holes; no one will see them under the fur.

15. Trim the hide. Take a pair of scissors and trim the ragged edges of the hide. Do not trim too much. This step can make a nice hide look great! 16. Smoke (optional) Smoking the hide gives it a measure of waterproofing. If you do not do this and the hide gets wet, you will have to rework it. Smoke over very low heat with a hard wood for about 30 minutes. Do not cook it! I have a smoker, which is great for small hides, but for larger hides you may have to use a fire pit. That's it! At least that is how I do it. It is simpler than it sounds and lots of fun. You can go from start to finish in 36 hours if you wanted, although I usually break it up into a few days. (Editor’s note: This process will be used in a future issue of BowAmerica for another fun How-To.)

End of Season Gear Care Continued from page 21 to caring for your compound bow or any of your other archery gear. Only you can master that for yourself, but I encourage you to inventory everything and care for it greatly. Verify everything is in

safe, working condition and replace anything that needs replacing. Do not cut corners as it may not be just your safety you will need to consider. If you feel your bow needs more work than you can complete at home, take it to a pro shop and let them give it a good look. It is better to be safe than sorry. These tips can be applied to


dry, desert conditions to humid, mountain conditions. Now, put your feet up and enjoy the offseason! If you are like me, you will go through your gear, verify everything functions at the highest level and start preparing for the next hunting season. Best of luck to you all! BA

Wild Game Recipes presented by

Butcher Holler Possum From ‘You're Cookin it Country’ by Loretta Lynn

Ingredients         

1 Opossum Salt and pepper ½ Cup breadcrumbs ½ Cup applesauce ½ Cup chopped chestnuts ½ Stick butter 4 Sweet potatoes, cubed 1 Cup water ½ Cup lemon juice

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Skin and clean the opossum by removing all the innards. Scrape the inside clean and scald in boiling water. Season the inside with salt and pepper to taste. Mix breadcrumbs, applesauce, and chestnuts in a bowl. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture and butter slices inside the possum. Place in a Dutch oven. Add the sweet potatoes, water and lemon juice. Bake in oven until tender, basting often. Recipe contributed by Auntie Bonnie for

It is a brisk fall morning in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. The entourage of hunters ages 5, 9, 11, and 14 are stalking through the woods like our ancestors would have. These kids are dedicated. They have practiced their shooting. They have studied the land. Their eyes are focused on one thing. They are squirrel hunting. Some of you probably just chuckled as you read this, but let me tell you they are not hunting with rifles and shotguns. They are hunting with stick and string. I have five beautiful children and every one of them knows the importance of hunting in our household. It is not about killing animals, it is about providing food. See, these kids understand that we all can provide for our family. Some

people teach their kids finances and work ethics, which is very important I agree, however in our family we teach hunting is also important. I do not just teach them to harvest animals, but to hunt alternate means. We are traditional hunters! We have modern rifles and shotguns but they do not want to just kill. They want a challenge. If you want a challenge take up small game hunting with a longbow or a recurve.

So as I said before, my children train to hunt. They spend long days out in the field letting arrows fly and learning their bows. I take them out stump shooting for practice in the woods almost every day during the summer months. They learn about the animals they are going to hunt from watching the trees they live in, learning the foods they like, and monitoring habits. These are not just squirrel hunters, they are dedicated assassins. I

watch them treat this as if they are going to Africa to kill a lion. You might say they are obsessed with hunting. I watch my children learn to stalk and hunt Godâ€&#x;s creatures. I watch all of them put months of shooting practice to the test. The most important thing is they are having fun. We get up before the sun, we put on camo

and we hit the woods. They are not sleeping until noon or playing video games, they are outside getting exercise and breathing fresh air. I do not have to worry about where I will find my kids when they are out in the woods with me. I said it is not always about the harvest; this is true. We have a lot of fun shooting at

squirrels and trying to harvest them with traditional tackle, but the truth is they almost never come back with a squirrel in their pouch. Never are they discouraged. They still hunt every year always putting their efforts and practice to work. The most important thing is we have a blast laughing and spending quality time in the woods together. Squirrels beware of the Harper household when we hit the woods. It is a hellfire of arrows raining down. I enjoy every moment of the hunt, but most importantly the time spent enjoying Godâ€&#x;s creation with my children. Take a child out in the woods and enjoy the time of your life. BA

What does it mean to have my wife hunting with me? It means that I am the luckiest man in the world. I am able to enjoy and share my passion of the outdoors with my best friend! It all started in 2002. I always invited Michelle to come along bow hunting with me. At first there was hesitation, but finally she gave into my constant pursuit of her going. I was excited. I hoped that she would enjoy being in the woods as much as me. The first adventure she had to borrow my extra camo gear. Not only camo clothing but camo boots too. Of course, the boots were a few sizes too big. It was nothing that a few extra pairs of socks could not help. We did not see anything the first trip out but she was not

discouraged. Throughout the season Michelle was able to join me. It was a tough season with only porcupines, blue jays, and squirrels. Even though we did not see deer, it was rewarding to be sitting in the stand together. Seeing the look on her face when a porcupine was preparing to climb her tree was priceless. It was music to my ears when Michelle asked if she could learn how to shoot a bow. I was ecstatic and I wanted to run immediately to the archery shop to buy her a bow. I could not wait to help set her up and to teach her how to shoot. Sharing the experience of harvesting a deer with you wife is another memory that the two of you will share until death do us part. In October 2003 we were both out hunting together.

By this point both of us carried a bow and we were using climber stands. Michelle was not quite ready to sit alone in the woods. I did not mind. I made sure to select locations that would accommodate us. It was getting close to the end of the dayâ€&#x;s hunt when we heard noise. Two does walked out in front of us. They were walking right for Michelle. She was not getting into position. She stayed sitting. I tried to signal for her to stand up but she did not budge. I wanted her to have an attempt to harvest a deer. Still she did not move. And then I saw him, a six point buck stepped out of the clearing looking right at Michelle. The opportunity was there for me to harvest the deer and I did. It was the first time I was able to share the experience of harvesting a deer and I was truly blessed that my wife was the one with me. By opening season September 2004, she was shooting her bow better than me. This year she was ready to venture into the woods and sit in her own spot. Heading out to the woods I would pray that everything I taught her would be put to good use. It was the

second weekend of the season. Can you believe my two way radio goes off and she tells me “Honey I shot a doe!”? I could not get to her fast enough. We recovered her first deer. I was overcome with emotion. Ten years later, there is not a hunting season that goes by that I do not have my best hunting partner in the world at my side. We have shared so many memories together over the years. There are so many memories. I do not have enough space to tell you all of them but my favorite hunt of all was November 2011. It was November 5, 2011 and it was her birthday. All she wanted for her birthday was to harvest a deer. Minutes before the afternoon hunt Michelle stood outside in tears stressing over what stand to sit in; which stand was most likely to produce the birthday deer. I told her that I would escort her to my favorite spot in the swamp. After a little contemplation and wiping away a few leftover tears she agreed. By 2pm I had her situated in the stand and as I walked to my stand I said a small prayer that my girl would fulfill her birthday wish. I wanted her to. I WANTED this for her. At 3:30pm I receive a text from the birthday girl who felt like she was not going to see a deer. I reassured her, told her to be

patient, the deer move later back there. Wouldn‟t you know it, by 4pm I had a text message from her, SHE SHOT A DOE! I was overjoyed, amazed, ecstatic, and overwhelmed with excitement for her. There is no greater feeling than sitting your best hunting partner in a stand, on her birthday, and she harvest a deer. I could go on and on, but I

will not. What I will say is this: I am indeed the luckiest man to be able to have a wife that enjoys hunting as much as me. The guys at work are jealous that I can go hunting every weekend without “hearing the business” from the wife. Nope, not me! Here‟s to the wonderful memories Michelle and to the many more we will make! BA

By Darren Johnson It was a cold day in the deer stand that day many years ago. I had seen a few deer that were beyond bow range but nothing much else. As dark settled upon the woods, I could not help but feel disappointment that my bow had gone undrawn that day. The season was drawing to a close and I had not been able to put my tag on a buck yet. To think that I would not be able to bowhunt again for many months only made the cold wind sting that much more. I was hunting with three buddies (a father and his two sons) and I knew that as good of hunters as they were, someone would be putting meat in the freezer tonight. I slowly made my way out of the woods and met up with Jeff, who to my surprise, said he did not draw his bow either. He was holding out for one of the big bucks on the property and did not want to use his tag on any of the smaller bucks he had within range. We walked over to where Justin (the father) had a ground blind set up and, just like his son, he had not taken a shot either. With the wisdom of a seasoned hunter, he did not

measure his hunting success, like I mistakenly did, on whether or not he took a deer. To him, quiet time in the woods was as meaningful as a kill, something that I would not understand until many years later. We all walked together to meet Tim, the oldest son and an incredible archer. I was sure he had connected so I rushed up and asked how he did. I was thoroughly confused when he replied that he “only got five tonight.� Knowing we could only take one deer each, I assumed he was just messing with me until he held up five squirrels, all with broadhead holes through them. You could have picked my bottom jaw up off the forest floor when I realized that he shot five squirrels, the legal limit, with nothing but a recurve and five arrows. I totally forgot about not getting a deer as I was in complete awe of Tim and his archery exploits. As I had him recount his hunt that night, it was beginning to dawn on me that a whole new hunting experience was available for my enjoyment. Small game seasons of one type or another lasted from mid August through February so I

had months of bowhunting opportunity each year instead of just weeks! Since that eye opening day I have carried my bow and arrows in search of many types of small game. While I have not had quite the success that my friend Tim did that day, I have provided quite a few tasty and nutritious small game meals. I have hunted with both compound and recurve, with dogs and without, and had many enjoyable days afield. In many ways, I have found small game archery hunting to be more fun than big game hunting. There tends to be more action by way of having more potential targets, plus the ability to move around rather than sit in a stand makes the cold more endurable. Besides, can there be a more gratifying archery shot than hitting a rabbit-sized target as it dashes through the woods? If you are looking to lengthen your archery season, or just take on a new challenge, I highly encourage you to try small game hunting with a bow and arrow. You might just fill up your game vest, but even if you do not, quality time afield is a reward in itself. BA

Every Thanksgiving our By

By Dustin Jones Every Thanksgiving our family tradition is to go goose hunting. We have gone every thanksgiving I can remember. This year we were talking about it and we found out that my two brothers were not going to be able to go with us. My dad and I decided since we still had our late whitetail hunts we would go and try to find us that monster whitetail buck. So I grabbed my trusty traditional recurve and we were off. We took off in hopes of seeing, "Da turdy point buck". We climbed into our stands and began the day. As we sit in the cold December air, geese and ducks are flying over head. This continues for a couple of hours and I send my dad a text message asking if he has seen

any activity, because at my end it was dead. He responds by saying that we should have gone goose hunting. Another hour passes by and just when I thought there were no hopes I hear some movement directly behind me. I get excited but have to contain my excitement as to not scare whatever is behind me. I slowly turn my head and hear the animal slowly moving through the thick trees. As I listen and watch for it to make its appearance I catch a glimpse of what looked like antlers. My stomach dropped. It was getting closer and closer. Finally the trees were thin enough to make out the animal and to my disappointment I see a young bull moose. I sit and watch the young guy walk around and stand right underneath my tree stand. By now my dad and I were getting hungry so we decided to make our way out of our stands. I first of all had to try and get the attention of the moose and hope

he would scamper off. It took a little coaxing but it worked. I met up with my dad and we were walking out when we heard a bunch of geese in this field. My dad told me a story about how he had snuck up on some geese and was able to bag one with his bow. To me this sounded like a challenge. As we came closer to the field I decided I was going to try to conquer this feat. I was able to conceal myself behind the tall weeds and began my stalk. I belly crawled and took my time as my dad sat back and watched. I got within 20 yards before they started getting suspicious so I just laid there without moving. They calmed back down and then I closed the distance a little more and to my surprise I was able to get within 15 yards. I picked the closest one out and as I slowly came up above the weeds they started flapping their wings. I still had my eye on the goose and let my arrow fly. The arrow flew true and I was able to still get our thanksgiving goose! I could see my dadâ€&#x;s grin from across the field as I was carrying the goose. It was a great story to share with my family as I showed up with a goose carrying my bow. BA

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Anticipating the next issue of BowAmerica already? Make sure you subscribe either by logging in with your facebook account on or by entering your email at! Our March cover celebrates Michele Leqve’s quest for her dream polar bear hunt and the issue features stories on how to plan and execute that dream hunt you have always thought was unattainable. Other stories include part 2 of our Archer’s Shoulder story, coverage of the NFAA World Archery Festival, getting your equipment ready for bowfishing, what to look for in an outfitter or guide service, internet scouting on those far away trips, and a preview on Badlands packs. See you next month!

BowAmerica February 2012  

The e-Magazine for Bowhunters. Small game hunting for squirrels, rabbits, nutria, beaver, and goose. Archers shoulder. Habitat management. H...

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