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How To/Pro-Tips

How High Is Up?

These days, whitetail deer do look up. Back in the old days, the treestand was the "magic bullet" and it didn't have to be very high to be magic.

It is uncomfortable to the deer to look up. The deer's neck is more rigid than ours and its eyes are situated to detect ground-based predators. Deer have excellent binocular (two-eye) and monocular vision with one eye working. This greatly increases lateral (side to side) visual range.

It takes special effort for the deer to look up; however, in highly pressured hunting situations, they definitely make the effort. When deer get this wary, the deer hunter only has a couple of options. Seek a new, less heavily hunted area or go higher up the tree.

Getting farther up, say 20 feet or more, re-establishes your aerial advantage over the deer. However, it also increases your risk. If you go to great heights while deer hunting use solid climbing gear and stable stands, and always wear a safety belt.

Shooting Lane Savvy

Bowhunters have to have a clear shot. Not that gun hunters should try to shoot through heavy brush either, but what a small twig can do to the best aimed arrow is really devastating.

Clearing shooting lanes, and how much you clear them, in a prime stand location is a tough call. You want to disturb the area as little as possible but you have to have the openings, at the right places, to make the successful shot.

When preparing a new stand site, try to minimize disturbance and the amount of human scent you spread around. Drag all cut brush well away from the stand and the lane. Remember, you're not building a road but an open path along the arrow's trajectory. Cut the brush low out where the deer is likely to be, but going back to your stand, cut higher. Head-high and even taller trimming right around your stand will make the area look more natural and not "spotlight" your location.

Bow Check

A thorough check of your critical archery outfit is essential to your bowhunting success. Cover the basics so your gear won't let you down.

Inspect your bow. Look for bent bow-sight pins, broken arrow rests, frayed cables, a frayed bow string or any cracks in the handle, wheels or limbs. Check limb bolts and sight attachment screws for tightness. Lubricate wheel axles to prevent creaking and groaning.

Two or three twists will shorten a stretched bow string by about 1/8-inch. Wax the string at least once a month throughout the season. Replace excessively stretched or frayed strings or strings with broken strands. Look for frayed or broken strands under the serving at the nocking point. It's a good idea to replace bow strings every two or three seasons.

Check all arrows, points and nocks for straightness. Replace or straighten bent shafts and square up heads and nocks. Any of these arrow elements that is more than a few thousandths off perfectly straight can greatly diminish accuracy.

Luck Favors The Well-Informed

Scouting is nothing more than gathering good information that helps us make good hunting decisions. Making good decisions about the best places to hunt is much easier when you have the facts.

A key component in scouting and hunting whitetails is understanding the lay of the land. You can scout much smarter and save a lot of effort and time if you have a good overview of your hunting area. Topographic maps and aerial photos are a great first step toward smart scouting.

Both maps and photos can help you identify key terrain features that translate into the locations of travel corridors, bottlenecks, funnels, bedding areas, sanctuary areas and even food sources. A buck knows his ground intimately and so should you. Topographic maps and aerial photos may give you that "missing link" of information, often invisible on the ground, that ties key terrain features together for your quarry.

Topographic maps and aerial photos are available from the U.S. Geological Survey. Call 1-800-USA-MAPS.

Respect Your Stand

For most deer hunters, both archers and gun hunters, treestands provide a great tactical advantage. But, they must be treated with respect.

Inspect your stands before the season. Replace lost or corroded parts and make sure that the stand is as functional when it was brand new. (Other than adding manufacturer-approved accessories, never modify a commercial stand.)

With permanent stands, check for rotten wood and natural loosening of the stand caused by the wind. Never climb into an old stand you find in the woods.

Whenever you are in an elevated stand, wear a properly adjusted safety belt. Wear the belt while climbing as well and properly "tie off" before shifting or settling into hunting position.

Climbing stands require agility and practice. Practice climbing with your stand, particularly a new type, before the season opens.

Do not climb when fatigued or on medication that makes you drowsy. Always make your stand positions known to others and leave word when you expect to be back.


How to Use a Bow Stringer

One of the first things you need to know when stringing a Recurve bow is that the large

loop of the string goes on the top limb, while the small loop goes on the bottom limb.

This order is important because the small loop will generally stay in position on the

lower limb while stringing and unstringing the bow. And, the upper loop, or large loop,

will be traveling up and down the limb when stringing and unstringing the bow. Since

the limb tip is smaller than the width of the limb below the tip, the loop needs to be a bit


The position of the bowstring is very important. The strings bottom loop must fit

securely in the groove in the bottom limb. Before releasing pressure on the limbs, make

sure that both string loops are still in the grooves on the limbs. Stringing the bow can be

dangerous if not done properly.

The cord stringer method is the safest and most commonly used method.

The cord stringer comes as a long cord with leather pouches at both ends of the string.

These pouches fit over each end of the limb.

To use the cord stringer, first hold the bow with the front face of the bow facing


Grip the center of the riser with the hand that has the most control and strength.

With the bow facing down, put the larger pouch over the tip of the lower or bottom limb.

Then put the smallest pouch over the tip of the upper limb.

Make sure that both pouches are fitted securely over the tips.

The stringer cord should now be hanging below the bow.

Step on the stringer cord using the same side as the hand used to hold the bow.

Make sure the cord is in the middle or "ball” of your foot.

Pull upon the riser just enough to make the string taut, making sure that the lower end

of the string is still securely sitting in the grooves on the lower limb.

While still pulling up slowly on the riser, guide the string into the notches of the upper


Watch that your fingers stay to the sides of the limb, making sure not to place them

between the bow string and the face of the bow.

To unstring a recurve bow, just reverse any of these processes.

When stringing the bow, there are a few important things to remember. First, always

make sure that the string is seated properly in the grooves of the upper and lower limb

before releasing pressure. Also, always remember that the archers’ safety is the most


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