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Bow Selection: Be Comfortable

Editor’s Note: This is a little longer blog, but if after the intro you’re still interested, keep on reading! Please note that with summer approaching, blogs may appear on random days due to Tate and myself busy with fishing/archery tournaments, and other activities. But don’t worry, we’re still here working to push out content when we can and are still working on new apparel!

In recent months since 3D archery shoots have kicked off for the 2019 season, I’ve had multiple friends ask me about getting involved in archery. Some of the questions that I’ve been asked are: “Where do I start?” “What kind of bow should I try? Compound? Crossbow? Recurve?” “What brand should I go with and how will I know what to look for?”

I’m not an expert in archery by any means and have a lot of learning left to go myself, but I will tell you I can give you a good base to start with and pass on any knowledge I’ve gained since I’ve became addicted to archery. So if you’re looking to get involved in shooting a bow and/or archery hunting, or are wondering what to look for in your next purchase of a bow, here’s a brief overview of important factors that I look for when it comes bow selection, and how to get started!

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(GIF from Google images)

How to Get Started

To get an idea if you’ll like shooting a bow or not, one option is getting in contact with someone that is already invested in archery that you know is a good place to start. You can ask them how they got started, but more importantly you can discuss ask them questions and possibly try to shoot their set-up. The only problem with shooting a set-up someone else has is that it may not fit you. I’m only 5’9” and with my compound set-up, my draw length is set at 27” and my draw weight is 64 lbs. Aside from the poundage that my bow is set at, someone who is 6’1” will probably need a longer draw length than what I’m shooting to feel comfortable.

Being comfortable is key when it comes to choosing the right bow for you. So what can you do if no one you know shoots a set-up that fits you? Resort to option #2 which is visit your local archery pro shop. To be honest, it might even be best to start with this option. Odds are, your local archery pro shop will have the ability to set you up with a bow that best suits you (draw length and draw weight wise). Most archery shops, or at least the ones I’ve been to, will give you the opportunity to shoot different bows and tune it to what feels most comfortable to you; giving you the chance to see if shooting a bow is something you think you’d enjoy and want to get involved in.

What Should I Look For When Selecting a Bow?

There are compound bows, cross-bows, and traditional bows (recurve, longbow). For the purpose of this blog, we’re going to stick strictly to compound bows when talking about what to look for while you’re selecting your bow.

CAM SYSTEM

I think one day I might write a blog on the engineering that goes into a bow, because it truly is fascinating. But even if you don’t care about that, it is important to understand what cam system will best fit the style you’re looking for. Plus, you may find that one cam is more comfortable when it breaks over during the draw cycle than a different one.

For example, with a dual cam (aka Twin cams) system, there is symmetrical cams on each end of the bow and both store energy when rolled over, so when the arrow is released, there is more kinetic energy and momentum created; thus creating more speed. So yinz who are looking for speed, that’s probably your best bet.

Those of you looking for accuracy and forgiveness specifically and aren’t afraid to lose a little speed for it, solo cams may be the route to go. These have a cam rolling over to store energy on the bottom side of the bow, with the top end of the bow having just a wheel for guidance.

If you want the best of both worlds, hybrid cams might make the most sense. Hybrid cams are built with the thought that the bottom cam is your power cam for stored energy/speed, and the top cam is the control cam for accuracy and forgiveness.

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There are other cam systems as well (no-cam, binary, etc.), but I would have to assume these are the most popular among archers and have been the ones that I’ve come across the most.

GRIP

When it comes to bow grip, it can be a little bit of a touchy subject (see what I did there? Hehe). Everyone has a difference preference when it comes to what bow they’re gonna like, and grip is no different.

The way you grip the bow can potentially affect your left and right, which is why I believe grip comfort is a huge factor. Let’s say for example you’re a right handed shot. If you have the grip pressured too far back into the pocket of your thumb and pointer finger, your hand is going to want to torque the bow to the right. If you have the grip pressured too far onto your thumb, then you run the possibility of torquing the bow to the left. It’s the little things that affect how you shoot, and your pressure point in your grip is no different.

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Some people like a thick grip, some like a thin one. Me personally? I’ve grown to like a thinner grip on my bows. Why? Because it’s easier for me to find my pressure point before I draw my bow and I’m more consistent in finding it, plus I’ve found if I’m struggling, it’s normally just a tweak of how I’m holding my bow. But like I said, everyone is different so it’s all a matter of what you like best and what feels most comfortable.

WEIGHT

This is a pretty simply one. What feels more comfortable, a heavy or a light bow? I think the lightest bow I’ve ever held is a Bowtech Carbon Icon. In full draw, it feels like you aren’t holding any weight in your hand at all.

Then there are Mathews bows I’ve shot, along with an Elite that I used to own, that are on the heavier end of the weight spectrum. For me, I like a heavier bow because I find that when I’m in full draw with a heavier bow, it helps me stay steady on my target. With light bows I’ve shot, I find my arm wavering more and that makes it hard for me to settle in on my spot.

With that being said, I know a lot of people that are the exact opposite of me and like the fact that they aren’t holding any weight in full draw. And hey, nothing wrong with that! Key phrase once again: it’s all about being comfortable.

DRAW CYCLE / VALLEY

When I’m looking at bows, this is the most important factor I’m looking at. How does the whole draw cycle feel? I’m always looking for a bow with a smooth draw and a comfortable valley. Whether I have to pull my bow back 1 time to take a shot at a deer, or 30 times during a 3D shoot, or 56 times during winter scalps; I want to be sure every time I pull the bow back it’s smooth and comfortable, not a hard or rigid draw.

The valley is known as the point in your draw cycle where the cams break over and your % let-off begins. So, it’s the distance from the “wall” (where you can’t pull the bow back any farther), to where if you were to creep forward and the let-off lessens, and you’re starting to hold the full weight of the draw (in the photo below, it’s the region where the curve begins to drop off to the back wall). Personally, I like a longer valley. A longer valley provides me the opportunity to feel more comfortable getting to my anchor point and settling in. Also, if I was to creep forward a little bit on accident, the bow won’t jerk forward immediately and will give me a chance to get the bow back to full draw.

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(Photo from Outside Magazine)

Let-off is pretty straight forward. Once the cams break over, your % let-off begins. So if your draw-weight is set at 60 lbs, and your cams are set at 80% let-off, then at full draw you’ll only be holding 12 lbs. Crazy, right?

So the whole draw cycle is an important factor when looking at a bow, but more specifically, finding a valley and a % let-off that feels comfortable to you is a huge factor in bow selection.

FOLLOW THROUGH

Last but not least, how does the bow feel once you pull the trigger? Does it fall forward after you shoot, or does it stay steady in your hand? Part of that has to do with how heavy/long your stabilizer is, but a big portion is the balance of the bow. If it’s top heavy, it will want to fall forward after your shot. I don’t like a bow that’s over-the-top top heavy, but I don’t mind the bow falling forward a tad.

Technology has come so far with bows that this isn’t as big of a factor nowadays, but bow vibration (even with a stabilizer bar in) is something to pay attention to. Odds are, you don’t want a bow that shakes your hand/arm every time you shoot, right? So it’s important to find a bow with the least vibration possible (or at least for me) and one that feels comfortable after/through your shot.

Time to Go After It!

I know, this was a long blog. But believe it or not, this really is a brief overview. There is so much to learn and so much to look for in a bow, and hopefully this gives you a good base to start with! Keep in mind these are just things I find important during bow selection, and you might find others that are critical to you feeling comfortable.

So if you made it the whole way through this blog, I hope you are planning a time to go look at some bows now and I’m looking forward to hearing not only your thoughts on what this blog entailed, but also your experiences in bow selection!

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As always, find the outdoors within.

P.S. – Well, Tate and I said from the beginning that we’re learning everyday how to make Small Town Outdoors better and how to work the website, etc.. One of those examples is that for our reoccurring authors on the blog (Tate, myself, and anyone who plans on writing more than one blog), those authors will have their blogs posted under their own name after their first blog so it’s clear who is writing what and it’s easier for us to post. Nothing special, but just shows we’re still figuring out how to handle this rodeo as we go!

Dreams

It’s been a few weeks now since our last blog, but we’re back with one from Tate Schwab! He explains his drive to make it big time in the Kayak Bass Fishing circuit, and how some help along the way adds to it. Things have been slow lately across social media and on the blog, but we’re still working on behind the scenes stuff for you guys and we think you’ll enjoy it! But until then, we hope you enjoy this blog!

Ever since I started fishing, I have wanted to go to the next level in the fishing world. I wanted to be on a team or sponsored. I wanted to fish big competitions.

I never thought it would be possible for me though. I say this because I didn’t start fishing until I was in 10th grade. I hardly knew anything about fishing, but I was going to find a way to take it to the next level.

And to do that, I constantly am talking fishing with others, watching a lot of YouTube video’s, spending countless hours on the water, and getting as much experience as possible in local club tournaments. I could tell throughout the years that I had been slowly improving. Once the 2018 season started, I felt that I was ready to represent a team. I felt that my name was known more due to leader boards, talking to others at these tournaments, and other fishing events in general.

So as the 2018 season started I sent out resumes to a few different places, and thankfully some of them got back to me. Two of the sponsors that really made things start happening for me in the 2018 season was Yakattack and Bonafide. They have been my back-bone to my kayak fishing “career”, and they are the ones that have been helping me get my name out there just by giving me the opportunity to represent their names.

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Ever since these guys started believing in me, I started showing out at tournaments. I have got quite a few top 15’s, top 10’s, and 1 win so far. But one of my bigger accomplishments this last year was placing 9th overall at the Lake Erie, PA KBF tournament, which was one of the biggest tournaments I have competed in. This tournament was also when I qualified for the KBF National Championship, which I just recently attended in March 2019 (story to come!).

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So needless to say, Yakattack and Bonafide have really made a dream come true for me. I’m finally starting to work my way into the kayak bass fishing world.

And as always, find the outdoors within!

First Time Fishing New York

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another STO blog on this wonderful Sunday! This one is written by Small Town Outdoors own, Tate Schwab, and he tells the story of when he fished New York for the first time last year in a KBF event. Enjoy the blog, and remember to SUBSCRIBE, SHARE, and FOLLOW along with our blog and social media’s!

My first time ever fishing in New York was during a NYKBF event that they were hosting on Conesus Lake in 2018. I had never been to this lake before this tournament, and never got to pre-fish it. I went into this tournament not knowing what to expect. I just knew I wanted some more experience fishing in tournaments.

Lines were in at 6:30 a.m and I was feeling good about where I launched, which was down on the south end of the lake. There were only a few people that launched down on the south end. I always try to go to a place where there isn’t many people launching from because it’s either going to be a blessing or a very long paddle. This day it turned into a very long paddle.

It was mid-summer and there was a lot of vegetation and cover down on the south end of the lake, so this led me to think that it was going to be a successful part of the lake.

I tried and tried the cover, and the docks, and they just weren’t working for me. I ended up paddling the whole way up to the middle of the lake to try different techniques and hope I could find a pattern of some sort. Needless to say I didn’t find a pattern.

At this point I was very upset with how things were going. So I paddled out to the middle of the lake to just relax and take in everything that was around me. Once I got calmed down a little, I started looking around to see what really caught my eye. I found a row of docks, so I paddled up to them. On my way to the docks I was thinking “okay what am I going to toss this time? You know what, I am just going to go with what I know and nothing fancy”.

As soon as I made this decision I started finding some small mouth bass tucked up under some docks. This was way later in the afternoon and quite a few people had their limit. Luckily I came in with a late limit, but a decent one at that, and ended up in 8th place.

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I was very pleased with the 8th place finish. Especially since my day started out the way it did.

This tournament taught me how to mentally fish, to never give up, and just keep on casting and trying everything you got!

From us here at Small Town Outdoors, remember to find the outdoors within.

2 Blue Laws are 2 Too Many

In this week’s Small Town Outdoors blog, Tyler Ripper talks about Sunday hunting in PA. It’s a little longer of a blog, but we hope you enjoy it and share your own opinion on the matter!

What can you do on a Sunday? Well just to name a few things: go to church, hike trails, relax, read Small Town Outdoors blogs when we release them on a Sunday… ya know, pretty much anything. However, there are 2 things that you cannot do on Sundays in Pennsylvania: hunt, or buy a car.

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These are referred to as Blue Laws. Taking a quick look back in history, most blue laws were created to prevent/ban certain non-religious activities on Sundays because Sunday is supposed to be a sacred, religious day of rest. Former blue laws include preventing work, buying, selling, shopping, public entertainment, sports, etc.

Now, most of these blue laws that used to be established have since been overturned; and for good reason. Some people are very religious and go to church on Sundays and treat the day as a full day of rest, and that’s 100% okay. Nothing wrong there. But whether he/she is religious or not, some people want to do other things on Sundays as well whether that’s work, or hunt, or shop, etc.

But the two blue laws that are still in effect today in PA?

1) Car sales are NOT allowed on Sundays. I don’t quite understand this one, and think it’s kind of weird and inconvenient, but I don’t know all the details to this one so I’m just going to leave this one be.

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2) Hunting in PA on Sundays is illegal with the exception of foxes, coyotes, and I believe groundhogs and crows as well. But other small game animals, and big game like deer, turkey, bear? Nope. That’s a negative ghost rider.

First off, there’s always going to be people against hunting. And as hunters, the only thing we can do is continue to be respectful, and ethical in the sport of hunting. Because the more that every hunter takes that to heart, the less ammo people will have against hunting.

Now, specifically looking at an argument against Sunday hunting, a friend of mine brought up a good point. He said that Sundays is the only day that he can take his dog out on a run/walk in the woods and not have to worry about hunters being out and about. His dog is a brown lab, and can closely resemble a deer if she’s running through the woods without any orange on. That’s a fair point, and I can understand that. People who don’t hunt that also want to enjoy a day in the woods can take Sundays to do so without the worry of hunters roaming around as well.

However, to counter that point, hunting doesn’t occur year round. There’s really no hunting in the summer, and in the spring, turkey hunting occurs for a month.

Rifle season for deer lasts 2 weeks in the end of November and beginning of December. It’s normally snowing or freezing out anyways, so most people probably aren’t going out in the woods in that weather; but hunters will.

Now for me, I’m a big archery hunter. I also have a full-time job that I work Monday – Friday, 7am – 5pm and live an hour away from it. Even if I didn’t live an hour away, by the time I would get out of work, get ready to hunt, and actually get set-up in the woods, there wouldn’t be much time to hunt before it gets dark, and I’d be entering the woods DURING the primetime of the evening; not ideal. Until late in the season when it gets dark at 5, then I really have no shot to hunt.

So that leaves me with 1 day to hunt each week during season, Saturdays. And I’m not the only one. A lot of other people are like that as well. Hell, some people have to work Saturdays too. The only other way to hunt during the week is if I take vacation days. So if Sundays were legal to hunt, that gives hunters who can only hunt 1 day a week or don’t have the vacation to get more days off, the opportunity to hunt another day. Which if you want to be a successful hunter, you need to put in the time to do so.

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What about getting a younger generation of hunters involved? There are worries/complaints the number of hunters are declining, especially in the youth. Well, kids who are in school, especially ones who have other activities after school gets out (sports, band, tutoring, etc.), also do not have the opportunity to hunt during the week. Leaving them only Saturdays and Sundays. Want numbers to grow in the hunting community, especially in younger hunters that want/need experience? Then give them more opportunities to get out.

Some states have small restrictions on Sunday hunting, but they’ve found a compromise. For example, a few states allow Sunday hunting, but only on private land. There are only 4 states left that have a complete ban on Sunday hunting: Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. So you’re telling me we can’t find some type of compromise on Sunday hunting, when 46 of the 50 states have?

Well, PA is finally making a little bit of progress with that. There have been attempts to do this before, but it’s always been shot down at some point fairly early during the process. However, this bill seems like it’s got some momentum to it.

On February 5th, the PA “Senate Game and Fisheries Committee voted 8-3 to move Senate Bill 147 out of committee and onto the Senate floor,” as read on Lancaster Online. They go onto say that a push for Sunday hunting has never come this far; but we still have a ways to go.

If the Senate floor passes the bill on, it will then go to the House of Representatives. From there, they could accept it, reject it, or make changes to it, which would ultimately send it back to square one starting the whole process over. If this bill makes it all the way and passes, then the PA Game Commission would control Sunday hunting.

So while we are making progress, we still have a ways to go before a bill gets passed for Sunday hunting. Then we’ll have to see how the Game Commission will control it. I just hope that a common ground can be agreed upon at the very least, and some type of compromise can be put in place.

What are your thoughts? Do you think hunting on Sundays should be allowed? Why or why not? Let us know by leaving a comment on this blog or any of our most recent social media posts from today. And as always, find the outdoors within.

P.S. – Oh, and go buy a sweatshirt!!!! To anyone who had placed pre-orders on sweatshirts, thank you for doing so and the sweatshirts should be done by the end of this week! To people who didn’t pre-order, buy a sweatshirt anyways. 🙂 CLICK HERE TO BUY!!!

SWEATSHIRTS ARE FINALLY AVAILABLE FOR ORDER AND PRE-ORDER!!!

First thing first: yes, blogs have been a little less frequent as of late and so have social media posts. Life been busy lately for Small Town Outdoors with work and personal ventures, and that’ll happen. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t working behind the scenes on other content or apparel/merch!

Secondly, we didn’t release this news yesterday because there was a big national event happening for all you sports fans. Something called the Super Bowl? Ever heard of it? Well I don’t think we’re going to compete with the Super Bowl, so we pushed it back today…

It’s been a long time coming, but after a little bit of a learning curve, we are pleased to announce that as of today, YOU CAN NOW ORDER/PRE-ORDER STO SWEATSHIRTS FROM OUR ONLINE SHOP!!! It may not be the most glorious looking online store, but the more we play with it and the more items we add, it will hopefully grow into something purrrrtttyyy.

As of right now, you can only pay with a credit or debit card on the website, however, soon to come you will be able to pay with PayPal as well. Remember: we’re still trying to improve the online store so bear with us, and if something doesn’t work or payment isn’t accepted, please let us know by emailing us at smalltoutdoors@gmail.com or leave a comment.

Here’s the deal guys: for this first week (FROM NOW UNTIL FEB. 11TH), we will be taking pre-orders. If you place an order in this first week of the sweatshirts being released, then you will receive a little extra gift alongside your sweatshirt, courtesy of STO!

So, go to our SHOP, buy a sweatshirt, or both sweatshirts, share pictures with us of you wearing your STO gear in the outdoors, be on the lookout for more apparel to come soon, and as always find the outdoors within.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE BLACK/ICY BLUE HOODIE!!!!!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE BLACK/WHITE HOODIE!!!!!

***UPDATE*** If you tried to select a size and could not find the sizing, it should now be there when you view each sweatshirt!

IT’S A HOCKEYYYY NIGHTTT . . . On the Pond?

Back with another Sunday blog, Small Town Outdoors own Tyler Ripper talks a little pond hockey . . . A little change of pace from hunting/fishing! We hope you enjoy!

Well, if you’re living in the North Eastern part of the U.S., you probably just got hit with a pile of snow and are facing some cold temperatures. Now, if you’re someone who doesn’t like the snow and cold, I’m sure you’re DREADING this weather.. but if you’re like me and love when the ponds start to freeze over? Well I think you know where I’m going with this.

With temperatures dropping below freezing, the ponds are starting to freeze over and if you’re a hockey player/fan, this means one things: POND HOCKEY SEASON IS PRACTICALLY HERE!!

To the non-hockey player/fan, this may sound insane, right? Freezing cold temperatures, snow, skating with sharp steel blades on ice that you’re trusting won’t break through, that kind of jazz.

But to a hockey guy or gal through-and-through? This is what we LIVE for.

The ponds are where hockey started, and it’s the most freeing version of the game. You’re on a frozen sheet of water in the outdoors with your buddies. No boards to surround you, just snow and nature. There’s no offside, no icing, and no game clock. You’re just simply playing hockey with friends and family in the great outdoors where it’s all about fun. That’s the only thing that matters. Having fun, and enjoying the great game of hockey where it started: on the ponds, lakes, and rivers.

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So when the ice is thick enough it’s time to lace up the skates, break out the biscuits and twigs, and carve up some ice and do a little dirty dangling. And if you happen to do so, share some pictures with us and show us what you got. Because after all, “This is hockey, OK? It’s not rocket surgery…”

Had to sneak in a little Mystery Alaska reference lol. Highly recommend watching this movie. Great hockey movie and has got some comedy mixed in, but it’s not a movie for little kids, fair warning..

All in all, just another way to find the outdoors within!

P.S. – We are working on making pre-orders available for the sweatshirts on the website, just bear with us as we are new to this! Thank you for your patience everyone, and remember to share, follow, and subscribe to our blog!

The First 3D Archery Shoot of the Year is Here

It’s January 6th, it’s a little chilly, but 2019 is underway and so is the 3D archery season.

Most archery clubs won’t have their 3D season start until March or April, and most people are okay with that considering, ya know.. it’s winter.

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However, in Franklin, PA it starts a little early at Rainbow Bowmen Archery Club. Their first 3D shoot is today, and Small Town Outdoors will be in attendance.

Now, this blog is being written the night before because we will be shooting most of the day, but nonetheless it will be a great time as always (let’s just say we shot really well and didn’t lose any arrows lol).

For anyone who has never been to one before, here is a little bit about them.

First off, they’re a blast if you enjoy shooting your bow, but want to shoot outside of practice and hunting. You go around a course set up of 3D animals and each target has a scoring system: 11, 10, 8, 5, and 0. An example is shown below, with a 0 being a missed target. Some clubs count 11’s, others count it as a 10X.

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Most shoots will have 30 of these targets set up, and at every target there are different stakes that you shoot from. Each stake represents a “class” of an archer. There’s a youth stake for younger kids and teens, a traditional stake where traditional bowmen shoot from (longbow, recurve), a hunter class, and a “comp” or competitive class. The hunter class for compound shooters is sometimes split into two different stakes, where one is for fixed sights and others are for movable sights; it just depends what kind of equipment you are using and what the club’s standards are.

So if you have never been to a 3D event before and want to attend one, ask the people running the shoot what class you should be in and they will lead you in the right direction.

After shooting the 30 targets, or whatever the shoot has that day set up, you can either turn in your score cards for placement in your class (highest score wins), or if you weren’t shooting for score, you can just head out and enjoy the rest of your day!

If you enjoy archery and taking some time out of your day to hike through the woods and have some fun, we highly recommend you venture out to one of these shoots and get involved at your local archery club.

Small Town Outdoors will be getting video footage of this shoot as well, so hopefully we figure out how to compile a video together to put out some of our first video content out for your guys showing you what a 3D shoot is all about!

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Remember to subscribe to our blog, share, and follow our social media accounts. And as always, find the outdoors within.

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The Story of the Monster 5 Point

Small Town Outdoors’ own Tyler Ripper shares the story of his first archery buck that he shot during PA archery this year . . . this is a little longer blog, but some stories need the extra words . . . Thank you for reading!

I wanted to write this blog right after it happened, but instead I decided to let it settle first and take it in, because this story means a lot to me. So here is my most memorable moment from 2018:

Archery is a passion of mine. I go to 3D archery shoots almost every weekend from April to September. I practice a couple times a week when I can during the week, and not only is it because I have fun doing it and am addicted to it, it prepares me for archery season; when that 1 shot is really what matters.

Though I’ve shot does with my bow before, I’ve never had the chance to shoot a buck with my bow. Mainly because of all my other activities prohibited me the chance to hunt hard during archery, mainly hockey.

This year was different though. I was able to get out much more this year and it came down to the second to last day of the season, November 10th.

Now it seemed as though rut was in full swing at this time, and this evening proved that this was true. Although my morning hunt that morning was beautiful, I didn’t see anything but a squirrel.

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I got back into the woods a little after 3:00 pm that evening, which gave me about 2 hours until it got dark. It was later than I planned on getting back there, but it was better than not hunting at all, amirite?

So I get back to my stand, get situated, and figured since it seemed to be rut, I’d hit a doe estrus bleat can call right off the bat. I waited about 2 minutes, and was thinking about hitting a grunt tube when I heard something off to my right.

Next thing I know I see this deer walking through a thicket, but couldn’t make out what it was. I looked through the binoculars, and all I could see was 3 points up on one antler (in the area I was hunting, antler restrictions are that a buck has to have 3 points up on one side excluding the brow tine to be legal). And let me tell ya that was all I needed.

As he’s coming in from the right, I’m playing all the scenarios through my head trying to prepare for when he steps into an open lane. Next thing I know, he’s walking straight away from me and I realized I had to act quickly before I missed my opportunity.

I reached into my pocket and pulled my can call back out, because after all, that seemed to be what drew him over in the first place, right? As he’s walking away at about 50 yards now, I hit the can call and muffled it, trying not to give away my exact position.

In the video (1:58), you can tell that I’m shaking as I hit the can call with all the adrenaline pumping through me (also, sorry for the poor camera work in the first half of this video…I was more concerned about focusing on getting the buck to come in than my camera work lol).

I hit the can call 2 more times right after, and I had his attention. However, this is where I was starting to play with fire.

Why? Because now that he was aware of the general direction I was in, he was more alert. He’s looking for the doe that I’m trying to imitate, which makes it more possible that he picks me out.

After standing there for a bit, he starts to come back in my direction. Then, he stops again; unsure of the situation and where the “doe” is actually at. So knowing that it’s a risky thing to do, I hit the can call once more. At this point, he’s either going to pick me out/know something is wrong and he’ll be gone like the wind, or if he’s rutting he’s going to not care and hopefully come within range for a shot.

Luckily, it was the second scenario.

He starts walking in towards me (5:25 of the video below) and he’s following the trail I was hoping he’d come down. This is when I realized how much of a unique buck he was. As he was walking in, I saw how wide of a spread he had, and that just made me more nervous.

With as nervous as I was, it was time to zone in. I drew my bow back, settled in behind his front shoulder, waited for him to move that front leg forward, and let out a quick grunt when he was just under 20 yards away to stop him.

And I let the arrow fly.

There was a loud thud, and the buck went running down the trail. He ran 40 yards, and laid down. Knowing he was down but still moving his head around, and after radioing my dad discussing with him on what the next move was, I slowly climbed down out of my stand. So I met with my dad, grabbed my arrow which was covered in blood, and headed back to the house. This way I wasn’t going to pressure the buck and jump him, and I could also go watch the video to analyze the shot.

Initially, after the shot, I thought I had maybe hit him a little back because he was slightly quartered at me and I didn’t know if I stayed tight enough to the shoulder. This led me to believe that it might have been a liver shot, so I definitely needed to give the deer some time.

Three hours after I took the shot, it was time to go into the dark and make sure he was down for good. I went in with my dad and a close buddy of mine, Cole, and after shining the lights down where he was laying last, I hear Cole yell, “HOLY S – – -, HE’S DOWN!”

And down he was, the 20” spread 5 point. It was an amazing feeling to know that I had just harvested my first archery buck, and it was also a memory I’ll never forget giving my dad and buddy Cole a hug in excitement and accomplishment.

The best part? The shot wasn’t really back at all! I actually caught part of the lungs and stayed fairly tight to the front shoulder. And as an archery hunter, you can’t ask for much more than that.

So to wrap this up, I want to end with a quote from Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he was on Joe Rogan’s podcast not too long ago, because it hits home for me:

– “Everything before the shot is really what it’s all about.” – D.E.J. on JRE talking about archery hunting

Simple. Straight to the point. But why it really hits home for me is because it made me realize this: I practice year round not only because I enjoy it, but also so I don’t have to think about the shot when a deer is standing in front of me and when it matters the most. And that was the case when I shot this buck.

Everything before the shot is what mattered. Calling the buck in, getting lucky, being in the right spot, etc. But when it came to the shot, I didn’t have to think. I just had to trust my process/practice, try not to let my nerves affect me, and let it fly.

Fortunately, it paid off this time and I was able to shoot the biggest 5 point I’ll ever come across.

PSA: THE FIRST STO SWEATSHIRT COLOR SCHEMES ARE RELEASED!!!

Happy Thursday everyone! We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and is now preparing to ring in the new year.

And speaking of ringing in the new year, we are officially releasing the color schemes we came up with for our first Small Town Outdoors sweatshirts!

Now, HERE IS WHERE YOU WANT TO PAY ATTENTION: We have 4 different color schemes and we are deciding to let you – our followers, family, and friends – vote on the one you like the best! And in the end, whichever color scheme(s) is most popular, that will be our official sweatshirt that we will be releasing after the new year…

So how do you vote? Here’s how:

  • In the photo collage below, each color scheme is lettered, along with its description
  • Leave a comment on this blog saying what color pattern you like best by:
    • Commenting the letter of which one you like the most OR
    • Comment the given description of the one you like the most
  • OR go to our social medias (links at bottom of website) and you can vote there as well
    • Instagram – comment
    • Facebook – comment
    • Twitter – vote on the twitter poll

Here are the color schemes you can vote from:

STO SWEATSHIRT COLLAGE

A.  Black / White

B.  Orange / Black

C.  Black / Icy Blue

D.  Green / Orange

Because we want to release our first sweatshirt ASAP once the new year rings in, everyone will have 1 WEEK FROM TODAY to vote for your favorite sweatshirt!

So please vote, share with others and get them to vote, and let’s get this rolling!

And as always, find the outdoors within.

Gone With The Wind

This coming week is one of the most anticipated weeks that Small Town Outdoors has looked forward to in quite some time.

We would have to guess most people are looking forward to Tuesday, which is the 25th of December, which means that it’s Christmas!

As for Small Town Outdoors, and all of our followers, we’re looking forward to Wednesday or Thursday. What’s the significance of one of those days, you may ask? Well one of those days, we will be releasing a blog and social media posts with the 4 official color schemes that people can vote on to be used on our first sweatshirts which will be released soon after the first of the year (pay close attention to social media and our website each of those days so you can give your opinion on what color scheme you like best!).

And finally, Wednesday brings some more significance for all you hunters out there. Wednesday, December 26th, is the first day of late archery/flintlock muzzleloader season in PA.

Now, with late archery just a few days away, it seems as though we never discussed a topic that seemed to be common through a lot of Northwestern PA during regular archery season: the weather.

MY OH MY. Mother Nature threw a lot of curveballs during October/November, but there was one factor that was a killer during archery. And that was the wind.

Maybe it was just around our area where it seemed really bad, but at least for the Small Town Outdoors crew, the wind did not seem to want to cooperate a majority of the times we went out. Granted, we were only able to get out once or twice a week with the way our work schedules were; but it seemed like a majority of those times (mainly Friday’s and Saturday’s) the wind was not only howling, but very unpredictable.

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This was a beautiful Saturday hunt, however, the wind was swirling all day and made it difficult to pin down wind direction.

As a hunter in general, wind direction is extremely important to pay attention to. You want to put yourself in the best position possible to not be winded. So when you can, you want to try to be downwind of the deer every chance you get, or at least have your scent blowing away from the direction the deer are moving. This makes it harder for them to pick up your scent, which especially in archery hunting, gives you a better chance to get the deer in close for an ethical and realistic shot. It doesn’t always work out that way, but the more you pay attention to it depending on the pattern of the deer in that area, the better chance you’re giving yourself to pursue a successful hunt.

And a lot of times during archery this year, the wind direction was hard to pinpoint. It seemed like a majority of the time we went out this year, along with friends and family of ours as well, the wind was swirling and howling. That makes it hard for hunters to select a spot where they’d be most effective, and it also may have effected deer movement because they weren’t able to pick up scent as easily. Not to mention the fact that when the wind is blowing in the 15-20 mph range, it’s harder to reach calls throughout the woods.

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Tate and Tyler of Small Town Outdoors had this buck behind them at about 10 yards from their blind, on a day where it was a downpour and the wind wasn’t favorable.

Even though we had some luck harvesting a couple bucks within STO, the weather during archery was noticeably worse than it has been in years, at least in our experiences. What are your thoughts?

Here’s hoping late archery/flintlock season treats everyone a little better weather wise, and good luck to everyone that goes out in this winter hunting season!

Find the outdoors within, and remember to subscribe to our blog and follow us on our social media’s!