"MODERN ARCHERY EQUIPMENT MAKES LEARNING EASY" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton Back in the day when I first decided I wanted to begin seriously shooting a bow and hopefully hone my archery skills to the point where I felt comfortable bowhunting for big game, things were a lot different. The compound bow was in its infancy and far from perfected. Complicated systems of cables, pulleys and limbs made shooting a bow a challenge. Constant adjustments were required to keep the bows shooting the same point of impact and the learning curve was long. I remember being advised that I needed to shoot several times a week for six months before taking my bow into the whitetail woods. Modern day archers have it made, thanks to technologies such as the single cam, developed my Matt McPherson of Mathews Bows, learning to shoot has never been easier. When asked just how long it takes to attain the proficiency level necessary to hunt with a bow, I usually advise folks that have already acquired hunting skills that they should be ready to climb into a treestand in a matter of a month or six weeks. Fay Frigon, manager of North Texas Archery in Farmersville, a pro shooter for Mathews and one of the best bow technicians Ive known, has been setting my bows up for the past 12 years. Frigon advises newcomers to archery that, regardless the type bow they decide to shoot, get one that fits and have it set up by a qualified bow technician. There are many, many, little things that a knowledgeable bow tech can do that insure you get the most from your bow. Exact draw length, down to the half inch, is a must. Precise positioning of the nock point (spot on bowstring where arrow clips to string), arrow rest and bow sight are all key to good shooting. says Frigon. As a member of the Mathews Pro staff, its part of my job to shoot the newest models each year and put them to work in the woods. I recently took this years new model, the Reezen, over to Frigon and watched him work his magic. In about thirty minutes, he had it ready for me to shoot. Fay is a big proponent of shooting sight pins encased in a round aperture. When looking at pins through a round aperture, the eye naturally aligns on the center of the circle, making aiming and shooting much faster which is very important, especially during hunting situations. says Frigon. Ive been shooting a round-aperture sight made by Vital Bow Gear for several years. I want sturdy sight pins, protected by a strong housing. When hunting, its not uncommon to brush your bow against limbs, especially when raising and lowering the bow into and out of a treestand. If the sight pins are not strong and properly protected, they can easily be broken or knocked out of adjustment. When I walked over to the indoor shooting range to fine tune the sight pins at 20 yards, it did not surprise me when the first shot was almost perfectly on line for windage and only three inches high in elevation. In a couple minutes, the arrows were grouping nicely on the center of the target. When setting up a new bow, I always begin by setting the 20 yard pin perfectly at the indoor range. When I get home, I adjust the upper pin, a green one because of its high visibility, to be dead on at 25 yards. This is my hunting pin. I use it from shooting game at all ranges out to 30 yards. At speeds around 300 fps, my bow shoots a very flat trajectory out to 30 yards. With this pin setting, I am only an inch high at 20 yards, and 2 inches low at 30. Sight pin settings are a personal preference but I like concentrating on only one pin for the majority of my hunting situations. I set another pin dead on at 35 yards, just in case I feel the need to push my 30 yard limit a bit on game presenting a high percentage broadside shot. For fun, I have a pin set for 40 and one for 50 yards. Shooting longer yardages at targets is a great confidence builder for hunting. Many bowhunters set pins for 20, 30 and 40 yards and hold half way between the pins for 25 and 35 yard shots. Photo by Luke Clayton So if you have been thinking about learning to shoot a bow and getting ready for a wild hog hunt this spring or summer and ultimately this years deer season, now is the time to locate a good bow shop in your area and look the line of bows over. Ask to shoot several models and find the one that feels best. Then, pay the few bucks necessary to have a pro technician set your bow up to your precise specifications. Dont worry about pulling 70 pounds in the beginning, or later for that matter. Sixty pounds draw weight is a good place to start and stay for most bowhunters. Ive killed many head of big game with bows set at 55-60 pounds. Its precision youre looking for. Put your broadheads in the right place and they will do the job for you. This poses another question: Will I shoot fixed or mechanical broadheads when hunting? This is a personal choice and one you must make for yourself. I shoot Grim Reapers mechanicals. They are very dependable and have performed perfectly when I did my part and placed them correctly. I like hunting with these mechanicals because they fly exactly the same as my practice points. One last tip: Get yourself a 3-D hog or whitetail target and spend plenty of time shooting it from various positions and yardages. Place a small dot on your target and learn to focus on this exact spot when aiming. To contact Fay Frigon at North Texas Archery, located at Hwy. 78 and Hwy 380 in Farmersville, call 972-784-2697. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Catfishing update - Lake Tawakoni guide George Rule says for the past 2 weeks, he and clients have been catching catfish in water 18-20 feet deep around standing timber. Rule is baiting holes with soured gain and using Sure Shot Punch Bait close to bottom. Most fish are in the 1.5-6 pound range with an occasional fish up to 9 pounds. For more information, contact Rule at 214-202-6641. At Lake Texoma - Guide Bill Carey with Striper Express (www.striperexpress.com) reports striper fishing has been very good with lots of schooling action. Sassy Shad soft plastics on half-ounce jig heads are working well when fished with a medium retrieve. When fish are surfacing, work the baits sub-surface a few feet deep. When schooling activity ceases, make long casts, allow baits to contact bottom and retrieve with a slow, steady crank. Best action has been along the Red River Channel from North Island up past the Willis Bridge but good reports have come from all over the mid to lower lake. For more information, call 877-786-4477. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Want some new wild game recipes and so much more? Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton for a new show each week at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com Contact Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org The BOC has a virtual library of Luke's stories right here on the forums; just about anything you could want to read about the outdoors. Click here to see a boat load of information!