It’s that time again for my annual review of products I used last hunting season. This year I concentrated on deer, turkey and Roosevelt elk. Fortunately, I was successful in tagging all three species. The Roosevelt was my 21st North American species.
Usually I get this review done sooner, but the winter snows kept me trapped on my farm in Missouri and things didn’t get done as quickly as I would have liked. Also, I typically describe products my wife and I tested together. This year she broke her leg in a freak accident on the farm and her hunting season never happened. As always, I give you this feedback so that you might be able to save time in picking products for this year’s hunts.
There are a lot of great bows on the market today. Your decision boils down to how it feels and shoots in your hands. I am very partial to Mathews for several reasons. They have done a lot for the archery industry and promoting archery to the youngsters. The National Archery in the Schools Program which Mathews has strongly supported financially is beneficial if we are going to attract young people in the sport we love. The smooth draw of the Mathews products has always appealed to me. As they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So I don’t try.
I shot a Mathews HeliM this past year and loved it. I’ll be carrying their Creed XS this season. I just took delivery of the bow so I can’t speak to its performance, but I bet I’ll like it. It’s not their fastest bow, but I like the 7 ½” brace height and the 28” axle to axle length. It should be a great treestand bow.
Wraps and Fletching
Bohning wraps adorned my shafts. I like the yellow tiger strip wraps because I can see them so well. Affixed to the wraps are Blazer vanes, 2 solid yellow and 1 yellow tiger strip. This combination allows me to see my shot placement and, heaven forbid, if I miss the arrows are easier to find. Bohning products are durable and perform in all conditions. Installation is quick and easy and the cost is affordable.
Goat Tuff glues have been my choice of adhesives for many years. The High Performance Glue has not failed to hold my vanes in place even after many weeks and months of use.
I don’t use anything but the GT Impact Glue for installation of inserts. It’s simply the best I’ve found. No more lost broadheads in targets when you use the Impact Glue. You have my promise that you will like it.
My good friend, Jim Velazquez, told me about these peeps and said I had to try them. He suggested I try the pink ones. He was right, this is a great product. The peep can be charged by exposing it to an LED light or bright sunlight and it retains a glow for up to 12 hours. It can be made brighter or dimmer by adjusting the amount of charging. I found it to be great in low light situations, early morning or late evening. It can be bought in several sizes; I like the ¼” size.
Picking the right sight is a matter of personal preference and I’ve tried many of them. I have come to like multiple pins for hunting in the west because I was concerned about the time it would take to change the settings on a single pin. However, for whitetail hunting, which I love and spend most of my time doing, the single pin is a great choice.
The HHA Optimizer Lite Ultra sight is pretty impressive. Depending on which model you buy, it has 3-5’ of fiber optic material. That means a lot of light gathering. It also has a mechanical rheostat feature which allows you to adjust the pin brightness quickly. I especially liked that feature.
Sighting it in is fairly quick and easy and adjustments can be done without wrenches. The sight comes with many yardage strips which you can attach to the adjustment wheel. Movement of the wheel is smooth and easy.
Using only one pin, I found I concentrated better on the target and my accuracy improved. I added a 2x magnifier lens to my sight and couldn’t believe how much it improved my sight picture. You should consider this accessory, I really liked it. Overall it is a well-made product and worth the money.
I find myself hunting more and more from ground blinds, mainly because I can’t find the right tree for a stand. Typically I add brush around and on top of the blind. Too many times the top of the blind has caved in due to the weight of the brush or snow. Problem solved. Blue River has developed a roof support that absolutely works. The cap of the support fits around the rods in the top hub of the blind so it stays attached. The length of the support is easily adjustable and made secure by thumb screws. I had them in my blinds from September through January. We got about 8” of snow in January and the roofs did not collapse. I wish they had developed these supports many years ago.
The company makes ground blind spiral stakes that will keep your blind in place in high winds. We had a lot of wind this year and the blinds didn’t move an inch. Check ‘em out.
No doubt you’ve seen their products in many places. DDW has certainly become one of the leading innovators in scent control. The range of products is so wide I can’t list them all here. From personal hygiene (tooth paste) to laundry detergent they have it all. Some of the products I regularly use include Evolve 3D field spray, Triple Action laundry soap, boot and storage powder, antiperspirant, body and hair soap, and bow wax. This isn’t a complete list, but it gives you an idea of the variety of products and their many uses. Without fail I use the field spray before and during each day of hunting. Why do I use DDW products? Because I believe they work.
Big&J offers a variety of deer food supplements and attractants. The products are protein based (about 21%) and nutrient rich. Soybean oil, sodium, calcium, potassium, manganese and copper sulfate are some the ingredients in their products. Depending on which product you prefer, it can be bought in cube, liquid or loose form (6-40 lb. bags). You can sit out a cube, pour it on a stump or mix it with the products in your feeder. The products attract deer and provide important supplements to aid antler growth.
This was my first year to use Big&J so I can’t attest to improved antler growth, but I can tell you that the deer love it. I’ll be using it again next year.
Of course, check your state regulations to see if and when their products can be used.
Making mock scrapes is fun work for me. I’ve been doing it for several years and every year I have relied on WRC Golden Estrus. Equally good is the WRC Hot-Scrape scent with a dripper. It allows you to place it over your mock scrape and not bother with it for days. Setting up cameras near scrapes gives me an idea of the bucks on my farm. The effort is worth it. I’ve had a high degree of success in luring bucks to visit and use the mock scrapes. If you haven’t tried it, you should and WRC products are the ones to use.
Some things I don’t change. Lakewood bow cases have never let me down. RazorTrick broadheads will be on the end of my arrows again this year. I use Nikon and Leupold rangefinders. The Nikon works best from blinds and ranging through the mesh.
That’s All Folks
That wraps up another year of product reviews. We built a house on our farm last year and this year we’ll be busy with several projects – developing a new food plot, timber stand improvement and making some deer bedding areas. Good luck this season and may all of yours shots be true. Turkey season is not far off.
For more please go to: Roy K. Keefer