Keys to Becoming a Better Bowhunter with Archery World Champion Jackie Caudle
Day 1: Know Your Bow, Match Your Broadheads, and Check Your Equipment
Editor’s Note: Bowhunters already have started practicing for deer season, since many states’ bowhunting seasons open soon. Let’s hear what Jackie Caudle of Gadsden, Alabama, the two-time IBO World Champion, the four-time Buckmasters Champion and the winner of the 2003 ASA/NABH World Championship, who has competed in the sport of archery on the national and the international levels for more than 20 years, considers the keys to becoming a better bowhunter. Caudle also won the Gold Medal in the 2000 ESPN Great Outdoor Games and is one of Buckmasters 2011 Top Bow qualifiers for the 2011 Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship. His hunting friends consider him an expert at finding and taking deer with his bow. His hunting skills even may surpass his archery accuracy.
- Know your bow. Be able to draw it easily and comfortably under all weather conditions. Many years ago I was hunting on a cold morning with a heavy bow. When a nice-sized buck came-in, my muscles were so cold that I couldn’t draw the bow to make the shot. To be a good bowhunter, don’t try to pull a bow that’s too heavy for you. Choose a draw weight that you can pull and hold without much effort, until you can release the arrow. Then the arrow will fly true and straight to the target.
- Choose the correct broadhead for your bow and arrow. Select a broadhead that will fly straight on your arrow shaft. The size of broadhead really doesn’t matter, if the arrow doesn’t fly straight with that broadhead. I like a large broadhead, because it cuts a big hole in the deer, which increases hemorrhaging and creates more of a blood trail for me to follow. A large broadhead also puts the deer down more quickly and efficiently than small broadheads do. When a small broadhead enters a deer, you may miss an artery or a vein by only a hair and thereby make a poor shot instead of a good shot. However, by using a larger broadhead with more cutting surface, you’ll increase your chances for cutting the deer’s vital organs.
- Check your equipment each year before you prepare to hunt. Make sure there are no cracks in your tree stand – whether it’s fixed or portable. Look for stress cracks in the metal and in the wood. Check the flooring to be certain it hasn’t rotted-out, if you’re using a wooden tree stand. If you use a fixed-position stand, examine the ropes and the chains to make sure they’re in good shape. Put a carpet-like material, like that used in the trunks of cars, on the floor and the side pieces of your tree stand to make it quiet. Then even if I bump the stand with my bow or move on my stand, I probably won’t spook the deer.
To learn more about successful bowhunting, go to www.nighthawkpublications.com/hunting/mastersbow.htm, and read about John E. Phillips’ book “The Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” which includes strategies from some of the nation’s top bowhunters.