Archery Hall of Fame Recipient Hugh Blackburn Tells His Tips to Better Hunting for Deer
Day 1: Knowing Your Equipment to Successfully Bowhunt Deer with Hugh Blackburn
Editor’s Note: The late Hugh Blackburn, a member of the Archery Hall of Fame, won many field-archery competitions in his lifetime, hunted deer with a bow for over 40 years and was one of the masters of the sport at a time when most hunters never hunted with bows. As a manufacturer’s representative for the Fred Bear Archery Company and an instructor at the Westervelt Lodge Bowhunting School in Aliceville, Alabama, Blackburn taught thousands of sportsmen the fine art of bowhunting. This expert’s tips are timeless even today and may be just what you need to put a buck on the meat pole this season.
Bowhunting is a complicated skill, because it combines two sports that both have a certain degree of difficulty. Archery itself requires a great deal of eye-hand coordination and the abilities to release properly, judge distance and place an arrow where you’re looking. Then when you add hunting skills to archery to produce bowhunting, you’ve got to be able to find the deer and see him within 30 yards of you and standing or walking a particular way, so that you can place the arrow in one of the vital organs of the deer to bring it down. Since a broadhead shot from a bow doesn’t have the knockdown power of either a shotgun or a rifle, an arrow must be placed, so that bone will not deflect it. Therefore the accuracy in shooting must be much greater with a bow than with a rifle.
Many people who bowhunt don’t know what a bow will do, including good gun hunters and excellent woodsmen who think, “All I’ve got to do is to be in a place where I can shoot an arrow 20 yards, and I can kill a deer.” However, there’s far more to shooting the bow successfully. I find that a large majority of sportsmen who go into the woods to bowhunt don’t know whether they have the proper arrows for the bows they’re shooting. Other woodsmen don’t realize that they must employ the right lengths of arrows for their individual draws.
I believe that a bowhunter, to be successful, must be as attached to his equipment and know his bows, arrows, broadheads, strings, sights and other tackle as well as he knows his wife. He needs to go to an archery shop or a sporting-goods dealer to help him determine what his draw is and what length of arrow he needs. And, he must know the spine of the arrow best suited for the bow he’s shooting. The spine of the arrow determines how much flex the shaft will have when it’s released from the string. If the spine is too weak, the arrow will shoot to the right. If it’s too stiff, the arrow will veer to the left. The spine of the arrow will have a dramatic effect on the sportsman’s ability to shoot. One of the worst mistakes that a beginning bowhunter or any bowhunter can make is to buy a piece of equipment and not totally understand how to use it. The best advice I can give to a bowhunter who is buying equipment or who has been hunting for several years and already has his equipment, is to seek out information from older bowhunters or from archery dealers, to make sure he has the right equipment for him, and that he understands how to use it the most-effective way.
You’ll learn more about deer hunting in the new Kindle eBooks, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property” and “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros” by John E. Phillips. Go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the names of the books and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.