The Hunt For Knowledge

How new tools and trades can help in the field.

Once the green from summer turns into the spectrum of oranges, reds and yellows of fall, it means that one of America’s favorite seasons – hunting season – is right around the corner. If hunters have struggled in the past, they shouldn’t worry. What they should do is research what products are available to turn what could feel like time wasted into a thrilling adventure, creating memories that will last forever.

It can certainly be overwhelming to know where to start when looking for hunting products. There are so many, and there are different variations of each. Where should you begin?

 

Crossbows In Your Crosshairs

The first thing to do is to choose your weapon. If you’re looking for something that presents more of a challenge than a firearm, a bow is the next logical choice. But those can be difficult to use. Combining the ease of use of a firearm with the challenge of a bow, the Crosman line of crossbows is a happy medium for a hunter looking for something new to try out this season.

“One such line of crossbows available at Dunham’s is the CenterPoint, which includes the CenterPoint Sniper 370, the Gladiator Whisper 405, the Tormentor Whisper 380 and the XR175 Recurve Crossbow,” explained Jason Reid of Crosman. “All crossbows come with a rope cocker and three bolts.”

When shopping for crossbows and testing them out, one thing to keep in mind is comfort – how the butt feels against your shoulder. Also, make sure the trigger pull feels right so it doesn’t affect accuracy in the field. Safety-wise, always keep your fingers below the rail, and never strain to load, which can cause injury.

For a hunter looking for elite weapon performance with all the convenient features needed for a successful hunt, the Sniper 370 offers features like a fully adjustable stock and pass-through fore-grip to accommodate any shooting style, ensuring accuracy with every shot. Also included is a 4x32mm scope, three 20-inch carbon blots, a quiver, rope cocker and shoulder sling. It’s ready to rock out of the box!

“Quad limbs fitted with a precision CNC-machined cam system delivers mind-blowing speeds up to 370 FPS,” said Reid. “The Sniper is easily maneuverable thanks to the lightweight and durable CNC-machined rail with shoot-through riser and the narrow 18-inch axle-to-axle width (when cocked; 21 inches when relaxed).”

 

Time to Take a (Tree) Stand

Perspective can be the difference between a missed shot and a “what if” scenario and a kill shot that leads to a memorable moment. By utilizing a tree stand, hunters are able to get up above the ground level and be more effective in the field; they gain a much more comprehensive view and minimize disturbances to natural movement patterns of game.

Like any other piece of hunting equipment, there are tons of features to keep an eye on when it comes to tree stands. Style, weight, material – the list goes on and on. But thanks to Big Game/Muddy tree stands, the decision becomes a little bit easier. First, decide what type of tree stand fits your hunting style and needs. Big Game tree stands and Muddy Outdoors offer a wide variety of choices.

The first type of stand to consider is a ladder stand. According to Tayler Riggen of Big Game/Muddy, these are typically set up in advance.

“Ladder stands are one of the more universal options for gun, bow and crossbow hunters,” said Riggen. “Oftentimes these stands maximize comfort for longer sits but are less easily moved around a property. Ladder stands are great options for locations that you want to hunt a lot. With a full ladder, climbing into the stand is very easy.”

Next up, the hang-on style stand, like the ladder stand, can be set up by the hunter in advance or moved in on particular pattern or movement trend. The difference is that this style utilizes climbing sticks/steps to get up to the necessary elevation to hang the stand. This style is often lightweight and easily moved, offering the hunter some versatility when selecting and changing positions.

A tripod option is available, which is used primarily in gun or crossbow hunting. Tripods often come with a 360-degree swivel seat to ensure a full range of view, depending on where the target presents itself. These are often used in scenarios where trees are not available or a hunter would like a little more flexibility on where to set up and not be confined to where the perfect tree is located.

“Climbing stands would typically be carried in with the hunter during the hunt and with the cable system be used to climb the tree itself with no climbing sticks,” explained Riggen. These are great for pack-in hunts, public areas that do not allow stands to be hung in advance of a hunt, or for moving in on a hot spot.

And always hunt with a safety harness and a safe-line. Any time you leave the ground, you should be securely attached to the tree.

 

Scent Success

A hunter could seem to have everything set up perfectly – the top-of-the-line weapon, tree stand in the perfect spot, camo from head to toe – but none of that matters if that big buck catches a whiff of your scent. In fact, the hunter probably won’t even know that he or she gave themselves up. Covering human scent needs to be a priority.

Wildlife Research offers two lines of scent-elimination products: Super Charged Scent Killer and Ultra-Premium Scent Killer Gold.

“Both lines feature a full assortment of clothing sprays, laundry/clothing wash products, soaps and other personal care products,” explained Sam Burgeson of Wildlife Research. “Super Charged Scent Killer clothing sprays attack a wide range of odors – the most important one: human odor. It works when you first apply it and continues to work for days after drying. It has been found to be 99 percent effective at stopping replicated human odor in testing.”

Conversely, Scent Killer Gold is Wildlife’s best scent-elimination formula to date. Using proprietary Hunt Dry technology, hunters can apply it to clothing, let it dry and have all of the features of a top-of-the-line scent-elimination suit.

“Our latest formula with Hunt Dry Technology Plus has been found to be 99 percent effective at stopping replicated human odor in testing at Rutgers University 20 days after drying,” explained Burgeson. “That is some serious performance.”

While the deer’s nose can pick up human scent and give a hunter’s presence away, it can also be used to lure deer into the hunter’s range of sight. Through the use of deer lures and baits, hunters, while covering up their own scent, can use different products to create the illusion of food or other deer nearby.

“In addition to being as scent free as possible, a good attractor scent can really boost your odds as well,” said Burgeson. “Dunham’s carries a variety of hunting scents from Wildlife Research Center. A few of our most popular ones are Golden Estrus, Active-Scrape and Golden Scrape, and Trail’s End 307.”

While the thrill of the kill can sometimes be elusive, the bevy of hunting products available to assist hunters couldn’t be more plentiful than it is today. With so much technological research that goes into these products, there’s never been a better time to branch out and try some of them. Through the use of weaponry like a crossbow, the ability to find new views and perspectives with tree stands and the art of covering up human scent while luring deer with others, there’s never been a better time to pack up the truck and head out into the field this fall.

-Deer Abby

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Shorter, Lighter, Faster

Today’s Highly Advanced Crossbows are Ideal Hunting Weapons.
 
According to some sources, crossbows date back 6,000-7,000 years. First appearing in China, they revolutionized warfare. Here’s why: To accurately fire an arrow with a bow required significant expertise. In fact, archers were cultivated and trained from a very young age and were considered an upper class. The crossbow, on the other hand, could be wielded by those with little training and it inflicted significant damage. So much so that it was banned by Catholic popes during the Middle Ages and was even outlawed by the Magna Carta.
 
As can be expected, crossbows have evolved significantly since their introduction. Today’s crossbows are shorter, lighter, narrower and faster than their counterparts of only a few years ago.
 
“Crossbows have evolved a lot in the past five years and have become highly efficient,” said Excalibur’s Rob Dykeman. He cites new materials, including aircraft aluminum, better designs and higher levels of engineering for the efficacy of today’s crossbows.
If you are thinking of adding these weapons to your hunting arsenal, we recommend the following.
 
Excalibur
 
An exciting new entry from Excalibur is the Grizzly Matrix. It’s very affordable while including many of the features found on more expensive Excalibur crossbows. Excalibur’s Grizzly Matrix delivers 18-inch bolts at 305 feet-per-second (fps) and has a 200-lb. draw weight. It weighs only 5.5 lbs. and features Mossy Oak Break-up Country camouflage and Excalibur’s super-strong composite frame.
 
“Our new Matrix Grizzly crossbow enables sportsmen the ability to have the famous Excalibur reliability, accuracy and service at a very affordable price,” Dykeman added. “You can adjust your string in less than 20 minutes and de-cock your crossbow without having to fire an arrow.”
 
Included with the Matrix Grizzly crossbow are a Dead-Zone scope, one-inch scope mount, a four-arrow quiver with bracket, four Diablo arrows, four 150-grain field points and a rope cocking aid.
 
A great option for those looking for a more compact crossbow is Excalibur’s new Micro 335. According to the company, it’s the most compact recurve hunting crossbow in the field, thanks to limbs that are only 25 inches wide and a 10-inch power stroke.
 
“The new Micro 335 is ideal for hunting in ground blinds or tight cover. It’s amazingly quiet, smooth to shoot, deadly accurate, and like all Excalibur crossbows it’s built to weather the very toughest hunting conditions for decades of flawless service,” Dykeman added.
 
The Micro 335 weighs a mere 5.2 lbs., delivers 16.5-inch bolts at 335 fps and has a draw weight of 270 lbs. It features Realtree Xtra camo finish.
 
“The Micro 335 features our stylish, yet comfortable, new Feather-Lite skeletonized stock that includes rubber grip inserts for unparalleled control and feel. It comes with an ambidextrous cheek piece and an oversized trigger guard for cold weather hunting,” Dykeman explained.
 
Included in the Micro 335 package is a Dead-Zone scope with one-inch rings, Guardian Anti-Dry-Fire-System, Recoil Energy Dissipation System (R.E.D.S.) suppressors, a four-arrow quiver (with bracket), four Quill arrows with 150-grain field points and a rope cocking aid.
 
To maximize your hunting time, these crossbows require very little maintenance. The company recommends oiling fasteners to prevent rust, occasionally adjusting strings and lubricating the rails.
 
Barnett
 
Also popular with Dunham’s Sports customers is Barnett’s Quad Xtreme crossbow.
 
“For those looking for extreme value and extreme performance, it’s tough to beat our Quad Xtreme crossbow,” explained Barnett’s Bob Zellmer.
 
The Quad Edge Xtreme features a lightweight, composite stock, resulting in an estimated 7.2-lb. mass weight. It has a 125-lb. draw weight and excellent performance at 340 fps. It further features high-definition camo, the CROSSWIRE string and cable system and a premium accessory package that includes a 3×32 scope, three-arrow quiver and three 22-inch headhunter arrows.
 
For those who prefer a reverse Limb crossbow, Zellmer recommends the company’s BC Raptor Reverse.
 
“As the name implies, our BC Raptor Reverse is built on our very popular BC Raptor chassis. All of the features of the highly successful BC Raptor are included in the BC Raptor Reverse, at a lower price,” he added.
 
This reverse crossbow features an adjustable butt plate, CNC-machined aluminum flight track, carbon riser and laminated limbs. It weighs 6.4 lbs. and delivers bolts at 330 fps. The draw weight is 150 lbs.
 
The BC Raptor Reverse comes with a premium, illuminated scope, rope cocking device, cross premium three-arrow quiver and three 20-inch headhunter arrows.
 
“The footprint of the BC Raptor Reverse is small, making it ideal in tight spaces. Also, recoil is minimal, making it extremely smooth to shoot. All in all, this is very nice, well-balanced crossbow.
 
To keep Barnett crossbows in optimal conditions, Zellmer suggests lubricating the strings and cables often.
 
As with nearly every sporting goods category, crossbows have benefited greatly from today’s highly engineered designs and leading-edge materials. Whether you are new to the sport or are considering new equipment, we strongly recommend you speak with a knowledgeable expert at your local Dunham’s Sports store. Arm yourself with the right crossbow for a successful hunting season.
 
Good luck!
 
-Deer Abby
 
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To The Hunt!

It’s autumn and hunting season is upon us. Let Dunham’s help you prepare.
 
From the green hills of Appalachia to the forests of the upper Midwest, sporting men and women look forward to autumn and the hunt. Nature paints the forest in gold, brown and red, the weather turns cool, and there’s a crispness in the air that says it’s time to get out of the house and into the field. For most, the prey of choice is a big buck and the rewards are the thrill of the hunt and a deep freeze packed with meat.
 
Most meteorologists expect El Nino to keep temperatures relatively mild this autumn and winter through the upper Midwest, the Ohio Valley and Appalachia with moderate snow cover in the northern sections. That should be good news for hunters. An early and frigid winter can make things uncomfortable for outdoor activity and may reduce cover. A light snowfall can help you move quietly and the contrasting background makes it easy to spot deer.
 
While some states in the region saw a decline in deer harvest numbers in recent years, mild weather should contribute to a stronger and larger whitetail population. Most Midwest and eastern states anticipate good herd numbers.
 
So if you’re a hunter, it’s time to make sure you’re ready for the field, and that means more than just cleaning your weapons and picking your vacation days. In this issue we touch on a number of different topics that can help you prepare.
 
Where The Whitetail Live
 
We checked the herd reports for a number of states in the regions Dunham’s serves to determine where you might have the best chance of filling your tag. We discovered there are great places to hunt in every part of the region.
 
The Crossbow Revolution
 
Crossbows are becoming the weapon of choice for bow season hunters. That’s due in part to changes in regulations that have made them available to more hunters. But it’s also a result of improved materials and better engineering. Both of which have made crossbows more accurate and useful.
 
Our bow hunter customers are excited about the new Grizzly Matrix from Excalibur, an affordable bow that offers a lot for your money. Another popular choice is Excalibur’s new Micro 335, a remarkably compact bow.
 
Also drawing a lot of interest is Barnett’s Quad Xtreme crossbow. Again, it offers both value and performance. The same company’s BC Raptor Reverse is another very popular bow. Read the article to learn more about all these great products.
 
You Can See Clearly Now
 
Being able to accurately target prey with a rifle while aiming with metal sights and mentally calculating bullet-drop compensation is an admirable skill. It’s also a very difficult challenge that requires years of practice. Almost all of today’s firearm hunters rely on riflescopes, we take a look at what’s available and tell you how to choose the right scope for your hunt.
 
While higher magnification might seem desirable, our article explains why a high power scope might not be the best choice. We also explain how bullet-drop compensation works and why it’s desirable.
 
Of course we fill you in on some of the best Nikon scopes available at Dunham’s, including Prostaff and Buckmaster models. Our in-store sales consultants can help you choose the one that’s best for your hunt.
 
Tools of the Trade
 
Every hunter needs a quality knife, and we offer some great options. Not only do we point out the best blades, but we provide some tips for taking good care of your hunting tools as well.
 
Among the products we review are some great knives from Outdoor Edge, Gerber and Taylor Brands. You’re going to need one or more of these.
 
Accessorize, Accessorize
 
Hunting should be fun, and having the right equipment can help make it so. That includes a comfortable place to sit, some illumination and — for when the hunt is over — a great way to cook that game. We found there are some great hunting accessories available from some of the best names in the business, like Ameristep, Zippo and Masterbuilt.
 
Handgun Help
 
A lot of the hunters we know are firearm collectors, while others have to keep a handgun available for protection and security. Still others just enjoy target shooting and find it a great way to pass time once hunting season is over. Various kinds of handgun ammo are available at Dunham’s. Our experts tell you what’s best for each application.
 
Well, it’s time to quit talking and get ready for the hunt. Your Dunham’s sales consultants are ready to help you do that. Stop by today and get in the game.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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The Simple Pleasures of a Silent Hunt

There’s no greater joy for hunters than that first day in the field, when they escape the rigors of modern life and return to their roots. At one Michigan company where I worked, the first day of deer season was a holiday. As it should be.
 
Now, thanks to an expanded crossbow season that includes much or all of the weeks allotted to archery and firearm hunting, that special day can come a bit sooner for many of us.
 
But the advantages of crossbow hunting go well beyond a longer hunting season. Rob Bluthardt, a Michigan hunter who has been harvesting bucks since he was a kid with both firearms and conventional bows, has been shooting with a crossbow for several years. “The main reason I love crossbow hunting is you get the challenge of bow hunting but the reliability and accuracy of hunting with a rifle,” says Rob.
 
Hunters haven’t always held crossbows in high regard. Bow hunters thought them to be a cheat, and complained that the archery season was no longer theirs alone. Firearm shooters considered crossbows inefficient. But most have come around. Many bow hunters have seen that a crossbow enables accurate shooting while preserving the silence and challenges that distinguish archery season. And firearm shooters now recognize that today’s crossbows are accurate weapons that can both extend the season and fill the freezer.
 
Upside, Downside
 
Crossbows offer advantages over conventional bows. A crossbow can be armed in advance, so you’re ready to shoot when opportunity presents itself. Pre-arming also enables shooting from a relaxed position, allowing accuracy at close range. A safety device helps prevent accidental discharge.
 
The downside is limited range. While a firearm can bring down a distant deer, crossbows are restricted to about 40 yards. That means no yapping in the deer stand, and factors like wind direction become critical. Plus you get only one shot. Second shots are usually not part of the program. But accuracy and stealth are skills every hunter should develop, so hunting with a crossbow can make us better.
 
The Modern Crossbow
 
While state regulations that encourage crossbow hunting are new, the weapon is an ancient one that was used by Chinese and Mediterranean civilizations prior to the first century. Early crossbows were conventional bows fitted with a trigger device. Today’s recurve crossbows are similar in concept. They’re quiet and light, but power and range are limited.
 
The majority of current crossbows are of a compound design. The draw is shorter than that of a conventional bow or recurve crossbow, so a cam system is used to enable plenty of draw weight and optimize delivery velocity.
 
Cocking devices are available for most crossbows. The mechanism pulls the string into a loaded position and can enable those with strength limitations to join the hunt. However, many able hunters employ a cocking device, as it makes loading more precise.
 
The Barnett Ghost 410, which is available at Dunham’s, is a great example of a modern compound crossbow. With a draw weight of 185 lbs., it can generate 149 ft. lbs. of energy and deliver a 22-inch arrow at a velocity of 410 feet per second. Yet it weighs only 7.2 lbs. That minimal weight is the result of a design that employs advanced carbon construction.
 
Dunham’s also offers less expensive crossbows. For example, the best-selling Barnett Wildcat C5 is a reasonably priced weapon with a draw weight of 150 lbs. That’s sufficient to deliver a 20-inch arrow at a speed of 310 feet-per-second. The SA Sports Ambush Crossbow is very affordable and is a good entry-level weapon. The Titan Extreme by Ten Point is a medium-priced alternative. With 180 lbs. of draw weight it can deliver an arrow at 333 feet- per-second. A built-in crank cocker reduces the cocking tension to a mere 5 lbs. Dunham’s sales consultants are well educated in crossbow technology and can help you choose a bow that’s right for you.
 
Getting to the Point
 
Crossbows fire arrows, called “bolts,”are similar to those used in conventional bows but shorter and heavier. Extra heft means they hit the target with plenty of force. The best bolts are made of carbon fiber and can retain more velocity downfield than less expensive aluminum bolts.
 
At the business end of the bolt is the penetrating broadhead. Available in various configurations and weights, it must be matched to the game to achieve a quick, humane kill. A lighter broadhead can achieve greater speed but won’t hit with as much force as a heavier one.
 
Fixed-blade broadheads require some preparation before going out in the field. Because broadheads differ in flight characteristics, scope adjustment and bow tuning should be worked out on the target range. Retractable blade broadheads, which expand only on impact, fly true and are a good solution for hunters who can’t put in time on the range. The blades of all broadheads should be sharpened every time the arrow is fired to ensure maximum effectiveness.
 
Deer season is upon us. See you in the field.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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