WHO’S READY FOR SEPTEMBER TEAL?

For some, teal season is right around the corner! Who’s excited to get back out on the water and shoot some birds? tealseason

ALL GRRRLS TURKEY HUNT IN KANSAS

by Joni Marie Kiser

In April I had the privilege to attend an all girls turkey hunt in Mound City, Kansas with Wheelers Whitetails. The hunt was organized by Becky Lou Outdoors and my company Rockstarlette Bowhunting was one of the hunt sponsors.  There were a total of 13 ladies that attended, split into 2 groups who hunted 3 days each. My group consisted of 3 girls from my Rockstarlette Bowhunting Pro Staff: Jayme, Ashley and Kate, some new friends Cyndie and Kerry, myself and the always energetic and fun Becky Lou.

Day 1: I am from Alaska, born and raised. I’ve hunted lots of things with my bow, but never turkeys. We don’t have turkey in Alaska so not only had I never even seen one in the wild, but I really had no idea what their calls sounded like, let alone how to make them myself with my cheap calls bought the day before! So after my first morning of sitting in a blind, we all came back to camp to regroup and have lunch. One of men who worked at the camp asked if any of us had tried to call from our blinds. I said, “I did” and got my box call to show him what I had done. He smirked, shook his head and said, “oh no!” He took the call and made a completely different sound from it. Well, I guess that’s why I didn’t see any toms! I laughed at myself and then did some practicing in front of him before heading back out so I wouldn’t scare anything off. Strike one for this Alaska girl! TurkeyHuntingSelfieJJ

Several of us were actually novices at turkey hunting. 3 of us had flown down from Alaska so everything was new to us. Ticks? They do what? We were horrified! Snakes? Brown Recluse Spiders? Hunting in Alaska and avoiding bear attacks was sounding easier and easier!  For the type of hunting that I’ve done in Alaska: black bear, brown bear, moose etc…. We don’t even use face paint (or hunt out of blinds!), so even this was a real change from the norm.  The  “Lower 48″ girls in the group painted the Alaskan girls faces up for us and we headed back out. Jayme and I sat in a blind together. We saw quite a few hens and jakes (young male turkeys), but no toms.  Mike at Wheelers doesn’t allow jakes to be taken, so we were just waiting for mature toms to come in for this hunt. My calling was getting better and we got some answers back. We stayed till last light and hiked out with a pack of coyotes calls getting closer and closer as dark approached.

Day 2: 4 AM again? Good Lord. I barely got to bed and we were back at it. Of the 3 days hunt; the guides took each newbie hunter out for one 1/2 day sit in the blind with them. This morning Jayme and I split up and she went with guide David and I went with guide Mike.  My spot in the woods was near a river. We hiked in in the pitch dark. Once settled it wasn’t long before you could hear all the gobblers that were roosted on the river start to call. For someone who had never heard anything like that before, it was such an incredible experience to hear the woods “wake up”.  Eventually hens, jakes, deer  and finally 2 toms started to come in. However the toms were off to the left of the blind, angled too far back for me to see them at all. As there were no windows/openings on that side farther back. Mike was sitting to my right and could barley see them at an angle and though he called and they answered back and even were making the “drum” sound, they never did get to an angle where I could see them. Regardless, it was a cool experience and I really enjoyed learning from Mike so I headed back for lunch feeling really fulfilled. We hiked back to the truck and started to drive out. But to make things even better, when we stopped at Becky Lou’s blind she had a great Gobbler on the ground with her shot gun and when we got back to camp, Jayme had also gotten one with her bow in her blind with David! I get just as excited when my buddies get something as when I do, so I was hugging them and jumping around. Then we drove the guides crazy taking a ton of photos before finally heading back out. We each had 2 tags but Jayme, being the super loyal friend that she is, refused to hunt any more until I got one, saying she “wouldn’t feel right about it”. So we headed back out to the blind with her as my side kick.

When I had been out with Mike and he called those 2 toms in, I heard them do their drumming sound. I was floored. I had no idea that they did this and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I tried to explain it in camp to Jayme, Cyndie and Kate like this; “you know when you pull up to an intersection next to a guy in a hooptie car and he has all the windows up and all you can hear is the bass pumping and booming from inside the car?” Because that is really what it reminded me of! They looked at me like I was crazy until they each got to hear it for themselves. That night, as we sat in the blind, Jayme and I got to experience it together. First one, then two, then three, finally a total of 5 toms, all in a row came strutting up over the hill towards us and they were all “pumping bass.”  With 5 of them doing it all at once, it was vibrating the tent. We were giddy with excitement; totally in awe, gasping and smiling at each other. They never got closer than 50 yards and even then it was through the trees and I never had a shot with my bow, but it didnt matter. We left the blind that night at dark, totally elated. I didnt care if I got a turkey or not, because I had gotten to share that amazing experience with my friend. It was a once in a lifetime thing for us Alaskan girls. To me, that is really what the hunt is all about more than a trophy in the end, its the beautiful memories that you make along the way. TurkeyJoniField

That night David had headed out with Kate to her blind and Becky Lou had gone with Ashley. They didn’t get birds but learned a lot by having a seasoned turkey guide along with them in the blind. Cyndie however, came home with a beautiful, bearded hen with her shot gun. It was incredible! I don’t even think she realized how rare it was until we all told her. Extra cool for her first turkey ever!

Day 3: 4AM again and Jayme just wasn’t having it. So I let her sleep in and I went out alone. I had fun, but didn’t see any toms just lots of jakes and hens. After lunch she agreed to come back with me since it was the final night of the hunt. I had had a lot of fun on the hunt, learned a lot and seen some really cool things. I felt pretty peaceful about it. Of course I wanted to get something but ultimately I felt happy with my experience with my friends and I know that getting a turkey with a bow can be really tough so I was okay with just having a fun afternoon in the blind with my friend.  We had lots of jakes and hens come in, in fact we had 2 jakes that bedded down less than 2 ft from the blind and took a nap for hours. Then finally 2 toms came in. They were on the left side of our blind and one came right in to 10 yards but stopped right behind the metal feeder leg. He just stood there with the pole blocking him so that I couldn’t shoot. I was ready, just waiting for him to take 2 steps when I heard footsteps off to my right. A deer had come up and was beside the blind, then he winded us. He started stomping his foot and snorting; and the next thing I saw was the turkey disappearing into the brush to my left. Jayme and I looked at each other with disappointment, we thought that was going to be it! I called more and got answers from 2 directions. It was so funny, I would make a call and Jayme would whisper “oh that was such a good one”. I found it really funny that 3 days earlier we had never even heard a wild turkey call and here we now were experts on what made a “good one”.

Finally, another 2 toms came in strutting. They walked straight in and stopped at 10 yards with no obstructions. The larger one was all puffed up, but the smaller tom had mellowed out and was starting to peck corn. I’m not a trophy hunter, I enjoy hunting but I am not concerned with having the biggest or best of anything, I just enjoy the whole experience of the hunt. So I raised up to shoot the smaller tom. Mike had warned us not to shoot a turkey in strut so I was fine with taking the smaller of the 2 toms. I drew back, put my pin on him and was about to shoot when the larger one all of a sudden dropped his feathers down and started to eat. I swung my pin over to him and dropped him. He went face down in the dirt. Jayme who had been tense this whole time watching this all go down, yelled out, “Bird down! Go get em!” Super loud, scaring every other turkey, deer and raccoon that was around us. Things went running, scrambling, flying in all directions. It was hilarious chaos. I unzipped the blind and lept out and ran over to my turkey. On Jayme’s turkey she had taken a side shot through the vitals and afterward, the guide picked it up by the feet and stood on the neck to finish it off. Well we didn’t know anything about turkey hunting and my turkey wasn’t moving, just twitching, but there was no way these inexperienced Alaska girls were taking any chances! So we both ran out and each grabbed one leg, turned him upside down and stood on the neck, just in case! We were giggling and squealing. Normally on a hunt, we’d be hugging at this point but we couldn’t since we were holding up the turkey so we just head butted over top of the turkey and laughed about how Jayme scared the whole forest off with her yell.

I felt really proud that I went from Day 1 never having seen a turkey on my own, to day 3 harvesting one with my bow without a guide! I learned a lot in a short amount of time and got to spend some amazing time in the woods with girl friends. I will definitely be back to the lower 48 to try it again in the future!

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*Joni Marie is owner of Rockstarlette Bowhunting and Full Curl Archery and has harvested a wide variety of big game animals with her bow.

 

PROIS STAFFERS TAKE 1ST PLACE

Christy Turner, Amber Brandly, and Michelle Bodenheimer made Prois proud this weekend at the The National Wild Turkey Federation Camo & Pearls sporting clay tournament! Congrats ladies! ‪#‎proiswasthere‬ ‪#‎sportingclays‬ ‪#‎1stplace‬ Sportingclays

Archery Terminology: Understanding the Lingo!

by Joni Marie Kiser

“I want to buy a bow and get into archery, but I don’t even know where to begin.” I hear this all the time from customers who come in to my archery shop. Reading the specs on a bow, or hearing someone go over the details of it, can be like listening to a foreign language if you don’t know what some of the acronyms and terminology mean. Here are some basic terms and definitions that can make that process a little bit less intimidating.

Draw Length

Draw Length on a compound bow refers to the distance that you draw a bow back until it stops where it reaches your appropriate anchor point (consistent point that you come to in order to begin to aim the bow). On a compound bow this is a very important measurement, unique to you, to be sure that the bow fits you properly. There are some Drawlengtheasy ways to get a measurement of draw length. One of the simplest versions is to stretch out your arms at your sides, parallel to the ground. You then have someone measure from the tip of your middle finger on one side, over to the tip of your middle finger on the other side. This gives you your overall wingspan and then you divide this number by 2.5.  This will give you a relative idea of your draw length.  This method is not perfect; but it will give you a good starting point and you will likely be within an inch of that number depending on what bow you choose.  Draw length can vary a bit based upon the type of bow you choose; so in the end – the bow you pick must be fitted appropriately to you.  The shop that sets it up for you will make sure that your front arm is not over extended when you are at full draw, that you are not “bunched up” trying to get your nose to the anchor point on the string and that your back elbow is extended properly and level.  Going to buy a bow and having a rough idea of what your draw length may be can be helpful however, so that you can ask which bows can be adjusted to your draw.  There are some bows that are cam or module specific bows, meaning in order to make them another draw length you need to put a different cam or module on them to change the draw. Others have sliding modules on them so that they can be changed to any draw length. If you have an idea up front of what draw you might be, it can be helpful for you to narrow down which bows may not work for you.

Axle to Axle

The axle to axle lHTR_Profile_Lostength on a bow refers to the measurement from the center axle of the top cam to the center of the bottom cam. If it is a solo cam bow then this would be from the center of the idler wheel to the center of the bottom cam. How do you know what a good length would be for you? Hunting bows have gotten shorter over the years overall; the limbs are more parallel than they used to be and they are more compact. The majority of hunting bows now range from 28-35 inches in axle to axle length.  Bows that are used just for competition shooting are generally longer axle to axle and could be anywhere from 34-40+ inches in length. This is because a longer bow gives you more stability overall. A longer bow is heavier, thus often ruling it out for some hunters who are trying to shave off weight that they have to pack in.  The length of the bow can also have some effect on the “forgiveness” of it. A longer bow can be more accurate because of the angle of the string at full draw.  If you imagine pulling back a long bow to a 28 inch draw length and then imagine pulling back a short bow to a 28 draw length; the shorter bow will have a much more severe V or string angle at full draw. A deeply angled V can create what is referred to as “nock pinch” and can produce more human input on the arrow itself when it is released; therefore making it less forgiving. A long bow would have a very wide V and would not pinch the nock so much, therefore making it easier to be accurate with. This all becomes more of a concern the longer your draw is.  I have a short draw length of 25 inches. There is much less chance of this being an issue for me on a bow, because I don’t pull it back as far. A man who is over 6 foot tall and has a 30 inch draw however, pulls the bow 5 more inches than I do, and a short bow will get a very severe string angle in the back for him, creating much more nock pinch than I have.  If you have a long draw length, the axle to axle length of a bow can be more of a concern when shopping for a bow.

Brace Height

The measurement of brace height is from the throat of the grip of the bow back to the resting point of the bowstring. Brace heights can measure from 5-8 inches roughly on most bows. A short brace height bow is going to be faster, but less forgiving to shoot. A long brace height bow is going to be slower, but more forgiving to shoot. Most hunters choose something in the middle with a 6-7 inch brace height in order to get decent speed with some forgiveness. An easy way to think about brace height is to think about how long the arrow is on the string. If you are shooting a 5 inch brace height bow; when you pull it all the way back, the arrow stays on the string for a longer period of time until it comes to its resting point – 5 inches from the grip of the bow. Therefore the arrow is faster, it was on the string longer being pushed forward. It is also less forgiving because since it was on the string longer, there is more time for you to have human input on the flight of the arrow before it leaves the bowstring. Generally bows with 8+ inch brace heights are used as competition bows due to their higher level of accuracy but slower speed.

Speed: ATA and IBO

Bows have gotten faster and faster over the years. Most hunting bows now can go from 310 ft per second up to 360+  Any bow rated over 310 ft per second is plenty fast enough to take down anything you would choose to shoot. There are 2 different speed ratings on bows. ATA and IBO. ATA ratings are set and are taken at a 30 inch draw, 70# draw weight and with an arrow weighing 5 grains per pound of draw weight (350 grain arrow). This allows you to compare, apples to apples, different bow brands to see which are faster. Are you actually going to hit these ATA rated speeds yourself? No. Its important to understand that the rating is there so that you can compare bows accurately, however unless you are exactly a 30 inch draw and shooting the same set up – you are not going to attain that exact speed. A 350 grain arrow is very light and is one step away from a Dry Fire (shooting the bow with no arrow in it). Why would companies use such a lightweight arrow to rate their bows? To give them the best possible speed rating! You would never actually hunt with such a light arrow because you would get nothing more than a superficial stick into an animal. An arrow that is heavier is going to carry more energy behind it and once it impacts, its going to carry that momentum forward to pass through the animal. An IBO rating on a bow is similar to ATA but it is not as predictable. To do an IBO rating companies are allowed to use 80# instead of 70# and they may use a 31 inch draw rather than a 30. Unfortunately this can inflate the speed numbers of bows rated only on IBO. There is a lot of talk in the industry about making all companies use ATA in order to be fair, but so far it has only been talk.  If you have an IBO rating on a bow and you are comparing it to an ATA rated bow, keep this in mind. So why might you want a faster bow? More speed gives you a longer effective range to shoot. You have less drop in your arrow trajectory and you have less wind drift. Most bowhunters agree, depending on their bow set up that they are comfortable that they can take an ethical shot between 20-50 yards or so. There are a few individuals that feel confident out as far as 70-80 yards as well. Its important to practice out father than you would actually shoot in a hunting situation and to know your accuracy at different distances and in different conditions. Now that being said, taking a 100 yard shot is possible with many of todays bows at their top speeds and it is a lot of fun. However you would not ethically take that shot on an animal. But shooting long distance in 3D Archery competition etc… can be a lot of fun and can increase your confidence in judging distances and calculating for variations.

Draw Weight

If you are planning on hunting with your bow, it is important to know the hunting regulations on draw weight. For many animals in Alaska like Black Bear, Deer, Caribou, Sheep etc… the legal limit is 40# or more. For thicker skinned animals like Goat, Moose, Brown Bear and Musk Ox the legal limit is 50#. It is important to be sure that it will adjust to a weight that meets and exceeds these limits.  I find most female new shooters start up about 35# or so. The more that they shoot, the more their strength increases over time and they will adjust their weight up.  It is rare that I see women who shoot too much over 50#. On a good bow at 50# of draw weight you have plenty of speed to get a pass through on any animal you choose, as long as you are making shots within your ethical distance rangJoniBirdHuntinge for your speed. I have taken Brown and Black Bears, Alligator, Moose, Wart Hogs etc… which are all thick skinned animals – with a 52# draw weight and have always had pass throughs. I know what my distance limits are for shooting my draw weight and I will not shoot an animal beyond that. The bows are so much faster today than they used to be. My 52# Mathews bow is faster than many of the older bows were at 70#.  Most men that come through the shop shoot bows from 50-70# of draw weight. Depending on what is comfortable for them, whether they have had shoulder trouble etc… will determine where they settle in and are comfortable.  It is important when you are picking out your bow to be sure what the low and high ends of the draw weight are on it. There are some beginner bows out there that go from 15-70#. This gives you a huge range of adjustability and can be very appealing to beginners who are not sure where they will end up settling in. These adjustable bows (such as the Hoyt Ignite or Mission Craze 2) almost always also have large adjustable draw ranges, making them easy to fit to anyone. However because of their larger adjustable ranges you do sacrifice some speed in a less efficient cam system.  They also tend to be shorter axle to axle bows and therefore are not as forgiving to shoot.

Having an understanding of some of this terminology can be very helpful when reading about bows or when visiting shops to look at what is available. There are lots of other variations in bows such as the material that the riser is made out of; whether it is cast, machined aluminum or carbon etc… These can have an effect on the way the bow feels, how heavy it is and how much vibration and noise you experience after the shot. The best bet, once you read about a variety of bows and narrowed down what you are looking for, is to visit your local Pro Shop and try out some models. The grip, the weight of the bow, the draw cycle and the shot – all feel different brand to brand. You will start to tune in on what feels right for you. Ultimately, it is all about what feels the best to you and what you are going to enjoy shooting the most! Once you are all set up on a bow and it has been customized to fit you – you will want something that you can shoot throughout the year for fun – not just during hunting season! With a bow, you get to pull your ammo back out of the target and reuse it! Making it fun and inexpensive to use year round!

Joni Kiser is CoJoniProisDrawSM-Owner of Full Curl Archery in Anchorage. She is a National Factory Pro Staff for Mathews Archery and HHA, a Field Staff for Prois and has harvested a large variety of big game animals with her bow.

BE ON TARGET WITH THE ARTEMIS COMPETITIVE SHOOTING SHIRT

Why Prois? The Artemis Competitive Shooting shirt is a must have for those toasty days in the great outdoors. From the gun range to the 3-D archery course, you can take the Artemis with you on all your summer endeavors. Moisture wicking poly/spandex fabric makes it lightweight and breathable so you are sure to stay cool on those scorching hot days. Like many of our products, the Artemis also features a lumbar pocket to access those must have gadgets with ease. Hurry up and get this shirt while it is on sale for only $50.00 at www.proishunting.com. Sale ends June 30th! PROIS_Shooting banners Artemis

Successful Measures, Get Fit to Hunt the Prois Way!

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By Prois Staffer April Mack

No, I’m not talking about the past elections.
How do you measure a successful hunt? Is it a monster buck or bull? Is it a successful harvest? Or is it time out hunting, with your family, friends or by yourself? Do you measure your success of a hunt by the equipment you use and the gear you have? Or simply time spent in nature soaking up God’s great creations? Me? I measure success of a hunt by my experiences…. Time with family, time with God and simply the God given ability to get out and do what I love. Oh, and then there is the success of being able to hunt without desperately gasping for air and bending to cling to my knees after climbing a hill. I’m talking about being in shape. Both mentally and physically, they go hand in hand. There is nothing more rewarding to me then to gracefully, quietly and easily make my way to the top of a mountain without feeling like I just went through military boot camp. Sure, it’s an ego boost as well when I look around and see all the guys sweating and huffing like draft horses pulling a 3000 pound sled.

All too often hunters get prepared for the upcoming hunting season by making sure they have their bow sighted in, have enough arrows and new broad heads along with checking equipment to make sure all gear is up to par. However, rarely do hunters take into consideration the physical preparation needed for the hunt. Being physically fit can be the difference of having an enjoyable hunt or a hunt that kicks your butt. We all know getting up early is part of the hunt. That alone is a hard task for some. But when you wake up the next day and your body is screaming for more rest because you are sore from the previous days hunt… What’s the fun in that? When you are in shape physically, the mental portion follows suit. It has been proven time over that physical activity (working out) improves mental clarity and relieves stress. You have enough on your mind when hunting such as spotting and stalking, calling, and concentrating on making that once in a life time shot. You shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not you can make it up the mountain without needing CPR!
So, with that being said I would like to offer some tips.

1) Set goals; start off small and work your way up. You will need to set both cardio and strength goals. A good goal to start for cardio is walking 2-3 times per week, walk up and down your driveway to get started. Slowly increase the distance by a couple miles at a time, pickup your pace and change terrain. In addition to walking, add biking to the mix. Make your routines fun, go for a hike in new territory, discover new places, or take up mountain biking. Whatever you decide to do, make it fun, make it your own, make it challenging (repelling anyone?)

2) You will need to be physically strong to not only carry all your gear around, but also to carry out your harvest. Hit the weights at least 3 times per week. Remember the smaller the starting goal, the longer the time needed to increase so don’t wait a month before the season to start getting active. You don’t have to be a gym rat to accomplish these goals; there are a lot of things around the house that you can use as weights. Get creative; fill a bucket up with sand! If you are up for the challenge, hire a personal trainer with specific needs in mind (hunting with a bow is exercise specific). Exercises to focus on for bow hunting specifically include: shoulders (front to side arm raises, arm circles, shrugs and lateral raises) upper and lower back (back extensions, seated lat row, reverse fly’s and reverse grip lat pull down) biceps (curls and pull ups) and core (oblique twists, reverse curls and good ‘ol fashion crunches). You of course want to balance out your muscles so don’t forget to throw in some chest presses and triceps pushups just for fun! In relation to the actual hunt and climbing mountains, your lower body needs to be just as strong if not more. Your tail end is one of the biggest muscles you got… work it! Lunges, squats (they don’t have to be in deep range of motion) and hamstring curls will all target the gluteus maximus, aka your tail end. Once you get started in your exercise regimen, you will need (and want!) to maintain your progress. It’s much easier to consistently exercise throughout the year then to be a one-month warrior. Schedule time in your day to workout. You may even have to book an appointment with yourself. Most importantly, be forgiving. If you miss a day or two or even a week, don’t be hard on yourself or ride the guilt train. Just pick up where you left off. Being strong enough to draw your bow back is an essential part to hunting, not only does it make it more enjoyable for you, but it isn’t fair to the game we have the privilege to hunt if the shot we make isn’t steady.

3) Of course getting physically fit involves proper nutrition (sorry, facts of life!) During the hunt (pack in/out intensity) you of course need higher caloric foods to sustain you. However, with day to day eating, your choices should be a little more carefully planned out. There is nothing new here and no magic pill. Fruits and veggies, balance your proteins and fats and include carbs into your foods. Now, when I say fats and carbs, I am not talking about ice cream, cookies, pizza, fast food joints and Ho Ho’s (although in moderation *gasp* it’s okay). Our bodies need fats and carbs to function, but it is the good kind. (Real butter, avocado, legumes, nuts, occasional red meats, cheeses etc). And of course water. Food has an amazing ability to heal the body; we just have to give it a chance. I challenge you to try it… even if it’s not hunting season for you. Make a commitment for at least one month. Cut out boxed, prepackaged and canned meals. Try to eat what grows naturally. When was the last time you saw a box of Hamburger Helper® growing off a tree? You don’t have to get crazy and go all organic, but I would suggest you stop eating foods that are processed and full of preservatives. Our bodies were not built to digest the chemicals in these foods. You give this challenge a try and you will be amazed at the changes your body makes.
On a side note to physical fitness and proper nutrition, I want to mention the importance of having mental strength and clarity. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities, now that you have exercised and gotten fit, you can do anything… right? Confidence comes with knowing you can tackle the hunt, climb the hill and haul out your kill. Be patient, positive and prepared (do I hear a triple “P” cheer?). Patients, well… you’re a bow hunter it’s a given that is an essential tool. Positivity will get you a long way my friends, whether you are by yourself or with a hunting party. Have you ever been around “that” person that see’s the down side to everything or is constantly putting themselves down? I have and it’s not fun… Keep your attitude up; after all there are worse things you could be doing instead of getting out to do what you love. And finally, prepared. Being prepared is such an important mental factor. Having the right clothes for the weather, terrain and clothes that fit you properly (ladies – stop buying men’s camo clothes!) makes you feel, well, good. Being prepared to gut, wrap and pack your harvest with all the necessary tools leaves you without worry of how to get the job done. Being prepared with extra food and water helps with the long process involved after taking that fatal shot. To achieve all this, you have to be mentally strong. To be mentally strong you have to be healthy. To be healthy you have to be physically fit. Yes it’s tough to get started, but all things worth working for have great rewards.

Here’s to measured success!

Sample Workout:
Just because we are bow hunters doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have big guns!
You don’t have to be able to lift a car to draw back a bow… but you should be prepared!
Building up your strength for bow season doesn’t have to be hard. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week, with a day of rest in between should do the trick. You will want to do 3 or 4 sets of 16 reps and choose a weight that will allow you to have good form, but will challenge you to get out the last 5-6 reps. Lift the weights in slow controlled motions and avoid swinging your body for momentum to lift the weight. You will want to make sure you work both sides equally rather than focusing just on your draw arm… imbalances will cause compensation issues leading to muscle injury. No pain no gain is not always the case, listen to your body and learn the difference between muscle fatigue and muscle injury. Muscle soreness is normal when you get started on a lifting routine. Drink lots of water, stretch after your workouts and if the soreness is extreme, take the recommended dosage of Tylenol®. However do not let a little bit of soreness keep you from working out it will get easier as you get stronger. Then it will be time to increase your weights. To avoid plateaus, change up the types of exercises you do about every 4-5 weeks. If you can, find a workout partner, not only will they motivate you but they can keep you safe and spot you as you start to increase the amount of weight you lift.
So, here’s to big gun bow hunters everywhere!

The Best Medicine, by Prois Staffer Nancy Rodriguez

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By Nancy Rodriguez

Cough, snort, wheeze! Cough, snort, wheeze! With every track my boots leave in the snow, I find myself using my very own custom call to locate my quarry. You may think I am somewhere in the Midwest hunting whitetail deer, but I am far from it. I’m actually high in the mountains of Nevada, hunting elk. My very own custom call is not tucked in my pocket or hanging around my neck. It’s in fact my body’s lungs and nose that are making these calls. My custom wheeze and cough are thanks to a bout of bronchitis and my custom snort is a congested nose caused by a sinus infection. Some might say I shouldn’t be out hunting right now. I should be home sitting by the fire with a humidifier plugged in, eating oranges. But, does that sound like something a Prois chick would do? No way! It’s elk season!

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I continue to trudge through the golden grass and glistening snow covered mountains in search of the majestic wapiti. With my rifle slung over my shoulder and my backpack weighing me down, I glass every nook and cranny for the distinct tan colored body with the dark chocolate neck. As I slowly climb to a high vantage point, my nose is completely plugged and my lungs burn. I giggle to myself at the advice my doctor gave me right before we left for this hunting trip, “You need to take these antibiotics, use this inhaler, drink plenty of liquids, and above all rest!” He must have sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, because obviously I didn’t comprehend a word he said. Prois chicks can be rebels after all!

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With my heart pounding in my head, I am grateful to have finally made it to my vantage point. I drop my pack and plop on the ground. I endlessly hack into my Prois neck gaiter and realize it not only keeps my neck warm, but it also works as a great handkerchief. Through watery eyes, I glass the distant hillsides. Suddenly, out of extremely thin mountain air, I spot them. Unmistakable brown dots of bedded elk are scattered amongst the patches of snow. I spot about 40 of them and my blood starts coursing through my veins. Joe looks at me and asks, “Are you up for this? They’re pretty far away.” I blow my red rimmed nose and reply “Heck ya! That’s what we’re here for!” And so the stalk begins. The elk are a couple miles away, and I know this hike is going to be grueling for me. Up and down the massive ridges we go. Cough, snort, wheeze…Repeat! My body becomes weaker, but I trudge on. The mountain wind is becoming fickle and starts swirling about. I pray it doesn’t blow my stalk. As we start to get close enough for a shot, I grab my range finder to check the distance. My nose is so plugged; I feel claustrophobic. I bring a tissue to my face and realize I have snotcicles hanging from my nose. With these custom beauties, I am sure I could give Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber a run for his money! I giggle again at what I must look like right now. But, I have more important things at hand and I need to get a bit closer for a shot. As I start to close the distance, it happens. A huge gust of wind smacks me in the back and I know my funky human scent is about to alert the elk that something’s not right. Poof! They are up and off to the next ridge in the blink of an eye. Cough, snort, wheeeeeze!

That night we camp under the starry sky in below freezing temperatures. I have so many layers of fleece on that I can barely bend my arms and legs. My Prois Sherpa beanie is pulled down over my eyes and my neck gaiter is covering my mouth. With a Breathe Right strip over my red chapped nose, I shimmy down into my 3 sleeping bags. No joke…3! As I drift off into my Nyquil, Theraflu, and cough drop induced slumber, the elbowing begins. Joe is trying to stop his precious wife from turning into a mighty snoring Ogre, but he doesn’t have a chance against the cold medicine coma! The beast lying next to him is some sort of Michelin man fleece troll, wrapped up like a goose down burrito. A weird strip of plastic lies across her nose and grizzly bear size snores are coming out of her mouth. He stares at the fleece monster lying next to him and wonders where has his wife gone? He doesn’t have a spare room to move to, or a couch he can crash on in the living room. He is trapped next to the beast! It’s going to be a long night for him…poor guy.

The next day, I wake up feeling refreshed and well rested. I stretch, remove the plastic strip from my nose, and actually feel better than I have in days. I look at Joe who can hardly open his eyes and wonder if he slept okay? As I jump out of my burrito and throw on my head to toe Prois camo, I am ready to hunt! I stare at Joe as he peels open his eyes and looks at me. For some reason I don’t think he’s nearly as refreshed as I am. I resemble a happy dog anxiously waiting for their owner to grab the leash for their daily walk. If I could, I’d be wagging my tail with excitement! Come on, come on, let’s gooooo!!!!!

We get into elk over the next few days, but unfortunately I never connect. It really didn’t matter, because we had an awesome time climbing the mountains and enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors. There is nothing better for your mind, body, spirit, and immune system than becoming one with nature. I have truly found the best medicine on the market…Hunting!

Katherine Grand’s First Turkey, Prois was There!!

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After having the time of our lives this past fall at Double B Outfitters on our ladies Prois Whitetail hunt the crazy ladies of Prois once again descended on the sleepy and utterly unprepared town Ozona for another incredible hunt. This was by far my favorite guided hunt to date. My trusty guide Blake Osteen was happy to hike with me for miles daily in pursuit of thunder chickens. I enjoy an active spot and stalk style of hunting so Blake was the perfect match for me. He is an excellent caller and I learned so much about turkey hunting from him.

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Prior to this hunt I had yet to bag a turkey although I had hunted the last 4 years although only for a weekend at a time and nowhere that had the density of birds that Double B Outfitters boasts. While hunting with Double B Outfitters I heard and saw more turkeys than I had in all my previous hunts combined. Furthermore my calling was enough to make the bravest Tom turn tail and run. Luckily I got a lot of practice calling in this hunt much to the chagrin of everyone trying to relax at the lodge. On future hunts I will be driven a least a mile out from the lodge before I am allowed to use a diaphragm call.

On the second day of the hunt we were hiking while Blake was calling periodically and suddenly we heard a gobble extremely close to us. We had to post up right where we were when we realized we were covered by two groups of Toms. One group was coming in from behind us and one group was on the hill above and in front of us. We dropped down to a seated position, Blake handed me a shooting stick, and I got in the best position I could given the circumstances. Suddenly I saw the colorful heads of two different Toms on the hill and began to shake and breathe hard in my excitement. I started to draw up my shotgun but Blake whispered words of reassurance and told me to stay still and wait as he couldn’t see the birds well enough yet. The Toms were milling about and gobbling behind some brush and an occasional glimpse of their bright blue, red, and white heads was all I could see. The group that was coming in from behind us gobbled loudly and was converging on us at that same time. Blake spotted a good Tom and my opportunity for a shot and told me to shoot when I was ready. I drew up as my heart was beating a million miles an hour and shot. Blake told me I missed as three Toms from the group that approached behind us took flight over my left shoulder. Without thinking I swung, shot, and dropped a Tom mid-flight. I couldn’t believe it as I saw the Tom I shot at drop from the air like a ton of bricks. I leapt up with shot gun in hand and ran to the Tom lying on the ground. Blake approached the scene and was excitedly laughing and grinning ear to ear at my shot and frenzied run up to my Tom.

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Instinct took over for my last shot and I could not believe that I had my first Tom on the ground. The flood of emotions including elation, gratitude, and excitement I felt in that moment was overwhelming. It was such and incredible hunt. Blake had never guided someone that had shot a turkey in the air and was so excited for me and surprised that I had turned and shot at the flying birds before he had a chance to say anything to me. He was still looking toward the bird I had shot at to make sure it was a clear miss when he turned as I shot and saw my Tom falling from the air.

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Although the Tom I shot was smaller than the first bird I missed, I wouldn’t change a moment. That hunt built my confidence and I was much calmer when I shot my second Tom, an older Tom that was later nicknamed Rocky as he was a fighter and was missing tail feathers and his wings were all beat up from strutting and fighting. That was a more ideal scenario where I was posted up in a good spot and the Toms came in right where we expected them to.

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Not only was the hunting incredible at Double B Outfitters but the group of ladies that attended were fantastic. We laughed until our sides ached, and shared many delicious meals at the lodge lovingly prepared by Kendra and Linda. The lodge was comfortable and well appointed, the weather was perfect, and a fantastic time was had by all. The guides were superb and we made memories together that will last a lifetime. We cannot wait to go back there for our next Prois and Double B Outfitters hunt in Ozona TX.