7 Best Scopes For AR 15 Coyote Hunting 2020

Best scopes for Ar 15 coyote hunting

We all love a good coyote gun and therefore, a good coyote hunting scope comes in handy. The AR 15 is the right choice if you are looking at shooting at small game. Hunting Varmints such as coyotes is becoming a popular sport for hunters who do not want to hang their guns at the end of deer season. Interestingly, no one wants a coyote in your backyard because of their destructive nature.

Having the AR 15 is not adequate without a good rifle scope. Of course, the best scope for AR 15 coyote hunting offers you a tactical advantage if you are looking forward to enjoying shooting a varmint. Below we look at some of the best scopes for AR 15 Coyote Hunting.

  1. Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 Rifle Scope, V-Brite Reticle

Vortex Crossfire II with the V-Brite reticle is your choice if you prefer hunting in low-light hunting

Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40

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The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 is one of the best scopes from Vortex Optics. For Coyote hunters who are worried about the distance, Vortex Crossfire has got you covered with the 3-9x power that allows you to spot the game at up to 400 yards away.

Talking of Vortex Crossfire II, the V-Brite reticle is exemplary considering Vortex Optics relies on V-Plex reticle for speedy target acquisitions.

Vortex Crossfire II with the V-Brite reticle is your choice if you prefer hunting in low-light hunting and not to forget a good illumination powered by a CR2032 battery.

Vortex Crossfire II turrets have 60 Minute of Angle (MOA) of elevation, and the windage adjustment is amazing. We are talking about ¼ and 15 MOA clicks and revolutions respectively.

With amazing specs and features as well as a pocket-friendly price, you are guaranteed of a fun-filled coyote hunting escapades.


  • Illuminated reticle
  • Weatherproof
  • Multi-layered optics
  • Fast-paced V-Plex reticle
  • Pocket-friendly


  • Fixed optical bells


   2. Simmons Matte Black Riflescope

Simmons Rimfire

Simmons .22 Mag Riflescope series

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The Simmons .22 Mag Riflescope series is your ultimate AR 15 coyote hunting riflescope. We are talking about a riflescope that has 3/8-inch dovetail mounting rings as well as a durable coated glass.

Coyote hunters look for riflescopes with a quick target acquisition which is exactly what the Simmons Rimfire offers you. In addition to this, you experience about three and a half inches of eye relief.

Besides the Quick Target Acquisition advantages, you are looking at riflescope that gives you sight stability thanks to its SureGrip adjustments.

The Simmons .22 Mag Series riflescopes are the right one if you like making fine-tuned calculations. If so, you can use the TruZero elevation and windage adjustments to get your calculations right.

With this riflescope, you can get clear and accurate visibility at 50 yards thanks to the riflescope’s Trueflex reticle.

Durable and fully coated optics in Simmons .22 Mage Series riflescopes make the gadget weatherproof.


  • Rapid target acquisition
  • 60/60 adjustment range
  • Stability
  • Weatherproof
  • Pocket-friendly


  • Weak knobs


   3. Nikon Prostaff 4-12×40

Nikon ProStaff comes with multicoated glass lenses

Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 riflescope

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Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 riflescope should be on your list of AR coyote hunting riflescopes. Do not worry about long-range shots, for you can get the coyote at 100 yards.

The Nikon ProStaff comes with multicoated glass lenses. The 150 Ballistic Drop Compensating (BDC) reticles in Nikon ProStaff makes you feel like a pro predator hunter with that mid-range to long-range shots.

Do not forget that Nikon ProAtaff uses MOA graduations for elevation.

The Nikon Prostaff Rimfire weatherproof packaging is a hunter dream come true. Talk of cavities filled with nitrogen and sealed O-rings, multi-layered lens, amazing light-transmission clear glass, zero stop, HD imaging, and top-notch visibility in low light.


  • 98% light transmission
  • Has sub-tensions giving you some latitude
  • Weatherproof (fog proof, waterproof, shockproof)
  • Pocket-friendly


  • Lack of tight grouping


   4. Leupold Mark AR M-3. 3-9×40

Leupold is a serious manufacturer of riflescopes

Leupold Mark AR M.-3 .3-9×40

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Leupold Mark AR M.-3 .3-9×40 is for the pro hunter. Some hunters revere its performance and consider it an assault rifle scope. Yes, you had it right, Leupold Mark AR M.-3 is for the big dogs: AR 15, M-16, Standard .223 Remington, and .224 Valkyrie. I guess these admirations are because Leupold is a serious manufacturer of riflescopes.

The Leupold Mark AR M.-3 .3-9×40 is for those seeking to save time as well as take precise shots. We all know that with a Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40, you can take a coyote down at 500 yards.

The Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40 comes with a multi-coat 4 lens systems and therefore, improving your clarity. You can use this scope even at low-light conditions.

Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40 has Mark Ar Mod 1 P5 dial, and a better elevation thanks to BDC turrets that work amazingly irrespective of elevation and wind.

The Argon/Krypton glass bend ensures that Leupold Mark AR M.-9×40 is not affected by thermal shock. Yes, this makes it even better as the riflescope is 100% waterproof.


  • Outstanding accuracy
  • 100% waterproof
  • Works well in low-light conditions
  • Durable



    5. Trijicon ACOG Rifle Scope

Trijicon ACOG 4x magnification

Trijicon ACOG Rifle Scope

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Trijicon ACOG is one of the best scopes to ever come from Trijicon. It is a high-end scope, and that means it is a favorite for hunters and military operatives. With the Trijicon ACOG you can hunt at night since it is suitable for low light environments.

Trijicon ACOG 4x magnification is something to behold. You can gun down your coyote at 800 yards. A good eyepiece giving you the ease of viewing the target makes the ACOG your scope of choice.

ACOG has 32mm objective lens and therefore, making this scope the ultimate choice when hunting in low light. The addition Chevron .223 ballistic illuminated reticle makes you look like a real pro hunter.

Trijicon ACOG comes with a TA51 scope mount and the turrets caps well fixed on the optic body. Well, the Trijicon ACOG matte black finish makes the scope have an outstanding outlook.


  • Effective in hunting moving targets
  • Lightweight
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Wide eyepiece


  • Fixed magnification

   6. UTG 3-9×32 1̎  Bug Buster

UTG Bug Buster Rifle Scope

UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster

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The UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster is not your scope if you are an amateur hunter. The Bug Buster scope is for the pro hunters. It has features that bring out the best of a hunter.

The UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster has emerald-coated lens giving you an amazing clarity. The 1-inch lens tube allows optimal light transmission and therefore, improving vision. Also, a premium zero-reset allows you to make adjustments with ease.

The UTG 3-9×32 1̎ Bug Buster is nitrogen filled, making it weatherproof.  Talking of clarity, the Bug Buster’s Emerald Coated Lens allows excellent light transmission.

True to its high-performance nature, the Bug Buster has Mil-dot reticle for great targeting. I must say, the Bug Buster comes with easy-to-adjust features. We are talking about easy adjustments of your knobs: zero-lockable and zero-reset turrets and a 1/4 MOA (Minute of Angle) per click.


  • Multi-color mode
  • Weatherproof
  • Resettable turrets
  • Great eye relief
  • Durable
  • Good design


  • Best suited for pro hunters


   7. Sightmark – Photon Xt 6.5x50mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

Photon XT

Sightmark – Photon Xt 6.5x50mm Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

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The Photon Xt is a high magnification rifle scope. With the 6.5x magnification, 50mm lens and 640×40 resolution, you are guaranteed of a good shot for up to 200 yards. The 50mm objective lens allows optimal light and therefore, giving you a clear view of the target.

The multi-colored digital reticle mode is an effective feature when shooting from a long distance. Besides, you will enjoy using the built-in laser and therefore, shooting at a target is easy.

The scope comes with a digital windage and elevation adjustment system. However, do not worry since you can set up scope as it comes with a full kit and rings ready to mount.


  • High magnification (6.5x)
  • Multi-colored digital reticles
  • A video output feature
  • Comes with a ready kit


  • Bulky
  • Premium price

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Scope for AR 15 Coyote Hunting

There are some factors to look out for when choosing the best scope for AR 15 Coyote Hunting: magnification, objective lens, reticle, cost, durability, and weight.


Magnification is everything when it comes to the best scope for AR 15 coyote hunting.  I would recommend you look for a scope that suits your hunting environment. Remember, some hunters like hunting at night while others are okay during the daytime.

Go for high magnification scopes if you are hunting at night or on open fields. A medium to low magnification is okay during day time. Besides, each hunter has a unique shooting style, and therefore, the scope’s magnification is critical.

Now, hunting in deep woods does not require a high magnification scope as compared to hunting in open fields.

Objective lens

Depending on whether you hunt at night or during the daytime, you must have a scope that gives you a good sight. You do not want to miss the varmint as it crosses the field. Always go for rifle scope with bigger objective lens.

For coyote hunting, I would recommend you choose an objective lens that is at least 50mm. I can guarantee you that with a bigger objective lens, you can get a clear shot at the coyote if not better.


A high-quality reticle is everything in a hunting rifle scope. Of course, you need a scope that helps you pinpoint a fast-moving coyote. Remember, coyotes move around nonstop, and sometimes, hiding. Fast Focal Plane reticles are commonly used in hunting coyotes.

However, Mil-Dot reticles are your choice if you want to drop the coyote from a long distance. Moreover, with crosshair reticles such as the fine duplex and wide duplex, you can pinpoint the coyotes at a longer range.


When buying a rifle scope for AR 15 coyote hunting, it all depends on your budget. As an amateur coyote hunter, do not go for the high-end scopes. Remember, a high-quality scope is slightly expensive but worth the price.


Durable rifle scope must withstand hunting the coyotes under extreme conditions. I am talking about hunting in extreme weather conditions and tough terrain. Sometimes, you crawl and move between bushes and therefore, need a rugged scope for such conditions. When buying a scope for AR 15 coyote hunting, check whether it is weatherproof; water-proof, shockproof, and fog-proof.


Hunting coyote is no easy task if you decide to carry weighty accessories. You do not need the total weight of your rifle and scope to slow you down. Choose a lightweight scope that makes your shooting experience easier.

7 Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting 2020


For bowhunters, bow hunting has never been that easy. It requires some practicing to get that killer shot.

Bowhunters understand this better than those accustomed to hunting using a rifle or shotguns.

Apart from learning how to draw length, a bow hunter must learn to find the right range before striking.

Rangefinders compliment a hunter’s eyesight and help in scanning and determining if the target is within a good distance. As a bow hunter, you can use rangefinders while hunting on open fields or from a tree stand.  The rangefinder is one of the most essential bow hunting gear that a savvy hunter carry along.

7 Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting

1.Vortex Range 1300 Rangefinder

Vortex 1300 Rangefinder

Vortex 1300 Rangefinder

True to its name, the Vortex range 1300 Rangefinder is your ideal rangefinder for bow hunting if you want a range of up to 1300 yards. The rangefinder allows you to strike your game with acute precision.

The Vortex Ranger 1300 is your ideal rangefinder if you like going for the killer shot from a long distance.

The Vortex Ranger 1300 has a horizontal component (HCD) mode display that allows you to improve range accuracy by reading the correct angle distance.

You can take a long-distance shot from a difficult angle thanks to the Vortex 1300 LOS mode capabilities.

The Vortex 1300 Ranger allows you to scan both immobile and mobile targets. The scan mode of this rangefinder ensures the display is visibly clear even in poor light conditions.

The Vortex 1300 has a multi-layered lens with capabilities of reducing light reflection and therefore, improving the clarity of the target.

The Vortex 1300 comes with a neck string and detachable clip; hence, it is an easy hunting equipment to carry along in your bow hunting escapades.


  1. The price is pocket-friendly
  2. Can measure up to 1300 yards
  3. It has an LED display
  4. Can measure the distance from a difficult angle


  1. Looks identical to Vortex Ranger 1000
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2. Bushnell 2022008 Bone Collector


Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector

Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector

The Bone Collector Edition 4x Laser Rangefinder  Realtree Xtra Camo, 20mm  is the real deal if you prefer hunting in all weather. It is a high-performance rangefinder with incredible features such as the 4x magnified monocular and in-view LCD.

The optical performance of the Bushnell 2022008 Bone Collector is exemplary. The optics are sufficient, considering the gadget comes with a 21mm objective lens.

The rangefinder has a class 1 eye-safe infrared laser and accuracy of 1 yard plus or minus. For a bow hunter, the rangefinder allows you a maximum range of 600 yards and about 200 yards to a target.

The Bushnell 2022008 Bone Collector is easy to use and handle. It has a single-button operation and in-view LCD showing range, aiming reticle, and battery power status.


  • Secure grip
  • Weatherproof
  • Cost-effective


  • Uncoated glass
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3.  TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder

TecTecTec ProWild Rangefinder

TecTecTec ProWild Rangefinder

Bowhunters agree that the new TecTecTec ProWild Rangefinder has made bowhunting a lot easier and fun. TecTecTec is a new brand in the market, and the capabilities of ProWild rangefinder has revolutionized the bowhunting.

The ProWild Rangefinder comes with 6x magnification, and that means that its ranging is about 540 yards. Another interesting capability is its continuous scan mode allowing the bowhunter to have a better view of both mobile and immobile targets.

The accuracy of the ProWild rangefinder within 1 yard is unmatched.

You will find the TecTecTec ProWild rangefinder of great help if you like to calculate the speed at which your target is moving. This means that the ProWild rangefinder is both help to bow hunting as well as in rifle hunting.

The ProWild rangefinder is your ultimate gadget if your bow hunting adventure is on a rainy day.

It is both weatherproof and shock-resistant.

If you love simplicity and gadgets that are lightweight and easy to carry in your hunting adventures, then consider ProWild rangefinder.


  • Pocket-friendly
  • Multi-layered optics
  • Clear image
  • Accuracy in terms of distance and speed
  • Flexible wrist strap


  • Ineffective at night
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4.  Niko Arrow ID VR 7000

Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 Rangefinder

Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 Rangefinder

You can never go wrong with a Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 Rangefinder in bowhunting. The Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 is the most advanced rangefinder technology you will ever come across. The Vibration Reduction (VR) aspect that comes with the rangefinder is everything that sets the gadget apart from the rest. This means the VR is the real deal in image stabilization, and you do not have to worry about shaking and having a blurred image.

The anti-shake VR technology gives you image sharpness irrespective of the bowhunting conditions.

The Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 allows hunters to have a clear view of 1,000 yards. Moreover, the gadget’s HYPER READ technology is an added advantage if you want instant readings and accuracy to -/+.5 yards.

The optics performance are out of this world as the gadget has a 6x magnification coupled with a 21mmm objective lens and not to mention the 18mm eye relief.

For bowhunters who are worried about angle compensation, Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 gives you exactly what you want.

Indeed, Nikon Arrow ID VR 7000 is weatherproof, easy to carry and its performance in open fields is unrivalled by any other bowhunting rangefinder.


  • Cost-effective
  • ID technology
  • VR technology
  • Easy to use
  • Hyper Read technology


  • It has no LED display
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5. Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 Rangefinder


Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 Rangefinder Monocular

The Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 Rangefinder Monocular (SGSOK85401) is made by a renowned manufacturer of hunting weapons: Sig Sauer. Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 has 4X magnification and therefore, ideal for long-distance measurements.

With the addition of 20mm objective lens of 24mm of eye relief, this gadget works superbly well within 100 yards and an accuracy of +/- 0.2.

Sig Sauer 4X20mm KILO850 has Lightwave DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology that makes it process readings at a superfast speed of 0.25 seconds.

Did I mention how the KILO850 turns you into a pro bow hunter? Yes, this gadget allows you to lock the target from a distance. Sig Saucer KILO850 gives you an angle compensated distance and provides you with accurate measurement readings thanks to selective buttons for your preferred modes.


  • Selective modes
  • Has a Hypersanc
  • DSP technology
  • Cost-effective
  • Lightweight, compact and user-friendly


  • Only water-resistant and not entirely weatherproof
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6. HALO XR80038-8 800 Yard Tru Bark Camo

HALO XR80038-8 800


The HALO XR80038-8 800 Yard Tru Bark Camo Rangefinder is popular among bowhunters who previously used the HALO XRT series.

With HALO XR80038-8 800 you can hunt from a tree stand or if you like from a mountain. The HALO XR has an angle compensation making it easy to hunt on any ground thanks to this gadget’s AI (Angle Intelligence) mode.

The fun part about this gadget is that you can get your target from 800 yards.

HALO XR80038-8 800 has a 6X magnification, and thus you have a great view of the surrounding. The HALO XR has a Scan Mode coupled with an Auto Acquisition capabilities allow the bowhunter to get the instantaneous readings and therefore, enhancing more accuracy.

You can use HALO XR80038-8 800 when it is raining; the gadget is water-resistant.

The rangefinder has LCD in addition to having a long-lasting CR2 lithium-ion battery and lanyard.

With a HALO XR80038-8 800 rangefinder, you get to have the feel of pro-hunter thanks to the gadget’s camo wrap.


  • Cost-effective
  • Camo wrap
  • Easy to use
  • Water-resistant


  • No LED readout
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7.  Simmons 801600 Volt 600 Rangefinder

Simmons 801600 Volt 600 Rangefinder

Simmons 801600 Volt 600 laser Rangefinder is your best deal if you want a cheap gadget for bow hunting. This rangefinder is not only cheap but easy to use, considering its effectiveness on short-range hunting.

The rangefinder has a 4X magnification and is best suited if you want to acquire a distance of around 600 yards. However, there still exist other advanced versions of this rangefinder.

The optical performance of this rangefinder is exemplary, and from a single button, you get to measure the distance to your target accurately.

The Simmons 801600 Volt 600 Rangefinder has accurate distance readings when used on an open field. This means that your bow hunting field should be devoid of trees, bushes and slopes.

It has a black display and therefore, making it suitable to hunt during day time.


  • Pocket-friendly
  • Excellent optic performance
  • Easy to use


  • Only suitable in open fields

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How to Find Best Rangefinders For Bow Hunting

The following factors are important to consider when buying the best rangefinders for bow hunting.


Some of the best-rated rangefinders brands on the market include and not limited to Nikon, Bushnell, Vortex, WOSPORTS, Simmons and Leupold. A renowned brand name gives you confidence that the product will be of top quality. The following best-rated rangefinder considers the brand and quality.


Unlike in hunting with a rifle, the rangefinders for bow hunting have less range.


It is important that you get a rangefinder that is lightweight and easy to carry along. Therefore, you must be considerate of the rangefinder’s shape and weight. No one wants to go hunting with heavy equipment.

LCD light

Buy a rangefinder for bow hunting that has both the black and red display. The black display ensures you get the accurate range in blight light while the red display is useful in darkness.


A good rangefinder must have a great magnification to ensure that you get a clear and wider view of the target game.


Among the top-rated rangefinder brands, you will find rangefinders that are both expensive and cheap. The price of the rangefinder dictates the kind of range and functions you want.


As a good bow hunter, you should look out for additional features that you want in a rangefinder. For example, an ideal rangefinder must have a battery backup good optical capabilities as well as durable coatings. It is in your best interest to choose a rangefinder with a readable display and sizable screen. In recent years, bow hunters prefer rangefinders with angle compensation since it is not a must to hunt in open fields.

Pheasant Hunting Tips

Besides being extremely fun to hunt, the meal that a pheasant hunt produces is as good as they come. Knowing about this popular upland bird will help you in the field and will also make you and your family very happy around the table this year.
Owner of THE BREAK, John Caldwell, shows-off a Hancock County, Illinois ringneck. Photo by Mike Roux

I like this topic. It never fails that when I put pen to paper concerning pheasant hunting, a broad smile crosses my face. I have more fun pheasant hunting and guiding pheasant hunts than any other type. I enjoy hunting other species more, but I don’t have more fun with them. It is amazing how a target that big and that slow can be missed so often.

I have chased these beautiful, long-tailed oriental transplants in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. I have a special passion for N.E. Missouri pheasant. My first trip was exciting. My good friends, Jill and Steve Shoop, were kind enough to invite me on an opening day “bird hunt.” To me that automatically meant quail. Nobody bothered mentioning pheasant to me….until the first one flushed in my face. I hit that shot, but I have missed my share since then.

One of the reasons pheasant are so often missed is the desire most bird hunters have to harvest at least one bird like this each season. It is like the “bird hunters’ bonus.” Pheasant tend to bring out the once-a-year bird hunters. No other upland game has a hold on wing shooters like the pheasant.

Add to that the superb flavor of this game bird and the amount of meat that comes off this almost chicken-sized bird and you can easily see why it is so popular. A couple of pheasant breasts on the grill is enough to make any hunter “bird happy.”

The best thing about this big, tasty bird is its ever increasing availability.This bird is beginning once again to thrive in the croplands of Missouri and Illinois. We may not yet have pheasant numbers like Nebraska or South Dakota, but we are opening-up new counties almost every year. Our limits are not as liberal as those states with denser pheasant populations, however, I’m relatively sure that will come, probably on a county by county basis.

The ringneck pheasant is an immigrant to the U.S. that has become one of our most popular game-bird species. Photo by Mark Clemens

One thing that is helping pheasant re-growth is their ability to be reintroduced into “shot-out” areas or places where predation decimated them. This lets conservation departments utilize these birds to furnish supplemental hunting for its hunting license buyers and permits private landowners to stock their places with pheasant for fee shooting. Pheasant have the capability of becoming virtually as wild as their naturally reared counterparts within about 24 hours of their release. Few other “liberated” birds share that trait.

Pheasant can be frustrating to hunt. They will sneak through the brush and refuse to fly, preferring to run, and they often will not sit tight for pointing dogs. You must make the effort and take the time to condition your dog to these pheasant characteristics. It could save both you and your dog some embarrassing moments.

A king-sized rooster pheasant may weigh as much as five pounds, live weight, but the average is probably closer to three pounds. They have relatively short wings for this weight, which accounts for their slow take-off. Do not let them get lined-out though. Once a pheasant levels-off, they can fly at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. Once they reach top speed they like to glide. This glide shot is tough for most shooters, because the bird is descending as it moves. This decent is not always noticeable as you swing for and lead your shot. If you want to get a good shot, you must learn how to pattern your shotgun.

The rule for wild pheasant hunting is “NO HENS.” You must shoot cocks only. On preserves you may harvest any bird. Even though it does not take a pheasant hen long to become wild after she’s been liberated, you may still harvest pen-raised hens on preserves. There is no mistaking the rooster though. His bright coloration, iridescent green head and long, streaming tail feathers make him unmistakable as he becomes airborne.


This pile of N.E. Missouri ringnecks came from Steve Shoop’s J&S TROPHY HUNTS. Photo by Mike Roux

The hen is a bird of a different color. Brownish and mottled, she is drab in comparison to the multi-colored cock and usually smaller. Young roosters who have not yet reached their full adult color phase may look a lot like hens. Early in the season, be sure of your target. Do not be fooled by a cackling bird that has been flushed. Sometimes hens cackle, too.

The two biggest problems we pheasant hunters face are finding a place to hunt and getting the birds in the air to shoot at. Most pheasant hunting is done on CRP land that lies close or next to grain fields. Because pheasants like this kind of crop cover, it can present more problems. Landowners, especially those who are raising crops, have become increasingly reluctant to give permission for hunters and dogs to traipse around their farms. And, if there is no grain crop, there most likely are no birds either. Also, many farmers develop not only proprietary interest in the birds they see every day, but they actually become fond of them as well. They do not want to see them shot.

So, unless you do your pheasant hunting on well-planned trips with guides, lodging and a place to hunt, your first step is to get to know a landowner. How each hunter gets permission to hunt private land must remain his own secret. I have very little advice to give, because I do not want to meet-up with you someday in a CRP patch I thought was mine. But here’s the key—If you treat a landowner as a friend or a business associate, and do not treat him like a “dumb hick,” you may find a door will occasionally open to you.

Once you have gotten permission to hunt, you now face the problem of finding the birds and getting them out of the cover they love. Those attention-attracting roosters everyone saw along the road scratching for gravel or feeding in a stubble field have suddenly disappeared. No other bird can be so visible one minute and so reclusive the next.

There is one sure-fire way to find pheasant, if they are there, and that’s with a dog. I have never hunted pheasant without dogs and never intend to. Another good reason for dogs is the pheasant’s toughness. Besides turkeys, they are the hardest thing to kill I have ever hunted. Recovering these birds once they are down is almost impossible without dogs.

Caleb Roux and Spencer Dietrich prove that at THE BREAK, pheasant hunting is also a young man’s sport. Photo by Mike Roux

Pheasant are famous for their unwillingness to fly until all other methods of escaping the hunter and the dog have failed. In comparison with most of the other upland birds, they have pretty short wings for their long length. But those legs are made for sprinting, and they use them.

When you find grain fields next to rough cover like marshes, creek bottoms, ditches or unmowed or unharvested strips of hay or grain, you have found the prime habitat these birds prefer. The birds stick to this heavy cover during the day. Pheasant start moving from their nighttime roosting places at dawn. They come out to dry-off and to pick gravel for their crops. That is why they are so often seen along the road in the early morning.

From here the birds spread out to feed with cornfields being their prime target. Standing corn is their favorite. This not only offers food, but the very best cover as well. Pheasant may spend their entire day in uncut corn. This makes them tough to find without dogs. You may educate yourself about the best flushing dogs in pheasant hunting.

I prefer to hunt this beautiful bird with dogs. There are flushing Labs and Springer Spaniels that do a great job with pheasant. There are also pointers and setters that have been trained to handle pheasant well. My personal favorite is the Brittany Spaniel. My pick-up could not hold all of the pheasant I have taken from the mouths of “Brits.”

How to Choose an Upland Bird Hunting Guide


According to recent surveys, roughly 1 million upland bird hunters annually travel outside of their home states to pursue game.

Now one million hunters out of 10 to 12 million may not seem like an overwhelming number, but don’t be fooled by this. In real terms, the dollars involved are tremendous.

Thus, it behooves sportsmen to do everything possible to maximize their dollars and get what they want from a hunting trip.

Over the seasons, I’ve gone on a fair number of bird hunts with commercial outfitters. Some of them have been excellent, most have been at least satisfactory, while a very few were wash-outs. The question here is: how do you avoid the wash-outs; how do you put together an outfitter/hunt that will provide the services for which you are paying?

Several times a year, people ask me about upland bird trips; where to go, who to go with and how to go about setting up a hunt. These folks aren’t necessarily searching for the hunt of a lifetime. They want what we all look for in a guided hunt; enough birds, reasonable accommodations, decent dogs, competent guides. And we have every right to expect that these features will be part of any trip we book.

As a general rule, cost will determine what you get. A small preserve that charges $50 per day can’t provide much more than the birds you’ve paid for and a place to shoot them. This doesn’t mean small preserves don’t have a spot in the scheme of things, but they can’t offer anything beyond the basics. There are services which only provide guides. Leaving the hunters to find their own lodging and meals. Other stripped-down operations are available for clients who are interested solely in hunting and are willing to stay in fundamental cabins and eat rough-cooked camp meals. On the higher end of the cost spectrum are lodges which offer a full range of service. Typically, these will run between $300 per person per day to as much as $1,000 (or more) per day for quality facilities and personal accommodations. Hunters looking in the $300 (or less) range can usually book a hunt to satisfy all but the most demanding sportsmen.

One of the most important facts about an outfitter-guided bird hunt is, though they are costly, the expense is well justified. I’ve heard literally hundreds of hunters say, “I’m not going to pay someone to take me hunting. I can figure out where to go by myself.” Truth be told, the bulk of them can’t. There is little point to driving 1,000 miles for a long-anticipated hunt only to run into a multitude of posted signs, fumble around in strange country for week, spend a lot of money on gas, motels and meals. All that just to shoot two or three birds and then drive 1,000 miles home! A much better deal is to book with a quality outfitter and shoot a limit each day and have a good time doing it. As much as not, the difference between a fine hunt and a lousy hunt is the couple of hundred extra dollars paid for an outfitters services.


Traveling sportsmen may choose to hunt multiple species, however, it is often wise to set up a hunt for a primary bird and view others as icing on the cake.

That said, let me lay down a ground-rule: when selecting an outfitter, do your homework. Gather all of the advice you can dig up on the type of hunting and the area before the hunt; the outfitters responsibility usually doesn’t kick in until you arrive at his place. Here are some guidelines for getting started.

Know What You Want From A Hunt

That sounds foolish, but it isn’t. Too many hunters never get beyond the “I want to go on a hunting trip stage” before booking with the first operation they see listed in a sporting magazine. They might get lucky, but the odds are much higher they will not have the hunt they hoped for or, worse, get burned outright. By this, I’m not saying all outfitters are slick shysters out to take your money. However, unprepared hunters won’t know what they have bought into until its too late.

Have Realistic Expectations

If you have booked a wild bobwhite quail hunt, don’t conjure images of 50-bird coveys. That happens only in dreams. Or perhaps it’s a hunt for wild pheasants on Midwestern prairies; don’t expect to see a thousand birds daily or to have relaxed strolls in the fields. In that same vein, be truthful about your physical condition, both to yourself and to an outfitter. Don t imagine you can hike 10 to 15 miles a day, over rough ground, for three to five days if your longest walk in a decade has been to the fridge for dessert. Don’t be disappointed if all of the guide’s gun dogs aren’t world-class. If you are reasonable, there should be opportunities to take game under the conditions he offers.

Professional outfitters, hunting good cover, means that clients get birds, regardless of the game they are after.

Prioritize What Birds You Want To Hunt Before You Book With An Outfitter

You should decide what you want to hunt before ever booking your hunt. This is another bit of advice that sounds silly. It, too, is not. If you want to shoot pheasants and nothing else, that makes it simple. Go to a prime area for those birds, with an outfitter who specializes in hunting them. But many sportsmen want to hunt multiple birds to maximize their time. That’s fine, but it can change the complexion of a hunt. It’s best to have a primary game bird in mind and pursue the others if opportunities arise. By way of example, I’ve shot at least four types of birds on what were mainly pheasant hunts: ducks in early morning, pheasants and quail during the day and prairie chickens in the evening. But the thrust of such hunts was always pheasants. If the others worked out, fine. If, for some reason, ducks, quail and chickens couldn’t beedged-in, the pheasant hunt was still in place. Remember, no outfitter can do it all well.

Think About Other Features Of A Hunt

Other features means what, if anything, is important to you besides shooting birds—what extras would increase the quality of your overall experience? These extras can be high-quality accommodations and gourmet meals or the beauty of a surreal metropolitan area for purposes of sightseeing; while others thrive on backcountry experiences. To some sportsmen, the hunting itself is only part of the story.

In sum, all of this means think seriously, and well in advance, about what you would like from a hunt, and you will be far more likely to get it.



Habitat Improvement for Upland Game


Herbicides are an extremely important tool for wildlife management. They are usually more effective, less costly, and produce longer lasting results than many cultural practices currently used.

This article will focus on improving wildlife habitat and enhancing hunting opportunities at the same time using two basic chemistries – imazapyr and glyphosate.


Imazapyr (ARSENAL, CHOPPER) is an example of a highly selective herbicide. Selectivity means that certain plants are tolerant and will not be harmed (they will, in fact, be released) by over-the-top broadcast applications (see Tolerant Plant List).

These plants can be lumped into three main groups – legumes (partridge pea, lespedeza, beggarweeds, etc.), rubus (blackberry, dewberry, etc.), and pines, which are all tolerant of imazapyr.


Glyphosate (ROUNDUP PROÒ, ACCORDÒ) is an example of a non-selective herbicide, i.e., it will control a very broad spectrum of plants. The plant species that will be released and will recolonize (i.e., those plants that are tolerant) and those that will be controlled is largely a function of the chemistry that is chosen.

Here we will focus on three ways to use herbicides to enhance wildlife habitat and improve the “huntability” of your land. These include enhancing native herbaceous plant communities by controlling low-quality hardwood brush, installing interspersion index enhancement features (spoke & hub), and establishing shooting lanes, stalking trails, and wildlife corridors.

Low-Quality Hardwood Brush Conversion to High-Quality Herbaceous Plants

Many forest understories in the South are choked with low-quality hardwoods like sweetgum (see Photo). They form a dense canopy and shade the ground, virtually eliminating herbaceous plants. Bushhogging and prescribed burning do not control the root systems of low-quality hardwoods and, in fact, may make the problem worse. Hardwoods produce an average of almost 10 new sprouts per rootstock after mowing, for example. The best method to control low-quality hardwood brush is to spray with a herbicide. Use imazapyr in pine dominated forests and use glyphosate in a mixed or hardwood dominated forest when applying broadcast. Apply in the fall in 25-50 GPA with ground rigs (rubber tired skidder, agriculture tractor, 6X6), or in 10 GPA in pine forests with a helicopter (imazapyr only). Conduct a cool, dormant-season prescribed burn at least six weeks after spraying. This will stimulate the native plant seed pool in the soil which will germinate the following Spring and recolonize the understory (see Photo). Subsequent prescribed burning regimes are a function of the wildlife species preferred but usually will rotate from 1- to 10-year intervals. Shorter intervals of 1-3 years are best for quail while 3 to 5 years favor turkey. Intervals of 5-10 years favor whitetail deer.

Interspersion Index Enhancement Feature – Installing a Spoke & Hub

When properly installed, these should resemble a large turkey foot from the air (see Photo), with a minimum of three and not more than five lanes. They represent one of the best hunting experiences imaginable and are extremely well suited for young pine forests. During site preparation, be sure to use imazapyr (no tank mix) to ensure that preferred wildlife food sources will be released. Installation can be conducted with a disc during stand establishment (pine planting) or with a sawhead feller buncher, a bulldozer, or by using the injection method of herbicide delivery in older-aged forests. Stump removal, if desired, can be accomplished with an excavator or they can simply be allowed to decompose. The best method to use during installation depends on a number of factors. Consult an experienced wildlife biologist who is familiar with their installation to avoid costly mistakes. I like to establish the initial width at around one chain (66’) keeping individual spoke length at 100- 400 yards, largely depending on the topography, proximity to adjacent habitats, and the shooting skills of the landowner or guests.

Manage the edges for ecotones, or transition zones, comprised of native plants (broomsedge, blackberry, sumac, forbs, etc.). Keep the ecotones variable in width, usually from 10-30’ wide on both sides. Side-trim to remove undesirable hardwoods with the appropriate herbicide spraying a swath 12-18’ wide. Model 140 BoomBuster nozzles work best. Eventually, disc (one pass) a wavy lane on the right side and bushhog (one pass) a wavy lane on the left side of each lane (see Photo). Plant the interior with agricultural plants and maintain both warmseason and cool-season varieties or mixtures. Lime and fertilize before planting to obtain optimal growth. Tie the ends of each lane into another habitat type or food plot by installing travel corridors. The interspersion index (a numerical value relating to habitat types) goes from one to over 40 with proper installation. Quail, breeding songbirds, neotropical migrants, turkey, rabbits, and whitetail deer will use these features. Install an elevated hunting stand in the back center of the hub about even with the tree line. It may be necessary to prune overhanging branches along the edges to increase the available light and enhance viewing. During thinning operations, these lanes can be used as skid trails while the hub can serve as the log deck.

Corridor Establishment – Shooting Lanes and Stalking Trails

One of the best ways to practice Quality Deer Management (QDM) as defined and promoted by the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), is to enhance the ability of hunters to observe deer for a longer period of time prior to harvesting. Better harvest decisions can then be made with respect to protecting yearling bucks, harvesting does, and harvesting management bucks with poor antler morphology. One way to accomplish this is by installing shooting lanes. Forests (pine, mixed, or hardwood) where natural travel lanes already exist are usually chosen. First, map out all deer trails in the area. Second, choose a site for a ladder stand, lock-on, or climber. Next, using a compass or GPS, lay in a flag line that intercepts two or more deer trails. Then, selectively remove appropriate trees until adequate sunlight and observation is reached. The deer trails should intersect at 90-degree angles or at least quarter into the lane. I usually use a Shindaiwa B-45/P.J. Blade combination for small diameter stems (<2” Diameter at Brest Height or DBH) and an Husqvarna 340 chainsaw for larger stems (2-4” DBH). Physically remove the trees from the site. For larger trees, use the injection method and leave standing. Apply a cut-surface herbicide to the stumps to prevent sprouting. Each shooting lane should be 100-200 yards long. Keep the lanes around 50’ wide but vary the width down to around 30’ in places. Consider slope and aspect when choosing the site and keep the prevailing wind direction in mind when selecting stand locations. Alternate stand locations can be chosen when using climbers, depending on wind direction. I usually keep the number of lanes to one or two in these situations. Disc the interior with a square-wheel-type disc, fertilize, plant, and disc again (see Photo). Stalking whitetail deer is some of the best hunting there is, and proper management can help this too.

To improve your chances stalking, install a trail system that dissects different habitats. With these, the denser the vegetation the better. Start with an aerial photo of your property and select areas that may primarily be used for feeding, bedding, and escape cover. Do not penetrate deer sanctuaries that should be near the center of your land. Flag your trail carefully prior to installation. Try to identify existing deer trails and include as many 45- to 90- degree angles as possible with both right and lefthand corners. Keep your straightaway to around 40 yards or so (see Photo). Mow the trial initially with a small tractor or ATV and a 4’ bushhog. Prune the lower limbs of the inside of each corner. Spray a 36’ swath around 30 yards in length with imazapyr to release legumes and rubus where appropriate at a 90-degree angle on each side of each straightaway, staggering them. Fertilize the entire trail system, including the sprayed lanes. Apply glyphosate in a 2’ band in the middle of the trail to expose bare dirt and remove all vegetation to maintain silence while hunting. I like to conceal the entrance and exit from view. After the initial installation phase, refrain from driving an ATV or tractor on the stalking trail again. Wear rubbersoled boots and use some of the new clothing that locks in human scent when hunting. Hopefully, the information contained in this article will help you to enhance wildlife habitat on your property and will make your hunting experiences more enjoyable. For additional information feel free to contact me at any time. Good hunting.

Note: If are you unfamiliar with the use of herbicides for wildlife habitat management, consult an expert. Herbicide rates and tank mixes are complex and site specific and should be prescribed by professionals. Always read and follow the label directions exactly.

How to Break a Gun Shy Dog


When it comes to good hunting dogs I have to admit that I am far from being an expert on the subject. In fact when it comes to a good gun dog you will get as many suggestions and techniques as you will ever want if you ask enough people. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and the proof of a good gun dog is realized in a waterfowl blind or in a grassy upland field. It is then that the old saying” When the tail gate drops, the B.S. stops “ comes into play.

I have asked for the assistance of my good friend Jeff Foiles who is owner and operator of Foiles Migrators Strait Meat mallard, and honker waterfowl calls. Jeff also holds more calling titles than I have time to list here. With some good sound advice and taking the time to do it right you may well find yourself with a top gun dog to enjoy not only as a hunting companion but as a well behaved friend as well.

Let’s start with buying the right pup. Jeff advises that you should never buy a pup from a pet store, or even from the neighbor down the street who just happens to have some lab pups without checking out the dog’s bloodlines. Jeff is quick to add that not only should you check out one side of the family tree but more importantly both sides of the family tree. Good intelligence capabilities are very important Jeff stresses.

The next step in preparing a good gun dog is to find a good trainer. Find a trainer that will take the time that is needed in training your dog, Jeff adds. Many trainers take on more dogs than they can handle. When this happens you come out the loser. Jeff uses Scott Geisler from Galene Michigan. Scott trains a limited amount of dogs at one time, and takes great pride in training dogs that nearly anyone can hunt with.

Another important thing to remember Jeff says is that you yourself must be trained as well as your dog. You must know how to use the commands but more importantly you must know when to use the commands.

One of the most important steps in training your gun dog is to force break the dog. This phase of his training will take about thirty days. The force breaking training starts when your dog has gotten his set of adult teeth. This particular training teaches respect and discipline. Force breaking teaches the dog to hold onto a downed bird until you give him the command to release the bird to your hand. One great sign that your dog has learned this phase well is to witness the dog come out of the water with bird in mouth and resist the urge to shake and drop the bird.

Jeff stresses to work your dog in as many varied types of cover and hunting situations as possible. Work the dog out of a boat, or a pit blind, or in heavy cover Jeff advises. This teaches the dog to be at ease in any hunting situation. More than once in his guiding experience Jeff has seen a hunter bring his retriever to a pit blind for the first time only to have the dog jump into the pit knocking over thermos bottles of hot coffee and knocking down precious shotguns in the process. A dog that does not know how to act in the particular hunting environment that he finds himself in can ruin many a good hunt. By working him in as many types of hunting situations as you can, you will condition your dog to react properly and make a more enjoyable hunt for everyone Jeff adds.

Jeff is a firm believer in using an electronic collar. Jeff prefers the Tri-tronics collar in working with his dogs. Jeff advises that you resist the urge to physically discipline your hunting dog. All this does is make your dog scared of you Jeff says, and it also leaves him confused as to what you want out of him. When you push the button on the electronic collar all the dog gets is a sore neck, but he realizes the behavior that he was exhibiting is not acceptable and will learn not to repeat it in the future.

If you go off on the dog with a temper induced rage all you have done is give your dog a destructive lesson Jeff firmly states. Use the collar and spend the time to do it the right way and you won’t be sorry.

Blind retrieves are another important step in training your gun dog. This writer in fact has seen many a good upland dog do some blind retrieves that were nothing short of phenomenal. Many hunters use a whistle for this type of retrieve, and very effectively I might add. Again the electronic collar is custom made for this type of training. IF the dog does not respond to a your command the button is pushed for the collar and the dog is reinforced not to repeat the problem behavior.

Good bloodlines, patience, a competent dog trainer, and actual hunting experience make for all the right ingredients for a good gun dog. Jeff’s black lab Buck who has since passed away exhibited all of these qualities and then some. I often marveled at how well this dog worked when hunting geese with Jeff.

Many times the big black lab would come prancing back to the goose pit or blind with not one but two big fat honkers tucked into his velvet mouth that was so soft he could retrieve a piece of fine crystal and you needn’t worry.

Buck had more heart than nearly any dog I have ever hunted over. I remember well one bone chilling day in Michigan where I was goose hunting with Jeff. The big hearted dog came over and kept this old writer warm and comfortable by cuddling up to me in the twenty below zero cold. He was a one of a kind, and even today you will seldom hear Jeff talk of him because of the painful loss of his passing.

Great gun dogs are dogs that someone took the time to do everything right with. They are not born that way, nor are they some super natural creature. They are simply dogs that have been trained and were trainable both important factors in this complex equation.

If you want a great gun dog, follow the tips that Jeff has shared and I think you will find yourself a companion who will give you a lifetime of great memories as well as a warm cuddle on a cold winter’s day. Sleep also plays a very vital role in raising good dogs. Make sure to invest in the best dog beds for your retriever.

Great gun dog, they are made not born that way.

Best Tree Stands for Bow Hunting 2020

Best Tree Stands for Bow Hunting

There is a wide variety of tree stands on the market and we’ve narrowed it down to the Top 5 bow hunting tree stands for you to peruse.  A quality stand is one of those bow hunting accessories which can make the hunt more enjoyable, safer, and at the end of the day, more successful.

There’s a range of prices in this Top 5 bow hunting tree stands list so you can match your budget to one of the best and definitely get your money’s worth.

1. Lone Wolf Alpha Hand Climber II Combo

There’s a lot to like about this lightweight climbing tree stand.  It packs to just 2.5 inches thick and is remarkably lithe at 14.5lbs. The cast aluminum platform offers a generous 4+ square feet of standing room, enough to give you the positioning and angle you want for the perfect shot.

Other important features of the Alpha Hand Climber II Combo from Lone Wolf include the unique 3-D platform design for better secrecy, the bow holder molded into the platform, the backpack straps that make transporting it much easier, and the comfortably contoured padded seat with included fasteners.  This tree stand fits trees with 6” to 19” diameter and is rated to 350lbs.

2. API Outdoors Grand Slam Extreme Climbing Treestand Model ACL405A

This comfortable and sturdy stand features Alumni-Tech design that combines lightweight materials with rugged construction.  The welded aluminum frame is very quiet and provides a secure 20×27 inch platform for mobility and comfort.

The padded climbing bar, armrest, and adjustable seat make this a good choice for long days waiting for that premium buck to swagger into range. Other top features include the power-grip chains for trees from 9” to 20” in diameter, the folding footrest for climbing ease and comfort, traction ridges on the platform and the triangular extrusions which act to enhance strength while reducing noise. It includes backpack straps and a bag for your bowhunting accessories.

The API Outdoors Grand Slam Extreme Climbing Treestand is rated to 300 lbs.

3.  Lone Wolf Assault II Hang On Treestand

Lone Wolf makes the list again, this time with a lightweight hang-on stand with 3-D camouflage platform and cast bow holder that fits most parallel limb compound bows.

At just 11lbs, getting this stand to your hunting zone is easy, especially with the included backpack straps.  Once you get there, the 14”x21” padded seat offers more comfort as you await your prey.

The one-piece cast aluminum platform offers 26”x19.5” of room.  A TMA-approved fall arrest system is included. The Assault II Hang On Treestand from Lone Wolf fits trees up to 22” in diameter and is rated to 350lbs.

4. Summit Viper SS Climbing Treestand

The seat on this Summit treestand is adjustable to fit your style whether bow hunting or gun hunting.  Or remove the seat altogether if you’d prefer, with just a few quick steps.

A solid front bar is useful for climbing and works as a padded gun and armrest.  The Summit Viper SS Climbing Treestand package includes a 4-point safety harness, Rapid Climb stirrups and the ropes and straps you need to secure your stand to trees up to 20” in diameter.

This stand is a bit heavier than most at 20lbs, but it offers a large 20×28.75 inch platform and comfortable padded seat that goes 18×12.  The comfortable backrest is 12×20.  The Summit Viper SS is rated to 300lbs and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.

5. Gorilla New Greyback 47027Climber Treestand

This is a deluxe tree stand, though heavy at 27lbs.  Still, if your trek from the truck to the tree isn’t too long, assisted by adjustable backpack straps you’ll have a very comfortable and roomy treestand to hunt from.

The platform is 18×30 inches, the seat is 18×12 and the backrest is 12×20. This is a versatile stand with 2 accessory bags that can be detached to take with you.

The steel construction accounts for the weight, and also the strength of the unit rated to 300lbs. Pivoting arm grips work well on trees from 8”  to 20” in diameter.  For quiet, comfortable stability, the Greyback 47027Climber Treestand from Gorilla earns a spot on our Top 5 bow hunting tree stands list for this season.

Climbing vs Fixed bow hunting stands – Which is better?

Hunters enjoy a good debate about equipment and you can always get one started by asking “Climbing vs fixed bow hunting stands–which is better?”

Both types have their supporters and much of it comes to personal taste, agility, comfort level, and hunting conditions.

In this guide, we offer an overview of how climbing stands and fixed stands work, then address the pros and cons of each one and end by suggesting who should use each type.

Climbing Bow Hunting Tree Stands

Climbing stands grow in popularity as better designs make them easier and safer to use. Climbing bow hunting stands consist of 2 platforms, each with a brace that is opened, fitted around the tree, and re-secured.

A seat or step below the bracket fits snug against the tree and when downward pressure is put on the seat of step, the tension holds it firmly in place. When the seat or step is lifted, the tension is released and the platform can be moved up or down.

The hunter pushes the seat platform up and secures it against the tree, putting his weight onto it to hold himself. Using his feet, he loosens the lower/step platform and slides it up the tree.

He stands on the step and moves the seat up again. In this way, the hunter climbs the tree in incremental, inchworm-like steps until the right height is reached for the climbing bow hunting stand.

Fixed Bow Hunting Stands

Fixed bow hunting stands are also called hanging bow hunting stands. They feature platforms that attach securely to the tree with the use of chains or straps.

The back of the platform is usually straight or slightly curved to accommodate the curve of the tree. To hang the bow hunting tree stand, the hunter can climb the tree if the tree is suitable. Otherwise, a lightweight ladder or climbing sticks are used to hand and access the stand.

See below how to shoot a deer from a climbing standContinue reading

[Checklist] 7 of the Most Essential Bow Hunting Gear That a Savvy Hunter Must Have

Bow Hunting Gear

Bow hunting, or bowhunting as it’s commonly referred, is one of the most rewarding and personal challenges a true hunter will either love or hate!

There is no guarantee that you will find success when bow hunting, but it sure is worth the challenge.  On some days it may be the weather that affects your shot, on others… it may be your hunted prey that won’t cooperate.

While the bow hunting guides on this website won’t guarantee success, the bow hunting equipment guides, accessories and bow hunting tips you find will definitely give you the edge while bow hunting.

The more prepared you are for the hunt, the better your odds of successfully finding, stalking and killing your prey!

Bow Hunting Equipment Guides

In order to be successful at bow hunting, you should have the right equipment for what you plan to hunt, whether it be deer, elk or other prey.  Even if you are armed with the correct bow, it doesn’t guarantee you will be successful the first time out.   The key is to put in plenty of practice so you learn from your mistakes.

Hopefully, the next time out you will have a better chance at getting off the right shot and hitting your target!


When you are out in the woods or field with your bow you absolutely need to make every shot count.

Missing out on a large rack or a big hunk of meat because you came onto his turf unprepared is inexcusable, and that will never happen when you’re packing a lethal set of broadhead arrows.

Broadheads enhance penetration over field point arrows and greatly increase the damage done.  More devastating clean-through shots are the results, with shorter trails leading to your trophy.

Broadhead arrows are the choice of bow hunters who respect their game animals enough to take them out quickly.

Today’s field of manufacturers is crowded with outstanding technology, razor-sharp blades that are either fixed or mechanical, accuracy that is second to none, and varying sizes to match the game you’re setting your sights on.  Look for the best broadhead arrows in the business from top names like Allen, Grim Reaper, G5, Rap and NAP.

Compound Bows

Today’s top compound bow manufacturers keep pushing the technological envelope which leads to better performance in every generation of models.

Cam designs include single and dual set-ups as well as hybrids that deliver all the power while being extremely quiet.

Another feature to look for in the compound bow you choose, from top makers like Mathews or McPherson, is a draw weight that fits your build.

While many hunters want to pull 70-lb bows for the fastest speeds and flattest trajectories you’ll do better to choose the compound bow you can handle the best while still delivering good speed and power.

The fast 70-lb compound bows can be tough for those with a medium or small build to handle, and a 50-60 pound model would serve you better.  Even 35-50 pound bows will do the job.  The key is to find one you can be deadly accurate with since accuracy outperforms power in the field.

Other quality compound bow brands you’ll want to consider include industry pioneer Hoyt along with PSE and Jennings.  All of these compound bow manufacturers offer a wide range of outstanding products that will improve your performance while chasing the big game of your dreams.

Crossbow Hunting Bows

Men have been taking down dinner with crossbow hunting bows for more than a thousand years.

The tradition continues with absolutely the most extraordinary equipment ever produced.  Today’s crossbow hunting bows pack years of research and development into each model that actually simplifies the process for you – simply cock, aim and shoot while highly advanced engineering kicks into action and does what is was made to do.

You’ll enjoy tremendous accuracy from PSE Crossbows and Excalibur Crossroads while Barnett Crossbows and Horton Crossbows might give you the edge in speed.

But it’s really splitting hairs – which these crossbow hunting bows could probably do from 30 yards at 400 fps– because all of today’s top manufacturers produce models that would make Medieval man’s head spin.

Now that crossbow hunting bows are legal for use in most areas of the country perhaps it is time to see what all of the fun and hunting success is about!

Longbows and Recurve Bows

While today’s compound bows are hot sellers many hunters have never lost their love for longbows and recurve bows. Still, others are continuing the method migration from rifles and shotguns to a more traditional, natural and sporting way to hunt.

Before compound bows took center stage many archery companies like Hoyt Archery were turning out world-class longbows and recurve bows and today others have entered the field.

When you peruse the highest quality longbows and recurve bows you’ll find manufacturers that are very familiar to bow hunters.

Martin Recurve bows, PSE Longbows and recurve bows, and Bear Archery recurves shoot amazingly well and are creating a new generation of adherents.

Newcomers to North America include New Zealand based Archery Imports longbows that are stunningly efficient and a pleasure to shoot.  Accuracy, speed, power, and performance are all part of today’s best longbows and recurve bows.

Related: How to Pattern a Hunting Shotgun

Bow Hunting Sights and Range Finders

If you can see it better, you’ll hit it more often, and if you know how far away it is your aim will be much truer.  That’s the basic philosophy that drives the top makers of today’s Bow Hunting Sights and Rangefinders.

These technologically innovative products offer you advantages unheard of before – an enhanced vision with fiber optics and accuracy that lets you learn your ranges and increase your ability to put your arrowhead or bolt right where it needs to be.

When you walk into the brush or climb the tree stand with and Apex bow sight or an HHA Sports Trophy sight as part of your setup you know you’ll be on the money.

Copper John sights and Trophy Ridge models let you focus on good mechanics without worrying about distance and aim.  Peruse today’s top models and make your next hunt a memorable one.

Bow Stabilizers and Releases

If you are going to become the most lethal hunter you can be spending some time shooting at targets is part of the bargain.

But when your bow is vibration and your wrists are hurting it’s easy to call it quits before your skills are optimized.  That’s where the right bow stabilizers and releases are vital.

Bow stabilizers are crafted to absorb bow vibration so your hands don’t.  A by-product of the vibration reduction is a corresponding reduction in sound, and if you’ve ever had a deer out-quick your dart because he heard it coming you know how important a quiet shot is.

Today’s best bow and accessory makers also design and offer quality bow stabilizers and releases.

The favorites among today’s hunters include PSE bow stabilizers, which are also known as Vibracheck stabilizers, Limbsaver bow stabilizers, Trophy Ridge bow stabilizers, and Apex bow stabilizers.

They deliver the job of quieting the action and sound of your bow so you can give your full attention to making your shot calm, accurate and deadly.  Add one to your setup today and start shooting with more comfort, balance, and effectiveness tomorrow.

Bow Hunting Tree Stands and Blinds

Your silent partner in taking more deer this season will by your hunting tree stands and blinds.  Whichever way you go, they play an important role in concealing your presence and offering you the right shot for the situation.

Hunting stands from top manufacturers like Summit tree stands and Lone Wolf keep you comfortably situated, free to take your shot while remaining totally safe.  Also, look at quality models from API tree stands and Gorilla tree stands.

When hunting from the ground makes more sense hunting blinds from Ameristep or Primos give you concealment in the woods or field.  They offer portholes and windows covered with shooting mesh to let you get a stealth shot from virtually any direction.

Choosing the right hunting tree stands and blinds is an important choice when you want the best outdoor experience possible – one that includes bringing home a trophy animal of a freezer full of meat.

How to Measure Draw Length for Bow Hunting

How to Measure Draw Length for Bow Hunting

Most bow models are built to provide a three-inch range in maximum draw length depending on which draw length module is installed. You can determine which model you have by examining the brace height and the length of the cam.

Measuring Your Draw Length

With the help of a friend, place a full-length arrow on the bow and draw with a release or fingers according to your shooting style.

  • Draw to your anchor point.
  • Have your assistant grasp the arrow at the front of the riser and pull it off the string.
  • Let the bow down gently.

Now you can measure the arrow from your assistant’s fingers to the arrow nock. This is your draw length to use in selecting your draw length module.

Remember: When using an overdraw, your draw length does NOT change, only your arrow becomes shorter.

Note: You may decide to actually shoot a shorter arrow if your rest is located behind the riser. The actual length of the arrow should be the number you use on an arrow selection chart to determine the correct stiffness and arrow shaft weight.

Another Method

You will need a yard (meter) stick, a tape measure or any long, straight object:

  1. Stand in a comfortable upright position
  2. Raise your arms equally to a straight-out perpendicular position, so that your body resembles an upside-down “L”. Fingers should be outstretched and fingertips should be touching. Shoulders should be forward but not overly stretched and strained.
  3. Hold the measuring device in your touching fingertips place the other end in the middle of your chest.
  4. Now, measure the distance (in inches or centimeters) between your fingertips and the center of your chest bone.

This will be your TRADITIONAL Draw length.

Most people have a draw length of between 26″ and 29″. Smaller people will have a shorter Draw length and taller people will have a longer one.

Perfect Draw Control

Once you have determined the correct module, you can fine tune the draw length to give your bow a precise feel. *To adjust to your exact draw length, enlist the aid of a friend to loosen the allen screw on the opposite side of the riser.

*Draw the bow to your anchor point and have your friend rotate the PDC until the nylon screw is in contact with the cam. Let down and tighten the PDC to lock in place.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is defined as the maximum level of force needed to draw the bow back to the full or cocked position.

Modern compound bows come from the factory with adjustable draw-weight ranges of between 10 and 15 pounds. The most common two are bows with draw weights between 55 and 70, and 65 and 80, pounds.

That means that these bows can be adjusted within that draw-weight range to whatever setting the archer chooses. To measure the correct draw weight for you, take these simple tests.

Standing flat-footed, hold the bow at arm’s length and pull it back. If you have to “cheat”-lift the bow up above your head to achieve a full draw, it’s too heavy.

Next, do the same thing from a seated position, as if you were sitting in a treestand or ground blind. Finally, do it from a kneeling position.

Being able to draw your bow with the minimum of movement, even from weird angles, is important when bowhunting. Any extra body movement can spook an animal, so the less the better.

Draw Weight Adjustment

It is permissible to adjust the weight bolts up to 2 turns each – always equally, without releasing timing hub. However, if the tension on opposite ends of timing cables varies from one end to the other, the hub should be loosened and the bow should be tillered.

The timing cable is the small black cable running through the riser. The weight bolt is equipped with two fiber washers which, when properly greased, act as bearing surfaces allowing the steel washer to rotate freely.

The weight bolt hole in the riser is threaded with a super hard stainless steel thread insert and does not need additional lubricant unless exposed to extreme moisture. Do not use bearing grease which may allow the weight bolt to loosen on its own. Light lithium grease is recommended.

The bottom line when choosing a bow is simply this – does it feel good to you?

Hunting Weapons List- The Must Have Hunting Weapons for Serious Hunters

best hunting weapons list

This section will give you helpful information on how to choose the weapon you plan to use hunting. This information intends to be helpful not all encompasing.

Hunting Bows

hunting weapons
Bowhunting more than any other style of hunting can be more of an art than science. Each archer must adopt a shooting style to fit his/her shooting abilities and personality.

The selection of a bow and its accessories will be a personal and subjective choice.

Choosing a bow and its accessories is largely a matter of personal taste.

Many bowhunters eagerly make use of all the most modern compound bows and the latest accessories. While others prefer a more traditional approach and use long bows and use accessories sparingly. Either will give you years of enjoyment!

Though a hunter need not to buy the most expensive bow and it’s accessories it does make sense to invest in quality equipment.

If possible seek the advice of a hunter you respect or from a reputable source before purchasing your hunting equipment.

No matter what style of bow you choose compound or traditional you will need to determine three VERY important variables: eye dominance, length of draw and draw weight.

See our section on Choosing a Bow to see how to determine your length of draw and draw weight.

Eye Dominance

Bows are configured for right-handed and left handed people. Your choice should be determined by eye dominance not just by being left handed or right handed.

In most cases, hand and eye dominance match, but occasionally a right-handed person will have a dominant left eye or vice versa.

To figure out which of your eyes is dominant, point at a distant object with both eyes open. Now close your left eye, then your right.

When you look through your dominant eye, your finger will still appear to point at the object, but when you look through your subordinate eye, your finger will appear to shift to the side.

If your eye dominance matches your hand dominance, simply select a bow configured for your dominant hand. In the rare case, your hand and eye dominance are mismatched, it’s best to choose a bow based on your eye dominance rather than your hand dominance.

Though it may feel weird and cumbersome at first, in the long run, a person will become accustomed and become a better shooter. Research shows most successful archers sight with the dominant eye regardless of hand dominance.

Hunting Rifles

best hunting weapons

Choosing the right rifle and the correct ammunition will make your hunt with a gun much more enjoyable, and can really boost your odds of being successful.

When selecting a rifle for hunting, you should consider how it fits, the sights, how heavy it is, plus its action and caliber.

A properly fitting gun will help you fire a more accurate shot. A stock that is too long for the shooter can get caught on your jacket, in your armpit.

If too short, the scope could strike a person in the eyebrow, giving them what’s known as “scope bite.”

Read: How to Get Started in Long Range Shooting

Stock lengths can vary GREATLY with each model and manufacturer.

Downfalls of improper fit are the amount of drop you will encounter. While your cheek is pressed firmly against the stock of the rifle, your shooting eye should line up with the sites.

Too much drop will prevent you from placing your cheek against the stock, and the recoil could cause the stock to slam against your cheek. More than likely to leave a mark! A gunsmith can almost always change the length of the stock for you if needed.

If hunting in heavy brush where you must use short sights, buy a low power scope or a peep sight that has a large aperture. Either one can be aimed quickly and very accurately.

Variable power scopes within the ranges of 1.5x to 7x are ideal for this purpose. Open sights, which are standard on most rifles are difficult to line up quickly and more important accurately.

Another important consideration in choosing a rifle is weight.

  • Unlike the ancient hunting weapons, most rifles used for hunting today weigh between six and nine pounds. Lighter guns are more comfortable to carry, and the heavier guns have less recoil.
  • Heavier rifles are easier to hold steady and are better for stand hunting and long-range shots. It is recommended that you use a sling to tote your rifle when you are not hunting.

The action you choose will largely depend on your need for a quick second shot, accuracy plus your personal preferences.

Keep in mind not all calibers are available in each type of action. Actions can vary from the very reliable and sturdy single shots to fast shooting lever actions, pumps, and semi-automatics.

Most actions will function fine without oil for short periods of time. If you do a lot of shooting in very cold climates, you may want to consider using a graphite lubricant.

Important: Most states have laws that specify minimum calibers and cartridges for hunting Big Game animals. Therefore, it is important that you consider your state’s legal requirements when selecting weapons for hunting.


Shotguns and slugs are most commonly used for deer hunting in densely populated areas, many states don’t allow rifle hunting.

Some of the southern states permit you to use shotguns with buckshot only. The ideal shotgun for deer hunting is one that has a rifled barrel and special sights or a scope.

Rifled barrels shoot slugs more accurately than do smoothbores, but you have to make sure they are carefully patterned.

Rifling causes the slugs to spin and stabilize, allowing shots at deer up to 125 yards away. Slugs guns and ammunition are available in all the popular gauges with the 12 gauge being the most widely used.

Read: The Beginners Guide to Hunting with a Handgun


Muzzleloaders or “smokepoles” as they are commonly called can only fire one shot so you better make it count. Due to technology over the last few years, they have become very accurate and reach out to around 125 yards.

Many states have seasons allowing you to extend your time in the field.

Hunters can choose between caplocks and flintlocks.

Many hunters prefer the flinlocks, though the caplocks are likely to misfire less often. They come in a variety of calibers the most common being .50 and .54, which are the most preferred by hunters today.

You have a choice of round balls, conical bullets, and pistol bullets. Check with your local state to see which are allowed for hunting.

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