I Need Stabilizers – Are You Looking to Sale?

The price of new stabilizers is, well – a lot! My stabilizers, Bee Stinger Competition are fine with a minor exception. The front stabilizer is the 27-inch length. Two USA Archery Level 4 coaches have pointed out that I’m using “kid” sized extensions. Both suggested e a 33-inch front and a 14-inch side.

When I bought my Bee Stingers, less than two years ago I didn’t have a clue. Today, I am only marginally more educated when it comes to archery equipment. Last week I tried “Big Boy” stabilizers with a fair amount of weight. There was a difference. The float or drift of my dot noticeably diminished.

Those stabilizers were Donkier. Not that I have any specific appreciation for the brand, I think Bee Stinger are fine. I checked prices on both products and decided to look for used stabilizers.

There are less expensive models. But, from what I’ve gathered you get what you pay for. I’m hoping someone out there has a nice set of top level stabilizers they might need to sale.

If you happen to have some on the market, please let me know.

Where are the deer?

“I’ve never gone 7 days of hunting this property and not seen a single deer,” said Ray, my father-in-law. To be fair we’d seen a lot of deer moving on and off the property. The trail cameras show lots of deer. Neither of us has spotted a deer while bow hunting.

Early in the week there was sign that the deer where moving near the spots where blinds or tree stands are positioned. The past two days as I approached what we had considered good hunting real estate I had my doubts.

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Heading in

On each day was we approached the property for hunting we observed plenty of early afternoon deer. Since neither Ray nor I had seen anything while hunting we decided to stay as late as the legal limit allows. We’d considered that perhaps we’d been leaving a bit too early. This, even though we’d seen deer moving between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM.

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Deer are most active in the early morning and around twilight. They bed down during the day. But, they do get up, stretch and move around during their less active times. Ray prefers, he’s nearly 90 years old, to get out into the woods around 4 PM. He says that the early morning hunts aren’t as appealing as they were a few years ago. So we hunt for those twilight deer. Last year, Ray got 7 deer and I took 2 while hunting in the afternoon.

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From my tree stand

So, on the third day of bow hunting season 2016, we remained in our concealed hunting spots as long as legally possible. Even though we stayed later, we still did not see any deer.

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On day four, out of curiosity, I got up early and headed out just to take a look. Not a single deer. I checked areas where tracks are often in abundance; there were only a few. What we have noticed is a lot of deer moving as we head onto the hunting property. They’re out there, they’ve just moved away for the moment. We’ll need to go scout around to see where they’ve gone.

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Some company to help pass the time

Deer Hunting – Bow Season 2016

It is bow season! We’ve seen there are a lot of deer in these woods! Every trail camera shows deer wandering about day and night. Heck, simply driving into and out of the woods to collect SIM cards the deer practically slow the ATVs due to their heavy foot traffic. Deer are so plentiful it seems to require the need of only an arrow with which to reach out and stab the creatures.

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The well-placed trail cameras photographed an abundance of doe and bucks with wide thick racks ranging from six to eight points. Deer are everywhere!

Any day in the woods is a good day. A few days before Ray, my father-in-law, and I took our bows and headed out to well scouted areas John, a friend and paramedic (always good to have one of those on a hunt), had taken a large doe with his crossbow. John shot the doe within an hour of entering his pop-up blind. This was going to be pick and choose hunting.

As I approached my tree stand I marveled over all the sign of deer. My stand was positioned against a pine tree facing a main wildlife thoroughfare. About a quarter of a mile from my tree stand while walking in several deer stood 30 yards away watching me. Oh man, this was going to be a great day on the woods.

Once on my stand I made certain I was secure. Then, I arranged my equipment, my Elite 35 Energy with a Toxic broad head tipped arrow readied, my range finder tied to the stand, binoculars out and at hand. From my backpack that was lashed to the tree I took my water bottle had had a drink. Next, I began scanning the woods for deer. While watching I used the range finder to mark distances where a shot might present itself.

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Within minutes, off to my left – noise. Big noise, lots of racket. Cautiously turning I began a detailed survey of the terrain. Nope, no deer only a pair of squirrels that appeared happily gamboling around on terra firma.

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These squirrels hung around near me for a solid thirty minutes. I eased back and began scanning, eyeballing, and listening for anything that might alert me to all the deer waiting in the shadows and brush.

The squirrels eventually moved off into the thicket. All was quiet for the next half an hour. Then out of the corner of my eye – movement. It was that silent movement. Stealthy cautious foraging off to the left. Moving like a Ninja I twisted in my tree stand. Yes, there it was again, more movement.

As I watched they crept closer and closer. Before long, there they were, twenty-six yards away directly in from of me – a raft of turkey.

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The turkey is a wary bird. Yet, these were so very close and in no hurry to move away. Shortly after their arrival the squirrels returned and began their quest for food aside their feathery friends. That mob of critters remained below me for an extended food rummage.

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As the light began to dim the cluster of animals, feathered and furred, slowly headed into more dense woods or up into trees. My thoughts, perhaps they are making room for larger mammals on my horizon. And there I remained with my thoughts until it was simply to late to sit in that tree any longer.

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I gathered my gear, packed it, attached packages and my bow to line and lowered it all to the ground. Then, making certain I was safe began my climb to red clay. Once off the ladder I collected my gear to begin my walk back. As I’d bent over to pick up my bow, thirty yards directly ahead, two doe gave me the eye and causally drifted away.

Learning About Stabilizers

When I purchased stabilizers for my bow I went to the experts in Pennsylvania. Along with the stabilizers I added a sight and scope. I’d been shooting for several months and knew that my Mathews Apex 7, a target bow, needed a bit more than the stubby hunting stabilizer the prior sales expert had sold me. After a few weeks of shooting the stubby stabilizer I learned there were these really long ones for the front of the bow and even a side arm. And with that I was alerted to a need for something else to stabilize my bow.

The heightened awareness warranted a trip to Pennsylvania. As a novice archer I really did not have a clue what I needed. When I arrived in Pennsylvania and walked into the giant archery store it was like a trip to Archery Mecca. I had never seen so much archery gear. It was overwhelming.

I’d brought my Apex 7. I was quickly greeted and provided with a dedicated sale representative. Explaining my need and lack of knowledge the young man assigned to assist me took control.

He took my bow from me then headed into the back room. When he returned the bow was equipped with a front and side stabilizer. “It’s perfectly balanced,” he confidently stated. With no more data available I accepted his proclamations as fact.

Most archers reading this are already laughing. A few of you may be shaking your heads.  But, I honestly didn’t know any better. Today, I don’t know much more than I did twenty-four months ago. Heck, I wasn’t even alerted to any foul until I’d forgotten my bow on a range in Georgia and a Level 4 archery coach discovered my misplaced equipment. He’d said when he returned it to me, “When I saw the stabilizers, I thought this was some kid’s bow.”

Someone that knows archery, Charlie Sneed a Level 4 USA Archery Coach is currently teaching me. I’d guess he’s been polite trying not to embarrassing me regarding my gear. Essentially, I’ve been shooting an Elite hunting bow rigged with a beginner’s, as in a child’s, short lightweight (a total of 4 ounces added) stabilizers. He’s tactfully suggested I consider a ‘tournament’ bow. That would mean more money out of pocket. Being a little conservative on spending I decided to show him my old Mathews Apex 7.

I’d sold the Mathews bow about a year ago but got it back. One thing I knew was that I could not shoot that bow well. Another thing I’d read is the general statement by former Apex 7 owners, “I wish I’d never sold that bow.”

Since I had the Mathews sitting in my shed I decided to bring it to practice along with my Elite. When I showed the Mathews bow to Charlie he said, “I used to have one of those. I wish I’d never sold it.”

Last week, Charlie had diplomatically suggested he would bring to our next practice another set of stabilizers for me to try. He had them with him. Before I could say much he said, “Let’s go ahead and set up the Mathews.” Nice way of saying, “Let’s not bother with the other bow.”

(I have no complaint with the Elite bow. It has served me well.  In fact, I’ll be hunting with it in a few days! But, the rig while ideal for hunting is not my best option for all situations – like 18-meters for example.)

We pulled the sight and scope off the Elite and put them on the Apex 7. Next, we added Charlie’s stabilizers. When I held the bow I was impressed with the addition weight.

Under Charlie’s instruction we adjusted the side stabilizer, removed and added weights, and sighted the bow. Within a few minutes it became apparent my elementary stabilizers had been little beyond decoration.

These days I try to research anything I add that might help with archery performance. Archery equipment isn’t inexpensive. The stabilizers I purchased in Pennsylvania weren’t cheap. They, also, were far from correct.

All I can add is: Caveat emptor

Holy Cow! That Equipment Stuff is Important.

Recently, I shot an indoor tournament held in Elizabeth City, NC. The bow I used is an Elite Energy 35. It has B-Stinger stabilizers, front and side each with a few weights. The arrow rest is a QAD Ultrarest. The sight is an Axcel with an X-31 scope and 4X lens. The rig weights 6.6 pounds. The arrows I shot are Black Eagle Challengers. The release I used is a Scott Pro Advantage. I left there having shot all nines and tens with the exception of one eight. But, I did not win.

What was apparent was the significant difference between my bow and the winner’s bow. That bow was a Hoyt Podium. I don’t know the weight of the bow, but it felt at least twice as heavy as mine. There was another significant difference between the Easton arrows shot to win and my Black Eagle arrows.

The arrow comment is not a statement that one brand is superior to another. I like Black Eagle and purchased them for 3D archery. I’ve used them indoors for months. When my coach had me test their spine as a match to my bow it was apparent I had the incorrect spine.

My coach had me shoot a bare shaft. The arrow pulled so far to the right it missed the entire target. In fact, I have my sight’s windage screwed so far to the right that is has reached it maximum right limit. The arrows had been sold to me after we checked the spine labeling for stiffness to ensure it matched my bow.  Obviously, I missed something important.

What I am driving at is that there are important equipment changes that need to be considered in order to get the best performance from my bow.

Trying To Find a Zone

img_5523I’ve read about being in a “Zone.” I’m not certain I’ve reached a skill level were I can fully appreciate an archery “Zone.” This morning I shot inside at 18 meters. It was an aggravating “Zoneless” practice. This afternoon I shot outside at 18 meters. The session started about the way the morning practice ended – “Zone-Free.”

One expert coach has written about staying positive, confident and thinking happy thoughts during sports training and competition. He advocates not carry any negative feelings. Another world champion pistol shooter rants and raves when he has a poor shot.

I’ve tried to the keep a song in my heart and think happy thoughts even when I am shooting arrows into the ceiling or bouncing them off the floor. Honestly, I have often failed, gotten angry and let the Dark Side take control.

It’s not that I get angry and stay foul. On occasion and as quietly as a church mouse a rare profanity might be slightly audible from under my breath. But, by the next shot I’ve totally forgotten the prior shot. Then, I am in my 60s and I forget a lot of stuff.

In frustration, today I moved my release deeper into my hand. Probably the wrong way to hold a release. But, immediately the drift reduced and I shot better. In fact, on the next 120 arrows where I scored the points I tied my highest score on the first 60 arrows then exceeded it by 6 points in the second 60 arrows. I finished with a total of 1142 and 62 Xs (out of 120 shots).

While I didn’t find a “Zone” I did shoot better with the slight change in way I held the release. I don’t know what goes through the minds of other expert archers while they shoot. For me it was a near “Zone” Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.

Overuse

Swimming in the lane next to me at the YMCA was a triathlete. This was evident because of his swim cap, it read Ironman Maryland.

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The green swim cap was laying on the deck at the pool.

Ironman Maryland was once named Chesapeake Man and is held in Cambridge, Maryland. Cambridge is one of the few cities (perhaps the only city) that hosts a 140.6 mile Ironman and a 70.3 mile Ironman race. When the Ironman group purchased the Chesapeake Man event they renamed it Ironman Maryland. The price for the “Chesapeake Man” also increased. Checking the prices to do another Ironman the entry fees ranged from $675.00 to $760.00. At those prices, well archery is a lot less expensive.

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The triathlete in the swim lane next to me was preparing for Ironman North Carolina. Should I decide to do another Ironman this would be a race to consider. It’s the old Beach to Battleship course and the swim portion of the event is nearly as good as the swim segment of the Ironman 70.3 in August where you swim with the current.

Augusta 70.3 Ironman in Augusta, Georgia. Swim scenic image from the 5th street bridge over the Savannah River
Augusta 70.3 Ironman in Augusta, Georgia.
Swim scenic image from the 5th street bridge over the Savannah River

Despite the price, the inconveniences, and early morning swim start time not a day passes where I don’t have the urge to enter another Ironman. Hardly day passes where I don’t run, ride, swim and many days a combination of the three. Granted, I don’t train with the intensity or duration I did preparing for an Ironman but I train hard enough to be successful at shorter distances triathlons, runs, or bike races. In addition, I train and practice primarily as an archer.

Training for archery and competing is essentially a full time endeavor. The triathlon-like exercise is part of my general fitiness plan. That plan includes weight liftng which is beneficial to protect muscle mass and help prevent injuries. Rarely, does a day end that I am not ready for a good night’s sleep even though I try to get a 20 – 30 minute nap after lunch everyday. What I am saying is I do a lot of exercise. However, I’ve never considered myself one of physically gifted people built for sports.

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Unlike me this guy at the Y was built for triathlon. He was tall, lean, and muscular. He looked like a triathlete. See, I’m not tall and somewhat stocky (not fat – only 9% of my weight is body fat).

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Do you know your Body Fat %

As is the case, it’s nearly impossible to cross paths with another triathlete and not exchange war stories. This phenomenon is true with archers as well as all other athletes. Naturally, the swimmer next to me and I momentarily exchanged a few past glories.

What I learned is that the youngster next to me was in the 40 – 44 year old age group. I recall that period most fondly – I recall it as a time when I was in the best shape of my life (at least for long distances.) I am not alone believing that the 40 – 44 years were good, it seems that is one of the toughest age group in which to race. I think after 60 it is more a matter of attrition.

He further explained he was tired and his body was worn out from overuse. That was surprising. That is also why properly planned, scheduled and followed recovery days are critical.

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To be able to compete in several sports for a lifetime requires time off from hard physical activity to allow the body to restore itself.  That doesn’t mean no physical activity, active recover is okay.  Still, there must be times when lounging and sleep are the best forms of training. Part of my strategy is to outlive my competition. One of the tactics is to train hard and another is to get plenty of rest.  Overuse is not good.