Area NO. 1 Outdoor Club

A Membership nonProfit Organization

Bow Hunting Safety


Archery, bows & arrows

Secure bow string release

  • To keep from losing your bow string release, tie it to your hunting clothing. You can use a leather boot string or plastic "coiled chain" with a snap. It looks like a phone cord with a snap on the end and only costs a couple of bucks. Tie your release to one end and snap the other end to your belt loop. The "coiled chain" works best.

Set your shooting distance

  • To keep from wounding game know your shooting limits. Set your personal shooting maximum. It will probably be between 30 and 40 yards. Don't shoot beyond your limit.

Pace off target practice distance

  • Practice pacing off when you are out target practicing during the summer. While standing at your target, take your arrows and throw them in various places around you. Pace off the distance to each arrow and practice shooting from that spot. Try far quartering shots and close broadside shots and vice versa. If you can be accurate from these areas on the first few shots of practicing, you will be effective during the season. But the biggest thing is to know your yardage and how far your target is at all times. That's where pacing off on every shot will come in handy.

Arrow Penetration

  • When you sight-in your bow during the off season, be sure to check the penetration depth of your arrows at your farthest shooting distance. If you are not getting adequate penetration at this distance, you need to keep moving closer to your target until you get good penetration. Set this distance as your maximum shooting range. Poor penetration will just wound game.

New bow string

  • Treat yourself to a new bow string every year. When you have a nice buck in your sights, you don't want your bow string to fail. That buck won't wait around for you to put that spare string on!

The key to success

  • When you are target practicing with your bow practice shooting from different angles. Then try shooting from different distances by moving farther back and then closer to your target. Now try shooting from different heights, similar to shooting from a tree stand. Now that you can hit your target from real hunting like situations, practice being a stealth hunter, it is a major key to your success.

Packing your broadheads

  • It is critical to have a safe and quite place to pack your broadheads when you are hunting big game. Before you travel wrap each blade of your broadhead in scotch tape and then put the broadhead in a 35 mm film canister along with some cotton balls to keep them silent.

Watch those squeaks

  • Since I started bow hunting, I have learned some hard lessons. Deer won't stick around if they hear any unnatural noises. Test your bow to make sure that it is silent as you pull it to full draw. If you have a squeaky wheel, give it a small amount of oil. Also test your stand for squeaks. While sitting in your stand, listen for squeaks as you shift your weight and twist from side to side. Also try putting felt on your arrow rest. When you draw your bow, the arrow will slide smoothly and silently across the felt.

Use carbon arrows

  • I use Easton carbon arrows they are great! In my opinion they are the best. If you can afford the extra cost, fill your quiver with extreme precision and accuracy with carbon arrows.

Enjoying good company

  • If you are hunting with a close and safe friend try to set up where you can see each other. My dad and I do this and we have been able to see each other take some nice deer. This makes the whole hunting experience more exciting by seeing your close friend in action. This also works equally well in rifle season.

Know the wind direction

  • Tie a piece of sewing thread to the end of your stabilizer, so that it hangs down about five or six inches. Just watch the string and you will constantly know the slightest breeze direction.

Carry more arrows

  • It is not a good idea to hunt with only one arrow. Make sure you carry at least five arrows. If you shoot and miss a deer they may not know you are there and just keep standing. If you have more arrows, you could get another shot. This would have worked for me if I would have though about it sooner.

Sight in for your stand

  • Many people over look the fact that when you're in your stand, you're shooting downwards. You will need to sight in your bow for both flat shooting and stand shooting. You might want to use two different sights.

Sharpening your broadheads

  • I have learned that sharpening your broadheads is easier if you use an actual knife sharpener. The sharpeners that I'm talking about are the ones that are usually blue and they have two sharpeners that cross at the top. They also have a handle and a finger guard. These sharpeners only cost about $5.00.

Pull back before

  • When you are bow hunting you always want to pull your bow back at least 30-45 seconds before the deer gets to you. Don't pull back more than you can hold, if you do your arms will get tired and you will be shaky when its time to shoot the deer. Try to pull back when the deer is looking away from you or when its head is behind a tree or brush. Always make sure your arrows are straight. If they are not, they will misfire. When you get your sights sighted in, you might want to tighten them with pliers. If you hand tighten your sights they can easily get loose and move, if they bump up against something.

String serving

  • Extra pieces of "super braid" fishing line make an excellent double serving. Double serving refers to the serving that is placed over the factory plastic serving to prevent chafing from release aids. I recommend using 80lb line and super gluing the knots. Super braid fishing line also works great to secure peep sights.

Sighting in your bow

  • To set your bow sight pins, start with the top pin and sight in for 20 yards. Compound bows should shoot flat enough to be accurate from 0 to 20 yards with a 20-yard sight pin. If your arrow hits high move your pin up. If your arrow hits low move your pin down. If the arrow hits to the left move the pin to the left. If the arrow hits to the right move the pin to the right. Always chase your arrow with the pin. The second and third pins can be set for 30 and 40 yards or any yardage you anticipate shooting.

Use Pendulum Sights

  • When bow hunting from a tree stand it is best to use a pendulum sight. Amazing sight automatically compensates for distance, height of tree stand and bow poundage. Just aim and shoot. The sight will swing to the exact point of impact if you have it sighted in properly. 0-30 yards is the best for this type of sight.

Decrease your bow weight /protect your shafts

  • Snap on quivers leave your knocks exposed and your shafts unprotected. Have you ever had dirt get into a knock or had an arrow twang when it hung up in the brush? Try using a plastic tube cut to arrow length then cover tube with camo duct tape. In one end place a piece of Styrofoam to protect the broad heads. Just push the arrows into the Styrofoam and it will keep them protected and secure. Use a PVC pipe cap for other end. A small wire fishing leader can be used to secure the cap so it won't get lost. Attach a strap and you can carry your new quiver over your shoulder, just like the Indians used to do.

 Shooting from a tree stand

  • If you shoot from a climbing tree stand and you shoot with your quiver attached to your bow, reverse your quiver with the vanes up instead of being down. When attached in the traditional way, vanes down, in most cases the vanes extend beyond the length of the bow and will rub or hang up on the top part of a climbing stand particularly on a short, in close shot. Reversing your quiver can eliminate this problem.

Bow hunting strap-on seat

  • When bow hunting from a climbing stand it is often difficult to shoot your bow on close shots or shots to the rear without the bottom limb of your bow being inside of the top part of your climbing stand. The result will be the bottom bow limb banging against the top portion of the stand upon firing, resulting in a missed shot or worse the bow being jerked out of your hand. I experienced this problem for years and finally came up with a workable solution this past season. Take a small strap-on seat up with you in a backpack. Once at the height you plan to hunt, lower the top portion of your climbing stand until it almost touches the lower portion you stand on. Attach the strap-on seat (there are several on the market) to a comfortable sitting position. Then when drawing and shooting the problem will be eliminated. It's as though you are shooting from a hanging stand. As always, be sure to wear a safety belt regardless of the type deer stand you hunt from.

Forget pacing off yardage

  • Pacing off yardage or pulling a tape measure is a set-up for failure later on in the woods. When you practice with your bow, shoot at what your eye says is 15 yards or 25 yards, etc. In doing so, you will never encounter calculated yardage in the woods. With practice you will be able to judge the distance by just looking. So don't handicap yourself, from the start. Practice and be prepared, before you pursue your favorite game.

Stump shooting

  • I whole-heartedly believe in stump shooting as being one of the best methods of shooting practice. Roam around the woods with judo points or rubber blunts and shoot anything that could be a potential target (rotten stumps, clumps of dirt, leaves). Pay close attention to where you hit each time. This will set your instincts right on target for knowing your distances. One of the biggest problems with people hitting too low or too high on a deer is because they lack the judgement of distance. Stump shooting is a must!

Silence your bow string

  • Silence your bow string with "limb saver" string leech. The string leech delivers maximum noise reduction and up to 65% reduction in string resonance with only 1-2 feet per second speed loss, in most cases. The string leech will not take all the sound away, but it will dampen most of the sound when you release your arrow.

 Finding your arrows

  • Try putting a 1/4-inch piece of reflective tape around the end of your arrows between the noc and the fletching. This will not affect the flight of your arrow, but will make finding your arrows in the dark much easier. You just shine your light around and the tape will make your arrow light up like bright eyes.

String jumpers

  • Another way to beat the jumping of strings, as we archers like to call it, is hold your sight pin low. That way when the deer crouches to spring, the vital area will be lower, thus causing a hit anyway. The distance to hold low varies depending on arrow speed and the distance to your target.

Mark your sight pins

  • Once you have your bow sighted in, place a mark on your sight next to each pin. Place the mark near the center or above or below the pin, whichever is easier for you and your particular bow sight. While you are hunting, you can tell at a glance if your pins are where they are supposed to be. In case of an accidental shift in your sight pins, you will be able to return them to their correct position. You can always re-sight your bow at a later time, if you want.

Don't pull back too soon

  • When your in your tree stand don't pull back your bow until the deer gets close to you, if you pull back to soon by the time the deer gets to you, your arm will be tired and you will be a lot shakier. And another reason you don't want to pull back too soon is because when you're standing there with you're bow pulled back you're going to be making more movement than when you don't have it pulled back. So wait until the deer gets within shooting range to pull back, unless you think you won't have a chance to pull it back when its within range. Don't try to pull back when the deer is looking in your direction.

Practice shooting from your tree stand

  • Before season, make sure to practice shooting from your tree stand or someplace that is elevated. When you are shooting from a tree stand your arrow flies totally different, than it does on the level. For example, when I am shooting at a deer 20 yards away I use my 10-yard pin. The amount that you hold low depends on several factors. These factors are the height of the tree stand, the distance to the target and the speed of your arrow. This is why you should practice shooting from your tree stand, at the height you plan on using, at several different distances. Make a mental note of where you are hitting at these distances. If you are unable to shoot form your tree stand, you could practice shooting from the top of a building, barn or shed.

Find Deer That Don't Bleed

  • When bow hunting you can buy a string called tracking string to find the deer that you shot late in the day. It connects to the end of your arrow. So when you hit the deer all you have to look for is the string and find your deer at the end. If the arrow manages to fall out that should unclog the hole in the deer to let the blood drip out. (Some hunters claim the string screws up their shots.)

Good sights will pay off

  • One thing I have learned is that you should have good sights on your bow. I have tried many different sights and hadn't found one that I liked. I recently bought a Trophy Ridge sight and I love it! There is no need to tighten them up with pliers or any tool for that matter. Once they are on you need nothing but your fingers. They don't use bolts or screws they have self-lockers on them! Before I would bump my bow and move my sights, now I don't need to worry anymore. I would recommend these sights to any bow hunter!

Make the shot count

  • If you are going to take a shot at animal, ensure you focus on a double lung shot, listen to the tips of the other hunters at this web site, read, reread, learn, relearn, practice, practice. When the time comes, if the right shot is not there let the animal walk off unharmed, he will give you a shot another day if you have done your homework and have not spooked him. Make the shot count and do not allow yourself to become so competitive that you ruin the sport for the rest of us. Always remember that most wounded deer will eventually die from their wounds. I love the sport and have a lot to learn. I had that first big buck right under me, but did not take the shot because I was not sure of myself with the angle and distance. Instead, I stood there and watched him as he tried to figure out what was different in his woods that day. I learned from him (the buck) and am forever thankful that I did not take a shot, which I didn't think I could make.

Let your ears do the looking

  • If you are hunting on the ground, it is critical to remember the deer's uncanny ability to pick up movement. A successful ground hunter will learn to concentrate on what he or she hears instead of constantly moving their head back and forth at every noise. Try to watch you're shooting lanes without moving your head. Watch as much area as possible with just eye movement. Every forest animal makes a distinct sound and with practice, you will learn to differentiate the noise made by squirrels, birds, and those noises made by a deer. Once you detect the sound of a deer, only move your head as slow as possible to further investigate with your vision. If you decide to harvest a deer, remember to properly tag and check it in at the local game station.

The three second release

  • Recently while bow hunting in Idaho I met several unique hunters. They all had advice for me. The one that stands out the most was the 3-second release! Everyone practices stealth, scent control, and shot placement. Do you practice quick releases? It didn't make sense at first but after hunting elk it makes a lot of sense. Practice by drawing your bow back and have a buddy count to three. Release your arrow before he/she gets to three. Practice grouping your arrows in a 3-second time frame. 75% of all shots are made under quick and stressful conditions. By practicing quick releases you will have the confidence and skill to make quick shots! You master the 3-second release and you will increase your shot opportunity by 50%.

Two eyes are better than one

  • While bow hunting, a lot of guys will shut one eye. This is a common habit for beginners. You might not know this but the military trains snipers to shoot with both eyes open. Sounds silly right? Not really. By keeping both eyes open, especially bow hunting you not only see the whole target/animal, but your eyes work together, causing less strain on your eyes, which allows for a clearer target. Try shooting with both eyes open and you will find yourself making better shots. You will also see the arrow and the game immediately after the release! Also, have you ever had trouble finding your target in your scope? You will find it much quicker if you keep both eyes open.

Quiet your shot

  • Often when we shoot our bows at deer, they hear the bow string slap, causing them to crouch. In some instances, the arrow travels over the deer. To lessen this "string jump factor", just load your bow up with products from the Sims Vibration Laboratory. These products actually take most of the sound out of the bow and as an added bonus, they even reduce vibration to a great extent. These products are priced accordingly and are of great quality. The items that seem to help the most are the limb savers and the string leeches.

Rustproof your broadheads

  • To keep your broadheads clean and rustproof all season. Simply put a small amount of Vaseline on each blade. Then immediately place the arrow back in your quiver. You never have to worry about rusty blades because every time you pull out the broadhead it's still has a light coat of Vaseline protection on it and no scent.

Marking your yardage

  • While setting up your tree stand you most likely take the time to cut shooting lanes and maybe even pace out yardage to know trees, rocks, etc. I go one step further. I tie a small piece of orange surveyor's tape to small branches or a stick that I stuck in the ground at the same known distances that I practice at in my backyard. A roll of tape costs maybe $3. This way there is no doubt as to how far 20 or 30 yards are in your neatly trimmed shooting lanes. Even after using a range finder, the moment of truth can cause you to forget exactly which tree or rock was your range finder target back then. This also helps during very low light shooting when these object can be lost in the shadows. The orange tape seems to glow with the smallest amount of day light. This tip may not work so well on guided hunts unless you have an opportunity to access the stand site ahead of time. But it works for me and all my hunting buddies and without the cost of a range finder.

The four in one tool

  • Once you have set up your tree stand, it is common to cut shooting lanes and pace out yardage. But when you practice in your backyard you most likely tape measure out the famous 10, 20, and 30-yard marks and then site in at those known yardages. I cut a piece rope at exactly 30 feet (10 yards) and then tied a single knot at the 10 and 20-foot marks on this rope. I use this as my practice and stand site gauge to mark off the distances I use. Just stretch it out once for 10 yards, twice for 20 yards, three times for 30 yards and so on. This rope then doubles as my bow or gun rope to haul my weapon up to me once in my stand. I can easily estimate how high my stand is by lowering the rope down until it barely touches the ground and then seeing about were each knot is located in perspective to the tree stand height. I have also used it to assist in dragging a deer when I forgot my deer-dragging strap one evening. Nothing like a cheap, good, reliable 4 in 1 tool to help us out in the deer woods!

Deer calling, calls

Secure your deer call

  • If your deer call doesn't have a lanyard on it, you can make one from a leather boot lace. Put the lanyard or lace around your neck and it will be there when you need it.

Know your partner's call

  • If you hunt with a partner, know the sound of his calls. If you know the sound of your partner's call you won't waste your time sneaking up on your partner.

Don't call to often

  • If you call too often, the deer will get spooked and it will sound unnatural. You should grunt every 20-30 minutes, also vary the loudness of your call. If a buck is close you don't want it to be too loud. If you see a buck 150 yards away and it is windy, blow your grunt louder until you get his attention, he will raise his head and look in your direction. Once you do this grunt softer and softer, this will signal him to come on over.

Organize your calling

  • If hunting with a partner, simulate a group of deer by calling back and forth to each other. This may encourage a buck to walk in and see what is going on.

Stopping a deer

  • Here is a trick I use and have great success with. If you have a hard time tracking a moving deer that is in range, try blowing a snort call. I have seen that calling will most often stop a deer dead in its tracks. The animal will be on the highest alert so be prepared for a quick shot. This trick is most effective when your viewing area is more open.

Stop that wounded deer

  • After the shot has been taken (bow or gun) give one or two blows on your grunt tube. Sometimes this will stop or at least slow him down, minimizing tracking distance. Sometimes with small (subordinate, yearling) bucks they will spook even more. No deer hunter should be without a grunt tube; they work if used properly.

Stop a running deer

  • If a whitetail deer is running away and it hasn't yet winded you, you can give a short whistle and about half the time the deer will stop and look around to see where the whistle came from. This will give you time for a quick shot, before it runs away for good.

Stopped in their tracks

  • During muzzle loader season my brother and I decided to do a deer drive. I went to my stand and my brother would drive this wooded area towards me. When you set up your deer drive, make sure the guy on the stand is down wind of the drive area. After a short time, I could hear the deer running and then I could see them. There were five deer and they were running like a freight train. I pulled out my coyote call (rabbit distress call) and gave it a blow. Those five deer all stopped dead in their tracks. If you prefer a standing shot, try the rabbit distress call.

Give it a whistle

  • When you have that buck coming to you in your shooting lane, and he has his head down grazing. Give a little whistle and the majority of the time this will stop the deer and he'll raise his head to see what's going on. This will allow you time for that perfect shot.

Bring your whole bag of tricks

  • Always carry more than one call. If the grunt call isn't working try using a softer or deeper tone than you have been using or switch to a fawn bleat. It also doesn't hurt to have the rattling antlers ready. No one sound will attract all deer. So find a call that the buck you're after will respond to. Good luck and remember above all else to be safe.

Start out calling low

  • When using a grunt call, start out calling low. You never know when a buck might be close by. Start out calling low and the buck might come right on in. If your first two calls don't bring in a buck, then you can raise your volume to reach the distant bucks.

Call while walking

  • While walking to your hunting area during hunting season, try using the Tending Grunts, this call works best while you're on the ground and moving through the leaves. The Tending Grunt is used when a buck chases a doe as the rut approaches, he will make 7-15 soft grunts in rapid succession, while trailing her. It's a buck's way of asking her to stop so he can breed with her. While doing this call I've had many deer run up on me unexpectedly, so keep your ears and eyes open!

Calling from a stand

  • When you are sitting in a tree stand and are trying to grunt in a buck. Take a hose that will reach from your stand to the ground. Then when your hunting get the hose climb up to the stand and lower the hose till it touches the ground. Then grunt into the hose and the deer won't look in the tree when you grunt. Think about it, if you were on the ground and heard a grunt where would you look? You would look where the sound came from, which is the tree stand. When you grunt into your hose not only will the deer not look at you but also it makes sense that a deer wound think there is a deer on the ground grunting. I know this works because when I sit in a tree and grunt without the hose, the deer looks at me and runs off. When I grunt into the hose and the sound comes out on the ground, the deer come right to me.

Field dressing gloves

  • For field dressing game carry a pair of field dressing gloves. You can purchase these at a hunting supply store. Better yet go to a farm supply store and get shoulder length vinyl inspection gloves, these are stronger. The gloves also make a good storage place for the heart and liver. When you are through field dressing, hold the heart or liver in your hand and roll the glove off your arm and around it. Your arms and hands will remain clean and dry.

Field dressing your deer

  • Once you locate your down deer, turn the deer so its head and front shoulders are lower than its hindquarters. This will allow for opening the deer's abdomen with gravity keeping most of the pressure off of the abdomen wall. Make sure that you don't cut any of the internal organs or intestines.
  • This would be a good time to split the pelvic bone. Now you can turn the deer so that its head and front shoulders are higher than its hindquarters. You can now proceed to cut through the diaphragm. At this point you will probably encounter a lot of blood, this is normal. Now you can cut loose the heart and lungs and start pulling everything toward the rear-end of the deer. Cut loose everything that is still connected to the inner abdomen and pull to the rear end of the deer. This will allow all of the blood to drain out as you remove the internal organs.

 Always bring a sharp knife

  • When deer hunting, you should always carry a good sharp knife. When it is time to clean your deer you can put this knife to good use. If you are also skinning your deer, one sharp knife might not be enough. I usually bring a utility knife with extra blades so you don't need to sharpen your knife in the middle of your project. It just takes a minute to put a new blade in the utility knife.