Monday, September 28, 2009

Sight problems... again.

Well, as many of you know, my daughter recently had some issues with her sight on her compound bow. Getting to a competition and opening the case to find it broken…and dad had to make it work.

Round Two: This weekend was the Youth Deer Season here in Michigan. My daughter decided that she wanted to hunt with a crossbow for this two day only season. Great, I picked up a crossbow for her to use and she jump right in on practicing. Practice, practice, practice she did… While practicing, I found out the hard way that the foot stirrup was in upside down and the locking screws were only holding it in by pressure. Not enough pressure to prevent the crossbow from slamming me in the gut when I was cocking the string (lucky me my gut was there to stop it on it’s way to my jaw!). I then started a system of checking all the screws and bolts regularly. We had some issues with the scope not staying locked in as well. So we checked it each time we shot. 20 yards was dialed in and since her stand was set up in a 20 maximum zone, she was ready to go!

The first day of Youth Season left us with seeing zero deer and a zillion squirrels but we did hear a few deer and kick one up on the way out. The second day found us in the stand again when my daughter whispered…..”Dad, there’s something wrong with my scope…” She handed it up and to my dismay the locking nut on the rear ring was gone! The ring was also loose on the scope!

Well, I had to pull a MacGyver and I used the lanyard from my range finder to get the scope tied down until I could get it replaced. Luckily, the scope ring was a fixed side and a clamp side, so I was able to tie it with enough pressure to one side to lock up the fixed side and get the scope correctly aligned.

We finished up her hunt without see anything but a hoard of chipmunks taking over where the squirrels left off….

When we got home I found that all the scope screws were loose and the whole thing was basically being held in place by my jury rigged tie down! Yikes! I had checked all the screws before we went out! Well, I had an extra set of Millet rings so I swapped the whole thing out for them (I just need to paint them black to match up) and they lock up a lot better than the original ones.

One important lesson that I learned with crossbows… they have a completely different shock/vibration oscillation than guns and compound bows… treat them accordingly. You need to add a little dab of loctite to all the connecting bolts and screws!

I certainly don’t want to see disappointment on her face…..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Setting up the Tree Stands.

Well, I’ve been putting off setting up my treestands because I’m not supposed to be putting that kind of strain on my foot (which is another story…). I decided that the weather on Sunday was nice enough that I could take my time and get my stands set up and not over due it. Right. I put on my rubber knee boots, made sure I had my Rocky Scent IQ shirt on and a good coating of scent killing spray, including a pair of light gloves. I then packed up the truck with the Gorilla ladder stand that my daughter will be using, my hang on stand, the climbing sticks, cable locks (it’s on public land), my video camera and some water and headed over to my hunting location. I unloaded everything at the trail head and got set to go. I’ve got the 3 sections of the ladder stand tied together with my hang on stand and chains, cables and ropes holding it all together. I positioned a couple shoulder straps to carry it all… My climbing sticks are bundled together with one of the straps set up to carry them in a sling. I’ve probably got about 100 lbs strapped together on my back so I plan on taking a couple breaks on the hike in. It’s about half a mile in, up and down hills and through a bit of swamp to boot. I’ve also decided to video my setup so I’m carrying my video camera and a mono pod. What I didn’t realize was that to video my walking to and from the camera, I would need to walk and set it up, go back and then return…repeat… carrying everything…So, I just added quite a bit of walking to my work. There is one other vehicle at the trail head so I’ll be paying close attention on the walk in to make sure I don’t walk into some body else’s hunt. Then again, it is a hiking, riding trail so it just might be a mountain biker or walker.

After what feels like way too much exercise, I make it to the swamp portion of my hike in. I’ll have to make this in several trips because I won’t be able to carry the ladder stand on my back and I will have to only carry one thing at a time to make sure I don’t end up head first in the mud. It proves an excellent idea to wear the rubber knee boots, as the mud and water was just about up to the tops. It’s always fun trying to carry a 100 lbs worth of ladder stand while having to pull your feet out of each step and not fall over… but, I made it. The last part of my hike is through a trail that is narrow and tight. So, I’ll have to carry the ladder stand and the climbing sticks in each hand an maneuver them around trees and shrubs for about 150 yards. After talking with John Eberhart last weekend, I can see I’m going to have to look into the Tree saddle for next years swamp hunt. I can’t believe that when my girls first started going out with me I actually got a double tree ladder through all this stuff! Whew!

I’ve finally made it. There are a few more trees down but this year I’ve lucked out and they did not change any of the funnel paths, they might even help. I quietly set up my daughter’s ladder stand, keeping in mind her early crossbow hunt. I do not trim any new branches this year as the shooting lanes are all fairly clear. I then set up my hang on. I scouted the area to make sure that my placement is optimal since last year (I do this each time as the best sign happens after last season on deer movement). All the sign confirms my post season scouting so I hang the stand only about 30 yards from my daughters location and in clear sight, about 16 feet up and 120 degrees from her left. This should also give me an excellent opportunity to catch her hunts on video.

Once I’m done I make sure everything I brought in is picked up and nothing with my scent is left behind. Then, I have one more thing to do, I spray a cover scent over everything I’ve touched, including any brush or trees I may have bumped on the way in. This time, I’m using a young buck spray from Buck Bombs. I did a product test for them a couple years ago and was impressed at the delivery method of the scent. I did verify with a company representative that since the scent was package as it was in a pressurized can that it would have a shelf life of several years. Yup, I could tell it was still good…

Well, the heavy work is done and we just have to be patient for a short while more and my girls and I will be looking to fill the freezer with some wonderful venison! Plus, you never know, I’ve seen coyotes, turkeys and foxes from the same spot….

And I might even post some video of this soon as I look at it first! LOL

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cobra, a nice Snake...

As many of you know, back when we had the Talk Hunting Anniversary Northern Campout, when CamoGirl was getting ready to shoot her competition she found that her sight was broken. She pulled her bow out of her case and it was minus the sight! Upon inspection, we found that the lower jaw on the main arm was broken off! A little (a lot) electrical tape and a little luck…and CamoGirl’s skill with her bow… and she was on target and actually won! I usually carry a spare sight in my bow kit (identical to her sight) but another shooter had recently run into problems and I had given him my sight then promptly forgot I was short a backup…

Well, her bow sight was a Cobra Archery Bantam. Since she now needed a new sight and I was working at Bass Pro for Mossy Oak the next weekend, I picked her up a new Cobra Sniper sight which she really liked. I liked the all metal arms and the small details (like vertical/horizontal adjustment marks) in an very affordable sight. However, while I was setting up the new sight and adjusting the first pin, the fiber optic broke at the glue point of the pin. At this point I’m thinking a black cloud is following me around with getting a sight working for her. I figured, no problem right now, she’s not going to be hunting past 30 yards and she can do just fine with 2 pins. I’ll order a new pin later. I get the other two pins set and start to tune the sight to her previous specs for a starting point when I notice the vertical adjustment clamp is not tight and doesn’t seem to want to tighten…hmmmm. I pulled the sight apart and found that the nut is only being held on by the locking ring built into it. The bolt threads are not contacting the matching threads in the nut. ….The cloud is getting darker… Easy fix, I grab a new nut out of my tool box and a new bolt and we’re good. I hope.

The cloud has left the area! The sight is working great and the Sniper design gets more light to the pins with longer fibers and CamoGirl is stacking arrows in no time!

Now, it’s time to get a hold of Cobra Archery and find out if there is a warrantee (wish) on the Bantam sight and if I can buy a new pin for the Sniper sight. I gave them a call and spoke to Marie Higgins in their warrantee customer service department. When I explained what the problem was to Marie she immediately told me that she would get a new support arm out to me and a new pin. She even talked to a service manager while I was on the phone about the problem with the bolt/nut and found that they had one other complaint of the same problem. They would include a new bolt/nut if I wanted (I declined). She even threw in a new hat for CamoGirl. I called Marie just before the holiday break so imagine my surprise to find a package from Cobra Archery at my door when we got back from up north. A new arm, a new pin and a very nice waxed canvas Cobra Hat! That is the type of service we all hope for.

So, thanks to Cobra Archery and Marie, CamoGirl is back out practicing for deer season. I could only wish all service calls ended so well.