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Any bowhunters here?
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Any bowhunters here? on 12/09/2013 17:47:17 MST Print View

Specifically small game and/or upland game birds?
I'm transitioning from rifle/shotgun to archery and have some questions....


just Justin Whitson
Re: Any bowhunters here? on 12/09/2013 19:16:26 MST Print View

Just wanted to say that i also will be watching and interested in this thread. I have a compound bow that i practice shooting sometimes (not hunting yet, but will eventually), but i'm still very much a complete newbie/novice (and certainly can't give any advice worth anything, other than "no mind" when drawing/releasing ;) ).

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Any bowhunters here? on 12/09/2013 19:19:53 MST Print View

Tree rats are delicious. Trust me on this. It's not weird in other parts of the country,

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Tree Rats on 12/09/2013 19:37:33 MST Print View

I don't know much about tree rats but I'm careful of rodents in general. One survival expert published articles about how to trap and eat rats then learned about some nasty diseases that cooking won't kill and published a big disclaimer.

I'll be interested to see what you learn Craig. I've enjoyed archery in the past but only as a target sport. I never did much small game hunting but I like the idea for a backpacker.

Edited by Cameron on 12/09/2013 19:40:30 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Tree Rats on 12/10/2013 09:57:44 MST Print View

I'm sure tree rats are delicious but rodents are also a major plague carrier in Southern CA and much of the southwestern US. Squirrel is closed year-round in So. CA because of this.

I'm looking to go a little higher up the food chain for game animals and target cottontail, jacks, quail, and chukar. I'm hopefully going to mix a little hunting with an overnight this weekend but will be using a .22LR or shotgun until I can get a few arrow and point questions sorted out.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Bows and backpacking lightly on 12/10/2013 10:38:05 MST Print View

I haven't done any hunting in SoCal - seems like the back country is too impacted as it is, but long ago and far away, I was a bow hunter.

Compounds can be fairly heavy from a UL standpoint (though less than rifles!); recurve or stick bows are significantly lighter. A break-down recurve or stick bow will be easier to pack.

For the game you mention, I've used blunts and judo points, with flu-flu fletching. Zwickey judo points do tear the critter up a bit, but tend to stick up out of the grass/brush if you miss, making them easier to find. I prefer a hard rubber blunt like this:

Flu-flu fletching will keep an arrow shot at a grouse in a tree from flying to the next county!

And of course you realize that hunting, even for small game, will take time, and thus is seldom appropriate for hikes where you want to do big miles. And spare yourself some trouble by getting well off trail so you don't offend the sensibilities of others.

Good luck!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Bows and backpacking lightly on 12/10/2013 13:12:09 MST Print View

Thanks Stephan.

I have judo points. I've been wondering about Snaro point for bird, but I know some people just use judos or blunts also. I was also wondering about flu-flus. I'm not even sure how well they would work with a 65# compound bow though….But I understand the idea behind them and I am a little concerned about too much range vs. small critters. I know people that hunt small game with compound bows…but you certainly can't shoot up into the trees. I'm mostly looking at ground animals though.

Definitely hunting off trail and out of sight. Not too interested in Angeles, but I've hunted Los Padres, as do many. Many backcountry roads are locked now, providing some good, solitary hunting.

I'm not on a "hunting to supplement backpacking food" kick. I'm hunting to hunt, it just might happen while backpacking….I get you about the time needed though. In my experience it's certainly not efficient for supplementing carried food from a weight/time perspective.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Hard plastic blunts on 12/10/2013 13:48:42 MST Print View

Work great for grouse, rabbit.

Even with a compound bow you can shoot blunts at a spot at the base of a tree (at max range) without damage if you need to check sight in while in the field. Close range (10 yards) and you may damage the arrow shaft. When I aim for a grouse in a tree, I move so the flight of the arrow will hit the trunk behind the bird, so I don't have to chase it. I like to fletch bright and would even consider the new led nocks if allowed where you hunt. I always bring blunts when big game hunting as grouse season runs at the same time and I do sometimes want to check sighting. You can carry the points in your pocket unlike broadheads.

I have tried turkey, but missed and have only some feathers to show. It is amazing how a bit of grass can deflect an arrow. I use broadheads for that. I wouldn't try shooting into the air or tree with broadheads. I prefer the travel or the arrow be limited, within sight, distance for broadheads. I envy the people that can shoot flying birds with flu flu's.

I use a range finder too and just figure I want to make the best shot I can rather than hurry, guess and miss.

My bow with 4 arrows weights 3.5 lbs and is set at 70 lbs. If I hunted small game only, I would drop it down 10+ lbs.

Edited by oware on 12/10/2013 13:55:21 MST.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: blunts, etc. on 12/10/2013 14:27:51 MST Print View

Wow, David, you must be a smart guy! I never did figure out the "line up the grouse with the tree trunk" thing - could have saved a few arrows that way!

Flu-flu fletching is interesting: it keeps the arrow going in a straight line by air resistance at the back end of the arrow. It does not stabilize it by spinning though. It makes the arrow lose momentum rapidly, so it's only for close shots. Small game is usually close shots though, so no loss there. Flu-flu with a compound? I don't know....seems like the fletching would get pretty chewed up by the cables, etc. On my old 50# recurve, they worked fine!

I think blunts generally work better for birds and small game. They are either out or they're running away.

I never used the Snaros, but if I was to try shooting birds on the wing, I'd definitely get the widest one possible - a shotgun for a bow!

I think your idea of hiking in somewhere and setting up for (isolated) bow hunting is a great one! Hope to see a post-trip report!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: re: blunts, etc. on 12/10/2013 14:33:08 MST Print View

I've got a whisker biscuit rest so I think flu-flus are out for me anyway? I can't imagine they'd pass through it well….

I like the idea of blunts as I imagine there's less tearing vs. judos.


Thanks guys….

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
rest on 12/10/2013 15:38:14 MST Print View

No, flu-flus wouldn't work with that rest, for sure! Better just stick with blunts screwed onto your arrow!

Bet back in the day, there was a flu-flu that just used a ton of regular vanes, like a dozen or more, all mounted normally, instead of one long untrimmed vane strongly twisted around the shaft. That MIGHT work......

Or you could just get a real bow instead of that mechanical monstrosity you're using!

(Ducks behind tree trunk!)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: rest on 12/10/2013 17:50:00 MST Print View

Yeah, I didn't think so.

I do want to pick up a take down recurve at some point, probably in the 40-45# range. My bow is indeed a mechanical monstrosity...but it's the bow I have. I traded a ukulele for it. Long story.

I'll pick up some blunts, thanks.

I might finish this season out with rifle/shotgun and save the archery for next year as there's only a bit over a month left...we'll see. The beautiful thing about archery is getting to start a month earlier than everyone else. That's what I really want to take advantage of.

Nathan Coleman
Re on 12/11/2013 06:31:55 MST Print View

Its good to see other hunters/bow hunters here! I shoot both compound and recurve and hunt small game, deer, elk, or anything else I can. I've done backpack hunts for large game but never for small game. I think a trip like you describe would be a lot of fun.

Ditto some of the others on judo points. Shoot them into the ground and you're good, though they can be lost in deep grass or if the arrow skips off a rock or hard patch of dirt.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
small game on 12/11/2013 09:31:24 MST Print View

I had marginal success this year killing grouse for food with trekking poles. My rock throwing skills are pretty comical, else I would have done much better.

I hunted with a compound growing up, and have been thinking about getting a recurve. A light semi-auto .22 pistol seems like a more pragmatic, though less fun solution.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Any bowhunters here? on 12/12/2013 09:32:24 MST Print View

I have never hunted. But my wife enjoys bow hunting.

Below is her latest kill.


Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: small game on 12/12/2013 09:58:14 MST Print View

"I had marginal success this year killing grouse for food with trekking poles. My rock throwing skills are pretty comical, else I would have done much better. "

I suppose trekking poles are pretty good, but I'd award more UL style points for bagging one with a titanium cook pot lid, discuss style. :)

I'm going to wait on the bow until next season. I think I need some new arrows and points and don't want to spend the money right now. I'll be backpacking tomorrow night. I plan on getting up early Saturday to hunt cottontail with the .22LR. I'd love to take a quail but you've got to be pretty lucky to stumble on one with a rifle.

I've been on a pretty big kick about putting my own food on the plate lately. Between my chickens' eggs, garden, and fishing, I'm averaging about one fully self-sufficient meal a day over the last couple weeks. I want to add more of my own meat besides fish….

You wife looks like a real bow killer Nick. I take it she hunts Macy's quite a bit. (We should get out to the desert together soon!)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: small game on 12/12/2013 15:00:16 MST Print View

" I want to add more of my own meat besides fish…."

Keep an eye on your hens' egg production. When one starts to tail off.....
That's also a great incentive for the remaining hens. Nothing like a public execution
to concentrate minds, even chicken minds. ;0]

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: tasty birds on 12/12/2013 15:35:17 MST Print View

My boss had two feral roosters take up residence in his wood pile last month. Judging by their musculature and stomach contents they had been avoiding the coyotes and cats all summer. They made some very tasty BBQ.

I was blown away earlier this month at how good snowshoe hare tastes. Super complex dark meat, has to be cooked long and slow to break down all the connective tissue.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Hares on 12/12/2013 17:54:29 MST Print View

Not many people here eat jackrabbit, but I like it. I wonder if it's similar to snowshoe hare. Not many people make the distinction here, but jackrabbits are a hare, different from a cottontail or the likes.

I know cooking jackrabbit is the same; long and slow to break it down.
Many recipes I know call for par-boiling it, then letting it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours with a marinade of wine and olive oil (with additional seasonings) to break it down a bit and reduce the gaminess. I know this sort of recipe is really common amongst Italians and in the Mediterranean. The grandfather of a good friend of mine is an old-school Basque hunter and prepares it in a similar way, typically braised after the long marinade.

Yeah Tom, we'll be watching our chickens...
One was recently eaten by a skunk or opossum. I had to kill another a little while back but was afraid to eat her because she was ill and we didn't know what she had.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Hares on 12/12/2013 18:26:48 MST Print View

I grew up eating hare ( and rabbit), pheasant, wild pig, quail etc. Some of the best, I mean best ever ragu was made with hare meat. I'll pm you the recipe if you want. Over tagliatelle or some other egg-based wide noodle pasta. Making me hungry right now.