I consider myself a 365 hunter. That means, among other things, that I do a lot of scouting during the off-season. This goes for familiar and new hunting properties alike and it’s always paid dividends. In my mind, it matters.
Shortly after the whitetail season, I carefully seek new buck bedding areas and check known ones. Likewise, I look for new trails. Sure, there are those known heavy paths that deer traditionally travel on properties. However, it’s always common for new ones to surface. It’s the new ones that need learning on an ongoing basis.
You don’t need deer sign to shoot a buck? I disagree. Sure, you can study aerial property views and hunting apps, but there is no substitute for putting your eyeballs on the hard facts.
Whether a 20-acre micro-property or a ten thousand-acre hunting mecca, the reflex action is often to seek and study heavy timber, thick creek basins, and ag field-hugging woodlots. And often these places are in the thick of things. That is, in the middle of the ranch and in hard to reach places.
This is, where the mature bucks are. These have to be the honey holes, right? There is certainly a mystique about these remote deer havens.
Though hunters differ in how much they are willing to pressure these areas, most will walk them; or at least areas adjacent to them. It’s in these sections where trails, rub lines, scrapes and bedding areas are discovered or confirmed.
Optimal Setups Determined
Finding these heavily visited and traveled areas leads to deer stand location strategies. Most of us already know this. It’s no shocker that we often see old rotted boards within and atop old trees next to heavy game trails.
Whitetails, especially bucks, tend to follow the path of least resistance. And, unless you hunt an extremely large property, free-range deer commonly cross food sources, draws, and fence lines. The latter seemingly is often ignored. So…
It seems that we often fail to see the elephant in the room – or in the case of deer scouting, the worn dirt found through property boundaries. Whether because we think we already know all the crossings or it just doesn’t cross our minds, it’s too valuable a piece of intel to overlook. These days, on regular and known grounds, I annually walk the fence lines for travel sign.
Whitetails create new routes all the time and, for that matter, can disregard old ones. The latter can happen for a variety of reasons such as new hunter pressure. In fact, I recently walked the boundaries of my latest property (in June) and found two new trails; and one of them lead directly to a bedding area not 150-yards from one of my tree stands.
It’s for this reason that it’s a great idea to follow through by following such trails as far as you can (or they remain noticeable). Similarly, you can often reverse things and follow interior trails to fence line crossings.
Finally, once the fence line funnel has been identified, set up 200-300 yards away, watch, and verify. Physically witnessing early morning and late evening deer movement through these paths is bowhunter gold.
The only step left at this point is to find a logical location closer to the action. In fact, the early season is a great time to cash in on fence line paths. During this stage, some whitetails are still in their more predictable patterns. There are also still some bachelor groups around.
Why Did the Buck Cross the Fence?
I can’t think of a punchline, so here goes…
There are various reasons why fence line recon is valuable. Obviously, if there are food and nutrient sources across properties, deer will regularly traverse accordingly. This is common in free-range areas.
Did you ever notice that you see a lot of rubs and scrapes along fence lines? I have. The fact is that even in more open country, fence lines have structure. Trees and other brush typically grow there. Birds drop seeds there and so on.
It’s sweet edge structure.
Maybe the real question is, other than seeking what’s on the other side, why do whitetails like fence lines?
Deer are naturally edge creatures, hence, preferring edge cover. This is, for example, common in parts of Texas where structure is a logical threshold from which to hit crops or the next brushy section. It’s deemed a safe transition area.
Among other things, this all means that, as hunters, we can capitalize on existing cross-property travel patterns.
But what If no natural fence line funnels exist? Simple, create one.
Here we have a chance to do a little behavior modification. Specifically, use the mini woodlots and strips of cover along property boundaries to lead deer to routes favorable to us as hunters. For example, direct them toward grain field edges, small openings, or even open country.
Do some selective brush cutting along the fence. Better yet, lower the fence itself by loosening the top wire and attach it to the next lower one. Cable ties or pieces of wire work well for this. Remember, the path of least resistance. Utilizing these methods may be what it takes to get deer making tracks where you want them to go.
The Blind Has to Go Here
We know it when we see it. You know, the pocket of brush just inside of a shadowy oak canopy or a natural spot within a clump of cedars. Plus, in smaller woodlots such as these, there are often few choices for blind placement.
For bowhunters, in particular, this allows us to lead whitetails within range of where we want to sit. Also, note that this tactic is particularly effective during early season when some deer (even some bachelor groups) are in their more predictable summer patterns.
Hunting Etiquette and Backpedaling
A couple of qualifiers; First off, this article was written primarily with bowhunting in mind. Secondly, I don’t condone baiting property lines (even where legal). In such states, I don’t even condone placing game feeders within sight of the fence.
At least in my case, scouting and modifying edge structure takes place on cross-fencing within properties, as well as true property boundaries. For the latter, tread lightly and with courtesy.
I can’t define the parameters around property boundary hunting etiquette. There a lot of different ideas out there. In Texas, I was always told that it was bad hunting manners to place a blind within 100 yards of the fence. Admittedly, the vast majority of these hunters were gun hunters.
Obviously, hunting property boundaries is a volatile topic – and for good reason. Hunters have an age-old tradition of preserving acceptable behavior in the woods, and I’m not suggesting anyone should violate it. This tactic has little to do with hunting fence lines. However, it has everything to do with scouting, as well as modifying and capitalizing on whitetail travel patterns.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of torn jeans and shirts at the hands of barb-wire fences and the brush around them. As a whitetail hunter, I think it’s been well worth it. If you haven’t already done so, walk the perimeter and develop a plan of action. It just may pay big dividends this deer season.
In this broadhead review, I tested two new broadheads from the same manufacturer; The Sevr 1.5 and 1.7-inch broadheads.
Sevr Broadhead Offerings
Sevr originally came out with a broadhead that had a 2.1” cutting diameter. It was a great head with fantastic flight and it was tough. But, the penetration is about what you would expect from a 2.1” broadhead and it was a bit lacking in kinetic energy for my purposes.
For a deer, or even for smaller game like turkey, if your number one goal is a big hole, the 2.1” Sevr is going to deliver. But to round out their lineup, they’ve come up with two additional offerings.
Sevr 1.7-inch Broadhead
To compliment their original broadhead, Sevr introduced a 1.7” head. It has a stainless steel tip and it has got a good grade aluminum ferrule. It has rear deploying blades that lock in place, which I love.
The 1.7” cutting diameter provides decent penetration and is a good all-around broadhead offering for pretty much any kind of game.
Sevr 1.5-inch Broadhead
Sevr also introduced the 1.5-inch head. The 1.5-inch operates just like the 2.1-inch with a few design differences.
On the 1.7-inch head, the tip is not quite as big as the 1.5-inch head and also has a smaller ferrule. The 1.7-inch head only comes in a 100-grain and is a little cheaper, while the 1.5-inch head comes in a 100-grain as well as a 125-grain.
Sevr 1.5-inch and 1.7-inch heads | The details…
Firstly, just as the name implies, the 1.5-inch head has a 1.5-inch cutting diameter. Also, the ferrule and tip on the 1.5-inch head are titanium, as opposed to the stainless steel tip and aluminum ferrule of its 2.1-inch predecessor.
The blades of the 1.5-inch head are stainless steel and lock into place just like the 2.1-inch head.
The 1.5-inch head is designed for big-bodied, heavy-skinned animals. It is also better for longer distance shots, due to the smaller cutting diameter.
Although the cut is 1.5” wide, the chiseled tip itself is approximately 5/16-inch wide. So, with the 1.5-inch width cut in one direction and the 5/16-inch wide tip cut in the other direction, you get a total of a little over 1-3/4 inches of cut with a 1-1/2-inch hole.
Sevr has a direct-to consumer approach, so you can only order them from their website. You can purchase them by the eaches, but you can get a better deal if you buy higher quantities.
At the time of this article’s publishing, the 1.7-heads are $11.99 each. The 1.5-inch head is $13.99. The 1.5 is more expensive due to the titanium head. You can purchase at SevrBroadheads.com.
Using code LUSKFIVE will give you $5 off any order at SevrBroadheads.com!
Blades and cutting features
I love the way the Sevrs work. They have two small “wings” that are exposed during flight. When they come in contact with an animal, they actually “pre-stretch” the hide (skin) as the blades deploy. In theory, since the blades are rear-deploying, not only do you get a 4-cut entry, but you get a bigger cut.
The heads of the Sevrs also lock into place. So, unlike a lot of mechanical heads that can close down if there’s not a certain amount of pressure, these heads lock in place and they stay that way in the animal.
Because they lock in place, they will not give a smaller cut than they do at their full deployment. The blades will go back into pre-deployment position when removing from the animal, but will still lock back down in deployment position.
If you’ve ever shot a broadhead into a deer or other animal and hit bone, it typically deflects off course. But, the great thing about the Sevrs is that the will rotate to one side if they come they come into contact with bone or a hard medium like a rib. The blade will simply fall to the side that encounters the bone, allowing the other blade to continue cutting and still keeps the broadhead on track.
This feature helps increase the chances of getting a good exit and getting better penetration of lungs and other vitals when the head encounters bone. And, because the blades stay locked even as they rotate, they just “dance” around the bone.
Another nice feature to the Sevr broadheads is that when there is heavy pressure on the blades – the type of pressure that might bend or break both blades – they compressed ever so slightly to absorb some of that impact. Because of this feature, they difficult to break.
The 1.7-inch heads have a blade thickness of 0.035-inch thick. The 1.5-inch heads have blades that are 0.032-inch thick. Both heads have all the same features, locking in place and pivoting around bone, staying on track.
I was excited that they came out with a 1.7 and came out with a 1.5 because the 2.1-inch was just a little bit much for me to be able to be confident that I would be able to get a pass-through on an animal.
Although I knew I would get a big hole, I needed to be confident that I would get pass throughs. And, when hunting large animals like elk or bear, I want to be sure I get deep penetration.
Blade angle and overall cut
Another thing I like about the 1.5-inch head versus the original 2.1-inch head is that the blade angle is much less. So, penetration is not only better because of a smaller cutting area, but it’s also better because of the smaller angle.
The same with the 1.7-inch head. While it has a slightly larger cutting angle than the 1.5, it is still less than the 2.1. So, the 1.7 also gets better penetration, not only because of the angle, but because of the smaller diameter cut.
Now, you might think, “Oh, 1.5 or 1.7 inches is kind of small.” But, there are not many fixed heads that have a 1.5-inch cut. They might have a combined 2-inch cut, with 1-inch one way and 1-inch the other way. But, what I have found with broadheads on game animals is that the wider a cut, the more effective bloodletting you will get.
On three and four-blade broadheads, although you may get more total tissue cut, you get a smaller cutting diameter. And, smaller holes tend to get plugged up easier with organs blood and tissue, resulting in less effective blood trails.
But, when you get a wider cut, even like a 1.5-inch, the hide and wound tend to stretch open as the animal moves, producing better bloodletting. Of course, with the 1.7, you would get even more. With the 2.1-inch head, you’re going to get a lot of bloodletting, but you are going to compromise penetration to do so.
So, with the new Sevr lineup, you have something for everyone. But, what I really wanted to see was… how do they fly? They are really the same heads, so I just tested the 1.5-inch.
When it comes to target shooting the Sevr heads, there is a feature that helps them stand out. Each head comes with a small set screw, so that when you shoot, the head stays in a closed position. Because the blades do not deploy, they don’t touch the target at all. It’s very nice on your target and on the head itself.
So, in essence it makes the actual broadhead a practice head, and is easy to pull out of the target. Just be sure that when you hunt, you have removed the set screw, or the blades will not deploy.
Penetration and durability testing
For my penetration and durability tests, I shot the Sevr heads through 1-2-inch layers of MDF, with a foam mat in the front. I also shot them at a 45-degree angle on the MDF. After those tests, I shot them into a steel plate.
For testing, I shot the Bowtech SR6, set at 72 pounds, on the comfort setting. The arrows I used with the heads are the Bishop Mammoth FOC King, bsecause they are the most durable arrows made. These tests really put the arrows through the ringer and yet they don’t get damaged, as they are incredibly resilient.
MDF Board Penetration Test
I shot the 1.5-inch, 125-grain head and the 1.7-inch, 100-grain head into the MDF. Both broadheads penetrated all the way through the first board and then stopped into the second board.
In the back of the second layer of MDF, the 1.7-inch bulged out a little bit. The 1.5-inch bulged out quite a bit more.
On the entrance hole, both deployed upon impact even with the soft pad over the first board and the cuts are exactly as advertised.
The 1.5-inch head opened up to 1.5 inches. And the 1.7-inch head opened up to 1.7 inches exactly.
45-degree angle shot into MDF
I set up two MDF boards at a 45-degree angle and shot both the 1.5 and 1.7-inch heads into it.
Both heads penetrated precisely straight through. There was no sliding off the 45-degree angle board at all. And, the penetration was great for both of them. You see the top one was the 1.5-inch, the bottom the 1.7.
Steel Plate Penetration Test
Because these heads held up so well in the MDF testing, I also shot them into a steel plate to evaluate what would happen.
I honestly wasn’t expecting them to hold up that well after all those other MDF board shots. But, they went through the steel plate and then through the second board.
You can see that the 1.5-inch at the top, blew all the way through it. And you can see the tip of the 1.7-inch, 100-grain, sticking at the bottom.
Here are the heads after going through the initial two layers of MDF and then another layer of MDF and an angle, and then a layer of steel plate and then another MDF, half inch MDF. All of them were half inch MDFs. And they both held up extremely well.
On the 1.5-inch, there was zero damage to the tip. The blades took very little damage, incurring only one nick. (The nick at the bottom is part of the design that holds the rubber bands in place.)
As for the 1.7-inch, they too held up really well, receiving small nicks both blades from the steel plate test.
Overall, the Sevr heads held up really well, including the blades, tips and ferrules.
When I first heard the Sevr broadheads were hitting the market, I had a lot of hope that they penetrate well and hold up well with the changes made to the new models. These heads have exceeded my expectations.
In terms of flight, I knew they would fly extremely well. And, they fly as good as any mechanical head I’ve ever tested. They are like a field point in flight, flying right up there with the very best.
In terms of penetration, they were excellent, maintain outstanding durability as they were shot into 4 total layers of ½-inch MDF, a steel plate and foam mat.
So the Sevr 1.5 and 1.7-inch are really a good heads for bowhunters to consider for various animals.
Today, you can flip on the Outdoor Channel and see all sorts of activities. From bass fishing to buck hunting, the new age of technology has done wonders for the outdoor community via television and online streaming.
More money and notoriety continue to flood these sports which when coupled with new-age platforms, allows content creators like LunkersTV, John B, Lojo Fishing, and many more to reach audiences one would have never thought possible until recently.
Education Via YouTube
In the early 2000s, most people were only going to discover hunting or fishing was if their family member or friend introduced them to it.
Now, you can type “fishing” into the YouTube search bar and learn all about traditional and lesser-known types of fishing from scratch within hours. This opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for kids who aren’t fortunate enough to grow up in the great outdoors.
While these are certainly exciting times in the outdoor industry, one outdoor sport has been slower to gain an online identity… bowfishing.
This is not to say that bowfishing content isn’t accessible, but the people who are primarily posting online content about it are hunters and bass fishermen who try to shake things up for their fans while enjoying the occasional bowfishing outing.
While many of these content creators do a great job, the sport is really missing its own creators dedicated solely to bowfishing, just as there are many YouTubers, bloggers, and podcasters dedicated to bass fishing or deer hunting.
This could be due to stereotypes that often plague the sport, or simply because no one has taken that leap of faith yet into uncharted territory.
Why Bowfishing Will Thrive
So, let’s talk about why bowfishing has a bright future and why it should thrive online.
If you’ve heard about or seen videos of bowfishing, but aren’t familiar with the sport, you may be thinking “It’s far too barbaric to last; especially as society’s attitudes shift.”
However, bowfishing is better prepared to survive than it may seem at first glance.
The younger audience is alive and well
Most of the pictures submitted to us are from kids who are still in high school or are recently graduated.
“Okay, so we know people can do it, but it’s just so brutal. I mean, modern media can handle hooking some fish, but we are much more environmentally sensitive now, right?”
We are certainly more environmentally sensitive than in the past. But, that’s exactly why bowfishing can find acceptance.
Many of the fish we shoot are invasive species that pose a threat to the balance of the ecosystem. Even many of the other “non-invasive” targeted fish need some level of population control so that the “game fish” we all love to reel in can thrive.
Much like with deer hunting, bowfishing can serve as a means of maintaining balance in our waterways. Since bowfishing can be a powerful tool for conservation, there are not many restrictions in place currently pertaining to the number of fish one can shoot. This is something we think people could get behind and support, or at least accept out of necessity.
“Okay, so if bowfishing can grow with the times, and has a built-in future generation of capable participants, why can’t we just leave it be and hope this will be enough to carry the sport?”
In the early 2000s, bass fishing was doing well, but there was a pretty clear divide between recreational participants and its professionals.
Instead of being a passion that someone could pursue, it was deemed more of a hobby for country folk after a hard day at work or in school.
But, then YouTube came along, and before you know it, content creators emerged from the woodwork and took the sport by storm. Many individuals from different walks of life took up the sport. (Remember what we said about archery being one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S? Well, bass fishing is right there as well, thanks to these YouTubers and many others in the sport).
Sponsors have taken notice of this trend, and more attention is on the sport than ever before. Many of the tournaments can be watched on a live-feed, and before you know it, we are going to have a generation of kids that saw fishing for the first time on a phone screen.
Just like traditional fishing and hunting exposure has grown with the rise of social media, bowfishing will continue to grow as the outdoor community continues to be exposed to the sport.
But, regardless of how fast bowfishing may grow during this generation, we must be careful not to lose that peaceful connection with the outdoors that makes it so special in the 21st century.