doe smelling deer scent

Deer Scents | How And When To Use Them

It happens every deer season. Someone walks down the hunting aisle of a local sporting goods store, sees the deer scents and attractants section and begins to wonder how they can tip the odds in their favor during their next hunt.

When it comes to using scents and attractants, success comes from knowing the right scent to use at the right time. For example, you might not want to use an estrous scent in October, but it might be the best thing to use in Mid-November.

Let me give you an example…

It’s not just the scent that’s important… it’s using the right scent at the right time!

A Lesson In Scent Usage

It was the third week of October in Indiana, the pre-rut was on, and the deer were fired up. I had just climbed into my ladder stand, hung up my backpack, and pulled up my bow. As I prepared for this afternoon hunt, I had no idea what was about to happen.

I had just pulled an SD card from one of my trail cameras on my way to the stand. I had gotten to the stand a little earlier than normal, so I figured I’d have time to go through some of the pictures and check activity from the previous couple of days.



Mock Scrape Magic

I had hung a dispenser of a new scrape blend scent that we were trying out and the results were extremely positive. I had bucks coming to this mock scrape nightly, but a new buck had shown himself that I had not seen before.

As I was going through the pictures, I randomly picked my head up and scanned the woods I was hunting, as well as a nearby cornfield.

Mock scrapes an provide some of the best buck intel you can get.

Then, I saw movement.

I got ready and then a deer came into full view. It was a spike, and he was on the move. So, with the opportunity of some interaction, I let out a few soft grunts. He stopped and looked, but that was all.

I decided to see what he would do if he heard a bleat, so I did. He turned and came in on a string.

Now, on my way to the stand, I had broadcasted some Battle Ballz in front of me. When the spike hit the scent; he walked in figure 8’s trying to pinpoint the source.



Success using scents and attractants comes from not just know what scents to use, but specifically when to use them.

Bleat, Grunt, Broadside

That’s when the hunt changed even more. While watching this young buck walk around in circles, I looked to my left and saw a second deer. It was him, the 9-point buck I had seen on my SD card just saw on my SD card just moments earlier!

I grunted at the buck and he put on the brakes. He didn’t look like he was going to commit, until I bleated once again. This bigger buck wasn’t about to let a little spike be near a willing doe, so he turned and walked in.

The buck gave me a clear, 35-yard broadside shot. Let’s just say I recovered him 125 yards away.

Thanks to the scent I had spread on the ground earlier, those bucks were able to keep their minds and their focus on other things. The grunt call, coupled with the scent, allowed me to take this nice 9-pointer.

As you can see, each “tool” we haul into the woods can make or break our success and overall hunting experience. In this case, the scent was the difference maker. But it’s not just the fact that there was a scent involved. It’s that it was the right scent at the right time.


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You see, this was mid-October, and my scent selections were a scrape blend, and Pay Dirt, a fresh earth scent, (I also used a dabble of another scent we were also testing for the next season.) As scrapes were popping up daily, one of our buck tarsal scents could have been another good choice.

On this hunt, the cover scents proved extremely effective, as a slight breeze was blowing straight toward those two bucks that afternoon.

Please note that it’s very important to follow your state’s laws when using scents and attractants. For example, Indiana’s game laws dictate that you can’t pour scent on the ground, but you can use in a scent dispenser which, makes the scent non-edible.



What Scents To Use… And When

When hunting with scents, I recommend the following guidelines, to ensure the best hunt possible.

Beginning Of The Deer Season

When deer season starts, regardless the month, use food scents!

Food scents are what separate a scent company from a urine company. What do I mean? Well we all know that urines have a time and place, but urines (deer, fox, skunk etc.) are used mostly during hunting season. A food attractant, however, can be used any time of the year.

Now, why would you want to attract deer any time of the year? The answer is simple, scouting.

Food Scents + Minerals

Scouting cameras are used more than ever before, and having a way to attract deer to those cameras are just as important as the camera itself. Lots of people say they use mineral or salt licks. Yes, using those is a great idea. Food scents however, can last for such a long time – even longer than mineral – because when used in a scent dispenser, the scent is protected from weather, such as rain or snow.

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Now, using scent with mineral is a deadly combo. We’ve found that using scent at your mineral site attracts game to that location faster, and from a further distance. This is helpful when taking deer inventory, promoting antler growth, and scouting for sheds. As I like to say, “the scent brings them in, but the mineral keeps them there.”

Pre-Rut

In mid-to-late October, as bucks are starting to rub and scrape, and pre-rut action is in full-swing, use scrape and tarsal scents.

During this time of year (pre-rut), scrapes are one of the best locations to use scent that you could ever ask for. The reason? Well, because scrapes are spots that you can predict bucks will visit.

I’ve kept a scrape active for months by changing my scents up through the various stages of the rut, drawing in countless big bucks. Use multiple scents together to simulate buck and doe activity. For example, when using a scrape blend or buck with tarsal, try adding some fresh dirt as well. By doing so, you will give the impression that the buck was just there, and you might just be able to get that dominant buck to shrink his home range and visit that scrape more often.




During The Rut

The beginning of November is a great time to use this estrus doe scent. However, because all does don’t come into estrus time, Buck Nuggets and Battle Ballz are also a great choice through first of December, or what is sometimes referred to as the secondary rut.

Post-Rut

Post rut, in my opinion, is one of the hardest time of the year to hunt. Temps are dropping, deer are tired, and food is scarce. During this time of year, I switch gears and go back to the food scents, using them like I did in the early season. Remember, tree foliage is bare during this time of year, and anything you can do to draw the eyes and nose of a whitetail is critical.

Hide Yourself… With Food

One tactic is to hang a dispenser of food scent where I would want to attract the animals, and hang the same scent in the stand or ground blind with me. Now I’ve doubled the attractant and doubled the cover scent at the same time.

Food scents are a good cover scent as well. So what if you walked into the woods smelling like apples, sweet corn, or acorns? That doesn’t sound too bad at all!

A comment I hear a lot is… “How will apple scent work if you don’t have apple trees on your property? No way Jose!”

Well, let me ask you a question. Do you know what a steak smells like? If all of a sudden you smell a steak, what’s the first thing you think? Probably something like, “Man that smells good… where’s that coming from.” You don’t think “nope, that couldn’t be a steak… there’s no butchered cows around her.”

Well, deer have the same thinking.



Scent Control Is Key

Proper scent control starts at home! Clothes stored in a sealed container with a food or cover will lessen the human odor you leave while walking, sitting, working or scouting in the woods.

Tips To Remember

  • Use food scents as an attractant as well as a cover scent.
  • Use cover scents all year long
  • While using scent in or around a scrapes, use multiple scents. Try using a buck and doe combo in your scrapes. Another trick is use a buck scent and dirt scent at the same time.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different scents, even in the off-season. Scent sites are very effective ways to scout shed heads after the season ends.

In Conclusion

Hunting scents surely have a time and place. Keep in mind that your camo, tree stand, bow, and hunting scents are all tools we as hunters can use to have more success in the field and possibly create opportunities you’ve never had before.

Bryan Hussung, CEO of Scent Ballz
whitetail deer quartering away

The Quartering Away Shot on a Deer | A bowhunter’s best friend

So, there’s a lot of discussion in the archery/bowhunting world surrounding shot angles.

When it comes to this hot topic, there are several subtopics like, “how to,” “where,” “which angle,” and “the best.”

quartering away angle

Angles aren’t just important in Geometry class, they are “vitally” important when considering shot angles on deer and other game.

And, of course, there’s the chatter surrounding what arrow and broadhead to use (I have some not so humble opinions on that!)

But, very few shot placement discussions answer the only thing that matters… “Why do you shoot any shot angle?”  

Understanding “why” in regard to shot angles requires practical application.  So, keep reading and find out!

The “why” is important when contemplating shot placement

Just so you know, I drove my teachers crazy in school when we did math equations or wrote papers for English class. Over and over and over again I simply wanted to know… “why are we doing this!?” 

The answer was usually, “because that’s what we are doing today!”  (which still falls like an anvil on my reasoning capability.)

I just kept thinking “we’ve been doing that stuff the past few days and I am moderately proficient!”

But, “why” requires practical application.  So, keep reading and I’ll cover some of that stuff.



So, what is a quartering away shot anyway?

deer quartering away with arrow pointing to daylight between the front legs

If a deer is facing away from you and you can see daylight between its front legs… it’s quartering away.

First, let’s make sure we all understand what “quartering away” looks like. Since a large number of bowhunters are after whitetail, that is the example I will use.

Yeah, Yeah, there can be severe quartering, or more toward broadside but quartering. Here’s the simple way to know IF THEY are quartering. Look at the front legs.  If you see daylight, it’s quartering.

Why the quartering away shot is best

Now that we have that settled, let’s discuss why this shot is the best shot angle.  I’ll set this up in order of operation.

They are looking away

Put simply, the act of drawing a bow requires movement.  The animal is looking away from you, so that puts you at a significant hunting advantage.


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The ears are pointed the other way

So, there’s some debate on a quartering away shot being better because a deer’s hearing would be reduced with its ears pointing away as well. A deer’s ears are cupped, so theoretically, if you make noise, this position would in fact be better.

My example above, of course, has an ear rotated back, just to keep me honest. Anyway, the ears aren’t toward you and that can’t be a bad thing!



The lethal part of the critter, any critter, is exposed in a quartering away stance

In the quartering away stance, there are no shoulder blades or ribcage to hit in most cases, even from a treestand. But, the big “kicker” here is that the arrow is traveling forward. Physiologically, and FACTUALLY, the arrow will be moving toward the more lethal parts of the animal. 

So, a little anatomy lesson.. Below is a basic diagram of the broadside of a deer:

whitetail deer diagram standing broadside with vitals showing

Now, you’re going to have to play along with me in this diagram and just imagine the deer is quartering away. 

Each “arrow” represents a shot angle (from top to bottom), i.e. a tree stand, low tree stand, or downhill and ground level.  That’s why I have the “arrows” as long as they are.  They represent a possible wound channel.

But, no matter if the arrow hits the rear of the lungs or the middle of the lungs, the arrow is constantly moving toward the heart, lungs, and major vessels.  This is key to WHY! 

So, why does this matter Fowler??

Well, I’ll tell you.



Keep things moving forward, folks

The most forward part of the animal, (where all 3 “arrows” intersect and I have placed the “broadhead” in the picture above), include much larger vessels and airways. 

Put simply, “it’s legit,” but it’s a bit more complex than that. So, here’s the redneck version… 

Your potential to cut “bigger stuff” increases exponentially every inch that the arrow moves forward (let’s hope you’re shooting an adult arrow and hitting the Earth after blowing through). 

Anyway, with the quartering away shot, Joe Bowhunter’s success percentage goes up and tracking distance goes down. WIN!


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The wound channel is long

It’s pretty simple: The wound channel of a quartering away shot is long.

I laugh when I see these “wound channel” measurements.  Mostly to justify a 3” wide mechanical penetrating only 9”.

Mathematically, sure, I get that. But come on man. Can’t we just shoot through a deer? 




Anyway, this next part does apply to “flappers” (mechanicals) and low penetration systems.  As you might know, I advocate for maximum penetration because that’s all an arrow can do… penetrate.

Because an arrow only gets one try, long wounds increase damage.

Let me step off the soapbox now and give 2 examples that will be pretty clear. 

So, let’s get down to my level.

I am a simple guy.  Below is a basic sponge. It’s an excellent lung example because it’s full of air and holes that represent blood airways and blood vessels, they’re longer than they are wide, and because, well, everybody has handled one.

A perfectly normal lung, with no damage, would feel very similar when compressed.



sponge and tape measure showing the concept of a broadside shot

This sponge and tape measure help to illustrate wound channel length during a broadside shot.

sponge and tape measure showing the concept of a quartering away shot

And now, using the same methodology, a quartering away shot. The wound channel on a quartering away shot is longer than that of a broadside shot.

As you can see in the picture above, we get really long wounds with a quartering away shot.  Again, the larger vessels and heart are forward, so that’s improving per the “lethal part of the critter” discussed in #3 above

I’m not saying that broadside shots are bad, so stay on the rails here, this is a quartering away discussion! 

But, just look at that wound length. I think it’s pretty clear. 


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Why the longer wound channel matters

Now, another thing your favorite professional bowhunting guru doesn’t recognize is basic physiology. Now, to be fair, few of them have had a cadaver to help clarify why this works.

The largest percentage of vessels in the deer or other animal are going lengthwise, (i.e. front to back in the lung), and have a little wrapper around them. 

Imagine that sponge is inside a balloon but yet stays the same shape. The balloon is perfectly adhered to the outside of the sponge. This means all the air and blood have to enter and exit somehow.  That “somehow” is tubes. And all the tubes go in and out of the front of the lungs and then to the legs, neck, head, etc.



That’s a fact. Separate systems for oxygen and blood, with their own committed tubes, running ’round God’s cardiothoracic plumbing system. 

As an example, if you didn’t have pipes in your house, water would go everywhere. We have clean water pipes and plumbing pipes doing two separate things. But nope, the water comes in from the city, runs in a big pipe, then enters your house, in smaller pipes, then leaves. 

blood vessels illustration on quartering away shot using a sponge

A quartering away shot is more devastating than a broadside shot because the the blood vessels are running to and from the front, which is where we want that arrow headed!

In a lung, the air and blood flow is lengthwise because the entry and exit is in the front. 

Just. Like. That.



Where to aim on a quartering away shot | Tic-Tac-Toe!

So, you can use this simple example for any shot angle. 

Imagine the board from tic, tac, toe. The front legs are the vertical posts.  Imagine a line running on the spine (we prefer not to hit that).  Then, another line on the brisket.

Now, shoot the middle of middle box.  On any angle, the middle box widens or narrows.  Shoot the middle of the middle box.

quartering away deer with tic tac toe diagram

An imaginary tic-tac-toe board can help provide guidance on where to shoot when taking a quartering away shot.



The Quartering Away Shot

Conclusion

Ok, I hate to be so brief and leave so soon, but it’s really that simple. Of all these concepts, the long wounds are the most important.

Arrows do NOT have any cavitation or expanded wound channel by sheer velocity and shock waves. 

Not one.

Not even the broadhead companies that claim to have cavitation, actually have cavitation.  

100% fake news!



So, the best thing an arrow can do is travel as far as it can, cutting as many different airways and blood vessels as possible and then exit. 

Wait, that’s not the best thing, it is the ONLY thing!

One note, if you have dull broadheads, or just trust your brand to be hunting sharp and you don’t check them, that’s on you. Please take the responsibility to sharpen your broadheads!

The quartering away shot has many advantages. It’s certainly the best shot angle.

Now, if your arrow system fails, none of this matters, so…

maston boyd with whitetail buck

Bow Hunting Tips [Be Ready When The Moment Of Truth Comes]

Bow hunting is a fun and adventurous way to hunt wild game. Many who have experienced success at it will tell you that there’s nothing quite like it.

Whether you are looking for information on bow hunting for beginners or even a seasoned veteran, we’ve got some helpful bow hunting tips to help you in your quest to become a better bow hunter.

lock on tree stand

There’s lots to learn with bowhunting. Below are 10 tips that will help you become better at harvesting an animal with the stick and string!

Bowhunting Tips Overview

Don’t worry, we’ll get to bowhunting tactics further down, but some of the best bowhunting tips are the ones that you learn before the hunt.

Tips 1-5 will prepare you in a way so that you can have the confidence to make a great shot when it counts the most.

Tip #s 6-10 will focus on tips and strategies to help put you in a position to hopefully punch your tag on your target animal.

  1. Bow Maintenance
  2. Blind Bale Shooting
  3. Aim Small / Miss Small
  4. Hunting Stances
  5. Off-Season Practice
  6. Guessing Is Gambling
  7. Scent Control Is King
  8. Entry And Exit Routes
  9. Take An Ethical Shot
  10. Celebrate!

Check out the FIVE archery video tips below to get valuable information on how you can be sure you have an arrow that’s “Just Pass’N Through!”

Bow Hunting Tips: #1 – Bow Maintenance | Avoid Freak Accidents Like This One…

When you see this freak archery accident, you’ll want to learn what you can do to help prevent the possibility of it ever happening to you.

Bow hunting is more than just flinging arrows. bow maintenance checks in the off-season, as well as before your hunt, are an extremely important part of being sure you are able to bow hunt safely and avoiding injury.

In the first of our bow hunting tips, we’ve got details on how to do preventative bow maintenance, so you can avoid unnecessary accidents like this one when shooting your bow…



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Archery Accidents And How To Avoid Them

If you watched the above video, you’ll understand why bow maintenance is an important part of bow hunting.

Some of you are shooting your bow year round, but some of you put it into storage during the off season and because the temperatures can change in those environments, it’s very important to check bowstrings cables as well as your limbs before shooting.




Bow maintenance checklist [Pre-Shoot Checklist]

Here are some things you should check before you shoot your bow:

  • Be sure before every shoot that you check your strings and your cables for any signs of wear or fraying. Anything like that can be a potential for a broken string or cable during a hunt just like in the video above.
  • Be sure you check your limbs very carefully. You want to be sure there’s no signs of splintering, bubbling, or cracking. Extreme temperatures and sometimes even storage can cause limbs to weaken. And, you don’t want to have one of those limbs be damaged or break during a shoot.
  • Be sure all your screws and any bolts are tightened properly, so that you don’t have any of your accessories loose during a shoot.
  • Check your cams. Be sure you don’t have any nics or cuts that would affect your string in any way,  whether it be to cause a fraying or a cutting of the string, or else damage to a cam, where your string may actually even come off the track.
  • Be sure your rest is aligned properly.
  • Check cam rotation and be sure the cams are not warped and that they both reach letoff at the same exact time.
  • Be sure you get the proper arrow spine for your bow set up.

If you are not sure how to check the above items, we recommend you take to your local bow shop and have them look for you and inspect that, so that you can have the best chance of a safe shoot.


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Tip #2 – Blind Bale Shooting [Improve Your Archery Technique]

In this N1 Minute archery tips video, learn how closing your eyes can be the best way to see results in your archery and bow hunting technique.



bow hunting tips blind bale shooting

Stand back a few feet from a large target. Draw back and locate your target. Close your eyes and shoot. This drill will help grip, form, anchor point and release techniques. Put all these techniques together N1, and you’ll be seeing the results soon.




Tip #3 – Aim Small Miss Small [Improve Your Accuracy]

In the third of our bow hunting tips videos, 3D archery tournament shooter, Cole Honstead, shows you a “small” tip that could help you BIG during hunting season!




Tip #4 – Hunting Stances Can Make Or Break A Bow Hunt [So, Know Them All!]

In the below N1 Minute archery tips video, learn about various stances that can help you in all types of bow hunting scenarios.


For those of you who have bow hunted any amount of time, you know that some things can happen during a hunt that simple target practice can’t prepare you for. The video above will show you some archery tips to help you be best prepared when your moment of truth comes.



Archery Stances For Bow Hunting

Hunting stances can be used for everything from spot and stalk hunts in the West to using blinds and tree stands in the east.

For tree stand hunting, try your best to get to the elevated position. This is as simple as finding the hill and using the bed of a pick-up.

For spot and stalk hunts, try practicing using incline and decline slopes. When shooting from a blind, you’d better get used to sitting in a chair or kneeling position.

Practicing these stances throughout the off season will give you that confidence for a shot of a lifetime.



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Tip #5: Off-Season Bow Practice [You’ll Hunt Like You Practice]

In this N1 Minute, learn some bow hunting tips on how to to keep your archery skills polished and sharp during the off-season so that you can maintain proper archery form.





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Archery Practice Tips

You know for us bow hunters, this is the time of year that we practice and practice for. But what about when the season’s over? How do you keep your skills sharp?




Archery exercise for bowhunters

Here’s a simple tip to keep those muscles active after hunting season and all it takes is a simple exercise band.

So many hunters put away their bows, after the fall, through winter, until turkey season. With, one of these exercise bands, you can practice your draw cycle throughout the winter and make that first draw in the spring a little easier.



Simply grasp one end of the band with your front hand and with your drawing hand, pull the band back to your anchor point. Repeat this ten to fifteen times and then switch hands. This will work both your back and shoulders. A few sets of this draw cycle exercise a day, and you’ll be ready to hit the mark on your next 3D shoot or Spring turkey hunt.


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Tip #6: Guessing Is Gambling [Scout Instead!]

Everyone has things going on in life. Whether it’s work, family or other obligations, sometimes it’s hard to make time to scout. Then, before you know it, deer season sneaks up on you and you find yourself scrambling to grab your bowhunting gear and get in a tree or blind.

Or, maybe you’re just tempted to get in the same stand you always hunt and hope for the best.

Sure, there’s always a story of this happening… but the reality is you need to put in the work before the season ever starts to increase your chances of taking a deer or other game.

man mounting a trail camera to a tree

Don’t gamble when you bowhunt. Scout prior to the hunt so you can put yourself in a position to be successful.

Basic trailcams have become much less expensive in recent years, so save your pennies and get a couple of these helpful scouting tools and place them overlooking scrapes or on know travel corridors to and from bedding and food sources. Y



ou can even put out a mineral site. This will help you take inventory of the deer that may be on or travelling through your hunting property.

Trail cam pictures can you give you insight into deer patterns and how they coincide to time of day, time of year, weather and food/water source availability. This will help you make decisions on where to hang that deer stand or blind.


What could go wrong at 5-yards? Well….


Tip #7: Scent Control Is King

As discussed in our earlier tips, having properly functioning equipment and being proficient with it is critical. However, it can all be for nothing if you don’t practice scent control.

You will be hunting deer and other animals on their home turf. They have the upper hand and their noses are a big reason why.

Not only are the deer at an advantage – but you’re bowhunting – so, you need to be able to get much closer to the animal than you would if you were rifle hunting.

So, the bottom line is that you need to smell as little like – well, YOU – as possible!

doe smelling deer scent

Don’t give a deer’s nose a reason to tell it to run away. Make every effort to be as scent-free as possible.

There are plenty of scent-free and scent-control soaps and detergents available at your local sporting goods store. You can also wash your clothes in baking soda. Then, store your clothes in a scent free bag or container.

On the day of your hunt, avoid coming in contact with any scent that would smell unnatural to a deer’s nose. Yes, that means you might need to skip the steaming hot sausage biscuit run or the pre-hunt cigarette before the hunt.



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Tip #8: Entry And Exit Routes [They Can Make Or Break Your Hunt]

When you’re bowhunting, it’s easy sometimes to get focused on where you’re going to hunt.

But, you need to spend just as much time planning how you’re going to get to that magic hunting location that will put you in the best spot for a harvest.

Whether you’re hunting public land on thousands of acres, private land or even suburban hunting, animals are always looking – and smelling – for danger (you realize you are considered danger, right?)


hunting wind direction graphic
Staying downwind of the deer’s location will decrease your chances of getting busted!


So, if the deer or other game see, smell or hear “danger” as it goes to and/or from the magic hunting spot, they aren’t going to stick around and stand quartering away for you to put an arrow through the boiler room.

So, how can you avoid being busted on your way to and from your hunting location?



First of all, as we’ve already covered, you must do everything you can to be scent free and you must always pay attention to the wind direction. You don’t want your scent blown to where you expect the deer to be on your way in.

The same goes for exiting your hunting location. If deer bust you leaving your hunting location, they will associate that location with potential danger and you may not get another chance at them there.

So, be sure to plan your entry and exit routes so that you stay downwind of the where you know the deer or game to be. This can greatly increase your odds of slipping in and out as undetected as possible.



Tip #9: Take An Ethical Shot

Locating deer to hunt and setting up in a spot to potentially kill them is one thing.

Now, you actually have to execute a lethal shot.

6-point buck

Taking an ethical shot is such an important part of bowhunting. Take a shot that gives you the best chance at a quick and clean kill.

This isn’t always easy when bowhunting. So, that’s why it’s so important to have followed the pre-hunt bowhunting tips in #1-5 that we covered, so that when the moment of truth comes, you know you are ready.

You don’t want the animal to suffer and you also want to be sure you are shooting at the deer or game so that you can have as quick and humane kill as possible.


Kansas public land hunting!


Tip #10: Celebrate!

We couldn’t leave out number 10, could we. After all, you’ve put in the work getting proficient with your bow and you’ve worked hard to get yourself in position to successfully take an animal. So, when you finally do it, you’ve got to celebrate the moment!

18 point huge buck

Celebrate! It’s one of the best bowhunting tips we can give you…

And, there’s no better way to do that than with family and friends.

That’s why we say here at N1 Outdoors: Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there!

Bowhunting Tips | Final Thoughts

Happy hunting… we hope you have found our bow hunting tips to be useful in your quest to become better at your craft.

Do you have some bowhunting tips that you think would be good additions? Let us know in the comments below. It’s always great to learn from other hunters!

We hope you have an arrow that’s Just Pass’N Through!

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