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rifle and bow hunter

Are You A Pro Hunter?

I listened intently as a popular outdoor podcaster explained, in great detail his disdain for rifle hunting – and rifle hunters. He pontificated for 30 minutes about its inherent lack of challenge and illegitimacy in the deer woods.

Promptly following his passionate albeit exhaustive diatribe, he said, “but that’s okay. Not everyone has to hunt the same way.”

His ending statement came too late – at least in my mind.

Days later, I listened to another show where several minutes of banter were dedicated to the lameness that is hunting with an outfitter. Here, you got the impression that, anything short of traversing public land with not much more than a bow and climbing sticks, was a “short cut”. 

I’d never felt so lazy in my life (not really, I’ve got pretty thick skin). The negativity and chest puffing seemed to increase with the sound of each new cracking beer tab in the background.

Though these are guys that consistently provide a lot of entertaining and useful hunting information, they are like many other outdoorsmen – they’re not pro hunters…

A Pro Hunter is…

So, by now you’ve probably figured out that this article has a misleading title.

Jim Shockey is a pro hunter. Larry Weisuhnn is a pro hunter. Charles Alsheimer was a pro hunter.  Though just three of many examples, these sportsmen have a lot of cred, with gobs of skill, skins on the wall, knowledge of wild game, and efforts for conservation.

man punching deer tag with buck
With hunting numbers down in the U.S., hunters should promote hunting in general, instead of bickering about topics surrounding which type of hunting is better and which buck is big enough to harvest.

But they have more than that.

It’s no secret that hunting numbers are down in North America. Indeed, it’s a pivotal time for our hunting heritage and future. Obviously, the anti-hunting sentiment plays a large role here for sure. However, it’s obvious that many members of the hunting contingent are intent on eating their young.

A recipe for disaster – outdoor future thwarted.

What is pro hunting? Yes, it has a lot to do with expertise, accomplishments, and positive contributions to habitat, and the like. However, in this vernacular, to be a pro hunter simply means to PROmote.

Promote the way you prefer to hunt, your weapons of choice, or other philosophies.

I’m “pro-bowhunting because I prefer to get closer to the deer I hunt.” I’m “pro-public land hunting because I find it challenging and I get to seek new places and find deer there.” I’m “pro-private land hunting because I like to have more control over my hunting grounds and deer management.”

If You’re Not A Pro, Then What Are You?

In my mind, problems arise when people become “con” hunters. So, what about this word con?

Definitions include “against” or “contrary.”

Maybe you’ve heard comments like,  “I get irritated with guys that shoot the first buck they see – if I see one more photo of a guy posing with a young 8-pointer, I’m going to explode. They have no idea what they’re doing.”

Now there is a con I hear often. How about just promote hunting?

Cons can of course also be good if offered up in a non-confrontational or non-combative manner. After all, independent thought and respectful discussion and debate is healthy.

It’s a slippery slope though and some folks have a hard time maintaining a healthy balance.

Play Nice

“Slinging mud doesn’t get anyone anywhere. When we have problems with fellow hunters, hunting policies, or anything else, resolving issues the right way is a must,” says outdoor writer, Josh Honeycutt.

Arguably, mental wrestling matches regarding hunting issues are healthy. However, it’s a fact that, like in any community, the entire hunting collective doesn’t play nice.

So, perhaps it’s best to develop (or stick with) your pro hunter side (or at the very least, emphasize it). It can slow the momentum of the negative trends inherent in the current hunting and the outdoor culture.

Put differently, embrace the “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” mindset. Consider approaching social media channels and deer camp fire pits as a pro hunter.

Michael Waddell once said, “I don’t care if you hunt with a recurve, crossbow, rifle, or anything else as long as you’re safe and legal.”

A pro hunter statement if I ever heard one.

This may all sound trite and dramatic, but it’s worth thinking about. Perhaps it’s best to concentrate on our pros.

With that, hunt well and play nice.

jerald kopp of first light hunting journal
Jerald Kopp of 1st Light Hunting Journal and Empowerment Outfitter Network.
6 shotguns standing up

Choosing The “Best” Shotgun Setup

One of the most common questions many hunters ask is, “what shell do you recommend for (insert gun) with (insert choke)? Without hesitation, the most immediate follow-up question usually results in, “What do you define as best?”

To us, the perfect shotgun setup is a result of the ultimate satisfaction and confidence when you pull the trigger. The “Best” setup then, more often than not, is a result of personal preference.

Since there are so many factors in determining what shotgun setup to go with, we’ll dive into a couple that allow you to develop some thought and help guide your decision for your next hunting season or day in the field.

#1: What are you going to use this shotgun for?

While many customers call already owning the shotgun they intend to use, they often can also be in the market for a new one as well, possibly even in a different gauge.

The first question we might pose is, “what do you intend to use this gun for the most?”

Just as you would when choosing the right rifle caliber, it’s important when choosing a shotgun setup to know what exactly you are going to use it for.

turkey and shotgun on truck tire
You should ask the question what will my shotgun setup be used for? Will it be for turkey hunting, waterfowl, upland birds?

For example, when hunting waterfowl, semi-automatics are the most commonly used. Occupying the most weight, these guns rely on either gas or recoil driven systems to cycle the shells, allowing the shooter to stay more focused on the target, thus reducing the need to cycle the next shell.

When it comes to turkey hunting, it could be argued that the most prominent shotgun is a true pump-action.  Given the reduction in weight, these guns also provide a level of reliability that semi-automatics cannot provide.

In upland hunting, over/under or semi-automatic shotguns are king and its no coincidence these are favorites, as hunters can switch barrels and utilize multiple chokes at once for selected ranges.

>> Check out N1 Outdoors hunting, fishing and outdoor apparel

#2: Choosing a gauge

After you have selected your style of gun, you’re undoubtedly going to want to settle in on a gauge.

With gauge selection comes a choice in payload, recoil, weight and lastly range. Most smaller gauges tend to have smaller frames.

For larger type people, a bigger gauge may feel more comfortable, as it has added size and length of pull.

Smaller-framed individuals, or people looking for less recoil, may opt for a sub-gauge gun such as a 20, 28 or even a 410 bore. These gauges offer less weight, recoil and ease of maneuvering. A smaller gauge may also provide an additional level of challenge.

Whatever the situation, premium performance and effectiveness are available to all outdoor enthusiasts.

green apex ammunition shotgun shells in a stack
Tungsten Super Shot shells yield maximum pattern efficiency at various ranges.

#3: Choosing the right shell for your shotgun setup

With your next shotgun in hand, what shells do you intend to use?

With such advancements in technology and metallurgy, there are vast amounts of lengths, payloads and shot materials to choose. The most widely used shot materials are often steel for non-toxic and lead (where allowed) due to their mass availability and affordability.

Large pellets hit with a magnitude of force. However, they usually lose pattern counts at extended ranges. To make up for this, smaller shot sizes are used. But, the setback here is that these smaller pellets lose vast amounts of energy, thus decreasing their range regardless of pattern count.

To combat decreasing range, increasing the density of the shot material increases the mass of the pellet. This results in saturated, hard-hitting and efficient killing patterns, resulting in more success and less cripples.

With the recent rise in tungsten based alloys, a new pinnacle in the shotshell community known as, “Tungsten Super Shot” yields the maximum in pattern efficiency at a multitude of ranges.

#4: Choosing the right choke

Referring back to our most commonly received question, many customers ask us what shell works best for their previous setup. A choke, aftermarket or not, is merely an additional forcing cone to optimize pattern efficiency.

In short, your choke should complement your gun and cartridge, not the other way around. The best aftermarket chokes cannot allow the shell to optimally perform if they are chosen incorrectly.

First and foremost, it is the utmost importance to consult the ammunition and choke manufacturer you are considering for both their recommendations and any safety warnings.

mallard ducks arranged in pinwheel
The type of game you are hunting impacts which choke you might consider using with your shotgun setup.

Chokes that are not designed to handle heavier-than-lead-type products, or over-constriction, could result in severe damage to the gun or even injury to the shooter.

Tighter constriction doesn’t always mean tighter patterns. In fact, it can result in an inconsistent blown core pattern that leaves it looking “splotchy.”

When selecting the right choke, consider the make and gauge of your gun. The backbore of your shotgun, coupled with shot material, payload and shot size, will ultimately dictate which choke is right for your setup as it will ultimately culminate in your desired best pattern.

#5: The final touches

Your shotgun setup is almost complete. But, there are a few accessories and modifications you can add to increase your comfort and performance.

A reflex sight, which is most commonly referred to as a “Red Dot,” is a great addition that can improve your accuracy, and ensure that your point-of-impact/point-of-aim is true. It can also provide ergonomic relief to your neck and eyesight.

In short, if your sight is dialed in, the gun will hit what it points at.

You can also improve your setup by lengthening the forcing cone of your shotgun. This results in a smoother transition as the pellets travel down the barrel, reducing stray pellets or, “fliers.”

apex ammunition shotgun shells
Shot shell selection is a critical part of the deciding what the “best” shotgun setup.

Lastly, if you desire to provide the ultimate level of protection for your setup, there are options like Cerakote that virtually eliminate the wear and tear from the elements that allow you to prolong your investment.

In conclusion:

Choosing your best setup is the result of what you want to achieve. As it has been said before, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” In this case, perfection is just what you envision it to be.

As outdoorsmen and women, and conservationists, we all strive to achieve the most lethal and efficient method of take. After all the effort we put in to become successful, our equipment should be at the forefront of our mind and we should accept zero compromise in their performance.

Remember, with any setup, practice and patterning are critical to fine tuning your outcome. Maximum confidence in your abilities and equipment will ultimately lead to most memorable hunts you will ever experience.  

NIck Charney holding a turkey
Nick Charney, Founder of Apex Ammunition
bow hunting tips picture of man with bow and arrow

Bow Hunting Tips From N1 Outdoors [So You Can 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 hope to provide you with helpful bow hunting tips to help you in your quest to become a better bow hunter.

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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(Bow Maintenance video transcript)

A freak archery accident caught on film, and what you can do to help prevent it from happening to you. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

Archery Accidents And How To Avoid Them

Today we take a look at some incredible slow motion footage submitted to us by Ty Eubanks, who experienced a broken bow cable during a recent film shoot.

While we’re certainly thankful Ty was not hurt, it does provide us an opportunity to go over some simple safety checks that can be done to help you have the best chance at safe shooting during practice, as well as during the hunt.

Now, I know 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 [Before You Shoot]

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 we’ve shown.

Be sure you check your limbs very carefully. You want to be sure there’s no signs of splintering, bubbling, or cracking.

As we said, extreme temperatures and sometimes even storage can cause these things to weaken limbs. And, you don’t want to have one of those limbs be damaged or break during a shoot.

You also want to 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.

It’s also a good idea to 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.

There are also several other things you can check, such as rest alignment and cam rotation. You want to make sure that you get the proper arrow spine for your bow set up. Those things 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.

Thanks again to Ty for submitting his video. We also want to say thanks to Centershot Specialties in Anderson, South Carolina for their input on this video. We hope you have a great week and remember… “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.

Pre-Shoot Checklist For Your Bow:

  • Check bow string and cables for any signs of wear or fraying
  • Check bow limbs for any signs of bubbling, splintering or cracking
  • Be sure all screws and nuts on your bow are tightened. (Replace any rusty ones.)
  • Be sure your bow cams are free from any type of nics or cuts that could wear out or break your bow string.
  • Check your cam rotation, ensuring that it is smooth and not warped.
  • Be sure your arrow rest is aligned properly
  • It’s always a good idea to let your local bow shop to inspect your bow as well.

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.

(Blind Bale Shooting video transcript)

Ever shoot your bow with your eyes closed? We’ll tell you when and why you should. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

bow hunting tips blind bale shooting
Closing your eyes while shooting at a large bale target can improve your release and anchor point technique and help you become a better archer and bow hunter.

Hey everyone, today we got to Cole Honstead and Mike Zen, who show us how sometimes closing your eyes can be the best way to see improvements in your archery technique.

I’m Cole Honstead with your N1 Outdoors archery tip. Today’s tip is going back to the basics… 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 Tipthe results soon.

Thank you Cole and Mike, and thank you for joining us for this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute. If you’d like to view other hunting and fishing tip videos, you can visit our website at N1outdoors.com and click on the videos section. The whole library is there. You can also pick up N1 Outdoors apparel and also, now, you can participate in hunting and fishing and outdoors forums on our website, N1outdoors.com

We hope you have a great week, and remember, where the moments happen… we’ll meet you there! We’ll see you next time.

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! (hint: Aim small miss small!)

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(Aim Small, Miss Small video transcript)

This small tip could help you big this coming turkey season. Stick with us for the in N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

Today we go back out to Colorado to Cole Honstead with another tip help you become a better bow hunter.

I’m Cole Honstead with the N1 Outdoors archery tips. First tip of the New Year is something commonly heard in archery… “aim small, miss small.” And with turkey season right around the corner, we’re about to put that to use.

Turkey obviously have smaller vitals than a deer, so on a piece of paper draw a few circles from one to three inches in size. Pin it to a target, step back to ten, fifteen, twenty yards… and shoot. This will help you focus on a smaller aiming point to execute that perfect shot to put a hole N1 one this Spring.

Thanks again to Cole Honstead with another great tip. If you’d like to see more of these tips, you can visit N1 Outdoors.com and click on the videos section. And while you’re there on our website, be sure to check out our brand new shirt designs, because we’ve got some things you’re really going to like. Also connect with us on social media; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We hope you have a great week and remember, “Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there”. We’ll see you next time.

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.

(Archery Stances video transcript)

How to be ready for every bow hunting scenario. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

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. Today we go back out to Colorado to Cole Honstead, who has some archery tips to help you be best prepared when your moment of truth comes.

Archery Stances For Bow Hunting

I’m Cole Honstead with the N1 Outdoors archery tip. Today’s tip is practicing hunting stances. These 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.

Thank you for joining us for this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute and thanks again to Cole Honstead for the archery tips. Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and go by and visit N1outdoors.com. We hope you have a great week and remember “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there”. We’ll see you next time.

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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(Keep Your Archery Skills Sharp video transcript)

Keep those archery skills sharp even in the off season. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

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? Today we go out to Colorado to hear from 3D Tournament shooter Cole Honstead, with a simple tip to help you do just that.

I’m Cole Honstead with your 3D archery tips. 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.

Thank you again to Cole for sharing that archery tip with the N1 Outdoors audience. If you’d like to check out our apparel, you can do that at N1outdoors.com.

We hope you have a great week and remember, “Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there”. We’ll see you next time.

We hope you have found our bow hunting tips to be useful in your quest to become better at your craft. We hope you have an arrow that’s Just Pass’N Through!

To view other hunting and fishing tips videos, simply click on the “videos” link in our menu.

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