Lessons Learned: Angled Shot Placement

Pre-celebration parties are overrated. Never celebrate before the reason to celebrate has actually arrived, thus my first lesson learned this year: don’t celebrate prior to finding your animal.
The second and more important lesson learned:
I shot a doe on the mountain this year. I didn’t recover her. This is my story.
Do you remember the day I alluded to in my recent video where we headed to a mountain lake? This was the day I released an arrow. That morning Troy and I decided to take a bit of a break from climbing to the top and stalking the “big boys.” Instead we were going to try something different and spend the morning at a nearby lake. Actually, it was more me than Troy that wanted to venture to the lake, because I had been viewing this little lake from above all week and I wanted to see it for myself.
I didn’t realize how far the lake was from camp, because when looking down from the peak it didn’t seem that far. It was just over this “hill” through those pine trees and that clump of aspen trees. And when you no longer have the advantage of looking down to get your perspective of the land, it is easy to end up on the long route instead of hiking straight towards the destination. Therefore, what should have taken an hour quickly becomes two, and your little morning adventure turns into a day-long trip.
We did reach the lake mid-morning which allowed Troy to get out the spotting scope and see what the “big boys” were up to in the drainage basins above us. I got to “play” with the fish and soak in the sun. It was a nice relaxing afternoon. After eating our lunch, it was time to head back to camp and prepare for our evening hunt. This time we were taking the short straight route back to camp.
Since we felt confident in our way back this time, I told Troy let’s just walk slowly through the woods taking our time and maybe I would have a chance at a bedded doe. So, with an arrow at the ready I began to lead the way.. elmer fudding it over logs. As we were only about 100 yards into the aspen on the edge of the lake, a doe stood up from her bed. The shot opportunity presented itself perfectly. I had a visual of her entire body with her head concealed by an aspen. She was frozen sensing something below, and since I couldn’t see her eyes, I knew she couldn’t see me either. With my husband standing right next to me, I calmly told him, “I’ve got a shot. I’m going to take it.” Since he had a visual of her head, he was stuck and couldn’t move to range the distance for me. “It’s okay. I’ve got it,” I said and was able to range her prior to the full draw moment. The distance = exactly 30 yards. So, I could drill her using my 30 yard pin without having to make any adjustments.
Did you catch the mention that she was looking DOWN on us? There was a pretty steep incline, but since my range finder has an angle setting I knew my range of 30 yards was accurate. Without the angle setting, the range would have been 43 yards. I felt confident because I had been practicing these angle shots frequently.
I remember the whole thing. It is a moment burned in my memory. The shot felt right… Pin securely set in the kill zone. String on nose. Bubble level. Back muscles taught. Follow through. Trigger releasing. It felt right. She jumped sky high. The words flew out of my husbands mouth, “You DRILLED her!” And I remember saying, “It looked a tad bit high.” Seeing the question in my eyes, Troy quickly assured me that it was a great shot! He was proud of me.
We waited 30 minutes before making our way up the short distance to the top of the hill. I went first. I found my arrow and quickly became excited b/c there was blood on it and it was broken.
My excitement was short lived. As we looked around in the immediate area where the shot made impact, there was only a few small drops of blood. That was it. If I had hit lungs as it appeared I should have from below, there would have been a lot more blood. There wasn’t. It was going to be a long day. Knowing that with a minimal to non-existent blood trail we needed to sneak back to camp and possibly give her time to expire without pushing her deep into the woods. So, with the question lingering in my mind if I had just fed the bears and coyotes that evening or if I would recover my deer, we took the “short” trip back to camp to change clothes, lighten our packs and prepare for hopefully packing a deer back to the truck.
Without dragging this story on, the end of it is this: We didn’t recover my deer that day. After searching and combing the area all day without a blood trail to go on, here is what we think actually happened. With the angle of the shot and my gut feeling that I shot just slightly high, I probably hit the “no-zone” or “no man’s land” – the zone right in between the spine and lungs resulting in a muscle, non-fatal shot. She probably lived through it or I suppose the cycle of life continued by filling the stomach of a bear or coyote.
Here is where shot placement and angle are critical. Everyone knows that when bow hunting, to wait for the broadside or quartering away shot. Think about it… you need to ensure that the path of the arrow penetrates through to the kill zone. If the animal is quartering to you, this is a terrible shot b/c it means that a gut shot is likely. However, what about the up and down angle shots? The important part here (which I neglected to think about) is to consider the exit wound. Think about it. If I shot slightly high, I suppose I could have nicked one lung, but what about the other one? If you are shooting high, think about the steepness of your angle and take that into consideration. I should have accounted for it and shot a little lower. It is a lesson learned.

Game Cart Temptation

It may sound like a good idea to simply wheel your game down or up the side of a mountain. It’s not – don’t do it. If you are ever tempted with the thought of using a game cart in the mountains, let me save you – stop entertaining the thought right now! Don’t even think about it. It’s a bad Bad idea.

Thanks to a member of our hunting party who thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring a game cart for hauling an elk off the mountain, we tried it once. It wasn’t pretty. I wanted to chuck that thing right off the mountain by the time we were done with it. I was so tired and frustrated by the time we got back to the truck that I backed the truck into a tree. Yep! I still get harassed by my husband for that one.

Here is the story…

It was the fall of 2005 when the game cart folly incident occurred. We usually don’t hunt a specific area during our hunting trip until the last couple of days because no one wants to drag an elk out of there and you can pretty much guarantee that an elk encounter will happen at the bottom which means hauling an elk UP the entire mountain. It is a place reserved for the last ditch effort and lovingly referred to as the DMZ. The above photo displays this area behind us. It doesn’t look so bad from the picture, but one thing I’ve learned while hunting in the mountains… the terrain can easily fool you!

In the hopes of my first bow elk, I led the way in the early morning hours through waist high ferns, across boulder fields magnifying each bugle like a natural amphitheater and finally to the edge of sky high pine trees marking the entrance of the bottom forest. We were chasing the sounds of a bugling elk and closing the distance with each bugling episode. As we began to inch into the edge of the forest that swallowed up the wapiti, each step taken was absorbed by the soft forest duff concealing all noise and the closeness of something else present was made known by the chill on the back of my neck. With each step forward, I knew the moment may present itself in an instant.

With arrow nocked, feeling a bit like Pocahontas leading her men through the woods – all of the sudden the forest came alive! I was closer than I realized. I had probably 5 bulls scatter all around me!! And then the sound of… “Thud!” “Crash!” was followed by crazy repetitious cow calling. Todd had gotten a shot off. It was his first bull and the excitement caused his glasses to hang from his dazed face as he looked at us with an expression of wild-eyed adrenaline.

Then the moment of realization sunk in – we were at the bottom of the mountain in no-man’s land staring at a 5×5 bull elk nestled in a bed of waist-high ferns. The guys were having so much fun watching me sneak around through the woods we didn’t realize how far we really were into the forbidden hunting area. Not forbidden as in it isn’t legal to hunt here – forbidden as in nobody should consider dragging an elk OUT of here.

It took us probably 12 hours to get that elk out and the first mistake was trying to use a game cart to speed the process. I made the first trip to the truck to retrieve the packs and GAME CART. Now, wheeling that thing down the mountain over the boulders wasn’t a big deal and I actually thought we might be able to get the elk out in just one trip. (so wrong!) The first trip up the mountain with that thing took around four hours. Game carts loaded down with 200 lbs of meat do not roll easily through jungles of ferns and rocks and uphill slopes. At one point, I think Todd and I were actually carrying the game cart instead of attempting to wheel the Dang thing!

I’m honestly surprised that Mr. Elk didn’t end up at the bottom of the mountain that day in a heap of tenderized meat and game cart wheels. So, let me tell you – if you are ever tempted to simply wheel your meat back to camp. Think twice and don’t give into the sweet allure of the game cart. The best option if you don’t have pack mules, horses or guides while hunting in the mountains, is a good PACK FRAME. Or you can always find a good wife who is willing to carry it out for you.

Rainbow or Cutthroat?

I knew we should have gone fishing on Saturday. Big Al came home with these beauties, and of course we had to come over to take pictures for him…

Since I’m still learning about fishing, I’m not sure what to think about the above fish. It almost looks like a crossbreed of a Rainbow and Cutthroat?? The red gills are throwing me. I know there are some great fishermen who stumble on my blog now and then. Anyone want to help us out on identifying this one?

How To Choose A Spotting Scope For Hunting, Shooting & Outdoor camping

In choosing a spotting scope it is important that you consider on what you are going using it for. Like of you are planning on using it on your hunting, shooting, outdoor camping or birding there is a specific spotting scope that is perfect for you. There is a wide range of spotting scope that you can choose from and if you have little to no information about the perfect scope that you can use then you will find this guide very useful.
First you need to know the two types of a spotting scope, it can be angled

Angled is convenient to use because you can easily rotate it so that the angle will be perfect to your spot. It will be easy for you to use this when you mount it on a tripod and just rotate it towards you so that you don’t have to move from where you are.

Another spotting scope is the straight, which is easy to handle and perfect for uses that includes frequent moving. This is perfect when you need to hold your spotting scope during your activity or you can also mount in on your tripod.

Now that you are aware that there are two major types of spotting scope you are ready to learn how to choose the right one for your specific activity.


If you enjoy hunting and you are looking for a good spotting scope to help you with your sport you need to consider on looking for a scope that is compact and lightweight. Just think of all the possible traveling and moving you need just for you to find the perfect spot where you can find a game. You don’t really need high magnification type of spotting scope and since it is compact there is a good chance that your magnification will be limited. A spotting scope with 15 to 45 magnifications is perfect for your hunting needs.

If you are planning to be a guided hunter however you will most likely be in and out of your truck and bringing any kind of spotting scope will not be really difficult. You can consider on having a bigger one where you can enjoy greater magnification range, provided that it will only stay insider your truck.


For target shooting magnification is very important. You want to use something that can provide you with 20 to 60 magnifications. The size of your shooting scope doesn’t really matter since you don’t have to bring it with you when you move. It would be usually be attach on a sturdy tripod and you just check to see your target and shoot. So look for the best scope with high numbers and think bigger is better, you need to think of the different weather condition and location of your target shooting activity.

Outdoor camping

You will have to limit the weight of what you carry during camping and buying the pocket magnifier is the perfect gadget to use. You can still enjoy having clear vision perfect for sightseeing and just plainly viewing the trail clearly. It will not give you any trouble carrying this handy item plus it is very useful while enjoying the outdoors.

In camping all your equipment needs to be lightweight and that includes your spotting scope also if you are considering on bringing one.

How To Shoot Running Game

Moving animals can be killed cleanly if a hunter hones the shooting skills to do so.

There are two reasons for shooting at a running animal: First, you shoot because you want to kill that particular critter, preferably as cleanly as possible. Of course, there are times when you’ve made a marginal shot at a standing animal and then you must try to follow-up with a running shot. The second reason—and this one can be significantly more intense—is because you have to, which means the animal has you in its sights and is intent on doing you harm!

How To Shoot Running Game

When I began deer hunting, I absolutely dreaded running shots. I had no idea where to aim, and I didn’t understand how much lead was required.

Many years later, I became involved in research projects for provincial biologists, where large numbers of deer had to be shot. I learned to hit running deer the hard way, by learning from my misses. We shot so many deer that some of the basics for success started to show themselves. In fact, I became quite proficient at hitting running deer—close in and out to 200 yards or more. I also obtained a commercial electronic moving target system that enables me to study hitting moving targets with confidence and repeatability. My friends and I have shot thousands of rounds of rimfire and centerfire ammo at a wide variety of targets on the electronic carrier.

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Before examining the intricacies of shooting moving game, I’d like to make one thing clear: There are no ethics involved here—if you aren’t confident in the delivery of a shot, you shouldn’t shoot. And I’m not going to discuss maximum shooting distances. There are too many variables involved such as experience, skill, equipment and even the type of game and habitat. Prong­horns are harder to hit than moose because they’re smaller and run faster, that’s not rocket science.

Methods For Shooting Moving Game

The two most common shooting techniques for moving targets are called leading/tracking and snap-shooting. Leading/tracking is by far the most commonly used method, both by rifle and shotgun shooters. Basically, the crosshairs or sights are placed a specific distance in front of the animal and held in that position as the shot is fired.

I find there are two successful methods of leading/tracking. First, you place your sights on the critter and move with it for a short period to get a “flow.” Then, the sights are moved forward (the lead) and the shot is released at what is considered the correct distance ahead of the animal. The second technique involves placing the crosshairs ahead of the animal the required distance and keeping that distance constant while squeezing the trigger. Both methods rely on maintaining a smooth swing, and they also rely on a smooth follow-through. The big bug-a-boo with rifle shooters is stopping the rifle as the trigger is pulled, which causes the bullet to hit behind an animal every time.

The snap-shot is almost a reflex move whereby you select a location ahead of the animal and then fire when it should get to that position. This shot is often taken when only fleeting glimpses of an animal are seen, and it’s frequently the only option in heavy cover. Snap-shots are deadly when a critter is very close. You point and pull the trigger without concerns for lead. The shot is taken when the sights are on an animal’s chest.

After several years of studying hitting moving targets with the leading/tracking method, I’ve learned that if you jerk the trigger, you’ll miss, and you must resist the urge to rush the shot. Instead, focus on the aiming procedure rather than the animal, and swing smoothly and maintain the lead as the trigger is broken cleanly. Trigger control is everything, whether the target is stapled to a backboard or running through the pines. You must follow-through as smoothly as possible and avoid the ultimate mistake—stopping your swing as you pull the trigger. The common misses are high and behind. High misses are caused by jerking the trigger; behind misses are caused by not following through. Another deadly mistake is raising your head to see if you hit as soon as you fired. Raising your head from the gun stock destroys “cheek-weld,” which is essential for accuracy and for the bow shooting you can use the arrow rest and it’ll give a amazing experience in hunting. If you’re not sure about the best arrow rest then, take a look at this site Selfpatron.com to get and excellent idea and best pick of your arrow rest.

So how do you learn to hit moving animals? My first suggestion is to find a club or facility with a moving target system. Or, get a moving target system of your own, such as the Target Tracker. If that’s not possible, you can practice on tires rolled downhill at safe shoot­ing locations. Another great way to practice is by hunting jack rabbits. The bottom line is to shoot at movers with the same marksmanship considerations you do at stationary game: Use a rest when possible, such as shooting sticks, and then concentrate on your aim, trigger control and follow-through.

How to Choose Between Konus and Celestron

Can’t decide between the Konus and Celestron 100mm spotting scope? Just check out this guide to make the right spotting scope that you can use. Checking out the different factors there’s a specific advantage that you can discover for each gadget. Depending on what activity you are planning to use it with you will surely learn which between the two the right spotting scope for you is.

As for the straight and angled scopes you can surely make your decision just by knowing which one has this particular type. The Celestron was made only with straight type spotting scope but now there are some models that are available in angled type. While Konus is available in angled design which is easy to use especially if you are tall and find it hard to find any tripod that can actually reach your eye sight level. Using the straight type on a tripod can be very challenging while the angled type can be very easy to access the eyepiece because it will be at a 45 degrees angle which is easy to adjust and use.

As for the weight Celestron 100mm is lighter compared with the Konus 100mm which will be perfect for activity that requires you to move a lot that would mean you have to carry your equipment a lot. There are other features that is worth taking note of between the two spotting scope.

Their price is just similar and their features are also similar between the two.

1. Konus 100mm Spotting scope

Since it is angled type it is quite easy to set-up and easy to handle. You can adjust the focus ring to your liking while you focus on your target from afar or focusing on the moving object is pretty easy. There are a lot of usable features that you can use with the Konus 100mm. So this would be easy to bring on hunting and bird watching just as long as you don’t have to carry your equipment often. This type of spotting scope is heavy compared with the Celestron and it is not convenient if you have to carry it and move to a different location. There’s a sun shade on the outer lens which is a good feature especially if you are doing your scoping during bright sunny day. You can easily protect your view from the bright sunny day. The lens cover of the Konus is secured that can actually work on protecting your spotting scope lens. The Konus has excellent eye relief and so is its optical brightness. But there’s a purple fringing on your vision even on low power using Konus 100mm spotting scope.

2. Celestron 100mm Spotting scope

The Celestron has a great design compared with the Konus and it is lighter compared with the Konus. So this will be easy for you to bring this scope anywhere you want. But the lens protect that comes along with the spotting scope easily falls off from the gadget so you need to keep an eye on that just to make sure that your lens is still covered. The Celestron will provide you with clearer image and without the purple fringing if that bothers you a lot then this is the brand that you need to consider on buying. It also will provide you with better clarity compared with your target. But you can only enjoy it on a stable target. Theirs is also a blue ring that is very prominent on bright location but it will just go away when you are working with a darker surrounding.

As for the price the Celestron is available for $275 while the Konus is available for $299 so they are just within the $300 budget. If you are a beginner and don’t want to have a hard time in studying the features that your spotting scope has then the Konus 100mm spotting scope is perfect for you. While the Celestron is for a more advance user, if you are aiming for clearer images however then the Celestron 100mm spotting scope is the best answer for you.

If you are planning to use your spotting scope on a moving target just like in nature photography or scoping then the Konus is your perfect partner for it. You can easily adjust the focus of your spotting scope to focus in and out of your target. It is easy for you to catch your flying target like in bird watching. You just need to have a sturdy tripod and a leveled spot to place your spotting scope. It will just be hard to change location with your Konus because this is heavier than the Celestron and if you are planning on carrying it for a long time you will surely feel the whole weight of it. The features on Konus are user friendly compared with Celetron that is why you don’t have to be an expert to be able to use all its features.

As for the Celestron you can enjoy a cleared image compared with Konus although its focus needs a little practice so that you can easily work fast with it. This is only best in steady target something that you don’t have to work quickly or you’ll lose your chance to view your target. Just consider using it on scenery viewing. This also works well on dark surrounding providing you with good clear images. But without the sun shade which Konus has it can difficult to work around on bright sunny days.

The features on both Konus and Celestron are similar and if there’s an advantage that one unit has between the other the advantage is very minimal with the exception of the sun shade that only Konus has, the two equipment are considered a good buy. Choosing between the angled and straight is just a matter of preference and you can surely see an advantage between the Celestron and Konus. For hunters and target shooters they would usually prefer on using a straight type spotting scope so that it will be just looking straight to their target. While for bird watchers and photographers the angled spotting scope is much preferred.