Crossing Over to Archery Hunting

Amy Archery Hunting

Crossing over to Archery Hunting was a huge decision for me to make. I listed the pros and cons of archery hunting.  Archery season for white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania has a total of eight weeks compared to two weeks of rifle season.  That fact was a huge check mark in the pro column for me.  Wounding a deer is more likely with an arrow than a bullet.  That fact was a huge check mark in the con column for me.  I know it is possible to wound a deer with a rifle, but I hear of it happening more with an arrow and that is what kept me away from archery hunting.  Crossbow laws changed in Pennsylvania in 2009.  Add another check mark to the pro column.  The weather is milder during the early archery season.  Another check mark for the pro column.  After weighing all of the pros and cons, I decided crossing over to archery by purchasing a crossbow would be my choice.

Trip to Cabela's

I tried shooting my Dad's Parker crossbow.  I could load it and I hit the target precisely where I aimed.  I tried shooting my brother's Stryker crossbow.  I could not load it.  I spent almost two weeks reading reviews about crossbows and learning about crossbow specifications. I was ready for a trip to Cabela's.  We have a camp in Delaware and we travel past Christiana, Delaware which is home to a Cabela's store.  The Cabela's in Christiana has an indoor shooting range so that customers can shoot bows before they purchase them.  We stopped at Cabela's on a Friday in September and I spent three hours picking out a crossbow.  I chose the Titan Xtreme by TenPoint which shoots arrows up to 311 feet per second.  It was easy for me to load and it felt good in my hands.  The Titan Xtreme weighs 7 pounds 4 ounces.  It came equipped with a scope, a removable quiver, three arrows with practice tips, and safety shield.  I chose a pack of Muzzy broadheads and a TenPoint ACUrope retractable cocking mechanism to complete my purchase.  The trip to Cabela's was successful!  The staff was very helpful and the indoor shooting range was the main factor in my decision to choose the Titan Xtreme.

Practice Archery Hunting

archery hunting practice

I could not wait to get home to practice with my new crossbow.  We were supposed to stay in Delaware until Sunday, but we left Saturday to go home.  It takes us around four hours to get home to Pennsylvania from Delaware.  Saturday was a rainy day and we got home around 4PM so we gathered everything that I would need and waited until Sunday morning.  We went to my grandparent's house Sunday morning so that I could finally practice shooting my new crossbow.  I took practice shots at twenty yards and we had to adjust the scope a little bit to get it dialed in.  Once it was dialed in, I took practice shots from thirty and forty yards.  I took practice shots standing up, sitting down, and kneeling down.  We set our ground blind up and I took practice shots sitting in the blind.  I practiced shooting and hit my mark every time.  I spent two hours handling and shooting my new equipment.  I became familiar with my Titan Xtreme and felt comfortable with it in my hands.


sos gear

TenPoint provided some of the accessories when I purchased my bow, but I kept wondering, "How am Igoing to carry this thing through the woods?"  We hike uphill over some rocky terrain to get to the hut that we hunt out of and I usually stumble at least once or twice.  If my hands are full, I won't be able to catch my balance and I will probably fall down.  I checked to see if Chelsea Cheff had anything that would solve my problem.  I met Chelsea on Twitter about a year ago and she makes hunting accessories out of paracord.  I purchased a turkey tote from SOS Gear in April and was very pleased with the quality.  Sure enough, Chelsea had a crossbow backpack sling on her site!  I contacted her and placed an order.  Now I would not have to worry about how I was going to carry my crossbow through the woods!  My hands and arms would be free in case if I stumbled on a rock while hiking up the mountain. Be sure to check SOS Gear for custom made paracord accessories to take care of your hunting needs.  I went to a local outdoor goods store and purchased six more arrows.  I finally had all the accessories I needed for hunting with my crossbow.

Opening Day

archery in the blind

Opening day for archery in Pennsylvania was yesterday, October 4th.  Ed and I woke up at 4AM and got ready to head to the woods.  It was a rainy morning so we decided to go to the hut instead of putting up the ground blind.  My grandfather's cousin built the hut about forty years ago and it has provided our family an excellent hunting spot over the years. We made our way to the hut, uphill and over rocks, my Titan Xtreme secure on my back thanks to SOS Gear, and we were settled in by 5:30AM.  We waited for daybreak and listened to the sweet sounds of nature. The sounds of crows calling, squirrels gathering acorns, blue jays squawking, and a big Indian Hen woodpecker pounding on a nearby tree filled our ears and put smiles on our faces.  Finally around 10:20AM we saw some deer.  Two does and two fawns made their way up the trail about 30 yards from the hut.  They never saw us and slowly made their way up the mountain.  We anxiously watched for more deer to come our way.  At 10:50AM a buck and a doe were fifty yards away from us.  I was excited when I saw antlers but Ed quickly informed me that the buck was a four point as he looked through the binoculars.  The doe and the four point decided to lay down for a nap.  We stayed quiet hoping that more deer would come up the trail.  Ed hit the doe bleat and the buck rubbed his horns on a tree but he never got up.  We kept watching as we ate our lunch.  Around 12:30PM I decided to call my Dad and let him know what was going on.  My phone call disturbed the deer. They slowly got up and walked up the mountain, I think they were upset that I disturbed their nap.  The four point was a nice sized deer and I would field judge his age to be two years old.  His rack is high and wide for a four point, if he makes through this season I am sure he will be a dandy buck next year.  We left the hut a little before 3PM since we had a birthday party to attend at 5PM. 

048I wished we could have stayed until dark, but since archery hunting season is longer than rifle season I will have more days to hunt.  Crossing over to archery was a good decision for me, I really enjoyed my first hunt!



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Amy Sward

About the Author:

Hello, my name is Amy and I have lived in Central Pennsylvania all of my life. I was born into a family of outdoorsmen, hunting and fishing have always been part of my life. My dad started taking me hunting with him when I was a little girl. He also taught me how to fish for trout in local creeks. The first day of deer season and the first day of trout season were like holidays in our household. My grandfather enjoyed trapping and as a teenager I often went along with him to check the traps. Raccoons, red fox, and grey fox were harvested from the traps in the woods and muskrats were harvested from the traps by the Juniata River. I have many fond memories of trapping with my grandfather. I have enjoyed hunting small game and hunting whitetail deer in rifle season over the years. This year I am branching out and trying some new things. I went duck hunting in January and enjoyed it very much. I went spring gobbler hunting in May and loved it! I purchased a crossbow and will be entering the woods for white-tailed deer during archery season for the first time in October. I enjoy sharing my love of the outdoors with my family. Camping and kayaking are popular activities. I love to hunt and fish with my three nephews and my grandson. My two granddaughters enjoy fishing and hopefully they will show interest in hunting in the future. They love to go spotlighting for deer, and hopefully someday they will love to go hunting for them also.
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