fall season/au·tumn (ôʹtəm) n. The season of the year between summer and winter, during which the weather becomes cool- er and many plants become dormant, ex- tending in the Northern Hemisphere from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice and popularly considered to include the months of September, October, and November; fall.
That may be Mr. Websters definition of fall, but it doesn’t hold a candle to mine. And probably not to yours either. Fall means so much more to most of us than just the peri- od between summer and winter. Fall is the reason that we work long hours through- out the year so we can cash in those few magical weeks of vacation to enjoy the deer woods. Fall is also when we carry on family traditions passed down through generations. It’s when we meet with family and friends to reminisce and rekindle the passion of our youths. It’s the time of the year that our very souls beckon and yearn to be outdoors. Of course the animals that we pursue during this time period have a major impact on these feelings as well. I suspect if you’re not a hunt- er, fall might actually be nothing more than the period between summer and winter.
This fall will mark my 45th archery season and I still get as wound up about it as if it were my first. I suspect many of you feel the same way? As bowhunters, we are the great tinkerers and tweakers of the hunting sports. We are never satisfied with our equipment, stands, clothing, food plots, or properties. Even if we’ve had great and consistent success in the past, we’re always striving to attain additional goals. Social media heightens this affliction for many of us. I cannot tell you how many times friends or the person behind the counter of an archery shop or seed and feed mill has looked at me quizzically and asked; “what are you buying that for?” And my typical answer is; “because I saw it on the internet.” And I know I’m not alone in this struggle. There’s always something bigger, badder and better that we just have to have or try.
The first 13 years that I bowhunted, I used traditional equipment. The following 20 years I carried a compound to the forest and fields, and for the past 12 years a crossbow is my arrow launching weapon of choice. What the future holds for my nomadic archery journey, I haven’t a clue but I know it’s going to be the adventure of a lifetime. I hope you feel the same way about your bowhunting escapades? This fall once again finds me making adjustments even after all of these years. I’ve been blessed to arrow 13 Pennsylvania bucks that surpass my personal minimum of 125 inches. But after speaking with biologist and other successful bowhunters of big bucks, I’m convinced that I need to start let- ting the younger, higher scoring bucks live, and take out the older bucks that score less if I ever want to up my game. So that is one of the goals I will attempt to accomplish during the upcoming sea- son. The point being, never succumb to the perceived pressures around you. This is your story. Write it how YOU see fit. Use the type of equipment that YOU want to use. Kill the size of bucks that make YOU happy and set realistic goals for yourself. But more than anything else, enjoy the process.
I will also be trying to arrow my second Boone & Crockett black bear this fall in my home state of Pennsylvania. I’ve taken a real fancy to bowhunting bears. I even find it more enjoyable, and more challenging than hunting big mature whitetails. If I had to choose between the two, I’d definitely pick bears but thank the good Lord above it hasn’t come to that yet and I hope it never does. It’s a very frustrating endeavor trying to put one of these black nomadic beast in bow range when you’re not allowed to use baits or scents. I’ve been fortunate to pull it off a couple of times but you really need to be on top of your game and even then there’s no guarantee of the outcome when you’re using archery equipment. If you’re looking to add another challenging aspect to your bowhunting lifestyle, I highly recommend giving bear hunting a try. For the past two years, I’ve documented my year round bear hunting exploits on the Cross- bow Magazine YouTube channel. If you’re interested in learning the process of how to get on fall bears without bait it’s a good resource to begin with.
Another one of my goals has always been to complete a Pennsylvania Triple Trophy solely in the month of October. Our Game Commission recognizes any hunter that kills a buck, bear and gobbler in the same license year. I’ve pulled off a crossbow Triple Trophy in the past but I’ve never done it in a single month. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. The way our fall seasons are scheduled they typically open with whitetails the first week of October, bears for a week or two in mid-October, and then the turkey season occasionally opens the last day of October and runs into November. So realistically, if I’m fortunate enough to arrow an October buck and bear, I have to get the turkey killed in one day. To date, I haven’t been able to pull it off. But, that’s the reason we set goals and once set we should never abandon them.
Since my article “Death by Broadhead – Mechanical vs. Fixed Blade” ran in the summer issue, my inbox and phone have been inundated with questions regarding what brand of broadhead I specifically recommend. That’s a bit of a loaded question because there are a lot of great broadheads on the market, and I test and consult for multiple companies. As I stated in the article, I believe that a solid, one piece, fixed blade broadhead is the best option. Again, I will defer you to the Crossbow
Magazine YouTube channel to see the videos of our broadhead testing and you can draw your own conclusions. As for me personally, I will be carrying Tooth of the Arrow broadheads in my quiver this year. Anyone else wishing to give them a try can save some money by using the Crossbow Magazine discount code at the time of purchase. Coupon code: http://toothofthearrowbro.refr.cc/crossbowmagazine
BATTLE OF THE BOWS
In just a few weeks (October 14th) a unique, friendly, 4-day bowhunting competition will take place somewhere in the wilds of Wisconsin. This concept was created by YouTube bowhunting personality, Dan Infalt. A couple of traditional bow-hunters, compound bowhunters and cross- bow hunters will be sharing a camp in this friendly deer hunting competition to see how each type of bowhunter approaches the challenges of deer hunting public property using their bow of choice. I’ve been asked to participate on the adventure as one of the crossbow hunters and have accepted. The 4-day hunt will be aired daily on the Hunting Beast You- tube channel. Please follow along and comment as I attempt to represent all crossbow hunters in a positive light.
The time of the year that we live for is upon us. Take the time to reflect and enjoy every cherished moment afield this fall. We here at Crossbow Magazine are hoping that each and everyone of you has a successful season. May your quivers be empty, your freezers full, and your taxidermy bills high. And don’t forget to share your success’s on the Crossbow Magazine Facebook page where we all partake around the electric campfire. And most of all stay safe out there this fall and may God bless!