On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, Mitch catches up with owner and operator of Little Mountain Outfitters in Richland, PA, Devon Zimmerman. Devon is a diehard bowhunter that loves to tinker with archery equipment and share his knowledge and experience. For most of his bowhunting career, Devon has chosen to shoot mechanical broadheads with moderate arrow weights between 450-525 grains. With the popularity growing in FOC, heavy arrows, single bevel and machined broadheads, he decided to find out for himself.
Last year, the setup that tuned well in his bow was over 600 grains, tipped with a VPA broadhead with over 200 grains of the weight in the front. Devon had a good sample size in year one shooting multiple doe and a nice buck throughout October and November. From those experiences, he decided to shoot something very similar again this year. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages among both commonly used arrow setups, why he feels this current arrow works well for him, but ultimately is not for everyone. No matter where you land in the debate of arrow setups, every experienced bowhunter's perspective is an opportunity for us to learn something new or approach this from a different angle. Regardless, make ethical shot decisions for your setup and capabilities! Thanks for listening!
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[00:00:00] You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman powered by Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. This show is driven to provide relatable hunting and outdoor content in the Keystone State and surrounding Northeast. On this show, you'll hear an array of perspectives from biologists and industry professionals to average Joes with a lifetime of knowledge.
All centered around values aiming to be better outdoorsmen and women, both in the field as well as home and daily life. No clicks, no self interest, just the light in the pursuit of creation. And now, your host, the pride of Pennsylvania, the man who shoots straight and won't steer you wrong, Johnny Appleseed himself, Mitchell Shirk.
Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk.
Hey everybody, thanks for tuning in to another episode looking forward to bringing you this one. We've got a great guest this week. This guest this week is... The person who originally got this podcast [00:01:00] all started. Yeah, some of you, if you've heard this, you might have heard the the story before.
But my good friend, Devon Zimmerman, and I I, he owns Little Mountain Outfitters, who I've talked about quite a bunch. We we, I used to shoot his indoor league with him. It was an indoor video league and he got the brilliant idea. The one day he said, Hey, he said, what do you think about starting a podcast?
So what are you talking about? Cause at the time I didn't listen to podcasts. I really didn't do much interaction. I had zero social media, but he was listening to podcasts and was listening to the nine finger Chronicles, Dan Johnson's podcast. And he'd actually been a guest on that show at one point in time.
And he had said, yeah, they're trying to look for state specific shows to audition for. He goes, I think we should do it. And I'm like, dude you're crazy. But, okay I ran with it. Borrowed some equipment. And started a podcast and sure enough, Dan picked [00:02:00] us and here we are now. Devon's business has grown substantially and life happens.
We get busy with the family and keep your priorities in check. And he stepped away and I took over and it's just me running the show now. And it's been great, but I wanted to have him back on this week because we're getting close to Archer season and. Devon tinkers with stuff all the time. He is always trying to figure out if there's a better way, if there's a different way.
Not necessarily because he really likes changing things. I think it's more along the lines of he has a lot of clientele come in the door, which if you've never been to his bow shop in Richland, Pennsylvania, I strongly suggest checking it out. It's a fantastic shop, but he people come through the door and have millions of questions because between YouTube, social media, everybody's got these different [00:03:00] ideas and this content they're putting out and fills, people's minds with things.
And I think he wants to be on the top end of things with. And it, know what's up to date in the archery world. So he's always tinkering and trying to have good answers for you. And that's why he's an awesome shop. And one of those specific components, and that's be the main focus of this week's conversation, is arrow setups.
We... We've been bombarded. There's tons of information out there about heavy arrows, front of center, single bevel, broad heads, machine broad heads versus mechanicals, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You name it. And I'm personally right down the middle on this whole entire thing because I've shot deer with arrows that were under 400 grains.
Total weight with a mechanical broadhead and blew right through them and last year You know I did something stupid, and I bought an arrow that was too [00:04:00] stiff in order to make it tuned for the bow That I had to add an insane amount of point weight on it And it ended up being like a 700 grain arrow or something stupid like that And I saw and I ended up shooting a doe with it So I've been on either end of the spectrum And I still find myself landing down the middle.
What I've come to the conclusion of is I really fixed blade broadheads. And I started shooting VPA broadheads vantage point archery this year for a couple of reasons. Number one, great people. Number two, I just really liked the quality of those machined heads and they fly fantastic. So I have a perfectly tuned arrow.
Shooting a broadhead that is durable and is sharp. And if I can place that where I want, that's what's most important. We're going to talk about that this week. We're going to talk about how his arrow setup has molded over the past few years. He shot a bunch of deer last year with a new setup that he's going to discuss this year, which, give you [00:05:00] a little insight of what it's going to be, it is a heavier arrow, higher FOC, different.
Broadhead, I think he was shooting a VPA broadhead and we're just going to break that down, talk about experiences, but he's very realistic. Devon is not somebody who is heavy on the bandwagon. Oh, this is, it's this way or the highway. He understands that there's more than one way to skin a cat.
This is just what he has found to work for him. And he's learned that it. It's an avenue that many people want to learn about, and there's a different way of approaching it, different way of tuning. You gotta get the picture, and he wanted to be toward the front end. So we're gonna talk about that.
We're gonna talk about his hunting season last year. And I think it's a perfect way to segue into archery season, because as you guys are listening to 2B, 5C, 5D.
You guys are going to be flinging arrows. You're going to be a little bit ahead of me. I [00:06:00] don't think I'm going to get out before then. I was just hanging a tree stand this past weekend. That was exciting just because it felt good. It was in a great location. I adjusted it a little bit. I hung a mock scrape and a camera.
And One of the things that kind of bummed me out. I went in the pouring down range because I wanted to, it sounds great. I wanted to be saying that I was planning this for a rainy day to get in there and wash my sin away and cover my noise and all this stuff. I went in then because that's when I had time and it just worked out that it was raining.
But I hung the stand and I was hoping that I could be as quiet as possible. It's so hard by yourself to hang, in a a metal hang on tree stand and ladder quietly. I tried my best, but I still made some noise. I ended up chasing some deer. I ended up seeing five deer when I was there.
They were just bedded, over on the fringe, which is what I expected. I'm in transition between a bedding area and a feeding area. And I was on the edge of that and I was [00:07:00] hoping I could get away with it, but I didn't I chased some deer. So hopefully that doesn't kill me too bad, but it still got me excited It's another step closer to the season preparation.
So hey Let's get to this week's episode with devon talking about arrows and just getting you pumped up for the season Real quick before we do I want to give our shout out to our partners and that is going to be radix hunting has the Great tree stands that I have been talking about, the hang ons, the ladder stands.
I personally used. A hang on tree stand with their ladder sticks. And one thing I had never run before on any other company sticks. All the tree stand ladder sticks that I had run in the past were ones that you piece together like a ladder. It's got the middle section that you know, four or five sections you piece together and then run it up the tree and strap it around.
And those are okay, but I feel like they make more noise and they're [00:08:00] harder to secure. The ones that we have from Radix, they're individual sections with a top and a bottom strap. And, man, you can set that top one and seat the stick and then put your bottom strap on it and they do not move and they're ultra quiet.
I, I've always been, and this is a, probably going to put a bad taste in some people's mouth. I always liked screw in steps just because they're quiet. I know they do damage to some trees and you have to be on private land only to do them. But I like them because they're quiet for getting in and getting out.
And I tell you what, these sticks from Radix rival that. I've also been running my M cores. I've been getting multiple pictures a day from the three that I have out right now. Hopefully I'm going to see one of those target buck on them soon, but I cannot stress enough how easy they were to set up, how great and consistent the image quality is the response time at this.
[00:09:00] Like I said, I'm going back to the setup because it's all from your phone. It's all from the scout tech app. It was a breeze to make adjust any settings and I'm really happy with that camera. Just a bulletproof camera that I can't go wrong. So check out Radix hunting with that guys. Let's get to this week's episode.
This year, I think I'd probably sent you pictures of him before like other years. Pretty nice. It'd be cool to see him in another year yet, but I'd probably shoot him. That's a nice buck. He looks like he's got some mass that he's going to carry out. I know it's deceiving and velvet, but he's a nice deer.
Yeah, he was always really thick. Even as a two year old, he had thick beams. But he made a big jump this year. Last year he was probably, I don't know, maybe a 14 inch. He was decently thick, but not quite like that, but the same exact shape of rack, everything. Pretty cool to, yeah, [00:10:00] see him from one year to the next, just a little bigger every year.
Yeah. Exactly the same. It's winding down, approaching closer, and as we, as you and I were talking about this, I was talking about stuff I'm doing to get ready, but it's... Gosh, I feel so far behind, but sitting here I'm sitting in Mr. Devon Zimmerman's office, the the owner and operator of Little Mountain Outfitters.
Thanks for letting me crash your party today. Yeah not much of a party yet, but it will be before long. You been pretty busy lately? Yeah, yeah, this is our busy time. For the last month it's been slowly starting to ramp up than last week. It just really... Do you see a switch flip at a certain time every year or does it vary?
Yeah, so usually we said we could definitely tell a difference in uptick like when the license came out in June But that was usually what second week of June well this year that didn't License didn't go on sale to the last week of June So I think that pushed it back a little bit and yeah that week we had [00:11:00] we definitely saw an uptick Weather plays a part in it too.
Like that one week that it was so hot in July, it was dead. The next week when we had that cold front come through and it had a couple of like fifties nights, dude, it was hopping in here. It's crazy. So there's something with people too. It's not just the deer people move on a cold front too. You think about it and it's wow, it feels deer season's coming, yeah. But now it'll just be, and they get busier from now till probably mid October is our busiest. It's funny when you say that about it feeling like deer season because when I was in Canada on our vacation It was like the one day the high was 70 degrees Wow got down into the 50s and it was like no humidity.
It was gorgeous. I'm like man, this feels like bow season Yeah, I was getting excited. So we're getting pretty busy this time of year. So Tell me a little bit about like It's gotta be interesting this time of year when you're talking about running a bow shop because you get a lot of people like me who wait to the last minute and you probably got a lot [00:12:00] of stuff that should have been done a few months ago.
Is Does that trend ever get better over time or is it, that's just the way it is. And that's what your job's going to be sometimes. Yeah. It's just the nature of the beast basically. But this isn't last minute yet. Last minute it'll be the night before the season. And you get plenty of those.
Oh, yeah. No, it's definitely like I, in a perfect world, you have guys that do, all their tuning and strings and all that sort of stuff in the winter, spring that way they shoot more during the summer. But yeah, I can tell there's a lot of guys that probably haven't even gotten their bows out yet.
And as that happens, that's part of the reason we get busier in August cause that's when guys start pulling their stuff out. Yeah. Do you. On to that topic, so strings and stuff like that you replaced strings for me this spring, and Years ago, I know they used to always say put a couple hundred shots through strings, but strings are a lot better than that now.
Is that, is there truth to that when it comes to going into broadhead tuning, or is that not as important anymore? Yeah. There's so many variables when it comes to strings and how often [00:13:00] you should change. I think a good rule of thumb is every two to three years for the average guy, somebody that shoots a lot.
Definitely more than that. I know guys that shoot. A lot we'll do strings every year. Some guys even more than that. So what do you think is a lot when it comes, are we talking like 10, 000 shots a year? I'm not sure the amount, guys that are shooting winter league in the winter, maybe they're shooting paper league in the spring.
They're shooting from the time it warms up all the way into deer season. They're shooting through deer season. There's a lot of guys just like to shoot their bow. And then you have on the flip side of that, you have the guys that, oh, you know. Now it's August so we'll start shooting and in reality they might shoot a hundred, two hundred times.
Throughout the season they might shoot ten times, bow goes back in the case. So obviously you don't have near as much wear on a setup like that. But what they, what some guys can fail to realize is you still have your string stretched just like... Just from that bow sitting in the case, there's still pressure on them strings, so after time, you're going to have [00:14:00] stretch on string and cables.
And that's something that you can't really get away from, no matter how much you shoot. What else is pretty, pretty big right now? Obviously it's getting stuff set up, but when you're talking about your shop, you're not just a bow shop, you got some other stuff.
Yep. You're bread and butter, you're a bow shop, but you got other stuff going on here, and what's that been like here lately? Yeah. We're right in the middle of fall food plot season. So a lot of seeds been leaving here. So that's always fun. That's kind of something that I really enjoy talking to people about that and people bouncing questions off of you and that sort of thing.
That's fun. Also a lot of the last two years we've gotten the tree saddles. And that always seems last year kind of August was when we sold the most of those and that's, yeah definitely been happening. Guys upgrading their And of those for a while, right? Correct. Yep. And we carry a couple different lines of saddle stuff and climbing sticks and basically Your mobile hunting stuff that you can't really buy other places other than online.
We try to carry a pretty good [00:15:00] selection of that. So that's pretty cool too. We both enjoy selling that kind of stuff because we use it. And it's our thing, our little niche maybe. But yeah, we have people coming in from all over the place just to. Because you can a lot of the stuff you can buy online, but that's about the only place.
So if you can go somewhere to demo it, that's worth something to, to most people. There's weight in gold in that, because when I was skeptical about saddles I tried stuff here, and I, there was a couple other places I might have tried stuff on, but with your selection and stuff, I got the feel, because my...
Introduction to saddle hunting was, my, my one buddy that you and I know. And he he gave me one of those old trophy line neoprene ones, which once you're finally in it, it's not that bad. It's not that, but the problem is it's so bulky to carry around and. If it's warm, man, it's like wearing a diaper.
The thing's ridiculous. When it comes to investing into another saddle, I wanted to put my hands on it. I'm sure, a lot of people are like that. But one of the main things I wanted to talk about with you today we're [00:16:00] still, I wouldn't say we're up or down within the, of or the information out there about arrow setups.
That's been going on now for a long time. And guys talking about manipulating heavy arrows and shooting different types of broad heads, getting away from mechanicals or should you still shoot them? And I wanted to just. Take your perspective on it because we've talked about that a lot and you have what you shoot now But you're fairly neutral over the things and I just want to pick your brain talk about what you've been tinkering with and What you know how your opinions have changed over time, but I think that kind of starts back.
I'd like to recap Your season last year, cause you shot a bunch of deer with a new arrow set up. And I wanted to pick your brain on that. Sure. So you last year what last year was the first year that you made a big switch in your arrow set up? Yeah. So the last couple of years I've shot a pretty heavy arrow, compared to most people around that 580 to 630.
in that range.[00:17:00] But before that, you didn't, right? No, I think it's probably the last four years I did. Okay. But what you're getting at last year was the first time I went, moved a lot of that weight up front. Okay. So before I would just shoot a heavy arrow And just total weight, not necessarily FOC.
And 125 expandable of some sort. I've shot quite a few broadheads over the years. I like playing around with different stuff. And last year I decided to, cause we all know the rage right now is heavy FOC and single bevel stuff. So last year, yes, that is what I ran last year.
Jumped into the single bevel. And what was your motive behind... I'm going to say, quote unquote, jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, just to jump on the bandwagon. Yeah. Yeah. So I've had a lot of guys ask about it. Obviously anybody that's on the internet knows it's the hot topic right now.
And so like for us here as a shop, you have people coming in and asking about it all the time. You have, you can do two things. You can learn it [00:18:00] yourself and cause it is a bit more of a process and just screwing a broadhead on it going hot. Or you can just tell them that now that's just a stupid idea.
Go, just do what you've been doing. That that can work, but if somebody wants to go that route I, me as me myself I'd like to at least know a little bit how it works and, be able to point them a certain direction a little. Yeah, I did that. I think last year my arrow set up weighed 620, which is plenty heavy to be honest.
I'll be the first one to say it. It's overkill for a whitetail. It definitely is. And even for if you're going for elk, yeah it's a great setup. You'll get great penetration, but if you want to shoot any kind of distance it is tough. You have so much arc in your arrow Which distance judging is huge.
Unless you're going to be shooting the 3D target that you can range it and dial. Cause if you're off 5 yards out there at 80 yards, you're missing. You're missing the target. I was amazed how much of a gap I had at five yards in 20 like I shot one last year with my [00:19:00] heavy arrow And I think I was three yards off in my judgment because I had ranged it earlier I was like, yeah, that's 20 then after I shot it though It was 23 Yeah And I hit significantly low at my 20 yard pin with my old setup what I was used to wouldn't be close But anyway, yeah, so I guess one of the reasons for me that it's not that big of a deal I am a 30 yard and in guy when it comes to shooting deer.
Like I, I don't even remember the last deer I would have shot over 30 yards, but it's been a long time. Not saying I couldn't have, I just, I don't know, I tried to set up for that 20 yard shot and I did, I was able to shoot, like you said, a bunch of deer last year. We were about out of meat and had a bunch of doe tags and some DMAP tags and was able to fill some of those.
And so all the deer I shot last year were probably 18 and then 20 and then for sure. You can shoot 800 grains at 20 yards. It's, but it's when you get out there that it's really, you really notice the downsides to a heavy arrow setup. So you shot [00:20:00] what four or five deer with that arrow last year?
Yeah, I think it was six. And what broadhead were you using? So I used the VPA, 200 grain single bevel. I was shooting the Easton Axis with 100 grains up front, 250 spine, 100 grains up insert up front, or outsert, and then a 200 grain broadhead. So basically 300 grains up front. Now was the arrow setup minus the broadhead, okay, now you did say that the arrow setup was a little bit different because you focused a little bit more on FOC.
I wanna circle back to, like, why you landed on what you did, but I was I'm kinda jumping the gun, I'm just kinda, after one season what were your impressions of doing that versus what you've done for the past 20 years? Yeah I liked it. It worked great. I'm doing it again this year if that tells you anything, however, like I can certainly see there would be downsides to it.
Like I said, I shot, I believe, six deer with my bow last year, all with a single bevel. And one pro that I noticed [00:21:00] is you zip through a deer, half of those deer, Three, four stop or jumps stopped and stood there and fell over if they didn't know what hit him to me. That was pretty cool Yeah, you shoot a deer with a big expandable like I've always been an expandable guy They have their place for sure shoot a deer with a big expandable.
You hear that smack they take off on a death run No doubt. They bleed a lot. You got a big hole. They're dead It's just they're running twice as far a lot of times, which, there again, not a big deal. But yeah that's one thing I noticed. One, one downside I would definitely say, for sure if you did make a bad shot, as in...
Hit a deer back too far through the guts or whatever, that little one and a quarter inch cut or one and an eighth inch cut is definitely going to do you no favors as opposed to two inch, expandable. But there again, you gotta, there's pros and cons to each. All right, folks, it's that time of year for fall food plot planning, and this year I'm proud to be working with [00:22:00] Vitalize Seed.
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Want to check out Radix Cameras in person? Stop in at Little Mountain Outfitters in Richland, Pennsylvania and have a peek. Now, back to the show. One thing I wanted to pick your brain on too, i... It's really hard to [00:24:00] be... Humble and knowing what you're capable of in the field when there's a deer in front of you and you've got excitement going on and you're going to, and you're going to shoot a deer with a bow.
And what I'm referring to is mostly shot angle. One thing I've been a little bit concerned about with in all the media and stuff like that you talk about is shot angles and people taking shot angles that are. Lower percentage. So a lot more quartering towards shots and facing shots. And those are lethal shots when the arrow is placed correctly.
We've talked about that a lot, but I'm, I get concerned that those lower percentage shots are perceived to be higher percentage with an arrow set up like this. And I don't know if that's true or not. My, my gut tells me that. Arrows aren't going to consistently go through bone, but there's people out there saying that they can with the right setup and I don't have an opinion formed and You know with you working in the shop and having so many people come in and experiences and experiencing yourself I wondered what your [00:25:00] thought was Yeah, there's there again.
There's so many factors that play into that one thing. You see a lot of the guys that are Pro quartering to and even frontal shots now They're hunting on the ground that makes a huge difference if you're on the ground or if you're 20 foot up in a tree Trying to shoot a deer quartering toward you, that angle is a whole lot different.
And I think probably where the majority of people would run into problems with that is they're not, they wouldn't be, they wouldn't hold at the right place. That's cause you really got to, you really got to think about it, where your arrow is going to end up at that angle. Whereas, deer's perfectly broadside, follow that leg right up, two inches back whack, so that's, I think, where people would get in trouble. Another thing to your point there it is a little concerning, because from what I see, the average bowhunter does shoot a very light setup. And a setup that will absolutely kill deer, broadside. Not a problem at all, even pass throughs most of the time, with a 400 grain [00:26:00] setup.
But if you start throwing in some quartering toward shots and that sort of thing that's where guys are going to run into trouble for sure. Because 400 grain setup, you're, with a big expandable in the front, you're not going to get through that front shoulder if you hit it. One thing to note with that in addition, like the, a lot of people don't, it's amazing to me how many people don't truly know the anatomy of a whitetail, or the game they're hunting in the first place.
And what I mean by that is I've seen a lot of videos where people will shoot a deer it can be quartering towards them, and they shoot a deer, and it blows through them. Basically a knife through butter kind of deal. And they'll, because it was more forward, they'll go, Oh, it blew right through that shoulder.
And, if you think about, how the joints work on a deer, like when you get to that, I just call it the elbow socket. That's going to, if the deer is, let's just, for trying to. Put a visualization on this. If a deer is facing to the right, you're going to get that humerus bone is going to take a hard, almost like a [00:27:00] 45 angle degree up to the scapula joint.
So there's like a V there, and if you put your arrow in that V, it's soft as all get out. You're just hitting through ribs there, but if you On a quartering towards shot, let's say that deer is, it's head is facing the right and you hit too far to the right, and you hit that knuckle there, that's I think somebody told me that's like the second or third hardest bone in their whole body, like next to their pelvis.
Yep. And that's what I have concern about hitting. This is me playing Devil's Advocate. One thing I will say is, it's a really small thing to hit. Now I know we can hit it, but it would be the chances. But there is definitely room to make that shot, but I'm always concerned that with a big expandable head or a 400 grain setup, it's just gonna deviate.
Because the thing I've learned is, you lose so much energy... When you connect with a bone and if it's especially if the broadhead is flimsy and it's gonna bend or something Yeah, like you did a bunch of broadhead [00:28:00] testing here in the shop too, didn't you? Yeah, we did some yeah Tell me a little bit about that.
Didn't you shoot? What was all the stuff you shot? Yeah, so I got a bunch of beef shoulder blades from a butcher shop and we shot through them Now, I realized for one, that's the beef shoulder blade too. There was no hide or meat involved. You're just shooting at a shoulder blade at that point.
But yeah, definitely like even a beef shoulder blade as thick as it is. We did have some expandables make it through. And we did have some totally fly apart. So I think there's a lot of variables and that depends where, like people say, Oh, I shot through the shoulder. The shoulder is a relative term.
There's, there is, like you said, places on the shoulder. Even the shoulder blade that you can shoot through. But when you're talking about that big thick bone right in the middle of that, down into the socket, down into the leg, that's inch and a half, whatever it is, depending on the size of the deer, I don't know, maybe even two inches of bone.
You hit that's going to take a pretty serious setup to, [00:29:00] to get through that. And I don't know that you should intentionally. Try to shoot for the shoulder, right? But if you're gonna, if the deer is going to move and you're going to correct. Yep. And what I've seen too, a lot of cases is people say about it blows through the shoulder, but if you dissect down and you look a lot of the time, if you have enough momentum, you're just deflecting off that bone.
You're not hitting it square, right? The doe I shot last year with that heavy setup, single bevel head it hit her humorous. But it hit the top part of it. And it, there was, when I butchered her, there was a chip in her shoulder, it didn't completely break it, but it was like, there was enough momentum.
It did hit it, but it just I guess what I have in my mind, I don't know if this is accurate, but a single bevel is going to hit that. It's going to have that turning rotation. And it probably just turned and went right over top of that bone. And I shot her right through the heart and it passed through and she was dead.
But like the deer that you shot last year, did you. Connect on bone with any of those? Yeah, I did and that's the next point I was gonna bring up. I did, [00:30:00] actually I believe it was the first doe I shot yeah, I believe so. I'd actually, I got her right, right on the bottom side of the shoulder blade, like at the socket, and it went out at the socket on the other side as well, and it sheared both clean off.
Wow. So I, Part that was a part that was pretty impressive to me like there's definitely something to that With a single bevel with that much weight it, you can get through there again. That was a hundred pound dough, not a 200 pound buck or anything. Definitely if you would have hit at that exact same spot with a setup that maybe shot 10 years ago, light setup, big expandable that probably, like I said, a large majority of bow hunters in this area that are only hunting whitetail shoot you definitely wouldn't have got through that.
That would have been what you would hear as well. That was a shoulder shot, two inches of penetration, arrow basically fell out when they were running away. Yeah, I've seen that happen. I had that happen to me. I shot a deer with a Grim Reaper one time, which I used that broadhead a couple [00:31:00] years and shot a couple deer with it.
But I had one that, yeah, it hit the shoulder blade of this, of a small doe, 100 pound doe, and it didn't even go in past the insert. The arrow pulled the insert out and there was no blood or anything on it. And the broadhead was just sticking in the deer's shoulder. There's definitely, when you talk about energy and stuff, which I'm not a physicist by any means, but it makes sense that there's going to be energy lost with those moving parts to me.
Yeah, plus a lot of the broad heads that you I that I've shot over the years like they come into any contact with a Bone they move they bend in and everything else and I didn't see that with the heads that we used this year, right? Yeah, for sure. Yeah, anytime you do I mean you're looking at a solid piece of metal versus some aluminum with some metal blades basically, right?
And that's not to bash any other broadhead companies. There's still good broadheads. I've shot I shot a fixed blade I think I was shooting an Interlock broadhead, which it was that carbon tuner where you could adjust the, I started shooting it because, first of all, the first time I shot it, [00:32:00] I couldn't believe how accurate they flew, but you had the ability to move your blades in line with a three fletch.
You can tune it from the broadhead's perspective. And I really, that really attracted me at that time, because I was shooting a three fletch, and I noticed an accuracy gain there. And now I've switched to four fletch, and... Learn more about bow tuning and everything else and arrow setups, and I don't feel like I need that and I Switched I think this year.
I'm going to switch to VPA single bevels 125 grains just because I figured out how to get them to fly my biggest thing was Sharpening the boogers. Yeah. Yep. Yeah, and there's more to the single bevel thing than, like I said before, just screwing them on and going. There's definitely a lot more tuning involved.
Then you got your right, your left wing, and then you got your whole sharpening aspect of it. You pull them out of the box, they're really not, yeah, they're sharp. But if you want the ultimate cutting and bleeding you definitely want to shine them up and, [00:33:00] that's not like you do that in one minute either.
You can spend a lot of time getting them things sharp if you really want to do it right. But yeah, back to what you were saying there I still feel for probably the average bowhunter. Again, I keep saying average bowhunter, but. The majority of guys, there's a lot of guys that don't want to mess with the whole tuning, the sharpening the figuring out what's going to work, there still is definitely a place for, a midway arrow set up and an expandable broadhead, a hundred percent.
And I feel like that's probably where most guys are going to live in that. 400 to 500 grain arrow and a good expandable. And I'm not trying to talk people into going the heavy single bevel route. That's something if you decide to do, we'll be great to, we'll, be happy to.
Set you up with that. There again, it's not for everybody, probably. And the whole point of me wanting to talk about this with you is not to say that this is way better or anything else, because I'm the same way too. I've shot, what the heck, I shot an elk in [00:34:00] 2019 with a 440 grain arrow. It had a small, fixed blade, three blade broadhead on it.
And it zipped through it and the arrow was plumbing to the ground. They're lethal setups. I think what it comes down to is just exactly what you said, figuring out what your style is, really understanding what are you committed to doing with your setup? Are you committed to tuning properly for this setup?
If you're going to be somebody that goes, yeah, that's close enough then it probably comes down to making sure you're going to have the best flying arrow with good enough. And I think it also comes down to just education, like helping to understand if this is the arrow setup that you're going to choose, this is what you're capable of.
That's probably the hardest part of it all. Yeah, yep. Yeah, just because, you're shooting... 800 grains doesn't mean you can shoot through trees at a deer facing you, but one other point I was going to make to that and a benefit [00:35:00] that I saw this past year that I have run into with shooting expandables is.
It seems every year I do more and more mobile run and gun stuff all over the place, whether it's public or even private. I just, I like bouncing around in my saddle setup and hunting new spots and whatnot. You're going in an area somewhere and you get up there in your tree and it's man, I got just a little bit in front of me and where I need, where I'm expecting to shoot the deer. I have run into deflection issues before multiple times with expandables. You got them blades that catch on stuff and open up and whatnot. This year I had that happen twice and I actually...
Ended up shooting through some very small vegetation But a little bit enough that probably would have been an issue with an expandable. With that heavy Single bevel. And you can still run into that with that situation depending on what you're shooting But I've seen, the stinking blade of grass or something will deflect a light arrow And, I mean if you, [00:36:00] if it's like a, Shrubbery or a treetop or something you just clip that top vegetation with a heavy arrow It's still going to be better than expandable, but you can still get deflections, but you're I would definitely agree with that there.
I'm curious going back to the tuning side of things too. So tuning is a moving target. Everybody has their own, style or way that they think it needs to be done. Has this arrow setup changed anything for you and how you tune bows or approach tuning bows or is it, has the process been the same, throughout this whole journey?
It's pretty much been the same. Basically what we do is, pick the arrow we want to go with and make sure you got spine and all that figured out and how much weight you're putting up front. Shoot it through paper, get it shooting a bullet hole. And then I'll usually shoot a bear shaft as well.
If you're shooting a bullet hole with a bear shaft, I can almost guarantee you you're good to go at that point. At least, I know there's a lot of other ways to tune and whatnot, but that [00:37:00] has worked really well for me. If you can get a bear shaft to fly and hit and shoot good through paper, usually you're set, but that sounds really simple, but a lot, that's a lot of micro adjusting a lot of times.
And when you talk about that micro adjustment, is that a lot of the time coming down to you working on the bow press and adjusting yokes and strings and stuff? Or do you do some of that on the arrow as well? It depends, some of both, but yeah, a lot of times it'll come down to, just a little more fine tuning on the bow.
Highlight for help people understand this that don't work on bows, like, how much of a pain can that be? The other day we had a bow in here that we worked on for three hours. Really? Yeah. Yep. And that wasn't trying to bear shaft that was simply trying to get it paper tuned. It was just, yeah, you have a whole, and it seems like the more I work on bows and tune bows, the longer your list of things to check off gets of things.
If you can't figure it out, you do the bows in time. Cam's not leaning. Everything's centered up. You're [00:38:00] still tearing high, low, whatever. Make sure you're, it's not a spine issue. And then you start tweaking. Like I said, go down through your list of things to check.
Sometimes that can be shooter related, too, it can be. Yep. Yep. But it, it's a host of things, and I'm sure you can run into a million things in that. I struggle, though. The thing I learned the most I used to never bear shaft tune. My logic was... If I don't shoot bear shafts while I'm hunting, why would I shoot them for tuning purposes?
But I think that logic of mine early on was pretty skewed because I tried that last year with you And I could not believe how much better my broadheads flew Out of that one setup and that's a lot, you know made me want to Change the way I did that before I used to just if I got a bolt hole with my fletchings And put a broadhead on and they were shooting and they were grouping that was good But like I always noticed cuz I like to tinker and shoot long, right?
I like to shoot long and practice and stuff and you know trying to get [00:39:00] broadheads to group at 70 80 90 yards I know it comes down to a lot, like if the shooter's on, but there's always that one, I'd always number my arrows, and then you'd be shooting, and I try not to pay attention which one I knock, but if I shoot, and I'm shooting at whatever distance, and there's always that one arrow that, is off for some reason and then you go up, and it's that same number every time, then I always go, okay is there, was Something wrong with this arrow or was there anything I can do to better tune that would Allow me to just be a little bit better with broadheads because to me the better my broadheads fly the more confident I am when I'm hunting.
Yeah, absolutely and going back to that whole thing of tuning So that is another thing that you know for the average guy again, you screw a mechanical on That whole tuning thing, especially the bear shaft thing probably isn't as important because for the most part your mechanicals are going to fly like your field tip.
But I will say this [00:40:00] I, I feel like it's pretty foolish not to shoot your broad heads before, whether it's mechanical fixed, whatever. There is a lot of guys that buy a pack of broad heads night before, screw them on and they're hot. And yeah, sometimes you can get away with that with mechanicals, probably.
More times than you could that with a fixed blade for sure, but yeah tuning is important I think a lot of people underestimate Tuning and even what we hear a lot of times too is you know My broad heads aren't flying right they're flying, six inches left or whatever But I got you know use paper tune my bow last year.
Yeah that was last year. Yeah. That's something if you're not doing a set of strings every year you should be tuning every year. Because I mean you have stuff change all the time. You have string stretch and nicking the string. Yeah. Any kind of minimal change does does a lot.
Yep, for sure. But yeah, back to your bear shaft tuning, that, that is almost something that if somebody wants to commit to that to learn a little bit about it and work on that [00:41:00] yourself. I'm not saying we won't bear shaft for other people here. We do some but it's so time consuming and for somebody that wants to go down this whole route, you got to commit to the process and.
And just to understand that's the way it's gonna be. Yeah, it does... Weird question, let me... Do you think tuning down this rabbit hole, like if you wanna go machined broadhead, fixed blade, something that's gonna steer arrows in the front, is this tuning process harder than setups you've done for in the past, like for yourself?
And so to speak I think just the fact that you're microtuning a little more. And like I said, there's a huge list of stuff to check off. This didn't work. That didn't work. We just, you're going down through the list and trying to figure out what's going to make that bow or that arrow come out of that bow.
Totally perfect. But what's, what I think is interesting. That's why I wanted to bring it up is like you, you [00:42:00] shot that hour for the first year last year, cause you were you wanted to. Tinker and test and you know have the best information you can but I think you saying that you didn't really deviate from that for this Year that I think it says a lot to me.
Yeah. I'm the guy that yeah I have tried different things in the past, but this year I didn't have as much time I felt like to try to figure out another setup and I thought work good for me last year And like I said before I am A pretty short range guy when it comes to shooting.
And so yeah, just decided to, I did change my arrow. My arrow's not the same, but the weight's gonna be about the same. So yeah, we'll see. Maybe, I'll have a situation come up this year. I'll be like, yeah that's it for me. I'm done. I'm going back to what I always ran with. But that's the plans at this point.
What's been your experience sharpening? Terry. Good answer. Good answer. I'm gonna say that to him when he comes in. I'll be like, hey Terry, I got some broadheads for you. No it hasn't been super difficult. It's just time consuming. There again, you have a [00:43:00] couple steps to run through. We have, we do have a sharpener and different stones for it and stuff and then shine them up on a leather or something like that.
Yeah, I really struggled because I had I got those the premium tool steel. Yep. And that stuff is hard. Yeah. And I had a jig and worked at it and worked at it and worked at it and I got to a point where I'm like, I don't have the time and I can't get, that was like right away. My thing that was like I'm going back to my regular broadheads, but I called an audible and I found a machine shop that, sharpens stuff.
And I asked him, I was like, do you think you could sharpen these? He's bring them over. I'll look at them. He's looking, I was like. You think, yeah, that would be easy to sharpen and it was cheap. So I'm like, yeah, have at it. So once he, and it seems since he sharpened it, cause when they came out of the package, like they don't have that burr on them and it seemed like once he got them down to where you got a burr.
And then he, honed it in, I could keep up with it then, like I could put him in the jig then and it [00:44:00] wouldn't take much, but it seemed like that initial getting that burr on, I was just like, I felt like the one that was there for a half hour and I'm like, I'm not doing anything, like this is crazy.
Yeah, it can be time consuming as well. Did you see the the new one that VPA came out with the single bevel that you don't need to jig for? Yeah, I did see that. So I was, I thought that was pretty cool, like it made it more interesting for me, just because the jig, and if you don't have that set right, I struggled with that too, like getting it set perfectly.
I think the marker on a blade really helps to show you where you're rubbing, but the the, that, that new cut that they have in order to not use a jig and just rub is pretty cool. Yeah, I did see that, it's pretty neat. Yep. But, anything else on this whole arrow setup? tuning, changing thing that you, you thought's worthwhile bringing up things you learned from last year or.
Anything along those lines with that arrow setup? I think we covered it pretty good. [00:45:00] Maybe I'll just go back, to, to maybe somebody that might be listening and considering the heavy arrow thing or wondering maybe you don't even know, like what your setup weighs or where you should be at.
And we talked about some extremes. Like I said, my, my setup's what, six 20 ish right around there, which you say is on the top end extreme. It's definitely on the top end if somebody comes in here and just to clarify wants me to build him the perfect arrow setup for Whitetails.
Now, I'm probably going to set him up around that 475 to 525. I feel like that right around, 500, 450 to 550, I think is like the perfect. Wait for white tails. Yeah, me myself. I like a little heavier, but for the average guy that still likes to maybe go to 3d shoots and shoot out 100 yards. Yeah, with 650 grains, you're going to start running out of room pretty quick if you're wanting to shoot out far.
So yeah, it all depends what you want to do. But I think that 500 A mark is about perfect. That's what I like to see. I'll have to see when we get done with this. I'll have [00:46:00] to see. I wanted to weigh my arrow that I have on because I changed it. I think it's right around exactly what you said.
Like somewhere between 480 and 500 is what I was going to try to land on this year. Hopefully we don't have any issues. Making some adjustments for it for that because I'm I've been shooting. I feel good shooting but I think there's a little bit of tuning issue I'd like to hopefully address and fix that up and feel a little bit more confident going into the year but the the picture that I was gonna use for this episode was of you with your buck last year, but there was a specific picture that I kinda chuckled at a little bit that I was gonna use with the deer across the roof of the station wagon, but that was a pretty nice buck you shot last year.
Tell me about it. Yeah, I did. Let me think here. November 1st, I believe. Yeah, I'd shot a couple of dough in October and then November 1st was an afternoon. I don't know if you remember, the first week in November was pretty warm. And I can't remember if it was the first or second day. It was going right into a [00:47:00] pretty couple days of warm like a warm stretch that we were having.
And I left the shop here at about 2 o'clock, I think. And it was... mid seventies. It's pretty warm for November for sure. And yeah, got set up on the downwind side of a bedding area. They're just a thick patch. It's about probably four acres of pretty thick stuff. And I'm just like, you know what?
What are the chances that a buck could have a doe pushed up in there's a Thick patch that's the kind of the end of there's really no nowhere else for him to go So I'm gonna set up on the down one side of that nothing else Maybe there's a power line that that ran that just got mode that ran right along the back side of it, too if nothing else maybe have a buck cruising that power line scent checking That thick patch, because I know there was doe bedding in there.
And, yeah, it basically just got set up, I think it was like 3. 30, quarter of four, and yeah, I just happened to see him, I think he was bedded in there the whole time. And I don't know if he heard me setting up, it would almost [00:48:00] maybe seem like it, or I don't, I'm not sure why else he would have been getting up that early.
Unless he was just getting up to go check for does, because I mean it was that time of year, but he didn't have a doe with him or anything, I just, yeah came out on the power line and made a scrape there. And I shot him at 20. Yeah. You filmed that too, right? I did. Yeah. Yep. You can see that on our shops, YouTube channel, if you want.
That was pretty cool. That was like I said, I had a couple of deer that I shot and didn't run anywhere. That one was one of them. So I shot him. He literally took. One hop and he stood there and he just pumped blood out. It was pretty cool to see. He had no idea what was going on and he ended up falling right there.
It was pretty cool. Like I, I've had a lot of deer fall over within sight, but never just like that, he was totally unaware, like he knew something hit him, but he was totally unaware of what happened. He just basically stood there and died right in front of me. Yeah, those are the best ones and I've had that happen with the lighter setups with a fixed blade.
Yep. I don't know if I ever had that happen with an expandable. Yeah I [00:49:00] definitely never did. I think you have, yeah, going back to the whole broadhead thing, you have that expandable opening and that. Impact that they feel, and it spooks them a little more, I think. Yeah. Not saying you'll never have that, but that's what I've run into.
Yeah. So yeah, that was cool. This is this has been good. I appreciate you talking about this with us. I know you're busy, guys, so I want to be mindful of your time. Before we before we wrap this up just real quick, talk about the shop, what you got going on, and everything else you got going on from I know you do a little bit of filming, put some stuff out too yeah. So yeah, like we said, it's rolling into our busy time. We're still having a lot of guys coming in doing strings and that sort of thing, come into mid September, you're basically out of time if you want your bow back and done before season. So if that's something you're looking to do.
Definitely ASAP tuning, that's something we have done more and more of every year I believe. People, it's a little more just realizing that how important tuning is. Yeah, we're still getting a lot of tuning stuff in arrows, that sort [00:50:00] of thing. But yeah, the big push in the next month will be like our mobile hunting stuff and we just got our line of Habit clothing in as well yeah.
Lores and stuff for more November time frame. But yeah, it's pretty much just getting everybody fixed up from here away, getting ready. What bow did you decide to shoot this year? A prime again. Okay. Yeah, yep, the Rev X II. Nice. You like that so far? I do. Yep. Yeah, I don't know, I've learned to the prime feel.
Probably just because this is what I do, I'll probably try something else next year. Yeah. Because, yeah, I shot the inline, the prime inline last year, the Rev X now this year. I don't know what I'll land on yet, but we'll see. Yeah, they're all really good. It just comes down to shooting what you like or what feels best.
But man, thanks for letting me let me rain in your parade here and chat with you and good luck this season. It's been good. Same to you.[00:51:00]