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Published on April 24, 2013 by

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time spring turkey hunting with old time turkey hunters that spend more time hunting turkeys in the fall than they do in the spring. In most cases, diehard fall turkey hunters know more of a turkey’s vocabulary than a typical spring hunter. They know how to read turkey sign better, have more patience, and are often an all around better hunter than many spring hunters. I am not saying spring hunters don’t know what they are doing; I’m just saying fall hunters often spend countless days in the fall hunting and as a result, they hone their skills and end up being great turkey hunters. Below are a few tactics spring hunters can implement in the spring that are often only used in the fall.
For starters, one call you don’t hear many spring hunters use when hunting is the kee kee run. The kee kee run is the call of a young turkey in the fall. This call is often used by a young poult when it is trying to find its’ mother if it is lost. This call can be a great call to use in the spring to bring in a gobbler that is hung up. Brett Berry, a prostaffer for Zink Calls uses this vocalization often in the spring. “When calling in the spring, my goal is to convince a tom I am a real hen. Hens have a large vocabulary but most hunters only master the yelp and a few other basic calls. Often a tom can’t resist the sound of a kee kee run. It convinces the tom that a real hen is calling to him and can bring him those last few yards.”
Patience is something many hunters lack. When a fall turkey hunter busts up a flock of turkeys, he can be required to call and sit for hours before a turkey comes close enough to shoot. As a result, fall turkey hunters are accustomed to calling occasionally and sitting for long periods of time. Many spring hunters call for a few minutes and move to a new location. Being patient and persistent can put the odds in their favor. Staying in one location and calling periodically over the course of a day often yields success to the patient hunters who are willing to put their time in.
In the fall, many turkey hunters use more than one decoy to make their set up look like there is a small flock feeding and calling. Setting out three or more decoys in the spring can add realism to a setup and bring in a call-shy gobbler when nothing else will. “I like to put out a few hens and a tom decoy. When a tom approaches, he feels more comfortable because there are several birds around. Many turkey hunters only use one or two decoys in the spring. Adding a few extra can take extra time, but it is often time well spent,” Berry noted.
Do you want to fill your tag this spring? Try a few fall tactics. We all need a few tricks up our sleeves when turkey hunting.

About the Author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer and popular Wild Game Dinner Speaker. Find out more about him at www.tracybreen.com

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John Schaffer goes mule deer hunting

Published on September 27, 2012 by

John Schaffer has killed several big mule deer bucks but the one he killed a couple years ago is the biggest to date. The buck was killed in Alberta with Cody Cassidy from Big Knife Outfitters. John enjoys sneaking in on mule deer and being patient as he waits for the right moment to let the arrow fly. “Being patient is very important when hunting mule deer,” said Schaffer. “When bowhunters rush in and try to quickly tag a buck, they often don’t get a shot. Big mule deer bucks have great vision, are very skittish and don’t tolerate much movement. If they see you move, they leave the county.”

To kill a big mule deer, Schaffer says you must be in the right area. “When choosing an outfitter or going on your own, you need to do lots of research especially if your goal is to kill a decent buck,” Schaffer explained.

Schaffer’s favorite tactic when hunting mule deer is to spot and stalk them. “I like to get up early and get into position several hours before daylight and cut bucks off between their feeding area and bedding area and wait them out,” Schaffer said. “We spotted this buck bedded several yards away and slipped in on him and waited him out.” Mule deer often bed down for several hours.  Eventually they get up and stand there for a few seconds and then bed back down.” I knew this buck would eventually stand up and give me a quick shot so I was patient and waited for the shot opportunity,” Schaffer said.  When the buck rose to his feet, Schaffer put an arrow through him. The buck grosses 174 inches Pope and Young.

One key to John Schaffer’s success is using the gear he builds.  With the Schaffer Opposition Rest on his bow, he doesn’t have to worry about the arrow getting hung up in the brush or falling off the rest.  When the moment arrives and he takes the shot, his rest is always up to the task and gets the job done.  Check out the unique Opposition rest by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2uSRkuCoHs&feature=grec_index. The Opposition rest is better than any drop away rest on the market.

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Practicing is all weather conditions

Published on August 9, 2012 by

Most bowhunters hunt in every type of weather. We hunt when the sun is shining, when it rains, when it is windy, and when it is snowing. Yet, most of us practice shooting when it is sunny and calm. John Schaffer believes we should practice in all weather so we can become better bowhunters in all weather.  “I often practice when it is windy outside so I will know how to aim and how to deal with the wind if it is windy when I am hunting.  Very rarely is the weather perfect when I bow hunt…. especially when the rut kicks in,” Schaffer explained.

Along with practicing in bad weather, it is important to practice with your hunting clothes on.  If you wear gloves and a face mask when bowhunting, practice with that gear on.  If you bow hunt from a treestand, practice from a treestand.  More bowhunters are hunting from pop-up ground blinds.  If you fall into that category, practice from a pop-up ground blind.  Shooting out a small window from a chair is much different from hunting from a treestand.

We rarely hunt in a T-shirt and shorts when the sun is shining and the bluebirds are singing. We shouldn’t practice in shorts and a T-shirt all the time. Add a little bit of realism to your practice by getting your gear on and practicing in bad weather.

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Awesome new 3D archery target

Published on July 24, 2012 by


Yo Buddy Targets makes a compact 3D target that is only slightly larger than a block style target because the target only has vitals. Their targets have a portable 3D vital area that stands on its own and doesn’t include the head or back end like most 3D targets. They offer deer, elk and several other targets.

The cool thing about this target is you have a lifelike target without the added weight or price of a full size target. If you are considering hunting elk this year check this target out.

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Published on June 30, 2012 by

Regardless of what type of arrow, vane and broadhead combination you use realize each individual arrow should be spin tested with a broadhead attached before it ever is used for hunting. Many companies such as Pine RIdge Archery make a arrow spinner that will tell you if your arrow is spinning true or wobbling slightly.

Many hunters believe if they are shooting expandable broadheads their arrows don’t need to be tuned or tested on a spinner. The way the ferrule of the broadhead sits inside the arrow insert is often what causes a broadhead to not be properly aligned and spin erractically. Each time a broadhead is screwed onto an arrow is should be spin tested because each time a broadhead gets screwed into the insert of an arrow it will seat slightly different. Many times all it takes is a little fine tuning such as wiggling the ferule of the broadhead around as you screw it in and the arrow will spin true. Always spin test your arrows to ensure your arrows will hit the mark every time.

Lastly if you are on a tight budget and cant afford super expensive arrows that are extremely straight try cutting a little off each end of your shaft instead of just at one end when building arrows. According to Tim Gillingham of Gold Tip Arrows an arrows tollerences are often worse on the ends. By cutting the shaft at both ends you end up with a better arrow.


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Meet the Opposition, a full containment arrow rest for bowhunters

Published on May 19, 2010 by

Arrow rests have remained largely unchanged for several decades.  Golden Key introduced an innovative style of arrow rest in the 70’s called the TM Hunter and that design has been the foundation for virtually all arrow rests ever since.  The TM arrow rest soon after, roughly the early 80’s, was being converted to the drop way style we know today.  Prior to single cam bows, the drop away arrow rests were problematic due to the actuation cord affecting cam timing on dual cam bows.  In the mid 90’s, with the single cam bows gaining acceptance,  Trophy Taker started to popularize the drop away arrow rest.  Many companies, including Schaffer Performance Archery, have manufactured drop away arrow rests for the last decade.  There have been several modifications to improve on this design, including better arrow holding at rest and at full draw, however, the biasing (movement) of all the arrow rests have been limited to the launcher moving only up or down.  I knew that if I was going to revolutionize arrow rests, I would have to think way outside the box.

Several things have evolved with the compound bows over the years, that in my opinion have limited the usefulness of the basic up/ down arrow rest.  In order to move forward with a new design, I had to first identify all the problems with conventional rests, including those manufactured by Schaffer Performance Archery;Customers demand total arrow containment.  Most will recognize the popularity of the Whisker Biscuit arrow rest, which has obvious appeal because it holds the arrow so well.  The problem of course, is that it provides total fletch interference which adversely affects accuracy.  The fallaway rests available, held the arrow either in the down position or up position.  Most of the fallaway rests, including Schaffer’s Gen 1 and 2 series, used some type of adhesive backed clip or guide stuck to the bow riser to hold the arrow when the rest was in the down position.  This worked great when the bow was at rest but did nothing to hold the arrow at full draw.  Because the guide was just a sticker, they would occasionally fall off in the field.  Some of the rests held the arrow at full draw but needed to be cocked (locked up), to do so.  None of the fallaway rests with a cage or bar over the top provided true arrow holding in the up (firing) position, in other words, while the arrow couldn’t fall off the rest, it could still bounce around (noise) within the confines of the rest.  I wanted to design a rest that provided total clearance while still holding the arrow tightly without having to cock the rest before drawing the bow.Arrow rest to arrow engagement time.  In recent years, some attention has been aimed at addressing this.  Specifically, the rest engagement time while firing the bow needs to be the right balance of guidance and clearance.  Some have argued that the longer the better for tuning.  There is no doubt that longer engagement will result in making the bow easier to paper tune, but so will shooting your arrow down a 1 inch diameter tube cause the arrow to come out straight.  Conversely,  if the arrow hops off the rest immediately, the arrow lacks any guidance at all.  I’m not going to pretend that I’m the greatest shot in the world and I have no interest in trying to impress anyone with my shooting resume, but my experience is important to product development.  I’ve had several money finishes shooting unlimited pro at Vegas, finished 5th pro at NFAA nationals, qualified 2nd at IBO worlds, and had 2 back to back wins for our Minnesota state NFAA tournament.  A lot of archers throw around the term “forgiving”, for me this means having bow capable of finishing toward the top in a tournament or shoot fixed blades broadheads at over 300 f.p.s. at 100 yards.  Specifically, when I am setting up a bow, I torque test (twist the bow left and right, push the grip at the bottom and top), short draw the bow (front edge of the valley), and overdraw the bow.  If everything is working correctly, the arrow will never leave the x ring at 20 yards.  Because I hate selling any of my personal stuff, I still have almost every bow I’ve shot since 1980.  For the last several years, we’ve used and relied on our high speed camera system for many things with our products and I’ve gone back and looked at really forgiving bows I’ve owned and some bows that were not.  Every bow that was really forgiving looked the same under our high speed camera.  Whether it was a drop away, conventional prong, or lizard tongue arrow rest, they all had one thing in common in regard to engagement time.  All the forgiving bows had somewhere between 5 and 8 inches of initial guidance / contact, and then no part of the arrow touched the arrow rest for the duration of the launch.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, the bows that were really “touchy” or unforgiving (everything had to be absolutely perfect to hit the x) also had something in common.  The unforgiving bows all had arrows that rode the arrow rest for almost the whole length of the shaft.  It is important to note that although the unforgiving bows paper tuned just fine, they were worthless for high level accuracy.  I wanted to design an arrow rest that could easily provide the proper amount of engagement for easy tuning and forgiving accuracy.All drop away arrow rests are prone to bounce back.  Many shooters are now aware of the ill effects of launcher bounce back.  The launcher will often times get out of the way plenty fast, only to bounce or rebound back into the path of the arrow and cause fletch contact.  Many of the drop away arrow rests address this with different approaches.  Some use mechanical lock downs, rubber dampening, or magnets.  Schaffer Gen II’s employed a dampener on the back of the axle to counteract this.  All of these “band-aids” add complexity to the arrow rest.  The interesting thing about bounce back is that when we look at it with the high speed camera system, and just snap the rope or launcher, the launcher won’t bounce back.  The main culprit for bounce back is one of inertia.  The bow and arrow rest both primarily move in the same plane when shot, in other words, the bow and arrow rest are in effect fighting each other both trying to move in the same direction when shot.  In order to beat this phenomenon, I had to design an arrow rest that would literally move in a new direction.

No drop away arrow rests provide lateral biasing or support.  One of the realities with today’s bow designs is that they have a significantly increased propensity for horizontal nock travel as the bow is shot.  This condition is magnified with stiff cable guards, short brace heights, high let-off and differentials between the grip centerline and string centerline.  As the bow is drawn back, the energy is transferred from the string to the cables, increasing the side load on the cable/ roller guard.  For a right handed shooter, this action pushes the back of the roller/ cable guard to the left, forcing the riser and rest to rotate to the left along with it.  When the bow is shot and the force on the cable guard unwinds, which causes horizontal nock travel as the string returns to static.  This is the main reason that many bows with conventional drop away arrow rests end up tuning inside (close to the riser).  Having to deal with this over the last few years got me thinking that it would be nice to have some sort of lateral bias/ support like the old plunger buttons.  Years ago, the hot set up for a hunting bow was a flipper rest and a plunger button.  This set up is still the most common way to set up an Olympic style recurve shot with fingers.  This system provides decent clearance as the flipper can easily be knocked out of the way by the fletching if the arrow spine is not correct.  The beauty of the plunger/ flipper rest is that the plunger could be adjusted to provide the proper amount of lateral bias or support.  The problem of course was how to accomplish this and still provide clearance.  I wanted to design an arrow rest that would provide lateral bias and support and still provide the clearance for easy tuning and improved accuracy.

Too many companies, including Schaffer Performance Archery, were manufacturing the same mouse trap.  Of course there were certain elements to differentiate the various drop-away arrow rests in the industry, but they all provided the same movement and limitation with the up / down movement.  Schaffer Performance Archery needed a fresh new design with the goal of improving the arrow rest segment.

A few years ago, I started experimenting with different movements for arrow rests.  I decided that having the primary movement being left and right(horizontal) as opposed to the conventional up/ down (vertical) would be advantageous for the reasons listed above.  The challenge was how to lift the arrow into position without having a complicated cocking mechanism.  I settled on two opposing (hence the name Opposition) ramps, which we now refer to as the Launch Pylons.  This set up provides automatic arrow centering and raising as the bow is drawn.   In actuating the pylons, or drawing them together, we had several configurations or rigging’s that would move them at different rates.  We settled on a direct drive where both pylons were slaved together.  This was simple in that it required very few parts and offered a nice speed to raise the arrow.  What I mean by this is that no matter how aggressively or fast you draw the bow back, there is no way to snap the arrow off the launchers.

To hold the arrow in total captivation at full draw, we shaped two hooks into the tops of the pylons.  Now we had a rest that positively held the arrow at full draw.  In order to hold the arrow at rest,  we designed a pin button that the shooter could press in to lock the pylons in the firing position.  When the bow is drawn back, the spring pressure is released and the button retracts and the rest function normally.
We feel this design offers significant advantages in that the arrow can be positively contained by pushing in the button for tree stand or stalking, but if a follow up shot is necessary or for day to day shooting, no cocking is necessary to locate or raise the rest to fire.

Another significant advantage of the new Opposition full containment arrow rest is that it provides clearance for the fastest bows.  We have tested it with the high speed camera up to 417 f.p.s., and I am certain it will clear much faster than that if necessary.  If necessary, in the future we can increase the spring tension for the pylons with no worries of bounce back.  One of the reasons the actuation is so fast is that the total movement required is cut roughly in half because each pylon splits the movement necessary.  The other reason is that the pylons are constructed of a light weight material for lightning fast response.

Anyone who uses our new Opposition full containment arrow rest will appreciate the ease of tuning.  Most bows will tune right down the center of the grip where most of us would like to see it.  This eliminates the annoyance of only being able to see half your sight housing, and keeping the fletching from hitting the inside of the sight window.  We have a Mathews DXT and a Z7 in the shop, one is 28” 70# and one is 29” 70#.  Both are tuned for perfect bullet holes, both tune right down the center of the grip.  Both bows were set up with Beman 400 arrows, however, we have demonstrated to hundreds of customers something pretty amazing.  We can take the same bows, without any adjustments to anything, and shoot a 500, 400, 340 and 300 spine all with perfect bullet holes.

The Opposition full containment arrow rest employs the same perfect riser lock fit our customers have come to expect from our Gen I and II rests.  We manufacture plates to lock into Mathews, Hoyt, PSE.  We feel that a $1000.00 bow is no place for a one size fits all arrow rest that requires set screws to keep it from moving.

Every part on the Opposition full containment arrow rest is designed, manufactured, and assembled in the USA.  Click here to find your local dealer and check out the all new Opposition full containment arrow rest today!

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