by R. Cade Powell for Western Hunter.
I would like to invite whomever coined the phrase, “Change is Good”, to have their head examined. The old school way of thinking has always served me better than those that are swayed by every new ‘latest and greatest’ product to hit the shelves. I ALWAYS mock the guys who have a new bow and accessories every year but NEVER kill anything with it. “Maybe you should spend more time learning about your quarry and how to hunt, than you spend learning about new products that really don’t help your hunting skill”, was my usual line. Three years ago, a good friend, was so excited to show me his new bow, arrows, and accessories that were all released just a month before at the Archery Trade Association (ATA) show. I hesitantly held his equipment as he tried to shove it into my hands with childlike excitement. I felt like the Grinch sucking the Christmas spirit out of a toddler when I handed it back to him with a guffaw. “This is your 4th new bow in 5 years and you don’t have any antlers in the garage to even show for it. Why don’t you learn your equipment and an area instead of running to each new ‘hotspot’ with your new-fangled equipment and never killing anything”, came my sharp reply? The Grinch would have been proud as I pulled out the Old School club to beat his excitement to a pulp. I should have left well enough alone but threw in a sucker punch as I walked away. “I have a personal rule that I can’t buy a new bow until I’ve harvested 10 animals with my old one. Usually takes 3 or 4 years.” I turned and walked away as he stood there, green-faced, looking at his new equipment like a vegetarian that just realized that wasn’t a tofu burger they just inhaled. It was priceless!
I grew up shooting Easton Game Getter II’s in the late 80’s and early 90’s so it wasn’t hard to make the change to XX75’s or the XX78 Super Slam’s, when they hit the market. Along came the carbon craze in the 90’s that I fought like a 2 year-old fights naptime; crying, kicking, and screaming. Didn’t matter. Carbons were here to stay, but I didn’t have to jump on the bandwagon! I continued to shoot my trusty XX78’s for the next 10 years. In 2001, I was given 3 dozen carbons to test out. Since I had finally bought a new bow, I thought I’d give them a try. I shot those arrows (and bow) for the next 11 years. I broke a few arrows, but nothing even close to what I would do in my aluminum days. I even broke down and took them hunting. After I killed a 6pt bull elk, pronghorn buck and mule deer buck, with the SAME ARROW, I was sold. I still had over a dozen arrows left from that first batch of 3 dozen when I sold that bow in 2012 and gave in for a new-fangled bow. I settled on the Mathews Heli’m and accessorized it with a Trophy Taker Smack-down rest and a Spot-Hogg Hogg-It sight (so much for being old school). I then started looking at arrows. The pro-shop kept trying to talk me into these new ‘skinny’ arrows that were so great they would penetrate further, deflect more wind, and hit harder than any arrow I’d ever shot. They would also retrieve themselves from your bag target and place themselves by number in your quiver so I could sit in the shade and sip lemonade. During hunts they would track
my quarry and follow a blood trail like a blood hound and blah, blah, blah, blah. I had already done my homework and knew what I wanted. I could have done without all the sales pitch but I walked out of the shop with not 1, but 2 dozen Easton Injexion 330’s with Deep Six inserts. I had been shooting the Trophy Taker Shuttle-T broadhead for years and wasn’t going to give it up, so I ordered an outsert from Firenock (www.Firenock.com) that fit right over the end of my Injexion and allowed me to attach my Shuttle-T’s. It actually added 30 grains to the front of my arrow and moved the FOC forward where I prefer it. The Firenock outsert fit snug and all my arrows spun correct so I put on field tips and went to the range to start shooting. After my first 10 arrows, I knew something was up with these new arrows. After 200 shots that afternoon I was positive they were the hardest hitting arrows I had ever shot. I had never had arrows penetrate that far into a bag target. It was unreal watching the vanes bury and disappear into my new target. They didn’t penetrate that far into my broadhead target but went further than any other arrows I had shot. Maybe these arrows are the hardest hitting
and deepest penetrating arrows I’d ever shot, but how about the wind deflection? I live in SE Wyoming and know a thing or two or ten about the wind. Yup, they deflect the wind too, but how would they do in a hunting situation?
Over the past two seasons I’ve been able to put them to the test on both Idaho and Wyoming mule deer. I should have been able to test them on a big Wyoming bull, but I screwed up (punched my trigger!!) and failed that test.
I won’t tell you what my buddy in the beginning of the article said to me when I told him about missing that bull. Let’s just say the Grinch would have turned his head in disgust………….
The Idaho buck I killed right at dark toward the end of my hunt. You can read that whole hunt http://blog.westernhunter.net/eye-opening-experience-by-r-cade-powell-part-1-7/) if you’d like but I won’t bore you with all the details other than to say he was further than any animal I had ever shot with a bow. Arrow penetrated through the edge of the shoulder blade angling forward into the offside shoulder. I was a little concerned when he ran off and I couldn’t see any fletchings.
I walked up to where he was standing and saw my arrow 5 yards (downhill) past his tracks in the dirt. It completely passed through that off-side shoulder as well and was soaked in blood. There wasn’t any wind that evening but for that arrow to pass through 2 shoulder blades, I would definitely say it had more than performed up to my expectations on penetration and hitting hard. That was the end of my bowhunts that year as I had a 13 year-old daughter with a couple tags in her pocket that I needed to save as many personal days as possible for.
The next year, after blowing an opportunity on a great public land DIY Wyoming bull, I was back in the badlands looking for velvet bucks. I found an old mature deer one morning that I decided to pass a stalk opportunity on. After pondering on the rest of my fall I decided to go back and try to find him bedded up for the day. My 2nd daughter had just turned 12 and had drawn a mule deer tag and pronghorn tag with her 14 year-old sister in our home state of Wyoming. Needless to say, my fall was going to be busy so I decided to spend the rest of the day looking for him. Found him a couple hours later in an awesome bed and I was able to stalk 18 yards above him. About mid-day, he stood to stretch and my Injexion took him high in the shoulder angling down into his cavity. It almost knocked him off his feet as it lodged low in the opposite side shoulder. He made it 75 yards down the draw before piling up in the bottom. He is my widest mule deer to date and first velvet buck with a 29 7/8 outside spread. I was pretty happy with my “Time-Management” archery buck.