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Getting Ready For Bows And Bunnies

by Chuck Goodall

          As I sit here in front of my PC, nothing seems very important after 9-11-2001 a day we all remember to well. Anything I write about seems so trivial at times like these! My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all the victims in NY and DC!

          This fall I plan to use my longbow to rabbit hunt with at least a few times. I know it’s quite a stretch from the traditional method of rabbit hunting! Some of my readers might think I just don’t want to harvest any rabbits not true! If you take it seriously and prepare and practice, you can expect to meet with great success as well as have the most fun you’ve had in a long time.

          If you bowhunt for other game you can use the same equipment with a few slight modifications. Traditional equipment is generally considered better for getting off a quick shot! Recurves and longbows draw smoothly compounds are almost impossible to draw fast because of the letoff! Modern compound shooters have the edge in accuracy with sights and trigger releases and such.

          I personally prefer a longbow (straight stick) and wood arrows I make myself! I also love recurves to my way of thinking it’s hard to beat the simplicity and elegance of traditional archery equipment! I prefer feathers to vanes because they are more forgiving and easier to shoot off the shelf for my instinctive style of shooting! I’ll admit that plastic vanes are more durable and work great when shot off the proper arrow rest!

          The most important piece of equipment you can take rabbit hunting is a Judo Point! For those of you, not familiar with the Judo Point made by Zwickey it is called the unloseable point! It has four spring wire prongs protruding out about an inch these catch on grass and weeds and keep the arrow from burying up! You can shoot it into all sorts of brush and it’s next to impossible to lose. Field points provide no shocking power at all and they bury up and skip badly! If they bury up you may lose an arrow! If you start skipping arrows, I don’t want to be hunting with you! It’s impossible to control the flight of an errant arrow that has skipped off the ground or off a limb!

          I suggest Judos for safety sake but if you can’t find any Judo points, you can get by with any blunt point! Several types are made including rubber blunts. A .38 Spl. brass slid over the tip of a cedar arrow works great! You can use your regular broadheads but having a blunt point of some type works best. If you use aluminum or carbon arrows with screw on points, you can slip a washer behind the broadhead or field point for a makeshift blunt!

          Get some practice in on moving targets I’ve had some made of ethafoam that I’ve used for ten years and they are still in good shape. These can be found in bowhunting magazines or you can make your own. Have your hunting partner throw or roll the targets for you and you him!

          I always take along a few flu-flu arrows they are made with big fluffy fletch to slow them down after the first 15 or 20 yards. Originally made for wing shooting they also work to prevent losing arrows plus you may get a bonus shot at a pheasant or grouse!

          Practice, practice, practice! Practice any shot you might get running, sitting, and yes even flying! The practice is almost as much fun as the hunt itself! It can only help your shooting skills with all your archery gear!

          Six or seven years ago five friends and I went on a rabbit hunt carrying only traditional equipment! We had a blast not one bunny was harvested but we all had plenty of shots! Although one hunter did get a little fuzz on his Judo point! We had some very near misses to keep us excited I missed one rabbit four times.

          If you’ve never shot a bow at moving targets, you’ll be surprised at the amount of lead necessary to connect with even a slow moving target! It’s painfully easy to miss when you have to shoot from three to ten feet in front of a bouncing target like a cottontail rabbit! Once you get the lead right, you usually shoot just over or under your intended target!

          I’m planning to put together "The First Annual Huntin’ Fools Invitational Bow Hunt for Bunnies" here in West Virginia! If any of you would like to participate in anyway let me know. So far, I have not settled on the place or the time but I’m confident that I’ll come up with a good plan! Any non-resident hunters can get a WV Small Game Hunting License (Class H) (Six days) for $20!

          At this time, I haven’t been able to decide whether to hold it early in the first part of the season or later in 2002! There are advantages and disadvantages to either time early or late! I’d be glad to here any and all suggestions!

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).