Live Hunt: Archery Practice

I've been dialing in my bows for months now. Getting each and every piece and part DIALED. From my bows, broadheads, sights, fletchings, to my arrows... this is a process that takes time and commitment in order to do it right. Bowtech has signed on to sponsor this year's Live Hunt. After meeting with the Bowtech team at this year's ATA show in Columbus, Ohio, and getting the chance to shoot both their new Destroyer 350 and Destroyer 340... I made the decision to shoot the 340 due to the longer brace height considering my draw length of 30.5".

A couple weeks after ATA, both an Optifade Open Country and Optifade Forest 340 bow arrived at my doorstep... it was time to go to work! Following along the lead of a couple of my archery mentors, Brendan Burns and Nate Peckinpaugh from Bozeman, this year I've decided to give Sure-Loc 1 pin sights a try. I've had a great time getting them dialed... with the help of my friend Jesse Nelson (local Leica rep and archery enthusiast), and his Archers Advantage software, I just attached my sight tapes to the Sure-Loc sights last week... Wow! What an amazing sight!

The other day I shot out to 150 yards... hitting my 24" x 24" Block target with all 8 arrows I shot! I grouped much better from 120 in... at 120, I put 4 broadhead equipped arrows into an 8" circle... I'm getting close now!!! It's a great feeling to practice at that distance... it sure makes 50 yards seem close... The longest shot I've ever taken on an animal was 48 yards... I was able to pick my blood covered arrow up 7 yards below where the elk had been standing and the bull only went 70 yards before expiring. Practice long shots, so when the moment comes and the animal is within your effective range... you won't have to think twice!

Arrows/Fletchings/Broadheads... I made a quick little video that details my arrow fletching process that you should check out in the video section. I use Flex Fletch Extreme 360 fletchings... I've had awesome luck with these fletchings and don't plan on changing anytime soon! For broadheads this season I'm planning on my old go to of G5 Strikers for my Elk and Caribou hunts. I'm going to give the new G5 T3 expandable broadheads a try on Antelope/Deer. Arrows... This year I'll be shooting Easton Arrows. A/C/C's for Elk/Caribou, FMJ's for Bison, and Axis Nano's for Deer/Antelope... all arrows are 340's to match my 74 pound draw weight. I shoot with field points just to break the bows in a bit and then after about 100 shots per bow, switch to broadheads so I can practice with the exact setup I'll be hunting with. This leads to lots of destroyed arrows and re-fletching projects, but at least I know I'm getting my systems DEAD ON.

Practice. I try to shoot at least 5 days a week. I shoot with some of my best friends each weekday morning at sunrise. It's good to be challenged by other hunters. Sitka employee Chris Awe lives here in Bozeman and along with my brother-in-law, Optifade Athlete Andrew Crow, we all push each other during our morning sessions. Each day, I probably shoot about 60 shots... just enough to get stronger, but not too much that I get sore and lose my form. I've uploaded a gallery of 24 images from my practice sessions, fletching arrows, and some detail shots of the bows to check out in the gallery section.

It's getting closer... only 4 weeks until my first archery hunt of the year! A Backpack hunt with Canadian Archery Sheep hunting expert and Sitka Athlete Tom Foss. Tom, his son Adam, and I will be hunting with guide Jeremy Hatala from Harold Grinde's Gana River Outfitters in the North West Territories. Tom and Adam will have Dall Sheep tags, and all three of us will also have Mountain Caribou tags... it's going to be an amazing hunt!

I better get off this computer and get out practicing! I'm finishing up the fletching work on my last 1/2 dozen arrows right now!

- Mark Seacat