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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: traditional bowhunting

The Five Cardinal Rules of Hunting Public Land

By Beka Garris
On Instagram @bekagarris |

If you frequently hunt public land, I am sure that you have had your share of mishaps and run-ins with other hunters. You’d like to think that as hunters, we are all on the same page and therefore will be respectful of others and the area we are hunting… but this is not always true. Whether you are hunting deer, turkey, small game or something else, there are Five Rules that every hunter should follow. I like to think they are common sense, but it seems they are not for some.

Public Land Hunting with Beka Garris

1.       First Come, First Serve. You pull into a small lot at 5:00 in the morning, and see that there is already someone parked there. You walk in to the woods and arrive at your favorite tree, only to discover someone else is hunting in it. Sure, it’s easy to get angry or frustrated but lets be honest…it’s public land and they have as much right to be there as you do. If they got there first, simply be respectful and back off. Find another spot to hunt, or move a safe distance away so you won’t be disturbing them while they are hunting. On multiple occasions I have arrived at a little pull off area to find someone else already there, and I have simply kept driving. It’s tough to do if you’re hunting a specific animal but I consider it common courtesy.

A big guy seen while hunting public land

2.       Know Your Target And Beyond. This one should be common sense, but every year you read about someone getting shot by a fellow hunter because they never actually identified their target before pulling the trigger. If you see something moving in the brush and you think it’s an animal, don’t just blindly shoot. If you hear a gobble coming from behind that tree, make sure it is in fact a turkey and not a fellow hunter.

Hunting with a Bear Kodiak and 3Rivers wood arrows

3.       Personal Space. This is one of the biggest issues I have run into while hunting public land. Although it wasn’t a huge issue during deer season, I had a lot of struggles during this past turkey season. If you know someone else is hunting in the area, or if you accidentally stumble into each other, make sure you move a safe distance away and let them continue on their hunt. Don’t make loud noises or angrily confront them, and don’t decide to park close enough that they can’t get into their vehicle on the way out (someone actually did this to me.) And lastly, don’t take advantage of their location if they are calling/sitting over bait/ etc and set up to cut off anything that comes their way. Keep in mind, the road less traveled is always best. Going the extra mile and taking the time to go deeper into the woods  will also eliminate the chances of running into anyone else.

4.       Don’t Steal. Although I have never been a fan of leaving stands, blinds, or cameras in the woods on public land… I know many people who do. It can be tough to constantly pack in and out, especially if you don’t live close to the area or if you only hunt on weekends. If you find someone else’s hunting gear in the woods, just leave it alone. Chances are, they’ll be back for it.

Beka with her beauty of a turkey from hunting public land

5.       Be Courteous. Just because someone is hunting the same area that you are, doesn’t mean they are intentionally invading “your spot” or that they even knew that you were there. If you meet another hunter in the woods, whether you got there first or they did, be polite and courteous instead of confrontational. Most hunters are great people and they are out there for the same reason you are… and they certainly don’t want to run across other hunters any more than you do.

Turkey Hunting Gear for the Traditional Bowhunter

As the snow melts away, my mind starts to turn towards turkey hunting with traditional archery equipment. Now is the best time to make sure you have all your gear ready for hunting turkeys. When the first day of turkey hunting arrives you need to have confidence that your gear performs when you get within bow distance of a strutting tom turkey.

Shred Head Turkey Broadhead by Dirt Nap
Dirt Nap Shred Head Turkey Broadhead

Zwickey Broadhead Stopper with broadhead attached to arrow
Zwickey Scorpios Broadhead Stoppers

Turkey Broadheads:

The number one thing I hear bowhunters talking about is finding the right broadhead for turkey hunting. The wing of a wild turkey is difficult to penetrate and does a good job protecting the vitals, which is why I like a cut-on contact type broadhead. I want the broadhead to penetrate, but not pass through. Dirt Nap has a turkey broadhead called the Shred Head which does just that, it penetrates well, but the separated edges limits how far the broadhead actually goes inside the bird.

If you are happy with the way your current broadheads perform and just looking for a way to slow the arrow down, you might want to consider using Zwickey Scorpios Broadhead Stoppers. These are placed directly behind the broadhead. After the broadhead hits the target, they slide back to the end of the shaft,  slowing penetration down. They work really well and are a great option to consider.

Jake decoy from Montana Decoy Purr-Fect Pair (Jake shown)
Montana Decoy Purr-Fect Pair Turkey Decoys

Fanatic XL Turkey Reaping Decoy by Montana Decoy
Fanatic XL Turkey Reaping Decoy

Turkey Decoys:

I have found decoys to be very effective for getting toms within bow shooting range. Although I hate carrying the big bulky decoys around with me while I’m turkey hunting. Montana Decoys offer a couple of great solutions.

I generally set up a blind and wait for the turkeys to come in on their own and this is where I prefer the Montana Decoy Purr-Fect Pair Turkey Decoys. These decoys fold up small enough to fit into a pack, are easy to setup, and have a very realistic look about them. Setting up the jake and hen pair really drives a boss tom crazy and almost always seems to bring him in. The other great thing about this setup is the fact that the tom is focusing on the decoys, not you. It makes it much easier to draw a bow back and avoid detection with this system.

When the hunting is slow and you want to be more active searching out the toms, the Fanatic XL Turkey Reaping Decoy is the decoy to have. This large decoy helps conceal the hunter while allowing freedom of movement to shorten the range when you start stalking turkeys that are out of range. The mesh window keeps the hunter behind the decoy, yet still be able to see in front. It also has both the front and rear image of an actual wild turkey to further enhance toms.

String tracker mounted to longbow
Leather String Tracker

String Tracker:

Another thing about turkeys is that they typically don’t leave much of a blood trail. A string tracker can make a short job out of what would be a long trail. The Leather String Tracker works by attaching a small spool of string to the riser of your bow. The string is then tied to the front of the arrow. After the release of an arrow, the string starts unwinding from the spool. From there, it’s just a matter of following the string to your turkey.

Turkey Targets:

Wild turkeys can be surprisingly difficult to bring down. Many bowhunters misjudge the small vital locations on turkeys and learning proper shot placement is important. One of the best ways to learn is shooting targets.

Camo Chair for hunting blind
Portable Swivel Chair

Pruning Shears for hunting
Ratchet Shears

Camouflage face-mask for turkey hunting
3D Camo FaceMask

Ben's 100 Deet Tick and Insect Repellent
Ben’s 100 Deet Max

Other Turkey Necessities:

For turkey hunting, you’ll find a wide variety of needs that can help you become more successful. A wild turkey has great eyesight that can easily spot movement. So it’s crucial to remain still while hunting out of a blind. For me, that means I have to be comfortable to keep from fidgeting. I almost always carry a chair with me when I’m turkey hunting. The Redneck Portable Hunting Blind Chair does a good job and works well on uneven ground as the legs are adjustable. It’s easy to carry and the seat swivels allowing you to turn without a lot of movement.

One thing that is an absolute must for me when turkey hunting is to use some type of tick repellant. While mosquitos are bad enough, ticks can carry Lyme disease that can cause serious health issues. Ben’s 100 Deet is what I like to use and have found that it works well on keeping these insects away.

A facemask is another item I always keep in my pack. QuietWear makes a 3D Grassy Camo Facemask that does an awesome job. It’s made like in a ghillie-like style that really blends in and well worth the price.

I also like to carry a set of ratchet shears with me. I use them for numerous situations, but mostly for clearing out places where I’m going to make a ground blind and shooting lanes. They don’t weigh a lot and come in handy so often that it’s another item I always carry with me.

One last thing I keep in my pack is some camo rope. Obviously, it comes in handy for so many numerous things. I find myself using it not only for tying down blinds, but also to help haul my turkey out of the woods. I tie a loop with a slip knot and slide the turkey’s legs through it beneath the spurs, and then I tie a stick around the other end for a handle. This makes it easy to sling the turkey around my shoulder using the stick as a handle.

Now that the weather is starting to break, it’s time to start getting ready for turkey hunting. Getting a turkey with a traditional bow can be difficult, but a very rewarding experience for those that put in the time and effort to be successful.

By R. Strong


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