Brad Harvey: Time for a little outdoors Q & A

December 3, 2013 

I regularly receive all kinds of questions from folks trying to get a better understanding on certain subjects and, as I like to occasionally pull some of the more interesting ones and answer them here.

Q: I’m looking at getting into bowhunting but I don’t know much about it, especially when it comes to choosing a bow. I’ve tried a friend’s out but I struggled to pull it back. How much speed am I going to lose if I get a 60-pound bow instead of one with a 70-pound draw weight?

A: The answer to this one is really quite simple. None.

Advertised bow speeds are determined using a formula that was derived by the International Bowhunting Organization and calls for five grains of arrow weight for every pound of draw weight and a 30-inch draw length.

Thus, a bow such as my PSE Dream Season DNA that shoots 352 feet per second in a 70-pound model with a 350-grain arrow and a 30-inch draw length will still shoot around the same speed in a 60-pound model with a 300-grain arrow and a 30-inch draw length.

Just don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in the overall speed of your arrow.

Accuracy and the amount of kinetic energy that is carried in the arrow as it travels to the target are far more important to the task of making a clean, ethical kill in the woods.

And any dealer worth giving your money to is also going to help you choose the right arrow weight for your hunting set-up.

Q: I was told my draw length is 28 inches. A “D loop” is somewhere between a half inch to an inch in length, so should I get a bow with a 27-inch draw?

A: First off, don’t just let someone tell you what your draw length is. It only makes sense that you have a good understanding of how to determine it yourself.

Standing with your back against the wall and arms stretched straight out to your sides, have someone measure your wingspan from the tips of your longest fingers.

Then take that measurement and divide it by 2.5 to come up with the proper length.

The D loop actually doesn’t have anything to do with affecting your draw length so don’t worry about it. Instead, concentrate on finding a good anchor point so that you can repeat it every time you draw the bow.

Q: What’s the best way to start my son shooting a rifle? He’s about to turn 10 and wants to deer hunt with me, but I don’t want to start him out wrong.

A: This is a great question and one where many parents make a major mistake that will have a negative effect on the child’s enjoyment and level of success for years to come.

Even the most experienced shooters are prone to flinching as the trigger is pulled if they’re worried about recoil and how badly the gun will kick.

Here’s the best way to start anyone so that this will never be a problem.

Let him get lots of practice in with a .22 rifle and don’t let him shoot anything else until he’s actually hunting. The almost non-existent recoil and low noise allows youngsters to focus on the marksmanship aspect of it entirely without worry of getting kicked.

By doing this, he will never even notice the kick or noise of the shot when the opportunity arises in the field and the entire focus is on the animal.

The same holds true for starting young ones out with a shotgun. In turkey hunting, for example, we use large, heavy loads that can pack a real punch.

When the time came for me to teach Maggie, I loaded the shotgun with weaker loads of 8-shot and had her take a few shots at a paper turkey target.

Even though the 8-shot kicks more than a .22 rifle, it’s still less than had I started her on true turkey loads.

Q: I’m looking at buying a new rifle. Is there a “best” caliber for deer hunting?

A: Truthfully, no. There’s not any one that could be called the best.

There’s a ton of choices when it comes to picking a round for deer, and all of them do the job well.

Historically, more hunters chose the 30.06 than any other, but that preference has shifted to the flatter shooting .270 during the past 25 years.

It comes down to personal preference. Despite owning at least one rifle in all of the most popular deer rounds, more often than not I’ll reach for the little .243 that’s plenty fast enough for flat trajectories and offers little recoil.

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at or follow on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.

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