Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pennsylvania's Archery Season Is Ready To Open

This is not the time of year when those who operate archery shops get to take it easy.
Quite the opposite is true.

Pennsylvania’s statewide archery deer season opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 12.
More than 300,000 archers will be in the woods at some point over that time.

Many of them — at times, seemingly all of them — have been pounding local archery shops lately. There is a mix of veterans and those new to archery, said Jay Peake, owner of Peake’s Archery in North Huntingdon.

All are excited about the coming season, he said. “Oh yeah, everybody’s talking about the deer on their trail cameras,” he said. “The pictures I’ve seen, there are two and three bucks in every one, it seems. A lot of nice bucks, too.”

Successfully bagging a deer with a bow requires paying attention to detail, though, he and others say. For starters, archers need to understand the limitations of their equipment and skill level, Peake said.

Pennsylvania Game Commission regulations allow hunters to use longbows, recurves and compounds with a draw weight of at least 35 pounds. Also legal are crossbows, so long as they have a minimum draw weight of 125 pounds.

Equipment meeting those standards can fling an arrow or bolt quite a ways, Peake said. But there are limits to the distances at which archers can be shoot them accurately, he said.
“I’d say 20 to 30 yards, that’s about the maximum most people should be shooting,” he said. “I don’t encourage shots over 40 yards.

“You’ve got to hit them where they live. Otherwise, they might die, but when?”
Hitting an animal “where it lives” means focusing on shot placement, said Bob Fedrizzi of Acorn Archery and Pro Shop in New Castle.

Broadheads kill not by causing shock, as do bullets. They kill by causing hemorrhaging, or bleeding, he said. Knowing that, archers need to be precise in aiming behind the front shoulder.

“You need to cut blood vessels. And the lungs contain the biggest group of blood vessels,” Fedrizzi said. “The lungs are the biggest and best target. “A quartering away shot is a good shot. A broadside shot is a good shot. A quartering toward you shot is not a good shot. You need to hit them behind the shoulder.”

Gun hunters sometimes shoot deer in the neck and other places. Those aren’t targets appropriate for archers, added Wayne Smith of Smith Arrows and Archery Supply in Worthington. Aim for the vitals alone, and you will get the deer you’re after, he said.
“If you make a good shot, a deer likely won’t go more than 100 yards,” Smith said. “But you’ve got to hit them right.”

Hunters killed an estimated 336,200 deer in Pennsylvania last year, taking all deer seasons into account. Archers took an estimated 83,830 of those.

Wildlife management unit 2B, which surrounds Pittsburgh, accounted for more deer taken by archers than all but one of the state’s 21 other units. Unit 2D — which takes in all of Armstrong County and parts of Butler, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson, Venango and Westmoreland — ranked fourth in overall harvest. Unit 2C, which takes in all of Somerset and parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fayette, Indiana and Westmoreland, ranked fifth.

Unit 2D ranked second in archery buck harvest, though.
If history repeats itself, there will be deer for the taking locally. Archers just need to make their shots count.

“I think it will be a good year,” Peake said

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