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Bow Hunting in NY

The fall foliage in the Hudson valley is spectacular. Temperatures are usually moderate, corn and apples are ready for harvest, and the woods are alive with activity, as animals big and small prepare for the upcoming Northeast winter.

All the preparation has been completed. You are able to put all your hunting arrows in a 6’’ paper plate at 35 Yards. Trail cameras have confirmed the location of your tree stand is correct. The stand was placed east of the intersecting trails you are watching. Your setup is good with a south or northwest wind direction as these are the prevailing winds in our region. Using sent free camouflaged clothing and rubber boots, you approach your stand, being careful not to leave scent on anything and not walking where you anticipate the deer will be coming from. You have hunted this stand a few times early in the season and have had opportunities to harvest several does and even a couple of small bucks but not the fine 8-pointer you captured on camera in the predawn hours. He is using the main trail just 20 yards from your tree. But today will be different! It is early November. The morning air has a chill to it, there is a new moon phase and the pre-rut ritual has begun. As you listen to the geese coming off the mighty Hudson River, you think you hear a twig snap; was it a squirrel?  No it’s him just 65 yards away. As he stops to freshen a scrape and spare with a small sapling, you make a low-sounding single grunt and the 8-pointer is now heading your way. When his head goes behind a tree, you come to full draw as he steps into the clearing. Your 20 yd. pin settles behind his front shoulder as you exhale and release. You hang your bow back in the tree with hands shaking and give the buck time to expire. As you wait, you watch as a flock of turkeys move noisily through the morning woods. Unclipping your safety harness from the tree and attaching it to a lifeline, you descend.  After retrieving your arrow drenched in pinkish-red blood with bubbles throughout, you follow a short 80-yard blood trail to your trophy. Now the real work begins!
  1. Scent control is imperative, use scent free bath soaps, scent free clothing and play the wind correctly 
  2. Always use a safety belt and lifeline and check your stand for any signs of wear. 
  3. Hunt with a bow that you can draw easily and practice with your hunting gear on. Remember a smooth drawing quiet bow at poundage you can handle easily will harvest more deer than one that you struggle to hold back.
  4. Go to a pro-shop and have your bow fitted to your draw length and particular shooting style.
  5. You must have proof that you have attended a NYS approved Bow safety class to obtain an archery license in NY
  6. Use a sharp broad head; I prefer a fixed broad head such as the G 5 striker.
  7. Do not assume that your broad head will fly the same as a field point of the same weight. Practice with the exact equipment that you will hunt with.
  8. Remember calls, scents, decoys and attractants are all good tools that sometimes can mean the difference between success and failure but they are not a replacement for scouting and good woodsmen-ship. Again, a good mentor will put you years ahead on the learning curve.
Ed Van Nostrand is a:

Licensed NYS Guide

NRA Member
Buckmasters
Member

North American
Hunt Club
Life Member


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