6 Toughest Large-Game Archery Adventures

In my July 2016 column, I touched on some difficult hunts, and considering that then I’ve had really a handful of men and women ask me for more information on the topic. So here are a few of my top picks for very tough hunts, and what made them such a challenge for me.

Coues Deer
Out of the 5 species of deer recognized by Pope and Young, I have to give the award for “most difficult” to the diminutive Coues deer. To hunt these little deer in the U.S., you have to go to either Arizona, which has the largest population of Coues deer, or to pick areas in southern New Mexico.


I killed my 1st Coues deer on public land in Arizona, where a buddy and I hiked into the backcountry and camped in the desert. The daytime temperatures were above one hundred degrees, and at evening I believed I was going to freeze to death.

It took numerous all-day sits at a waterhole for me to finally kill a Coues deer, and although he wasn’t huge by trophy standards, he was a monster to me.

The pack in and out with a lot of gear on public land, combined with drastic daytime/nighttime temperature swings, are what produced this an incredibly challenging hunt.

I have had difficult hunts for whitetails, mule deer, and Sitka and Columbian blacktails as properly, but for me, the Coues deer is at the leading of my list of physically and mentally difficult hunts.

I have to incorporate sheep on my list of difficult hunts. Though there are 4 diverse species right here in North America, I can not choose one particular more than the other. The bighorn, Stone, Dall, and desert bighorn sheep are all found in hard nation to access without having wearing out some boot leather.

They are also usually identified above timberline, or in comparatively open places with limited cover, producing stalking to within classic bow range an incredibly challenging undertaking.

Backpacking into remote locations, and long hikes and stalks make this a prime-tier physical hunt. Mentally, if you’re hunting without a guide on public land, just figuring out the draw information for different states and which regions have the greatest odds of effectively drawing a tag and hold the highest sheep numbers can be difficult as properly.

If you opt for a guided hunt, figuring out how to come up with that considerably funds and which credit card to put it on can be a mental nightmare, too.

Mountain Goats
I believed sheep hunts have been physically draining, and then I went goat hunting. I usually heard that you have to climb above where the sheep reside to get into goat country, and there is a lot of truth in that.

Toughest Big Game Hunts 2

To uncover a goat, all you have to do is locate the steepest, roughest country that appears impossible to get to (and typically is), and that is exactly where goats call house. I have practically gone off cliffs and slid off the side of a mountain much more times on goat hunts than any other kind of hunt.

It is one of the handful of hunts where I frequently locate myself questioning my own sanity. I also usually uncover myself in negative circumstances exactly where it is no one’s fault but my personal that I got into those circumstances in the very first place.

If you are fortunate sufficient to kill a goat, at times the recovery alone can be far more hazardous than every thing that led up to it because of the treacherous nation where these cloud-dwellers reside.

Most folks don’t think of pronghorns as a physically and mentally demanding hunt, but I absolutely do. Initial off, the physical discomfort of sitting in a hot blind, exactly where temperatures are typically more than 100 degrees, is taxing.

Do this for 12 to 14 hours a day, for a number of days in a row, and you are now searching at a kind of torture that’s really used in some nations. For me, the mental challenge of pronghorns comes from watching a buck I want to shoot gradually perform his way toward me (occasionally for hours) across the wide-open terrain.

Let’s just say that a lot more frequently than not, I am normally a certifiable basketcase by the time an antelope is in variety.

I would be remiss if I didn’t consist of elk in this column. Elk are smart animals that are typically located in rough country, in remote places.

Admittedly, I am a little spoiled on elk, because we have them behind our property in Colorado where I’ve killed a handful of “easy” ones. But I have also harvested a lot of elk on challenging backpack hunts on public land.

Fact is, most elk hunts take location in rugged country, and most elk are killed from the ground, so packing out is not for the faint of heart. Because of all this, elk are right up there on the toughest-hunts list as far as I’m concerned.

Grizzly &amp Brown Bears
In my opinion, out of the 4 species of bears, these two are the most difficult. Hunts for each take location in remote places, and just acquiring to where they contact house can be a chore.

Bowhunting grizzly and brown bears also normally requires camping out in these remote areas, and includes a lot of hiking and glassing to uncover a bear in a very good location for slipping to within stickbow variety. If the physical strains of these hunts — frequently in inclement climate — isn’t sufficient, there is also the whole mental aspect of getting incredibly close to an apex predator.

Yes, I know that black bears attack more folks than grizzly or brown bears, but there are also a lot far more black bears in North America. I am also a lot a lot more intimidated by a grizzly or brown bear than I am by a black bear. Possibly it’s because I have been charged a couple of times and I’m a tad gun-shy of them. Or would that be bow-shy?

Hunts for any large game animal can be challenging, and I’ve had some quite challenging ones for species not talked about here. In basic even though, this is my list primarily based on my experiences.



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Overview: 2016 Bear Archery BR33

Bear Archery performs tough to meet the demands of its buyers, so when bowhunters spoke up and asked for a smoother version of its rapidly hybrid cam, the organization listened.


That brings us to the 2016 Bear BR33, which is packed with functions and technologies from prime to bottom. This involves the Max Pre Load Quad Limbs, HingeGuard cable containment technique, dual adjustable string suppressors, EAZ Hybrid cam technique and significantly far more.

EAZ Does It!
Bear engineers have been focused like a laser on producing an eccentric technique that combined the smooth draw of a single cam and the difficult-hitting power of a hybrid cam. The result was modified track designs and the all-new EAZ Hybrid cam system.

Bear advertises the all-new BR33 at 330 fps IBO on a 7-inch brace height and 80-percent technique letoff. IBO speeds are recorded with the bow set to a 30-inch draw and 70-pound draw weight, even though shooting a 350-grain arrow.


No bow press is required to adjust Bear’s DrawDial system, which attributes rotating modules that are moved to distinct draw lengths and locked down. Modules supply a range from 27-32 inches, capturing the lion’s share of all male bowhunters.

Cable draw stops on each cams are positioned in holes that match up with the draw length. Optional limb stops are provided for every single cam for those shooters who choose an further solid back wall.

Loaded Up
Bear’s Max Pre Load Quad Limbs serve to create the BR33’s energy while employing a past-parallel position to tame noise and vibration. Limbs are produced of Gordon glass and function a machined belly profile made to distribute tension across the whole limb, allowing increased stored power.


Limbs are matched into sets based on deflection values and offered in 45-60-pound and 55- 70-pound draw-weight choices.

The new aluminum CrossLock limb pocket system pivots throughout draw-weight adjustment for maximum handle. Limbs are also laterally controlled by the pocket sidewalls and in between-the-limb spacers. The general pocket is developed to give strength and assistance throughout the shot cycle, specifically exactly where high-anxiety points are expected. The program also incorporates a SonicBond vibration dampener.

Command Central
A huge number of the BR33’s attributes and elements are directly tied into the riser, which is comparatively long as compared to the bow’s 33 1⁄4-inch axle-to-axle length.


Bear’s near net forging procedure needs tiny post-production perform to prepared the aluminum platform for use. Normal Realtree Xtra Green is film dipped, even though strong finishes such as Shadow (black), Olive and Sand are powder coated. Every finish of the riser is broad, back to front, to give a platform for the massive limb pocket even though also adding strength, stiffness and stability.

Bear’s signature dual-position SonicStop string suppression system not only gives the business instant brand recognition but offsets the weight of accessories whilst speedily taming string oscillation at the shot. Bear’s HingeGuard has a cable-containment block attached to an aluminum mounting arm that is hinged off angle making use of a steel axle and Turcite bushings to manage the motion and position of the cables all through the shot cycle.


The objective, of course, is decreased torque although providing sufficient clearance for passing vanes. Also designed to lessen torque is the BR33’s injection-molded ABS plastic VersaGrip, which features a narrower throat and a soft, warm rubber overmold for comfort on cold days afield.

The Encounter
The BR33 is a solid all-about bow that holds tight to the target and is entertaining to shoot. By adding a quality stabilizer, I was capable to knock down the majority of low-level vibration and tiny jump at the shot.

Cold-climate archers will enjoy the warmth and comfort of the VersaGrip. It should also be noted that this bow tuned very easily and swiftly for excellent arrow flight.



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Evaluation: Diamond Archery Edge SB-1

There is no denying that the archery business has responded to the “youth movement” greater than just about any business you can think about. Yes, youth bows and accessories have been around for a lengthy time, but the range, good quality, and number of choices has elevated drastically.

Most bow manufacturers have had to ramp up production to hold up with demand for youth bows and that is very good for all of us.


Oldest grandson, Carson, is comfortable shooting the Diamond Edge SB-1 soon after just five minutes of adjustment.

Diamond Archery has been an active player in the youth market place and they have just released their newest “do-it-all” bow for the increasing archer. The Diamond Edge SB-1 is a single of the most adaptable bows you can purchase for your young arrow-flinger and the important thing to bear in mind is you can adjust it yourself without the help of an archery shop.

Diamond Edge Adjustability
One spot where the Diamond Edge SB-1 shines is at the bottom finish of the draw weight scale. Almost each parent that has pushed the envelope to get their young youngster started in archery has found that a six or seven-year-old has a challenging time drawing a lot weight. It is an unfamiliar motion and it can take some time till they construct up the needed muscle.

The excellent news is the Edge SB-1 has a bottom-finish draw weight of just seven pounds, light enough for practically any youngster to manage from day one. There is no frustrating wait for the youngster to get large enough or robust sufficient to commence the entertaining portion – flinging arrows.


The Binary Cam on the Edge SB-1 is simply adjustable to draw length just by removing three screws and setting the module to the right draw length.

The draw-weight variety on the Edge SB-1 runs from seven to 70 pounds, which is as wide a variety as I’ve seen. And the draw length range, an equally essential issue, is also wide, ranging from just 15” to a complete 30”, which will cover each and every kid out there at least until they commence playing college basketball.

Simple Directions
And to allay any fears of those parents who are not sure they can adjust their new Edge SB-1 to their youngster, Diamond has a net page that supplies in-depth guidelines. At that web site there are instructional videos to assist you adjust draw length, draw weight, and arrow rest, plus suggestions on shooting form, grip, and anchor point. You can practically have tiny to no understanding of archery and swiftly get your kid to the point where they can shoot arrows and hit what they’re aiming at.


To create a new archer, basically add arrows, and a target.

I tested the versatility of this bow by adjusting it to two of my grandsons. The youngest, Easton, is ten years old with a 20” draw length. He has a slight develop so there isn’t a lot of energy in these arms just yet. Just by loosening 3 screws on every single cam I was able to set the Edge SB-1 to the 20” mark in just two minutes.

I loosened the limb bolts, which have a unique constructed-in scale so you can set both limbs to the exact very same spot. In less than 5 minutes Easton could comfortably draw the bow, hold it, and shoot it. All that was left was to adjust the included sight to his arrow trajectory.

Ideal for Youth
However, just before I did that I adjusted this bow to my oldest grandson, Carson, who is 14 years old, 5’ 10” and an experienced bowhunter with 5 turkeys and two deer to his credit. His draw length is currently 27” so I adjusted the cams to his draw length in less than two minutes, cranked up the draw weight a handful of turns and he was shooting arrows with the very same bow Easton was shooting just minutes earlier.


My grandson, Easton, at full draw with the new Diamond Edge SB-1.

Of course, it wouldn’t be practical to buy 1 bow and adjust it back and forth for two distinct youngsters. Little ones do not like to wait for their turn to shoot and constant adjustment would render the sight pins useless. The crucial right here is that you can buy a Diamond Edge SB-1 and steadily adjust it to your youngster throughout their early shooting years as they develop. With Carson we had to add an inch to his draw length every spring and perhaps an additional inch by fall, but he is in his growth spurt proper now.

Other features rounding out this extremely versatile bow consist of a light, three.6 lb. mass weight, and accessories like an Octane 5-arrow quiver, Octane Hostage arrow rest and Apex three-pin sight.


Easton acquiring in the 1st couple of arrows at a mule deer target.

To create a new archer, basically add arrows, a target and the easiest-to-find ingredient of all — a prepared youngster. The fun will come naturally.



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Overview: 2016 Diamond Archery Edge SB-1

The all-new Edge SB-1 by Diamond Archery is a highly versatile bow that combines super simple setup with deadly serious bowhunting performance.

The Edge SB-1’s versatility is delivered via the all-new EZ-Adjust System that makes it simple to set up the bow for any shooter with a draw length from 15-30 inches and draw weight from 7-70 pounds.

Diamond-Edge-SB-1-bowDiamond even developed a dedicated website with how-to videos that help archers get set up properly and learn solid shooting techniques.

Meanwhile, the Edge’s serious performance is delivered via a synchronized binary cam system (courtesy of parent company Bowtech) that produces an IBO arrow speed rating of 318 feet per second off a platform that features a 31-inch axle-to-axle length, 3.6-pound mass weight, 7-inch brace height and 80 percent letoff.


To help give you a sense of just how simple the Edge SB-1 is to use, Diamond sent me a demo unit last week and asked me to let my family give it a try. Here’s what we found:

Shooting “Out of the Box”
Upon removing the Diamond Archery Edge from the box, I was pleasantly surprised to find the bow set at a 29-inch draw length and ready to shoot.


The $ 449 Diamond Archery Edge SB-1 comes as a complete package that includes an Apex Gear sight, Octane Hostage Max rest, 5-inch Octane Ultra-Lite stabilizer, Octane Deadlock Lite Quiver, Diamond wrist sling and installed nocking loop and carbon peep sight.

The only item not pre-installed on my demo bow was the peep sight, because I told Diamond I wanted my wife and two sons to try the bow before I finalized a setup for one of them.


Without adjusting a thing, I grabbed some arrows and had Toby, my 12-year-old, sling a few arrows at a target from close range. The bow performed flawlessly.

EZ-Adjust System
One of the best things about the Edge SB-1 is how easy it is to modify. After Toby took his turn, all I had to do to get the bow ready for my wife Lindell was remove three setscrews from the top and bottom cam modules, move the modules from the 29-inch setting to the 26-inch setting and re-insert the screws.


Each available draw length – from 15-30 inches, in half-inch increments – is clearly marked on the cam modules, which align with a tuning mark etched into the cam. The entire process took about two minutes, and just like Toby, Lindell was able to shoot the bow with no problem whatsoever.

Finally, I simply repeated the draw-length adjustment process for Timmy, my 10-year-old, by again removing the module screws, sliding the modules from the 26-inch setting to the 23-inch setting and re-inserting the screws.

Adjusting the modules is so easy I was able to have all three shooters use the bow in a matter of about 15 minutes.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned anything about adjusting draw weight – and that’s because I never needed to! Keep in mind draw weight is directly related to draw length, with a range of adjustability for each draw-length setting.


On the demo Diamond Archery Edge, the draw weight right out the box – with the draw length set at 29 inches – was 33 pounds. Although Toby can handle more weight, this was fine for our test shoot, and when I adjusted the draw length for my other family members, the draw weight dropped to 29 pounds at 26 inches and 27 pounds at 23 inches without ever having to adjust the limb bolts.

That said, adjusting draw weight on the Edge SB-1 is even easier than adjusting draw length, because you only have to turn one screw instead of three! To increase draw weight, simply turn the limb bolts in. And to reduce draw weight, turn them out.


That’s it; and there are decals on both limb pockets with hash marks that match to tuning marks on the bow’s riser so that shooters can easily monitor their progress as they increase or decrease draw weight.

The Bottom Line
With a retail price under $ 450, wide range of adjustability, respectable performance specs, out-of-the-box shootability, ease of use, dedicated support website and finish options that include Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, BlackOps (black), Electric Purple and Electric Blue, the Diamond Archery Edge SB-1 is a great choice for new shooters – especially youngsters who are still growing – regardless of whether they have an interest in bowhunting or just want to shoot for fun.

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