By: Bears Butt


MyHangingbowWeasel and I went shooting a 3D course up at Hardware Ranch yesterday.  This range was set up and run by the Cache Archers out of the Logan Utah area.  There were two courses with 20 targets on each of the courses.  Targets ranged from about 15 yards out to 101 yards.  Most were in the 20 to 40 yard distances.  All classes of archers like to come to events like this one to show off their talents, make a few side bets and just have a good time.

Weasel and I paid our entry fees and then went for a good time.  We left the score sheets at home.  We counted hits and misses and it didn’t matter if the hit was in the foot of the target or in the bulls eye…a hit is a hit is a hit!  And before the shooting was all done it seemed like I favored bears feet and legs more so than the body of the target.  I did hit one in the butt however.


With my less than skilled level of shooting and only 4 sacrificial arrows in my arsenal, I had to be choosey about which targets I was going to shoot at.  A high level of confidence was necessary for me to take the shot, as arrant arrows tend to shatter upon impact in the rocks.  Shooting a traditional bow, with no sights, I am totally relying on my own ability to trust in my “arrow throwing” ability to reach the target and not go over or under it.  I did go over and under several targets during the day, but luckily for me, I only found one rock and lost one arrow.

Weasel, on the other hand, has his confidence level so high, he shot his arrows at each of the targets sitting deeply in the rocky outcrops and without fail both of his arrows found their mark.  I, on the other hand, chose to set out on those two shots.



The course lends itself well to “real shooting” situations if one is inclined to hunt big game with their arrow flipper.  Of course if a big old mule deer buck was laying where this one is on the left, you would not hesitate to shoot a broad head yielding arrow at it if you were within your shooting and hitting range.  I would have to be about 1/3rd closer in real life to take this shot, but a miss would mean a busted or lost arrow, a hit would mean liver and onions would be served soon!

Changing the subject:  You have read my comments about FOC…right?  FOC is the acronym for “Front Of Center” and it refers to weight on the point end of the arrow.  A heavy front end yields itself to better penetration when you hit the target.  Some folks like to have a very high percentage of weight up front and FOC is usually given as a percentage number comparing the balance point forward of the center of the arrow shaft without any tips, feathers or anything else attached to the shaft.  It is obvious with nothing attached to that shaft on either end, the arrow should balance at the center point of the shaft.  If not, then something has to be done to the shaft to make it balance at that point.  And then when you add a nock, some feathers etc. to the back or “nock” end of the arrow, the balance point would move back toward that end of the arrow because of the added weight.  Placing an insert and point on the other end, makes the balance point move back toward or even beyond the center point and more toward the tip of the arrow for that balance point.  More weight on the point end means the balance point moves that much farther away from the center of the arrow shaft toward the tip.  OK, enough of that.  What is my point in this?

Well, during the course of the day, I shot at one target and when I pulled the arrow out of my perfectly placed shot (somewhere near the foot of the animal target) the whole insert and point came out of the arrow shaft…poor glue is the culprit.  So, now I’m down to two sacrificial arrows and a whole lot more targets to go.  I put that arrow in my quiver where I would know not to draw it out to shoot it, and saved the insert and point to later glue it back into the shaft.

Well, off we went to enjoy more shooting…me and my two arrows, uninhibited by the fact that each target required two arrows, I would just choose to shoot one arrow at each target when there were two targets at the station.  I have no problem doing that.

Near the end of the shoot, we came upon an elk target laying down near a small trickle of water.  A beautiful scene and about a 65 yard shot (I can’t remember exactly, but it was a pretty long shot for me) down hill.  I confidently shot my first arrow and it came to rest poking up about 10 feet in front of the target.  I drew out arrow number two and gave it a fling!  This time, it barely went over the top of the target and promptly stuck up in the muddy bank on the other side of the target.  A near hit.

When I pulled arrow number two out of the mud, I saw that it was missing its point and insert!  I was not a happy guy!  Two arrows with the inserts and points pulling out during the day!  That does not bode well for the glue used to secure them into the arrow shafts!  I voiced my concerns to Weasel who was happily pulling his two perfectly placed arrows from the target and he said, “Did you just shoot the one without the insert”!?!  Of course not, I put that arrow aside in my quiver and as I looked down I could plainly see the arrow that had been set aside was gone from its spot!  I did shoot the arrow that did not have a tip!  And of course, upon further investigation I found the arrow shaft was stuffed full of nice fresh mud!  Oh dear!

This morning I pulled that arrow from the quiver and cleaned out the mud.  An investigation of the carbon shaft and it appears to be in good shape, no cracks that I can see.  Once it is dried I can re-glue the insert in it and it will be good to go as a sacrificial arrow once again!

Now let’s talk about this arrow for a minute.  FOC seems to be something an arrow needs in order to fly properly.  At least an arrow with a tip on it is usually a good idea to shoot.  But this one did not have a tip on it.  I measured it and balanced it and took all the careful calculations on this arrow, with no tip on it and the FOC came out NON-FOCed…I’d have to say it had ROC (rear of center) balance.  In fact it calculated at 2.68% ROC (-2.68 FOC).  HMMMMMM!

At the time I shot this arrow, both Weasel and I were watching the flight as it headed down range toward that laying down elk.  It flew beautifully straight and nearly on its mark.  How can an arrow with ROC and not FOC fly so well?  Theories or facts please people!  Had that arrow hit that elk, I would have been elated until I got down to it and found it shattered because that carbon shaft was not protected against the impact of the solid core rubber those targets are made out of.  Luckily for me and my arrow, it hit the soft mud and not a rock either.  The arrow was saved from sure demise. And had it hit the target I would have been bouncing up and down saying “That arrow Rocked”!  And I would have been pretty close to the truth without even knowing it did in fact have ROC.

In conclusion:  Thank you for all the very hard work Cache Archers did for putting on this event.  It was fun!  The day was overcast and cool, which made it even better.  The situations of every target made it seem much like a hunting adventure and of course the hiking up and down the hills made for some tough going and a good reminder to us all to get into shape for the upcoming hunting season.  We have 3 1/2 months to do that!  AND, finally, never shoot a ROC arrow at a game animal, it will not have enough kinetic energy to adequately penetrate for an ethical kill.  FOC is the rock! More FOC is better, to a point I’m sure!  More ROC is not better…and any ROC is not good.


April 25, 2016

Bears Butt

Written on April 25th, 2016 , Archery stuff
By: Bears Butt

So, I’m in hyper mode for the archery deer hunt and I don’t even know if I have drawn a tag or not, but that doesn’t matter.  I’m still practicing as if I have.

Tonight I went to the field and shot my usual 5 ends standing up like I’ve been taught and that went pretty well.  Once that exercise was over I began my “stealth mode” training.  Kneeling, sitting etc.

So, once I was done with about a half hour of that, this was my last sitting end at 20 yards.  Shooting basically behind myself.


I was pretty amazed that the arrows went where I wanted them to go.

So, I shot at 30 yards and did pretty good, then 25 yards and mixed things up with kneeling, standing, shooting behind myself etc. I felt pretty good.  Then I decided to shoot one arrow at each of the 3 rings of the target that was still up from someone shooting last night and then the last two arrows at my target.  Here is the results of that 5 shot effort!

My Last End 4:21:16Sitting

This was in a sitting position at 20 yards!

April 21, 2016

Bears Butt

Written on April 21st, 2016 , Archery stuff
By: Bears Butt


The past couple of archery practice rounds in the field has found me experimenting with hunting situations.  After all, that is my intent of doing all of this archery stuff in the first place, right?  On Monday evening I had the place to myself and I shot 10 ends of 5 arrows in the usual fashion, standing tall, shoulders relaxed, a firm anchor, eyes fixed on the X etc., etc…and of course my arrows went where ever good arrows (and bad arrows) like to go.  Some finding the mark and others finding somewhere else they would rather go.

After the session, I was still not tired of shooting and so I decided to start my “hunting training”.  This is a little something I’ve been thinking about for awhile and even though the temptation to move back 10 yards was still in the back of my mind, I decided to stay at the 20 yard mark and move around a bit.

Let’s think about hunting for a moment.  Chances are I will be sitting in a ground blind somewhere hoping that a deer or elk will come wandering my way.  With that in mind, sitting would be how I would most likely have to take my shot.  So, with a stump marking the 20 yard mark, I perched my Bears Butt’s butt on the stump.  Sitting at a 90 degree angle to the target, I shot my 5 arrows.  Of course I had to “cant” my bow so that the lower limb did not strike the ground.  Much like the guy in the picture above.  What came as quite a surprise was that all 5 arrows were very close to where I wanted them to hit.

In a college business class we read about a study that was conducted back in the 1930’s wherein they turned up the lighting in a production facility in order to see if that would increase productivity and the records show it clearly did cause an increase in productivity.  In a follow-up study in the same place a year or so later, when productivity went slowly back to what it was before the lights were turned up, they dimmed the lights and sure enough, productivity went up….how can that be?  Well, anyway, my point is, when you change something you can expect a change in the outcome.  I can’t remember the theory’s name but it has one.  I’ll make one up…The Hurculerian effect….that is not the real name but you get the idea.

So, were the 5 arrows being close to the mark a result of changing things up?  Perhaps.

Well, I kept turning my butt on the stump until at one point in order to shoot at my target I was almost turned completely around and still the arrows came close to finding the X.  Now, mind you, I’m shooting at a cut out of the center of a larger target.  My target is about 8 inches across.

Well, not to be outdone by the stump sitting exercise, I started walking around the 20 yard mark, getting down on both knees, then with one knee up, switching which knee was up and on and on.  I moved from 20 yards, to 25, out to nearly 30, shooting diagonally at the target….well, in general, I was having quite a time entertaining myself with this new way of practicing and before long I realized I had to go home and cook supper!  But here again, my arrows were almost always finding their mark near or actually inside that 8 inch circle!  I failed to take any pictures even though I thought about it several times that evening.

So, last night Sherry and I went down to the field range once again.  I shot 5 ends of 5 arrows, while she shot all her ends with 6 arrows.  After my 5th end, I decided to “do my thing” and mix things up a bit.  I started with the stump sitting and then started moving around.  I didn’t move around as much as I had the night before, as I was causing panic in Sherry, not knowing exactly where I was and what I was doing around her.  I was being safety conscious the whole time and keeping her well being in mind the whole time…she just didn’t know that.

Pretty soon she had had enough and was wore out.  It is sort of funny that when archery fatigue sets in, it sets in fast.  You go from  some very nice groups to wide groups and arrows flinging where you wonder how in the heck they could possibly go there.  But for me, things were tightening up.  The more I shot the better things were getting….what gives with that?  I was feeling like I could shoot forever.  Those 55 pound limbs must be weakening, as there was no fatigue what-so-ever!

Back to the “canting”…….Canting the bow means you turn the bow so the lower limb won’t hit the ground, or a stick, or a bush, or a anything that it might hit.  I suppose, you would cant the bow if the upper limb would hit something as well….of course you would.  Now, since I’m a right handed shooter, my canting has to be done with the top limb turned to my right.  That way the arrow will stay on the arrow rest, or at least on the bow shelf somewhere.  If I was to cant my bow the other way the arrow would fall off the rest and there would be no shot…..gravity has something to do with that.

I also found that while canting my bow, my anchor being very much the same as if standing erect (like an Olympic archer below)

A general view of the Men's Individual Archery Ranking Round at Lords Cricket Ground, London.

A general view of the Men’s Individual Archery Ranking Round at Lords Cricket Ground, London.

I was actually looking above, but at the same time, down the shaft of the arrow, even though it was not in sharp focus, but certainly in my vision as I stared at the X on my 8 inch target.  I got the feeling that as I stared at that X, the bow would rise and/or lower to accomodate the distance to the target and then upon release the arrow would arch toward the X and sometimes actually hit it!  I was having a pretty good time.  My arrows were actually trying to go where I was looking.  Have I just experienced one of the plateaus in archery I have read about?  You know, you go from not hitting the bale, to all the arrows hitting the bale, then to hitting the full size of the paper the target is printed on, to hitting the circles drawn on that paper, to hitting certain rings within the drawn on target etc., etc.  And then come consistency…plateaus happen with that as well and some archers give up on themselves it they can’t break through whatever it is that causes them to not hit what they are shooting at.  Not me!  I’ll shoot no matter what and someday it will straighten itself out.  I’m a Plucker and if that is what I do, so be it, as long as I pluck and hit somewhere close to where I want to hit, call me Bears Butt the Plucker!

Anyway, back to the subject….what is the subject?……Oh ya, me walking around shooting, sitting and shooting, kneeling and shooting…hunting situation stuff.  So, Sherry and I are shooting and she got tired.  I was still going strong and decided to shoot a couple more ends.  I was feeling very good about the whole thing.  Not tired.  Not feeling the usual strain of the 55 pound limbs.  My anchor was coming to my jaw just like it should.  My head would cock to one side and find that anchor and the string would find my nose.  AND best of all, the arrows seemed to find their mark.  Here is my last end from last night!


I wish I could do that every time!

Maybe I need a hat like the guy in the picture above!

April 20, 2016

Bears Butt



Written on April 20th, 2016 , Archery stuff
By: Bears Butt

When something really strikes me as funny, I have to put it in my “jokes I like” category.  This one struck me very funny this morning…maybe it’s just my mood.


I hope you enjoyed it!

April 17, 2016

Bears Butt

Written on April 17th, 2016 , Jokes I like!
By: Bears Butt


Last week word came out that the Utah Department of Environmental Quality was offering a special “exchange” for gas powered lawn mowers and weed eaters.  In their writeup it said that a gas lawnmower polluted the air about the same as driving over 100 miles or so (I don’t recall exactly the distance you would drive a car to equate to mowing your lawn, but the distance was substantial).  With that, Windy, Weasel and I began our dialogue.

Do we want to play in this program or not…yes.  Do we want a couple of lawn mowers and a couple of weed eaters….yes.  Ok, let’s work out the logistics.

I read and re-read the rules and came to the conclusion that in order to “play”, we would have to put up the full purchase price on our credit card to the tune of $550 for a lawn mower and a weed eater.  Then after the exchange of a gas mower and weed eater (gas and oil removed), they would credit us with a substantial amount of credit for both and the end result would be a lawn mower for $100 and the weed eater for $25.  The credit would be applied back to the card in one weeks time after the exchange.  Windy read and surmised the same as I.  They had roughly 1,000 mowers and 500 weed eaters for this program.

So, this morning was the day for pre-registration and the paying of the money.  Beginning at 8 a.m. and only on line at the DEQ website.

Windy showed up at 7:58 and we logged into the site….at 8:01 (our time), the site opened for business and Windy was rocking his purchase of one lawn mower and one weed eater.  In the end he reserved his two units and only had to pay for the two finished price units plus sales tax, $133 and some change.  A very welcome surprise for both of us.  When he logged in, we found we had to pick a time for the exchange on April 23 (Saturday).  He chose 9:15, as the 9 O’clock time was full.  Now it was my turn to log in and make my purchase of one weed eater.  The rules would only allow one household to purchase one mower and one weed eater or one only of your choice.  Well, we really wanted to end up with two weed eaters and one lawn mower anyway, so I was to go on and buy one weed eater.

He logged out, I logged in….but the wait for the website to upload was not going well.  We waited and the little wheel on the tab turned slowly on my Chrome browser.  Then it crashed.  I tried again with the same results.  So I switched over to Firefox and tried.  It came up!  YEAHHH!  But then when I went to register the earliest time was 1 p.m.!  NO WAY am I going to go back down to Salt Lake city at 1 p.m. to pick up my weed eater!  I opted out.

By my computers time it was 8:19…19 minutes from the start of registering and they had only 23 lawn mowers and 4 weed eaters left!  19 minutes!!!!!

So, what did we end up reserving?  Well, of course one lawn mower and one weed eater.


A Kobalt 40 volt electric lawn mower!  And a Kobalt 40 volt electric weed whacker!


We will see how well they hold up, but the lawn mower comes with a 5 year warrantee.

Not a bad morning if you ask me.

Bears Butt

April 13, 2016

Written on April 13th, 2016 , Uncategorized
By: Bears Butt


When I first picked up my bow and began to shoot, my mentor, Lynn Hayes, told me that what I was being told was all well and proper, but that as time goes on I will enjoy the sport more if I experiment with different aspects of the game.  He went on to say there are SO MANY variables that what might work for one person, might not work for me.  And so, here I go trying different stuff.  Keep in mind my goal in all of this is to kill a buck deer as humanly as I can using my bow.  So, right now my goal is to get my bow and arrow set up to be what they need to be and then the rest is all up to me.

Sure, I have quite a few arrows, all of which are in the 500 spine group and I’ve got people telling me I need to be shooting 400 spine arrows out of my bow.  Well, the other night I asked Weasel to bring down some 400’s he has in his arsenal.  In the mean time I made up a paper holder in order to test “bare shaft shooting” through it.

There are TONS of videos and more than that of professional archers using “paper tuning” to determine if your arrows are too weak or too stiff for your bow setup.  So, what better way to find out if my 500’s are too weak or not.

The way this is done is pretty simple.  You have a good arrow stopping bale that you are shooting into and you keep that where it is.  Then in front of that bale about 5 to 10 feet you place your paper.  In my case it is a cardboard box with just the bottom and two sides attached.  Across the open portion of the box I stretched some butcher paper and taped it good and tight.  Well, not too tight, but good enough.  Now to complete this test, the archer stands about 10 feet away and shoots into the paper.  The arrow will pass through the paper and then stick safely into the bale behind it.

Why would you want to do this?  Well, according to all the stuff I have read and all the videos I have watched, the arrow should pass through the paper with a single hole punched through the paper.  Being that close it makes perfect sense that a single hole would be exactly what you would see after the shot was made.  NOT NECESSARILY SO….remember “Archers Paradox”….the science of the arrow flight once it leaves the string of the bow?  The arrow has to flex and go around the riser (handle) of the bow.  How much flex is directly due to the amount of pressure the string is pushing against the back of the arrow and how much resistance there is in the shaft of the arrow that tries to keep the arrow from bending at all.  If you have a broom handle for an arrow, you can clearly see it is not likely to bend once you release the string.  On the other hand, if you have a straw (long enough of course), it would probably break when you release the string.  So, somewhere between those two extremes lies an arrow shaft that will be perfect for your bow, string combo.  That is what I am trying to find right now.

OK.  So, I set up the box and stood back about 10 feet, sipped a sip of my beer, set the can down and shot my first 400 spine arrow.  The arrow has no feathers on the back, just a bare shaft.  THWACK!  Holy crap!  A rip in the paper about 15 inches long!!!!  Let’s try that again!  THWACK!  Another rip about 7 inches long!  Let’s look at them.



You can see several rips in the paper in this picture, but my first two shots were the middle two.  Let’s look closer at these rips.


The field tips on those arrows hit the paper to the left side of the rip.  What does that mean?  Actually, what does that mean to ME.  To you pros out there I can hear you saying a lot of things.  It’s my form and I plucked the string, which would send the arrow across the riser to the left…It could mean the arrow smacked the riser and sent the arrow left, a direct cause of a poor release as well and I’m sure there are a hundred other things this means…but to ME, it means the arrow could not bend around the riser and is too stiff for my bow.

In the world of knowledgable people dealing with this their pictures show this:


Of the 4 suggested solutions listed, I can only do two of those.  1:  Increase draw weight…I’m maxed out for me at 55 pounds.  2:  Move arrow rest to the left….My arrow rest sets on the shelf and unable to move to the left.  3.  Use heavier points….I was shooting 125 grain points for this test and even if I went to 200 grains points the result would not be enough to straighten the arrow up to make a single hole in the paper.  4.  User a lighter spined arrow… this one makes the most sense to me at this point.

Well, this science is not complete with only this test.  But let’s look as Weasel and his arrows for a second, before we move on.

Weasel shoots a compound bow, you know, the kind with the wheels on each end of the limbs.  He can manipulate his draw weight heavier or lighter.  He can change just about every dynamic there is in archery.  He can, with much manipulation of all the controls, make himself look like he really knows what he is doing when it comes to archery.  He can adjust and re-adjust until he could hit a small dinosaur at 70 yards every time!  (I had to toss that in because my little dinosaur was shot to pieces and buried somewhere on the farm, not by Weasel, but by his daughter and her friend, they shoot compound bows too….manipulation you see).

'I forgot the arrow.'

‘I forgot the arrow.’

Well, Weasel thought this paper idea was pretty cool and he too wanted to see what some arrows he had in his arsenal would do with his current setup.  So he shot into the paper using those same 400 spine arrows that I used.  His results were just the opposite of mine.  His points hit to the right and the tear went to the left.


His shots were the lowest one with the very big tear (actually there are three shots in that tear, two are mine and one is his) and the one above my two in the center and to the right.  I can’t show you the lower shot he made because it just isn’t as clear, so I’ll just show you his upper shot.


So, his point is clearly to the right side of the tear, which shows the arrow to be too weak for his bow.


So, with his setup, the 4 suggestions would be to decrease his draw weight,  move his arrow rest to the right, put on a lighter point or go to a stiffer spined arrow….all of which he could do.

Well, after a couple more brews, and talking about these rips in the paper, we decided to shoot our current arrows through the paper just to see what that looked like.  These are the arrows we have been shooting for months.  His has plastic vanes on and mine are feathered fletchings.  The results!


These are the three holes Weasel shot with the vanes on his arrows.  Pretty much single holes, which says to me (us), he is shooting the correct spined arrow for his bow set up.  As for my arrow, well I shot one time and was happy.


A single hole and the tears from the feathers radiating out from that.  I’m pretty happy with that.  Here is some more info, just because I found it and thought you might be interested:


OK, now for the “there is more to this” aspect:

It’s kind of nice to know this method is out there and you can see results of the “that’s impossible”.  How can an arrow fly sideways for 10 feet and then hit pretty much straight on in another 10 feet?  Well, it does and it’s all about archers paradox and a myriad of other things.

Bare shaft shooting tells you a lot about your arrows and how you have your bow “tuned”.  I’m sure this applies to shooting a recurve or long bow, but for sure it applies to they archers with the “training wheels”.  You take your vaned arrows and shoot them into the target.  And then take the same arrow without vanes and shoot them at the target.  Ideally they will hit in a group, but what if they don’t?  Look at this:


For my recurve bow, a lot of what I’m seeing has more to do with form than most anything else, but I still have to be concerned with my brace height as well.


The manufacturer of my bow says that somewhere between a brace height of 7 1/2 and 8 1/2 inches I will find that spot where my arrows will shoot like they are supposed to shoot and I found a rather complex drawing of what happens when the brace height is too much and/or too little for the spine of the arrow I’m shooting.

brace height - spine

I’m still not sure what this is trying to tell me.  I looks like a lower brace height will cause the arrow to shoot more to the left….anyone????

So, just to add to this confusion, I decided maybe I should shoot like this for awhile:


At least you know I’m trying!

Bears Butt

April 10, 2016




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