Friday, October 23, 2009

Best First Bow USA, LLC

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Q | Having aced my bow safety course, I'm thinking of going the traditional route and buying a recurve bow. I would appreciate some input on whether there's a particular hunting recurve that best suits a first-time bowhunter. I'm 14 years old.

--Dillon Ives, Sidney, NY

A | I'm a firm believer that beginning archers should first learn to shoot with a recurve bow, as the fundamentals provide a solid shooting foundation. When purchasing a bow, remember that it's really a matter of personal preference. Instead of recommending a specific bow, I suggest you visit an archery pro shop near where you live. Let the professionals at the shop measure you and recommend some suitable makes and models.

Shoot each one a few times. After shooting several bows it will become apparent which one is right for you. Steer clear of buying by brand--make your decision based on feel.

--Todd Kuhn, Bowhunting Editor


Q | I recently got my first hunting dog, a male English setter, and I can't get the knothead to come when called, especially when I want to leave the training field. What do I need to do to get Duke to respond?

--Jack Keevin, Flint, MI

A | I'm guessing you're catching the dog and coming out of the field at the same place every time. Your setter anticipates that, isn't ready to quit and goes deaf. It's too late for reward-based "come" training, so begin extensive "sit-come" yard exercises.

Practice on a check cord until his coming to you is an automatic response. Next, try it off the cord. When his response becomes reliable, it's time for the field. He'll probably revert to old habits, so run him with a 50-foot check cord. Tie a big knot in the trailing end. He'll get hung up somewhere. Approach him and order "sit." Then free the cord and order "come." Nudge him to you with short jerks if he's reluctant. You've rescued him, and after enough repetition he'll regard the sit-come as a small price to pay.

When he becomes obedient in this, suddenly change direction in the field and whistle to urge him to race past you. As he goes by, shout, "Duke, come," and step on the rope. When he becomes reliably obedient in this, practice off cord. Thereafter, while in the field, frequently call him in just to make a fuss over what a great dog he is--always in a different place. Never again let him know where you will snap on the leash and leave the field.

--Larry Mueller, Hunting Dogs Editor


Q | My grandpa has a one-acre pond stocked with channel catfish and some bluegills from a local river. Recently the pond was netted when he wasn't home and only about five catfish remain. Since most of the catfish are gone, the bream population is very high, and the fish we catch are so small you can't even grab them. How can we get the population of the little bluegills down to where they aren't eating all the bait and starving the big bream out of existence?

--Michael Franco, Baker, FL

A | You might try to reduce the number of tiny bluegills by using a fine-mesh gill net in the shallows. Drag it between two boats away from shore or simply set it staked out perpendicular to the shore. Introducing more large predators--largemouth bass or catfish, for instance--should help, too.

Poisoning the pond with rotenone (you'll need a permit for this) and starting over is another option. Or you can seek the help of professionals. You'll find regional contacts for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission at The site gives some interesting pond-management help and lists contacts at the end. Ask them about rotenone if you want to go that route.

--Jerry Gibbs, Fishing Editor


Q | I'm amazed by the amount of shooting knowledge Jim Carmichel is able to dispense. Does he actually have all that in his head or does he use reference materials? If it's the latter, what sources does he use?

--B.H. Fineman II, Falls Church, VA

A | Someone once said that being an expert is knowing where to find the answers, and that is certainly true in my case. About half of my answers to reader mail are based on experience and opinion. When someone asks about a good elk caliber, my response is based on personal experience and observations with different calibers and rifles.

But if a reader requests more technical information, such as the value of an old gun, when a certain make and model of a gun was manufactured or specific cartridge data, I use various reference books. In my office there are eight file cabinets stuffed with firearms catalogs going back several years and dozen of books on a wide range of shooting topics. The three references I use most often are Cartridges of the World, which has information and history on many sporting and military cartridges; The Blue Book of Gun Values, which lists how much guns are worth and related information; and The NRA Firearms Fact Book, which has recently been updated and retitled The NRA Firearms Source Book and is a quick reference for ballistic formulas and similar data. Another often-used reference is Bob Forker's Ammo and Ballistics, which is like having all of the ammo makers' catalogs condensed into a single handy volume. I keep these books and several others within easy reach on a shelf above my desk.

--Jim Carmichel, Shooting Editor

For submitting the Question of the Month (chosen at random), Dillon will receive a Benchmade 151 Fixed Griptilian. For your chance to receive free gear, send a question to: Ask the Experts, Outdoor Life, 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016 or



If you live in the North, you've come to rely on those little portable warmers to keep your hands and feet toasty as you sit on your deer stand during the cold fall and winter months. But just how do chemical warmers work?

The heat that comes from a warmer is created by an exothermic chemical reaction. Among other things, the pouch contains iron. When the iron is exposed to oxygen, a reaction similar to rusting occurs and heat is released. The pouches also contain salt, which acts as a catalyst; carbon, which disperses the heat; vermiculite, which serves as an insulator for retaining the heat; and cellulose, which is a filler. The polypropylene pouch allows air to enter and interact with the ingredients while holding in moisture.


The pouch's polypropylene cover allows air to flow through, without allowing the contents inside to leak out.


Oxygen reacts with the iron particles inside the pouch, producing a sped-up version of rusting. The direct result is heat.


Prescription drug containers with childproof caps make handy storage containers for shotgun choke tubes.


Reader Poll

What is your self-imposed antler restriction?

* Three points to a side

* Four points to a side

* Restriction? If it's brown, it's down.

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Source Citation:"Best First Bow." Outdoor Life 213.9 (Oct 2006): 23. Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 24 Oct. 2009

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