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Daniel - Just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed my Winter 2012 issue of Horizontal Bowhunter! I don't know how you continue to find such interesting material, but please keep up the great work! That was a wonderful story that Bill Weisner penned about Amber Kolstad, and it just shows there are compassionate people willing to go out of their way for another without expecting anything in return. Loved the 'Corner Cafe' article, and I found it to be very humorous. I suggest you continue running it. By the way, did you write it?

I also thought you may want to know that I share your publication with others by contributing to my local barber shop's outdoor magazine collection. Because of this 'recycling' effort, my barber has overheard several positive comments about crossbow hunting, especially since Indiana will be allowing deer hunting with crossbows for the first time this fall. To track this new season, Indiana will require you to purchase a new crossbow license instead of the regular archery license. We will see how many 'converts' we acquire from gun hunters who have never bowhunted, or former bowhunters that can no longer draw their vertical bow. Kudos' to Indiana for providing this new opportunity to add to our outdoor recreation!

That said, the following sentences are not meant to criticize, but to be taken as positive comments. I am very interested in Horizontal Bowhunter's evaluation of new crossbows and equipment, and I was pleased to see you are doing so with seemingly less concern about offending your advertisers. We readers need to know what the strong and weak points are with each product tested, along with your recommendation as to how well they could/should perform in a hunting situation. I also enjoy reading what Geoffrey Toye’s reports about products he has evaluated, with the Hawke X1 being his most recent effort. I wish he would have commented more on the accuracy and repeatability of the scope's adjustments through its ranges, but he’s not afraid to call the kettle black, whenever it truly is.

In your Winter edition, Randy Wood wrote that arrow speed is not that necessary if you have good kinetic energy. I always thought that speed may prevent an animal from 'jumping the string,' especially at longer ranges. Isn't that an important consideration too? It seems to me that some 'experts' (and I'm not talking about Randy) have a company that they are associated with, or have a bow loaned from, or is somehow linked to. This may tend to cause some bias with their reporting, which causes me to doubt the accuracy of their evaluations. For instance, last fall I purchased a 'Special Edition' Crossbow Magazine that was predominantly written by either a TenPoint executive or an employee of TenPoint. I thought that I would see some unbiased reporting, but very often there was just a subliminal suggestion to purchase a TenPoint crossbow in order to achieve the results reported. Whom do you believe? A magazine should try to get their content from more than one source to be more credible, which is why I will be more cautious before investing money in magazines that seems to be just a facade for one or two companies.

Since you are a self-confessed Crossbow Tramp, my central question to you would be, "What, in your opinion, is the best hunting crossbow available today?" Last year you used a Scorpyd crossbow on a Wyoming antelope hunt, and then reported that you loved it. More recently (current issue) you used a Parker on your 2011 antelope hunt, and you also said you loved it. I also assumed you had to use the expensive Parker 'Red Hot' arrows exclusively in their bows, but you seemed to have used a Burt Coyote Lumen-Arrow for your hunt. Why did you choose this? Didn't the Red Hot's shoot as well? What negatives did you find with their crossbow?

I have used an entry level Barnett Wildcat for four years, having taken several whitetail, as well as having missed many opportunities due to bad luck, poor trigger pull/design (too much creep), or simply making stupid mistakes. I am considering retiring it before this October, perhaps even by April's turkey season. I am currently most interested in either a Scorpyd, Excalibur, or Parker, but would consider any other recommendations you may suggest. I know there are MANY companies that manufacture excellent crossbows. Therefore knowing that you have probably tried most of them, I am asking for your honest opinion as to what is the most desirable hunting crossbow today. What is your all-time favorite? Which crossbow has the best trigger? Which one is the quietest? What about weight? What sighting system (scope) do you suggest? How about scopes that adjust for various ranges? How accurate and reliable are those systems? Wow! My list has gotten longer than I anticipated, and I did not mean to overwhelm you. Sorry! Better quit... Many thanks Daniel, Jim Shelton-IN

Jim – MY, my, my, aren’t we full of questions today? Let me cut to the chase. Because of my particular position with the crossbow industry, Jim I am afforded the privilege of shooting many of the bows that are being offered up to the consumer today. And I, like every other horizontal-bow fanatic am subject to personal biases regarding features and traits of the modern crossbows. But when called for advice on which is the best crossbow, I always offer the same response. Research the market and then go to an outlet that has many brands and many models and start picking them up, one at a time. Shoot them if the dealer allows it and when you find the one that trips your trigger, that will be the best crossbow for you. And after holding many crossbow seminars I can assure you that the perfect bow will be different for each person standing in line. I can honestly say that the crossbows that are being offered to the public from all of the companies are incredibly well made. The competition is too stiff for a company to turn out junk and if they do, they are history. Every year I think that we have seen it all and then the next year I end up shaking my head in awe at what has been developed, improved upon and even perfected over the previous twelve months. As a buyer, you have to consider what you can afford, what you can physically handle and what kind of service are you going to get. The one personal bias that I have that will get me up on my soapbox is that I am not a huge fan of the muscle-bows. There seems to be a rush for bows that will shoot flat out to a hundred yards. If you want to shoot flat out to a hundred yards, buy a shotgun or a rifle. A crossbow is a short range tool designed to be affective out to 40 yards maximum. The lighter draw weights will be easier on the shooter, require less maintenance, be more forgiving and you will have fewer problems in the long run. Remember, it is not the speed of an arrow that kills, it is where you put the broadhead that counts. My 150-pound crossbow kills just as dead as my 225 pound bow and it is a lot easier on me and the bow to shoot. >>------->DJH

Congratulations on Ten Years

Hello Daniel, Happy New Year! Only a few words to say about being a member of the ACF and follower of HBM since the very beginning…I'm sure proud to be part of this small page of crossbow history! You are working in USA & Canada for crossbow hunting and even for me here in Spain. I hope we are still working in another ten years because we believe so much in what we are doing. Please keep on going, Daniel, Keep up the excellent magazine and I hope to see you in 2021 for the 20th anniversary. Saludos, Juan Carlos – Spain

Bless you, Juan and thank you for ten years of loyal support. I truly hope that you and I will share a campfire one day. >>------->DJH

Shoots Buck in Oklahoma

Daniel - Thought I might share this photo with our readers. It’s the buck I shot with my TenPoint Stealth XLT over New Year’s weekend while down in Oklahoma. My buddies and I had this guy on camera way back in August and had been chasing him since opener on Oct. 1. Three months later I was the one lucky enough to stumble onto him and fortunately I made my shot count. Not that it matters, but in case you’re curious he grossed 134. That buck was an 11 point, or a 5X6 for our more north and west crossbow readers. :) Not my biggest buck, but the biggest I have ever taken down south! Chris Griffin-NE

Wants More

Mr. Hendricks – I just received my first of HBM and it is an awesome publication! I am a new crossbow enthusiast and have just got to have some back issues. Enclosed is a check for the 2011 Winter, Spring and Summer issues. Thanks a lot and keep up the great crossbow work you do at the ACF. Kenny Myers – VA

First Turkey of the Year



Dear HBM – Had a Great Hunt! Shot my first turkey yesterday! Scared the daylights out of everyone… in the frozen food section. It was awesome! Gettin' old is so much fun! Remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to tick us off. Submitted by ACF Member, Doug Gray-CO

Crossbow Questions

Mr. Hendricks - I am researching crossbows for my first purchase. If you would be so kind as to take a few moments to assist me by passing on your extensive knowledge of crossbows, I would be very much appreciative.

A) What is your opinion on the Winchester "Stallion"?

B) I have set the following criteria (not in order of priority) for the perfect crossbow. FYI; I am age 61, and have an off and on back problem (which is why I need to seriously consider a crossbow). I have shot a vertical bow for 40+ years, all of the time for hunting and part of that time for target purposes. My crossbow purchase will replace my vertical bow, and will be used exclusively for hunting whitetail deer from a ground blind or tree ladder in Michigan. I no longer shoot target competition.

- Draw weight around 175#; Kinetic energy around 120#; Speed around 320 fps; Built in cocking device (but not a CO2 device); De-cocking feature; Trigger safety; Approx. 3# trigger pull; Non creep trigger; Compound limbs; Scope mounting capability; High cheek stock ie. so my cheek is firmly in contact with the stock and my eye is in line with the scope; Built in limb/string damping; Overall weight around 7.5 pounds; A bolt quiver is not desired, I plan to use a back pack with an integral arrow quiver ("cat quiver"); Priced around or under $1,000 (but for the perfect cross bow this is not the most important item);
Have I missed any requirements? Is there any crossbow that you are aware of that meets all of the requirements on my list? Hank Dombrowski-MI

Hank-I have shot the Stallion only a few times at the ATA show and at this point cannot give an in depth appraisal of the bow. I need more than just a couple of shots and cannot offer an opinion about the quality of a bow without putting it through its paces and a variety of distances and in the field under actual hunting circumstances. Perhaps Winchester will allow one of our staff members or me to really put it to the test. Check out the article on new crossbows for 2012 and do a bit of qualifying before you head to your crossbow dealer. Once there pickup every crossbow they have in the store based on your research and I believe you will find the right crossbow for you. Remember that the crossbow I really feel at home with will probably not be the one you choose as we are all different. >>------->DJH

Lisa Tarlton’s First Bow Kill

Dear HBM - Lisa has hunted for many years and is considered an excellent rifle shot, but was looking for a new challenge. So, with a bad back and unable to draw a regular bow she chose a crossbow. On her first trip to the field after much practice, this mule deer came to the wheat field the first evening, too far for a sure shot. The next morning was its undoing as it approached to approximately 35 yards. One shot did the trick! The arrow passed through leaving a big blood trail on both sides. It went only about 35 yards before dropping. The buck was obviously post mature and weighed in at 270 pounds.

There is a story to go with him. Taken on the Bailey Ranch, located on the Pease River in Cottle County, Texas, the buck had been observed and easily identified on trail cams for several years and given the nick name of "No Tail". The theory was that a mountain lion had tried for him in early life and ended up taking half its tail. This appears to be supported upon field dressing, there was a big chunk missing from the top of the spine above the front shoulders. Luther Bailey, ranch owner, also noted that while the face and ears were obviously mulie, but the rack bears some resemblance to that of a whitetail, which suggests some in-breeding in the past.

Lisa was shooting a Barnett Quad-400 with Maxima Hunter weight forward fiberglass arrow fitted with Rage 125 grain expanding tip.

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