Friday, March 6, 2015

2015 Texas Pigs



We had such a good time in Texas last year that we couldn't wait to get back into the bush. A group of us from RMSGear met at my Dad's house at 6am to start the ten hour drive. A few last minute cancellations opened the door for a few guys that hadn't been there before. Stories from  previous years began immediately. We discussed pig behavior, strategy, and started to count our chickens long before they hatched.



 



This year was a little bit tougher. We still killed a good number of pigs, but we didn't see them concentrated in the same areas as before. The ranch got so much moisture this year that the pigs were much more spread out.

My brother didn't waste any time. He was hunting through a prickly pear flat on the first morning when he came to a little wallow. He stopped to look around when he noticed a pig snout sticking out of a bush, just thirty yards ahead. The pig snout quickly turned into a full pig, and it started walking straight towards him. The pig flopped down in the small puddle just a step away. Danny drew his bow as he was standing over the pig and pointed it at the pig's body. The pig flopped back and forth a few times before jumping to his feet and walking straight away. Danny was dumbfounded. He had a pig at his feet for ten seconds and didn't let go of an arrow. But as the pig walked away, it turned slightly broadside. Danny saw his chance and sent his arrow, a Maxima Red tipped with a razor sharp Cutthroat Broadhead, towards the pig. Danny was shooting a 500gr arrow with a heavy single bevel broadhead out of his compound bow. There ain't a pig in Texas that could slow that arrow down. The arrow entered in front of the pig's back leg and exited near the neck by the opposite front leg. The arrow buried in the dirt twenty yards beyond. The pig ran a very short distance before tipping over.

Danny heard more pigs grunting, so he walked to the dead pig and marked it in his GPS. As he peaked over the next little rise, he got his second shot of the morning. Another Cutthroat zipped through another big pig, this time broadside. That pig, too, ran a very short ways before dying. And, within an hour of the first morning of the first hunt, Danny had two pigs on the ground.




Dad didn't waste much time either. He found himself among a group of big pigs. When his hunting partner let go an errant arrow, the pigs started to trot away. Dad pulled back his Palmer recurve and followed the biggest of the group as it moved quickly through the dense brush. At thirty yards, on a trot, Dad knew that he had this pig. His arrow couldn't have been placed any better if the pig were five yards away and standing still. Dad was shooting a Beeman arrow with a 200gr Cutthroat Broadhead.



A pig rib is no match for a Cutthroat Broadhead. The broadhead didn't just shoot through the rib, it split it in half. The arrow ended up lodged in the pigs off shoulder, and put him down in under 50 yards.



On another part of the ranch, my brother-in-law, Kelly, was still hunting on top of one of the big bluffs. He spotted a bobcat through the thick bush moving right towards him. With some quick calculations of where the cat was moving, Kelly positioned himself and got his bow ready. He saw the cat moving through the trees and pointed his full-drawn bow at the opening the cat was about to walk through. When the cat stepped out, Kelly shot. The shot was spot on. The cat jumped and looked around. Kelly had a follow up shot on the way immediately. The second shot was a little further back than the first. With two arrows through the cat Kelly followed a short blood trail.





I was super excited for Kelly. That's one of my biggest bucket list critters, but Kelly didn't seem to care that much. He'd rather shoot a pig! We had to convince him that what he did was quite a feat.

So, the hunt started as we expected - fast and furious. The action slowed down over the next few days though. Most everybody got shots as the days went on, but the sightings were fewer and further between. 

Chad always has a knack for finding animals. He was still hunting down a creek when he caught the scent of swine. Their odor is...their own. Chad slipped into stealth mode and started moving even slower. He lost the scent, so he changed course until he was back on the trail. Moving slowly through the grass and cedar trees, Chad finally spotted his prey. There, ten yards away, sleeping on his side, was a little black pig. Chad creeped a few steps closer before sending an arrow into the snoozing hog. Pigs started jumping up all around him after the shot, and though he trailed the herd for a little while, his sniffer wasn't good enough to keep on them. Circling back to the place of his shot led him to his dead pig.



Our good buddy, Dave, came with us for the first time this year. We built up his expectations a little too much before the trip, but Dave still killed a couple of pigs.

On the second day of the hunt, Dave was creeping over a big hill when he heard a noise below him. Slowly glancing down the hill he saw a nice sized sow. Dave has become one of the best shots around in the past few years. The pig's demise was imminent as Dave eased his bow back to anchor. Our other buddy, Blake, was watching the events unfold through his binoculars on an adjacent ridge. The sow ran 50 yards before reaching her final resting place.



 Dave was shooting a Wapiti recurve, Maxima Red arrows, and a Cutthroat Broadhead.


On the final evening of the hunt, Dad was making his way towards a few smallish hogs that were feeding on a road. It was getting pretty dark and hard to pick a spot. Dad's arrow hit the pig with a loud crack, and it fell where it stood. The pig was spine shot.


Dad's Cutthroat was undamaged and shaving sharp, even after punching through the spine.

The rest of our group killed a few other pigs and had a fantastic time.

As for me, well, I wasn't much for hunting on this trip. I was two weeks out of  a pretty major reconstructive foot surgery. So, I was acting as the chauffeur, driving the guys to their hunting spots, dropping them off, and picking them up. I went for the laughs and camaraderie more than anything. But I cannot conclude this story without my own confession.

The pigs had been coming by the house every night. The last night of the hunt I sat in my blind under the full moon. Around 10:30pm a group of decent sized hogs surrounded me. I have been shooting out of a longer hold these past few years, and it has been serving me well. As I anchored my bow I could feel my hand drifting off of the pig. Now why is it that I didn't just let down on my bow, and restart my shot? I guess I am not that disciplined yet (but I will get there). Trying to force my aim back on to the pig proved as fruitless as any experienced archer would know. I let go of the string out of habit, not under the controlled aim that has served me so well this past year. My arrow sailed over the pig's back, and away they all went. But I'll be back. Next year...

Friday, November 21, 2014

A few weeks with Cutthroat Broadheads


This year's deer season was extra exciting with the arrival of our new broadheads. We were anxious to get them into the hands of our family and friends and take them to the field.

None of us here are marketers. We aren't "salesmen" as most people think of it. I have a hard time putting a spin on something or making large claims about a product. I don't like to be sold that way, and I don't like to sell that way. So, if you asked me how the broadheads did, I'd say that they performed like I would expect any good broadhead to perform.

The bloodtrails were consistent with what I would expect from the shot placements. Some were absolutely humongous, and some were just average.

No large bones were encountered upon entry. Ribs that were hit were splinted into many pieces. The big whitetail at the top of the page was killed by my cousin, Chad. His arrow hit the deer's far leg bone, putting a hole in it and literally splitting the bone vertically.

We are going to beef up the tips. They are too thin for our liking. Once we are happy with every aspect of the broadhead design, we'll start to market them a lot harder. For our initial roll-out though, we remain as excited as ever. There are no solid piece options on the market in single bevel (at a decent price), and none in a glue-on option. In a market where everything under the sun has been tried, thought of, produced, marketed and sold, this one design was missing. It's the simplest design, the most obvious. Isn't the simplest option usually the best option? One piece. Single bevel. It doesn't get any simpler. It doesn't get any tougher.

Brock and I each killed a doe, Brock used the 160gr glue-on head, with a 125gr steel broadhead adapter. Brock has become a heck of a shot, and when this doe stepped into his opening at 28 yards, Brock's arrow struck her right behind the elbow.


I also killed a doe, but I used the 200gr screw-in. I took a 30 yard shot. The doe ran into the creek you can see in the picture but never made it up the far bank. She died in the creek, five yards from where I shot her.


As much as I enjoy whitetail hunting, neither Brock or I took a single step towards those animals. Ground hunting is where my heart lies, pursuing an animal, stalking it, or calling to it. I went out with Brock to look at a nice muley buck that he had spotted.

Brock and I watched this buck chase a doe all morning. They covered some ground before they finally found their afternoon resting place. We watched them bed down in a patch of tall weeds. Brock knew the land owner, so I sat behind the spotting scope and kept an eye on the deer while Brock found the rancher and got permission to stalk this buck. Brock filmed his good friend kill a 200" muley in this same pasture last year, so even though he knew it would be okay, he asked anyway.

The adjoining property was standing corn. As Brock was sneaking towards the buck, four whitetail does came barreling out of the corn field a half mile away. The buck was bedded at the far right hand side of this picture. My heart rate started to increase when these deer came running by. Brock was barely in shooting position, and I worried the muley would spook. He never stood up though.


Four hours into the stalk, the wind almost picked up a little bit. Brock took off his shoes and started inching his way through the weeds. He could hear the buck's antlers hitting the dry weeds, so he had a good idea where the buck was, but he had no idea where the doe was laying.

Brock shifted the weight to his front foot when he heard a slight rustling in the weeds. He looked up to see the doe staring at him, only yards away. If he had been moving any faster, the jig would have been up. The doe stood up to her feet, which brought the buck to his feet as well. The buck stretched out his swollen neck and trotted over to the doe, passing Brock within three yards. They trotted out to thirty yards. Brock came to full draw...


My heart was absolutely racing. I was watching the events through a spotting scope from a few hundred yards away. I could see Brock come to full draw, but I was too far to see a release or the arrow in flight. I could tell by the deer's reaction that Brock had shot. I stared hard at the buck looking for any sign that he had been hit. He ran fifty yards or so before stopping. Even from my distance, I could see red blood flowing from his side, low and tight to the front leg.

I snapped this picture moments after the shot. You can see Brock in the weeds, the doe on the left, and the buck, just before expiring, on the right.

Brock's arrow passed through the deer like a hot knife through butter.

Usually dirt on my own broadhead is a bad sign, but when you shoot as well as Brock, they always get dirt on them!


Blood gushed from the low hit. 

The buck, as he lay.

Entry.



Brock shot his deer with a Hawk recurve, 47@28, 62". He was using Victory HV arrows and a Cutthroat Broadhead. The bloodtrail was profuse!

I had some of the best whitetail deer hunting action I have ever experienced. The wind, my eternal enemy, really played with my emotions on this trip. I was not where I knew I needed to be. I watched four tremendous bucks walk down a ditch between corn fields in their search for does. They all passed by the same tree, the one that held my stand. The one the wind never allowed me to use because I wasn't willing to take the chance of alerting them to my presence. 

I ended up having two giant bucks cruise past me, barely out of range, and drew my bow on a spot and stalk, but that was it. They eluded me this year...but not without a couple memories and experiences that will be with me forever.

This great buck passed me at 45 yards, a shot I will not take.


I've only gotten out of my treestand twice in my life, both times due to weather. With 40mph wind gusts and temperatures in the single digits, I didn't want to sit in a swaying tree. I thought my chances would be better trying to sneak up on a buck, so I got down and walked to the truck.

Brock and I spotted a great whitetail bedded with a doe in the middle of a pasture, in a perfect spot to sneak up on. I crawled to within 20 yards of the buck and doe. I didn't know how to play it after I got within range. I knew I was going to wait them out and let them stand on their own, but then what? I decided to sit at the ready and draw my bow when the deer stood up. I knew that they would see me but hoped that they would give me a half second to shoot.

I could see the buck's antler tines through the grass. I drew my bow when his head dipped and his tail end came up. I got to full draw on a great buck who was oblivious to my presence. Before the buck completed his stance he glanced at the figure sitting in the grass. He was not curious, and he did not take a second to figure out what I was. He simply bolted. So close...


My cousin Chad had better luck on the ground than I did. Chad spotted this buck bedded in a corn field. Luck was on Chad's side, and he was able to use combine tracks to silently crawl 15 yards from this deer. With day light fading Chad was worried the deer might not stand up. As if by divine intervention, in the middle of a huge field, another buck happened to walk right to Chad and the big deer. The big buck sprang to his feet and aggressively moved towards the smaller deer. Chad drew undetected and shot as the buck walked by less than five yards away. The deer ran 40 yards on a hard sprint before crashing into the corn field.

Chad used a 55@28, 60" Chargin' Bull bow that he built and an adapted 160gr Cutthroat Broadhead.

My brother's girlfriend Ashely got her first big game kill. She has been a dedicated shooter and bowhunter. She has put on more miles in the mountains than most men I know. Ashley made a great 25yard shot on this little doe, who only ran 20 yards before falling.

Ashley's arrow buried into the far shoulder, which kept the doe from running very well. The amount of blood was impressive. Ashley's arrow pierced the deer's heart and both lungs.



Ashley shoots a 55@28, 60" Rampart recurve. She was shooting the 200gr Cutthroat Broadhead.


Danny had some good action but did not kill a deer. We've had some fun encounters with this ten point over the past few years. A hunting buddy and I both had him at ten yards last season, both times in the dark. Danny had him at 20 yards this year at 1pm. He was chasing a doe and would not stop in Danny's opening. He got a little smaller this year, but he's still an impressive deer.

Danny also got to full draw on the buck below but never had an opening to shoot.

We are all hoping to get some late season hunting in. Good luck to everybody who still has a tag!




Friday, October 24, 2014

Broadhead Project

I wanted to share with you guys a little project that we've been working on. RMSGear is going to roll out with our own broadhead line, we've about got the first two broadheads ready to bring to market.

There are a few hang ups in accomplishing exactly what we want. But we're getting close.




Why are we doing this? 


We were single bevel before single bevel was cool. We have personally hunted with this design for a long time, and we wanted to see it done in a solid piece of steel.

We want a head with:

-A single bevel
-Construction from a single piece of steel (with no brazing, welds or crooked and inconsistent ferrules)
-A reasonable price.

Simply put, we couldn't find what we were looking for to use for ourselves.

My first hunting season was 19 years ago.  I tuned my cedar arrows to my Wapiti Spike longbow, and tipped them with a Grizzly broadhead. I was ignorant of broadhead designs back then.  I just used the broadheads my Dad had laying around. My Dad only bought Grizzlys because he walked into Bob's Archery store, and Bob told him that a Grizzly would penetrate well for him and his young sons.

This is one of the first days I carried a bow in the woods and a big game tag in my pocket - 19 years ago. To this day this is one of my proudest shots. My Grizzly broadhead cut this grouse's heart in half.


Those Grizzly broadheads worked well for us.  As soon as I got my driver's license my younger brother and I were in the elk woods every day. We had good grades and understanding parents, so my Mom and Dad smiled and told us good luck when we asked if we could skip school and go elk hunting. My brother was the first one to kill an elk - the holy grail of hunting in our minds.  He had just turned 16, and shot a P&Y bull on a school night with me hiding right behind him. His arrow was propelled by a 47# Wapiti recurve. Danny center punched ribs on both sides of that elk, and he still got an exit hole. Could he have done that with another style of broadhead? Maybe. But the hook was set, Grizzly it was.


Danny has not killed an elk with his recurve with anything but a Grizzly to this day, and he has a nice tally of bull elk for a 31 year old kid.

So to make a long story short, we're not getting into this project because we think there is a single bevel fad, or to jump on the bandwagon. We're looking to build the broadhead that WE want to hunt with. Since we couldn't find it on the market, we decided to do it ourselves.



Why solid steel and not brazed? 

Brazed broadheads in this design are common, available, and relatively inexpensive. There is no need for another brazed or welded single bevel head. We have shot them for years with excellent results. They work. But they have their draw backs. Most broadheads don't spin up true, and some take a lot of work to mount somewhat straight. They are also not as tough. You can see the broadhead in the picture below. I shot a bull moose with this broadhead. I consider this a broadhead failure.

This was the final straw in our quest for something else. This is a major drawback of brazed heads.


We want a broadhead without braze lines. Something that mounts straight and spins true with minimal to no effort. We want a one piece, solid steel, thick, tough broadhead. And oh yeah, we don't want to skip a car payment to afford them. We want a broadhead that is as long as possible, while still light enough to meet popular weights.



Here's what we got.

We plan on filling in on weight and bevel options after a while, but for our first "test" run, we've got 200gr screw-in, and 160gr glue-on. Both in left bevel.

Screw-in 200 grain
2" length
1 1/8th" wide
25° taper, left bevel

Glue-on 160 grain
2 3/4" total length
2 1/2" cutting edge
1 1/8" wide
25° taper, left bevel




What's in a name?

Naming them has given us a lot of fun and "spirited" debates. Here's what we're working with at the moment.


My Dad wasn't thrilled about the name "Cutthroat". He thought that it was too in line with the current broadhead hype marketing garbage. I think he was envisioning a logo with a bloody deer and a big slice across it's throat, with blood dripping off of all of the letters. 

But that is not where the name came from. 

High mountain basins hold a special place in our hearts. Our dad took us on hikes into them as soon as we were old enough to physically be able. We have caught a lot of trout in those basins, seen a lot of big bucks and bulls, and developed some strong bonds up there. We chose Cutthroat because it is the Colorado state fish, and a fish that gave us a good reason to spend time in places that are quite special and near to our hearts. Cutthroat trout live in wild places, places I don't visit near enough.

Besides, all the fierce animals already have broadheads named after them. Why not a fish with a cool name?



Initial Testing

Of course when we got the broadheads in the mail we were excited to see how they stacked up to some abuse. We looked around our store and found the hardest thing on hand. 

We didn't know what to expect when we shot into the biggest piece of steel in our store.


We had no idea what to expect. But we were pleasantly surprised to see it bury in this piece of steel. So naturally we had to shoot another broadhead that we like to see what would happen. The hole on the left is from a Cutthroat. The dent on the right is from a brazed broadhead of equal weight.


It sounded like glass shattering when we shot the steel with the other broadhead. These are literally the only two pieces that we could find.




In the field

Do they work? 

The first bowhunter to take the field with a Cutthroat broadhead killed a deer on his first evening. He's still in the field at the time of this writing, and I will update this blog with a high quality picture when I get it. In the meantime, this is what I got.

The exit hole from the first Cutthroat ever shot in the direction of an animal

I'd post a picture of the entrance, but I gotta say, entrance holes have never concerned me in the slightest. Show me the exit or don't show me anything!

We haven't even had these broadheads a week, but you can bet that we're going to shoot them at a deer or two in the coming weeks. More hunting pictures to come!

At the time of this writing three whitetail deer have fallen to Cutthroat broadheads. Early field testing is looking good.

Ordering

We made a fairly small initial run. We are not currently set up to do large scale grinding. We have spent the last week or so trying to develop the easiest method to grind these heads.

We are not the kind of people to try and rush to market with a product that hasn't been tested extensively. Heck, I've been shooting a simple tab design for over a year and I've yet to package and sell one. Nonetheless, we will start accepting orders, and we will start building a pre-order list for our next batch.

This week I got these broadheads into the hands of some of the best hunters I know. I promise you that we are going to be more judgmental and harder on these broadheads than any others we've used. There's not going to be any marketing tricks here, no doctored images, no hype, no bullsquat. I'm going to be extremely nit picky so that you do not have to.

The broadhead speaks for itself. It is a time tested and proven design built in the toughest manner possible with the technology of the day. A couple hundred years ago it was obsidian, then steel, then welded, brazed, and now machined.

You can order through our website, at this link. Orders will be slow to go out the door at first, we're still experimenting with the best ways to grind, and we are all going to be in the field over the next few weeks. We are going to let the response dictate how fast we expand on weight and bevel options.

You can follow us on Facebook. We'll be updating our customers about Cutthroat broadheads both through our RMSGear Facebook page, and also Cutthroat Broadhead's Facebook page.

facebook.com/cutthroatbroadheads

facebook.com/rmsgear


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