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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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October Deer



Brock and I made our way to Kansas last week to do a little pre-rut scouting/hunting trip. We talked to some farmers and got permission to hunt some of the finest looking whitetail land I have ever laid eyes on. Getting shooting opportunities at a buck doesn't worry me, but I don't know if I have the resolve to hold out for one of the big guys running around out there. I'm not a good trophy hunter, I'm just too grateful for any deer.

Brock and I were suppose to leave on Friday night. From my treestand that evening I watched over 30 deer pass by a different trail, just 50 yards from me. I called my Dad and my wife and asked if I could stay one more day. Well, I begged more than asked, but I'll spare you the conversation with my wife. I'll just say, marrying her was the best decision of my life.

Saturday evening Brock and I got ready for what I thought was going to be an epic night. We had four doe tags between us, and I was certain we would fill them all. We found the best spot and put our stands right next to each other in the same tree. We had a big bedding area to our west, and a cornfield to our east.

The trail from the day before would have put them in a great shooting location.


But, of course, the deer had other plans. We saw just as many deer, but they weren't using the same trail as the previous evening.

With day light dwindling down, and all of the deer passing barely out of range, we finally caught a break. A couple does and a couple fawns were finally feeding down a path that would take them 15 yards from our perch.

As soon as the first doe stepped into our shooting lane she picked up the pace and started to jog for no apparent reason. Brock was up first, he sat at full draw as all five deer ran right through his shooting lane. Brock did not lose focus. He leaned out to get a shot through the branches.

I was looking at the deer when he shot, but I did not see his arrow. I heard the arrow hit, but the deer did not react. I didn't fully trust my ears and asked Brock if he hit her. He told me that he made a great shot.

Not a single deer reacted to the shot. They continued walking to the corn field. About 45 seconds after the shot we heard thrashing in the corn field. I gave Brock a big high five and got my bow ready....MY TURN!

Brock shot this deer with a Hawk recurve and an Abowyer broadhead.

Shooting light was now fading fast, and we couldn't see anymore deer heading in our direction. All of the sudden a doe started walking towards us from the corn field. There was absolutely no reason that she should have been coming our direction, but sure enough, she was about to be directly beneath us.

Of course I was ready, and when she turned broadside at 10 yards I let go of my arrow. The doe ran off but stopped about 10 seconds later, still in our view. She stood still for another second before tipping over.

I shot this deer with my 60# Wapiti recurve, CX Heritage arrows, and a Grizzly broadhead.

I tell you what. The drive home that night was a lot more enjoyable with two deer in the back of the truck. And I absolutely cannot wait to hunt this spot in a few weeks.



Danny hunted for a morning and evening in Colorado a few days ago. He saw a few deer and a bobcat. The bobcat cruised right underneath him.



More to come! The good stuff is just around the corner now. My Dad and brother will be hunting in Wisconsin again this year, Brock and I will be in Kansas, and we all have Colorado tags. Good luck everybody.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Del's 2014 Bull

Here's an elk story from our friend and hunting partner, Del Jolly. Del is hell on elk, and he shot a great bull this year, again, in the first few days of the season. Here's Del's story in his own words:




This year I was lucky enough to draw a great tag. I have never had much of a desire to hunt a trophy unit, but with a large accumulation of points, and my hunting partners drawing elsewhere, I thought I'd put in.

My early scouting trips got me pretty excited. There were elk everywhere! I usually hunt with llamas, but my good friend was using them on the opener, so I was living off of my back for the first week of the season. I packed about 2 miles into the Weminuche Wilderness. When I got to timberline I heard a big bull let out an awesome bugle. Nothing like hearing a bugle the day before the season starts! I watched that bull come up the mountain with about thirty cows. I thought it was a bit strange that he was herded up so early. I paid no attention and got to my pre-planned base camp.

A few elk from one of my scouting trips.


Do you know anybody who has ever found a dead mountain lion in the woods? I found this cat on the way into one of my elk hunting spots.


The next morning was amazing. I got into a ton of elk and had tension on my string two different times. Once, I got to within 10 yards from the biggest bull I've ever seen, up to that point. I worked very hard to go straight up a mountain just to be pinned between two trees and this bull. He came in bugling and stopped just ten yards away, but through a bunch of branches. I knew he couldn't see me so I started to rake the heck out of a tree. He proceeded to do the same. I stopped, got my bow up, and waited for him to emerge. As he started towards me, a soon to be re-occuring theme happened - the wind hit the back of my neck. Little did I know, this would be the first of many times that I would be within 40 yards of good bulls and have the wind blow it, literally and figuratively.



As the days passed, and the wind kept taunting me, frustration started to settle in. I decided to leave the bowl I was in and hunt another area. I went to a burn area I had scouted earlier in the year, I was immediately into elk.

The next morning I bugled at the top of the burn and had an immediate response. It was very far off so I started towards the direction of the bull. I had not traveled more than 100 yards when I spotted a cow heading my way. I was in the middle of these blackened, toothpick trees that had no horizontal branches. But as luck would have it, my back was almost directly against a tree and the sun was out of my eyes. A herd followed that lead cow, and a good 6X6 was in the rear. I always like it when cows pass by first, it gives me a chance to see where my possible shots might occur once the bull comes through.

As the elk filed along I saw a small tree that would give me the cover I needed to draw my bow. The bull followed suit, and I thought for sure that this was going to be the end of my season. I watched in dismay as my arrow flew just under the bulls chest. The herd erupted in a cloud of ash and dirt. I believe I misjudge the distance due to the openness of the terrain.

The next morning I was greeted with a throaty growl that only big bulls make. I cow called and two rag horns came running right to me. The raghorns ran into thirty yards before they caught my wind. The commotion drew out a massive bull, the biggest I've ever put my eyes on, and he was MAD! He screamed and started heading straight to me. He was coming down the same line as the raghorns. I knew I had to do something before he hit my wind. I made my move and dropped to my knees so I could shoot under some branches. Right as I reached full draw the bull pegged me. I could feel the wind hitting my back. I knew it was now or never, and forced a shot faster than I like. I was sick to my stomach as I saw my arrow fly right over his back. In my haste I didn't pick a spot.

I was dejected. In the past 24 hours I missed more elk than in my whole hunting career (with a trad bow). Two great bulls, one of them the bull of a lifetime. I was looking for my arrow when a bugled popped off several hundred yards away. I did my best to shake off the miss, and started working towards the bugle.

I closed the distance as fast as I could. This bull was a little bit more leery. He came to within 50 yards several times, but since he never saw another elk, he wouldn't commit to coming any closer. As he turned to leave I opened up my Montana Decoy and moved in on him, I felt I had to take the chance or the bull would be gone.

With a swirly wind, and the bull at 50 yards I held up the decoy and moved to a better position. The bull saw me moving and started walking towards me. It seemed to work!

I set the decoy down and got ready to shoot. I stopped the broadside bull with a short call and let go of my arrow. I saw my arrow in flight for a short time, but lost it when it hit an overhanging branch. Since I wasn't 100% sure of the shot location I waited a full five hours before beginning my search.

The bull was in the center of this frame when I shot.


I started to get a little nervous as the blood trail dwindled down. Then I experienced one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me in the woods. A small hawk swooshed right by my head, startling the heck out of me. The hawk landed thirty yards below me and started to bob his head at me. Then he turned to his left and bobbed his head three times. The hawk flew straight at me, again, I took a step back because he was coming right for my face, only to make a sharp turn five yards from my head, and then he was gone.

As silly as this sounds, I felt that the hawk was telling me something. I walked down to the spot where he landed and looked in the direction that he pointed. Sure enough, there was my bull!



The bull was a decent 6X6, and my second biggest to date! I was very grateful for the experience. The elk action, and the close encounters with big bulls, will make this a very painful 11 months as I wait to do it again.

I shot this bull with my 48@28 Spirit longbow, Carbon Express Heritage arrows, and VPA Terminator broadheads. I do not think that I would have killed this bull without the Montana Decoy.