archery form

How to Correct Your Archery Form Problems

Perfect Archery Form Through Perfect Practice

 

Most people don’t think of archery practice throughout the winter. The weather’s not exactly great for outdoor sessions and it can get old practicing indoors (if you even have a barn or shed big enough to do that). In most cases, bow hunting seasons also just ended and there are tons of winter activities to keep us busy. Plus, it’s always nice to take some time off between bow hunting and jumping right back into offseason archery practice. But before too much time passes, it’s best to practice a little before your archery form slips. Letting too much time go by is a recipe for small mistakes and form issues to creep into your routine. If you let those small problems go unaddressed until mid-summer, it can be too late to really fix them before hunting season starts back up again in the fall. So if you’re wondering how to shoot a compound bow the correct way, read on.

 

To really stay in good archery form throughout the year, you need to address physical strength and conditioning, archery gear, and your specific archery technique. If you can dedicate some time each week (starting now) to each of these areas, you will be more prepared for hunting season than you’ve ever been. Why is that important? First, your body will be more capable of longer sits in the woods or dragging a deer out of them. You’ll also be more confident in your shooting abilities, and will be much more likely to make a great shot on a deer even in poor conditions. While all of those will help you on any standard hunt behind your house, they will also prepare you for a trip to some place new. Even if you don’t plan on it, it doesn’t hurt to be willing and able. Let’s dive into the specific archery form preparation steps you should take right now.

Physical Strength and Conditioning

 

You’ve probably heard it from your doctor more times than you care to admit, but staying in good physical health should always be a priority commitment. It’s not only important for general health purposes as you get older, but it’s actually a very critical part of hunting. Whether you are hiking to your tree stand in the morning or climbing up into it, field dressing a deer or dragging it out of the woods, having a good physical base level is important no matter how you look at it.

 

 

The nice thing about archery exercises is that you don’t have to dedicate your life to them to see some benefits for hunting purposes. Granted, the more effort you put in, the better results you will see. But there are two things that a bow hunter needs most: a good aerobic capacity and a strong core and upper body.

 

Basic conditioning exercises will help you develop your aerobic capacity, which is your ability to bounce back from increased heart and respiration levels. When you stress your body (through dragging a deer or hiking with a loaded backpack), your heart beat and breathing increases, right? If you train for this capacity, you can basically raise the level of activity at which your body starts getting more labored. This is important for archery form when you have to hold your bow for a long time. But shooting with an elevated heartbeat and breathing also simulates shooting at a deer with high adrenaline levels. To get your body used to this, try combining your conditioning exercises with shooting your bow. At the Holder obstacle course, we combine running with strength exercises that will all build our aerobic capacity and increase our agility and strength. At the end of the obstacle course, we shoot at our 30 yard 3D archery targets from Delta McKenzie®. After running through the course, your heart is pumping, your lungs are gasping, and your muscles are shaking, which almost simulates the nerves you get from shooting at a mature buck.

 

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From an archery standpoint, having the strength in your back, shoulders, and core is vital. Obviously, you use your back and shoulder muscles to raise, draw, and hold your bow. The more you can develop these archery muscles for that specific purpose, the better off you will be. You can eventually raise your draw weight to provide a little more punch or hold your bow for longer in those situations where a deer pauses behind some brush after you draw. Having strong core muscles (abdominals and lower back) is critical for holding your bow at full draw, climbing into your stand, or general stability.

 

You can set up a similar training course in your back yard to practice this summer. But right now, focus on building your conditioning and strength however you can. Do a combination of pushups, pullups, rows, squats, and planks to build your muscles. Burpees or jogging are good ways to build your aerobic capacity.

Archery Equipment Problems

 

The next category of things that can affect our archery form is our actual gear itself. Shooting a compound bow that doesn’t fit your body can produce some pretty sloppy and inconsistent shooting. If the bow itself is too big, it will be hard to hold steady. If the draw length is too long, you will have to overextend your bow arm to fully draw it to the back wall; whereas, if it is too short, you will have to stop awkwardly and hunch up your body. These issues aren’t easy to correct after buying a bow, so do your best to get the right fit from the start. This is especially important for youth hunting, but it’s also critical if you buy a new bow. If you suspect your bow doesn’t fit you quite right, you can measure your perfect draw length at home. Check out the video below for some easy ways to measure your draw length and determine your eye dominance too.

As you can see, it’s important to determine your eye dominance before you buy a bow. If you get that wrong, you will always fight your bow and that will make shooting accurately an issue. It’s also critical to consider your archery accessories. You should include a quality bow stabilizer on your hunting bow if you’ll likely take long shots or hunt in an open area (most western hunts come to mind for these conditions). While stabilizers are usually more associated with target archery, they offer a tremendous benefit to western hunters too. LimbSaver® stabilizers balance the bow and keep it steady throughout the shot, which will help you make a more accurate shot and keep the bow from jumping out of your hand.

Archery Form Problems

 

The last and probably most critical issues that affect your shooting form have to do with your actual routine. If you practice the right moves, you will shoot more accurately in the field. If you have a sloppy archery form, you will shoot poorly. Check out the following archery shooting tips to tighten your groups before next hunting season.

 

Start with your archery stance, which is the very base of your stability. An improper stance will put you off-balance and introduce a lot of error to your archery form. Generally, you can use the following archery practice tips to fix your stance. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, which provides the most stable base for you. You should also practice on different contours (where one foot is higher than the other) so you can get used to adjusting your feet in hilly areas. Each person is different in terms of shooting preferences, but usually an open stance (quartering 45 degrees to your target) will produce the best shots. The leg on the same side as your bow arm should be in front, with your other foot shoulder-width away. Consciously think about keeping your torso upright and straight so you don’t hunch over. The more consistent you can keep your body, the less likely you will be to miss the shot. Try to hold your bow using back tension instead of your arms because your back is stronger and will keep you more stable, while your arms will start to shake. Keep your knees slightly bent so you don’t lock them. Locked knees will make you tipsy after standing still for a while, but bent knees allow you to adjust your core easily.

 

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Similarly, your bow arm should be slightly bent (not locked) for the same purposes. The archery elbow position is an often neglected area that most people don’t think about. Focus on keeping your elbow rotated up and down, instead of giving into the tendency to rotate the inside crook of your elbow up. If you don’t keep your elbow up and down, the bow string will more often than not slap your forearm as it fires. That will get old quickly if you practice in a t-shirt. But if you have your hunting clothing on, which is bulkier, it can get caught in the string and cause some more archery form issues.

 

Your archery grip is really important too for making consistent and accurate shots. Most beginning archers tend to grip their bows tightly because they think it makes it more stable. While that makes sense at first, the truth is actually pretty counterintuitive. When you grip your bow tightly, you essentially introduce a small amount of torque that twists the entire bow to one direction. While the string will still be anchored at your face, the bow frame will be twisted one direction, which will cause your Gold Tip® arrows to wobble like crazy when they leave the rest. Instead of tightly gripping it, try this instead. Make an L with your thumb and pointer finger on your bow arm. Your bow grip should rest right on the meaty part of your thumb below the inside corner of the L. You can loosely wrap your fingers around the grip as you draw it to make sure it doesn’t move. But after drawing your Bear® archery bow, let the grip rest against your hand in the position above and relax your fingers. Basically, you will use your archery release to hold the bow in position without grabbing the bow grip.

 

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Where you decide to place your archery anchor point (or points) will determine how consistent you shoot. An anchor point is usually where your draw hand or bowstring rests against your face, and it is a really important part of good archery form. While one anchor point is a must, having multiple points is even better because it really dials in on the specific position. By having very clear and consistent anchor points, you can easily repeat good shots. One very common anchor point when using a bow release is to put the crease between your thumb and pointer finger along your jaw bone or at the corner of your mouth. Another common one is to rest the bow string on your nose, which puts the archery sights right in line with your eye. One of the best archery secrets for consistency is to keep your anchor points rock-solid on every shot, practice or hunting.

 

Finally, as you squeeze your archery release to fire an arrow, make a conscious effort to hold your bow arm still until after the arrow reaches your archery targets. It’s a common problem for hunters to quickly drop their bow arm after they fire. It’s a natural tendency; after all, we want to see where exactly our arrow went. But this can create problems too. We start to anticipate dropping our bow arm, and even start to do it as we hit the release. Even though it’s only dropping for a few milliseconds, it can affect the arrow’s flight path after it leaves the bow. One way to combat this tendency is to count out loud. After you shoot an arrow, count out loud to five before you drop your bow arm or move your draw hand from your primary anchor point. This will help you develop some muscle memory that will carry over into a hunting scenario.

Tackle Your Archery Form Now

 

Even though we still have months left until spring weather returns, you should start practicing your archery form now and keep after it throughout the summer with specific archery practice drills. Most of these exercises above can be started indoors. If you don’t have anywhere to shoot your bow right now, simply practice your stance or drawing your bow until you can get outside and start shooting again. It will go a long way to helping you prepare for next fall.

The First Episode | The Beginning of Raised Hunting

Season 1, Episode 1

Raised Hunting

Here it is, the very first episode of Raised Hunting that aired back in July of 2014! This is the beginning of the story, the first episode of the show that represents “Raised Hunting”. In this episode, you will see a family truly realize how hunting brings them together and the lessons that can be learned from it.

Raised Hunting Season 1, episode 1 – “Proud”

 

This is a story, of a 12 year olds first deer season through the eyes of a father, and the guidance of a big brother.” -David Holder
Newly planted in Iowa, Warren and Easton Holder look for permission to hunt Iowa whitetails. It is the story of how Easton harvests his first buck, with the help of his older brother. The boys take it upon themselves to find land, ask hunting permission, scout it, set up their own stand, and put in the time and patience to achieve success. Nothing comes easy, and by working together the boys can accomplish their goal.

About Raised Hunting

Raised Hunting is about an average American family that has used hunting as a platform to teach ethics and values to their family. The Holders share their North American hunting experience and use real adventures from their journeys. Raised Hunting captures the raw emotion that comes from an animal at close range, all while focusing on bringing you ultimate adventures with the highest regard to cinematography. Raised Hunting is the show that keeps you on the edge of your seat and looking for more when it’s over.

Where to Find More from Raised Hunting

Want to see more of Raised Hunting? Subscribe to the Raised Hunting YouTube Channel to get updates of when other episodes and videos are uploaded!

Predator Hunting | Late Season Tactics and Gear

Predator Hunting | A Late Winter Past Time

For many hunters, the late winter months can really be hard to handle for many reasons.  For starters, many of the game species that we look forward to pursuing all fall are no longer in season.  That fact alone can send most of us into withdrawals.  On top of that, the late winter months can often be downright unpleasant.  Cold, brutal north winds and snow often dominate this time of year, and while the gray overtone of the late season may put most of us in a bit of a funk, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel, and it is called predator hunting!  Predator hunting has continued to grow in popularity over the last several years, and with many states having abundant predator populations, liberal bag limits, and long seasons the late winter months can be the best time to predator hunt.

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Predator Hunting Gear 101

There is a popular misconception that predator hunting is a gear intensive sport, which requires a significant investment in equipment in order to be effective.  While there are plenty of predator hunting accessories for hunters to enjoy, predator hunting generally requires very little investment to get started.  In all actuality, the predator hunting gear needed to effectively call and hunt predators is really very minimal when compared to other game species, and there is often a good chance that you may already possess most of the gear that you will need.

Optics

Aside from your actual weapon of choice, probably the most crucial piece of equipment that someone needs to have to effectively predator hunt is an excellent pair of optics.  Predator hunting typically takes place in open landscapes, where having excellent visibility can make all the difference.  Being able to see a great distance, and monitor your targets response to calling as well as how they respond to other techniques such as using a decoy can certainly help you adjust your set up which will ultimately increase your chances for success.

Nicon Optics

Late season hunting can be very hard on your gear and equipment, so it is very important to not only have an effective set of optics but also a durable set as well.  Nikon brand spotting scopes and binoculars are extremely durable and dependable, can take any amount of abuse that late season hunting can dish out.  If you plan to chase game that prefers more secluded or wooded environments such as bobcats, coyotes or various species of fox, investing in a pair of Nikon 10×42’s will more than address the need.  If you find yourself predator hunting in a more open landscape such as the black hills or the western prairie areas, then it will be important for you to have the ability to see a great distance as well as close by.  In this case, a pair of Nikon 10×42’s will help you to quickly identify any potential targets that slip in within a few hundred yards while a Nikon 16-48x60mm Field Scope will help you keep a keen eye peeled at greater distances.  Predators are very wary by nature, and in many cases success hinges on your ability to spot them before they spot you, and a great set of optics will certainly give you a leg up every time.

Camouflage

It is undeniable fact that concealment is the name of the game when you hit the woods for big game, and predator hunting is absolutely no different.  As the name implies, predator species have very refined senses and this is especially true when it comes to vision.  Predator hunting is often a sport of opportunity, and because of this fact, you need to be able to rely on your camouflage to do the trick in a wide range of landscapes and cover types.

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For us, there is no better camo pattern than Realtree AP.  This camo pattern has worked for us, regardless of the terrain or the game we are after.  Predators can often make out the outline of a hunter, especially if you are making a set in open country.  This is one of the most common situations that results in your target hanging up just out of range.  A camo pattern like Realtree AP has the contrast and tones that you need help break up your outline and keep you concealed, even in the wide open!  Do not fall victim to eyes of your target by underestimating their ability to pick you out.  Face makes and gloves are often a necessity in the world of predator hunting.

Weapon of Choice

One of the most challenging and exciting facets of predator hunting is the fact that it provides the hunter with the opportunity to take game with a wide range of equipment.  In many states, you can legally harvest predator species by any method you wish.  If you prefer to stick with the traditional high-powered rifle or shotgun as your method of choice, then you are good to go!  If you like to spice things up and break out the handgun, rifle, or Bear bow then you are free to do so as well, which helps to keep things interesting!

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Selecting the right weapon for the job is really dependent upon which game species you are after and the conditions you will be hunting in.  More open landscapes clearly call for more tactile firepower such as a .243 or .22-250, however, when you start getting into close quarters is when things start to become very interesting.  With the right wind, and the right set up it is not uncommon to coax various predator species such as coyotes and foxes into close range, at which time a shotgun with buckshot or a heavy load or even and high powered air rifle can be very effective and still very challenging.  A benefit to hunting predators with light caliber equipment is it allows youth hunters the opportunity to get out and enjoy this very exciting sport as well!  At the end of the day, it is ultimately about selecting a weapon that you feel comfortable with and that can ethically do the job, however, it is very nice to have options!

Predator Hunting Accessories

The tactic of predator hunting is continuing to evolve with new calls and decoys being developed each and every year.  If you are a hunter who really enjoys trying something new, and picking up a few small accessories here and there that can really help make a difference in the field, predator hunting can certainly scratch that itch!

Decoys

When you think of decoys the first thing to come to your mind is likely not predator hunting, however, utilizing a decoy can be lights out when calling and hunting predators.  There are typically two types of predator decoys that are used by most predator hunters.  The first is the “distress decoy”.  This is a decoy such as a rabbit that when used in conjunction with distress calls give the impression of a wounded or trapped animal.  This is a set up that most predators are completely unable to resist.  Decoys like the Stray Cat or the Sit-N-Spin from Primos can trigger an immediate response from predator species like coyotes, fox, and even bobcat and really are a must have for any predator hunter.

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The second and likely less utilized predator decoy is simply a confidence decoy.  These decoys are designed to be used with group vocalizations of specific species and are designed to keep the target animal content and comfortable, bringing them to within range.  While this method of decoy set certainly has its place and can be very effective it does have its limitations as opposed to the wounded animal set.

Predator Calls

If you were to ask a turkey hunter or a waterfowl hunter what they truly enjoyed the most about their respective sports, most likely the response would be “tricking them into coming in”.  Predator hunting is no different!  In fact, many who have tried it would tell you that successfully calling a coyote or fox into range might just be on par with a hen’d up gobbler or a late season flock of mallards.

There are a couple of different methods for calling predators.  The first is utilizing a mouth style call to either exhibit social vocalizations.  Utilizing a call such as the Mini-Howler from Primos can be very effective in this regard.  The second technique is to utilize a mouth call to exhibit a distress call which would be intended to mimic a fawn deer or rabbit that is in distress.

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The challenge that most hunters appreciate with these types of calls is that there is a level of skill or technique required to use the effectively.  Much like calling turkey or waterfowl, you are the operator of the call so there is a sense of satisfaction when you outsmart a slick old coyote, not to mention the certain appeal that exists to when you hit the field with your baby howler hanging off your C4LL!

The second method of calling predator employs the use of an electronic caller.  This method is very popular simply because it can be very effective, and most electronic calling systems can also be used for other species (snow geese, crows, etc.).  At the end of the day, it really is hard to beat using the real vocalizations of the game you are after.  While both calling methods allow you to be mobile, the electronic predator call is always on point and never wavers as far as quality and volume are concerned.  This reliance offers a certain appeal to many who hunt predators.  The electronic predator calling systems such as the Boss Dogg or the Dogg Catcher from Primos are excellent when used in large landscapes or when the wind and other conditions may limit your ability to effectively utilize your mouth caller.  These electronic predator calls a very versatile when it comes to the type calls them make, and can often be used in conjunction with a mouth caller, offering you the best of both worlds!

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The best thing about predator hunting, whether you are using a decoy or just hitting the woods with your predator calls is simply that you can literally hunt them anywhere.  From your own property to public land, there are hunting opportunities are abundant everywhere you look.  Predator hunting not only provides you with an opportunity to kick the winter time blues but controlling the predator population only benefits a wide range of other species that we as sportsmen and women care deeply about!  So grab your gun, and lace up your boots and put a few miles on the truck and a few coyotes in the truck bed this winter!

 

Goose Hunting

Late Season Goose Hunting | Two Tricks to Bag More Geese

Goose Hunting I Late Season Tips and Tactics

 

When the cold winds blow and the snow is on, there is really nothing like being tucked away in the comfort of a warm box blind or seated high in the air in your favorite tree stand with your Bear bow in hand.  Chasing white-tailed deer during the late season is often a solitary sport.  That is something most hunters enjoy and appreciate about that style of hunting.   Whether it’s chasing whitetails or other large game, pursuing these species provides the hunter with a chance to pit their wits against the great outdoors.  Just you, your gear and the wild! There is truly something magical about that!

Hunting is a very versatile activity.  It is what most has come to love and appreciate about our sport.  If you like the opportunity to be alone and connect with the great outdoors there are plenty of opportunities to do so, however, if you enjoy the more social side of hunting and yet are still interested in testing your grit and hunting prowess there are still plenty of species that you can pursue that will do just that.

The sport of goose hunting is rooted in American history and has a rich tradition and legacy that has continued on to present day. Goose hunting offers an excellent opportunity to spend time afield with family and friends, and certainly offers a new set of challenges to help keep your instincts and reflexes fine-tuned.  Late season goose hunting can be a fun packed and rewarding adventure, with large flocks of migrating Canada geese covering the lower 48 states.  However, with much of the waterfowl season behind them, the birds that remain have truly heard it all and seen it all, which can make goose hunting during the late season extremely tough.  That being said, with a little skill and know-how you can level the playing field and make some memories goose hunting during the late season.

Late Season Goose Decoy Strategies:

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There many components that make for a successful late season goose hunt.  Without a doubt, putting your Nikon’s to work and spending your time scouting is 90% of the game when it comes to late season goose hunting.  However, once you have the geese located and have gained access to the property it is time for the real work to begin.

Late season goose hunting often affords the hunter little margin for error.  This attributed to one simple fact, and that is you are often hunting educated birds.  Late season geese have had everything thrown at them by the time the late season rolls around and as a result will not be likely to set their wings and commit to the decoys unless everything is absolutely perfect.

Mimic What you See

Without a doubt, it always helps to observe the behavior of the geese in the field you plan to hunt before you hunt it.  We have probably all tried to set up in a new spot without observing it beforehand and very seldom does that approach work exactly how you thought it would.  It always pays to see how the geese are behaving in the area you plan to hunt, as their behavior will tell you exactly how you should set the goose decoys the following day.  A few things to pay close attention to are whether the geese are bunched in large groups, or are they broken into family groups?  Are there any geese sitting or sleeping in the field or are they all feeding with a few “lookers” scattered throughout?  Where exactly in the field are the birds, and how do they enter and exit the field?  Are they calm and collected, or spooky?  The answers to all of these questions will help you to begin to set up your decoy spread to look as natural as it can, which is what late season goose hunting success is all about.

Visibility is Key

Visibility is really important when it comes to late season goose hunting in two ways.  First, you want to make sure that your goose decoys are set in the most realistic manner possible.  Second, you need to make sure they are visible.  Hopefully, in most cases, you are hunting a field where the geese have been coming to feed or loaf.  That being said, sometimes it is hard to gain permission to be on the X, so the next best thing is to get in front of the birds and attempt to “run traffic” or in other words pull geese to you as they fly overhead.  In order to be successful in this approach, you need to make sure that they geese see your spread first, as it is often critical to getting that first group of geese to commit to ensuring the groups that follow do as well.  Making sure that you are using a high quality, realistic decoy is step number one.  The second step is to attempt to locate the highest point in the field.  Often a hill or terrace is a great place to start and gives your decoy the advantage of being visible from a greater distance than if they were down over a hill.

One final point as it relates to visibility, it is very important that your goose decoys be visible and it is equally as important you as a hunter are not.  During the early part of the goose season, hunters can get away with spending a little less time camouflaging their blinds.  That all goes out the window during the late season.  Without a doubt, it is absolutely critical that you ensure that you are putting your Realtree Max 5 to good use and are as well-hidden as possible.  Late season geese are wary beyond compare and the slightest shine off a blind or the slightest movement can send the flock heading for the hills, so budget for the extra time strictly devoted to camouflaging your set up.

Calling Late Season Geese

Calling late season geese can sometimes be tricky.  Having heard it all and seen it all, you can quickly find yourself in the Goldie Locks zone, where you can either be too aggressive, too passive and sometimes just right.  One of the best tips for calling late season geese is to simply let the geese dictate what they want to hear.  This can be a very successful technique if you are disciplined enough to use it.  What can separate a good goose caller from a great goose caller is having the ability to read the reaction of the birds.  Many times, we tend to stick with the same old calling cadence and series that we are used to, rather than responding to what the birds are doing.  This can truly be a hindrance to success.

Let the geese tell you what they want to hear, by simply listening to geese as they are coming your way.  If the geese are loud and vocal, then grab your Shock Caller and attempt to be loud and vocal.  If the geese are being mostly silent, then do your best to match them.  If you can marry this calling technique with realistic decoy spread and a high level of concealment you have all the ingredients you need for a successful late season goose hunt!

Raised Hunting 2017 ATA Show Recap

2017 ATA Show Recap

 

The 2017 ATA Show finished up on Thursday last week! Along with some new products, we had a blast visiting with our partners! Check out the action below in this 2017 ATA Show Recap.

Outdoor Channel:

We visited Outdoor Channel to give a little background into our 2016 season and what can be expected from us in the upcoming seasons. Also a few comments on some new gear present during the show!

Bear Archery:


We had an unbelievable experience shooting both the Bear Moment and the LS6. Check out the new compound bows from bear at BearArchery.com!

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Trophy Ridge:

We just had to stop by and take a look at the React H5 Bow Sight from Trophy Ridge H5. The new bow sights are infused with the React Technology. This technology makes it possible to accurately predict what each pin gap will be based on a 20 yard pin set, and setting any other yardage! Check the new sights at TrophyRidge.com!

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Big Tine:

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As ATA finally slowed down, we got a chance to hang out at Big Tine’s Booth. Great way to end the week and a sendoff to SHOT show this coming week!

What to Expect at SHOT?

 

We are excited as SHOT show approaches for our 2nd annual Raised Hunting Arm Wrestling Contest. In case you missed it. The first contest didn’t go as we anticipated… Who do you have your money on for 2017? Let us know and don’t miss the video, be sure to follow us on the channels below.

Raised Hunting Facebook

Raised Hunting Instagram

Raised Hunting Twitter