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Review of Judd Cooney’s Book “The Bowhunter’s Field Manual” by Fincop
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Fincop Reviews Judd Cooney’s Book

The Bowhunter’s Field Manual

Ok, now I’m back after a small break and it is great to see the input the HH forum readers have put into my questions on the forum!

The reason for the slight delay of this review is that I’ve been away on a month long working trip abroad, with all the preparations and aftermaths of that and I’m currently close to the end of my studies at the National Police College, which requires “some” study time. At this moment I “should” actually be writing my dissertation, but enough is enough.. A person needs some relaxation too!? I had actually already gone to bed an hour or so ago (local time now is 23:14) for an early morning shift, but the first “real” winter storm started to blow and keeps the windows rattling, so I can’t get any sleep yet. So I jumped out of bed and started writing this review that is overdue.

This review is going to describe Judd Cooney’s bookThe Bowhunter’s Field Manual, which I bought and read already a couple of months ago. In the aftermath I think it was a really good idea not to write this article without the time gone by! After reading the book I had a quite strong negative attitude against the book, and could not see past the first feelings that arose from reading it. A feeling that actually has nothing to do with the content of the book!! Let me tell you a little bit more about it.

I’ll have to start off with the fact that I’ve personally worked about 2 decades in various “customer service” professions, including about a decade as an instructor, and to my opinion you should NEVER make fun of your customers. Especially publicly or behind their backs! So now we get to the first point that annoyed me during the reading of this book. That is that Mr. Cooney has a slightly “sarcastic” way of telling stories about his former customers that have messed up in some way during hunting trips he has been guiding. Mr. Cooney’s attempt is probably to point out various important lessons by these “examples”, but at first I missed the point. Another negative word about the book is the poor printing and / or proof reading of the first chapters of the book. It is actually quite hard to read when you have the same words “double printed” and sentences jumping from line to line..

BUT.. After 2 months of  “settling” down my initial thoughts on the above mentioned subjects AND an interesting moose / deer hunt, where I actually got to test a few of the ideas Mr. Cooney puts to public knowledge in his book, I’ll have to admit that this is a book worth reading after all! The book has almost nothing purely on “how to bow hunt”, since all the information can be put into good use in any kind of hunting! Surely the book describes a variety of pointers to take into consideration when bow hunting also, but as a novice hunter in all aspects, I did find the pointers and instructions helpful, stalking a buck deer in November with a rifle in my hand!

The book is divided into 18 chapters, which each covers a different prey and the ways on how (and where!) to hunt this kind of animal. The book is written with the North American hunter in mind, and some of the animals described in the book cannot be even found here in my country. Not that I personally would even be that eager to go hunting for grizzly bears or cougars with a bow..  The content of each chapter is almost the same and is at first telling a short anecdote about Mr. Cooneys hunts for the aforementioned animal, to then be continued with a description of the actual animal’s habits and habitats. Then he goes on telling about different hunting techniques, tactics and equipment effective for the prey in question. Ok, I still have to admit that the anecdotes seem a little long compared to the rest of each chapter and the reader can easily understand that Mr. Cooney sees himself as the ultimate hunting guide in the US. An attitude I might not like too much as a paying customer spending Big $$$ on a “all inclusive” hunting trip, but as a reader of his book I might accept it whilst he still is sharing a LOT of useful information!

So as a conclusion, I would recommend reading the book even if you are a seasoned hunter. There most surely is a pointer or two that almost anyone can pick up as for hunting tactics or equipment? IF you are a novice hunter like me, BUY the book and just bare with Mr. Cooney’s way of telling things! I’ll promise you that you will be returning to the book for more information after being out on a hunting trip that nearly got you that deer.. As I did! It does not teach you anything in archery, but it will give you very important advice on how to successfully hunt various animals, whatever your weapon might be.

There is also a need for a few words of warning! Do NOT attempt to hunt all the animals in the book with the mentioned tactics, if this book is your first “look” into bow hunting! Or even if you have hunted for a few years.. I personally think that Mr. Cooneys tales about “stalk hunting” black bear with a bow is close to madness!!! But then again, we all have our “joys”!?!

Next article is coming in a month or so, after I’ve finished all my “school work” and in that I’ll be telling you a little about my “evolution” as an archer, as in describing how I’ve learned to shoot a bow. I just barely might say that I know how to shoot these days, since I’m at currently at a 575 points level in 18 meter indoor competition.  But more of that in a later story! Now the storm have passed our little town and I’ll try to get some hours of sleep before this mornings shift..

Success to you all in your huntings!

Yours,
Fincop

First Trip to the Range by Fincop
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

First trip to the range, aka. “D-day”..

Ok.. So I got the bow from the proshop. It was “tuned in” with factory settings, meaning that all sights, arrow rests and so on were “in the middle”.

First I must admit that I did “chicken” a little bit.. I started shooting at 15 yards, just to see where the arrows are going. This due to the fact that our shooting range is a little bit short of ceiling height..

On this range I’ve been shooting a 36# competition class recurve with “all” accessories installed. I managed to hit about 4 inch groups from 20 yards with that old racehorse, time after time. So I was pretty confident that my brand new Deerhunter (with release compared to finger shooting the recurve) would be dead on.. I was in for a “slight” surprise! This surprise has a lot to do with basic mistakes found in any shooting form..

First Shots (pictured below)

All of you can check where the first 3 shots went from the picture attached to my story. But arrow number four did still go a little higher! As you can see in the previous picture, there is a steel plate covering the range lamps.. And it is just “a little higher” than the trajectory of my third arrow! So I fired a 2216 alloy arrow at a steel plate (1/12 inch thick) from a distance of 5 yards with 65 pounds of force. A truly memorable experience.. With a BIG bang the arrow hit the steel plate and smashed into pieces flying back at my direction! 

All of that confidence I’ve managed to build up with the recurve under 3 training session where totally gone.. I mean totally! I was literally scared of firing the next arrow. So I did a basic mistake, which I’ve known to be a mistake for over a decade, with my pistol shooting experience. I started to “chase the bulls eye”. Which means adjusting your sight all to often. First I adjusted my sights up half way on the scale AND aimed 2″ under the target. I was still getting arrows in the upper corner of the target. So I pushed the sights as high you can get them.. And still hitting the wooden target stand.. After 20 minutes of carving tight wood with my Leatherman Wave, trashing the targethead of the arrow in the process, I decided to take a break.

Which is the wrong “projectile” in the picture below?

So out into the fresh air for a smoke and a humble call to my proshop owner.. At this point I’d destroyed 2 arrows and lost almost all of my confidence in any shooting skills, that I thought that I might have.. Well Mr. T answered my truly worried question about taking the bow back and figuring out what the heck is wrong with it, in a slightly amused (but still 100% professional!!) tone. He just asked me if I was still anchoring at the same spot as I did with the recurve.. Yes siree.. Nobody (or no book for that matter!) told me that I should anchor somehow different with a release than with finger shooting? Well, back to the range (this time with only 4 arrows) and looking for a new “higher” anchoring point. Any one know how much difference an ½ inch in “anchoring point” height means in the arrow grouping on 20 yards.. I know! OVER 1 YARD!!!

So having a little control over the groupings I started to turn back the sights. Eventually I almost got back to factory settings!! After 2 hours and 4 minutes on the range (a lot of this time either turning sights or cutting wood) and only 1/12″ from the factory settings and I was shredding the target paper..!

Lessons learned on this trip?
1. Do believe the more experienced folks saying you should not try to tune your bow alone as a novice.
2. TAKE CARE of YOUR SAFETY while shooting alone!!!

To be continued…

To discuss this article, CLICK HERE

Book Review – “Bowhunter’s Guide to Accurate Shooting”
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Review on Bowhunters guide to accurate shooting by Lon E. Lauber

If you don’t shoot tennis ball sized groups from 60 yards and don’t always down your prey with one single shot, BUY this book! If you shoot tennis ball sized groups from 60 yards and always down your prey with one single shot, you either have read this book or if not, should anyway consider reading it!

 

Why?

 

First of all the author is a top competition class archer with multiple state level championships in archery, he has downed more record class game than most of us will ever see in real life, he’s been shooting and hunting with bows for decades, his writings have been published in various medias and foremost, he is a humble man who is ready to tell about his own mistakes in public!

 

Another good reason to buy this book is that it is published in a very “reader friendly” way! There is a Ton of good advice in the book, but it is also a visually easy book to read. The lessons in the book are topped with stories from Mr. Laubers own experience, many times he tells about the mistakes he have done in various situations due to not following his own advice! Of course there is some “success stories” as well, but the honest way (the mistakes) of telling about his own way to learn bowhunting is something one very seldom find in a book written by an expert! This is actually a distinctive feature of any truly self-confident professional, i.e. the kind of man I want advice from! There are also some really tempting pictures with Lon smiling next to huge animals he has downed. This if anything makes you want to know more about his “secret”..

 

So what does the book provide?

 

The book starts of with the basics, which are the bow and its components. Lon has a positive way of approaching each of the books chapter with some lessons for the novice, but also some advice to the more experienced archer! The book goes through the whole scale of archery from choosing archery equipment that suits you to the most demanding aspects of bowhunting trophy class game, which is the mental side of hunting. In the books different chapters Lon describes quite widely and in deep detail how to achieve that “tennis ball sized group at 60 yards” and down your game with one arrow.  In the book Lon takes the reader on an interesting journey where he opens up on personal thoughts and ideas on hunting and archery. If you, during reading this book, forget that the man who is sharing his experience is a competition class archer, the pictures with Lon next to HUGE downed animals keep you focused on the topics in the book.

 

Ok, now we have to remember that I am a novice in archery and bowhunting, but I seriously think that there are some really good “basic” advice on bows equipment, archery and bowhunting for the novice reader, but as well quite far reaching ideas and theories for the more experienced archer and bowhunters! So the book has a little “for all” readers.

 

I can only find one downside to the book after reading it two times. Having it on your nightstand will reduce your sleeping time to dangerously low levels.. J

 

Yours truly,

Fincop

Beginner’s Corner – Article 1
Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Here in the Beginner’s Corner you’ll be guided by one of our fellow members Tero Haikara (AKA: Fincop)  Tero is a self proclaimed “Newbie” to the field of Archery and bowhunting and he will attempt to document his evolution into the field with book reviews, anecdotes and a few laughs along the way. Take it away Tero!

Who Am I and What am I doing Here?

By Tero Haikara

Hello to you all!

I’m going to write some texts with the Bow hunting beginner’s perspective in mind. They are all going to concentrate on learning something new, be it a review of some good book or some learning experience I’ve had with my bow.. Why should this interest anyone?  Well, you might pick up some small piece of info on something new or you could also just end up with getting a good laugh! I’ll put on the official “newbie” robe, so I have a good excuse for making mistakes..  I would also recommend remembering an old saying: We all learn from our mistakes, the truly wise ones learn  from the mistakes made by others..

So, who am I? And what credentials do I have to review any books, after just putting on the “newbie” robe? I’m a Finnish male, closer to 40 than 30 years. I’ve been shooting various guns for over 30 years, worked as a use-of-force instructor over a decade, contributed to a few books in the professional way of using handguns, written several teaching materials in the subject, I’ve read a ton (really, over 1000 kilos) of teaching material and books and actually own a few yards of bookshelf space just on pistol shooting. I also currently work as a police officer in a little town of about 45,000 people. I’ve also been hunting for years when I was younger, but regrettably stopped hunting for little over a decade..

So I would dare to say that I would be qualified in reviewing books from a “learning perspective”. Why do I put on the “newbie” robe then? This is due to the fact that I’ve just ordered my first ever bow, and I am starting to learn about the subject from books and the hard way (probably the most funny for you guys) by making mistakes that I’m actually going to tell you about!

A few humble words on the interesting subject of what “learning” is, and also a word on how we learn. One definition on “Learning” is to understand new things, and so this definition is quite easy to understand.  How does one achieve this “understanding” then?  It is actually very simple! Just remember one word that we all use frequently when we are about 5-6 years old, but then we stop using it. It is the word “why”! Do NOT stop thinking about (and seeking the true answer to) WHY something works as it does, why someone says the things he/she says, why someone wrote something in a book in that particular way and so on! By keeping this little word in mind when you read a new book, you can gain a lot more from it!  I will be writing some reviews, which are written with an “estimate” as for the “value” of the book from a beginners learning perspective!

I”ll provide you with a short example! I just bought myself a nice book about bows. The price on the book was around 75 dollars (quite expensive by my standard!).  It is written by one of the undoubted authorities in the subject in my country (the man has actually written a few chapters of the official national hunter exam study material!!).  More experienced archers and bowhunters recommend the book in several places.  But.. After reading the book I understood that it did not provide ANY information I was looking for! It is a Good encyclopedia on the history on bows and bow hunting.. But it has nothing on how to tune in your bow, or how to shoot an bow, or how to hunt with a bow.. I seriously thought of sending the book back..

For comparison I’ll tell you about another small booklet I got (Free of charge!!) from my archery club that I’ve joined 2 weeks ago. This 60 paged (size A5) booklet made with a copy machine (free of charge for members of our club) is worth its weight in gold, as to tips and tricks on learning bow shooting and tuning your bow!

People recommended the first book to me purely because the author is an authority in the subject. Not because of the information the book provided on shooting bows. I actually started wondering how many of the people that recommended that book to me (knowing that I just started bows and wanted to learn shooting an bow, not the ancient history of archery) actually had read the book with attention to the content of the book? The second booklet was actually discreetly given to me by our clubs “master instructor” at the end of my second time to the clubs indoor shooting range (yes, I’ve been to the range 2 times with a bow at present time.. total of maybe 30 arrows shot!) .. This old gentleman (I will call him Mr. R because I do not have his consent to write about him) has trained amongst others, his son (my archery proshop owner) who won the Olympic gold medal in archery some years ago.  Mr. R told me in an calm manner that “This booklet was written by one of my friends.  It is worth reading.”  I can second that thought, after reading the booklet and especially after reading my “exclusive” history book on archery (the 75 dollar book)!

So it is not the price, style, pictures, colors, “reputation” or anything else “shallow” I look for in a book I would call good! It is the “learning value” I’m appreciating!  And I’ll be telling you guys my opinion on various books as I read them..

One last small detail.. My bow equipment.. PSE Deerhunter (29″ 65#) and Easton arrows (XX75 Camo 2219) with NAP “Shockwave” broadheads. I know! A lot of people think that this is “not” a serious hunting setup, but I’ll start building it from here.. With a coppers salary I cant afford going for the “high end” stuff just yet.. About 500 grain broadheaded arrows flying silently at 250-260 fps dead on target is my goal at the moment.. I’ll start with foxhunting, for “training” in a few weeks and I’ll be telling you how the setup works.. The next book I have on my nightstand (I’ll tell you about it later!) is Lon E. Lauber’s “Bowhunter’s guide to accurate shooting” from 2005.

Best regards,
Tero “Fincop” Haikara

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