Am I the only one who likes to see all the new bows, arrows, camo and many other gadgets that the industry releases? I remember talking with Jason Wilkins of Black Eagle Arrows about some new arrows they were going to release in 2013. He was excited about the new slim design Rampage arrows they had created.
When Black Eagle Arrows released the Rampage arrows and their components on their web site I ordered some right away. I had mixed thoughts about switching from the BEA Carnivores but these new Rampage arrows looked awesome with their new slim design with a thick carbon wall, Bohning fletchings and stainless steel insert/outserts.
They arrived 3 days later and I grabbed the box and headed to the basement. I fired up the arrow saw and made quick work of half a dozen arrows. Next I glued in the 56 grain Bone Crusher half-out insert and then let them sit for the night. I was really impressed with how easily they went together. Each arrow was 425 grains and I couldn’t wait to shoot them the next day.
All day at work I had trouble focusing. I simply wanted to get home and shoot my new arrows. By the time I got home from work the sun was already setting so I again headed for my basement where I can shoot 20 yards. I put a 100 grain field point on one of the arrows and shot it at my target. I was impressed with the penetration. A few adjustments to my bow and I was dead on. I would have to wait until the weekend to get outside and shoot them at some foam targets.
Each night that week I shot the new Rampage arrows in my basement. The more I shot them the more impressed I was with how they flew out of my set-up. Saturday finally arrived and I was able to get outside and shoot some arrows into my 3-D targets. I started at 20 yards and with the first arrow, I blew right through my target. I spent the next 15 minutes looking for my arrow, which was now buried in my yard. I was able to locate the arrow and clean it up. I decided to put a bag target behind my target so that I wouldn’t lose any arrows. I moved back to 30 yards and again the arrow padded through the target and deep into the bag target. The weight of the arrows being shot out of my 70 pound bow gave me a ton of kinetic energy to pass through about any game. Now all I had to do was wait the 7 months for deer season and I would be ready to hunt.
I spent a great deal of time during the spring and summer shooting the Rampage arrows. In fact, I had to buy another half dozen in August because I kept shooting tight groups and broke 4 arrows. During this time I also started running trail cameras and found a great group of bachelor bucks. All of the bucks were 3.5 years or older and sported some impressive headgear. I continued to run cameras and check them every few weeks. The antler growth continued as well as their body growth.
Watching the bucks finish off their antler development into late August one buck caught my attention due to his one unique point. This buck had a curved point at the base of his right main beam that looked like a potato chip. I decided to name him Chip and target him during the upcoming season. I had a bunch of trail camera picture of this buck and I knew he was mature. I hung some stands in the August heat, hoping to get a shot at Chip.
My 2013 season started off slow. Chip was hitting my mock scrapes often but always in the cover of darkness. He continued to put on weight and was becoming one of the dominant bucks in the area. I had pictures of him on 3 different tracts of land. Most of the time he was on the 100 acres I hunt the most. With him moving so much it was going to be difficult to pattern him. I figured my best opportunity at getting a Rampage in him was during the last two weeks of the PA Archery season when he would be searching for some hot does.
By the last week of the season I had yet to see Chip while I was hunting. My trail camera revealed he was spending a lot of time up the road from my house in a thick 10 acre piece. I made plans to hunt that property the first part of the week.
On Monday, after work, I headed to the 10 acres to get in my climber, overlooking a funnel. I climbed the 20 feet and waited to see if Chip would show. It has snowed all day and the trees and ground were covered. I could see deer moving around me and was hoping Chip would be one of them. The first deer to come through the funnel was a small 8 point. I let him pass without even picking up my bow.
Grabbing my rattle bag and estrus doe bleat I completed a sequence hoping to get a buck’s attention. As I scanned the open woods, I caught movement on my right. Grabbing my binoculars, I found the deer and knew it was Chip. He was standing in an opening surveying the area. I gave a few more estrus bleats and he started coming my way. He worked his way down into the funnel and stopped where I ranged him at 36 yards. I needed him to take another few steps so I would be able to get a shot at him. He stood quietly looking around for the estrus doe, stepped forward and stopped again. This was my chance. I drew my bow, anchored, let the pin float on his vitals and released the Rampage arrow. I heard a loud pop and watched as Chip ran out of view. I felt pretty good about my shot and decided to get down and check for blood. I packed everything up and took my time descending the tree. I made my way over to where Chip had been standing and looked for blood.
Looking for blood in all directions I found none. I couldn’t even find my arrow. I knew the sound of a Grim Reaper hitting the mark and I was sure I had heard that sound. I came back to where the buck had been standing and looked again. What I failed to see was my Rampage stuck in a small snow covered tree. My Grim Reaper head was buried into the center of the tree. I had to laugh at what had happened. The shot placement was perfect for height but I missed seeing this tree in my peep. The arrow was in perfect condition so I put it back in my quiver for another day. I walked out of the woods that evening humbled by the experience. Chip was up 1-0.
Next: Part II
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