Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Colorado Hunter, Kavik Bound

"You do not know her."  "Yes, I am pretty sure I do, " was my mother's reply.  This piece of the conversation was a banter between us on whether or not my mother really knew a reality television star through a mutual friend.  I had unintentionally created this conversation by discussing a lady who was featured on National Geographic's show, "Life Below Zero".  I explained to my parents I was very impressed with a person who lived 80 miles from the nearest human contact, in arctic conditions, and stranded for nearly 9 months out of the year.  If you follow the TV show you probably understand I was describing Sue Aikens.  My mother further insisted she knew a family member of Sue's and I dropped the issue, choosing to believe that it was not truly as small of a world as some believe it is.

I had promptly forgotten about this conversation, until my father called me the day before my last birthday.  He gave me specific instructions to answer my phone the following day if an unknown number should call.  I am suspicious in nature, and this was probably sound advice, as most telephone numbers that I do not recognize either receive a gruff greeting or a swift ignore. I was, however, intrigued by his fervent suggestion to monitor my phone.  I was reminded of past birthdays when I was a small boy, and he somehow arranged for both Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse to telephone me with birthday wishes.  I would of course learn many years later that it was not actually Donald or my good friend Micky, but a co-worker of my fathers who had excellent voice acting skills.  

Nonetheless, I dutifully answered the telephone when it sounded it's electronic warble the following day.  The voice on the other end was not that of a shrill cartoon, but the distinctive one of Sue Aikens, owner/proprietor of Kavik River Camp, and previously discussed national television star.   I was certainly wrong, it is a small world. Sue was calling to wish me a happy birthday and after her wishes we struck up a conversation about hunting and life outdoors.  It was a great birthday present and I would have to say a rather classy way for my folks to serve me a large slice of humble pie.

The telephone call was great and it certainly scored high on the cool factor to talk directly to Sue.  What I did not expect was a chance to meet her.  Two month later my parents further informed me that we had an opportunity to go to Kavik and hunt caribou this summer.  They actually asked me if I was interested....I think what they really meant was if I was going to be able to afford it.  I believe both Dante's Inferno and the Sahara desert would freeze over if there ever came I time when I would reply no to such a proposition. As such, this post is about how in less than five weeks I will be boarding several planes, the last of which will touch down on the very runway I have seen in so many episodes of the show.  To say I am excited could probably go down as the understatement of the last century. Beyond the introduction to the hunt, I want to begin this series of posts about this upcoming adventure, and take you, the reader, along with me.

If anyone is interested in their own adventure at Kavik River Camp, the website can be found at


Remember the 6 Ps!!!! This was yelled at me several times throughout the training course for my career.  For those unfamiliar with the 6 P's, it is short for Prior Planning Prevents (insert another P word commonly used to describe urine) Poor Performance.  I will admit that I tend to live by this mantra when it comes to hunting and certain aspects of life, although I don't have the planning bug to a degree as one hunter I knew who would plan every detail of a hunting trip down to what he would eat for each meal of every single day.

I have been planning this trip now for several months, and as the departure day quickly approaches I am in full preparation mode.   I have solutions to many of the logistical challenges I believe I will face, but whether they are truly overcome I will not know until I the moment arrives.  I have read many articles on Alaska hunting and several preparation guides. There are three major logistic hurdles I have crossed so far that I would like to detail my plans for.  If anyone out there in the electronic internet land reading this has seen these issues before, feel free to comment for my betterment, and that of others.

Getting the Meat Home

I tried eating Caribou once. When I was much younger I accompanied a classy lady to an elegant restaurant.  To my elation, the fare listed caribou.  I was amazed at the flavor when the sizzling plate of medallion cut steaks arrived.  It was better than any Elk I have ever had, and Elk is by far my favorite game meat. One of the highest priorities for my Alaska trip is getting the Caribou meat home in edible condition. After several internet searches I was surprised to find little information on the subject.  Some hunters spoke about shipping it, or driving it home in freezers.  After a few calls to FedEx and UPS I learned that they would only ship meat 2nd day air from Fairbanks.  I am planing on bringing two 100 pound coolers back to Colorado with me.  The cost to ship just one 100 pound cooler?  $600.  This effectively removed the shipping idea.  Next up was sending it freight, packed in dry ice.  The cheapest freight quote I could find was $300 per 100 pound cooler, with a 5 day delivery window.  I am very nervous about the meat serviving 5 days, and the last thing I want to do is pay $600 for two coolers of rotting hard earned bounty.

My last idea was to pay the airlines to fly the meat home as baggage with me.   A quick check of Frontier's website ( revealed that this is more common than I thought.  The fee for a 100 pound cooler under 110 linear inches, is $150 in overweight and over sized baggage fees. $300 is an excellent price to pay for 200 pounds of meet.  One would think that would make the meat about $1.50 per pound.  However, by the time I add in the complete cost of the trip, I will be putting a $28 per pound steak on the grill. That is completely fine with me.  Yes, the meat is a portion of why I hunt, but the experiences, the land, and memories with family and friends are priceless.

Flying the AR10 and Poison Dart Longbow

This would seem to be an easy task, right?  Put the bow and rifle in a double rifle case, lock it, and then check it into baggage after a firearms declaration form.  The challenge that presents itself is that the longbow is 62" long and is a solid one piece bow.  Take-down longbows just never felt right to me.  I scoured the internet searching for a double rifle case that was at least 63" long, and after an hour of fruitless searching I am pretty sure it does not exist.  The closest I could find was a 60" case for a .50 Caliber BMG Barrett rifle, and even if it was long enough, I was certainly not paying $460 for it.  It is also true I could fly them separate but then I would be subjected to two additional baggage fees.

Another traditional archer mentioned the use of a ski case he used to travel with his bow.   While this would not accommodate the AR10, at least it would get the bow there.  This all changed when I discovered the Sportube, which is a hard plastic case used to transport skis, and it adjusts in length from 48-83 inches.  There are several models of the Sportube, and the one that held two sets of skis seemed to be the best fit for me.  I could easily get the rifle, bow, arrow tube, several fishing poles, and maybe even my gillie suit tucked into this one piece of luggage.  The beauty of it all?  Frontier does not charge overage fees to fly ski equipment.  Of course I am certain that will all change when they learn there are not actually skis in the case. The price for this piece of plastic wonder was $200 and a tad out of what I wanted to spend on a case.  A little luck landed me a slightly used version off of eBay for only $99.  It arrives tomorrow, and I can not wait to try it out.

The Sportube Series 2

The Gear List 

Let's face the fact that I am flying to Alaska, and to then taking a Cessna Caravan to Kavik River Camp. I simply can not take the proverbial kitchen sink.  At the same time I must balance what is truly necessary with what is luxury or optional. Furthermore, it is not likely that there will be a friendly neighborhood outdoor store around the corner from the middle of nowhere.   Items left behind will either need to be replaced in Fairbanks or simply done without.  To help with this I have created a gear list for myself.  This list is designed to be purposefully down to the minutia.  This is the third edition of the list, and I am certain there will be a forth and possibly a fifth.  If you see something I am missing, feel free to contact me. 

- Binoculars
-GPS unit, Dads' and mine, bring rechargeable batteries and charger
-Range Finder
-Rifle, AR10
-Pistol, 45 caliber Sig P220, with leg holster, concealed holster and spare mag
-20 rounds of .45 +P ammo
-40 rounds Hornady Superformance 308 ammo, 150 grain GMX
-Two 20 round magazines for AR10
-Long bow
-Quiver, armguard, glove, stringer
-One dozen arrows, 8 with broad heads, 2 with judo points and 2 field tips
-Arrow repair kit with dulco cement, spare knocks, spare points, Bohning ferrel glue, lighter
-Bug spray, 4 cans, (Ben’s Bug Spray recommended)
-Thermacell, purchase cartridges in Fairbanks, (can’t fly them)
-Hunting knife
-Sharpening stone
-Headlamp and spare flashlight with a spare set of batteries for both
-Three fishing poles
-Tackle box
-Camouflage hunting back pack
-Water bottle x 2

-Rain coat and pants
-Two sets of light camouflage: pants, shirt, and long sleeve shirt
-3 camouflage handkerchiefs
-2 camouflage tee shirts
-Scent blocker Jacket
-Medium weight camouflage pants
-Floppy camouflage hunting hat
-Ball cap cat hunting hat
-Beanie style hat, camouflage
-Gillie suit
-One set of thermal undergarments
-10 pairs of regular socks
-2 pair of wool hiking socks
-Bug net for head
-Lightweight gloves, waterproof and bug proof
-Leather gloves
-Wool gloves for warmth
-3 pairs blue jeans
-10 briefs
-3 sweaters
- 5 tee-shirts
-Camouflage hunting boots, waterproof and high ankle
-Hand towel
-Full towel
-Good set of hikers, (wear on plane)

-Bottle of Advil
-Imodium AD
-Band aids
-Box of contacts
-Full bottle of contact cleaner
-Contact case, travel
-Tooth paste, toothbrush, and flossers
-Hunting soap, body and hair
-Hunting deodorant
-Big bottle and small bottle of scent killer spray
-Hunting wipes for backpack
-Roll of TP for back pack

-Two scalpel handles with blades
-Ear openers
-Measuring tape, paper and pen
-Fleshing scissors
-Bag of salt – buy in Fairbanks

-Boning knife
-Sharpening steel
-4 rolls of paper
-2 boxes of 1 gallon storage bags.
- Freezer tape and pens
-Wyoming saw with spare blades for skull plate work
-Two 120 quart coolers, order from Wal-mart and pick up in Fairbanks

-Cannon Camera
-New Canon video camera, if budget allows, would need a case as well as spare battery
-4 16 GB memory cards
-4 Batteries for camera
-Tripod, large and small
-Go pro with charging cords and mounts.
-Laptop for blogging

Food Stuffs
-20 Lara bars
-10 5-hour energy drinks
-Misc travel snacks

-Spare set of sunglasses
-Hunting license and Caribou tags
-Wallet with all ID’s, and money.
-Need another duffel bag or travel bag

There are several more lists that are currently electronically living in a folder marked "Alaska" on my computer desk top.  I plan to share these in a future post on final preparations before I depart my beloved Colorado.  Closing thoughts this time are on Alaska.  I have wanted to travel there as long as I can remember.  It has been the great dream of mine to see the land and hunt there.  I came to a conclusion recently.  While my flight is still weeks away, I have already started on my journey.  The planning for this trip has already taught me more about Alaska than I realized it would.  The ending quote this time belongs to Drake.  Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. - Drake 

Thursday, June 19, 2014


This post came to me in an unusual manner. I normally work through my ideas for writing for several weeks and sometimes actually film or photograph specifically for the topic I plan to discuss. At any time I am usually planning or working on several posts. Even now there are are three others in process, ranging from a discussion on ammunition for my .308, to full preparation for the upcoming Alaska adventure, and one even entitled, "The Subway Sandwich"-- stay tuned in for that one, I think you will enjoy it. The idea for this post came to me on Father's day while I was on the phone wishing my father a happy day. I spoke with him about several adventures we had together and what he had taught me over the years. The thought was to write about those who helped to create and foster my love of hunting and helped to make me the outdoorsman I am today. So without further explanation I bring you the article, "Forerunners."

Forerunner - noun - a person or thing that precedes the coming or development of someone or something else. - the almighty Google.

Mom with her first pronghorn with a bow

Dad with a 18.6 inch, 350 pound Bear
My lessons in hunting started  early in my childhood. For as long as I can remember  I was bundled up in heavy winter clothes and loaded into whatever hunting truck we had at the time to tag along on my parent's outdoor missions. We were a hunting family and game meat was nearly always on the dinner table. My parents felt it was important to spend time in the woods as a family and there even was several rather macabre slogans for the Robertson household. The ones I particularly distinctly remember were, "The family that slays together, stays together, " and an adaptation of a quote from the movie, "Predator": "If it bleeds, we can kill it." Looking back and from an outside perspective I can see how some might find this internal family banter as disturbing, but for us it was normal family life.

My father taught me many things about the outdoors. From teaching me how to shoot a rifle and bow, to how to rebuild an engine and fix your vehicle when it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. My mother was always there on the finer points of skill sets. She taught me how to butcher animals, the best way to prepare the meat, how to sew, and how to be patient in hunting situations. Off and on throughout our hunting careers I have hunted with my parents individually, and at times again as a family. It seems to me the best way to demonstrate some of the lessons they taught me is to share some of our adventures together in several mini-stories.

Ring around the Roses

This occurred in the fall of my fifteenth trip around the sun. I was hunting with my father and we were heading back to camp after an unsuccessful morning hunt.  As we were driving along the mountain road we came to a curve in the road that rounds a point of a red rock formation that is bordered on the low side by an aspen grove.  Years later this specific section of road would be named by us as, "where the road turns red,"  I never said we were a very creative bunch...  The road is cut into the steep slope, and there is a drop off on one side that makes novice four wheel truck passengers white knuckle the armrest.   

It was down this slope that my father was starring when he suddenly stopped the Suburban and announced he had just seen the biggest buck of his life.  True to his statement, not only was there one massive 5x5 mule deer about 80 yards down on the border of the aspen grove, but he was sparing with a second equally beautiful buck.  My father grabbed his bow and bailed out of the truck to head down the hill for the animals.  It was clearly his turn to chase these deer.  For the previous week he had graciously and patiently watched me fail to connect on stalk and shot after shot.  Thus I was left sitting and waiting for the results of his pursuit.   

A short time later I heard my father yell he had gotten one, and to come down the hill.  Sliding down the rocky scree with my bow in hand, I marveled how my father had been able navigate this same hillside quietly.  When I arrived, I found my father standing in the aspen grove pointing to a tree.  Embedded in the tree was an arrow covered in blood. I was very excited to see the large buck on the ground; however, a short blood trail led to a young spike buck.  To say the least, I was very confused.  My father told me how he had snuck up on the big deer and was waiting for a shot when a little buck had come up the slope and stood a mere 15 yards away.  My dad saw the deer tense when it scented him and he knew the game was up.  He had to make a decision to either take the small deer, or let him sound the alarm and lose all of them.  He chose the proverbial bird in the hand and shot the spike. 

This would be interesting story if it ended here, but alas this is just the backdrop to a very humorous tale.  I had wisely taken my bow down the hillside with me and I was glad I did when the 5x5 buck began walking directly towards us from the bottom of the hill.   He had disappeared when my dad had shot, and now for some reason decided to return despite all the noise of my dad yelling and us following the blood trail. 

My father and I froze, standing as still as possibles as we were caught in the open and had no cover close to conceal us.  I watched as the buck that haunted my dreams approached us, seeming unaware of the shaking 15 year old boy with a PSE compound bow in his hands.   When the buck hit the 30 yard mark he turned broadside, put his head down and started feeding.  It was a textbook shot, and an easy one that I knew I could make.  I felt my father nudge me and knew he was telling me to take the shot.  I pulled back the bow and I honestly can not remember releasing the arrow.  What I do remember is the arrow sailing over the buck's back and disappearing into a large bushy fur tree behind him.  Later I would learn the buck had been less than 20 yards away.  

Dad with the spike buck.
The deer bolted and ran around the right side of the tree. 
I quietly pursued him, cursing myself along the way for such hasty shooting.  I turned around the right side of the fur and could not see him.  Figuring he had run into the next county I turned around and saw my father standing very still, as if he was a statue.  That was except for the large grin on his face and motioning with his hand subtly to the left side of the fur tree.  I dutifully proceeded to go around the left side of the fur and once again found...nothing.  I again looked to my father who was now pointing to the right side of the large tree.  I was confused, frustrated, and getting more convinced by each passing moment that this was some kind of sick game he was playing.  Nonetheless, I again went to right side of the tree and there again was nothing but fern, trees, and now a mad teenager.  It was at this time my father erupted in full riotous laughter. 

What had happened was my dad had a front row seat to the greatest game of ring around the roses a person can hope to see.  The buck had returned for a third time and each time I would go around one side of the tree he would appear on the other.  Neither one of us knew where the other was, but both of us timed our movements perfectly to not see one another.  Finally, after the third go around, the deer had decided the game was up and run off, allowing my father to finally let out the burst of laughing he could no longer contain.

I learned many things that day.  Lessons in stalking, shooting, patience, and even a little humility.  I was very disappointed at losing the buck, but looking back, I think the story is more dear to me as it stands.

The Rainy Day Bear

It is an interesting fact that I have actually spent more time hunting with my mother than my father.  I am happy that this breaks the typical stereotype of male dominated hunting camps.  Often members our fall hunting camp return to the city and leave the camp empty, except for my mother and I. It was during one of these particular periods of time this story occurred.  

It was raining, it had been raining, and it was going to be raining for the next several days.  This particular storm eventually set off a series of floods that had tragic consequences for the communities in lower elevations of Colorado.  For us at camp with a 9,000 foot elevation, it simply meant it was wet, cold, and muddy.  We had holed up in the campers for the prior two days watching movies, fueling the little generator, and waiting for a break in the rain to climb back into our tree stands.  

“I bought rain gear for a reason, and it was not to sit idle in my pack.”  I believe this was my statement when I decided enough was enough, and rain or not I was going hunting.  I knew what I was in for: a 45 minute four-wheeler ride over rough muddy trails, through a downpour, followed promptly by sitting in a tree stand for four hours while the rain took no mercy.  I was surprised when my mother readily agreed to join me.

Covered in mud, and already discovering there were several leaks in my rain gear, we arrived at our hunting location. The tree stand we were hunting from was in a clearing in the middle of a dense aspen grove.  This particular stand overlooks a small watering hole and is an excellent set up for elk, deer and bear.  Indeed, two elk had already been claimed by archers of our camp that year, and the kill sites were close by.  All of the meat had been removed, but the offal and bones that remained, which meant the bears would be around.  We had placed two tree stands in one tree, and they were positioned back to back to cover all directions in the clearing.

We sat in silence, listening to the rain pelt our hoods and hoping the storm would not send a bolt of lightning in our direction.  Shortly before sunset, the clouds broke for a brief time and turned a dark and dreary evening into beautiful golden colors of amber light.  It was about the time that I was thanking the weather gods for the respite when I felt a tug on my right side.  It was my mother grabbing my clothing to alert me of something.  Turning toward her, I followed her gaze to see a black bear enter the clearing about 60 yards away.  Immediately the bear disappeared among the logs of fallen aspen tree.  The bear did not reappear, and just about the time I had given up hope of seeing him again, he stealthy materialized 20 yards in front of us, standing on a downed log.  

I watched as my mother brought up her 300 Weatherby magnum and sighted on the bear.  I saw the rifle round impact the bear in the front shoulder and instantly take it down.   After 15 years of carrying around a bear tag in her pocket, the moment had arrived to notch it for the first time.  We climb down out of the tree stand and examined the animal. It was medium sized dark brown boar, and certainly an animal to be proud of hunting.  That night as we packed the bear out in our backpacks, the rain started falling again, but we didn't care.  We had overcome the elements and through determination and patience completed a successful hunt.  All of these qualities my mother has faithfully taught me over the years.
Mom with the rainy day bear.

I have been very fortunate to have my parents as my forerunners.  Although others have had a strong impact on my hunting experiences and ethos as well, my parents have been the predominate force.  This post is meant as both a tribute to them, but also hopefully to encourage others to be forerunners and trailblazers.  In your adventures, do you leave a trail for others to follow and learn from?  What will our lifestyle and sport become if we do not pass on all our hard earned knowledge and experiences?

Closing thoughts this time are about leaving a legacy for those who follow you, and the transfer of knowledge and tradition to the next generation of sportsmen.  The quote belongs to Shannon Alder, and is one that somehow rings true to this post.  “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Dad calling in a goose blind
Dad with a Colorado Pronghorn doe
Mom and I with an elk and deer we rounded up in one morning

Mom with a nice mule deer doe

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Poison Dart and Her New Arrows

The Poison Dart and my first set of cedar arrows
There is an odd bond that is formed between my hunting equipment and myself.  The old pair of hiking boots that adorn the steps of my garage are just like the hunting partner who has endured many hours of strenuous climbs up rocky slopes or through muddy river bottoms.  My rifles and bows are tools, yes, but also inanimate friends that have been with me through moments of great success and failure.  I have found this bond especially close when it comes to my bows.  I believe it is the constant daily practice I spend with them.  It was a sad day as such when I had to come to the realization that successfully and accurately shooting my Fred Bear Montana Longbow was out of the question.  Since my venture to Rocky Mountain Specialty Gear (RMSG) last month (see the post entitled "Lessons from an Economy Bow" for details), I had been practicing a new shooting form.  This new form was not only more accurate, but also increased my draw length to 30.5 inches.  This increased the draw weight on the Montana from 55 pounds at 28 inches of draw to over 60 pounds at my new full draw.  To put it simply, it was too much bow for me to shoot effectively.  It was time to let the old girl go and pick up a new longbow.

I had always known the Montana was my starter longbow.  For the price, it was decently smooth and shot well for a mass production bow.  I did notice some hand shock at release, but just like a teenager with their first car it was the best thing I had known; all of that changed this past Wednesday when I met the Poison Dart. The Poison Dart is a custom Longbow built by Buddy Gould in Aurora, Colorado.  Buddy Gould recently started building these bows and they are sold exclusively through RMSG.   Logan at RMSG had specifically recommended this bow for me several weeks prior, and had asked Buddy to build the next bow around the 45 pound mark, as this was the target draw weight I was seeking. When Logan called me last week to let me know the bow was in stock, I could not wait to make the trek down to RMSG to shoot the bow.  Thankfully, Logan agreed to hold the bow for a few days for me.

Manufacture name and bow information
When they handed me the Poison Dart I was amazed at its beauty and lightness. The bow had a very classic longbow look and came equipped with fast flight tips.  The draw of the bow was incredibly smooth and there was no stacking of the limbs at my long draw length. What amazed me more was when I shot the bow.  There was no hand shock to the bow at all.  It was so smooth and fast that my left hand barely knew when I had released the arrow. Furthermore, I was amazed at how fast the bow was, and at the noise level the bow produced; it was a whisper compared to my Montana.  This bow was everything I was looking for.  If you asked me to described the perfect longbow, I would only need two words: Poison Dart.  I was further shocked when I looked at the lower limb for the price tag.  I expected to find a crazy sum, deserving for this fine elegant piece of wood.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it was marked at $425.  I suspect a bow of this caliber will only go up in price in the future.

The Poison Dart
Just to be sure I was ready for the commitment to my new hunting bow/partner, Logan put two other custom longbows in my hand for a test shooting.  It only took one arrow through each of the bows to confirm what I already knew- the Poison Dart was it.  The difference was astounding.  The Posion Dart felt like driving a Mercedes Benz, while the others in the same price range where economy Sedans. Even with the Poison Dart in my hands, it was hard to make the decision to put the Montana up for sale on consignment with RMSG.  In my heart I knew it was time to let the bow go.  I had killed an elk with this bow, but it was of no use to anyone sitting on my bow rack gathering dust. Perhaps the bow will end up with some beginner archer who will enjoy the bow as much as I did.

Cedar Arrow Building

Once I had settled on the Poison Dart it was time for me to start my next adventure; building my own wooden arrows.   Logan helped my find the correct shaft that had the proper spine and flight for my draw length.  It was a bit of a challenge to find the correct shaft, but I ended up leaving RMSG with 18 raw cedar shafts that were spined at 79 pounds and plus or minus 20 grains in weight, a dozen of them were actually plus or minus 15 grains of weight, as RMSG guarantees.  Along with the raw shafts, I bought some feathers, glue, a gasket sealer, dip tube, nocks, points, and a short lesson in arrow building. I felt ready for the challenge.  Despite several arrow building lesson from another traditional archer, I had yet to lay my hands on a wooden arrow that I could call my own.  Now had come the time.

Setup and kit to build cedar arrows
Raw components of the arrow.  Shaft, fletches, nock, and field point
I decided to build three arrows first, to learn the process of making them.  I knew there would be a learning curve to creating good arrows and I did not want to waste all of my shafts and supplies in the first attempt.  The beginning step is straightening the shafts.  A flat surface, keen eye, and steady hand is needed for this part.  As you roll the arrow across a flat surface you can hear the shaft wobble on the high points or roll smooth if it is straight.  Next I located the high points in the bend of the shaft and used the back end of a butter knife to work the bend out by using pressure and running the butter knife end over the bends.  This can be a tedious process, and I admit probably the part of the process I was most concerned about learning.

Arrows tapered and the tapering device.
Next I tapered the ends of the shaft to accept the point and the nock.  I used the straightest end of the shaft for the nock end.

Shafts after stained and sealed.
After tapering the arrows they needed to be stained and sealed.  I used a water based stain as I was using a gasket sealer method and was told that regular stain could bleed through.  If simply using a semi-gloss poly-urethane, then you can use a regular stain.  After sealing the shafts I used a steel wool to dull the shiny sealer.

Nocks installed

Once the shafts were dry, I installed the nocks.  I was told it is important to find the strength of the arrow and make sure it will be the side against the bow self.  I did this by looking at the wood grain and finding the tightly packed wood grain verses the more open striations.  After I  located the proper position for the nocks, I installed them using a thin bead of glue. Once the nocks were on it was time for the fletching.

Index fletch being installed.
There are several styles of fletching systems available.  I used a Jo-Jan fletcher that can accommodate six arrows at once. I found it very important to take my time, put every fletch on dry, and check alignment before using the glue.

Last Fletch being installed

After I fletched the arrows, I let let the glue dry.  I was recommend thirty minutes for the Delco Cement I used, but I gave the arrows a solid hour before letting them take their first test flight.  As I planned to shoot 125 field points I added them to the shaft using heat melted Bohing ferrel glue.

Once I was done with my first set of three arrows, it was time to test them out.  This post could not be complete without at least one short video clip. I guess it was only fitting to put it back into dangerous duty.  The group is from 10 yards away. The arrows flew well and seemed to be better than the archer behind them.

I learned a lot from building my first set of arrows, and the next set is already in production.  I have found that a large part of my outdoor life is learning new things.  Whether it is about how the animals live, or a new skill such as building arrows, learning is part of me and what I enjoy.  The quote this time belongs to Mahatma Gandhi, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if were to live forever."  - Mahatma Gandhi