Mule deer run with a strange gait compared to white-tailed deer. Mule deer run in a stiff-legged jumping motion, actually hopping, over obstacles. They are usually traversing uphill. The mule deer's running style is called stotting.
Sometimes people confuse the white rump of the mule deer with the white tail of the white-tailed deer. Mule deer typically have a very narrow tail with a black tip, so their white rump is easily visible.
Mule deer have a four-chambered stomach.
I’m in the market for a new bow. I figured that summer would be a good time to look, now that the new crop of bows for 2002 is in the stores. I already know I have a 26-inch draw length, and some of the new technologies are kind of cool. Picking a new bow ought to be pretty easy.
When I got to my local archery shop, though, I was overwhelmed—dazzled even—by the wealth of new bows hanging on the wall. Red ones, orange ones, even a couple with flames painted on them. Camo in all descriptions. A couple of recurves as long as I am tall, and a compound just the length of my arm. Where to begin?
Which bow to purchase depends a great deal, of course, on how you’re going to use it. If you’re going to shoot targets, you probably can get away with using the one you hunt with, especially if you’re shooting 3-D targets. But it doesn’t work in reverse: if you’re going to bow-hunt, you don’t want a bright red or bright blue bow like the one you’d use for target shooting.
When choosing the right bow for you, things to consider are draw weight, bow construction, axle-to-axle length, and, most importantly, whether you are going to use it for target shooting, hunting, or both.
The differences between hunting bows and target bows go beyond just a paint job. There are some basic differences in the ways the bows are designed that affect their performance in hunting and target shooting situations.
“Archery is a very personal sport,” says Joe White, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the North American Archery Group. “When you get a group of archers together, you’re going to have a lot of opinions about bows.”
A multitude of opinions notwithstanding, White says the biggest difference between hunting and target bows is draw weight.
“Usually a hunting bow has a heavier draw weight,” he says. “A bow-hunting weight often is 60 to 70 pounds, whereas a target bow may be between 40 and 50.”
Much of the reason for this difference in draw weight has to do with how many arrows a target archer shoots during a single competition.
“In target shooting, an archer often shoots many arrows repetitively,” White says. “It’s not like hunting, where you might shoot one arrow all day. A lower-poundage bow is a lot more comfortable in a target situation.” This sometimes isn’t the case in 3-D competitions, however, where many hunters compete during the summer using the bows they hunt with, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Most hunting bows have a heavier draw weight than target bows, because while target bows will be shot many times in a day, a hunting bow may only be shot occasionally.
In terms of construction, a heavier draw weight leads to increased stresses on the bow. And as hunting bows become shorter, adding arrow speed and finding ways to decrease vibration become a real challenge, which means more sophisticated engineering on some hunting bows. Beyond draw weight, the biggest difference between hunting and target bows is the color. A target bow is usually a pretty colorful bow; a hunting bow is normally in a camo pattern.
The third difference between hunting and target bows is the axle-to-axle length, or in the case of recurves, the overall length of the bow. Target bows generally are longer than hunting bows. Although there are some solid reasons for this, the main reason is that personal preferences have changed over time.
“Traditionally, recurves back in the 1960s and 1970s were quite long,” White says. “And at that time, a lot of people were shooting fingers. It was harder to pull a shorter bow because it pinched the fingers. So people shied away from the shorter bows.”
As compounds became more popular, the situation changed. Hunters started wanting “shorter” bows—those about 48 inches, still quite a bit longer than many of today’s bows. And as release aids became more popular, shorter compound bows became easier to shoot. Hunting bows continued to get shorter, until manufacturers were turning out some as short as 32 inches.
While compound bows are used most often by bowhunters, recurve bows have traditionally been employed by target shooters.
Why do hunters like shorter bows? Most of it is simply the ease of maneuvering a smaller bow through the woods. A shorter bow is just easier to handle, whether you’re in a blind, in a treestand, or traveling somewhere to hunt.
When you start talking about target bows and competition, however, a longer bow generally is considered more stable to shoot. This translates into more accuracy at the target once you get out beyond hunting distances.
“When we talk to our professional shooters, most of them can’t see a difference between a longer bow and a shorter bow until they get past 40 or 50 yards,” White says.
Add to that the fact that, traditionally, most target bows have been longer, depending on the type of target. Typically, FITA-class bows—those shot in competitions sanctioned by the International Archery Federation—are recurve bows.
In 3-D, many shooters use bows in the 38- to 40-inch range. These bows tend to be shorter than those used in other competitions because 3-D shooting simulates hunting-type situations, and because many 3-D archers use the same bows they hunt with.
“Then there’s the NFAA—the National Field Archery Association—where you’re shooting known distances at ‘dots and spots,’” White says. “Many times those are long distances that are known distances, and shooters often prefer bows of 40 to 44 inches.”
Ultimately, comfort and confidence are the deciding factors in target bow selection.
When you start talking about NFAA shooting, many archers are shooting fingers, and using long axle-to-axle, two-cam bows. At some NFAA shoots, archers may be aiming at targets 60 to 80 yards away; these shooters are less interested in speed than in accuracy, and thus prefer longer bows.
At the end of the day, though, it all comes back to personal preference. Whatever you’ve shot in the past and liked, whatever you learned with, that will be where you start looking when you’re ready to buy a new bow.
“A lot of it isn’t based on a bunch of statistics,” White says. “It’s whether or not the bow feels good in your hands.”