Scouting New Land

EvoOutdoors ProStaff Team member Dale Evans shares tips on how to figure out and scout a new area:


In late May, I made the decision to move out West to Wyoming from Florida after separating from the Air Force. Without a Tag in my pocket for the state of Wyoming, I knew it was going to be a difficult year in the hunting woods. Being the avid hunter that I am, I knew I couldn’t take a fall off from hunting, so it was time to start looking into whatever tags were leftover. Luckily, I was able to find a few elk tags available close to where I live for. Knowing absolutely nothing about these areas, I knew I was going to have to do my homework in order to have success in these tougher units. That these areas were going to be particularly difficult I had no doubt, since that was why there were so many leftover tags.


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First things first, I ordered OnX Map software for the state of Wyoming. I’ve never used this software before, but was amazed at its’ ease of use. I set it up with the Google Earth software already installed on my computer and began doing my research. With the OnX Maps, you are able to clearly see Unit Boundaries for each major species within the state (i.e. Elk, Deer, Antelope), see the different land ownership around the whole state, and the landowner information for each parcel. Having this Overlay system at home helped so that I could have a game plan in place before ever leaving my house. Scouting a new area can be very intimidating, especially when you are looking at a large piece of land and have no idea where to start. OnX Maps has a lot of useful information and makes the task a lot less daunting.

After I familiarized myself with the boundaries of the specific unit, and somewhat familiarized myself with the Public and Private land, my next stop was to go and talk with the local Game and Fish Warden and State Biologist. These professionals are a wealth of knowledge, and I found the folks I spoke with to be extremely helpful. They helped with leading me down the right path of where to start scouting, when to expect the animals to be in a certain area, and what places I should stay away from. They also highly recommended having a good GPS with the OnX software, to help ensure I wouldn’t be trespassing and that I would have the necessary landowner information should I decide to request permission.

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The next step I recommend is to get yourself a good handheld GPS unit. I personally own a Garmin Oregon 600t, and have the OnX Wyoming chip installed. This is a great GPS that won’t break the bank, and I have found it to be very accurate. When you’ve made your game plan of places to go and scout in a new area, make sure to use your GPS. I like to have a few places already in mind that I want to check out and give a closer look when I’m heading into a new area. I’ll put waypoints into my GPS prior to going out to make it easier. Like I said before, a new area can be large and seem intimidating, so having a game plan is crucial: Have your predetermined points picked out, use the GPS to get to them, and have fun with your scouting. Unfortunately, sometimes the place that looks like a mecca on Google Earth, won’t be worth the time it took for you to get there. But, sometimes just walking around a bit will open your eyes to something you might have overlooked, or a little honey hole that couldn’t be seen with a computer program. Scouting is all about checking out places that you’ve never seen before, and finding where you will harvest your next trophy.


Dale recommends the Garmin Oregon 600T

Figuring out new land can sometimes be very simple, and other times it is incredibly difficult. It can be anything from a small 20-acre parcel that you receive access to from the local farmer, or maybe you find yourself scouting out a vast wilderness area. Doing your homework definitely helps to eliminate obvious places, so you can use your time wisely and make the most of it. You also need to understand that scouting and figuring out the land is an ever evolving art. The animals may change their patterns from year to year so you should also be constantly looking for fresh signs and new places to be. Using these small tips will definitely help to shorten your learning curve, but a skilled hunter must be flexible and willing to change at the drop of a hat.

Straight Shooting

Sarah Fromenthal EvoOutdoors ProStaffWith archery season fast approaching,  I’m sure everyone has knocked the dust off the bow from last season and begun practicing, but is your technique as nice as you would like? Whether you are a new shooter using a second hand bow or a veteran shooter that’s shooting “old faithful”, there is always a few things to improve upon every season.  Insuring proper draw length, shooting form, draw weight, and/or grip on the bow play vital roles in these pre-season preparations.

Draw Length and Proper Shooting Form

Draw length by definition is the measure from the knock point  to the backside of the bow (side facing away from the shooter) at full draw. It is an integral part to ensuring a bow “fits” the shooter properly especially if you are shooting a bow that was given to you second hand or buying a new one.  Improper draw length can cause issue with proper form and accuracy.



Proper Form: body, in straight line with the target, feet shoulder width apart, vertebrae straight up and down, bow arm slightly bent

Tell Tale signs of improper draw length:

Too long: Leaning back when at full draw, anchor point set too far back, and/or eye too close to peep (too large of field of view).  Another tell tale sign is the bow arm being completely straight to compensate for the extra inches of length and possibly pulling the bow arm to the left (right for lefties), which could cause you to shoot off of your mark and possibly slap your arm with the string upon release.  Getting an arm guard is not the fix for this… its a draw length issue (TRUST ME I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE!)

Leaning too far back off of center

Leaning too far back off of center

Bow arm totally straight

Bow arm totally straight

Too Short: Bow arm too bent, anchor point set too far forward, and/or eye far from peep (decreased field of view).  Being “jammed up” to fit into the shorter draw length can pull the bow arm to the right (left for lefties) in attempt to shorten the draw, once again causing you to be off center with your shots.

Draw length can be easily measured by standing with both arms outstretched to the side and measuring from finger tip to finger tip. This will get you a good starting point from which you can fine tune.


 (Remember to keep in mind that using a loop and some releases adds additional length to your draw.)


Draw Weight

Many bow shooters are “over-bowed” and do not realize it. NOT EVERYONE NEEDS TO PULL BACK 70+ POUNDS. The poundage you are pulling back should allow you to draw the bow straight back from any position and shoot numerous rounds without fatigue or soreness. Too often hunters are seen having to the raise their bow up to draw back because it helps them gain more leverage (not to mention how impractical all the excess movement is when you have the trophy of a life time only yards away).  This is a sure sign the draw weight is too high and should be knocked down to a more comfortable poundage.

Proper Drawback

Improper Drawback


Also, its important to check with state rules and regulations for minimum draw requirements. For example, Louisiana requires a bow to have a draw weight of at least thirty pounds to hunt whitetail, but most states require a forty pound draw weight. This may not seem like much to an experienced archer, but for a woman or youth archer this may take some work to build up to.  Building up poundage on a bow should be done gradually and not increasing to the next poundage until you can shoot your current poundage with ease.  The muscles used to draw back your bow are rarely strenuously worked otherwise, so the best way to build them is to practice regularly.


Although most archers will swear by their grip technique, proper grip can make the world of difference in tightening your groups. The goal is to stabilize the bow during release without torquing it in reaction to the shot or slight hand movements.

Ideal Grip

Ideal Grip

Grip too tight aka "Death Grip"

Grip too tight aka “Death Grip”

Grip Too Loose aka "Spirit Fingers"

Grip Too Loose aka “Spirit Fingers”












The Ideal Grip: The basic principle it to have your thumb at a “two o’clock” position from the grip and turn the fingers slightly upward causing the grip to fall right into the pocket along side of the thumb. Closing your hand and placing the finger tips lightly on the grip allows to stabilize the bow without causing it to torque.

Too Tight (aka “Death Grip”): Although stabilizing the bow, this grip can cause the shooter to torque the bow and any slight movement of the hand will cause you to move the entire bow.

Too Loose (aka “Spirit Fingers”): With the fingers outstretched, the bow has too much back and forth freedom.  Also as an instinctive reaction, the hand may close slightly with the shot causing the muscles to move in the palm of the hand which in turn can move the bow.


Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, and Shoot Some More

  • Practice makes perfect and forms muscle memory to where shooting techniques become instinctive instead of a list of information to remember.
  • Be sure to anchor in the same spot every time.  Changing up your anchor point will cause inaccuracy and larger groups.
  • Practice in the hunting gear that you just bought from EvoOutdoors and plan on hunting in to find out how extra layers, headwear, gloves, face mask, badlands pack etc., affect your grip, anchor point, and maneuverability.
  • Practice shooting from the location/position you are likely to shoot from in the field whether its from a elevated platform (safety harness please!), ground blind, uphill, downhill, sitting, standing, kneeling, etc. Also be sure to practice in different climates and lighting to be ready for any situation that can be presented.
  • Extend your practice yardage out as far as you can.  Being accurate at further distances will make close shots seem like nothing (REMEMBER: Just because you can shoot a target at a certain yardage does not mean you should shoot animals at that distance!)
  • Make sure your bow is properly tuned.  All the practice in the world can not help you improve your groups if your bow is out of tune.  It also important  to know your bow. Educate yourself on every part, its purpose, and how it works.  By understanding this, you will be more capable of troubleshooting your problems on your own during practice or on that trophy hunt.  Do not be afraid to ask your bow shop technician questions about how and why.

bow parts

Sarah Fromenthal

ProStaff EvoOutdoors

Photo Credits:  to my amazing Nanny  Jo Ann LeBoeuf .

Be sure to check out her stunning work at or her Facebook Page.