Gear 101 – Mathews Archery Tips

When you take up any pursuit, you want to be as proficient as possible. In archery elk hunting, you need to be a good enough to send that arrow into the boiler room in the heat of the moment. Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind as you’re striving to beef up your shooting skills.

Number one: buy good gear

Invest in the best quality equipment that you can afford. It’s frustrating as a bow shop owner to watch people buy gear for a few hundred bucks. When they buy cheap equipment, it doesn’t shoot very well, and they start to think “I’m not very good at this. I’m not going to bowhunt anymore.” If instead you come in and get higher-quality gear fitted by a professional, you can learn some basics, and you can learn which arrows you can get that won’t break the bank but are still going to be better than the arrows you buy at Walmart. If you can, you want to spend about $800-1,100. If your budget is $500, spend 200 more dollars. I think a lot more people would enjoy archery if they had the right equipment.

Number two: Shoot your bow year round

Don’t wait until late July to pull the bow out of the case. No one has time to get comfortable with their bow, arrows and broadheads with only 40 days until the season starts. Instead, every week of the year, go out once and shoot your bow five or six times. Make sure it’s on target and everything is still functioning smoothly. You’ll have no anxiety as hunting season closes in, because you know you’re a lethal assassin with your bow. 

Number three: Find a good coach

Everyone has a coach in some areas of their life. If you’re not good at shooting a bow and you ask someone who is good at it, say a certified coach, to show you the basics, they’re going to help you get better. If you can’t afford professional lessons, find that more skillful friend and ask them for some one-on-one instruction as a favor. And make sure to fact check your friend. Ask them where they learned how to shoot a bow, so you know you’re learning from a reliable source.

Number four: Keep it simple

Archery is a gear infested world. There’s so much stuff out there, and it can be tempting to follow the newest gear fads. But before you move on to the latest and greatest release aid, stabilizer, etc, make sure you master the equipment that you already have. You’re putting the cart before the horse if you switch to a back tension release before becoming efficient with a trigger release first.

Number five  Build muscle memory

Archery is about muscle memory. Make sure you set your anchor points to be in the same position every time you shoot your bow. I recommend making a fist holding it to your chest bring it up behind your ear to the soft spot behind your jawbone. That’s where that knuckle goes. Your second anchor point—the angle of the string will automatically go to the corner of your mouth, so you bring your face over until the string is contacting the corner of your mouth. For the third anchor point, you have to lift your head up and over and set it on top of your nose. Your facial structure shouldn’t change, so you can stay really consistent.

Start with the correct grip: 

Stand next to a doorway and fall into it catching yourself with one hand. You’ll immediately go to the middle of your palm; you’ll have a wide-open grip, and the back of your hand will be facing you. 

Know when to stop shooting your bow. Your form will start to fall apart as you get tired, and you’ll form bad habits. Some people shoot their bow 200 or 300 times. In my professional opinion, that’s too much. Shoot 30-40 perfectly executed arrows with perfect form, then put the bow away. 

If you follow these guidelines, when September rolls around and there’s a big bull coming in, you can be confident drawing back, setting your anchor points and executing that perfect shot.

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Gear 101- Mathews Bow Maintenance

If you prioritize cleaning and maintenance, a bow can last you forever, or at least 30 years. Even if you like to upgrade to the latest and greatest every five or ten years, keeping your current bow clean and maintained will ensure it’s always ready to perform at a top level in the elk woods when it matters. 

Why Mathews?

There are many great bow companies, but we’ve found Mathew’s need less maintenance and tuning than others – plus, they support conservation in a big way. I’ve shot a Mathew’s for six years. Their cam system and design, their spacer system between the cams, their center guard technology, their bridging on their risers, all these little details add up and make a really big difference at the end of the day.

Visually examine your bow:

Whatever brand of bow you have, the first thing you should do when you get home after a long day out chasing elk in the rain or in the heat, is look your bow over. Any primary issues are going to be visual.

Look at the string. Does it look frayed?  Is it really dry? Is your Peep rotating? Has it been a couple years? It might be time to think about replacing it.

Next, look at any screws or exposed moving pieces. If any of them are wet, you need to dry them right away, or they will rust quickly.

Wax the String:

Waxing the string regularly is the most common and the most repeatable maintenance to keep your bow in top working order. After each hunt, throw on a layer of wax.

Shoot your bow:

When you’re hunting, your bow is your tool. They’re meant to be used; they’re meant to be tough. I crawl around with my bow; I use it as a tripod; I lean it against trees. I’m rough with my bow, and so when I come home or back to camp, I toss an arrow or two to make sure it’s still on zero.

Each Year

You should bring your bow into a pro shop once a year for a checkup tune. The pro shop will make sure the cams are in time, make sure the limb pockets are still greased, wax the string and make sure it’s still shooting well through paper. This kind of yearly maintenance is just like changing the oil in your car. 

Every 2-3 years

Replace the string: 

Make sure that you don’t go longer than three years before replacing your string. Changing that string is so important, because the string is the piece of the bow that’s always moving. All the different strands in the single string are constantly moving against each other and wearing out. Your bow won’t preform as well as time goes on.

Storing your bow:

If you’re going to store your bow for a long time, make sure you have a hard case that’s crush proof and bring it inside. Don’t hang it by the string or off the cam. Don’t leave it in a garage – the heat can wear down the string and other components. Heat will destroy your bow faster than shooting it. 

When you take it out to get ready for the season, be sure to wax that string again. As long as the arrows are hitting their mark, you should be set to go!

Overall, you don’t have to do much to maintain a bow. However, proper maintenance can help ensure that when you have the bull of a lifetime in your peep, your arrow will hit its mark.

Learn More at Mathews Archery

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Hunting Is Conservation – The Economy of Wild Game

Hunting not only generates critical funding for conservation and wildlife management but it also greatly boosts the economy.

National studies show hunters pump $55.4 billion into the economy each year, plus recreational shooters and anglers join hunters to jointly spend nearly $94 billion annually.

And hunting itself supports more than 854,000 jobs – from game wardens, waitresses,  and butchers to taxidermists, motel clerks and biologists.

It may be difficult to apply a dollar figure that shows the exact value of say, one pound of game meat and how that relates to the economy, but there’s no doubt that hunting has a beneficial impact on many Americans.

Here are a few examples…

Since 2003, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation used state grant money to help local food pantry programs offset costs of processing. It’s a great way for “non-elk” states to use money raised within that given state to help local causes.

Since 2000 in Wisconsin, hunters donated 92,000 animals to the state’s deer donation program. That equates to more than 3.7 million pounds of venison.

Since 2003 in Montana, hunters donated almost a quarter-million pounds of wild game to the Hunters Against Hunger program. And that translates into an average of 34,000 meals annually.

So what’s meat worth?

The Alaska Soil and Water Conservation District conducted a detailed economic study weighing the consumptive value of moose –or hunting and eating them – versus the non-consumptive approach of tourism – or looking at and taking pictures of them.

The results led researchers to project the value of Alaska’s moose-viewing industry from 2005 to 2025 will be $63 million. Over that same time period, it projected the value of moose hunting will be $363 million. So hunting and eating moose generates nearly six times more revenue than simply looking at them.

The Wild Harvest Initiative, an endeavor investigating the economic value and food replacement costs for wild game, has some eyebrow-raising results of its own.

It reported that hunters in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 U.S. hunting seasons took an estimated 383,361 elk nationwide.

That represented an estimated 102.7 million pounds of processed elk meat.

Assuming six-ounce servings, this elk meat likely provided Americans with more than 272 million meals.

Generating vital funding for conservation, wildlife management and boosting the economy all highlight how Hunting Is Conservation.

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Washington Receives $1.9 Million for Habitat, Research, Hunting Heritage Projects


September 29, 2021

Washington Receives $1.9 Million for Habitat, Research, Hunting Heritage Projects

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners contributed $1,900,848 in grant funding for wildlife habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage efforts across Washington. RMEF directly granted $215,712 that leveraged an additional $1,685,136 in partner dollars.

“This funding helps enhance nearly 15,000 acres of Washington’s elk country, some of which is ailing due to the spread of noxious weeds and encroaching conifers that choke out native shrubs and grasses so crucial for elk and other wildlife species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Eleven projects benefit habitat across Asotin, Chelan, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Skamania and Yakima Counties. There are an additional four projects of statewide benefit.

Washington is home to 23 RMEF chapters and more than 14,000 members.

“We greatly appreciate our volunteers for the time and effort they put forth in raising vital funding for RMEF’s mission that is placed back on the ground in their home state,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 729 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Washington with a combined value of more than $132.1 million. These projects protected or enhanced 502,135 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 130,372 acres.

Below is a breakdown of Washington’s 2021 projects, listed by county.

Asotin County

  • Treat noxious weeds across 871 acres of yearlong elk range on the Asotin, Chief Joseph and W.T. Wooten Wildlife Areas in the Blue Mountains (also benefits Columbia and Garfield Counties).
  • Burn 10,380 acres in the Pomeroy Ranger District on the Umatilla National Forest and on the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area to improve winter range for elk and other wildlife. Prescribed burns enhance the health and resiliency of native grasses and shrubs and encourage elk use of public lands, benefitting public land hunting and reducing potential damage to private lands (also benefits Garfield County).

Chelan County

  • Provide funding for a study on elk movement and habitat use in the Upper Stemilt-Squilchuck Basin. The information will help guide wildlife managers in making decisions about when and where to protect and improve critical habitat.

Columbia County

  • Treat 200 acres of noxious weeds on the Rainwater Wildlife Area, which lies at the foot of southeastern Washington’s Blue Mountains and provides critical winter range for elk, whitetail and mule deer.

Cowlitz County

  • Treat 160 acres of noxious weeds across the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to enhance native plant species for elk and other wildlife. The project is part of a multi-year effort to improve conditions for the Mount St. Helens elk herd (also benefits Skamania County).
  • Enhance 200 acres of winter forage habitat in the Toutle River Valley on the Mount St. Helens Wildlife Area, home to the highest winter concentration of elk in the region. The application of lime and fertilizer is followed up by seeding and planting shrubs and trees where plant cover is low.

Ferry County

  • Burn two treatment units covering 564 acres in the Three Rivers Ranger District on the Colville National Forest to rejuvenate forage for elk and other wildlife while also reducing the risk of large catastrophic wildfire.

Grays Harbor County

  • Improve habitat across 350 acres in the Pacific Ranger District on the Olympic National Forest for Roosevelt elk, other wildlife and pollinators. Crews pile slash and girdle young trees in previously thinned stands, treat invasive weeds and plant and seed native plants.

Kittitas County

  • Treat 300 acres for noxious weeds in the Rock Creek Unit on the Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

Yakima County

  • Remove encroaching small conifers across 1,114 acres of important elk calving and summer range in the Naches Ranger District on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to increase forage production and nutritional quality. The area features numerous meadows important for many wildlife species.


  • Provide funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, a nonprofit citizens group that leverages public funds for wildlife habitat, working farms and outdoor recreation opportunities across the state.
  • Provide funding for Outdoors for Our Heroes, an organization that hosts big game hunts for disabled veterans and first responders.
  • Provide funding for Salmon for Soldiers, a group that provides fishing and relationship-building opportunities for military members.
  • Provide funding for Divide Camp to host elk hunts in northeastern Oregon for combat-wounded veterans from Washington struggling with physical and mental health.
  • Project partners include the Colville, Gifford Pinchot, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Olympic and Umatilla National Forests, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other government, sportsmen and conservation groups and individuals.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded more than 37 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 231,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 8.2 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at or 800-CALL ELK.

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Leica Amplus 6 – Performance to Rely on

Reliable and dependable all-around premium optics: Leica’s new Amplus 6 riflescope series balances premium optical performance with rugged features and is complemented by the extremely sharp illuminated dot, 6x zoom, large exit pupil and wide field of view. The robust design makes the Leica Amplus 6 ideal for uncompromising use in any situation, even in the most adverse conditions.

“The Amplus scope won our low light test hands down!” Andrew McKean – Outdoor Life

 Ballistic Reticle with illuminated red dot* (10 brightness settings)

  • 30mm main body tube with 30mm optical internals
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  • Weight 23 oz, Length <12 inches
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Includes Leicas 10 Year Passport Warranty. For more information visit

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Aerial Spraying, Seeding to Improve Eastern Idaho Elk Habitat

Below is a news release from Idaho Game and Fish. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding for this project.

People planning to recreate near North Fork in October may see low-flying helicopters spraying hillsides to control the spread of invasive grasses and noxious weeds. The goal is to improve big game winter range and reduce wildfire risk.

Work is scheduled to begin October 4 and take approximately seven to ten days to complete, depending on weather conditions. Areas to be treated include portions of lower Sheep Creek, lower Silverleads Creek, Buster Gulch, Wagonhammer Creek, Burns Basin, and Fourth of July Creek. Approximately 7,500 acres will be treated.

Helicopter and work crews will be staging at various locations including Sheep Creek, Trail Gulch, Donnelly Gulch, near the mouth of Wagonhammer Creek, and along Fourth of July Creek. For safety, fall recreationists are urged to avoid these areas while helicopters and crews are working.

Maps of the treatment areas and staging areas are available at the Forest Service and Fish and Game offices in Salmon, as well as posted at various community locations.

The primary purpose is to reduce the fine fuels created by the invasion of non-native annual grasses, especially cheatgrass. Fall is the best time to spray since most cheatgrass seeds sprout in the fall and are susceptible to low rates of herbicide that won’t harm native grasses and forbs.

These areas provide key big game winter and spring range for bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer and pronghorn. Native bunchgrasses necessary to the winter survival of big game animals do not thrive when forced to compete with cheatgrass or other non-native invasive annual grasses. When winter habitat burns, invasive annual grasses become even more predominate. Cheatgrass, which is not native to North America, thrives under disturbance such as fire. Since cheatgrass is highly flammable, this skews the natural fire cycle and increases the likelihood of more fire.

Aerial seeding of native grasses is also planned for late fall, which is the ideal time since fall moisture and cooler temperatures encourage grass seed to sprout. This gives young plants a chance to establish a strong root system before hot, dry summer conditions arrive the following June. The seeding project is a partnership between Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Salmon-Challis National Forest, and Idaho Fish and Game.

(Photo source: Idaho Fish and Game)

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Bowhunter Finds Fellow Bowhunter Missing Since 1968

A bowhunter discovered the remains of another hunter who disappeared in the mountains of eastern Idaho more than half a decade earlier.

“It’s pretty wild, ain’t it? You have another bowhunter looking for a shortcut who stumbled upon a bowhunter from 53 years ago,” Steve Penner, Lemhi County sheriff told the Eastern Idaho News. “The hunter was seeking a shortcut from one hunting area to another when he found human remains and then contacted the sheriff’s office.”

Penner said Raymond Jones, then 39 years of age from Salmon, went hunting in 1953 near the east fork of Hayden Creek in Lemhi County with others but disappeared. A search party of about 70 people including dogs and a helicopter could not find him. They eventually gave up the search because of wintry conditions.

Eastern Idaho News reports sheriff deputies found part of Jones’ wallet among the remains that included his identification. His wife is still alive.

Lemhi County is about 130 miles northwest of Idaho Falls.

(Photo source: U.S. Forest Service)

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Bowhunter Shot, Killed by Black Powder Hunter in Tragic Incident

An elk hunter from Pennsylvania faces a charge of criminally negligent homicide after shooting a bowhunter from Houston, Texas. It happened in the San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado.

Authorities say the hunting partner of Ronald Morosko tried to call in an elk when Morosko allegedly thought he saw an elk and fired his muzzleloader. Instead of an animal, his shot struck and killed Gregory Gabrish, a bowhunter who was not with them.

According to the arrest warrant and as reported by the Durango Herald, Dolores County Sheriff Don Wilson said, “Basic hunting knowledge (is) to identify what your target is and beyond before shooting the gun. Ronald Morosko did fall below the standard of care by failing to properly identify his target, resulting in the shooting of a person.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife released a statement calling the shooting a “tragic incident.”

Hunters with rifles are required to wear fluorescent orange clothing while archery hunters are not. Gabrish did not wear hunter orange. The incident happened in a place and during a time of the hunting season where black powder and archery hunting are both allowed.

“A key principle of hunter education is to be sure of your target and what is beyond it before you aim or take a shot. If not 100% sure, do not aim or take the shot,” John Livingston, CPW spokesperson, told the Durango Herald.

Morosko went to jail and is scheduled to appear in a Colorado court.

(Photo source: San Juan National Forest)

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Latest Excise Tax Snapshot Shows How Hunting Is Conservation

The latest data distributed by the Wildlife Management Institute shows excise taxes on guns and ammunition generated $834.7 million for conservation through the first three quarters of FY2021.

Established in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act placed an excise tax on guns, ammunition and archery equipment with the funding generated specifically earmarked for conservation work. Over those 84 years, P-R funding totals more than $14.1 billion. Excise tax deposits amount to roughly 50 percent of state wildlife agencies’ budgets.

Looking at the latest numbers, funding is up across the board in each collection category. Comparing the first three quarters of 2021 to 2020, pistols and firearms taxes are up 158 percent, firearms increased by 130 percent, shells and cartridges are up 113 percent and there are 89 and 81 percent increases respectively for arrow shafts and archery equipment.

State wildlife agencies also rely on dollars generated by hunting license and fees to carry out wildlife management, research, land protection, public access and other conservation work.

(Photo source: Nevada Department of Wildlife & graphic source: Wildlife Management)

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RMEF Helps Young Oregon Trapshooters

Just two years after starting its program, the Mountain View High School (MVHS) finished third at the Oregon State High School Clay Target League’s state championships. The club got off the ground thanks to support from the school, students, the community and sponsors that offered financial support.

“Nosler, Oregon Health Authority, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Deschutes County Sherriff’s Office have all been great to work with and very supportive of the team,” Kim Hurt, MVHS head coach, told the Source Weekly.

MVHS is in Bend, Oregon, but its clay target club actually includes students in grades 6-12 from different schools in the immediate area. It is booming in popularity with 49 participants, eight of which are girls. When COVID shut down most all other extracurricular activities, the club doubled in size. And the students who hone their shotgun skills, love it.

“It’s unique from a lot of the other sports. If you play basketball or soccer you’re competing as a team, but with trap, you’re competing as a team but also independently,” Tanner Varcoe, MVHS sophomore, told the Source Weekly.

Club officials place a heavy emphasis on safety, education, teambuilding and competition.

(Photo source: Mountain View High School Clay Target Club)

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