Cutting Edge Shooting Skills & Hunting Movies!
Here's how a Slope-Shot and Cut Chart will make you a better hunter. Plus, a story on Hunting films on the Big Screen!--By Will Brantley & Stephanie Mallory
Though most hunters have read about, and probably experienced, the effects of steep angles on arrow and bullet trajectory, few understand what effects shooting up and down hills, mountains and even from treestands can have on their projectiles. Many understand that to compensate for uphill or downhill angles, they need to "aim low" either way, but a comprehensive knowledge of angles and the right gear will help all hunters become better sportsmen.
For the hunter thumping whitetails from a treestand in the hardwoods of the East, compensating for the downhill angle is relatively simple. Generally, when a deer is at 15 yards and the treestand is 20 feet high, a slightly low hold will result in a crimson arrow and a good blood trail, provided the hunter does his or her part.
FOR MOUNTAIN TERRAIN
Things get a little more complicated for hunters spotting, stalking and shooting up and down steep inclines in the Rocky Mountains of northeastern Utah. In rugged country such as this, where long-range shots are the norm, hunters need to be conscious of compensating for angles. Shots can vary from a 5- or 10-degree slope to a 60-degree slope down the side of a mountain.
So, how much difference is in the effect of a 35-degree downhill angle on a projectile and a 40-degree uphill angle on a projectile? Well, memorizing all those angles and the effects they have on an arrow or bullet's trajectory and point of impact is a mind-boggling prospect--and it's dang near impossible. But with a simple set of numbers organized in an easy-to-read "Cut Chart" from OAT hunting and archery products, memorizing those numbers isn't necessary. Just as long-range riflemen have kept ballistics charts handy to compensate for bullet drop at great distances, hunters in mountainous areas are wise to carry a Cut Chart in conjunction with a good rangefinder and Slope-Shot device to accurately place their shot in the kill zone.
MORE ON THE CHART
The archery Cut Chart provides the groundwork for accurately making any reasonable shot from a steep angle. Using the Slope-Shot inclinometer attached to the side of a rangefinder, available through OAT (getoat.com), hunters first determine the distance to the animal with the rangefinder and the degree of slope with the inclinometer. Using this information, the hunter then references his Cut Chart, evaluates the compensation that needs to be made, and takes or declines the shot.
For example, let's say you've made a killer stalk (yes, pun intended) on a big muley bedded on the side of a mountain. You've closed the distance to within 44 yards, but the buck is lying on a small mountain terrace and you're above him on the mountain. After ranging the animal, a quick check with your Slope-Shot reveals the angle of the mountain is 40 degrees. At that distance and downhill angle, the Cut Chart reveals that you aim at the buck as if it were a 33-yard shot.
The standard chart is a good starting point for most bow setups. It's been configured by OAT through a computer program using a 400-grain carbon arrow traveling along at 250 feet per second (fps). And if hunters want an exact chart for a specific setup, simply check out the OAT Web site, send in your numbers and they will create a custom chart specific to a particular bow. Rifle and muzzleloader charts are also available, although at bullet speeds, the charts are much more standardized.
The Slope-Shot is a necessary piece of equipment if you want to use your Cut Chart effectively. Based on inclinometers skiers use to judge avalanche and skiing risks on mountains, the folks at OAT developed the Slope-Shot for hunters who have to take angles into mind before releasing an arrow or pulling a trigger.
"Originally, some of the guys with Full Moon Productions (FMP) were using ski inclinometers for hunting," said David Anderson, owner/general manager of OAT. "But they had to turn their heads or their rangefinders to get a reading on the angle. Our Slope-Shot has a button to press to lock in the reading (so the hunter can lower the rangefinder and still get an accurate reading of the slope's angle)."
The FMP crew is known for making some incredible stalks and shots on record Utah mule deer. Cut Charts and inclinometers, including the Slope-Shot, have been critical to their success.
The FMP crew is known for making some incredible stalks and shots on record Utah mule deer.
"The distance to an animal on a slope is the hypotenuse of the angle," said Anthony Dixon, part of the FMP staff. "A rangefinder gives you the true distance, but not always the correct point-of-aim distance."
Though there are uses for the Slope-Shot and Cut Charts for Eastern hunters, particularly those hunting in rugged Appalachian country, Dixon believes the true value of the setup lies in those planning a hunt out West. After all, many big-game opportunities are only available west of the Mississippi River.
"If you were going to come out West and spend some money on a hunt, it would be worth it to investigate the slope meter and Cut Chart," Dixon said. "It's giving valuable information to someone coming out here and possibly spending several thousand dollars. The system is very inexpensive, so you might as well learn how to use it." --By Will Brantley
OAT offers two versions of the Slope-Shot -- the original SS1 version and a more streamlined SS2 version. The SS2 retails for $25.
For more information please visit http://www.ridgerunneroutfittersllc.com
FMP: CUTTING-EDGE HUNTING MOVIES--By Stephanie Mallory
With Realtree as a sponsor, Full Moon Productions is changing the face of hunting as you know it through the production of edgy hunting movies that promise to offer sportsmen and women a new level of on-screen entertainment centered around the hunt.
"The hunting is real, but we follow a story line to provide some additional entertainment," says Anthony Dixon, founder of Full Moon Productions. "We produce movies, not just hunting shows."
Full Moon's newest movie, "The Ride," actually follows a script. With $25,000 on the table, the FMP team, consisting of eight hunters, has to enter the Utah high country and take the elusive mule deer. The ultimate goal is to out smart the opponent -- man's mind against animal's. "The Ride" features many exciting mule deer hunts, a moose kill and bonus footage of a single coyote taking down a young buck just feet from the hunter and cameraman.
CUTTING EDGE MEETS CONTROVERSY
According to Dixon, The Ride is both controversial and cutting edge. The fact that hunters in the movie take what many may consider long-distance shots has created some controversy, but according to Dixon, with today's technology, long-distance shots can be made more accurately than ever.
"I use the term 'cutting edge' to refer to how we build our movies," Dixon says. "We use a very technical aspect of shooting as well as unique and different camera angles. 'The Ride' is shot more on a Hollywood level."
Full Moon's first movie, "Three Sixty," showcases the Full Moon team hunting public land mule deer in the high country of the Rocky Mountains.
"This movie features all archery action and no guides," Dixon says. "It's just a group of friends with $35 tags in their pockets, miles of open mountain range and the will to tackle the steep terrain and the smarts of the mule deer."
Producing hunting movies has allowed Dixon to turn two of his passions, hunting and filming, into a career. Although he enjoyed hunting throughout his youth, Dixon just recently returned to the woods as a hunter after traveling the world as a professional extreme skier for seven years during which time he also worked on his skills as a cameraman and producer. When he returned home and picked up his bow again, his love for the sport was immediately rekindled.
"I've learned a lot about navigating the mountains since moving to Utah several years ago, and it has made the transition to hunting easy," Dixon says. "It didn't take long for me to decide that I wanted to pursue a career in hunting. Making movies about hunting just seemed like a natural pursuit. Using my knowledge of filming and photography that I acquired during my career as a professional skier, I started Full Moon Productions in 2000."
Dixon jokes that it took him and his team a year just to figure out how to turn the camera on.
"For the past several years, we've struggled to perfect our movie footage," Dixon says. "We've had to overcome a lot of obstacles, but our hard work has paid off. Now, the industry wants us to make a movie every year. People enjoy what we're putting out there. Our movies are different and entertaining."
AN UNDERGROUND FAN BASE
Thanks to the growing popularity for the hunting movies, the future is wide open for Dixon and the rest of the Full Moon Productions team.
"Right now, we have an underground following, and I enjoy that part of it, but I have bigger plans for this company," Dixon says. "We make movies, so they don't really fit into the hunting TV show market. I hope that one day our movies will be featured in theaters in certain parts of the country. One day, I hope to go mainstream."