You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers—and if we don’t, we’ll make ’em up. Every day fellow MeatEaters send us more than 100 emails and direct messages. Some are excellent questions, and we have to think really hard (or get really creative) to answer them. So, we decided to publish a series of our favorite FAQs. We’re here to help you become better hunters, anglers, cooks, and conservationists, so talk to us, ask us anything, and let us know what we got wrong. This week, we’re opining about archery release choices, the advantages of fly fishing, and our favorite turkey hunting states.
The archery release market is kind of overwhelming. What style is best? -James, Alabama
Your options are a wrist-strap trigger release or one of the three kinds of handheld releases: thumb, back-tension, and hinge. All of these have their time and place.
Back tension and hinge releases don’t have an external trigger. They launch the arrow based off of tension and hand position, making it difficult to rush the shot or “punch the trigger.” These releases are mostly used as training aids and for competition shooting, although some hunters use them in the field. They’re meant to build perfect shot sequence, allowing the shooter to focus on their target while pulling through the shot with tension from their back muscles.
A thumb release, while still handheld, has a trigger activated by your thumb. You’ll have the same hand positioning and shot sequence as with a back tension or hinge release, maintaining target-style accuracy while still having the ability to change up or shorten your shot sequence in a hunting situation.
The wrist strap finger trigger style is tried-and-true and probably the most popular among hunters. This trigger allows you to release an arrow with your index finger much like you’d fire a gun. Many shooters find the position of this release to be more natural, comfortable, and easier to control in the field. If you’re just starting out, the wrist strap finger trigger release is probably the best choice. -Joe Ferronato
I see you guys do both fly and conventional fishing in your shows. Is fly fishing ever more effective or is it just fun to do? -Will, Florida
In a word, yes. Conventional gear is designed to cast a weighted lure on a weightless line. Fly casting relies on a weighted line to deliver a weightless (or lightly weighted) lure. As a result, fly anglers can throw lures with very little mass.
Say you’re fishing for trout that are feeding on floating insects. Good luck hucking a size 16 mayfly imitation with your ultralight spinning rod. Fly gear also shines when you want a presentation that lands like a feather, not a grenade. This is why fly fishing works for bonefish and other neurotic saltwater species that feed over shallow, clear flats and spook at the slightest splash.
Bottom line, in most fishing circumstances, conventional gear is more effective, but we think anglers should be proficient in all kinds of fishing. That way, you can fish however you want, whether it’s deadly effective or just fun to do. -Miles Nolte
Next spring I plan on traveling beyond the borders of my home state to turkey hunt for the first time. What’s your favorite state and species to turkey hunt? -Ken, Iowa
Let me just first say that I’ve never had a bad time turkey hunting, no matter the subspecies or the state. If I had to pick just one scenario though, it would mean a choice between two very different experiences: hunting Merriam’s in South Dakota and Easterns in the swamps of Louisiana.
To me, the deciding factor in choosing where I’d rather go presents the ultimate fork in the road. Do I want to travel the easy way or the hard way? The purist in me wants to get my ass kicked. Just about every time I’ve sidled up near a rope-dragger perched in a Spanish moss-covered tree, he’s gobbled on the roost and then pitched down into silence. To add insult to injury, he always gobbles back as he’s going away.
On the other hand, the birds in South Dakota with the white tips on their tail feathers almost never seem to reject my advances. Belly crawl up to any open area of the grasslands in the south-central portion of the state and it takes little more than holding up a feather to get the birds to charge out of the ponderosa pines.
In the end, I guess it’s just the mood I’m in at the time. Right now, I’d rather hunt a bird with a PhD. So, I’d be headed to Cajun Country. -Ben O’Brien
Feature image via John Hafner.