|Mitch Leppelmeier (the one on the ground) helps Kevin Matty set up a tree stand outside the Mentor Public Library's Read House.|
It's difficult to glean 90 minutes of good advice (itself gleaned from decades of experience) into a few bullet points, but I'll do my best.
1. While the state of Ohio has both gun- and bow-hunting seasons, only bow hunting is legal in Mentor. (Here's a FAQ for deer-hunting laws in Mentor.) Consequently, Kevin Matty and Mitch Leppelmeier of Gander Mountain focused on bow hunting during their talk.
There are three types of bows: longbows (the kind you might see the elves of Mirkwood use,) compound bows and crossbows.
Mitch and Kevin both recommended crossbows for new hunters. It takes a lot more practice to become competent with a longbow or compound bow, they said.
Also, you don't need to be able to pull back 40 pounds of pressure with a crossbow (like you would with a compound bow.)
You can get a good crossbow starting at about $300, they said.
|Mitch and Kevin talk about the differences between a crossbow (left) and a compound bow.|
Consequently, Mitch and Kevin spent a lot of time talking about safety and tree stands.
"You don't just put a ladder up and sit on top. You want to be safe," Kevin said.
Whenever possible, have someone else help you set up your stand. It's a safer and easier job with two people.
When you're climbing up your stand, always maintain three points of contact. Out of your two hands and two feet, at least three of them should be on the ladder at all times. It doesn't matter much if you get up the stand three seconds faster. It matters a lot if you fall off while climbing.
Along those same lines, don't climb the stand with your bow in hand. Use a bow hoist to pull it up to you once you're situated on the stand.
Every new stand should come with a safety belt. (You can buy them too.) Use it! One you're atop the stand, strap yourself to the tree.
|Kevin demonstrates the strength of the strap on his tree stand.|
To hunt in Mentor, you need to pass an archery test; but, in general, you want to know what you're doing when you're up in that tree stand -- especially for the deer.
Kevin stressed that most hunters are conservationists, and part of the reason they hunt is because they want the deer herds to be healthy levels.
As conservationists, they want to hunt while causing the deer as little pain as possible. That means knowing where to aim on the deer and being able to put an arrow (or bolt) where you intend.
|The square on the deer's torso is where hunters should aim for the quickest, least painful death.|
The guys from the Gander Mountain store are always up for discussing hunting tactics or equipment.
Kevin and Mitch also recommended YouTube has a valuable source of information. Mitch said he learned how to field dress a deer from watching videos on YouTube.
For more information on deer hunting equipment and tactics, visit the Mentor Gander Mountain store's website. For more on the hunting laws in Mentor, here's a FAQ. For more programs and events at the Mentor Public Library, visit www.mentorpl.org.