I caught up with two Outdoor Channel celebrities, Jon and Gina Brunson, who co-host “Addicted to the Outdoors,” this past weekend during Cabela’s Archery Classic event. The Brunsons, who travel about the country chasing big game — primarily bow hunting — have lots of tips to offer both the seasoned and unseasoned archery hunters when it comes to preparation.
“If I was to tell people what to do leading up (to) the season is first, they should be shooting all year long and not just before the season starts,” says J. Brunson. “They should shoot-shoot-shoot and not stop. I still have that emotional excitement you get when you see a buck. But, I really get excited afterwards. I guess, like most guys, I’m able to control it before the shot, and sometimes after the arrow is released, you don’t even remember the shot. Shooting and practicing helps you to overcome that nervousness where you’re on autopilot when taking the shot.”
But, at what distances should hunters practice. Some hunters feel if they can consistently maintain tight groups of arrows in the bull’s-eye at 20 to 25-yards, they’re good to go. Others take it to the extreme and shoot from elevated positions in their backyard until they could hit a gnat off the nose of their 3-D deer targets.
Brunson offers, “If you’re used to shooting out to 30-yards, shoot 50. You’d be surprised how much of a better shooter it will make you at 30. It helps your concentration, when those deer are closer and nervousness may cause you to shoot over the back of a deer.
Another piece of advice Brunson recommended to hunters when sighting their bows for the upcoming season and practicing is not to rely on targeting field tips so much but instead be sure to use broad heads in the mix.
“We find that not all arrows shoot the same, especially when shooting the broad heads you’re going to use when hunting deer,” Brunson cautioned. “We recommend hunters to practice with broad heads. In fact we will number our arrows and broad heads and stick the best ones that fly straight and hit the mark in the case, when we go on trips. When we get a bad one, we’ll toss it out.”
G. Brunson says she is just the opposite of her husband when it comes to the excitement of seeing a big deer.
Referring to her husband and comparing herself, G. Brunson said, “He is great about not getting excited. I’m horrible. I’m like — I’ll be up there in the tree stand shaking — but, when you’re excited and the adrenalin’s pumping, you just completely forget. So, I don’t do anything different than my husband does. It’s all about getting out there and practicing and making sure you take that time to practice. The more you practice, its automatic pilot. If you’re a lady, you have to practice extra hard.”
G. Brunson, who according to her husband is an official 4-foot, 11¾ inches tall, says the size of the bow isn’t necessarily as important as being sure individuals are fitted for proper draw length. Additionally, hunters should work their way up to the poundage they are comfortable with.
G. Brunson said, “I pull a 55-lb. bow, but I started out at 30. A good thing that Jon taught me is if I can’t sit down and pull my bow, then it’s too heavy and you have to back it down. It’s just a way of making sure you practice a lot, so you can build your muscles in your back and arm. So, we tell people all the time, ‘If you can’t sit down and pull your bow, being a woman, then it’s too much.’”
The Florida couple is also parents to six children, ranging in ages 8 to 19 years old. Both Brunsons come from large families. G. Brunson mentions in their bio that by age 18, she shared her house with 250 foster children cared for by her parents. And, both have enjoyed watching their children grow up learning and sharing a love for the outdoors as they have.
J. Brunson said, “Big whitetails are my passion. If I had to give it all up, but one thing, I’d keep the whitetails.”
For more information about the Brunsons and viewing times for their program, go to www.addictedtotheoutdoors.com
If you wish to make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story to share, you can contact John K. Flores at (985) 395-5586 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.