It was in Connecticut where Donnie grew up that his love of wildlife and hunting really developed. Snapping turtles, leopard frogs and garter snakes instilled his passion for exploration and biology; he couldn’t get enough books about them or all the other animals of the world, however, it was his father’s stories of hunting northern Maine and his collection of Jack O’Connor books that inspired him most. Those stories of mountain hunts, grizzly bears, pack trains, and hunters taping out their dall sheep horns by lantern; it was all he ever wanted to do.
During college, Donnie continued to follow his passion and studied Wildlife Biology where he received an opportunity to study Bengal tigers in Bangladesh and Nepal. He found the travel, the element of danger and the exposure to new cultures and wildlife intoxicating.
Donnie went on to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska collecting genetic and age class samples of Pacific salmon. Long summers living in a 1-person backpacking tent through all the Alaska weather and wildlife; he lived for it! These adventures inspired Donnie as a hunter and fisherman to explore the world.
Today Donnie is driven by his own adventures if for no other reason than to find and share his own great stories.
Donnie Vincent's 650 Grain Challenge
I've researched many arrows over the years and while I did occasionally switch my system looking for a better mousetrap, I would always end up back where I started with my typical setup, 340’s tipped with 100gr broadheads. The total weight was around 350 grains and the FOC was less than 10%.
I wasn't familiar with GrizzlyStik arrows until November of 2013. I was hunting brown bears on Kodiak Island with Cole Kramer. One night at dinner he casually asked what I thought of GrizzlyStik arrows. It was odd that we didn't talk about them before the hunt… I mean when it’s an archery brown bear hunt, trust me, you talk about arrows, but Cole just assumed that I had known about them. To tell you the truth, at this point I thought they were more for traditional archers.
My real education came once we were back in town and one of Cole’s friends, a local doctor, had just shot a really great mountain goat. The shot was less than perfect, but still the goat died really fast!! Naturally, the conversation turned toward what arrow he was using and he emphatically celebrated that they were GrizzlyStiks. At that very moment one of the photographers that I work with asked why I didn’t use them… I said, “Oh, those are for traditional shooters” to which the doctor quickly pointed out just how wrong I was…and here we are!
After all this, I was quite interested to learn more. I had read about trying to get arrows up to 650 grains, but that sounded too extreme to me, I was thinking maybe 500. I hunt a lot of mountains and open terrain for sheep, caribou, bears, goats and my biggest concern was with shooting distance and how forgiving the arrow would be at long distances regarding trajectory.
Donnie used the GrizzlyStik 650 system to take this BC Mountain Caribou
I called Garrett at GrizzlyStik and we talked through what might work for me and I tried a few different spines settling on 460 grain arrows, with 200 grain broadheads; a total weight of 660grains and about 21% FOC! I am still testing, but my initial results have been quite awesome. My bow is incredibly stable at the shot and it’s so quiet that people look at me when I’m shooting league wondering why my bow doesn’t really make noise. And when the arrows hit the target it’s with noticeable force and penetration. They are flying beautifully and are fantastically stable in flight. They were easy to tune, in fact I don’t think we touched a thing. So far I haven’t tested beyond 35 yards, but out to 35 you will start smashing nocks if you’re not careful. If I had to complain about one element, if you’re forcing me to, it’s that I hate pulling these things out of the target…I had to have my wife help me once!!
I am still testing so I haven’t shot at great distances yet. I live in WI and right now it’s still a hell of a winter! I’ll know more soon though as I’m taking these arrows to B.C. on a coastal black bear hunt. When I get to it I’ll report back with distance, and wind effect tests - but for now I’m not worried.
So far I couldn’t be happier. I’ll be astonished if I don’t shoot these arrows right up until I’m done hunting, which will be shortly after my death. :)
As an archer we are introduced to a myriad of products, even more so as a compound shooter as there are infinite possibilities as to how to set up your bow and what to shoot. As conservationists and hunters it’s our responsibility to kill the animal as quickly and humanely as possible. I can now say unequivocally that I feel I am shooting the very best set up for quick killing, especially for when the shot doesn't go as planned!
If you're worried that heavy arrows won't shoot well for you, just try them! Stop listening to everyone else and all the noise and just shoot them. And do the math...the principles of physics are tough to argue. Donnie Vincent
650 Challenge Update-
It’s now almost the end of June 2014 and as I’m preparing my gear and myself for an august mountain caribou/dall sheep hunt I thought I’d give an update on my “650 Challenge”. I last left the challenge preparing for a coastal black bear hunt that would stand as my second actual hunt test with the GrizzlyStiks, while Nebraska long beards would be the first.
I know what you’re thinking, turkeys aren’t much of a test, but trust me they are tough animals, and the target is very small. On the second morning I arrowed a really big tom from a hillside maybe 20 yards away but he was severely quartering away. The arrow went through his onside femur (completely shattering the entire bone), through the entire ribcage and blew out the other side in a flash, and kept going! The results were devastating and great for my confidence as I was headed to B.C. the next week.
I’ll keep the report of my B.C. hunt relatively short as you’ll have to wait for the film, but it was on the second evening that I would get my chance. We were on the exposed Pacific coast, extremely steep gnarly country and the bear we were watching on the beach was big! I slipped into about 25 yards over the next hour or so, and as the bear turned quartering away I rose to my knees and came to full draw. The arrow entered the bear mid ribcage and exited the back crease of the far front leg, again devastating results. He would die in mere seconds and traveled maybe 5 yards, no growling. Nothing. The guides said it was the fastest they have seen one of these big bears die from rifle or bow. I’d report on the condition of the arrow but the 5 of us looked for over an hour and couldn’t find it.
So far so good… Donnie Vincent