Billy ‘Catfish’ Parker’s Greatest Hunts and His Favorite PSE Bow
PSE’s Billy “Catfish” Parker Explains Why You Should Practice the 100-Yard Shot Today to Successfully Make the 70-Yard Shot Tomorrow
Editor’s Note: Professional hunter Billy “Catfish” Parker co-hosts the “Hank Parker 3D” television show with his dad, Hank Parker, Sr., and his brother Hank, Jr. The Parkers travel the world hunting deer and other game for their TV show. When your livelihood depends on your ability to shoot a bow accurately and take game swiftly, you have to hunt with the best products that fit you best and meet your needs. For Billy Parker, that bow is the PSE X-Force Omen, and this week, he’ll tell us why.
Question: Billy, how long have you hunted with PSE bows?
Parker: This is the third season that Dad, Hank Jr., and I have hunted with PSE bows.
Question: What bow did you shoot last season, and which bow will you shoot this season?
Parker: Last year, I shot the PSE X-Force Omen, and this season, I’ll be shooting the X-Force Omen Pro. I like these bows, because they have a lot of speed. I like to shoot a heavy arrow, and since this bow is fast, I can shoot a heavier arrow. I’m willing to sacrifice speed to be able to shoot a heavier arrow. I prefer to have a lot of kinetic energy going to the animal when I touch the release. I shoot a Swhacker Broadhead, which has a 2-1/4-inch cut. I wanted a bow and arrow that would allow that broadhead to blow through both sides of the deer.
Question: How heavy is the arrow you shoot?
Parker: I shoot about 440 grain PSE Radial X Weave Arrows and Shafts. I use a variety of releases, including Carter, T.R.U. Ball and Tru-Fire.
Question: What’s the furthest you’ve taken a deer with your PSE bow?
Parker: I’ve shot deer in the 70-yard range, but remember that we’re consistently practicing out to 100 yards. So, when you have confidence that you can make a 100-yard shot and deliver the arrow on target, a 70-yard shot won’t be difficult.
Question: Your dad, Hank, Sr., mentioned that on a recent Coues deer hunt, your guide told you, “If you can’t shoot your bow accurately at 100 yards, don’t bother coming on this hunt.” What did you learn from that hunt?
Parker: I learned that whether you have to take a 100- or a 30-yard shot, practicing at 100 yards gives you the confidence to take a shot longer than 30 yards. In the East, that sounds like a long shot, but I grew-up in the Carolinas where you’d rarely get a 40-yard shot, and most shots would be 25 yards or less. Because we travel across the country, we try to learn from all the archers we meet. The western hunters have taught us to practice at 100 yards, so we’ll have the confidence to make a 60-, a 70- or an 80-yard shot, if necessary. During the summer months is the best time to start practicing your long-distance shooting. If you can make shots from 70 to 100 yards, then a 40- or a 50-yard shot won’t be difficult, because you know that you not only have the skill to make that shot, but due to the hours you’ve practiced, you can make that shot extremely accurately. After I practiced at 100 yards and spent some time learning to shoot that distance, I was confident at the shorter ranges.
Question: Tell me about that Coues deer hunt.
Parker: Before I went on this hunt, I’d had shoulder surgery. So, I backed-down my bow to about 50 pounds. Shooting that light of poundage, I needed to get within 40 yards of the deer to take him. I made 14-different stalks on Coues deer, before I finally got to within 30 yards and was able to take one. This hunt was great. I didn’t even measure the antlers on the buck I took. I learned that any Coues deer taken with a bow and arrow is a trophy. This was my first Coues deer hunt, and I had a lot of fun and learned so much.
Billy Parker Takes His Biggest Buck with the PSE X-Force Omen
Question: Billy, tell us about another memorable deer you took with your PSE bow.
Parker: I had an extraordinary hunt in the 2009-2010 season in Iowa. On this hunt, I had an encounter with the biggest white-tailed buck I’d ever seen. Four days later, I saw this same buck again at 11:40 am, but I didn’t have the opportunity to draw my bow and take the shot until 3:05 pm. I never took my eyes off that deer during this time. This buck scored 185-5/8-inches. He was the biggest deer I’d ever taken and the biggest one I’d ever seen in the wild.
Question: How far was your shot?
Parker: The buck came to within 30 yards and presented the shot. This big, corn-fed Iowa buck had been living-off the agriculture around his home and putting-on more weight every year. The deer weighed 281 pounds and was an older buck. I first saw the buck at 60 to 80 yards, holding in thick brush. When the buck got to within 30 yards, I was able to make the shot with my PSE X-Force Omen. I got a complete pass-through with my Swhacker Broadhead. You know your bow has a lot of energy when you can get a complete pass-through on a deer that size.
Question: How far did the deer go after you arrowed him?
Parker: He went less than 100 yards, before he piled-up. I was really excited. This was a monstrous buck, and I was proud of not only the shot, but also of the performance of my bow, arrow and broadhead.
Billy Parker on the Power of the PSE X-Force Omen against Monster-Sized Elk
Question: Billy, you’ve taken an elk with your PSE bow, too, haven’t you?
Parker: Yes, I have. Elk hunting is one of my favorite forms of hunting. Each elk hunt is a great adventure, because the elk are really-big animals. Oftentimes elk are shot with a bow and not recovered, and no one likes it when that happens. But that’s the reality of the sport. The elk are so big and tough that getting a good hit on them often can be difficult. On this particular hunt, I was shooting the PSE X-Force Omen. I’d had several opportunities to take an elk on this hunt, but I passed on them, because I didn’t see the bull elk I wanted to take.
On the last day of the hunt, I found the biggest elk we’d seen on the entire hunt. I had the chance to make a good shot on the elk with my PSE X-Force Omen, and the elk only went 60 yards before he went-down. This elk scored between 310 and 320 points on Boone & Crockett. When you have a big animal you’re hunting, and you get a good shot, you want a bow with the force, the speed and the power to put-down that animal quickly. That’s how you can tell the test of a bow. When I saw that bull had gone down within 60 yards, I was proud of my PSE X-Force Omen and the power and the force it delivered.
Billy Parker Explains that the Hunt Doesn’t Have to Begin After You Release the Arrow
Question: Billy, tell us about one of the north Texas bucks you’ve taken with your PSE bow.
Parker: One of the main features I like about the PSE X-Force Omen is its knockdown power. A few years ago, the hunt began when you arrowed a deer. Then you might have had to follow that animal for several-hundred yards and still not find him. Or, you might have had to wait for several hours or even overnight before you could start blood-trailing a deer, if you didn’t have the speed, the power and the kinetic energy to quickly bring-down a buck. But now with all the new innovations from PSE not only in their bows, but also in their arrows, and with the new broadheads like the Swhacker, we can put-down a deer more quickly and dramatically reduce the recovery time. When I was hunting in north Texas, I had a buck quartering to me, which wasn’t considered a good shot, or at least it wasn’t in the past. The only shot the deer presented was a heart and shoulder shot. I had to take the shot, because other deer had alerted this buck, and he was getting ready to break out of the area where I was hunting. Once I took the shot, I was amazed at the force the PSE X-Force Omen was able to deliver and the hole that the Swhacker Broadhead put in the buck. The broadhead blew completely through the shoulder, hit the heart and came out the bottom of the buck’s stomach. We couldn’t make those shots with any type of confidence when I was younger and shooting different bows.
When we bowhunted several years ago, before Dad, Hank Jr., and I shot PSE bows and Swhacker Broadheads, the hunt would begin when you shot a deer with a bow. When I’d shoot a deer in those days, I’d call my dad, my brother and my uncle at the cabin, and they’d all come-down to where I’d made the shot. We’d be on hands and knees looking for blood. We’d have an all-day search to locate and recover that deer. In those days, I’d hope to shoot my deer in the morning. Then we could have all day to try to find him and not have to search for him at night. But today, PSE provides such great bows, and the Swhacker Broadhead delivers such cutting and penetrating power that we’re able to see the deer fall from our stand. Most of the time now when I arrow a buck, he won’t run more than 50 or 60 yards at the most. The changes in bowhunting equipment are incredible. Now, we have a hunting tool that not only allows us to be more accurate, but enables us to put-down game more quickly and drastically reduces the time required to recover a deer after it’s been arrowed.
Billy Parker on Why He Recommends PSE Bows and What He Sees in His Future
Question: Billy, why would you recommend PSE bows to other bowhunters?
Parker: When you consider a bow, you first want to look for a company with a long history in archery that’s been a part of the evolution of new innovations in the sport of bowhunting and field archery. The worst thing that can happen is to buy a really-cool bow today, and a year or two later when you’re having problems with it, learn that the company has gone out of business. PSE has withstood the test of time. The company has been innovative and continues to bring better bows to the market each year. The classic example is the X-Force Omen Pro. I love my X-Force Omen, but the X-Force Omen Pro is a step-up from that bow. I want to shoot the newest and the best bows on the market that will give me a better opportunity to be a more-efficient bowhunter. PSE has some great engineers who know what needs to be done to make bows better and to enable bowhunters to be better bowhunters. PSE also has a strong customer-support staff. If you want your bow to do something that it’s not doing, they can figure out how to help you make the bow do what you want it to do.
Also, many people overlook that Pete Shepley, the founder of PSE, is an avid bowhunter. So, when you bring-up a problem that you want PSE to solve, more than likely Shepley’s had that problem before and knows how to solve it. Because Shepley shoots the bows his company manufacturers, he wants to shoot the best bow that can be built. Shepley’s not a CEO who manages a company that builds products that he doesn’t use. PSE was founded because Shepley wanted to build the best bow he could possibly shoot, and in so doing, build the best bow that the rest of us could shoot. PSE’s products are hunting equipment built by people who hunt. They bring-in the technical help to refine and solve some common bowhunting problems to produce state-of-the-art archery tackle. They have the fastest and the smoothest bows on the market. Our family shoots PSE and uses PSE products on our TV show, so we don’t just tell you that PSE makes the best bows, you can see the performance of the bows on the shows we produce.
Question: How long have you been shooting TV shows?
Parker: Our TV show is a family affair, so as long as my dad, Hank, Sr., has been doing TV shows, I’ve been involved in TV and TV production. Our family has worked in this business, and we’ve had to sacrifice to stay in this business. This is our seventh year producing hunting TV shows, and Dad’s had his fishing TV show since 1984. So, we were raised on TV.
Question: What’s in the future for you?
Parker: I really don’t know. We take it one day at a time, but if I had to look into the future, I’d see myself and my family loading-up our equipment and going bowhunting somewhere.
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