Last week’s article about the slain hunting dogs surely struck a nerve with many of you. My inbox was packed with responses, which I forwarded to Mister Strong and his stepson Hunter. And to each of you who took a moment to write in and express your sympathies for the Strong family, we thank you.
This week, I’ve no new information to share about their case, but as developments arise, I promise to keep you all posted.
For now, I think I’d like to talk about one of my real passions; archery and bowhunting. You see, I began learning to shoot a bow when I was only about five or six years old. It was a tiny fiberglass thing made by Bear Archery called a Sun Bear. It had been a gift to my father, for me, from Fred Bear himself. Forty-plus years later, I’d give anything to have that tiny bow back.
I learned to shoot with that tiny bow, but I also learned stalking and hunting techniques I still employ today. I stalked up on countless squirrels, robins, doves and rabbits and sometimes I’d get lucky and get a shot off. And on rare occasions, I’d even make a kill which my dad or grandad would help me clean and prepare for the table and my mom or grandma would somehow incorporate it into the evening meal for me.
My equipment and skills have come a long way since then. I’ve bowhunted from one end of this country to the next and back again using some of the finest equipment available. But lately, I have a yearning for simplicity and have put down all of my hi-tech archery equipment and gone old school. Back to the basics the way I learned and the way bowhunters have taken their game for centuries. I’ve gone traditional and am loving it.
Last season was the first bow season in which I hunted entirely in the old ways. I would like to encourage all of you to try it as well. It forces greater patience and closer encounters by bringing you well under twenty yards to your quarry. The up close and personal aspect is what mostly appeals to me. It takes every bit of skill as a woodsman and hunter to bring you to within spitting distance of wild game.
The old wooden bows with wooden arrows, fletched from the wings of turkeys I hunted and killed last Spring, have a great feel to them. They connect me back to my ancestors and I’ve always been one to long for the past. I don’t see the need for us to give up our skills in favor of technology. The hunt is more personal to me than that. I take greater pride in the accomplishment; but, to be sure I’m not belittling any other weapon of the hunt. I still use firearms for meat acquisition, but when the hunt matters more than the meat, I’ll pick up my old wooden bow.
For those of you who may be inspired to try the old ways and would like to know more or just join me on a hunt sometime, or if you have any questions or comments on today’s column, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]