Today is Sunday, June 25, 2017

My, how it has changed

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I got this double one hot afternoon with the crossbow.

The weather has been a big factor in our archery season, so far. By hunting the cold fronts, I have managed to kill three does but the hot weather that followed the cold fronts kept me from putting out a lot of effort.

BTW- I am a real fan of the Wasp Dueler broadheads. They are doing a great job out of the TenPoint crossbow.

I was thinking about this today, thought I'd write it down. Might be of interest for some of you who may be new to the game, seeing as how this weekend is the Young Sportsman hunt and it looks as though the weather might cooperate.

Jim, had a lemonwood bow with no brand name he got somewhere and I had an old Bear recurve. We had started fooling around with them, using cedar, mismatched arrows and hitting rocks, as many times as we hit our targets. In Converse County, WY it was easy to hit a rock. Neither of us had hunted with a bow. Their ranch was just over 20,000 acres so we had plenty of room to hunt. Today, it is one of the stellar antelope ranches in WY.

We finished gathering a small bunch of cattle that morning in 1968, and I commented on how many deer I had seen in the draws around the stock tanks.

Jim said we should go hunting...with our bows! Neither of us had ever shot at anything but jackrabbits and we had never hit one. After a couple more beers, it became a great idea so we went into Douglas and bought three broadheads each. We also bought two arrows each.

It was sometime in October, one of the fantastic Wyoming fall days with the trees turning, the sage scenting the air and just cool enough to be comfortable.

I put on my hunting clothes-old Wranglers, a brown shirt and comfortable, soft Tony Lamas.

The plan was simple. One would go to the head of a draw, tie the horses and one would get off at the mouth. We would slowly work our way down toward each other. I strung my bow, stuck a spare arrow in the piece of foam I used for a quiver and tied it to my belt. The other arrow I carried in my hand. Talk about fancy equipment.

I had gone about 100-yards when a doe hopped out in front of me and stopped to look back. Mule deer will do that on ranches where they are not often shot. Since I had no sights and shot instinctively, distance didn't matter. I drew and released. The arrow took her just a tad far back and she pogoed off into the cover. I guess she was about 40-yards.

There was a lot of blood and the trail was easy to follow. I had gone maybe 75-yards when I heard Jim yell, "Did you shoot one?" I answered that I had and he yelled back, "Well here she lays."

That was my first deer with a bow. I estimate there have been around 300 since then. Over the years, I shot a lot of bows. My first compound was a fixed, 55-pound pull American. Then came a Martin Warthog. By then I was well enough known, I did not have to buy a bow and haven't bought one since. About eight years ago, I was practicing in the yard and heard something crack when I drew. It was not the bow. I knew on that day, my shooting vertical bows was over. X-rays confirmed it and so did the surgery.

And my how bows have changed. Not only do they cost about what my truck cost in 1968, they don't favor nuthin like archery stuff. But, it doesn't matter, my days of shooting a vertical bow were over.

I called two friends, one at Horton, one at TenPoint and I was back bowhunting. But it sure has changed for me, too. There are advantages to a crossbow, three to be exact.

(1) You don't have to draw.

(2) You don't have to practice.

(3)You don't have to quit bowhunting due to age or infirmity.

There are no other advantages but there are plenty of disadvantages. I have killed either 24 or 25 deer with a crossbow, (three this year,) and I have missed more than

I think I would have with a compound, (one this year). But I am still bowhunting. It was a lot of fun when it was simple. Well, I guess, truth told, it still is.

But I still won't use a trail camera. I prefer scouting.
Remember, the Young Sportsman hunt is this weekend. Youths, 16 and under, in the company of a responsible adult can have the woods to themselves

Saturday and Sunday. Go get 'em kids and have fun.

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com

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