Thursday, May 28, 2009

Throwback Thursday

I've been hunting for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my dad would take me bird hunting with him. We would occasionally go deer hunting, whenever a friend or relative would invite us to hunt on their property or lease, but we primarily just bird hunted - mainly for dove. I always wanted to do more deer hunting, but there just weren't that many opportunities.

Right after high school, a new archery season was implemented in the county I grew up in, which historically didn't have a deer season at all. I decided I wanted a bow, but I really didn't know anything about archery equipment. For my 19th birthday, my parents and I went to the old Barrett's Sporting Goods in Denison, Texas to look for a bow. As it turned out, the store was no longer going to carry any archery products and they were in the process of liquidating all of their remaining archery equipment. There was one lonely bow still on the shelf - a Bear Super 45 model with no accessories whatsoever. This was in the 90's, and most compound bows at the time were selling for around $300. The sporting goods manager said they would take $75 for it. My dad made a quick phone call to a friend that was a big-time archery hunter, and he said that it would make a good starter bow and that was a good price for it, so they bought it for me. Another friend heard I got the bow and told me to bring it over to his house and he would help me get it set up. He hooked me up with one of his old pin sights, an arrow rest, and one of his old bow cases. I bought some aluminum arrows and a release, so I was pretty much ready to go!

I practiced in the back yard quite a bit and even went deer hunting with the bow several times over the next three years, but never had an opportunity to take a shot at a deer. I never really got serious about bowhunting and continued to primarily rifle hunt, and I harvested a couple deer with my rifle during that time. The bow sat in it's case for several years, untouched.

In 2004 several of my coworkers were really into archery hunting, and they convinced me to get the old bow back out and give it another try. I took the bow to an archery shop and had a new string put on it, as well as a new sight. The other guys at work and I would spend our lunch break practicing with our bows, shooting at 3-D archery targets out behind the office. I really started getting into the whole archery thing, and I really wanted to get a brand new bow. After all, mine was about 15 years old at this point. (Just a side note - The advancement of archery equipment could be compared to that of computers over the last two decades, so my old Bear compound bow would be equivalent to that old, bulky, green-screen computer monitor that is now so outdated.)

But I didn't feel right buying a new bow when I had never harvested a deer with this one. So I made a promise to myself - I was going to hunt with this bow until I got a deer, no matter how long it took. Then, I could justify buying a new bow.

I realized how hard bowhunting actually is! I actually drew the bow on deer a couple times, but spooked them both times. I thought it would never happen, but I hung in there. On December 22, 2006, at about 4:30 that afternoon, 4 does walked under my treestand. I picked out one of the bigger ones, tried to calm my nerves, and I loosed an arrow. It was a perfect quartering away shot that made a complete pass-through. The doe ran about a hundred yards and went down. I've been hooked ever since! I haven't picked up my rifle since then, as the experience of bowhunting is so much more gratifying than rifle hunting. I've since gotten a new bow, which I might have to talk about in another post.

First Archery Deer - December 22, 2006

Don't forget to submit your guess at the score of the whitetail in the post below. I will be posting the results in the next few days, or sooner, as it seems there are some people that are really anxious to find out how they did.

1 comment:

Deer Passion said...

I love this story! I'm always impressed by people who step outside of their comfort zone and try something new - I think mostly because trying new things is extremely hard for me.

You must have quite the job to practice outside on your lunch break! I bet it was a good way to relieve some work-related stress, tho!