Making the Leap…Finally Picking Up The Ol’ Stick And String
My brother was an archery prodigy. At twelve he was on the cover of the Matthews catalogue. A chubby cheeked tween, clad in camo, cradling a whitetail. By sixteen he was top five in the country and competing constantly. You could say it was his thing. I steered clear.
In my twenty’s I found bow hunting intriguing, but barely. A rifle seemed to do the trick just fine. In my thirty’s I became more dedicated when it came to hunting. With increased focus the allure of an extended season and close encounters with bugling elk became increasingly appealing.
However, the barriers to entry seemed large. I was intimidated by learning how to shoot. The level of practice required to hunt proficiently and ethically was more than I thought I could realistically pull off. While I sat on the sidelines it seemed like everyone around me was in the field with a bow.
Moving back to Montana I couldn’t take it any more. Rifle season here doesn’t open until late October, compared to October 1st in Wyoming. It no longer seemed tenable to simply hunt grouse while everyone else is chasing elk during the most beautiful time of the year. So this winter I bought a bow.
I had high hopes of winning the winter archery league, scouting all summer, and killing a 380 bull just as the Aspens begin to turn in mid September. The first two did not happened. The third seems highly unlikely. My bow came in after leagues were over. I started shooting in the spring and slowly began to get the hang of things. Summer travel put a dent in my practice schedule and scouting has been non existent. Now I’m scrambling to get ready.
My expectations are modest. I’m looking forward to spending a few days hiking with a bow this year. I’m not planning to go zero to hero but rather see this as the beginning of a long journey. The amount of variables that need to come together to take an animal with a bow are mind boggling.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the learning process.