30 years a longbowman
30 years a longbowman
A lifetime of shooting and learning when it comes to the longbow. I will layout the 30 year journey for myself and any that may be interested.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Kind of makes a guy go HUH!!!!

Have you ever been to the local pro shop and watched these guys shoot?  Man some of them are really good!  Some are not so good - but hey not everyone can be William Tell right?  I have been over to my local shop - it's only about 2 miles from my house.  The guy who owns it is a pro shooter for Matthews but also shoots a mean longbow.  He owns 5 Monarch longbows all made by Monty!  They are nice pieces of work.  He shoots them only when he feels like he's not challenged enough with his compound.  Good enough for him I say.  His patrons can not understand why he does it though.  I go over and every once in a while I will drag my stuff over and shoot a little.  They all stand around and watch amazed that the arrow even gets there and also that anyone could even hit anything with a stick.  I am not the best shot but I am good enough to show 'em all a few things.  Got to shine one night when I managed to smack my nocks- 2 shots in a row.  Now these guys thought this was great.  The next time I went in was one of those days were you could not hit a barn door if you were standing on it.  Well the guys from the previous episode were there and when I walked in they commented to others - Hey watch this guy shoot with this thing!  Man - talk about pressure!  Anyhow - I was shooting so bad (could hit the targets but not consistently in the 8 ring even) that all I could do was start to laugh and clown around.  Shot maybe 2 dozen arrows then hung it up saying guess I better not ask anyone to put an apple on their head tonight!  They all laughed at that one and I guess I sort of got a reprieve.  I did have a few guys come over and ask a bunch of questions about my gear and if I hunted with it.  They were surprised when I told them about some of the animals I had taken woth my longbows over the years.  All in all, I hope that one or maybe a couple will take up our chosen archery gear and have a little fun with it.

Ol Man posted @ 11:44 - Link - comments
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Another of the greats

Ever wonder what it takes to become a great? Great in anything I mean? It takes dedication, perseverance and plain old stubborness. Well I got 1 out of 3 so I guess I am on my way. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to shoot with some very good archers. Some well known and others not so well known but, great none the less.

I have shared stories and campfires with many more still. One that comes to mind is from back maybe 12-14 years ago… (Mind tends to wander in and out of years.) I was out shooting at one of the local ranges competing in a sanctioned shoot for the IBO. Now I was really never one for this IBO stuff but I wanted to get out and shoot a bit. I was out there with several of my buddies and we were having a blast. We usually clowned around so much the serious shooters (Compounders) would get very upset with us and start telling us to shut up and keep quiet. Well I have never been one to take orders barked at me like this so, we got worse and worse. It was getting so bad that we could hardly shoot ourselves now from all the laughing and carrying on. We never let up - kept it up even after the shoot was over. Finally we decided to start the BBQ and get something to eat. So a little later we were all eating our dogs and burgers when an older fellow came over - asked if he could sit with us for a spell. we all told him sure - as long as he didn’t get offended easily. He replied that was not going to be a problem.

We sat there talking , laughing and still carrying on for quite a while when a rather large guy came lumbering over. Now I had seen him with several of the guys who were yelling at us to quit the fooling around. Hmmmm - was he gonna come over and cause trouble. Well I was up for it! Knew he could kick my butt bad but, I figured I could get him with jokes before he knew what hit him. Up he walks - goes over to the fellow who had joined us - shook his hand and thanked him for the help he had offered earlier. Then he looked at us and told us that the next time he saw us at one of these shoots that he wanted to join our group. He told us he was so turned off by his buddies and their attitude that he almost went home early. Our clowning around and carrying on was the only thing that kept him there. He laughed all the way around cause he heard us but, also he heard every derogatory thing his buddies were saying about us. (We did end up shooting with this guy later on and we had a blast.) The other fellow that had joined us we found out was none other than the coach for the Canadian Olympic archery team from the late 70’s. I never knew but, we did become friends and continued to shoot together as often as we could after this initial meeting. He was a great guy and his wife would come and join our group as well. This man was one of the most humble men I had ever met in my life - boy was he a good shot… His name was Don Jackson and I am proud to say he was a friend in archery.

Ol Man posted @ 16:57 - Link - comments
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

It's been a long time since I got around to doing some of the things that I really enjoy.

Well her I am once again writing to let all know what has been going on in my somewhat tired life.  Bought me a house with some land out in the country without a lot of neighbors around.  I have to admit I should have done it long before this.  I can get out and shoot in my backyard  whenever I want now and it feels good!    My dogs and wifey love it as well. 
Got myself some new bows as well.  Picked up a Mosshorn 56" and it shoots great at least for me.  Orderd me a Toelke longbow and hopefully it should be here any day now.  Can't wait for this one.  Gonna shoot my brains out when it comes in.  Here in Texas it isn't as cold as other places around the nation at the present soI can get some quality time in practicing.  May just have to do some hog hunting when I get comfortable with it.  Managed to get permission to hunt on 500 acres of land on a ranch anytime I want for whatever I want to hunt as well.  My life is getting better and better.  Will keep you up to date about how things transpire form here on out.  I had totally forgooten about Tradtalk website and missed it greatly.  Well have to get my butt back to work.  Later for more news and goings on.

Ol Man posted @ 14:48 - Link - comments
Saturday, 23 December 2006
Well back again for another entry...

This all started one fine snowy day in December.  At the time I lived about 30 miles east of Toronto, Canada.  I had called a friend and asked him if he was up for a deer hunt early the next morning.  Really I already knew his answer but, courtesy first!  I spent most of the day getting my gear ready and making sure that my clothes were out as it was forecast for a pretty cold day.

Got up at 4:00 AM and had a quick bite, showered and doused myself in peroxide and baking soda mixture that we used for scent control.  I put on my boots and coat and went out to my truck.  Man it was cold - 10 above with a wind chill of 0...  Got the truck going and headed off to get my buddy.  When I pulled up he had a surprise.. he had made a portable seat that could attach to a tree, and he had one for me as well.  Woohoo - no more sitting on a log or stump that was either snow/ice covered. 
Off we went!  When we drove to the area we hunted we got out and dressed - grabbed our gear and headed down this old cut trail that we had walked many, many times before.  We always took our time and never said a word so as not to spook any deer out in the fields.  The walk was only about a mile and a half so it was not bad but, we had to make sure that we didn't get overheated.  About half way down the trail my buddy tells me (quietly) that he is going to tuck himself in the thicket of small pines and see if anything was going to cross over by this knockdown area in the fence.  I bade him good luck and headed down to my area.
When I got to my area I was ready!!!!!!  Had attached my seat on a big old red pine just off a major deer trail.  I wasn't in there more than 5 minutes when I heard a deer blow off in the distance.  Good sign!  As daybreak broke I was getting a bit cold - my feet had been frost bitten when I was younger so it doesn't take much.  Birds started chirping - squirrels squirrling and even saw a mink running down the deer trail about 75 yards away from me.  I was almost ready to start moving when I heard a snap.  When I looked up to my left on the trail I saw a doe - she had seen me I guess and was jumpimg up and down on her hind legs to get a better look at me.  Then I saw a yearling walk in front of her.  She blew and her and the yearling headed back the way they came.  MAN- what luck - 20 yeards away and no shot!  About 2 minutes later I hear some crunching in the snow - a buck had come down the same trail and was heading right for me - he was maybe 25 yards from me but I couldn't get a good shot.  Then I heard something behind me and there was another buck... all around me and not able to get a clear shot at either of them.  Well I never did get a shot but what a great morning - I was pumped!

It was getting around 9:30 so I decided to head out - get my buddy and go to our favorite restaurant and get warm and get a hot meal then come back.  As I was walking back on the trail toward the truck - I saw my buddy sitting in the middle of the trail.  Immediately I thought maybe either he shot something or, he had hurt himself.  As I got closer he waved and I knew he was OK.  WOW he got one!  When I finally got up to him he hung his head lower than a dog in trouble.
I asked if he had seen anything to which he replied"  I had a 12 point not 12 yards from me standing in the middle of the trail - he showed me the spot.  I searched and found no blood.  Then he told me he tried to draw and couldn't get the bow back to anchor, tried 2 more times and still wasn't able to do it.  The buck he said didn't even see or hear him but was watching the field he had just come out from.  Then he saw why the buck was looking back - 5 big does were coming in on his left side - just over the fence - walking along the fence row.  He had chances of 15-22 yard shots at all of them.  But, he was so cold he couldn't get the bow back for the shot.  When the does joined the buck they all walked slowly up into the pines heading for their bedding area.

I am telling this story not for the lessons learned (cold can and will affect your ability to draw) but the fact that this was probably one of the best hunts we had ever shared together.  Even though neither of us harvested nor even took a shot it was a great time.
Ol Man posted @ 07:29 - Link - comments
Friday, 15 December 2006
On one of my many "Moose Hunts" I had been invited to join my uncle, brother and some of my uncles' regular hunting buddies in a week long search for moose.  I left my rifle at home and took my trusty longbow.  When I got to the campsite, they asked me why I wanted to trade my rifle for "That thing" as they put it.  Now my uncle himself really didn't care as he was there to get away from work and enjoy the outdoors more than actually killing something.  He is one of those guys that enjoys being outside and with good friends.

Well we had all hunted extremely hard for 4 days - I had seen several bulls and a cow with a calf but, they were too far away for me to get a shot.  This aggravated several of the gun hunters as they commented after dinner (and a few drinks) that I should hang that dang (Worse language but I am trying to keep this clean) thing at home cause it wasn't any good for anything but a wall decoration.

I let it go cause I really don't care what others think!   One of the guys got more and more vocal the drunker he got - now this guy really started to get under my skin - but, I held my temper.  Anyhow - he got his....  He kept on drinking and was falling down drunk.  The campfire started to burn down and he wanted to build it back up.  Well he grabs the chainsaw.  We all yelled at him to put it down cause he was gonna hurt himself.  He yelled back that he had been doing this all his life and he never had a cut or any other accident yet with one.  So, we let him continure.  He walked up to a huge pine tree and started the saw.  We were yelling and screaming at this guy to get his attention - all to no avail.  He proceeded to cut this tree and finally he got through it enough that it started to topple over.  We watched in horror - actually more like amusement as it fell over and cut his brand new 28 foot mobile trailer almost in half.  It was a classic comic book entry.  He was so drunk he looked at it and threw the chainsaw at the trailer.

Needless to say - he slept the rest of the week in his truck.  I would not want to be him when it came time to tell his wife waht happend - I knew her and man she could be mean!

Anyhow back to the meat of this story! (Pun intended) 

Next moring we got up about 4:00 AM and had a quick breakfast and headed out.  I immediately went to this mountain side where I had seen a bull the previous day out by this huge beaver pond.  I was walking about half way up this mountain climbing up and down all these dips and valleys as I traversed the terrain.  Had not seen a thing until I climbed up a rather steep ravine.  When I got to the top of the rise I saw a bull moose across the other side - almost directly across from me.   He was big - he heard me or at least he heard something and jumped up... he had been tucked under a rock ledge and was sunning himself.  When he got up he took a step forward - this put his head behind a huge red pine.  He was around 65 yards - nothing in the way between us, as all the vegetation was going down the hillside away from both of us.

I looked at him- assessed the situation and thought what the heck.  I had practiced almost every day out to 80 yards and was feeling good about my chances of a good hit.  I drew my 65# longbow and released!   Watched what seemed like slow motion as the arrow hit him but as soon as it hit him I saw sparks fly just above his shoulder.  I knew I had hit him but what caused the sparks?  He immediately plowed his way down the mountainside.  I watched him till he disappeared below in the heavy undergrowth.

I made my way down and back up the ravine to the spot were I hit him (I thought-hoped)  Well when I got up to the rock ledge I saw bright red foamy blood splattered all up the rock face.  The arrow had punched through him and struck the rock on the opposite side of him.  I now knew why he bolted so quickly - the arrow smacking into the rock put him to flight.

I started down the hill following his tracks - super easy to follow but, he was heading straight back down to the beaver pond.  I tracked him to the edge of the pond and saw his track lead into the water.  I don't know how deep this water was but, I do know every moose I had seen crossing it swam it.  I thought Man - now way I am going to lose this guy.  I walked down to the dam and crossed - I walked back up to where I thought he would come out.  Could not find it... not right away anyway.  I kept lookng and lookng - fianlly I got down on my hands and knees and statred scouring for sign.  Remember this is in October and the temperature at night hits around 15-20 so the water was very cold and this worried me.  I kept thinking that maybe the hit was not as good as I had thought.  After about 20 minuted I finally picked him back up - he had only travelled maybe 200 yards so far, but his direction was heading across a small funnel toward another beaver pond maybe 1/4 mile away. The tracking continued!

I tracked him and I was right, he headed straight over to the other pond.  I saw his print in the mud about 2 feet into the pond... maybe he swam across this one as well.  I was walking to get aroung this pond when I noticed more footprints and mud stirred up in the direction I was heading.  He walked just inside the water and was not going out into it -I took this as a great sign.. he was getting too weak to swim.  Gone about 800 yards now.  Man this guy is tough!

Kept walking the shoreline and heard a loud splash just ahead of me.  I hoped it was him falling over and not another moose that I had spooked.  When I got around this little heavily treed peninsula I saw him - he was in about 4 feet of water.  He was down for the count.  I made my way to him - I knew I had no hope of getting him to shore and out myself.  I managed to get a rope on his antlers and dragged him in as close as I could.  I needed help to get him out so I could field dress him.  I headed back to camp to get some help.
When I got there now one was there as they had not made it back for lunch yet.  I had to sit there all by my lonesome and wait - couldn't even tell anyone about it till they got back.  Just about killed me to wait.  I was worried another hunter would come across him and claim him for themsleves.  Finally my buddy and brother came back - I told them and they hooted and hollered and off we went.  Well we got the moose out - field dressed and then my buddy headed off to find this logger guy we had met on the way in.  He had told us if we got something that he would haul it out for us for $50.00.  He got there and loaded the moose onto the skidder and off he headed to camp.  By the time he got to camp all the others had made it back for lunch.  You should have seen the looks in their eyes when I came in with a moose and they hadn't even take a shot.  It was priceless..  congrats were extended by all except the extreme drunk guy - he just glared.  One of me best moments - cause this was probably the easiest and most effective way to teach this guy a lesson.  I really have to say that hunintg with some hunters that doubt your effectiveness with your choice of weapon will and can make you hunt much harder than them just to prove yourself to them.  This is exactly what had transpired for me.  I hunted harder and longer - saw more moose and had taken one, all with a longbow.  What more could you ask for?

Wait there's more..........................

Next morning I got up and decided to just go out and shoot rabbits.  I head way back to this big beaver meadow and thought I would work it.  I was tromping around for quite a while and had not jumped even one, when I heard some talking coming my way.  Finally 2 guys popped out into the edge of the meadow - it was my uncle and this same guy.  They walked over to me and asked if I had seen any moose - to which I had to repied - no, and not even a rabbit to whack.  This guy was being a jerk and  made a comment to me about how lucky I had been to get a moose.  My uncle was laughing and making fun of him, which started to get this guy very upset.  There was a small creek just behind him and we had seen several ducks coming in and flying off.  My uncle saw 2 ducks coming in from a long distance away and asked me if I thought I could hit a duck.  I told him I thought I could.  The other guy told me their was no way in he_ _, that I could do it.  The ducks were now closer and were starting to descend.  I waited and when they got about 12 feet off the ground I loosed an arrow.  I pinned the duck to the bank.  Whew... was that lucky or what????  This got my uncle going on this guy- the other guy just walked away , didn't say a word.  There was no way I was going to tell anyone, not  even my uncle that I had made a lucky shot!

When we got back to camp the guy had unhitched his truck from the smashed trailer and was gone.  We thought maybe he had driven in to town to replenish his supply of alcohol.  He never came back - as a matter of fact he quit hunting with this group of guys altogether.  Payback can be sweet!  My unlce commented that this was the best thing that could happen cause all the other guys in camp had decided that he was out for good cause of his antics and drunkeness...  Life is great for those that persevere.
Ol Man posted @ 05:42 - Link - comments
Tuesday, 12 December 2006
Back like the proverbial Plague.....

Back when I was younger I was at a shoot in Michigan.  This was may have been their second or third year holding this shoot...  yes it's the Michigan Longbow Assoc. shoot.  Back then it was one of my major trips every year.  Back on track..
I had been shooting at this shoot and was fairing extremely well.  Well, I was at the practice butts getting in a little extra shooting practice before the long day of serious stuff started.  I had been dropping my shots in about a 3 inch circle at 25 yards consistently for maybe 20-30 shots when I heard soemone behind me say- 'You are shooting wrong".  Let me say that I took this as a serious slam against my great (what I thought was great) shooting.  I spun and found myself almost nose to nose with Mr. John Schultz.  He had been watching me shoot and in I don't know maybe a dozen shots had analyzed me and found problems in my shooting form.
He then proceeded to tell me to square myself out to my target a little.  I had a bad habit of hitting my arm very hard but it did not interfere with my accuracy - at least I didn't think so.  I didn't quite understand what he meant so he proceeded to kick my back foot.  I am a right hand shooter so that was my right foot and brought it closer to squaring of my shoulders - Right foot came forward.  He explained this would get the string away from my arm and also shorten my draw length.  Well I was mortified and somewhat embarrased but I thought if this man is taking time out of his shooting time to help me, then I am going to try it.  Well here we go.   First shot almost dead center of the ten ring... next shot - hit my previous arrow.  to make a longer story a bit shorter this continued until I had emptied my quiver.  What a difference in my shooting and no slapping of my arm.  His advice given to me in less than 5 minutes improved my shooting by what I think may have been 3 hard years.  For this I can only thank him as it was at this point  I became a better shot - `in spite of myself.
Ol Man posted @ 04:18 - Link - comments
Monday, 04 December 2006
Well here I am again...
Once I had somewhat mastered the art of using a longbow I figured it was time to see exactly what they could do.  So off I went on a hog hunt.  Now I had never hunted hogs before in my life - I did know a bit about them from working on my grandads' farm.

So anyway here I am hunting hogs!   I had tucked myself in a stand of cottonwoods and was watching the side of the hill when all of a sudden - there were 2 small boars and a large sow come barreling down toward me.  The boars ran right up to the mud hole in front of me and started wallowing around.  The sow had stopped short and was looking back when all of a sudden there were about a dozen little piglets running everywhere.  I watched them in the wallow for about 15 minutes before they finally decided to take off back up the hill.

I climbed out of my hiding spot feeling pretty good and then I noticed several large boars running across the hill.  I decided on a large black bristle backed boar.  I moved around to get myself into a good ambush spot.  I waited for what felt like hours (maybe 15-18 minutes in reality) they finally showed up - man they were about 20 yards just down a small hill from me.  They had not seen me nor even winded me.  I drew slowly, came to anchor and released my cedar arrow tipped with my Howard Hill broadhead.  The arrow disappeared just behind the crease of his shoulder and stuck in the dirt beyond him.  The hog took 3 steps to the right and turned and one back and fell over dead.  Man these bows were great....  Anyhow that hog weighed in a 265 lbs. and I was sold forever on the effectiveness of the lognbow and devastation it could cause.
Ol Man posted @ 19:12 - Link - comments
Saturday, 02 December 2006
Over 30 years ago I had the fortune (maybe it was misfortune) to be shooting at a friends' house.  I always thought myself to be a very good shot.  Had won many tournaments barebow style with compounds. (2 years only.. have to qualify this first off)  anyhow I digress..  I had been shooting very well this day and my buddy told me he had a bow that he doubted I could even hit a target with at 15 yards.  Now, this was a challenge if I ever heard one!  Being as cocky as I am, I told him I could shoot any bow after a couple of quick shots to feel the bow out.  I would show this guy he was out in the field all alone on this one. 

He went in the house and came back out with a HUGE!!!!! longbow - this thing was 72 inches long - 68 lbs. @ 28 inches and WOW!  Now I could handle bows in the 85# + range so I wasn't worried at all.  I pulled out an arrow and drew - man it drew easy - no let-off or break in the draw.  I anchored, then released.  Hit 5 yards in front of the target.  took out another arrow and drew back - released -DANG - over the target this time.  OK - I got this thing figured out!  Nocked another arrow - drew and released - hit 3 feet to the right this time.  Closer to the target but no cigar. 

To make a longer story short - I shot over 50 arrows at that target and hit it once!  I was humbled to say the least.  I looked at my buddy who was in hysterics (Real Funny)  I asked him if he could hit the target - he drew and smacked it dead center.  MAN THIS INFURIATED me.  Not at him but at myself.  I looked at him and asked him to sell me the bow - he laughed and told me no.  I kept on him and finally he gave in.  I gave him my compound and told him to sell it.  I went home, and for the next 6 months I shot 150-200 arrows a day out of it.  By the time spring came around I was ready and entered in several archery tournaments locally.  Now here is the kicker - I was the only one shooting a stick so I had to compete against the compound guys (barebow) the same guys I shot against with my compound. My first shoot I came in second place!!!  Man did I feel good.  It was a heck of a lot of work to get there but I never ever regretted it nor have I looked back since.  This is one of those stories that continues - Come back for more when ya'll have a chance.
Ol Man posted @ 11:55 - Link - comments (2)
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