At one point, not long ago, I was a die hard compound bow hunter. I think a lot of the mindset and “necessity” for the use of a weapon that took less practice and time was because I assumed it would fill the freezer faster. Without changing how I hunt, this would, no doubt, be 100% true.
I remember years ago, opening my dad’s deep freezer in the basement and always being amazed by the amount of meat, all wild game and fish, that was packed in there. We practiced catch and keep, kill and eat. We were, and still are, meat hunters. To this day, it’s impressive to me how diverse and plentiful the contents of that freezer still are.
Almost all of my hesitation in selling my compound bow and ditching the crossbow was that I would be in a total meat crisis. I can’t really explain why, since the local grocery store is only 10 minutes away. I guess it has to do with that primal or primitive part of the brain; being able to provide and not having to depend on another man to feed my family.
An amazing person I work with often throws around a quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” Impulsively, I decided to get rid of it all, pick up my Abbott Longbow and Rose City cedar arrows, and start shooting like there was no tomorrow. I committed and promised myself that I wouldn’t look back.
I had been on and off the “trad wagon” for years. My first time in a tree stand by myself was with my grandfather’s Browning Recurve backed up with battered Easton aluminum arrows and Rocky Broadheads. I was around 12 or 13 years old. I remember how that bow felt in my hand. It was almost as if it had become part of me or an extension of myself. I missed a healthy mature doe that day, and I wouldn’t trade that first cold evening hunt for the world. It lit a fire. Immediate gratification by use of more modern weapons seemed to douse that fire as I grew older, but never extinguish it completely. I always found myself coming back to what felt like home – a stick bow.
When it comes down to why I switched, abandoning the compound and crossbow, it’s almost all in how I wanted to hunt. I wanted my experiences to be more connected with nature than the sporting goods store. Simple, bare bones, and effective. I’ve since become highly mobile and adapted my hunting style. Though others seem to feel the need to discredit anyone that can consistently get deer within 20 yards, I’m here to tell you it’s not only possible, it is downright addicting.
All of this, along with my deep-rooted meat hunting mentality, leaves me with no worries about filling the freezer. I will still hunt with my rifle and muzzleloader from time to time, to exercise my rights and practice my freedoms as an American. My true passion though, will always remain, enjoying the pursuit of wild game with a simple stick and string.