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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bowhunting 38 years ago ............

In the early 70's, I had the good fortune to be invited to hunt a farm in Southern Maryland. For a young midshipman at the Naval Academy who loved to hunt, this was absolutely heaven. In 20 minutes, providing I could find a way to sneak off, I would be in the woods and temporarily away from all things nautical including the pressure cooker of some very tough schoolwork. The family on the farm was cleaning out the attic last week and thoughtfully forwarded the attached photo to me in the mail. The photo brought back some very nice memories.

Back then, archery was not as popular as it is today. The numbers would indicate that perhaps 5% of the hunting community bowhunted as compared to a number like 20% today. Deer were far less plentiful. Fred Bear was the hero to every archer and to read about his exploits was constant inspiration. There was no internet and good information seemed much less available. Knowledge was drawn from sources like "The Archer's Bible", a lengthy but quite complete resource book that explained all things bow and arrow related. I think I read this book 200 times and still have it. (The chapter on safety must have been overlooked judging by the exposed broadheads in the attached picture.) The distance between a 20 yard sight pin and a 40 yard pin was about 6 inches so to be a successful hunter, judging distance was very critical. Hunting on the ground was commonplace and getting close (like 10 or 15 yards) was the only sure ticket for success. Laser rangefinders were yet to come and cutting edge technology was "self adhesive camo tape" for the recurve. I loved stringing my bow before every hunt. It would not be until 1980 that I could afford a compound bow. This picture and these memories are not unusual. Admire the hunters who still chase their quarry with this equipment. There is always case to be made for simplicity and actually, Kodabow can trace some of it's crossbow design elements back to this era.

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