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Author Topic: Wood, Sinew, Bone, and Stone - Doug Campbell  (Read 685 times)

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Wood, Sinew, Bone, and Stone - Doug Campbell
« on: May 19, 2007, 03:31:00 PM »
Wood, Sinew, Bone, and Stone

by Doug Campbell

Man oh man! What an incredible afternoon, there was a doe laying just 20 yards away to my right and a nice buck laying 40 yards to the left. Both shot with primitive archery tackle within a 20 minute period and I am grinning like a ‘possum eatin you know what!!

The real story started a few years ago with a couple buddies from Missouri and their reintroduction to Trad gear. Of course it was love at first shot and there was no holding them back from that point on.

Tim Ott is a good friend who lived just over the hill from us in rural Hickory County. We terrorized the local flora and fauna with our BB guns and stickbows as we were growing up. Nothing was safe when we took to the woods. As with many others in the mid 70’s we were seduced by the speed and ease of the new mechanical wonder bows and both had to have them. Although we both put several critters on the ground with the compound, we were a couple of romantics at heart and were never really comfortable with them.

I was the first to switch back in the early 80’s. That old Brackenbury recurve felt so natural I just had to share it with my friends. Most just laughed and made fun but there was a gleam in Tim’s eye that told me the little spark I’d struck would soon break into flame. I never imagined it would become a raging wildfire.

Phil Nichols and I worked together for several years and both realized quickly that we were birds of a feather. It took a few years to get a longbow into his hands, (I think because he was afraid of the addiction he’d seen in me). However when it finally happened it wasn’t long till he was looking for one of his own.

We all three gradually reverted back to more and more challenging ways of hunting. Tim has become one of the most talented wood bowyers I’ve ever seen and is very proficient in knapping and many other primitive arts. Phil became very interested in several aspects of primitive archery also but really started concentrating on bone points. He had an article in Traditional Bowhunter Magazine not long ago pertaining to what he’s found from his research and experience on bone points.

Well anyway, on with the story. We raise buffalo and I asked Tim if he’d build me a buffalo sinew backed pony bow so I could show people one of the uses of buffalo parts. Like a true artist he went all out and I received a work of art little sinew backed osage recurve that was unbelievable. He even named it Buster after a little yellow bulldog cross I had when we were kids.  Now it was my job to do Buster justice.

Phil had been talking about harvesting a big game animal with his bone points for a while and sent me a couple made from buffalo bone to “play” with. I mounted one of them up on a footed shaft and put it in my quiver incase the right opportunity came along. Also in that quiver were four stone pointed shafts. Me, Buster and our buddies were ready to go to the deer woods.

I’d been concentrating on whitetails for a couple weeks trying to fill some doe tags. The rut was still a couple weeks away so I hadn’t been really serious about buck hunting. Typically when the mulie bucks start showing it’s time to knuckle down. Montana is one of the few Western states where you can hunt mulies during the rut and I like to take full advantage of it.

The does had pretty much been making a fool out of me for a couple weeks when I finally got a chance to try the bone point. I’d been sitting in a big willow tree for a couple hours when I caught movement just behind me. There was a high bank behind my tree where deer wouldn’t normally come through. It seemed somebody forgot to tell the yearling doe that was sneaking by. I was able to get turned as she was reaching the perfect quartering away angle. Buster was at full draw and the arrow was away without much thought and that’s where I screwed up. The arrow clipped a small twig on its way and when it reached the doe it slapped her harmlessly on the side just back of the shoulder. So much for me doing my part.

During the next week another friend, Ray Alt, and I worked on the creek bottom deer with no luck. By the weekend we were ready for a change. Last year I’d hunted a ranch that was having deer trouble in their hay stacks so we swung by to check it out. This ranch has a lot of pay per day fishing activity and is real nervous about gun hunters on the property so a couple of bowhunters to maybe thin the deer herd was a welcome sight.

After talking awhile and getting the lowdown on where the most activity was we headed into the woods. I remembered a tree stand I’d found last year and since it was getting late decided to head for it and worry about putting up my stands later. Ray headed in the other direction to do some scouting. Things weren’t looking good for me as the newly fallen leaves were crunching with every step. Deer blew out in all directions ahead of me as I tried slipping through the thick brush and into the stand. Then it took a lot of time getting into the stand as it had been there for at least two years and didn’t look real stable. After a long talk with myself I finally got settled for what I figured was a long empty evenings wait.

There was activity all around from everything but the deer I was looking for. I watched a small hawk streaking through the trees just in front of me. He was zigzagging back and forth and on his second pass he zigged to the right and smacked a magpie that was as big as him right in the back. He took the magpie off the limb and rode him to the ground. The magpie was squawking plenty and shortly there were 20 more diving and harassing the hawk. The hawk quickly made short work of the one he’d caught and started eating. I was glad to see that at least one hunter was going to have a successful evening.

I’d been sitting for 45 minutes or so when I glanced to the North and saw a buck chasing a couple of does. He was a decent buck but was a couple hundred yards away and going the other way so I didn’t pay much attention to him. I looked back to check out the hawk’s progress then heard something to the North. When I looked that way again the buck was angling my way. I wasn’t really excited about burning my only buck tag on this guy but decided to give him a grunt anyway. At the first grunt it was like he was on a string that led straight to my tree. As he got closer I thought he was going to pass behind me and make the decision to pass easy but just as he got there he veered right and walked in front of me. What an opportunity to try a bone point. The cocklebur that was stuck in his hair at the perfect aiming point was just too much to resist. Buster came up and back to full draw and the bone pointed arrow smacked right where I was looking.

My first thought looking down was that the penetration wasn’t very good but as he was going away I could see it looked better than I thought with only the fletching sticking out four inches left of his spine. He pretty much sprinted 40 yards then just crashed like he’d run into a wall. I couldn’t believe it was over that fast and just sat down to try and calm down.

After twenty minutes or so of watching to make sure the buck was down for good and getting my pack and quiver ready to go I turned to climb down. That is when I noticed a doe sneaking in my direction from the West. In the next few minutes I watched her come in to about thirty yards away and bed down under a thick willow bush. I didn’t really want to educate her to stand hunters or spook her but I needed to get down and field dress my buck. I managed to squirrel around to the backside of my tree and climb down as quietly as I could. After finally getting my feet on the ground again I looked around the tree and noticed that I was blocked from the doe’s view by a couple of big cottonwoods and she was still bedded thirty yards away.

OK I shifted back into hunter mode again, with a stone tipped arrow on the string I started easing one very slow step at a time toward the nearest of the sheltering trees. When I got as close as I figured I’d better try I leaned around the tree with Buster half drawn to take a look. The doe caught my movement and stood up to see what the heck what was going on. I just swung up, touched anchor and watched the arrow bury just behind her shoulder. In seconds her twenty yard death run was over and I’m standing open mouthed wondering if what just happened had really just happened.

It was one heck of an afternoon and a great day to be out with my buddies hunting.  

My sinew backed osage recurve, Buster, pulls 52# @ my 27” draw. It drove the 1 1/8” wide bone point through the buck going between the ribs on entry just left of the spine. The heart was pretty much centered then out just right of the sternum. The stone point passed through the doe behind the shoulders taking out both lungs. I can’t imagine steel broadheads performing any better.
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