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Charlie Lamb


Tradgang member profile:  Charles T Lamb
Charter member # 8
Nickname “SunBear”
6’5”, 275#s,
58yrs old

 (TG) Hi Charlie, tell us a little bit about yourself.

(Lamb) Well, my name is Charlie Lamb. I’m 58yrs old, I live in the country north of St. Louis, Mo. within minutes of deer and turkey hunting.
I'm officially retired now and try to focus on hunting and preparing to hunt. Most of my time I spend making, inspecting, repairing, or shooting my equiptment.

(TG) How long have you been bow hunting with traditional gear?

(Lamb)  I've been "harrassing" wildlife with the bow since I was just a boy. Mostly rabbits frogs and fish until I took my first deer at age 14... Guess you could say for about 45 years, give or take a couple.

(TG) what or who first got you involved in traditional bow hunting?

(Lamb)  As a boy I read anything I could get my hands on that involved shooting bows and arrows. I remember one Field and Stream magazine in particular, that had a short story and picture of a guy hunting snowshoe rabbits with a recurve. It really put the hook in me for bow hunting. I thought that was pretty cool and wanted to be that guy in the picture.... eventually I made that happen. I was fortunate to grow up knowing Earl Hoyt Jr.  He was always  patient with what must have seemed to be a million questions. The same for Owen Jefferies, who worked for Earl back then. I pretty much had the run of the shop after a while and Owen especially always seemed to come up with some good hunting stories. The old St. Louis Bow hunters also had a lot of club hunts for rabbits, fish, crows, and deer. There were men in that club who would always see to it that I had a ride to the functions. (my dad was often out of town on business and couldn't take me)So I guess I can't really say there was just one.  

(TG) do you remember that first kill??

(Lamb)  Well, I a way.
I'd have to say my first was a rabbit. I'd killed a bunch of frogs as a boy, but the warm blooded stuff just laughed at me. I went out one snowy day near home in urban St.Louis county. I had this brushy stretch of railway right of way that held a lot of bunnies, quail and the occasional hobo.
At that point I was learning that by being patient and alert, I could occasionally spot rabbits sitting. Normally I'd wing an arrow at them and miss. Finally it all came together for me. I nailed a nice fat cottentail. The bow was a little 42 pound Bear Kodiak Magnum and the arrow was homemade. Plain cedar shaft, blue nock, blue cock feather and two gray hens. It had a field point on it. I had to run that rabbit down in the snow and the blackberry briars had their way with me.
I went straight home after that. For a little bit it sure felt like I was Fred Bear.  

My first deer is still a vivid memory. I think the Man up stairs gave me that one. I was coming out from a stand I had sat all morning and had just walked up on a trail road. I had my hands full of bow, light, and other stuff. I looked off in the brush as I stopped to catch my breath and there were 4 deer standing there watching me. I guess they couldn't have been more than 15 yards away.
They let me set my extra stuff down and get an arrow out of my quiver. The rest is a blur. I have no memory of drawing the bow, releasing or seeing the arrow hit. I just thought it had. Of course the deer left in a hurry. I went straight back to my folks cabin where my buddy was sleeping in. I told him and the adults that I had shot a deer. The adults just laughed and for the most part wouldn't believe me. Consequently, my bud and I went back out by ourselves to where I had shot.
The first thing I saw when we walked up to the place was my arrow sticking straight up in the leaves and it was all red. (it was a Herter's aluminum shaft I'd cap dipped white, with 3 white fletch, a white speed nock and a Bear Razorhead with bleeder. I sure didn't see it right after the shot, but there it was. My little 42# Bear Magnum had pushed that arrow all the way through that deer. Andy and I tracked the deer (we'd never tracked anything except rabbits in the snow) with high anticipation and found it in the thick brush 50 yards from the place I'd shot it. We had to go back and get help to bring it out and the adults still didn't want to believe us. LOL  When they finally went with us we got that deer loaded in a station wagon without field dressing. One of the older guys who had a cabin by ours, had killed a deer once and he helped us hang it. My Dad was just coming in from setting up a duck blind and about crapped when he saw what I'd done. That may have been one of his proudest moments and it sure was mine. It was pretty big news locally and there was even a short article about it in the county newspaper.

(TG)  What are some of your  highlights or most memorable accomplishments or hunts you’ve been on??

(Lamb) That is an almost impossible question to answer. I've loved every hunt I've ever made. Good, bad or otherwise. I guess spending a week hunting bears in the same camp as Fred Bear is right up there. I got to shoot his bow and he even offered to let me hunt with it. The down side was that I was bound and determined to get a bear and spent a huge amount of time in the woods. My buddy, who killed his bear the second evening, got to spend a lot of camp time with Fred. Wish I'd have done that.

(TG) You are considered by many as a very talented and accomplished shot. If I were to give you a complete novice, that is about to buy his first bow and arrow set up what advice would you give this person?

(Lamb)  Like I told my son when he was young... the only limit to what anyone can do with a bow and arrow is their imagination. What little I've accomplished with the bow was because I wouldn't accept anything as impossible. Other than that, I'd give the standard advice of not starting out with too heavy a bow. I'll qualify that statement by saying that at some point a person needs to find the bow weight that is optimum for his strength. That is often higher poundage than many think. It just depends on what the individual wants to do with the bow.

(TG) You have also taken many many animals with the simple bow and arrow. With the experience you’ve gained in the field, if I were to give you a complete novice to take into the woods for his first hunt, what advice would you give him?

(Lamb)  Wow, these are getting tougher!! I suppose I'd tell him to accept whatever comes his way and to enjoy the time. I've never seen anyone take to this sport and not have to pay some dues. Besides, you learn by making mistakes... I've made all of them a couple of times and will repeat some of those. After that I'd advise him to "let them get close".

(TG)  What are some of the things you believe many could do to improve their shooting or hunting?

(Lamb)  Well first of all nothing beats plain old shooting. At everything and anything and never give up trying to be better. Never accept a certain size group as "good enough". I won't stop trying to improve my shooting until I can put every shot in a hole the size of my arrow, anytime I want to. I ain't there yet! I'm a big believer in long range practice. It doesn't have to be a hundred yards away, just far enough to leave my comfort zone behind. I think that's a big mistake for a lot of guys. They practice to be proficient at say 15 yards and accept that as good enough. The problem with that as I see it, is that if you only practice at the range you plan on shooting game, then your shots at game are always at the limit of your comfort distance. I like the animal to be well within my comfort zone, not at the outter edge of it. The same goes for shooting from different positions. Show me a man who can lay his arrows in where he wants them from kneeling, sitting, bending over backwards and I'll show you a man who can zip a deer without conscious thought...especially when the shot is "normal".
I also think that hunting small game is about the best practice for big game. There's just something different about shooting to draw blood and a guy needs to get beyond that. Rabbits, squirrels, carp, whatever. It helps.

(TG) Have you ever wrote any articles or had any of your hunts published?

(Lamb)  As a matter of fact I've had quite a few articles published. For a while I was a regular contributor to Rocky Mountain Bowhunter magazine. I had a monthly column in that publication.
Other than that just a single piece in Traditional Bowhunter and a couple of letters to the editor along the way. I keep diaries and rough drafts of stories about hunts, but it's mostly just for my own entertainment. I've also had a number of photos published in different venues. I hope to revisit photography before long. It's been a long time since I got serious about photography. (single parenthood and budget constraints, ya know)

(TG)  Who are some of the people you have met or hunted with that have influenced you the most?

(Lamb)  Well, like I said earlier, Earl Hoyt was a big influence and Owen Jefferies. That was very early on. The books of Howard Hill (greatly influenced my shooting "style"), Saxton Pope were and are treasured pieces which still motivate and inspire me. As a boy I read anything written by guys like Jack Howard, Doug Kittredge, Dutch Wambold and others. Jim Dougherty was and is a favorite writer/bowhunter. I came to know Jim and think he's a swell guy. I've been fortunate to share camps with Fred Bear. Drank a few beers and hunted with Fred Asbell. The late Jerry Pierce was a friend and inspiration also. I guess during the time I was representing Magnus I met just about everybody who's active in the sport today. Without exception they have all been real nice, sincere, individuals who put their pants on just like the rest of us....except Paul Brunner, who uses a step ladder, I think!

(TG) what is your current bow hunting set up?

(Lamb)   As you know, I always shot bows of my own crafting until this year. I've fallen for a Jack Howard Gamemaster and love shooting it. I'd been shooting some carbonwood shafts from it for all my hunting and they did well for me. I've recently gone back to my favored 2219's. I used the XX75 for years with great results. It's a very stable shaft for my set ups. I've backed off in weight in the last couple of years. I always shot a minimum of 70# and for a while (a long time ago) I shot 75-80# for everything. Now days I'm holding 63# at my 30 1/2" draw. I'll be getting a new bow soon that will be 66#. It'll sure do anything I need it to do. I shoot longbows on occasion, but mostly love my recurves. A bow quiver suits my tastes too. Really balances the bow the way I like.
I really like big broadheads and find several advantages... at least for my tastes. My long time favorite was the Magnus I with bleeder blades for a honkin big broad head (can I borrow that phrase?) I shot Zwickey Delta w/bleeder before that for the same reasons. Lately I've been shooting the Wensel Woodsman and really am impressed with it. They fly so damn nice, penetrate like gangbusters and sharpen so easy. It's just a great broad head.

(TG) What is your favorite game animal to hunt?

(Lamb) That is a tough one. Moose have a special place in my heart. I just love chasing those big turds. For everyday type big game hunting, though, I'll take mule deer every time.
I love the varied terrain they can be found in. They can be very abundant and they are always sharp as a tack. Nothing gets my blood pumping like a 30+ " mulie buck. Spot and stalk is my favorite method of hunting and mule deer are made for that.

Pigs are fast becoming a favorite. I'd like to take a bragging size hog with nice teeth. Until I do, I'll be tickled with the smaller ones, hickory smoked and falling off the bone.

(TG) Where is your favorite place to hunt?

(Lamb)  Anywhere in the Rocky Mountains. I'm especially partial to western Wyoming.

(TG) Do you do any small game hunting?

(Lamb) You know, I have always said that if I had to make a choice between big game and small game hunting, I'd have to take the small game. I love all of it. I grew up in a hunting family and subsistance hunting was a part of my heritage. There were very few big game animals in Missouri when my Dad and uncles were in their formidable years so they kinda specialized in rabbits and squirrels. Naturally I grew up on that type of hunting and of course fried rabbit and squirrel.
I love all game when it comes to meat on the table and I have a book of favorite recipes that just aren't the same when you substitute some domestic meat.... guess I just don't care for that "tame" taste. I got in a little rabbit hunting just the other day while scouting a new farm for deer. Rabbits can be hard to find in any numbers around here and when I got into some after a fresh snow I was tickled pink. Between deflected shots and bunnies that bolted at just the wrong time I didn't bring any home, but I had a blast... and will be going back to that spot for sure.
Most of the best shots on big game that I've known over the years were also ardent small game hunters. By the time you get to where you can bring home a couple of bunnies consistantly, you will have refined your shooting skills considerably. I like to hunt squirrels also. We've got plenty of them and of course a squirrel takes straight shooting and good timing to bag.
Every summer I make a trip west to hunt ground squirrels and rock chucks in the Rockies. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

(TG)  If there’s one moment in all your hunting that you could go back and change. What would it be?”

(Lamb)  There are many, many "moments" LOL!   I was hunting black bears up in Wyoming once and had a very large bobcat sidehill past me. Since I was in a tree he was at my level as the hill went up and away from my tree. He couldn't have been 10 yards. He could have been mine if I hadn't been sure that at any moment a huge bear (that I knew was around) would come walking up and I didn't want to jeopardize that. I watched that cat walk away. I never saw the bear at that stand! Looking back I'd have taken the cat... I'd really like to shoot a bobcat now.

(TG) Do you have a favorite shot on whitetails?

(Lamb)  Favorite shot on whitetails....hmmm. I play the angles of course, but prefer dead broadside with the arrow below center and tight to the shoulder. I tend to play it a little close to the shoulder sometimes and often leave a mark (or at times a bleeder blade piece) on the shoulder blade. Since I hunt from a tree so much these days I'd have to say that I like a low angle shot. You know, not too high in the tree. Usually around 10-12 feet up and I seem to do better if the deer is out there a little bit. Say 15 yards or more, but seldom more than 30 yards.

(TG) as someone who’s hunted as long as you have and managed to take the animals you have taken, if there’s one piece of advice you can give us that are still dreaming of forging a future comparable to you days in the field. What would it be??

(Lamb)  If there was only one piece of advice to give I'd have to say "go for it". Get out and hunt something anytime you can. In time it adds up.
In my younger days I was prone to butt heads with bosses who thought work was more important than hunting. I can't say I always used good judgement with that career wise, but then I wouldn't have got to do all the hunting I've done. We've all got responsibility to family and of course that's most important, but... at the end of this life I didn't want to be layin there wishin I'd have done this or hunted that. I've had a life that has been blessed with many successes, but for every success there has been a handfull of "almosts". I really think it's the "close but not quite" hunts that have taught me the most and maybe those are the successes afterall. I guess I could paraphrase an old saying, "there are no small successes in bowhunting, only small minded hunters".

 (TG) Do you have any bowhunting goals or plans for the immediate future?  

 (Lamb)   I'm still looking for places to live in the Rocky Mountains. That will have a big impact on my goals as far as hunting is concerned. I'd be hunting elk, mule deer, antelope, bear, and of course all the small game. After that I'll look at options. I'd like to take a nice bull moose in Canada and maybe a rematch with caribou... this time I'd drop camp instead of float hunt. I'm pretty low key on most stuff. Just give me something to hunt.... ANYTHING to hunt... and get out of my way. Hahaha

 Interviewers notes;
I’ve had the privilege of sharing camp and hunting with Charlie Lamb. A finer man you will not meet. He’s more than willing to share his hunting stories and advice with anyone who asks. Charlie’s’ an old school bow hunter with old school ways and values. He’s also a bit on the humble side and hard to get to open up on some of his accomplishments.

During his close to 50yrs behind the bow, Charlie’s been active in the PBS and several state bow hunting organizations. As a member of the Wyoming bow hunters assoc. Charlie was very involved in rallying bow hunters to save extended bow seasons and keeping muzzleloaders from invading the bow seasons.

Charlie was also very instrumental in the early days of Magnus Broad heads. Charlie was involved in everything from consulting to designs and product promotions. Charlie Lamb is the designer/creator of the “Magnus blunt cut” Small game head.

During his days afield Charlie has taken aprox. 100 big game animals. And as where some feel it’s not worth their time, Charlie has recorded harvests of close to a thousand small game kills with the traditional bow and arrow. The majority being ground squirrels. As someone who has shared a campfire with Charlie, I would strongly advise a person….. if you ever have the chance to sit by the fire or hunt with the “Sunbear” Do NOT miss the opportunity.



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