Topic Archives > Member Interviews

John Scifres


Real Name:  John Scifres
TG handle: John Scifres
Age: 38
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180
Home State: IN
TradGang member number: 946

(TG)- Tell us about yourself.

(John Scifres)- I'm a Christian (Catholic to be specific), family man, hunter, bowyer, and Product Manager...pretty much in that order.  I believe in God and know in my heart that the Bible holds all life's lessons.  Several thousands years of inspiration can't possibly be wrong.  I teach Sunday School at my parish and pray almost every day that God guide me in the decisions I make for my children so that it will be clear to them what they must do to reach heaven. My 15th wedding anniversary is January 5, 2006.  My wife and I started dating in High School in 1985.  I have a 10 year old daughter Emily who is really just the most incredible little girl I can imagine.  She is the most persistent, stubborn little thing but that has helped her through a variety of health problems.  She's terrific really.  This year she accompanied me on a deer gun hunt where I killed a deer.  She thought is was really neat and even opened her up and had a great time examining the internal organs.  Maybe she'll be a doctor.  I have an 8 year old boy, James.  He is the most conscientious child I have ever met.  He aims to please and usually does.  Finally, I have a 4 year old girl, Lainey.  Cute as a button and sweet to boot.  All my kids have bows and shoot occasionally.  

I try to take them hunting a couple times a year each. I like to hunt but don't necessarily consider myself a bowhunter.  Just a hunter.  I have no problem with anybody wanting to hunt in whatever way that is legal and ethical.  Too many times, we as hunters spend more time dividing than joining.  I am just happy that people actually still want to hunt.  License sales are declining practically everywhere in the US and fewer children are hunting.  Spending our time trying to restrict hunting methods is counterproductive to preserving our hunting heritage in my view.  There are plenty of deer around and where game resources are scarce, having limited draws and the like is more effective than method restriction.  In Indiana, we can't kill enough deer.  It's the same way in KY where I used to live.
(TG)- What do you do for a living?  

(John Scifres)- I make most of my money by being a Product Manager for a small health-care based safety and emergency response company.

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

(John Scifres)- 6 years

(TG)- Any heroes?

(John Scifres)- No heroes really.  People I look up to for their moral views and commitment to worthy ideals, yes...but no heroes.  Except, Jesus of course but we'll stick to archery and hunting        :)        

(TG)- Any role models?  

(John Scifres)- Most of my involvement at the TradGang and the *********** relates to making wooden bows and in that area, Dean Torges for his courage and commitment to doing what seems to make him happy (with the happy side effect of helping lots of people) and Mickey Lotz for his commitment to keeping natural archery alive.  Joe Mattingly is my real hero though.  Oops, I don't have heroes - hehehe.  Joe dealt with adversity in a way that I couldn't imagine anyone doing.  He is a life mentor for me.  I have a couple people who are general hunting role models, both authors.  One is Ted Kerasote.  He wrote a book called "Bloodties".  Specifically his views on head hunting match most closely to mine.  I am not a fan of trophy hunting as it is generally practiced.  David Petersen is another.  "A Hunter's Heart..." and "Heartsblood" are both excellent.

(TG)- Which eye is your dominant eye?

(John Scifres)- Right

(TG)- Do you shoot right handed or left handed?

(John Scifres)- Right

(TG)- What got you started bowhunting?

(John Scifres)- Some deep seated, unexplainable desire to venture backwards in the evolution of intellectual engineering.

(TG)- Who first helped you get involved in traditional bow hunting?  

(John Scifres)- I was at a hunting show in Louisville, KY.  Mark Keller was there making wooden bows.  I though "Hey, that's neat."  Then I saw the pictures of dead animals he had killed with wooden bows.  I didn't realize people still did that        :)      

(TG)- Do you remember the first animal you took with a traditional bow? Tell us about it!  

(John Scifres)- I don't "take" animals.  I kill them.  Hopefully I find them.  Then I "take" them home to my frying pan or freezer.  I think I killed a little buck in 1999 but I didn't find him.  It was a bad shot.  The first animal I verified that I killed was a raccoon but it was only the coup de grace on it.  A friend had shot it with his compound and it just wasn't dead yet.  I killed a squirrel as my first unassisted, verified kill.  It was with a bamboo backed osage bow I had made after Torges came out with his video.  I guess it was 2001.

(TG)- Do you prefer a glove or tab?  

(John Scifres)- Glove.

(TG)- Do you have any favorite memories or kills that stand out? Tell us about it!
(John Scifres)- My trad bow kills are pretty limited so I guess so.  All of them.  I killed my first deer last year.  Here's the story.      

(TG)- Can you tell us a bit about your preferred hunting combo?  

(John Scifres)- I bowhunt almost exclusively with a sinew-backed osage static recurve I made in 2000.  It's starting to fail though so I guess I have to think about making another like it.  I have at least 20 other bows but rarely shoot them.  I use whatever arrow I got.  I have never bought an arrow though.  All of them have been traded for, eitehr assembled or the components.  I use Ribteks because they're cheap.

(TG)- What is the one piece of advice you would give a new hunter to aid him on his hunting ventures?  

(John Scifres)- Do what makes you happy and don't read hunting magazines or watch hunting videos.  Hunting should be personal.  It's OK to share it but if you are doing it to impress somebody, then you need to reevaluate your motivation or take up golf.  Learn about the woods in the woods.  Be around animals a lot.

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

(John Scifres)- Deer.  Because they have lots of meat on them.  Mmmm meat!

(TG)- Do you have or prefer a certain method of hunting?  

(John Scifres)- Honestly, I think I prefer gunhunting most of the time just because my odds of getting piles of meat are better.  Bowhunting is fun for communing with nature and getting away from it all.  My favorite way to hunt for the experience is to slip through rolling terrain on an overcast day, doing my best to melt into the woods.  I like treestand hunting too because you can see so much and it's fun to ambush animals or just watch them.  I'm really getting into taking pictures lately.  Camera hunting is fun and lets me express my artistic side.

(TG)- Does any of your family hunt or fish?  

(John Scifres)- My dad started me on it but he doesn't hunt anymore.  My brother hunts.  My Great Uncle is an outdoor writer.  My uncle lives in Wisconsin and is still pretty into it.  
My kids are definitely showing an interest.  Emily will hunt next year.  We all fish.

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

(John Scifres)- Idaho for elk next year.  I've been elk hunting 3 times, CO twice and Utah.  I really love the mountains.

(TG)- Do you make any of your own gear?  

(John Scifres)- Self and natural material backed bows, arrows sometimes, quivers, tradepoints.

(TG)- Where is the one place you would really just love to hunt?  

(John Scifres)- Alaska

(TG)- Do you primarily hunt private or public ground?

(John Scifres)- Both but I'm more successful on private grounds.

(TG)- Do you prefer evening, mid day or morning hunts?  

(John Scifres)- They all have their merits.  I hate getting up early but love to watch the woods wake up.  I've had about equal success in killing stuff between mornings and evenings.  I eat lunch mid day unless
I'm shooting doves.

(TG)- What is your favorite type of camo?  

(John Scifres)- Some texture and relatively light color with open patterns.  I like the old Advantage.

(TG)- Do you normally use anything like scent covers or attractants, camo, or calls?  

(John Scifres)- Yes.

(TG)- Do you do any small game hunting?

(John Scifres)- Yes, anything that is in season and in range.  Mostly squirrels and doves.

(TG)- Tell us what your dream hunt would be.  

(John Scifres)- My daughter and I have plans to go up to Alaska for caribou some day.  I hope she doesn't grow out of the desire before I can come up with the money.  In the meantime, she's going to get her license next year and my dreamhunt would be for her to whack one her first season.  A backpack hunt in the Rockies with both my older daughter and my boy would be a real dream.  We'll see about the younger one in a couple more years.

(TG)- Ever had any luck with the dove? I lost my dove hunting invite after I brought a bow.
(John Scifres)- I didn't mean to imply I dove hunt with a bow.  Just a gun.

(TG)- Tell the people that don't go to MOJam what they are missing out on.
(John Scifres)- MOJam is probably the only time you'll get together with so many people who are into natural materials bows.  It's really fun just to be surrounded by it.  We've been doing it so long that it's like a family reunion only with people you know and want to be around        :)         The clout shoot is an absolute blast and you can pretty much shoot the 3D range as often and at any time of day you like.  I have particularly good, albeit fuzzy, memories of a 2 am coon shoot with a few guys a couple years ago.  My kids went last year and loved it.  There are lots of families and there is a pool nearby to ward off the heat.

(TG)- What got you into bow building?
(John Scifres)- Without Pat Lefemine and the Bowsite, I would be willing to bet that half the people who are into selfbows now wouldn't be into it.  The online community there and later at the TradGang is what created MOJam.  Guys like Joe Mattingly, Ron Harris, Dean Torges, Bill McNeal, and a hundred others sharing their knowledge online is a big part of the resurgence of selfbows in America.  Ironic ain't it that modern technology helped resurrect old technology.  I'm not saying the internet deserves all the credit, things like this seem to happen anyway, but the mix and the exposure sure would have been different.

(TG)- You can invite 3 people (dead or alive) to share a campfire, who are they and why did you choose them?
(John Scifres)- Jesus #1 - because it would be so incredible to see Him in the flesh. My good friend James who was killed in a car crash, Groundhog's Day (Feb. 2) 14 years ago.  He was my original hunting and trapping buddy. I'd love to meet Jim Fetrow who used to hang at the ***********.  He is one of the few guys that really helped me learn to make bows who I have never met.

(TG)- What is one thing I haven't asked that you would like for people to know about you?
(John Scifres)-  I used to drink a lot.  Too much, in fact.  I quit drinking almost 2 years ago.  It was a good move.  If your addicted to drugs or alcohol, practically anything else you do is affected in some way.  A functional alcoholic is still an alcoholic.  Just quit!



[0] Message Index

Go to full version