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Terry Petko

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Terry Green:
Real Name: Terry Petko
TG handle: AZStickman
Age: 48
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 230
Home State: Montana, Been in AZ for 17 years now but Montana will always be home
TradGang member number: 16

(TG)- Tell us about yourself.

(AZStickman)- I’m just a regular guy. I was born and raised in Montana between the Deer Lodge national forest and the Pintlar wilderness and I spent plenty of time in both. I started hunting when I was 14 years old (a Late bloomer by MT standards) my first hunt was an Elk hunt. I remember all the preparation I put into the hunt reading every back issue of field and stream and outdoor life the local library had.

I remember driving up to our hunting area with Joe Laforge and my dad. We were in Joes truck and my Dad “let” me sit on the outside and he sat in the middle. I thought that was pretty cool until I had to get out and open the first gate in freezing weather. They taught me the true cowboy is the one sitting in the middle, he doesn’t have to drive or open gates. I remember slowly hiking a mile up a rocky dirt road and Joe looking back at me every time I scuffed a rock (he and my dad were Ironworkers and cut me no slack). I remember setting up at the edge of a huge park and waiting 2 hours for daylight while listening to cow Elk chirping a couple hundred yards below. I remember Joe hitting me in the head with a rock when I started snoring. I remember seeing the flash of Elk hind ends moving off into the timber as first light broke and I’ve been in love with Elk hunting ever since. I did a stint in the Army straight out of Highschool and moved to Oregon when I got out.

I lived there for 13 years and loved hunting the coast range. Man that was some beautiful country and those Roosevelt Elk taught me a lot. A rocky marriage sent me packing it to AZ in 1991. I thought I was giving up a lot of my hunting opportunities when I headed down here but what I found is some of the most diverse habitat and species available of anywhere I’ve lived. My success has plummeted (I haven’t filled a tag in the 15 years I’ve lived here) since I moved here but It is challenging country and I don’t choose the easy way to hunt. The thing that keeps me going back year after year is knowing I raised the bar high enough to make hunting a true challenge and when I do fill a tag it will be one heck of a accomplishment.

(TG)- What do you do for a living?

(AZStickman)- I an Environmental, Health and Safety Manager for a precision tool shop.

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

(AZStickman)- Since 1982. I moved to Oregon in 1978 and went out Rifle hunting after my ex brother in Law talked me into going. It was a zoo up there. I came from MT where you wouldn’t see anyone except your hunting party all day and here were pickup trucks cruising the road all day one after the other. It wasn’t my Idea of hunting. I didn’t hunt the next year and the following year I found a Used compound bow at a garage sale I bought for $15. I went out every Saturday morning for a month or two and practiced  up in the hills shooting Tin cans places on a dirt bank. I got pretty good with it.

 I decided to give bow hunting a try. I took the bow into the local archery shop to get it new cables and a string when the owner saw the bow he asked me if I could shoot it? I told him I wasn’t very good but I usually hit pretty close. He took me to their little indoor shooting lane and asked me to take 3 shots at their target. It was about 15 yards out. I put 3 arrows in the center ring. He said I’ll be damned. Puzzled I asked him what do you mean?. He replied I’ve never seen anyone shoot a left handed bow right handed before let alone shoot it good. I said There’s left and right handed bows??.
..... He laughed so hard he almost dropped.
 I never lived that down.

I hunted that year with a Compound he managed to sell me and and was hooked on bowhunting. I called in my first and second Bulls that year and managed to get 15 yards from a huge 5x5 blacktail. I hit the archery range a lot that year and half way through the couse one day I took a shot and the bow made an awful sound and the arrow wen out 4 feet and hit the dirt. When I looked at the bow it had fiberglass splinters coming off both limb tips. It seems  I had nicked a nock on the previous target and it blew apart when I shot. I sent the bow back to Bear Archery and while I was waiting for it to be fixed I saw a used Old 50# Damon Howatt Super Diablo recurve which I bought for $50. Once I shot that bow it was all over I loved it. When I got my compound back I sold it and have been shooting trad ever since. I shot recurves for about 4 years, then made the switch to Longbows and the last 4 years I have been hunting with self made selfbows.

(TG)- Any heroes? Any role models?

(AZStickman)-  I didn’t have any heroes until this year. I had the great honor of being appointed the Arizona Ambassador to the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation and  coordinated 8 hunts this year for them. 6 Elk hunts, 1 Mule Deer hunt and one Bighorn sheep hunt. Each and every one of those kids is a hero to me. Never been much into role models I just live my life my way and try to follow the old golden rule.

(TG)- Which eye is your dominant eye?

(AZStickman)- right

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

(AZStickman)- Right handed , I even shoot left handed bows right handed..

(TG)- What got you started bowhunting?

(AZStickman)- See the story above.

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

(AZStickman)- I kind of fell into it on my own. Even at the 3D shoots back then if you had 3 shooters shooting trad it was a big turnout. I shot from the Compound stakes at targets from 15 to 80 yards with most of them between 30 and 50

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

(AZStickman)- I remember it like it was yesterday. It was my 3rd year bowhunting and was getting towards the end of the Oregon Elk bowhunting season which ran almost the full month of Sept. Maury a,great hunting partner,I had met up in my area that year and I were working a Bull in a little area we called the Christmas tree bowl. This area  was a half mile round bowl that had been cut over and replanted the trees were between 6 and 7 foot tall and the Elk loved it in there.

We got within 30 yards of the Bull, I could see it raking a tree but it was out of Maurys’ site. He wanted to move in on the Bull but I was trying to tell him the Bull was right there. I gave in and we tried to close the gap another 10 yards. 5 yards into the stalk the Bull busted us and broke out of there. Taking some cows with him. It was so thick down there I couldn’t tell how many there were.  

We both ran up a small rise to our left . The rise dropped down about 50 yards to a creek and a clearing o the other bank of the creek ran uo 20 yards or so. I was watching as a cow came out on the other side of the creek and started feeding broadsine. I had an arrow already on the string and drew back locked on a spot behind her shoulder and the next thing I knew my arrow was on it’s way. I watched as it arced high and I remember thinking  “ Oh no I over shot her” and then it started to drop and hit right behind her
shoulder and disappeared. She flinched and the went back to feeding. I was puzzled and told Marry to keep his eye on the cow because I thought I’d hit her. No sooner had I said that then she stumbled left than right and then dropped like a ton of bricks and it was over. What a thrill.

We later figured I had shot about 60 yards. I didn’t even think about yardage when I took the shot I just had a feeling and everything kind of went into auto pilot. My Cedar shaft pushed a Zwickey through a rib on the entranceside and the zwickey was half way through a rib on the exit side. Any doub’t I had about trad archery equipment and it’s ability to knock down Big Game was washed out that day.

(TG)- Do you prefer a glove or tab?

(AZStickman)- I’ve shot both over the years but am now shooting a 2 finger under tab.

(TG)- Do you have any favorite memories or kills that stand out? Tell us about it!

(AZStickman)- The one above stands out as does my blacktail buck but I’m getting finger cramps from typing and I’ll save that story for another day.

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

(AZStickman)- Right now it’s a 57” Sinew Backed Osage Static recurve I made last year. I shoot Cedar arrows and still love 2 blade cut on impact heads.

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

(AZStickman)- When the moment of truth arrives and your ready to loose an arrow at a critter Pick a spot the smaller the better.

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

(AZStickman)- Elk

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

(AZStickman)- Mainly spot and stalk or more accurately with Elk hunting Run and Gun. But I’ve used tree stands a couple of time and just picked up an Ameristep Penthouse blind I’m looking forward to using this year

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

(AZStickman)- Dad hasn’t in a few years now but one of my 2 brothers still does.

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

(AZStickman)- After 34 years of Elk hunting I still haven’t harvested a Bull. I’ve called in dandies for friends over the years but just haven’t been able to get the right shot. I’ll pass up shots all day long if they aren’t right.

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

(AZStickman)- I make my own bows, quivers, and assemble my arrows.

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

(AZStickman)- Arizona Elk in September

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

(AZStickman)- Public land is almost all I’ve ever hunted with a couple of exceptions

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

(AZStickman)- Yes

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

(AZStickman)- I like a lot of the Predator patterns

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

(AZStickman)- I shy away from scents. When Elk Hunting you usually smell or hear them first. If your wearing a cover scent you can’t tell if it’s you or the Elk your smelling. I love calling any and all game.

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

(AZStickman)- Every chance I get.

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

(AZStickman)- Bull Elk Hunt in AZ in September. I get to live that dream a lot….

(TG)- What pushed you over the line to make selfbows?

(AZStickman)- It’s been a slippery slope downward ever since I bought that first recurve, I was happy with it for a while then I had to try a longbow. My first exposure to selfbows was at an all traditional shoot up in Oregon. There were a couple of guys from Southern Oregon packing around a couple of character bows. I thought it was a joke until I saw them shoot them and the seed was planted. Those guys were good. I moved to AZ in 1991 and soon after that bought the Bowyers Bible volume # 1 I read it cover to cover twice and was thoroughly intimidated and confused. I decided the only way to get going was to start making shavings. I bought a $100 yew stave. I babied that thing for a year, removing a shaving here and there and then going back to the book, I finally got it to where I could string it. I was elated. I could see a flat spot and went after it with a vegenance and intead of checking it on the tiller board with the long string I attempted to brace it again. I remember hearing a loud crack and splinters flying everywhere and I had one years worth or patience and $100 laying at my feet. I went inside and took out a stave of Osage I had bought for my second bow and started chasing a ring.

I have a bit of a stubborn streak and once I set my mind to learning or doing something I don’t let go of it until I finish what I set out to do.Sometimes that’s a good thing other times not so good ? . I finally learned what it took to keep from breaking bows but just couldn’t get one to shoot good. They just didn’t have any punch on the receiving end.

Around 2000 or so I asked Rusty Craine if he would be willing to take me in for a couple of days and show me the ropes, he didn’t hesitate and a few days later I was on my way to Texas. He and Mike Westvang showed me facet tillering and how to finesse a tiller out of a bow and I’ve been making great selfbows ever since

(TG)- Tell us a little about the landmark legislation you help get passed in Arizona.

(AZStickman)- My journey down that path was the result of a bear hunt a guy  did for a youngster with a life threatening illness years ago. I was so impressed with them and that hunt that I contacted the group he was working with and offered to help them do an Elk hunt in AZ. They took me up on the offer and I contacted AZG&F to see if we could get a tag issued for one of their kids. I found out it would take a change in the rules through legislation to accomplish this, I had no clue as to where to go from there so I went to the Arizona State Legislature web site and read a little article they had on there titled “From Bill to Law” it walked you through the process for getting a bill introduced and passed step by step. The first step was to get a Senator or representative to sponsor the bill. That took 6 months or so to accomplish and I can remember how many phone calls. I finally got a hold of Representative Andy Biggs who agreed to be the bills sponsor and we were off and running. Two years and several battles later we succeeded in getting the Bill enacted into law. It allows hunters who have drawn a tag in Arizona to donate that tag to a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to provide outdoor experiences for children with life threatening illnesses. It became effective April 1st 2005. One of the groups who contributed support to our efforts, this legislation took the help of far too many people for me to name them all, Was The Hunt of a Lifetime foundation founded by Tina Pattison. After the bill passed I received a call from Tina asking me if I would be willing to serve as their Arizona Ambassador. I was honored to accept.

 Here’s a collage showing a few of those kids

Having been a part of this has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I recommend that anyone who gets a chance to contribute something to our sport of hunting, no matter how small that contribution might seem, please don’t let that chance pass you by.

(TG)- You can invite 3 tradgang members to share a campfire, who are they and why did you choose them?

(AZStickman)- I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to share a campfire with more than 3 tradgangers . Each and every one of them was a pleasure to hunt with,and there are more out there I hope to have the chance to do the same with down the road. This site,by virtue of  the way it is set up,and run, brings together people of like minds. We all share a true love for hunting and the outdoors. I’d be happy to share that campfire with most of these guys.

For those of you that havent checked out Terry's website you need to do so


Good interview.

SWEET....Very glad to see this make a Come Back

Thanks a bunch for taking the time to let us know ya better AZ (Terry) Quite the fella you are  :thumbsup:    :thumbsup:  

Thanks Terry Green for giving this life again   :notworthy:  

Great interview!

Tim Fishell:
Very good read!!  Terry sounds like one of the good guys!!  :thumbsup:


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