INFO: Trad Archery for Bowhunters

Author Topic: BUCKS, BROKEN CHAIRS, AND LEFTHANDED BOWS - Jim Larsen  (Read 1285 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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« on: February 25, 2004, 05:31:00 PM »

   I once read that the definition of “winner” is “someone that gets up one more time than they’re knocked down.”  Traditional archery is full of winners who have overcome obstacles that a lot of people would have given up or chosen a different path around.  These people to me are not only winners in their own right, but mentors to many others and to me.
   Most recently I faced my biggest obstacle ever involving shooting my traditional bows.  The bad part is that I created my own obstacles.
   For a big guy I have always been fairly athletic.  I enjoyed the challenges of team sports.  I spent several years power lifting, a couple of years boxing, and at the young age of 15 began arm wrestling.  Needless to say I was a very hard on my body, suffering torn tendons and ligaments and tearing the rotator cuff in my left shoulder twice in a ten-year period.
   In the last few years I have had to keep reducing the poundage of bows in order to keep shooting.  Shooting a bow became arduous work and took all the fun out of it.  I felt depressed and my bow hunting future didn’t look very bright.
   “That’s it, I’ve had enough.” I said as I winced in pain.  My frustration had reached its summit.  I was at the Michigan Traditional Bow hunters Jamboree and was with my wife at the practice range flinging arrows.  My wife was sympathetic to my situation as was a gentleman at the target range next to us.
   “I see your having a lot of problems.”  He stated as he approached me.  He introduced himself and I explained my situation.
   I have always shot a bow right handed and now just holding the bow up with my left hand was sheer torture.  As I would draw the bow the stress would increase on my shoulder causing me to release before coming to full draw sometimes causing my shoulder to pop out sending my arrow into orbit.
   “Which eye is your dominant eye?”  The gentleman asked.  “My left eye.”  I replied.  “Then why not try switching to shooting left handed.”  He said.
   “I’m gonna have to if I want to continue to shoot bow.”  I replied.
   The next morning found me talking to Rick Shepard at the Great Northern Bow Hunting Company’s booth.  Rick gave me a left-handed recurve to try out at the target range.
   “Wow!”  My wife stated as I put another arrow in the chest of the cardboard deer,  “Your doing great!”  “Any pain so far?”  She asked.  “No none at all.”  I said with a huge smile on my face.  “This feels so natural I wish I would have switched years ago.”
   I returned the bow and thanked Rick promising a Great Northern Bow in my future.  
   On our way home my wife and I discussed the possibility of a new bow but our money situation called for a used bow for now.
   Christmas came early for me as my wife presented me with a left-handed 52lb. Stotler longbow she bought from a customer where she works.  The beautiful bow shot so smoothly that I fell in love with it.
   I really needed a confidence booster this hunting season.  I don’t determine the quality of my hunting season by putting meat in the freezer, but for my confidence sake I needed to know if I was still a hunter of just a guy shooting a left handed bow.
   October came and went with no shots taken and very few whitetail encounters.  The third of November found me in a favorite ground blind watching for cruising rutting bucks.  It was extremely windy as the small half racked buck worked his way through the woods towards my location.  As he passed by at a mere 5 yards I began to draw.  The buck saw my movement and spun trotting quartering away from me.  I bleated with my voice stopping him at 20 yards long enough for a shot.  The arrow passed harmlessly under his chest.
   I walked out of woods that evening with a somewhat relieved feeling.  Like all encounters with whitetails in the woods the memory of this hunt will bring a smile to my face as I recall every last detail.
   Relief came in the fact the arrow was close to it’s mark and not three feet over his back but as they say “close but no cigar.”
   On November 13th I was headed to the woods with a plan to watch a scrape line that had seen a lot of activity the last few days.  I carried a camouflage-folding chair with me to sit on during my vigil.
   I cleared out a couple of shooting lanes and cleared the leaves away in a large circle next to a triple trunked tree with my feet.  About an hour before sunset I had a sinking feeling.  Literally!  
   It seems that my gift of gravity was more than the poor folding chair could take and it was collapsing under my weight.  As the back of my chair and the back of my head simultaneously reached the forest floor I contemplated my dilemma.
   Trying to make as little noise as possible I slowly rolled to my stomach and arose to my feet.  Chuckling to myself I moved my broken chair aside and stood scanning the area for movement.  For the next 20 minutes a constant parade of turkeys heading to their roosts kept me occupied.
   When I was sure all the turkeys were in their roost trees I heard something coming toward me through the woods behind me.  I gripped my longbow and I turned around to see a buck approaching.  At 23 paces he started to turn broadside when he noticed that I looked out of place.
   As he looked at me he lowered his head and snapped it back up.  He stared me down for a little while longer the flipping his tail, he continued his journey through the woods.
   When his head went behind a tree I came to full draw and held until he was in the open.  My eyes locked on a spot behind his shoulder and I released.
   I heard the sound of the Wenzel Woodsman striking ribs and saw the fletching protruding from behind the bucks shoulder.
   I can’t even describe the flood of emotion that passed through me at that very moment as I realized what I had just done.
   My legs turned to Jell-O as I leaned against a tree to keep from falling over.  “My God I did it” I said quietly “Thank you Lord.”
   Knowing that it was a lethal hit I walked back to my truck and headed home for help tracking.
   I knew that my wife, who bow hunts also, would want to go along so I called her at work and told her I’d wait for her and asked her to bring home some film for the camera.  I then phoned my cousin Bill to come help.
   When we reached the woods it had been dark for an hour and raining for at least a half an hour.
   The excitement was high as we chattered amongst each other while looking for blood.  Suddenly my wife yelled.  “I found a lot of blood!”  Bill and I ran to her and began following the trail.
   Soon we found the back half of the arrow covered in good bubbly lung blood.  The rain seemed to hamper our tracking attempt and Bill and Elaine could hear the concern in my voice.  In my heart I knew he was down, but my mind started second guessing what I had seen.  Was the hit to high?  Why wasn’t there more blood?
   All of a sudden Bill yelled, “There he is!”  My stubby legs sprinted through the dark woods to the deer.  I’m sure all the hooting and hollering could be heard for miles.
   The strong, sharp broad head had done its job passing through the top of both lungs but the rain had made tracking in the dark pretty tough.
   I sat next to the deer with a look of astonishment on my face and just kept repeating, “I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it!”
   Bill shook my hand several times telling me what an accomplishment it was.  My wife gave me a big kiss and a hug and said, “I knew you could do it, I’m so proud of you.”
   To all of you traditional bow hunters out there I know that when you get knocked down you’ll get back up.  It’s just in our nature.

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