The DNA of a Bowhunter

Getting in close and staying undetected

First of all, I want to define a bowhunter as someone who uses either a traditional bow, a compound bow or a crossbow as a tool with which to hunt game. All of these bows are classified as bows in the hunting regulations. In BC, as you may know, crossbows are considered bows for the sake of taking advantage of the bow seasons. To say that compound bows and crossbows, for example, are not bows is just plain selfish and one sided.

Regardless of the quarry, bowhunters have to figure out how to get in close and stay undetected. Photo by iStock.
Regardless of the quarry, bowhunters have to figure out how to get in close and stay undetected. Photo by iStock.

I sell all three models and someone that chooses which tool to use to hunt is simply their business. Each bow requires a person to stalk within 40 yards and learn to use the wind direction, the shadows, and to simply be skilled enough at stalking or sitting to get right in close to be successful in taking an animal with a bow. It requires the hunter to do a fair amount of practice, especially with the simpler triad bows and compounds. Yes, the crossbows have a way shorter learning curve to be accurate, but if a person who is too weak to pull a bow any longer, due to injury or age, chooses to use a crossbow instead of the other two options, that is simply a person who is honest with himself and ethical enough to know they do not want to wound an animal. It’s the right decision. If you have hunted with a traditional or compound bow and did not get the chance to practice this year and decide to buy a crossbow as an option, there is nothing wrong with that.

Yes, there is a minority of hunters who buy a crossbow simply to extend their season or to give themselves more time in the woods. One could say these hunters are really not true bowhunters and I can agree with that.

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I see it all the time; in fact, I personally own a crossbow. If I am going to sell these things, I better know something about them. Whatever your reason is, as I said, it’s your own business and others have to respect that.

A number of months ago, I did an article on the proposal to ban all scopes on crossbows and boy did it create a lot of interest. I received almost 50 e-mails, as I expected it was a hot topic with a lot of readers and that is why I wanted to do the article. There was a lot of readers who did not even know of this proposal, and I thought it was something I wanted to bring to the public and my views on the subject.

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I had a lot of readers who explained their reasons for hunting with a crossbow, traditional bow and compound bow. They were all a great read and I wish I could share them all with you, but here is what I did gather from most of those e-mails.

Whether you choose to hunt with a traditional bow, a compound bow or a crossbow, it’s not easy. Photo by iStock.
Whether you choose to hunt with a traditional bow, a compound bow or a crossbow, it’s not easy. Photo by iStock.

As I stated, each person has their own good reasons for selecting which bow style they choose to hunt with, and they have to be respected for it. One is not better than the other.

I want to share a few sentences from a great e-mail I received, which had good impact on me and prompted me to do this article. This person was a compound bow hunter and rifle hunter who said he quit gun hunting when he shot a deer from over 100 yards away and decided he was not a hunter at all when he can shoot at such a long distance. As we know, there are so many guns that shoot well over 300 yards nowadays. He said he put down the gun and picked up his bow and decided to become a hunter again and make it more fair. He said he had to learn the deer’s habits, travel patterns, bedding areas. From this, he learned where to position himself for an ambush. He said he made sure he was within 40 yards to be ethical. He stated he had to become patient, quiet, and he had to pass on shots that did not feel ethical to his standards. To him and his partners, a well-planned stand and proper shot were the most important thing to them. I felt this summed things up quite well in describing the DNA of the bowhunter. Shooting long range with a gun is more marksmanship than hunting, you don’t even need to wear camo to hunt at those distances. But bowhunting means doing things at way closer distances, with animals that have better senses than us, so harvesting with any bow is such a reward when done right.

For me, a bow hunt is a walk in the bush with my bow and that’s all I expect. Anything more is great but not required to make bowhunting so fun.