It’s time to throw sticks at Bambi! Archery season for deer opens Saturday, September 11 at thirty minutes before sunrise. Be sure to wear tick repellant – it is still hot and lots of ticks are very active.
Like everything else, archery equipment has come a long way in my lifetime. I got my first bow, a 40-pound straight limb bow, in 1963. At 40 pounds, it was barely legal for hunting. I practiced with it a lot and got where I thought I could hit a deer – at a maximum of about 20 yards!
Hours were spent honing two or three blade broadheads with a file. I found the two blade heads did not fly like my practice points, they seemed to
“plane” in the air, but three blade ones were better, and easier to sharpen to me. And they were on heavy fiberglass shafts, lowering my range with the weak bow.
I broke stings often. They tended to wear out at then nocks after a short time. No matter how much I waxed them and took care of them, it seemed they did not last long.
I carried that bow hunting two or three times and shot at one doe as it ran by my stand, but never hit one.
In 1965 I stepped up to a 50-pound recurve bow and aluminum arrows. I practiced a lot and got decent with it out to about 30 yards. Then I bought pin sights, a bar with five adjustable pins for different ranges. With them I got to be a more consistent shot and felt comfortable out to about 45 yards.
I hunted a good bit with that bow but was not very good at picking stands or staying still. I shot one deer with that bow, a doe that walked directly under my stand in 1970 and I hit her between the shoulders. She ran off and I waited as long as I could to track her before dark.
There was a good blood trail for about 50 yards through thick brush, then a big pool of blood with the top half my arrow lying in it. But no deer. And no matter how many times I circled, even on my hands and knees, I never found a drop of blood leading away from the pool where she laid down.
I guess I probably followed too quickly, but I cannot believe a deer bled that much and was able to run off. I looked till dark then went back the next morning at daylight but never found a sign of her. I was hunting on a public hunting area near Athens and there were a lot of others in the woods, so I have always wondered.
When I moved to Griffin in 1972 I continued to practice but didn’t hunt much, especially after I got started fishing in the Sportsman Club. I got too fanatical about fishing and hunted just enough to keep two or three deer in the freezer to eat.
Also, I started to have shoulder problems. Every time I shot my recurve my right shoulder would pinch and ache. Compound bows were common by then but I never got one since it hurt to pull the sting back.
I found out I could get a letter from my doctor and get a permit to hunt with a crossbow. They were not legal back then for the general population but if you had a handicap that kept you from shooting a regular bow you could get a special permit.
I applied and got one, then bought an 80-pound crossbow from Berry’s Sporting Goods. After putting a 4X power BB gun scope on it, I could put every bolt in a six-inch circle out to 60 yards, almost as accurate as my .30-.30! But I never hunted with it.
Compound bows look nothing like my old straight limb bow with their cam wheels and steel cables. And they are much more powerful Before compounds, a 50 to 60-pound bow was about all anyone could hold back and be accurate. Now pull weights of 70 pounds are not uncommon, since you hold back about one tenth of the draw weight, only seven to ten pounds.
Bow sights are amazing now, too. You can get all kinds of lighted sights and look through a peephole on the string almost like lining up rear and front sights on a rifle. And some sights even automatically adjust to distance, a critical component of hitting a deer with an arrow!
And crossbows are even compound now. Broadheads come in a bewildering assortment, from the old two blade ones to ones that open on impact, and some have removable razor blades so you don’t have to sharpen them.
I have not been able to shoot my rifle the last three years since I have a port in my right shoulder from chemotherapy treatments. I got out my crossbow last year and practiced with it and can still hit a target consistently.
Since baiting it now legal, I could easily get within 20 yards of a deer and shoot it with my crossbow. But I have horrible memories of that blood pool and no deer from 1970 and just can not make myself go with a crossbow.
Fortunately, several friends have shot deer for me the past three years, keeping my freezer full of good meat to eat. I better contact them for this season soon!