Archery has been a unique part of my life from a very young age. My first archery hunt was when I was fifteen years old. With no prior hunting experience other than killing a lot of dots on paper, I set out ill prepared and full of anticipation. To this day the largest buck I have ever seen was the one I missed with my bow on that first archery hunt! Needless to say, a lot has changed since then and many personal vows to ďnever do that againĒ have been made. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Iíll bet it does. It is with these necessary experiences however, that we make the needed changes to become successful.
There is a list longer than I care to mention here of what I learned from that first hunt - patience, patience, patience probably being the most important. There are a few others that may be beneficial to share however. Some of which have been reaffirmed to me through the years by watching others make the same mistakes that I had made.
Lesson Number One: Equipment.
Yes, thatís right. Equipment! This poor dead horse is going to get another beating. But, for good reason! It seems every year in early August when I slip over to visit a good friend at the local pro shop I see the same scene. Joe Hunter walks through the door with a bow covered in an inch of dust. The bow looks like it was made in about 1985(Ancient for Archery Equipment) and something that my dadís dad would have hunted with. Joe says that he drew an archery tag and wants to go hunting. The same thought runs through my buddies mind and mine simultaneously. ďWhen was the last time you picked this thing up?Ē
Now donít get me wrong. This is an extreme example but it happens more than you would care to see. Just ask your pro shop. Many of us make our livelihood with our hands. More importantly many of us make our livelihoods with our tools. We all know that a great craftsman is only as good as the tools he uses. I suggest to you that hunting is no different. A great hunter, whether he is an archery hunter or a long range rifle hunter, is only as good as his equipment allows him to be. So letís do ourselves a big favor and not allow our equipment to be a determining factor for our success, especially when many years and dollars are spent accumulating bonus points for the big hunt. An archery hunter has a wide range of tools needed to be successful. Being in the archery community for many years, it has been amazing to see the progress of equipment development in the last five years alone. There has never been a better time to take up this sport with all that is available.