Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why bowhunt?

This is a tough question. From vegetarian a few years ago to aspiring bow hunter, it's been quite a journey. For starters vegetarianism for me did not come from a desire to avoid hurting animals. I think that food is important, and I do not like how mass produced meat is produced. Once grass fed beef and pastured pork became widely available that resolved my reservations about eating meat.
Hunting is an extension of that to a degree. However, its significantly more than that. As I get older (and I am) I think more about where I've come from. There's less of where I'm going, going to happen so it makes sense to look back a bit more. My father, my grandfather, and his grandfather.. each successive generation has had more education, more technological knowledge, better pay, better health, and less skills with less. I hesitate to call them "primitive skills" but hunting, fishing, gathering of food from the land, building things with simple tools. We, the men in my family are far from unskilled. My dad is a skilled carpenter, welder, he is a good fisherman, and gun hunter. He's restored two classic cars by himself. Like I said he has a ton of industrialized skills, but my grandfather was better in the woods, better tracker, better hunter. My dad is no slouch in these regards, but I am. These kinds of skills connect us to our ancestors. From early tool using primates to (in my case) our grandfathers. If the deterioration of these kinds of skills continues; from my grandfather to my father, to me, to my kids. In a generation or two these skills will be completely lost. Some people do not see this as a loss, but as an improvement. I disagree. We are primates. No matter how we dress, or live. We are not different from the early hominids, we just have better tools. Any thought besides this is an affectation. A denial of our evolutionary history. As I get older I have a strong desire to reach back into my ancestry to grab hold of those basic skills and abilities and then to pass them down.
So those of you who are with me this far (Hi) may wonder why use a bow. If we are primates with sufficient technology, and that tech (guns and gun making) is not going away any time soon (even in the worst end of the world scenarios there will still be guns.. not everyone will have them but they will be around for at least a generation, maybe two in present form and building a muzzle loader with basic gear is not to difficult).
The first and most basic is comfort. I am comfortable shooting a bow. I have shot bows for a long time and I just like them better than guns.
Second reason is practice. If I am going to shoot a weapon at an animal I want to be 100% sure that I am well practiced. I won't shoot unless I'm sure, and the only way to be sure is to shoot. The places where one can shoot a gun regularly are very limited in my area. Bows can be shot anywhere with a safe backstop.
Third reason is cost. right now I have $350 in my rig, all I need are broad-heads and I'm good to go. I could go hunt small game right now. A rifle would be far more. I can practice the bow in my backyard, not so with the gun so that means time and range fees. Whats more I can re-shoot arrows, so the bow is cheaper by a mile. The bow also has the advantage of not needing to be swapped for different game. Deer? Elk? Turkey? different arrows, same bow. Poundage may need to be dialed up or down, but its the same gear.
Fourth reason is greater skill level required. You have to be closer. You have a smaller zone of lethality. You have a greater requirement for tracking. For someone interested in skill development (me) this has a higher appeal. Lastly its a challenge. The whole point in taking this on is that I currently do not posses the skills to do it. I have gone gun hunting for Turkey, deer, and small game as a kid. I haven't killed anything of note, but I have the understanding to build those skills already. So there's less of a challenge for me.
Fifth is simply that there are fewer archers in the woods. I will have to hunt public land out here. I don't want to get shot, I don't want to have to stumble over other people's hunt or worry about someone showing up to "claim their spot" in the woods. I just don't. Archery is a smaller population and the tags are easier to get.
Finally is the stigma and worry of "guns in the house." I live in Seattle. I will be very careful with locking up any guns and keeping them unloaded, and keeping the ammo separate and also locked up. However, out here there is the assumption that guns are guns, and homes with guns are unsafe for small children. I understand where this fear comes from. One just never knows who is intelligently managing their guns and kids and who isn't. Some folks out here have a scorched earth policy when it comes to any firearm in the house. It is simply a hassle I don't want or need. There are no guns in my house, but there are two bows and several arrows, one bow draws at 45 lbs the other at 65. Your child is in no danger from them. End of questions. 
None of this is to slag on gun hunters. Hunting with a firearm is not easy. I intend to make the transition to gun hunting eventually, but for right now the bow is what I really want to do.

Lastly a note on this blog. This is something I am putting a lot of time, money and mental energy in, so that's what I'm writing about. I realize this is a subject that is unappealing to some folks. Please know that I am not a trophy hunter, and I will not be posting pictures of dead animals to the blog. Also know that I have some jiu-jitsu projects in the works, so for folks reading for that stuff please stay tuned.

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