Bow hunters are a different breed: the kind that relishes the challenges of an up-close, high-stealth hunt, with all the frustrations and elation that entails. But that’s not the only thing that sets bow hunters apart from their gun-toting brethren.
Hunters who head into the field with a bow and arrow often enjoy longer hunting seasons. Depending on state regulations, bow hunters are sometimes even allowed out before the gun crowd gets started. Those differences, among others, have led to a bit of a rivalry between bow hunters and gun carriers.
“There is some of that going on,” said Jeff Danker, host of “BuckVentures: The Woodsman,” seen on the Sportsman Channel. “But we’re hunters, and we shouldn’t let that divide us… I think that the message (should be) just to be positive with everything about hunting, and let’s not get in a bickering deal between ourselves.”
Danker talked about what makes bow hunting so special.
Question: Why hunt with a bow?
Answer: Man, for me, how I would answer that is — I played ball. I rodeoed. I did all that as a youngster, and that competitive edge just grew in me. Then, as I got older — I mean, it’s so competitive to bow hunt. That’s the ultimate challenge. You have to get close to these animals. I have so much respect for them.
Being a competitive guy, I think that is so much why we bow hunt. It’s not competing against your buddy or nothing like that (though that can be a friendly type deal); it’s more going head-to-head with these smart, smart creatures.
The other thing is, I think it’s something that God put in men — and not just men, but women, too. We’re hunters. To me, it probably boils down to that up-close-and-personal deal that I have with these animals that you really can’t explain or really can’t understand until you do it.
Q: What makes it so competitive?
A: [The animals] are going to get the best of you most of the time. That’s truly how it works. Bow hunting is something that can teach you so much patience. If you’re not prepared, it can make you pull your hair out. And if you take bow hunting to another level — bow hunting mature deer or animals — your percentages go down from there.
Q: How long did it take you to get good?
A: It’s never ending. I’m still trying to get good. Here’s a problem that we have — Back when I grew up — I’m 45 years old — there was a little bit of hunting on TV or whatever. But nowadays, for everyone that watches TV, there’s all these big bucks getting shot. A lot of kids growing up today, they want to shoot big bucks right off the bat.
Here’s the kicker. If we go out in the backyard, and we shoot 1,000 arrows a day, every day, it still doesn’t make you good. Can you be a pretty good shot? Yeah. But until you get those bloody arrows, if you will, and consistently get those, that’s what makes you good.
You have to shoot and practice in the backyard, no doubt. But you have to cut your teeth. I always tell people, shoot lots of does, feed your family, feed another family, donate the meat. Whatever it takes. You’re doing so much when you do that, and that’s what makes you a better hunter. Then, when you start shooting buck after buck and getting those bloody arrows, that’s how you get good.
At Bushmen Safaris, we prefer to bow hunt also as we have been archery-only since 1986. Contact Dani Anderson at 208.322.5902 or [email protected] to book your hunting trip or to learn more Bushmen Safaris.
Portions of this article originally appeared on the Academy Sports + Outdoors website.