Bowhunting has a lot of advantages: the seasons, the disciplines, all leading to success.
There, I said it. Bowhunting is not something my family did when I grew up. In fact, I was the first bowhunter in a long line of gun hunters. Now let’s clarify that I still gun hunt (maybe a bit too much for Ruffed Grouse) but a lot has happened to the way I hunt and the knowledge I have as a hunter from bowhunting, that ultimately made me a better gun hunter.
The first advantage we have when bowhunting is the actual season. I remember the first year I bow hunted in the October woods of Massachusetts. I saw things I had never seen before as a gun hunter (the Massachusetts season only two weeks long immediately preceding Thanksgiving week). Bucks chasing does, deer that had consistent patterns, and a whole mess of things that flooded my deer senses with knowledge.
When I finally made the jump as a bowhunting deer hunter my success rates sky rocketed. I went from one deer a year to six deer in my second season. Call it a game of odds or a game of tactics but adding 5 times the amount of huntable days to my inventory did wonders. I quickly learned that gun seasons are not always the most favorable times of year to hunt.
I also began to learn another thing- patience while bowhunting.
Now do not get me wrong there are plenty of patient gun hunters in the world. I certainly was not one of them. A shotgun gave me a false sense of confidence. I would shoot too soon, or get overly excited fast and just react. Once I began bowhunting, I had to watch deer longer. That need for a closer target began to calm my nerves and help me make better decisions.
As the years went on I found myself literally thinking bowhunting was easier. In some ways it actual is (again the amount of time to hunt). But the actual weapon is more of a challenge. That challenge breeds behavior that brings success rates up. Lessons we learn and take back to gun hunting.
Years later I would finally pick up my shotgun again. That year I put three deer on the ground with it. I looked back remembering all my fumbles, and all my failures, only to realize I needed bowhunting to teach me discipline and once it did gun hunting wasn’t that bad after all.
If you are anything like me and these stories sound like your own. It may be time to become a bowhunter.