Robin ConradsAdminNovember 15, 2017 at 11:28 amPost count: 893
Hello All. I am putting together an article for our website listing favorite books for traditional bowhunters. Some of the obvious ones have already been listed: Bear—Field Notes, Massey—Bowhunting Alaska’s Wild Rivers, Thompson—Witchery of Archery, Herigel—Zen in the Art of Archery, and Hill—Hunting the Hard Way.
Let’s hear some of your favorites and a brief explanation why.
David CoulterMemberNovember 16, 2017 at 11:48 amPost count: 2222
My very first thought is an article in the Sun magazine called the Good Hunter, an interview with David Petersen. You can google it easily and purchase the full version for a couple bucks. When I picked up the bow several years ago I started searching for things to read. When I read this I thought here is a guy who could put into words how I feel about hunting. I really recommend this piece.
After that I launched into a series of Petersen’s books. I also recommend A Sand County Almanac and An Island Within. I think that for me the spirit of it all has been as important as the how-to. I’ve definitely spent time reading on that, too.
Robin ConradsAdminAdminNovember 16, 2017 at 1:23 pmPost count: 893
Thanks, David. Very thoughtful choices. Your mention of the article with David Petersen got me digging and we have that article on our site. I’ve put the link below for anyone who’s interested. Keep in mind it was written in 2010, but the meat of the article is still very timely today.
David CoulterMemberNovember 16, 2017 at 2:36 pmPost count: 2222
Robin, thanks for making that article more accessible. I looked up a couple titles so I could be more specific. Petersen’s books that I read early on were Heartsblood and his collection of terrific essays Hunter’s Heart. More specifically on hunting, I enjoyed the Wensel brothers’ Treestand Strategies. I found that in a local bookstore. It’s part of Whitetail Secrets, vol. two.
William WarrenMemberNovember 16, 2017 at 8:22 pmPost count: 1379
I just got G Fred Asbell’s Stalking and Still Hunting. A Thousand Campfires is on my short wish list. (Hope I’m getting someones tattered used copy for Christmas!) Not a hunting book per se but understanding the ecology of the forests we love to hunt in will change our perspective, increase our respect, and give us cause to wonder each time we enter to hunt – The Hidden Life of Trees!
Stephen GrafMemberNovember 17, 2017 at 4:27 amPost count: 2306
I second The Hidden Life of Trees. Fantastic Book.
I would add Don Thomas’ book How Sportsmen Saved the World. It only takes one moment to destroy the world, and its gone forever. For the world to continue, it must be saved every day. Learning what those great conservationists and visionaries that came before us did, might give us purpose and motivation to fulfill our responsibilities, as the current stewards of the earth.
grumpyMemberNovember 20, 2017 at 6:29 pmPost count: 960
Become The Arrow, Byron Ferguson
Yahi Archery Saxon Pope
Hunting the Hard Way, Howard Hill
Instinctive Archery Insights, Jay Kidwell. Kidwell is a psychology/neurology professor who tells us how instinctive works, and how to learn faster (by decades).
Ron RohrbaughMemberNovember 21, 2017 at 11:50 amPost count: 1
How about A Traditional Bowhunter’s Path: Lessons and Adventure at Full Draw?
Sorry for the shameless plug, but it does get great reviews ; )
I would also second Don Thomas’ How Sportsmen Saved the World.
Robin, if you need ideas, you can look at the Resources section of my website (www.traditionalspiritoutdoors.com/resources).
Lots of great books…two that jump out right now are Ishi in Two Worlds and Witchery of Archery.
James HarveyMemberJuly 26, 2018 at 11:04 pmPost count: 1119
Great idea Robin.
Top of my list will always be Man Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett. He didnt use a bow but he hunted hard and sets a very fine example for writing about hunting. Don Thomas wrote on these pages something like “Corbett always put the tiger first, followed by the natural world he was in, followed by the courageous Indians who lived amongst them, and somewhere around the bottom of his priorities he mentioned himself”. I paraphrased/butchered that but you get the idea.
Saxton Pope’s “Hunting with the Bow and Arrow” is the best book I’ve read by a bow hunter. It’s hard to beat for romantic appeal and adventurous spirit.
Robin ConradsAdminAdminJuly 27, 2018 at 7:58 amPost count: 893
Col MikeMemberJuly 29, 2018 at 3:47 pmPost count: 908
I second Robin’s welcome back Jim. Sent you a private E-mail not sure the correct address mine is firstname.lastname@example.org drop me a note if you have the time.
Robin—got my annual hug from Kari and meet John at ETAR on Thurs.
And yes another old timer checking back in.
Two good books although not trad bow specific–good reads on our “world” Heart and Blood–Living with Deer in North America, and The Island Within—both by Richard Nelson.
David CoulterMemberJuly 29, 2018 at 5:40 pmPost count: 2222
Hey Mike! Great to see you pop up. The Island Within is a beauty. Very thoughtful. I trust this finds you well. Anything new from that fellow out in Colorado? All the best to you. Had to work this weekend so no ETAR for me again. Funny, I shot a wedding for a family from Wellboro, a town out that way. All the best, dc
Col MikeMemberJuly 29, 2018 at 6:38 pmPost count: 908
Yes been busy with lots of stuff. But all is well. Spent about 7 days with Dave first of June. We had a good time but the fires limited our out door travels we were confined to “his” mountain. The entire San Juan National Forest was closed. No campfires in his area so we sat on the front porch at night with a virtual campfire. He is doing very well and I keep pushing him for another book—but don’t hold your breath.
David CoulterMemberJuly 29, 2018 at 6:58 pmPost count: 2222
Mike, thanks for the note. He’s done a terrific job at getting his word out over the years. He owes me nothing, ha! Glad you got out for a visit. Seems like the whole world’s on fire, one way or another. Give him my best when you speak to him. Same to you. I look forward to crossing paths with you one day. best, dwc
Charles EkModeratorAugust 1, 2018 at 8:27 pmPost count: 550
Can’t believe this hasn’t shown up yet:
(For those who don’t know – The book describes the author’s career as a Pacific NW and Alaska bowhunter. Along the way he also found the time to run a top archery store outside Seattle, establish the Pope and Young Club, introduce Fred Bear to bowhunting in Alaska and encourage a guy to follow his dream of publishing a traditional bowhunting magazine …)
Robin ConradsAdminAdminAugust 2, 2018 at 7:05 amPost count: 893
Oh, T.J. and I miss Glenn so much! He was a wonderful man, and played a huge part in encouraging T.J. to start Traditional Bowhunter…and that was small compared to his other accomplishments in life that you mentioned. We miss him every day. Thanks for adding his book to the list.
James HarveyMemberNovember 26, 2018 at 4:36 pmPost count: 1119
Hey all, so I thought I’d give you all some little excerpts from Corbetts writing, mostly because I think it is so great. So I just finished reading another of his, ‘The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag’. Shorter book than his books about tigers but wonderful all the same.
I wanted to highlight three components to his writing. First, his humor. He always has little humorous injections which perhaps stand out more because so much of his writing is tense and serious. Second his love and knowledge of the world he lived and hunted in. He was not only so knowledgable and experienced but also endlessly curious. Finally his humanity. Sometimes when I’m reading his writing I have to remind myself he was a British officer in colonial India at the start of twentieth century. His sense of humanity and decency was far beyond the expectations of his time (compare that to Patterson ‘Man-eaters of Tsavo’, a British officer in colonial Africa whose careless and selfish treatment of his Indian workers was nothing short of villainous).
So, if you’ve got a cup of coffee, some moments to spare and a little patience join me on this little dip into Corbetts writing.
The scene: Corbett has been tracking the man eating leopard from its last kill 8 miles away and has come across an old pack man by the Ganges river and has stopped for a cigarette.
“While we were talking, an animal appeared on the crest of the hill on the far side of the Ganges. From its colour, I at first thought it was a Himalayan bear, but when it started to come down the hill towards the river, I saw it was a big wild boar. The pig was followed by a pack of village pye dogs, who in turn were followed by a rabble of boys and men, all armed with sticks of varying size. Last came a man carrying a gun. As this man crested the hill he raised his piece and we saw a puff of smoke, and a little later heard the dull report of a muzzle-loading gun. The only living things within range of the gun were the boys and men, but as none of them dropped out of the race, the sportsman appeared to have missed.”
Corbett has a dry, understated wit that always puts a smile on my face.
2. Love and knowledge of wilderness
The scene: Corbett is again hot on the trail of the leopard and has bought a local goat to use as bait. The villager he bought it off assured him it was a good caller and would bleat once seperated from its herd. Alas the goat happily nibbles some grass then settles down for a nap. Corbett decides he will attempt some cat calls to try and bring the territorial male in himself, but gives us a little aside from some time in the past to explain how useful knowledge of the jungle can be:
“If I were asked what had contributed most to my pleasure during all the years that I have spent in Indian jungles, I would unhesitatingly say that I had derived most pleasure from a knowledge of the language, and the habits, of the jungle-folk. There is no universal language in the jungles; each species has its own language, and though the vocabulary of some is limited, as in the case of porcupines and vultures, the language of each species is understood by all the jungle-folk. The vocal chords of human beings are more adaptable than the vocal chords of any of the jungle-folk, with the one exception of the crested wire-tailed drongo, and for this reason it is possible for human beings to hold commune with quite a big range of birds and animals. The ability to speak the language of the jungle-folk, apart from adding hundredfold to one’s pleasure in the jungle, can, if so desired, be put to great use. One example will suffice…
He then introduces a hunting excursion he had taken in the Kashmir region of the Himalayas (now one of the most militarily contested regions on Earth) and is caught out in a tremendous storm from which he shelters under a tree.
The moment the hail stopped the sun came out, and from the shelter of the tree I stepped into fairyland, for the hail that carpeted the ground gave off a million points of light to which every glistening leaf and blade of grass added its quota. Continuing up for another two or three thousand feet, I came on an outcrop of rock, at the foot of which was a bed of blue mountain poppies. The stalks of many of these, the most beautiful of all wild flowers in the Himalayas, were broken, even so these sky-blue flowers standing in a bed of spotless white were a never-to-be-forgotten sight.
The rocks were too slippery to climb, and there appeared to be no object in going to the top of the hill, so keeping to the contours I went to the left, and after half a mile through a forest of giant fir trees I came to a grassy slope which, starting from the top of the hill, extended several thousand feet down into the forest. As I came through the trees towards this grassy slope I saw the far side of it an animal standing on a little knoll, with its tail towards me. From illustrations seen in game books I knew the animal was a red Kashmir deer, and when it raised its head, I saw it was a hind.
On my side of the grassy slope, and about thirty yards from the edge of the forest, there was big isolated rock some four feet high; the distance between this rock and knoll was about forty yards. Moving only when the deer was cropping the grass, and remaining still each time she raised her head, I crept up to the shelter of the rock. The hind was quite obviously a sentinel, and from the way she looked to her right each time she raised her head, I knew she had companions, and the exact direction in which these companions were. To approach any nearer over the grass without being seen was not possible. To re-enter the forest and work down from above would not have been difficult but would have defeated my purpose, for the wind was blowing down the hill. There remained the alternative of re-entering the forest and skirting the lower end of the grassy slope, but this would take time and entail a stiff climb. I therefore finally decided to remain where I was and see if these deer – which I was seeing for the first time – would react in the same way as cheetal (chital) and sambhar (sambar) do to the call of a leopard, of which I knew there was at least one on the mountain, for I had seen its scratch marks earlier in the day. With only one eye showing, I waited until the hind was cropping grass, and then gave the call of the leopard.
At the first sound of my voice the hind swung round and, facing me, started to strike the ground with her forefeet. This was a warning to her companions to be on the alert, but those companions whom I wanted to see would not be moving until the hind called, and this she would not do until she saw the leopard. I was wearing a brown tweed coat, and projecting a few inches of my left shoulder beyond the rock I moved it up and down. The movement was immediately detected by the hind, who, taking a few quick steps forward started to call; the danger she had warned her companions of was in sight and it was now safe for them to join her. The first to come was a yearling, which, stepping daintily over the hail-covered ground, ranged itself alongside the hind; the yearling was followed by three stags, which in turn were followed by an old hind. The entire herd, numbering sic in all, were now in full view at a range of thirty-five yards. The hind was still calling, while the others, with ears alternately held rigid or feeling forward and backward for sound and wind direction, were standing perfectly still and gazing into the forest behind me. My seat on the melting hail was uncomfortable and wet, and to remain inactive longer would possibly result in a cold. I had seen a representative herd of the much famed Kashmir deer, and I had heard a hind call, but there was one thing more that I wanted. That was, to hear a stag call; so I again projected a few inches of my shoulder beyond the rock, and had the satisfaction of hearing the stags, the hinds and the yearling calling in different pitched keys.
My pass permitted me to shoot one stag, and for all I knew one of the stags might have carried a record head, but though I had set out that morning to look for a stag, and procure meat for the camp, I now realized that I was in no urgent need of a trophy. In any case the stags meat would probably be tough so, instead of using the rifle, I stood up and six of the most surprised deer in Kashmir vanished out of sight, and a moment later I heard them crashing through the undergrowth on the far side of the knoll.”
The scene: This is in the epilogue and while this leopard hunting adventure happened in the 1920’s this particular anectode comes from 1942. Corbett is visiting some wounded Indian soldiers and is doing the rounds to say hello and talk to them. He meets one young man, whos heroic actions in the war had left him crippled for life but who happens to come from the district where this man eater had prowled for 8 long years killing over a hundred people. The young chap was a young boy when Corbett shot the leopard and missed the chance to meet him and see the leopards corpse at the time. He is so pleased to meet Corbett and despite his crippling injuries attempts to adopt the old Indian posture of respect and bow down to touch his head to Corbetts feet and professes how proud he’ll be to tell his father that they spoke. Corbett writes:
“A cripple, on the threshold of manhood, returning from the wars with a broken body, with no thought of telling of brave deeds done, but only eager to tell his father that with his own eyes he had seen a man who years ago he had not had the opportunity of seeing, a man whose only claim to remembrance was that he had fired one accurate shot.
A typical son of Garhwal, of that simple and hardy hill-folk; and of that greater India, whose sons only those few who live among them are privileged to know. It is these big-hearted sons of the soil, no matter what their caste or creed, who will one day weld the contending factions into a composite whole, and make of India a great nation.”
I just received a new copy of a collection of his works, ‘Man-eaters of Kumaon”, “The Temple Tiger” and “The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag”. I can’t recommend him enough and what a perfect time to get stuck into a new book as Christmas approaches.
James HarveyMemberNovember 27, 2018 at 11:34 pmPost count: 1119
Steve, I’ll be stateside for Christmas visiting the little ones. We have a little farm cabin in central KY and there’ll be plenty of arrows set free and words read from books by the warmth of the fire. I wish you and yours all the best as well!
I just read your thread on ‘Good night etc’ and was amused by your hawk tale.. nice to see the language of your forest-folk noted as well. It’s all very exotic for me.. I still get excited when I see a squirrel on a tree!
Raymond CoffmanModeratorNovember 28, 2018 at 7:19 amPost count: 852
Have a great holiday in KY.
I read all of Corbetts work when I was a kid and reread it again a few years ago. He was a consumate woodsman / hunter and gentleman . I still marvel at what he accomplished. He was one with the jungle. Thanks for posting those excerpts, always enjoy his writings.
Stephen GrafMemberNovember 29, 2018 at 5:14 amPost count: 2306
It sounds like life has taken some interesting twists for you Jim…? I hope you get some good winter weather while in KY, but not so much as to make finding those arrows a chore 🙂
As for the woodland folk and their talk, if you learn to listen in on their gossip there isn’t much that can happen that you won’t know about right away. Their news cycle is about as maniacal as ours, but the content is more interesting. At least to me it is.
richard roopMemberDecember 8, 2018 at 4:48 amPost count: 119
45 Unforgettable Bowhunters by M.R. James was a good read.
Archery It’s Theory and Practice by Horace Ford is interesting in that the more things change the more they stay the same. A lot of his shooting advice is still valid today.
Toxophilus The School Of Shooting by Roger Ascham. (Reprint) Not an easy read but if you’re going to shoot single string ………. what the heck.
A Traditional Bowhunter’s Path deserves the good reviews it’s gotten.
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