Ron RoettgerMemberOctober 31, 2011 at 7:03 pmPost count: 52
They say you cant go back. But you can come close enough sometimes.
On a wet foggy late September morning my father , older brother and I went bow hunting on the opening day of the 1972 Wisconsin archery deer season. I recall many of the details of my first bow hunt. The weather, the doe that ran in front of us as we pulled over to park. Because of that. I was sure there were going to be deer everywhere I looked.
And there was my bow. I had got it the July prior at the Penny’s outlet store in the Twin Cities. Our family had went shopping and with my 12th birthday just days away my folks said get what ever you want for $20.00 or less. The store had a large sporting good area, and that is where I headed. When I first saw the 55 gallon drum of recurve bows I headed right to it. They had some that were $20.00 others were more. I found a 62” Ben Pearson Colt with a 45# pull. I told my folks that it was what I wanted. My older brother also got one as a early gift, he would turn 14 in October. And to our surprise our dad also got one but his was a Mustang model instead of the Colt.
I hunted with that bow for awhile before moving on to other bows. I even lost the bow for awhile when I was 17. I had just got a different bow. My friend and next door neighbor wanted to get into bow hunting and asked if he could buy my old recurve. I said it was not for sale but he could use it until he got a different one, we agreed that he would give me $20.00 to hold while he used the bow to be returned when I got the bow back. Well one day he comes over to shoot with a different recurve and I tell him to bring back my bow and I would give his money back. At which time he explains he traded bows with his uncle Greg. I was upset but did not make an issue of it. Then about four years later I was going fishing with a buddy from work and he asked me to go into his parents house and grab his fishing pole from the closet just inside the door. And there it was in the closet- my bow! I grabbed the fishing rod and asked my buddy about the bow in the closet. He told me that his uncle Greg had giving it to his younger brother. I asked if they shot it? He said no and that their mom had been telling them to get rid of it. I explained the history of the bow and asked if I could buy it. They would not take any money and gave me the bow.
Back to that first hunt. This now being my 40th Wisconsin archery season. I wanted to relive some of the memories from that hunt so long ago. These past couple of years I have reshaped the grip and arrow shelf of that old bow. I made some wood arrows for it and shot it at a few shoots. It is a nice shooter, this past June I shot the 10th highest score out of hundreds of shooters at a large Traditional archery shoot. When I woke up today with a light rain ending and fog in the air, just like that September morning in 1972. I knew where I was going hunting, where I would park, and what bow I would carry. No doe ran in front of me as I parked. More leafs were off the trees, it was a good ten degrees cooler. The land was no longer private but now owned be the Fish and Wildlife Service so that same field edge I sat on that had alfalfa in it years ago now has prairie grass and golden rod. The fence along the field edge has grown up a lot, but I found a spot to put a stool (my knees are not that of a 12 year old, and kneeling on the ground was not going to happen) and sat in the same general area as all those seasons ago. Like that first hunt much was the same. The sounds of waterfowl in the wetland behind me, the fog, but I no longer wanted to get a shot at a deer more than anything! If a doe would have stepped into my shooting lane I would have taken the shot. But I think I am glad one did not because to keep it like the first hunt. I am glad to have went home empty handed.
The most rewarding part that first hunt was the long walk in and out with my dad and brother the excitement for that and future hunts. Today the long walk again was the best part, the memories of that first hunt, the others that followed and the hunts yet to come.
David CoulterMemberNovember 1, 2011 at 1:04 amPost count: 2261
Very nice story. Brings back memories for me, too, although I didn’t get started with bow hunting until a few years ago. My first bow hunt for deer was actually when I was in high school. A buddy and I went to hunt some woods, but we didn’t have a clue. We stomped through the woods and fields like we were hunting rabbits with shotguns. Then nothing for many years until the bug hit me three years ago.
Thanks for a nice read. best of luck, dwc
Steve Sr.November 1, 2011 at 9:29 pmPost count: 344
While all hunters fill their lives with memories that are relived often, it is the trad community that I feel best understands what it is all about and is more often inclined to go back in time, even if only a few decades to relive the beauty held then and make it new.
We (us “older” folk) are in a dying breed of those who WILL be able to go back as you have and once again snatch onto an old trad bow or arrows of years past and still enjoy them.
NO offense to those starting out with wheelies but I hope to Heavens none of you go back to them with “fond” memories but it is quite imaginable that some will.
Old equipment often meets a disdainful eye carried in my hands and it does indeed hurt me when I have such a “deerless” season such as I have faced this year. Corn, too warm, southerly winds that kill my woods havent helped as well as LOTS of coyotes. Last night was the FIRST young deer I have seen in a month. Not good but saw 3 more today so hoping it was bad timing yet deer numbers seen are about 1/4 of last year and Im PANICING. lol
Somehow, I put pressure on myself to “prove” what does NOT NEED proved and that is that bows of bowyers past are as lethal as ever.
Anyway…..OT again. lol
LOVE seeing that some recall days gone by even if our present day offers us many more trad options. For me, technology has creeped into our sport a bit more than I would like so…..I just limit myself to what has shown me for decades works, has worked and will work even if I do play with “numbers” a bit.
Pass it forward, there is a youngster somewhere in all our lives that someday needs to tell a story like yours and venture forth turning old memories into new ones.
Thank you for sharing.
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