What to do when forced to stay home.

When Michael Rennie and his alien spacecraft fell out of the sky in The Day The Earth Stood Still, it was duly noted that it caused severe pandemonium and fright to the earth’s inhabitants. And how about when Kenny Rodgers sang “I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.” Can somebody please tell me what the heck he was singing about? Was it the flu, indigestion, the virus?

The term “Making Do” was a term I read in an article that Fred Asbell wrote and spoke of. It means to make the best of things in a bad situation, like having to entertain ourselves while being self-quarantined at home due to the recent outbreak of this global pandemic. Since we’ve all heard too much on that subject already, I won’t bother getting into it.

Shed antler hunting is a great way to ‘make do’

What I really want to do is from my heart. I’m going to sing the praises of my best friend Katie. I believe she’s a traditionalist in every sense of the word. She enjoys traditional archery with her many iconic longbows and recurves. She really likes shooting her fifty-year-old vintage Shakespeare Sierra recurve, pulling thirty-five pounds. She likes wearing her vintage 1960s era green suede back quiver she bought at a flea market for five dollars. She embellished the quiver with a rabbit pelt and colorful Indian style material. It’s one of seven quivers she wears. They’re all really cool. Katie loves to shoot Port Orford cedar arrows because she says, “They shoot so sweet!” I firmly agree.

I set up a five-target shooting range off the back of my patio for her to practice on. She can launch shafts from ten yards on down to thirty yards distant. Her stone platform stands twenty-five feet above her target area overlooking a deep ravine. WOW! That’s way higher than any of my deer hunting stands. Katie has learned how to “Make do with what she has, and what she has, she thinks is enough.” (Earl Thomas Conley-country singer)

Learning to ‘make do’ means reading plenty of books and magazines. Katie’s favorite magazines are Traditional Bowhunter and Garden & Gun. The Traditional Bowhunter comes from my personal library. Her favorite writer is Krista Holbrook. Katie relishes the fact that Krista makes all of her own traditional crafts and archery equipment. Katie is also really impressed by Krista’s ability to hunt wild hogs. Krista leaves quite an impression on Katie by Krista’s ability to do it all.

Katie also enjoys other contributing writers such as Connie Renfro, Noelle Naiden, Marie Sturgis, Linda Steiner, Karen Campbell, Fred Asbell, and Barry and Gene Wensel (of course)! One day I asked Katie if she’d read any of the writings of Donnall Thomas. Katie sheepishly replied, “No, who is she?”

Quite a few years back, prior to the opening of bow season, I took Katie with me to hang a new tree stand. I had never hunted this particular woods before, so it was all new to me. While wandering I asked Katie where she thought would be a good tree stand location. She began looking around her, looked up, looked behind, looked in all directions, then casually pointed to a pretty decent sized ironwood tree. The stand went up in that tree.

Enjoying Barry Wensel’s book. Actually, being scared!

Well, two weeks later on Opening Day while sitting the stand down for the first time, I arrowed a pretty nice 120-inch double brow-tined ten-point at 9:00am. All this while trying to stuff most of a peanut butter sandwich into my mouth while drawing my recurve. I have Katie to thank for that deer. Pretty good instinctual credentials for her not being a hunter. Hmmm…

Katie is happy to just be an archer and archery enthusiast, and not a hunter. She thoroughly enjoys the guided flight of a long-shot arrow. I’m happy for her and the ways that she learned to ‘make do’ during these times. Did I mention that she likes wearing plaid shirts and jackets a lot? She says it makes her feel the spirit of Jay Massey or Fred Bear. I say as long as it doesn’t make you look like Barry Wensel!

Katie is a pretty good archer. She’s kind of a natural shooter with real good upper body strength. It didn’t take long at all to shoot instinctively. All of Katie’s archery equipment either comes from Denton Hill’s Eastern Traditional Rendezvous, or flea markets/garage sales. Now that I think of it, there were many, many women archers at Denton Hill that weren’t hunters either. What’s this world coming to?

Like I stated earlier, Katie is a traditionalist but she is not a hunter. How can that possibly be? Does this actually equate? How can you walk through the woods shooting pine cones, rotten tree stumps, fling arrows from an improvised target range and NOT be a hunter? Impossible! I never heard of such balderdash! But I hasten to say, it is a very true possibility that one doesn’t have to be a hunter in order to be a traditionalist, Katie is proof.

Katie has shown me and my friends alike that her ‘making do’ has allowed her to do many other things while being quarantined at home. Other than archery target shooting, we built bird feeders to document over thirty-six different species of birds. Katie has also taken up throwing knives like the Vikings did. Lots of fun! Dart throwing, shed antler hunting, lots of book reading. One of her favorite passions is growing flowers and vegetables seeds from the Monticello Museum in her greenhouse. Yes, Katie is 100% traditional, only because she learned to ‘make do’.

As I write these words as a loving testimonial, let me say that Katie has always been my hero. I don’t use the ‘hero’ word lightly. I could never have accomplished the many numerous fine things and deeds that she has achieved in her life. Katie is so much smarter than I could ever hope to be. I look up to her ability with very high esteem. I want to thank Katie for giving me the wonderful life that I would never have known imaginable. God smiled on us all when he gave you to us. I am so very grateful to know you. I could only wish that my fellow man has a “Katie” in their lives. Learning to ‘make do’ with someone you care about brings it all home, into perspective. I want to thank my Katie…it’s been one heck of an amazing journey, with no destination known.

Katie and her bows and quivers

Katie’s newly acquired equipment choices are:

  • 1980s era Damon Howatt Hunter (recurve)
  • 1959 (reproduction/re-introduction) Bear Kodiak (recurve)
  • 64” Dwyer (longbow)
  • 60” Fleetwood TimberRidge (recurve)
  • 1973 Bear Grizzly (recurve) *Denton Hill blanket sale
  • 1990 Bear Super Kodiak (recurve)
  • 1970 Shakespeare Sierra (recurve/52”)
  • Katie owns seven (7) back quivers
  • 145 grain field tips with 40 grain screw-on adapters for her cedar arrows
  • She shoots from 35-40 pound draw weight bows
  • She shoots with a traditional 3-finger leather glove from American Leathers, and traditional armguard from Denton Hill.