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Odd Ramblings

Posted March 29th, 2012 at 04:47 PM by mnormand

I'm going to try this blog thing, written a lot of stories, but never blogged like this. Here we go, just some random thoughts...mostly for my own recollections.

I used to shoot more traditional bows when I had better places to hunt. Then for a few last years, I backed off, since seemed like just didnít have the opportunities to see and shoot at deer that used to present itself. It was always somethingÖlike driving up to Illinois for the last 4 years, Iíd talk myself out of it, figuring that a long solo trip should be rewarded with slam dunk kills that a compound can provide. In fact the very first year up there, I did hunt with my stickbow, and promptly missed twice the first morning, close too. Like 5 yards away. Skimmed the back on a broadside doe the first time, then here comes another one that stopped in the same trail to smell this new arrow blocking her way. This one I cut skin, but still across the back. Dangit! No doubt I didnít bend sharply at the waist for that hard angle. So I put the stick up, grabbed the compound, and proceeded to knock down 4 does over the next few days. Iíd analyze each shot later, what if I would have had the stickbow? Probably too far/thick/up/down or a dozen other excuses. A few were realistically difficult, and a few were definitely trad worthy shots. Over the last few years Iíd continue to make a few trad hunts, but since I had sold my Black Widow many years ago, all I had at this time was a 53#@28 laminated longbow made by a good friend about 12 years ago. It was with this bow that I shot a cow elk on Colorado public land, and with tracking help from my two pards, and one followup shot from one of them, we recovered this fine animal. This had been our third consecutive annual elk backpacking hunt by us, all carrying longbows made by my friend David. Mine seemed especially lightweight with a juniper riser, which probably made for a little more hand shock than desired. But it had mojo, other special top secret appointments, and served its time well, with a Florida whitetail doe harvest also.

About two years ago during the off season, I owned and was shooting the usual latest Mathews 60-70# offering, and starting to develop some left shoulder issues. Enough to drive me in to an orthopedic doc and xrays, who simply prescribed 4 weeks of therapy, 3x week. Sure enough, with the right coaching, exercises, and direction, I came back to a tested 100%. About this time I thought it might be a good idea to get a lower poundage bow for slow gradual exercise, and the physical therapist agreed. I easily found an inexpensive Samick 40# 62Ē recurve on ebay, that seemed to agree with my large stash of 55# spinded tapered cedar arrows that Iíd made up along the way. Lots of them had real turkey wing fletching Iíd saved from kills. Hand split, and carefully sanded down to lay on the shafts just right with the Bitz left wing fletcher.

After another long drive to Tensas in November of that year, spending two days sleeping the back of the 4runner, in wet weather, got me to deep thinking on the way home Sunday. I was 53 years old, and only once had I ever been in a local club that actually had a reasonable population of whitetails to stay interested. I had two stints in that club, with the first many years ago being the best by far. Killed a bunch of deer with compounds, then two with the Black Widow recurve. Then the club limit was reduced to 1x doe per year, and I was outta there. Good people and good friends, but not enough deer action. I would always supplement the seasons with various trips to many of the WMAís, some years more than others. So on that drive home from Tensas, it came to me clearly, I needed/wanted/had to finish my more productive hunting years with better surroundings. Literally the next day I contacted a club in Alabama I had saved notes from months ago. He had an opening now, the dues were more than Iíd ever paid, but it was no contest. I didnít mind public land trips of gas, supplies, camping, hard hunting, but too many trips of little deer sightings, and many squirrel hunter sightings/blown hunts were enough to seal the deal. I sent them a large check sight unseen.

The following Friday I made the 5.5 hour drive, arrived way after dark, and the president was every bit as friendly and upstanding as he had been on the phone. As fine a Christian fellow as you'd ever want to be associated with. The most comfortable camp Iíve ever been involved with. My own private tiny bedroom. Central a/c & heat. 4000acres, 25 members. Awesome. Saturday morning Steve drove me out to a box blind, and after that rifle hunt I scouted around nearby, jumped deer, and was feeling great. I didnít really want to go in there blasting the first weekend, better to tread lightly. So Sunday morning right at daylight I snuck back in there with popup blind inside the trees on backside of plot, set up, got inside to see two does looking at me from nearby. Gave them a pass, and about an hour later shot a nice mature doe ambling by.

A few weeks later I climbed a tree in that area with the Samick, and shot a doe out of a threesome. The 40# limbs drove the two bladed Magnus deep enough to drop her in 50 yards. Oh man I was in Heaven! Some days during rifle season I was seeing 16-18 deer in the plots. That was like a herd of African gazelles for a deep woods hunter from La, who often was lucky to see a few animals every now and then.

I could feel myself regressing, and thinking backwards. The heck with expensive bows, gear, etc, Iíll just continue to use the Samick, it can kill deer all day long. Think of all the money I can save.

Then it happened. I was browsing Iím member #600 of like 32,000 or so. I remember Terry Green from Georgia, one of the founders, calling me personally with an invite to join. We had met on the early Bowsite/Leatherwall website when I had the Black Widow, and I had made other good friends that resulted in a some fine out of state hunts to Fla, Ohio, Co.

Anyway, I kept seeing these Morrison bows, and always just assumed they were too expensive, not for me, etc. Then a thread about ďShow your MorrisonsĒ popped up, and I lost all control. I messaged and spoke personally to a number of the more experience Morrison owners, then called Bob Morrison, and that sealed the deal. That day I went home and started selling stuff including my old friend, the elk longbow. It was too strong for me anyway now. A week later the order was in for a custom Cheyenne recurve with Macassar riser, and came out to 44#@28, a little more than I wanted, but no big deal. I received it 3 months later. It too liked my current crop of cedar arrows. I hunted with it a number of times in Alabama, but never had a shooting opportunity. Every time I had the compound which I used occasionally, Iíd see deer close, and killed two does.

The season comes and goes with a freezer now full of meat, from other kills as well. I can feel the pull back to trad getting much stronger now. I shoot much better, and have my personal form and style down firm after a few adjustments. The mental side is good too. Thatís not to say I wonít miss Ďem, but not in my 20yard backyard practice range, LOL.

]A few weeks ago I had an urge to get another longbow, and found a sweet used Morrison Dakota II, 40#@28. I canít put it down, shoot it every afternoon. It shoots so easy it should be illegal.

And for now the cedar arrows are still in the hunt, but Iíve set up some Easton Legacy aluminum shafts for both bows, and have never had better shooting arrows. 12gpi 2219s and 10gpi 1916s. I tried the various carbons, weighting up the fronts, brass inserts, heavy tips/broadheads, etc, all that jazz, and from the moment I watched the first one fly, I hated it. The trajectory was all screwed up and wrong. I saw it immediately. It was like oil and water, it just didnít belong. Dropped like a rock out there. Caused more bow shock than usual.

The aluminum Legacys and cedars fly so pretty, all you see is the nock, a true symetrical arc, since the weight is spread out. Thatís what I like. The ARC, that I can SEE. The cedars fly like that too, certainly better than my accuracy anyway. And the HIT on the far end sounds like itís supposed to sound. Its the perfect blend of release, arc, and hit that can easily be followed by the ears and eyes. Those carbons hits are different in a weird sort of way. Maybe one day Iíll try Ďem again, if they can figure out how to weight them up about 12gpi, the whole length. I think Gold Tip has something like that now, but at $150 dozen, no thanks.

I even scored some used vintage Easton XX75 2219ís for the Cheyenne, that are so cool with the old camo pattern. They fly perfectly too. Iím gonna waffle back and forth between those and the cedars this fall. It just FEELS right.

Thatís worth something right there for sure.
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  1. Old Comment
    Boscoyo's Avatar
    Great Ramblings Mark. Enjoyed the read.
    Posted April 1st, 2012 at 09:15 PM by Boscoyo Boscoyo is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Black Spurs's Avatar
    Your "ramblings" have a pleasant flow.
    Posted April 12th, 2012 at 04:14 PM by Black Spurs Black Spurs is offline
  3. Old Comment
    wkw137's Avatar
    Enjoyable read Mark. Im the proud owner of the little Sammick that helped rekindle your traditional archery fire.
    Posted May 8th, 2012 at 09:32 AM by wkw137 wkw137 is offline

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