I've never shot a bow and arrow unless you count the toy bow made from a green willow branch and twine that my older sister and I made when playing cowboy and indian as children. We'd race around bareback on our horses pretending, however we both always wanted to be the indian, so she was Nez Perce on her appaloosa gelding and I was Cherokee on my pinto pony. I know that the term is politically incorrect and I don't mean to offend anyone. I come from a long line of native Americans from both sides of my family and respect all heritage. However we watched the great westerns of the times on television and modeled our play accordingly.
Like Native Americans, my family has hunted big game for food since before my birth. My mother was eight months pregnant with me during that hunting season. We rifle hunt, we always have. We have never archery hunted. I have a great respect for skilled archers. I know that one needs to be skilled to hunt properly with a rifle as well but I've always been impressed by people that are successful at bow hunting, especially harvesting bull elk. I have been in close proximity of large branched bulls during rifle season and believe me it's exciting, but the thought of bugling in a huge angry testosterone filled branched bull elk is not only thrilling but terrifying. I've heard stories where an agitated bull came within feet of the bugler. So close that the hunter felt the animals steamy breath as he snorted over the large log where the hunter swatted in retreat.
I've seen negative results from both, rifle and bow hunters, where animals where fatally wounded and lost. Sometime the result of a mistake or just bad luck, but often the result of an irresponsible hunter taking a shot that should have been passed upon or not bothering to go look after taking the shot, assuming that they missed when the animal didn't fall to immediate death.
Myself, I will probably never archery hunt, I'm too much a creature of habit. I enjoy the hunt. Walking through the thick timber and climbing steep terrain in hopes of stalking or flushing an animal. I have a difficult time sitting still. I feel like I'm missing something just over the next ridge and I have to go see. I lost an wounded animal once, my first year elk hunting...a mistake I vowed to never repeat. I have honed my rifle skills since that day 30 years ago. For that reason is why I'll never attempt to archery hunt. The fear of wounding an animal and the thought of it suffering and dieing of infection is more than I could personally bare.
A Sacred Place, Memoirs of a Female Hunter
Sherrie Gant is a writer, photographer, and