Tag Archives: Bowhunting

bowhunting deer

5 Reasons Why It’s Not ‘Just’ A Doe

Like most whitetail addicts, our family enjoys scouting for, seeing and hunting mature whitetail bucks. Therefore, we prepare all year just to have an opportunity to harvest a whitetail with a respectable set of antlers. Because of our desire to harvest something with bone on its noggin, we’re in the habit of saying, “it’s just a doe” after the successful harvest of a whitetail whose sex isn’t of the male gender.
So, after my son harvested a doe last weekend, “just a doe” was on the tip of my tongue when suddenly it occurred to me — it’s not “just a doe.”
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It’s Not Just A Doe

With the whitetail rut in full swing, every bowhunter hopes this time of year will offer him or her the opportunity to harvest a mature whitetail buck. Even my kids have the same hopes and dreams. Invariably, after they have rubbed the sleep from their eyes I am met with the first question of the day, “Dad, did we get any trail camera pictures last night?”
Always wanting to know what antlered deer might have showed up under the cover of darkness, a new day sends their curious minds running to what they enjoy doing this time of year – bowhunting whitetails.

Bowhunting Is Work But The Work Is Satisfying

There are some that believe hunting is easy. Now that I brought up the ‘E’ word, what is ‘easy’ anyway? Who said all the work that goes into getting permission, scouting, trimming shooting lanes, and hanging stands for an entire family is easy? Easy, no! But it sure is satisfying.
Bowhunting whitetail
Isn’t that why we hunt? I have watched all summer as my boys have spent countless hours practicing with their bows. They take the ethical harvest of an animal very serious. Being proficient is not an option. The exploration, anticipation and preparation are all part of the hunt.
Of course, we would like to harvest a 180-inch brute we could brag about, but there is still a whole lot of satisfaction in the ethical harvest of a doe, especially for a 15-year-old. For our family, we take great satisfaction in all the work that goes into the harvest. There’s something rewarding about the journey. From the moment we start hanging trail cameras, clearing shooting lanes, and scouting for better stand locations, to the very moment of harvest, it’s all part of the hunt.

The Hunt Is A Journey And We Should Enjoy Every Step

Crazy? Maybe, but it doesn’t make it any less true. The hunt is a rewarding journey that ends with the satisfaction of knowing you earned it. So as I told my boys, it’s not “just a doe” and here’s why:

1. It’s not, “just a doe” when there were hours of practice and preparation that went into this harvest.
2. It’s not, “just a doe” when this harvest was beneficial to quality deer management.
3. It’s not, “just a doe” when my boys and I were able to share another experience together in God’s beautiful outdoors.
4. It’s not “just a doe” when my son gave the meat to a family that will greatly benefit from it.
5. It’s not, “just a doe” when an animal’s life was taken. It deserves my respect.

Although the desire to harvest a mature whitetail buck hasn’t changed, my vocabulary has. Thank you Lord for allowing us another day in the hardwoods.
Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth. – Proverbs 12:27

Hunting with kids

Tough Satisfaction Versus Easy Success (Hunting With A 12-Yr-Old Traditional Archer)

For as long as I can remember he’s had a knack for making things. Give him a few moments and with what looks like junk, he’ll make a fine piece of archery equipment. God only knows how many handcrafted bows I’ve tripped over in the last 5 years. In my book, they’re just sticks, to him they’re the beginning of a finely crafted longbow.

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He’s not like my other boys. He would rather shoot traditional archery than have the finest compound on the planet. His dream is to own a Hoyt Dorado.


His heroes are Fred Bear, Fred Eichler and anyone else who hunts with traditional archery equipment. He’s so enamored with Fred Eichler that his arrows have pink feathers and his Bear recurve has Fred’s signature – right above the arrow rest.


His idea of quality time is having dad throw clay pigeons for him to shoot. Actually, I’ve learned to dodge flu-flu arrows and judo points quite well.


At only 12-yrs-old, he’s the talk at local 3D shoots. Whether or not he has the high score – the sponsors and competitors are simply impressed by how well he shoots instinctively – so the lucky little bugger usually wins something.


Hunting whistle-pigs in Emmett, ID. One of many at 20 yards.

When this year’s deer season rolled around, it came as no surprise that my little traditional archer would want to harvest his first deer with a recurve. Try as I might to persuade him otherwise, my rational talks fell on deaf ears. He wanted nothing to do with a gun and knowing personally the deep satisfaction that comes with bowhunting, I relented.


No doubt there would be some that would disagree with my decision. To be truthful, I’ve battled it myself. Proficient as he is, I’m not into taking chances when it comes to proper shot placement. But in all fairness I had to ask myself, “Will I teach him that hunting is simply about easy success, or will I teach him the ultimate goal lies in a deep sense of satisfaction?”



On our very first bowhunt together, four corn-fed does made their way across the backside of our family farm and passed directly to the left of our treestands. Working their way to the 20-yrd mark, we stopped the largest doe with a grunt. This was the limit of his effective shooting range and he waited until the doe was perfectly broadside. After carefully drawing his bow, he released the arrow just as I had watched him do countless times before. With this being his very first encounter with a whitetail, I was impressed that he stuck to the fundamentals. 

I watched as the slightly startled doe lumber off and heard a loud whisper laced with disgust as it said – “I missed.”



As a father, this was a very bittersweet moment. Whether it was a miss or the deer ducked – who knew. What I did know was, he was proficient enough to make the shot. I also knew we could’ve easily filled a tag if he wasn’t set on hunting with traditional archery equipment. This was a chip shot with a gun and a very possible shot if he’d chosen to use a compound bow with sights. But his sights were set on the challenge and for that I was very proud.


As we walked across the field in the darkness, I put my arm around his shoulders and told him how proud I was. I also reminded him that he’d chosen to set the bar for personal satisfaction at a level that the majority of bowhunters will never attempt to achieve.


If the ultimate reward comes by harvesting a deer with a recurve, then I’ll encourage my son to pursue a tough satisfaction – not easy success.