50 Years of Archery Deer Hunting

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

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In his eighth year of hunting, he bagged his first deer - a 10-point buck - with a bow.

That was in 1994. Two years later Lamanna still remembers the date, the time, what he was thinking about before the deer came, how the deer looked as it approached, how his heart pounded before he shot, seeing the arrow in the deer, finding the downed deer in the field and running back to his home screaming news of his success to his wife and children.

Because of the demands of getting close to the deer, bowhunting requires planning, scouting and enough woods-craft to find deer travel routes and bedding areas. Then the hunter has to plan an ambush that takes into account wind direction and provides cover while providing a clear shot.

"Deer are the Einsteins of the animal kingdom," William Burgess of Richland says. "Matching wits with them is 95 percent of the challenge." Burgess is a year-round bowhunter. He scouts deer locations and looks for shed antlers during the off-season so that he can target individual deer during the actual season.

Despite all the planning and preparation that goes into archery deer hunting, the deer often manage to arrive when hunters least expect them.

Norman Kamler of Troy started hunting in his 50s and figured he needed camouflage clothing and odor-reducing sprays and soaps to get a deer. But it was only after he'd taken off his face mask and camouflage and was sitting on a log in his white T-shirt enjoying a hard salami sandwich and a soda that a deer approached him.

"I laid down my sandwich and picked up my bow," Kamler says. "Between her putting her head up and down, I drew back and shot my first deer at 20 yards. I thought the throbbing of my heart would never stop."

Many people find bowhunting to be the most exciting, fulfilling activity in their lives, and they encourage their children to take up the sport.

Gary Martin of Dixon says he had planned for his son Gabe's hunting from the moment he saw the nurse with his son in the hospital. "I knew when I saw her coming my way, that I had a hunting partner," he writes.

Martin says Gabe began shooting a bow at the age of 5, and when he was 11 he could accurately shoot a 35-pound-pull bow. Martin said he knew "if a deer gave him a decent

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