November 16, 2011
A Self Bow Buck on The Best Day of the Rut
By Phil Bourjaily
The Field & Stream head office (Dave Hurteau) sent all us field editors an e-mail telling us to be sure to hunt our designated “Best Day of the Rut” – November 12. Since I have not bowhunted since 1989 I planned to call my cousin Shaun to tell him to go deer hunting in my place and report back.
Before I could call him, he called me and asked if I would come help him find the deer he had just shot. We found it only about 100 yards from where it had been hit. The long, lumpy gray muzzle makes me think it is an old buck.
What makes the story even better is that Shaun made the bow in the picture. It’s a self bow, meaning it’s made from one piece of wood – in this case, osage orange. This particular style of self bow is an “ambush bow” -- a 65 pounder with a fairly compact 58” knock-to-knock length. In fact, Shaun had just finished it that same day, made a string, took some test shots, went hunting and killed a buck with it.
He named the bow for a friend who had recently died in an accident, and painted it in Lakota fashion as a tribute. The red to starry black represents the transition from Warrior Path to the Star Path.
Last week’s “Shoot Me Down” presented the argument that expensive bows are worth every penny. And they are, I’m sure, purely in terms of putting fast arrows efficiently on target with a flat trajectory. At the same time, you can’t develop much attachment to a bow you trade in every two years as if it were a computer. So, yes, expensive bows can be worth every penny. On the other hand, a bow you pay no money for at all can be priceless.