"I kept looking around at Julie, like, I just can't believe this," he says. "A light went off for me. I could see a world of possibility that I thought had been shut off forever." He'd lost his job as a contractor and faced daunting bills and an uncertain future, but he sold a few guns to pay for a $750 PSE bow and rig. His brother-in-law, Russell Zaft, a welder, upgraded the bow with camber adjustments and an elevation screw. (Zaft has since built all of Bolender's hunting rigs.) In November 1993, Bolender killed his first deer "from the chair," he says, a small buck he took with a 20-gauge shotgun. He'd missed but two deer seasons and has not missed one since. To date, he has taken upwards of 35 deer with both bow and gun, plus a 6-foot 7-inch Newfoundland black bear arrowed from a ground blind at 14 paces.