So for most of 2008 and all of 2009, I chimed in on this thread with attempts at humor, mainly because I hadn't obtained the practical experience required to have anything of value to add...
Things are different now.
So... in an effort to re-spark the life here, and impart some knowlege from my numerous failures... These are my Top Ten lessons... in no particular order:
10) ALWAYS... and I do mean ALWAYS... pay attention to those little pains in your arms, shoulders, and back. That is the body's way of saying, "Hey man... chill." I say this because I have not... and now I am paying for it dearly. I have two torn rotator cuffs, a bad BAD back, and a 70# bow I can neither shoot nor enjoy.
9) USE A BROAD HEAD WRENCH! You're not a sissy if you can still use your hands.
8) KNOW YOUR LIMITS. This goes along with #10, but in a broader sense... know your honest comfort level with your archery equipment. If you can't consistently hit the 9 inch circle on a target at X number of yards... YOU WON'T when the adrenaline drops and that target is alive.
7) I am NOT a paid spokesman... nor am I seeking compensation or bucking for anything when I type this next bit...
ALWAYS take a Thermacell into the hunt. ALWAYS. My wife and I have hunted anything from Mule Deer on the ground here in Colorado to feral hog in Texas and I have NEVER had any indication that the animal "smells" the unit. This includes Cheri's 12 yard shot. The Mulie had no idea we were there, and the bugs were nowhere to be seen.
6) Regardless of the method of take, we are all hunters. We all share the same fate. Now more than ever the privilege can be taken away. The margin that separates those of us that do from those that are against it is shrinking... and sadly, the scales are tipping towards those that are against it. I find it odd that the people who ask me to teach them how to shoot a bow are sometimes appalled by the fact that my primary reason for using a bow is to take game animals. I use that to my advantage though, and explain that the reason I shoot spots, stump shoot, change the shooting environment as much as possible, is to ensure that when I release my arrow on an animal the end result is the fastest, most humane hunt. When we bicker amongst ourselves about traditional shooters, gun-runners, compound, black powder... we set a division in our numbers that can be capitalized upon by those who would see our tradition ended. United we stand people.
5) KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT. For those that are new to archery, or hunting in general... learn what your equipment does and why it does it. I am speaking to anything from the parts of the bow like the riser, cams or nocks, nockpoints, limbs... things like that. Get basic. Know it like you know your own history. Since I have started to focus more on traditional archery, I feel like I understand more about my compound than I did before. I appreciate the compound more. If you take the time to know what does what on your bow... you can expand that knowlege even more into a completely different discipline... perhaps even teach it to others. That leads me perfectly into:
4) NEVER FEAR EXPERIMENTATION - Within the confines of common sense of course. When I started shooting, I shot everything. Literally. I am the one who shot a baseball for cripes sake. Some people thought I was absolutely stupid for doing that... and in the process I learned a TON about the bow, the arrows, what I was capable of. If I hadn't, I can't imagine the things I wouldn't have had the guts to try and ultimately was successful with. I certainly wouldn't have begun making the bows I've made. All that fun... never experienced.
3,2, &1 to follow as I am getting dirty looks from my boss right now...