Monday, April 30, 2012

Bowhunter's Safety

My husband and I decided that this would be the year we got certified in bowhunter safety.  Montana is one of the few states that requires bowhunters to pass a test and go through several days of classes, including some field classes.  But once you get certified, you're allowed to bowhunt, which extends the hunting season from September 1 through almost the end of November.

Now, you must understand why I hunt.  I hunt for food.  Many folks who live in Montana hunt for food as well.  Many people rely on hunting to feed their families.  I've read in the paper that several folks said without hunting they wouldn't have meat to eat.  We're not that desperate, but it makes a substantial difference to have five or more months of meat taken care of because of venison. 

I'm not a bad shot with a bow, but I could probably get better with practice.  I'm looking into testing out some longbows for my husband's magazine, so I'm considering trying those out as well.  I also have a rather ancient compound bow that is still very functional, that I will probably use. 

Anyway, the class ran two days; the first was on Saturday and was eight hours of classroom stuff.  The second on Sunday was four hours of field work.  The classroom work was basic, but there were many folks there who had never hunted or hadn't picked up a bow.  Then, there were experienced folks like my husband and me who either hadn't hunted with a bow or took it as a refresher course. 

Despite it being basic, we learned some things.  My husband learned that the fins (plastic feathers) on his arrows were better to be replaced by fletchings (natural feathers).  We learned some other eccentricities of recurve and longbows.  And I lusted after a longbow.  The test was fairly easy and I got a 100 on it.

Sunday proved to be interesting.  The instructors made a "blood trail" with corn syrup and red food coloring to simulate blood and made a trail for us to track to a pair of antlers.  It was tougher than you would think because a few drops here and there in a sea of green is tough to see.  We then learned about tree stand safety which included how to adjust your harness so if you fall, you don't kill yourself.  I really don't like the idea of using tree stands, so I think it is better for the young.  Lastly, was distance estimation and shooting, if you brought your bow.  My husband and I were pretty close on estimating the distance and we didn't bring our bows, so we didn't shoot.

In the end, we got our certification.  Despite using up a whole weekend, we felt it was worth it to have that certification so we can legally use our bows when the season comes by.

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