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Old June 4, 2021, 02:08 AM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,539

To answer the original OP question, I do not think that regulation is driving folks to bowhunt deer. Here in AL, the legalizing of crossbows has drawn more early season "archery" hunters, because it allows more opportunity to take a deer. The crossbow is easily learned and shot well, and I see more crossbow hunters afield now in the early archery season. But they all disappear once firearms are legal.

If all one can legally hunt with is a bow, ML, or shotgun, of course if one wants to hunt (legally), he'll use the tools to which he's limited. Society is constantly expanding, but I do not see extensive regulation and growing development driving people to archery. While that may be the case in some more heavily populated states, and small portions of the American South, I do not see it as the norm nation wide. I suppose I could be wrong.

I have seen animosity towards bowhunting deer and experienced it personally on the first big deer club I joined. I was amazed at how childish and trifle grown men became about that and other club topics. Most of the resentment centered around wounding animals. Truth was, rifle hunters lost as many, and likely more deer, on that lease than the limited number of archers. They would blaze away at any distance, in any light, at any shot opportunity, with predictable results.

Bowhunting has been growing since the 1950's,and modern media brings archery hunting to the forefront (as well as spring gobbler hunting I'll add).
I started with my Dad at age 12 in 1970 with a 35lb Pearson recurve, afoot, with wood arrows, barred fletching and absolutely junk broadheads, but we didn't know any better. We never took a deer either! I left bowhunting in my 20's, but came back in my mid 30's, mainly because by that time I had witnessed a good deal of despicable behavior by "typical " gun hunters and did not want to be seen in that light. I relished the challenge of a more difficult hunt, and being part of a more exclusive society. Taking a doe with a bow was rewarding enough, and it took 3 years of bow only hunting to accomplish it! I became a bow hunting snob, bowhunting only, for about 15 yrs.

When bamaboy was old enough to hunt, I initially picked up a rifle again to accompany him. Bumping into my 50's, I realized that a rifle hunt from a fixed stand, or on the ground, was just plain easier than humping a stand in and back, and clambering up the tree for a couple of hours of bowhunting after work. I now rifle and bow hunt about in even amounts, but still feel proud about a bow kill. Any deer with a bow is an accomplishment, to me anyhow. I still climb about 30 trees a year, take a deer or two with my bow annually, but pick my days and conditions. I am fortunate to be healthy enough to do that, and to live in an area with ample opportunity.
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