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Old May 25, 2021, 08:59 PM   #1
AlongCameJones
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The rise of hunting with a bow.

Ever since the 1990's, there seems to have been a steady progressive rise in taking deer and other game the trickier way: with archery equipment. I suspect this could be largely due to increasing human populations on American soil and evolving game regulations which seems to be putting an increasing damper on the use of modern rifles and gun seasons which seem to be getting shorter. I believe this new pursuit of animals Robin Hood style is more out of necessity than discovering new challenge. Surely some long-standing American gun hunters (especially gun-only hunters) will moan about these pesky competing bows and muzzle-loaders as well as shorter gun seasons. Some are undoubtedly mad about shotgun-only deer states to boot. Then there is this foul-smelling idiocy in Indiana deer laws requiring straight-wall cartridges to take deer with a rifle.

We all know how hostile automobile drivers can get toward bicyclists and motorcyclists on the streets that seem to get in the way or otherwise cause trouble. People who hunt deer with handguns, shotguns, bows and muzzle-loaders are folks who do it differently just as two-wheel transportation is much different from driving a "cage".

America has for a long time been traditionally a modern rifle culture when it comes to taking deer just as we are an mostly an automobile society.

Here's my question: Do any people here believe that changing hunting regulations are driving more people to non-rifle methods for harvesting deer and other big game out of pure legal necessity and not mainly just for the novel fun of trying something different? If game laws otherwise permitted modern rifle use all deer season long, with bottlenecked CF cartridges, in all 50 states, on both public and private lands, would there be much less interest in muzzle-loaders, archery and slug guns?
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Old May 25, 2021, 09:38 PM   #2
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You must be very young. Bow hunting has been hugely popular for many decades, not since the 1990’s. Modern bow hunting in this country goes back to the 1950’s when people like Fred Bear and others started making modern recurve bows. Archery in this country has been an organized sport for a very long time, not nearly as recent as you believe. You need to get your information correct before attempting to start a controversy with misinformation. Have you recently joined this forum under another identity? Your style is oddly similiar to another recent controversial poster.

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Old May 25, 2021, 09:57 PM   #3
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I was just asking a question

about why there seems to be more interest in bow hunting over the past 25 years than any other time in American history. I was born in 1965. I'm not that young. Everybody in my family including myself, my brother, my dad and my grandpa has only hunted deer with a modern rifle. Whenever you say "deer hunting", a long blued rifle with a wood stock immediately flashes in my mind's eye. That's all I've ever known. None of the people I've ever known has had any involvement with bow hunting. I don't mean to offend any archers here. My grandfather frowned upon the notion of hunting deer with a bow. There was an article about bow hunting in an early-1970's edition of of grandpa's Outdoor Life. I told my grandfather about seeing this article in this magazine of his he gave me to read. I asked him what he thought about bow hunting. He said, "Go on, get out of here!" So since then, 1978, I've never felt positive about bow hunting since. Grandpa didn't even like the idea of scopes on deer rifles to boot. I've never joined this forum ever before today.
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Old May 26, 2021, 07:40 AM   #4
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During season I use bow, black powder, and rifle, which depends on where I’m hunting. I believe this is true for a lot of hunters. If you isolate yourself to just a rifle you miss a lot of opportunity.
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Old May 26, 2021, 08:05 AM   #5
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Bows are just plain ol fun, and archery has merit as a stand alone discipline (in sports, target shooting, and hunting) by itself, not as a substitute for firearms.

I find that shooting bows is more care free and relaxing that firearms: no hearing protection, no need to show that the weapon is clear, no need for safe storage at home, no brass to collect, no cleaning of the weapon after use!! And you get some exercise to boot, archers have strong upper bodies, shoulders back and arms.

There is one more thing that I find specially appealing about hunting with a bow: the energy that goes into harvesting that animal, energy that is put into that pass-through arrow through the vitals of a deer, and elk, a bison, a bear!.... is YOUR energy. It is not the result of an industrial process that you direct towards the animal. YOU, your body, really, harvested that animal. You may be able to kill a bison with archery tackle and some other person might not be, because they lack the strength to propel a powerful enough arrow to do the job.

What firearms have is a practical utility as self defense implements that archery tackle lacks, and in this they are more versatile. But when used purely as a hobby, they are more expensive and difficult to maintain.

So no, firearms and archery are not in competition with one another, neither are motorcycles and bicycles, or iron sights and optics, or ....
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Old May 26, 2021, 09:20 AM   #6
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It sounds like dyed-in-the-wool rifle hunters' collective beef is with those officials who write game regulations and not those hunters who employ alternate methods. I now realize that even during gun seasons, rifles hunters have to compete with other rifle hunters to fill the freezer. The question remains as to how much less restrictions on rifles would in theory affect the percentages of hunters who use the various categories of weapons. My belief is that if there were no restrictions of rifles, rifle seasons and rifle ammo types for deer hunting all over America, there would be proportionally many more rifle hunters and far fewer hunters who use alternate methods. Yes, hunters have more opportunity to harvest deer using variety of methods only because game regulations limit the opportunity for guns on deer.

If I were to have my way, modern rifles would be permitted all deer season long, and all season long for other big-game species, in all 50 states, with no requirements to use straight-wall cartridges anywhere and no prohibitions on bullets containing lead. Sure I would welcome other methods afield but they should share the woods with the rifle users. But as a strict rifle hunter for deer, I object to the crafting of game regs that cut my deer seasons short. I personally don't care to employ other weapon types to have a longer deer opportunity. It hurts my parts that the majority of deer hunters, modern rifle users, have to step aside for archers and/or muzzle-loader users for a good part of deer seasons. I was angry in California back in 2015 when a certain road got closed to automobile traffic because of some stupid special bicycle racing event. I had to take a long detour and was inconvenienced. I don't like to be inconvenienced by parts of deer seasons that are designated as no gun. It doesn't seem fair.
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Old May 26, 2021, 09:30 AM   #7
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my main bit*h with the bow seasons here(pa.) is they run all thru main rut, when bucks are running does hard. don,t believe it, just check the large(rack) bucks killed in bow season.
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Old May 26, 2021, 09:39 AM   #8
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I'd only nowadays hunt for does whenever the game regs allow for it. But many rifle hunters may go for bucks, at least in part, and special non-gun seasons may ruin it for some of them.
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Old May 26, 2021, 05:58 PM   #9
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I started bow hunting at 17 (64 now) for pigs and deer in the Coast Range hillls of CA. Howard Hill and Fred Bear's exploits were my teenage dream hunts. I have hunted in the West and Southern US with moderate success. Bow hunting poses a certain degree of challenge of you against the animals' senses. It takes a lot of figuring out to get to where you can reliably stalk and harvest a deer at 30-40 yds. Stand hunting is slightly less challenginging than stalking but still challenging. Bow hunting is just a plain adrenaline rush.

As far as animosity between archery and firearm hunters, I never saw much of it. Yes, there are people who blame the "other guys" for spooking "their" deer, but in reality those are uneducated and lazy hunters trying to affix blame for why they don't know how to hunt.
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Old May 27, 2021, 08:58 AM   #10
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Here in Co archery has their own season. Deer/Elk/Moose/Bear/Pronghorn and not sure about sheep.

You can hunt with bow instead of rifle but you wear Hunter Orange/Pink.

You can buy OTC archery elk either sex or cow tag on selected units. For the better units you have draw same as with rifle. Some deer units are either sex,doe,buck and better unit take points to draw same with rifle.

I've only taken one deer archery was when I live Calf early 70's. My wife gave up rifle for archery better weather in Sept vs Oct/Nov and she taken few buck.

My wife is pretty active in archery as she match shooter and we belong to couple clubs. I kind of like target and been down to Vegas. I have 3-D bow another for 3/5 Spot (I shoot single spot) and one if I decide to hunt. I shoot rifle right hand and bow left handed. Been interesting having to face right hand shooter on firing line. We have 80yd max range at house and some of matches wife shoots are at 20yd,40yd,60yd.

Muzzleloader season for Deer,Elk,Pronghorn,Bear,Moose is during archery.
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Old May 27, 2021, 09:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlongCameJones View Post
My belief is that if there were no restrictions of rifles, rifle seasons and rifle ammo types for deer hunting all over America, there would be proportionally many more rifle hunters and far fewer hunters who use alternate methods. Yes, hunters have more opportunity to harvest deer using variety of methods only because game regulations limit the opportunity for guns on deer.

If I were to have my way, modern rifles would be permitted all deer season long, and all season long for other big-game species, in all 50 states, with no requirements to use straight-wall cartridges anywhere and no prohibitions on bullets containing lead. Sure I would welcome other methods afield but they should share the woods with the rifle users. But as a strict rifle hunter for deer, I object to the crafting of game regs that cut my deer seasons short.
I would agree with you for private land. But for public land, we all have to share: the rifle with the bow hunters, and the hikers, and the bicyclists, and the bird watchers, and the tree huggers...

Keep in mind that the most important reason to have separate rifle and archery seasons for hunting is safety. I don't think that the separate seasons are set up in order to give archery folks an extra advantage.

Archery hunting is done with stealth, and archers try to cammouflage and they don't wear orange. It would be dangerous to have rifle and archery hunters mixed together, with the bow hunter using cammo and decoys and the rifle hunter shooting from afar... unless of course (as it is done in Colorado during rifle season where bows are allowed) the archer has to wear orange. In which case it is harder to get closer to game.

I mean picture this:



or this:


... but.. through the limited field of view of a rifle's scope, from 300 yards. Can you see a problem?

Regarding your grandpa... well I am a grandpa too, and whenever I say "Go on, get outta here! " I just want the grand kids to leave me the heck alone, I can only take so much of them.

Unlike your gramps I am not against rifle scopes or archery, but I am against smart phone apps, and video games, and cars and appliances that talk to me (Alexa!) .... We all have our grouches.
Get a bunch of us old grumpy grandpas together and nothing would be allowed!

.
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File Type: jpg deer decoy.jpg (132.7 KB, 235 views)
File Type: jpg pronghorn.jpg (48.5 KB, 237 views)
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Old May 27, 2021, 11:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
My belief is that if there were no restrictions of rifles, rifle seasons and rifle ammo types for deer hunting all over America, there would be proportionally many more rifle hunters and far fewer hunters who use alternate methods.
You might be right, but I think if there were no restrictions, we would have a huge increase in the amount of crippled, wounded and lost deer.

the first point that comes to my mind is deer injured and lost, because there are always some people who do not, and will not use suitable firearms, if it "ain't against the law"...

Count on it, there WILL be people who will choose to use .22RF (or smaller!) use FMJ bullets or shoot deer with birdshot, if is isn't against the law...

Game laws exist to protect and mangage game animals. They aren't there to make things easy for the sport hunter, nor should they undly handicap them.

Yes there are rules and places that do seem to make hunting more difficult than others, but there are often valid reasons for that.
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Old May 27, 2021, 12:02 PM   #13
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I've considered giving up gun season because . . .

I've considered giving up on gun season and sticking with my crossbow only. Lotta guys have permission to hunt the land I hunt in gun season and we try to co-ordinate so as to stay safe and not be in each other's way. But it's a bit of a hassle. The places I shoot deer there is usually a good chance that one will come within 40 yards of the ground blind. Last year right before gun season I took one at 30 yards. Big eight pointer. Archery season starts so much sooner and last so much longer. I enjoy the hunt. Or I may still get permits for it all and hunt all seasons any way.

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Old May 27, 2021, 03:15 PM   #14
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My grandfather and father both believed it was idiots who would use a 22 to try to kill deer.
I say a center-fire rifle, .243 and above has the best probability (of all the various weaponry) of taking a deer without a lost/unrecovered animal or a wounded one. I would have no complaints if 22's were outlawed for sport hunting of deer everywhere.

The only time I can see trying for a deer taken by 22 is in a life-or-death emergency situation as a plane down in the wilds and that's the only tool available.
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Old May 27, 2021, 03:24 PM   #15
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I know 2 guys locally who sold their hunting rifles and bow hunt only. One uses traditional long bows only. Those guys hunt all over the USA.

I started bow hunting in the 1970's with a recurve. Compound bows weren't legal here in GA until the early 1980's. I didn't buy a compound until the late 1980's and I'm on my 2nd one now.

For a lot of reasons I prefer a 50+ year old recurve that I have but end up hunting with the compound more. With regular practice I'm good for 30-35 yards with the recurve, but I have to shoot every few days to keep up that skill level. I can pick up the compound after no use for months and hit where I aim out to 50 yards with the 1st shot. They are a lot easier to use.

And while I know guys who only bow hunt, I know several others who gave up on archery because it became too complex. It is easy to get caught up in all of the gear associated with archery. There are a million gadgets and something new every year. I think that is why I prefer the simplicity of my recurve. I've been using the same compound for 25 years. Some guys just can't resist trying new stuff.

I got off the archery train when they started allowing cross bows. I won't knock those who use them, but coming from a longbow and recurve a crossbow is just a bridge too far for me. I don't even like the compound all that much. But have to acknowledge that I shoot it so much better that I tolerate it.
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Old May 27, 2021, 07:10 PM   #16
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Once you put a nice-looking good-quality adjustable peep sight on a neat vintage Savage Model 99 lever-action rifle and get'er sighted in, it gets no better for the Great American Deer Woods. By the same token, it gets no better than a Leupold scope on a nice (Swedish) Husqvarna bolt gun for open plains. Modern hunting rifles are devoid of a lot of gadgets. Muzzle-loading gets into possibles bags and bunch of other stuff too.
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Old May 28, 2021, 02:23 AM   #17
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Modern hunting rifles are devoid of a lot of gadgets.
No, lots of gadgets on rifles. Big scopes, rangefinder scopes with lighted reticles, lightweight carbon-wrapped barrels, graphite/kevlar stocks, sorbothane recoil pads, detachable box magazines, etc. Won't even get into the ammo. But man, you want to see gadgets, go look at bowhunters.

I started out with a 62" Drake recuve bow, no sights. It was easy to shoot, a dream, it could cast an arrow 150 yds easily. A lot of guys got shorter bows, so I got a Bear Kodiak (finger pinching SOB if there ever was one), still no sights. After a few years, people started carrying those old cable monstrosity compound bows, single cam bows, cantilevered limb bows and what not. Then cam bows, carbon fiber limb bows, magnesium riser carbon fiber limb parallel limb compouunds. Same deal with sights. Like I said, I started out shooting bare bow. Pretty soon people were using kissing buttons. Then 20-yard pin sights, then 20 and 40, then 20, 30, 40, 50 yard sights. Then peep sights. Then lighted fiber optic pin sights. Then bow scopes. And string silencers? We stared out with a couple of pieces of sheepskin on the bow string, then got spider strings, then string snubbers, then dampers, string silencers that tied the string to the limb, you name it. And all that so some animal wouldnt get spooked at the sound of your release. And let's nbot forget quivers, stabilizers, etc. I finally went back to my old recurve, then quit bowhunting altogether when the game deptartments decided you needed a separate class and special license to bowhunt. Picked up my old Mauser and started rifle hunting again. And you know what? It's not half bad.
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Old May 28, 2021, 07:01 AM   #18
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Scorch, Have you seen target sights recurve.

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/bow...et-sights.html

https://archery360.com/2020/05/14/a-...e-stabilizers/
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Old May 28, 2021, 04:14 PM   #19
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Scorch, being old-school and a baby-boomer, I'm not into tacticool stuff "in the world of hunting guns". I like to keep things simple: KISS, with firearms. If I ever get my nice Savage 99, it will be bare-bones with iron sights. The Harley-Davidson Street Bob of hunting rifles. I'm not even sure of putting on a sling would even look kosher. American woods-deer-getters for generations have carried them palm of one hand under the receiver.
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Old May 28, 2021, 04:37 PM   #20
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Esp. with irons, but in general.
Slings are for more than carrying the durn thing. Practice slinging up for offhand shots. It works for me.
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Old May 30, 2021, 01:19 AM   #21
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You guys should come to wisconsin. Then gun hunters get so (pick your word) about bow hunters shooting their deer that one of the people on the deer council I believe actually muttered if only they could make crossbows more inaccurate.

I have a friend I pheasant hunt with that will shout till he's blue in the face about my unfair 3 month lasting bow season shooting all of his deer where I suggest he buy a bow and shoot them himself.

I hunt every season I can and I don't care if they don't like my compound bow, crossbow, rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader... whatever. I'm only out to shoot 1 to 2 deer that I share with family. But I believe that bow is harder and more rewarding if successful. Spot and stalk is even harder. My luckiest year I shot an 8 point walking to my deerstand with a bow. I was 7 minutes into walking to my stand. That novermber I burned all my luck and shot a 10 point with my rifle in under 2 hours.

Last year I hunted Michigan and was lucky to shoot a doe in 2 days with my bow. It was the only doe without fawns. And I hunted every day of gun only buck season and didn't see a single one.

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Old May 30, 2021, 02:50 AM   #22
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I would only seek does in the future and with a rifle at that..

My bigger beef than limited gun days is limited doe days all through deer season.
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Old June 4, 2021, 02:08 AM   #23
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bows

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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Old June 18, 2021, 07:37 AM   #24
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Urban deer populations cause problems yet the so-called average suburbanite does not want deer hunting by high powered rifle anywhere close to his home. Archery hunting resolves this dilemma and certainly the use of crossbows has greatly increased in recent years. Compound bows are also very good hunting tools for thinning out urban deer.

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Old June 20, 2021, 04:25 PM   #25
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Depending on where your hunting shooting a deer with a rifle can loose it's appeal, if you hunt the same place year after year you learn where and when to hunt and it can be a matter of pulling the trigger. At some point you start looking for trophy animals, when you walls are full of heads you start looking for a more difficult hunting method. Not everyone goes through that but many do, I've hunted 5 different states and killed lots of animals with a rifle, I don't get as excited as I would like to shooting animals with a rifle.
I'm a gun person, don't really like shooting bows, rarely practice{thank god for modern sights, eccentric cams and releases} with them but hunt the first week of rifle season every year with one. Nothing is more thrilling than shooting a deer or elk with a bow at 20yds. I can sit in a treestand all day and watch nature go by, probably shot half a dozen deer standing directly underneath the stand.
Crossbows are less objectable to me but they're heavy and awkward, I often walk in close to a mile to my treestands and they suck to carry and almost as loud as a gun.
I know lots of older gun guys who have taken up archery hunting vertical/crossbow for the extra challenge.
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