Monday, 21 September 2009

I'm gonna get me a gun

Well not really. I’ve decided to get back to my rural roots and take up hunting for the first time in twenty five years. Bowhunting to be precise with a fifty inch 45 pound draw short Hunter recurve. Rather like the latest incarnation of Robin Hood (See above). Athough the real Robertus Hoode, Fugivitus shot an English Longbow, not a bloody recurve, which were a Turkish or Magyar pattern. I’ve had a short recurve for years, a smooth shooting little thing with a lovely flat trajectory at anything up to sixty yards. When I first used to shoot I could get a ‘cast’ (total range) of almost two hundred and fifty yards with a 11/32” diameter cedar shafted arrow carrying a 150-grain steel point. This would deliver close on eighty-five foot pounds of energy on impact at anywhere between fifteen and a hundred and ten yards. Should be great for potting rabbits. When I can hit the bloody things, it’s not easy ‘barebow’.

Put simply; at the distances quoted my arrows will (and did), routinely penetrate full length, an eighteen inch thick bale of straw, a newish compressed straw archery target boss with anything from 4-6 inches of the shaft and point sticking through on the other side. This made me very popular with the Archery club I was once a member of. Not. At a demonstration shoot I once put a shaft halfway through a scrap car door with this particular bow at just under thirty yards. Didn’t do it again because it wrecked my arrow. I know that I used to break a lot on field shoots, but the demonstrations were really hard on kit. Got the piss taken out of me royally for having a ‘pixie’ bow when I first brought it to my club. Until of course my fellow archers saw it in action. “Your arrows make an evil hiss.” A fellow club member said one frosty winters morning club shoot. “Do they?” I replied with an innocent look. Heh, heh, heh.

I’m looking forward to getting togged up warmly and going loaded for Deer one early morning, just for the pot you understand, as I’m not a ‘trophy’ kind of guy. I would hesitate to take a shot at a bear, because I’m not confident of a clean one shot kill. I might only tickle mister bruin and end up as a human skin rug on his den’s wall. “Yup.” I can see a proud Papa bear saying to his goggling cubs. “I bagged me that there human when the durned fool tried to shoot me with this here silly ol’ stick.” What is the quotation? "Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you." Then there’s bow fishing, also legal over here with the appropriate license, where I might pot me a big Steelhead when they aren’t rising to my lures like last year. Again for the freezer. Might save a few dollars off the shopping bill.

Regrettably all this will have to wait as said bow currently languishes at my Mothers house in the UK along with many of my other paltry possessions. I will purchase a couple of new strings mail order, and get Mrs S or one of the kids to bring it over on their next trip to or from the UK.

The bowhunting season has already started here in BC, but I’m putting off getting my license until I’ve got my bow and spent some time on walk through field shoots before buddying up and heading up country. There’s also the issue of buying a new hunting knife and assorted gear. Broadheads, which are 2 to 4 vaned hunting points are readily available over the counter. Not like in the UK where you have to be a paid up member of the British Longbow society or similar to purchase anything remotely resembling hunting gear, and then only with a note from your mother and the Chief Constable promising not to be a bad boy.

Bowhunting is not legal in the UK, along with so many other things nowadays. The governing legislation is ensconced in the countryside and wildlife act of 1981 and under Section 4 of the Deer Act 1991 although hunting with deer and game with a rifle or shotgun is still legal. Said measures had more to do with poaching than anything else, as no ‘sportsman’ would ever stoop to using a ‘peasants’ weapon like a bow. Despite taking ten times the skill to kill with a bow as it does with a gun. Any bloody fool can point and hit something with a gun. Bowmanship is a skill that takes at least a month to learn the basics of, and a lifetime to perfect. Traditional or field shooting takes even longer.

Anyway, I’ll be looking at getting all my old field kit shipped over. Unfortunately I gave all my old field shafts away to Aginoth before we left the UK, which means I will have to buy new ones at five or six bucks a shaft. However, if I can find somewhere which sells the plain wooden shafts, I can make my own arrows because I still have a fletching jig and the makings. I’m really looking forward to it.

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