The numbers prove it. Realtree fans north, south, east and west live and breathe deer hunting. These guys do, too. Hansen’s from Michigan, Brantley’s from Kentucky, and chances are their version of hunting whitetails is a lot like yours.
Meet Patrick Meitin
I’ve been in the outdoor-writing dodge a while, selling my first magazine articles to mainstream archery publications in 1988. Ironically enough, my first published article was a technical piece, detailing a simplified method of aiming a bow and arrow using a single pin. It’s ironic only because I wasn’t what you’d have called a tech-head back then, preferring recurve bows for the most part, or shooting compound bows without benefit of sights, directing my shots through pure instinct. Bow sights were for target heads; “disco freaks” we called them.
I was initially stubborn in adopting technology as part of my archery. At heart I’m an unabashed technophobe. But this had as much to do with the fact I was killing my share of trophies with bow and arrow and saw little reason to burden myself with more “stuff.” That eventually changed, of course, until I became as afflicted with gear lust as any modern bowhunter. I’ve tried it all, even the questionable stuff, my journalistic training (Texas Tech, 1993) lending a belief that if I hadn’t actually tried it I had no business objectively reporting on it. But at heart I remain a traditionalist. To this day, every few years I drop the compound gear completely and venture forth with little but my beloved recurve bows, and occasionally a primitive bow I made myself from self-cut timber. Generally, this lasts a couple years (the last real stint lasting a solid four years) until frustration, prodding from editors (there aren’t enough advertising dollars involved in trad gear) and a flood of inspired new products (in that order) coaxes me back into a compound bent.
I’ve remained a hard-core finger shooter, though the state of modern archery means I’m well acquainted with shooting release aids. The market is now awash in ultra-short bows which require a release for actual shootability. Interestingly – to many, but not me – I find no accuracy advantage when using mechanical releases. For me it only adds a couple more steps to the shot cycle, but no significant accuracy improvements. But that’s just me. So, I guess I’m one of the few guys in the industry who’s equally comfortable shooting a traditional bow, finger compound or standard-issue release bow. I’m also ambidextrous while shooting, something resulting from a construction injury temporarily rendering my right fingers off limits. I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying I’ve made myself into a highly versatile archer; something I like to think offers added insight into shooting the bow and arrow.
I guess, also, I’ve never really established my niche in the industry – you know, set myself up as a whitetail guru like Bill Winke, or expert on trophy elk like Randy Ulmer (though I did write a book, “Bowhunting Modern Elk”), or the go-to technical guy like Larry Wise (though I wrote “The Bowhunter’s Guide To Better Shooting”).I’m pretty scattered when it comes down to it. I get just as big a kick out of bowfishing carp and bullfrogs as hunting big game. I’ve killed some behemoth whitetails, more than my share of monster elk (I lived and guided in some of the best elk country of the Southwest for 25 years, after all), have tagged some impressive pronghorn, black bear, mule deer (desert and mountain), Coues whitetail, Columbia and Sitka blacktail. I’ve invested in the exotic stuff, too, moose and caribou, muskoxen and brown bear and mountain goat, for instance. For a time Africa was everything to me, resulting in nine separate trips to several southern-tier countries. I don’t consider myself an authority on anything, but do believe I’ve some sound advice to offer on a good many subjects.
And so a good many subjects—so long as they’re bowhunting related—is what we’ll cover in this blog. From setting up your first new bow, straight out of the box, to in-depth technical gear and hunting tips I’ve learned over the years, we’ll talk about it all. I hope you’ll join in, ask questions, and leave comments. I may not always have the immediate answer—but I bet we can figure it out.