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I gun hunted for years until it no longer became a challenge and did not feel any excitement. Changed to bow hunting. Did that for several years. While I have never failed to retrieve a deer I shot with gun or bow I did spine a buck. He went down immediately of course but was grunting trying to escape just using his front legs. I stuck him again through the lungs.

Shortly after that I had abdominal surgery. It was quite painful.

I thought about that buck and the other deer I'd killed with a bow, plus the ones my son and friends had shot and not recovered.

I decided then bow hunting is probably the least effective and maybe ethical way of deer hunting short of using a spear.

I'm not poor and don't need the meat "to feed my family" (which is a farce of an excuse anyway. You can buy a lot of meat for the cost of hunting). Plus, I'd take beef any day over venison as far as taste goes. Even at that I eat little red meat anymore as it's the least healthy for you, even a carcinogen, and I have high cholesterol as it is.

Long story short, that spined buck was the last deer I killed. That was many years ago now. Barring the apocalypse or massive over population of deer in my area causing real problems combined with not being able to get ammo, I doubt I bow hunt again.

To answer the original question though, it was for the excitement and challenge of killing. I'm much older now and don't feel that way anymore.
 
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The Impartial Archer
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Compound and bare bow recurve.
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Still and will always hunt with firearms but archery allows me to hunt deer that are not pressured and spend way more time in the field. Gun season is three weeks long, archery season is three months long. Archery allows me to hunt close to my house, in areas where guns are not allowed. But, the most important thing about archery is the people I have met along the way. I can honestly say I have never met a archery person or bowhunter that was a jerk. I cant say that about gun people. Archery makes you a better gun deer hunter as well.
 

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Hoyt Axius Alpha
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I gun hunted for years until it no longer became a challenge and did not feel any excitement. Changed to bow hunting. Did that for several years. While I have never failed to retrieve a deer I shot with gun or bow I did spine a buck. He went down immediately of course but was grunting trying to escape just using his front legs. I stuck him again through the lungs.

Shortly after that I had abdominal surgery. It was quite painful.

I thought about that buck and the other deer I'd killed with a bow, plus the ones my son and friends had shot and not recovered.

I decided then bow hunting is probably the least effective and maybe ethical way of deer hunting short of using a spear.

I'm not poor and don't need the meat "to feed my family" (which is a farce of an excuse anyway. You can buy a lot of meat for the cost of hunting). Plus, I'd take beef any day over venison as far as taste goes. Even at that I eat little red meat anymore as it's the least healthy for you, even a carcinogen, and I have high cholesterol as it is.

Long story short, that spined buck was the last deer I killed. That was many years ago now. Barring the apocalypse or massive over population of deer in my area causing real problems combined with not being able to get ammo, I doubt I bow hunt again.

To answer the original question though, it was for the excitement and challenge of killing. I'm much older now and don't feel that way anymore.
I know exactly what you mean. It’s crossed my mind several times. Furthermore as a dog handler for deer tracking, you can imagine the type of tracks I take. Purposeful neck shots on “bucks of a lifetime.” With archery equipment (usually crossbow guys LOL)

Anyway: I hunt because of the challenge AND being in the wilderness, far away from others. I do enjoy venison breakfast sausages and snack sticks. I don’t trophy hunt and part of me actually feels sorry for the (mature) bucks. I have let 2 walk already.
 

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Sometimes we forget that we are not from the same parts of the country.
Parts of the country has nothing to do with it. The gun hunters around here also do deer drives. I just don't consider that hunting.
I can hunt and not kill a thing and have an absolute fantastic time.
 

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For me the compound bow got me into hunting. Just loved the Power and technology in the compound bow. Hunting just gave me excuse to spend more time in God‘s beautiful creation, and hopefully put some food on the table in the process.

Video I made years ago.


Can’t imagine my wife would support the time and money I spend on Bowhunting if I was just a bird watcher instead.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Vertix, oracle, tactacam, hamskea, beestinger micro hex 20”, Fenix and a PSE fish bow
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Great post this one.
When I was back on the farm I used to take friends hunting that had never hunted before. It was interesting to see how they (almost all) developed. They’d quickly learn to walk quietly, check the wind, stay low, ...listen to the bush. It’s instinctive for most and it stimulates a part of the brain that is asleep because of modern living.
I’m going to say that I have two very different mind sets. The farmer in me says kill everything that’s a pest (vermin) but the hunter sees game.
I love the preparation, the planning, the tweaking and refinement, the shed where the sanctity of these things reside, the outwitting and the stalk, the smells, the messages that the bush gives us...the thinking that I have purpose...the awareness of something missing and the joy of awakening, rediscovering all these things...the reward of Lady Luck and doing everything right.
...you don’t get that in the lounge room
 

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To keep it simple cuz we could all probably write a book on this topic. But....To pull a bow back with my physical being, my energy, direct it at an animal and unleash my energy with implements that I took part in building and kill that animal. Then take it home and eat it with friend and family, is such a primal, basic achievement. And I get that feeling with a compound bow, couldn't imagine doing that with a home built traditional bow. We are very lucky to be able to experience this!
 

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Mathews V3 31, Spot Hogg Fast Eddie, Hamskea, Bee Stinger, Easton Axis, Carter Releases
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I started bow hunting at age 11. Before that my dad took me with him every time he went. I grew up around him and his buddies always talking about deer, moving stands, shooting bows, etc. Once I was old enough to get my own bow and start hunting it made me feel like part of the group. I am now 24 and still bow hunt with my dad and a couple of my close friends. Something about getting out in the fall weather and chasing bucks makes me feel like I’m right at home. I enjoy it more every year and cherish the time it allows me to spend with my dad and friends. Killing a nice buck is just icing on the cake.
 

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Anyone who has hunted long enough from the days of just trying to harvest your first animal to getting your first big animal. Then getting to the point where your truly hunting for mature animals and passing deer or animals a few years ago you would have jumped out of your skin for. I’m sure they will have similar explanation. Its hard work it’s also frustrating it can sickening at times when you screw up so bad and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s also peaceful it’s relaxing it’s fulfilling it’s intense.
Hunting is very similar to life full of ups and downs and trials and tribulations. It’s what we make of it as the hunter I’ve had some of the worst hunts where I harvested great animals times it was a roller coaster from the get go to the pack out or the drag out. Also had some of my best hunts where I never pulled the bow off the hook or drew my bow back. I think that’s how I would describe it in a nut shell.
 

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Back Yard Champion
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It isn't just using a bow, not for me. I enjoy just being out and watching; birds, squirrels, mice and of course, deer. Squirrels, road racers of the trees - some so comical that I chuckle.

21 years of archery, 15 years of hunting - disabled list for 5 years, skunked once. Even so I've taken well over 40 deer. I've one state record buck, never mounted, just skull cap mounted. It's 6 pointer that scored 142 2/8". A sports writer wrote it up and even filled all the paper work out for the state or it wouldn't have been recorded........

How many deer I've just watched and never took a shot is probably a 100 or more. So close to some deer I could have reached out touch them and have touched three.
 

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Great thread going here.
Simply put, for me it's an obessesion. There's something about being out in the woods and watching things come alive. For me, bow hunting just seems more primitive and I feel more skill is involved.

Think of the hours we all put in to practice, tuning, scouting, setting up stands/blinds, cutting shooting lanes, etc. Then, of course, there's the attention to detail that is important as a bow hunter, and maybe not so much as a rifle hunter such as: entry and exit to and from your hunting location, scent control, movement, ranging the animals, calling tactics, etc.

It's just a great feeling when it all comes together !!
 
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