2014 Mule Deer Hunt
You never quite know what the weather will be like in late November and early December in the Idaho foothills. This year, it started out cold with fresh snow. By the end of the deer season, the snow had melted and the temperatures were fairly warm.
That was just the opposite of what I had hoped for, but the hunt was still fun. I filmed many bucks, and even managed to get one great buck on film.
However, I stalked to within 45 yards of the largest mule deer I have ever seen. He dwarfs the biggest buck you will see in this video. I do wish I had turned the camera on to share him with you, but I was seriously, SERIOUSLY trying to kill him. A once-in-a-lifetime giant.
Follow along as I spend a few weeks filming and stalking mule deer.
Exploring New Country. Elk Country!
Before the Canadian Wolves were introduced into Idaho, and before they moved into every nook and cranny of great Idaho elk country, I did not have to spend my summers scouting for good elk country. The elk were where they always were. They were easy to find. That's just the way it was. I was free to fish, and camp, and spend my summers as I would. Those days are long gone.
Sure, a guy can still go into the woods and shoot an elk with a rifle, despite the wolves. But to call a bull elk into bow range-----close bow range, you need to be in an area that is not overrun with wolves.
Areas infested with Canadian wolves may still hold elk, but the surviving bulls won't bugle much, as their bugles attracts the wolves. You know what follows.
So, I now spend my summers hiking through the Idaho mountains, looking for areas that (1) have few wolves, (2) have lots of elk, and (3) have a place near water that is flat enough to pitch a tent. It's a balancing act that is not easy. Idaho is rugged place.
Come along with me as I explore wild Idaho. There is still good elk country out there somewhere, I am sure of it. . .
Book Review - Toxiphilus in Arcadia
Fred Anderson reviewed a book by Maurice Thompson that you may not yet have in your library: Toxiphilus in Arcadia.
It is not often that you get to read a "new book" by Maurice Thompson, who also wrote a rather famous book you may be familiar with, "The Witchery of Archery."
I will begin slowly savoring my copy or Toxiphilus in Arcadia this afternoon in the shade of a large tree, with the sound of a fine summer breeze blowing through the aspen leaves. How about you?
Gary Sentman wrote a new article about having faith.
Living in Alaskan bear country, a longbowman needs faith.
Especially if you take to the field after brown bear with a longbow. Follow along with Gary in the thrilling days of yesteryear.
His friend, the local minister, had a lot to learn. . .
Spring Bear Hunt, Chapter 3 (a comedy of epic proportions)
If a picture is worth a thousand words (that statement hurts the heart of every writer), then what is live video of an epic fail worth?
I have only one thing to say in my defense:
"derned elk anyway!"
Click away my friends, click away. . .
Spring Bear Hunt, Intermission
In the middle of bear season, I did the unthinkable. I stopped hunting, pulled up stakes, packed up my soaking-wet tent, and went to the Western States Traditional Rendezvous to hang out with friends and shoot arrows from dawn to dusk. I like to think of it as an intermission.
This year's Rendezvous was being hosted by the Idaho Traditional Bowhunters in New Meadows Idaho. Most people just don't know how to have this much fun. We shot way too many arrows, laughed way too much with friends, heard hunting stories that stretched all belief, and quite simply, just had a blast.
Next year's Rendezvous will be located near Petaluma California. You can wait until next year to see how much fun can be had, or you can click this link and see some of the fun for yourself. (Full-screen mode is best)
Next week, it's back to bear hunting, but for now, let the arrows fly...
Spring Bear Hunt, Chapter 2
The first weekend of this year's spring bear season was interesting, but the second weekend was even more so.
The bears seemed to be transitioning from feeding for long times in the meadows to traveling fast looking for female companionship. They would only be in a meadow long enough to cross it. It seems love was in the air. While hiking way too many miles, I made an amazing find on an ancient old stump.
As with the first weekend of the hunt, I carried a video camera and a longbow. Click here to see chapter two.
Spring Bear Hunt, Chapter 1
After many years of applying, I have finally drawn one of Idaho's few controlled spring bear hunt tags. Most areas in Idaho allow baiting and hound running during the spring bear season, but the controlled tag I drew is for an area where it's spot and stalk only.
That means the hunting is more difficult, but the bears are less pressured and grow rather large. This hunt opens earlier than the normal bear season, but as luck would have it, we had lots of late snow storms this year, keeping me out of the good areas until the last two weeks of the season. I carried a video camera and a longbow. Here's chapter one.
True Bushcraft, From the 1950s, Algonquin Style.
For those of us who spend a lot of time in the woods, our bushcraft skills are every bit as important as our ability to hunt food with a bow. That is why it's important to learn from those who do it best. Many of us have improved our shooting by watching the old black and white films of our favorite archery heroes.
That is why I am sharing this old, raggedy black-and-white video with you. It shows a true master of bushcraft, Algonquin Indian Angus Baptiste, filmed by the BBC in the 1950s.
If you watch Angus closely, you may learn thing or two that will come in handy some day. BBC narrator Robert Anderson and his trusty microphone add a bit of comic relief.
This film should go side by side with the great old black and white films of Fred bear and Howard Hill. If you enjoy seeing a true master of the old skills, click here, sit back, and enjoy.
If after watching this you feel a strong urge to sharpen your axe and venture forth into the woods, well, don't blame me.
Fred Anderson Discusses the Howard Hill Style Longbow.
Quote from the article: "My history with this kind of weapon started in 1952 when, as a 15 year old, my archery artillery was mainly hickory and lemonwood bows, of dubious natures. I went into Frank Eicholtz's archery shop, and he outfitted me with a 66-inch, maple cored, straight-limbed longbow, which he informed me was . . ." (click here to read more).
Huge Hungarian Boar
A new and much better photo just arrived showing the huge boar Georg Einrich arrowed in Hungaria. If you enjoy hunting wild boar, check out this monster.
It's Arrow-Making Time!
There is a time between when the big game seasons end and the good rabbit hunting begins that I call the Winter Doldrums.
The snow is too crunchy for good jack rabbit hunting, as they can hear you coming a mile away. The ground is too hard for stump shooting, the soil is frozen to the consistency of granite. And last but not least, when I look out the window, I can tell it is freezing cold and miserable outside.
The Winter Doldrums are upon me, and as I feel the cold tentacles of cabin fever creeping in, I realize something must be done. . .
(Click here to read on. . .)
Reader Photos Section
Now that many hunting seasons are coming to a close, we are starting to receive some good pictures of your adventures. Check out the new photos in the Reader Photos Section.
If you have some photos of your own you would like to share, send them through the "Contact Us" link. No sense keeping all the fun you've been having to yourself. Still waiting for some good stump-shooting photos. . .
Recurves and Longbows
Since this site is dedicated to longbows, some might think we will pretend recurves don't exist and never show photos or write about them. Well, that would be ridiculous, and since we don't allow the Policitally Correct Traditional Police anywhere near this site, chances are from time to time you will see great photos showing friends and family of our longbow-shooting bretheren with recurves in their hands.
Think about it. This site is the Journal of the Longbow lifestyle. In the lives you live, do any of you share fun times with family members or friends who shoot or hunt with recurves? I thought so.
So don't be surprised when you see a few pictures here and there with (horrors) a person holding a recurve or a compound. We won't be printing articles solely about recurves, but we will absolutely be printing articles about people who go hunting and shooting with their recurve-toting friends. Heck, how else are we going to be able to poke fun at them. That's what friends are for!
Rik's 2013 Late-Season Mule Deer Hunt, Chapter 4
Frostbite is never fun. I've had it three times before, on my face, and on my toes. If you hunt the mountains, in the winter, that's just the way it goes.
I should get the feeling back in my finger tips in a few days. Ahh, but it was worth it. I was able to witness one of the true strengths of the longbow: the ability to shoot a second arrow, in the blink of an eye, when you absolutely least expect to have to do so. . .
Rik's 2013 Late-Season Mule Deer Hunt, Chapter 3
Click below for video of Chapter 3 of this late-season hunt. In addition to hiking and hunting, I tested some home-made rain gear. It looks a bit goofy, but it worked well. Not too bad for a first draft. Waxed canvas is wonderful stuff. Now I just need to make it blend in with the surroundings a little better.
Book/Gift Suggestion: The Ranger's Apprentice
Rik's 2013 Late-Season Mule Deer Hunt, Chapter 2
Follow along on a late-season mule deer hunt in Idaho. I've drawn one of 50 special archery tags, and have five weekends to stalk the hills seeking big bucks. The bucks are rutting, the does are running, and the camera is rolling. Click below for video of Chapter 2 of this exciting hunt. I hope you like dramatic endings!
"Why" you may ask, do we feel drawn to the longbow? Australian Ben Maher has some thoughts on that. . .
Rik's 2013 Late-Season Mule Deer Hunt, Chapter 1
Follow along on a late-season mule deer hunt in Idaho. I've drawn one of 50 special archery tags, and have five weekends to stalk the hills seeking big bucks. The bucks are rutting, the does are running, and the camera is rolling. Click below for video of Chapter 1 of this exciting hunt.
Welcome to iLongbow, The Journal of the Longbow Lifestyle. While iLongbow is new, just getting started, its roots have a long and interesting history. Those roots began with the printing of the first issue of Instinctive Archer Magazine way back in 1996, and continue today with iLongbow.
Many of you will remember that Instinctive Archer, except for the cover, was printed on paper, in black and white. We had writers from all over the globe, and readers in 23 countries. We covered a lot of ground, and had many adventures, but the nature and costs of the printing industry came with limitations. Printing on paper is what it is.
Publishing online has many advantages over publishing on paper. First, there is no additional cost to provide everything in full, living color. Second, we can incorporate good writing with video and audio. We can make things a lot more interesting and dynamic than we ever could on paper, which is why we are so excited about the future of iLongbow.
What you see on this site today is just an outline of what it yet to come, but it was time to get this arrow flying, and so what you are seeing here is our first shot out of the quiver. Much more is in the works and will be coming shortly.
iLongbow is not a forum, there are plenty of places you can go for that. iLongbow is an online journal. Think of it as a magazine printed on screen instead of paper. The articles you will find here will be written in depth and in detail, and well illustrated with art and photos. Printed magazines often limit articles to between 1,200 and 2,500 words, with several pictures. That is due to budget restrictions and the need for as much advertising space on each page as possible.
Here at iLongbow, we will be able to print articles as long as they need to be to cover the subject, and there is no limit to the number of outstanding photos we can include with the articles. Plus, all articles and reviews will be archived, which will allow you to search the entire website by content. That will allow you to find the information you need, when you need it.
As you may have noticed by our name, we're focused on longbows. Our purpose is to promote and report on all things related to longbows and the longbow lifestyle. As you know, the longbow is an old weapon, but the skill, the thrills, and the adventure of living the longbow lifestyle are as fresh and exciting as ever. My job as editor is to introduce you to interesting writers, share insight and wisdom on gear and equipment, and take you along on great adventures.
Along the way, iLongbow will promote the ideals of bygone times when traditions were held in high honor, when the cherished skills of the longbow were hard won, and when fun and adventure were just a bowshot away.
If you enjoy the smell of wood and fine leather, the sound of the bowstring, the flight of the arrow, and the scent of adventure, you're in the right place.
We are, in essence, just taking our first steps out of the tent, but we know where we're going, and we're looking forward to getting there.
I invite you to come along for the ride and share the adventure. Hold onto your hat though, this could get interesting!
P.S. When people ask what you do for fun and excitement, just smile and say iLongbow!