Bow or Gun....Should We Share The Woods?on Oct 21, 2012
When I first encountered this question, I’ll admit, it was difficult for me not to pounce on the obvious answer that best relates to the way I choose to hunt. I tried to think about the pros and cons of such a decision. How would such a ruling help or hurt either party? However, the glaring issue that continued to surface was the question of “what is to be gained by such a decision”?
Many firearm opportunities around the country coincide with the whitetail rut. And while there are plenty of diehard bowhunters that are committed to hunting strictly with their bow, there are countless others that, if required to make a choice, would lay down the archery gear and join the ranks of the rifle hunters during the rut to increase their odds of scoring on their trophy or putting meat in the freezer. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as a rifle hunter, wouldn’t you be at more of an advantage if you had bow-packin’ hunters in the woods with you as opposed to rifle hunters?
Mike Ellig, owner of Black Gold Sights, says, “It is purely an issue of jealously when a person has a problem with a bowhunter out hunting during rifle season. If you don’t like bowhunters out during gun season, you are saying, ‘the same guy can sit in the same stand with a high powered rifle, but I don’t want to see him there with a bow’. This defies logic. You should always be allowed to hunt with a more primitive weapon than what the current season states. Who the heck should care if I choose to use a less effective weapon than what the law allows? Same goes for muzzleloaders as well.
Few things are as rewarding as bowhunting success during the whitetail rut...even if you do have to wear an orange vest.
If you want a greater challenge by having a weapon that isn’t as effective as what the law allows, go for it! Anybody with any common sense should love it if guys choose a bow over a gun during a gun season. Look at it this way, if you were a gun hunter and everyone except you decided to hunt with a bow during the gun season, don’t you think that would be giving you a great advantage? These guys should love it when a person chooses a weapon that is good to forty yards instead of 400. It just means there will be more game out there for them!”
Management in Tight Places
One would also have to consider the effects of eliminating archery opportunities in areas that are not suitable for rifle hunting. Let’s face it. Some of the best deer hunting opportunities out there can be found in the small pockets and tracts of land close to homes and highways. Big bucks and countless does make these honey-holes their homes, and the results can often be increased vehicle collisions…and the death of many of grandma’s flowers and garden veggies. These deer need managed as well. And archery equipment is the only safe and effective way to do so.
My friend and fellow bowhunter, Amy Sawyer, lives in Idaho where hunters have an “A tag” for archery season and a “B tag” for rifle season. Amy says, “I hunt with both bow and rifle. It just depends on where I am going and the mood I’m in. I prefer archery and like the extra challenge. Plus a lot of landowners will allow archery hunting, but will not allow a rifle to be shot on their property. That gives me and the kids an advantage to some prime spots where rifle hunting is not allowed.”
Sharing my passion for bowhunting with my son, Aidan, is something I consider priceless.
Across the plains and much of the west, river-bottom units and lands where whitetail deer herds thrive are often open only to archery equipment due to safety requirements. These lands must be managed properly…and archery equipment is the means by which to make it happen.