Rifle or Bow? Who cares?!
If I had a dollar for every time that I vented to my wife about how I didn’t know what weapon I wanted to use on a certain hunt, I’d have a lot of dollars. For some reason, I get into these modes where my indecisiveness takes over and trying to get myself to agree on using either a rifle or a bow is like pulling teeth. I have these internal struggles, because of 2 things. The first is, at heart, I am no doubt a bowhunter. The thrill of trying to get close to an unaware animal and having to deal with the adrenaline dump that comes with trying to execute your shot, is something that one can only know if they’ve done it before. The second is, I also love having game meat in the freezer and not having to buy meat from the grocery store. My chances of harvesting an animal go WAY up when I’m toting around my 30-06. Accomplishment really sets in when I sit down in front of a, fresh off the grill, backstrap from a previous hunt. Providing myself with truly wild protein is not something I take lightly. On top of that, my dad is an avid rifle hunter, so getting to head out with him on rifle hunts provides me with quite a bit of welcomed nostalgia from my youth. So, do you see where I’m coming from? They both are satisfying in different ways and that is my struggle with it.
The next part, I am ashamed to even talk about, but I think it needs to be said, so here goes nothing. The criticism that comes from doing either is ridiculous, and in my opinion, unacceptable. I’ve read guys bashing from both sides and it not only sickens me, its affected my decision making in the past. I know that sounds stupid, but it does at times. This stuff especially affects younger folks and beginners who are that much more prone to influence. When someone that doesn’t know any better reads online that “using a rifle is cheating,” or that “bowhunting is unethical, so you should use a rifle,” that is setting the wrong example to the future of hunting and makes us look like a bunch of assholes(sorry for my language). We shouldn’t be stepping on one another’s heads, we should be encouraging one another, as long as said people are abiding by regulations. All of us are hunters and the very thing that built us into the hunters we are, can also be the thing that tears us down. I don’t care if you love to hunt with a bow or you love to hunt with a rifle. The thing that matters is that you are doing what you love, how you love to do it, not how someone else thinks you should.
As for me, I plan on bowhunting as much as I can, because it’s what I personally love to do. If I had to choose one weapon to hunt with for the rest of my life, it would be my bow, hands down. Hopefully, in the process of my archery endeavors, I’ll be filling up that freezer in my garage. If I don’t though, then I have no shame in picking up my rifle and heading afield. After all, rifle hunting with dad is what “lead me to water.” Without it, who knows if I would have gotten into hunting as much as I have. I drank from that pond and continue to do so. Every time I take a sip, it tastes sweeter than before. The reason being, is because I’ve made it that way.