The group of archers walked with casual determination up to the mark and began eyeing the target, a 3-D deer target. The first in line drew an arrow made of an ocean spray shoot, nocked it to the string of artificial sinew, and focused intently on the mark. She drew back her hickory longbow, and with a whisper-soft release, planted her arrow just inside the heart-lung zone on the foam target. Hoots and calls of encouragement were echoed down the line.
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The earliest arrows were tipped with points of flint, and before the bow, there were flint spear points. The earliest spears would have had wooden points, but they were sharpened using cutting edges of flaked stone. Stone is the beginning of technology, and making flaked stone tools, or flintknapping, is the oldest of all crafts preserved in the archaeological record, and part of the heritage of everyone’s ancestors.
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There are those, some of whom are experienced hunters, who exclusively recommend a short bow for hunting. They maintain that a selfbow of 64 inches, or even less, is easier to use from a treestand or from a ground blind, a short bow lends itself to stalking, or a short bow is more stable or “shootable” under hunting conditions.
Years ago, Paul Comstock advocated making a bow as tall as the archer, or man-tall, and the more hunting seasons I see the more prudent his council becomes.
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I can still remember the sting that my fingers felt on that cold January morning as the bow string slipped through my freezing hands to release an arrow focused on a doe as she stood in front of me unaware of my presence. There is nothing finer than the chance to hunt the whitetail rut twice in a single season; that’s what you get when you take a trip to south Alabama in January. When most states’ hunting seasons are already over, Alabama’s whitetail rut is just getting started. The temperature on most days that time of year is cold in the early morning hours but the rest of the day and early evening hunts are done in a light jacket. This is a welcome change to the northwest Arkansas weather I usually have to face that time of year.
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Oct/Nov 2015 Edition in this issue:

Making the Comanche Bow
By Billy Berger

Show Me Some Skin
By Neal C. Ritter

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