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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Case for hunting with bows

When it comes to big game hunting, I almost always prefer to take my game with a bow and arrow.

While I am not a bowhunting snob who would juggle someone else for hunting with a gun, I have decided that the bow and arrow is the only method for me. In my early years of hunting, I always used a gun. In fact I have great memories of taking big game animals with a shotgun, rifle, and a handgun. Those hunts were exciting, challenging and rewarding to me at the time.

My introduction to bowhunting was not a very smooth transition. In fact, it took four years of dedication before I managed to kill my first deer with a bow. This took place shortly after my wife and I got married almost 20 years ago.

My first kill was a small doe and I could not have been happier.  It was as if I had shot the biggest deer in the woods.  Once I finally managed to take my first animal with a bow, I knew that I would never be satisfied taking an animal any other way.

I often ask myself why I still bow hunt.  I mean let’s be honest, a rifle is far more accurate and efficient.  One properly placed bullet with a rifle and there is no tracking necessary. A rifle has greater range so there is no need to get animals as close and if an animal is moving, a good marksman can still make the shot. Rifle hunting is definitely easier than bowhunting.

As I contemplate this matter, I think I know why I still choose my bow.

First and foremost I still love the challenge. There is something about bowhunting that make me feel cool or tough. I have an enormous sense of satisfaction when I take an animal with my bow, and it feels like I really accomplished a great task.

Second I think that I love being close to the animals.  In bowhunting, just because an animal is in range, it doesn’t mean you have a shot. He needs to be calm and at the right angle.

Bowhunting allows me to see animals up close and personal and witness them doing things that I would otherwise never see.  If I had a gun, I would shoot one as soon as I saw it.

Finally the need to practice is greater. If you are a bowhunter, then you know that there is a great need to practice.

You must be absolutely spot on with your arrow placement in order to get a kill.  A shot that is an inch or two off could lead to a wounded animal and an empty dinner plate.

This compels me to practice year round. I guess when it comes down to it, I enjoy shooting my bow as much as I enjoy bowhunting.  The year-round practice keeps me active and outdoors.  It gives me a great opportunity to hang out with my friends and family as we shoot our bows.

If you have never tried bowhunting, I recommend that you do.  It is a great sport and one that can be enjoyed well into the golden years.

If I can help you in any way feel free to let me know. May God bless you richly!

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.