Saturday, October 27, 2012

Final TOBP entry

Much has happened in my life since the last entry. It has been longer between entries than I wanted, but sometimes there are occurrences’ that fill our life with activities and everyone knows the active person’s watch runs fast. What? I don’t know if that makes sense or not but, anyhow time has jogged ahead and now I must catch up.

The old bow project has run its course. Recap: I found that looks are deceiving; the old bow was and is still a reliable shooter. Although I discovered that my skill as an instinctive archery (without sights) shooter has greatly diminished. Much more time on the range is required before I can take the old bow hunting, and have confidence that I could make a clean shot. I took the bow anyway as I said I would, had it not been sound. It was an awesome feeling to have it along. The flood of memories it brought was the main reason for writing these articles. There were a few times I felt dad was right there with me. It was never just about bagging a deer.

I hunted for about five days and racked up a total of about forty hours in a deer stand. I had a close encounter of the third kind on the first day. I was set up on a trail that looked very active, however the deer saw me before I saw them. I had two does in front of me and a little buck that came in from behind. He actually threw dirt on me when he spun and ran, he was that close. That was almost worth the whole trip. It is always very thrilling when you can go into a new area, locate deer, and see how they move, set up a stand and have them come to you. However it would have been much more thrilling to bring one back after all of the hunting was done.

I hunted up above Arnold on forest road 7N69. There were very few hunters and the weather was very nice. It was cool in the evenings and not too warm in the afternoon. There were lots of critters running around at night. I camped a quarter mile away from any other campers, the solitude was awesome. Here are a few pictures of the area.

So now the plan is to start a new series of article next year, and actually hunt with the old bow. That is about all I have to say on the subject. I feel much closer to my dad because of the experience. I did find the silent stalker that I talked about in one of the previous articles. Here is a picture.

It was built with surplus materials that were lying around the house. My dad was always thinking ahead and kept anything that could be used to make something useful. Laying beside the silent stalker, in the top photo, is a shooting glove that he made of scrap leather. Dad always built first before he bought. If it was functional well, then there you go, If not then he would break down and buy. I remember more things built than bought.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time may the Lord richly bless you.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Hi all,

Sheila and I are in Arizona this week. We are visiting her mom in Pomerene, a little town south east of Benson.

the weather is hot and muggy, with thunder and rain all around us. We visited Sierra Vista this morning, a little town south west of Benson where Fort Huachuca is. I am at the Benson library taking advantage of their Internet and air conditioning. We will be back in California on Saturday night. I will post the final entry of the old bow project next week. 
Until then God bless and thanks for stopping by.


Friday, August 24, 2012

TOBP: D-Day (Deer Day)

 The previous entry in The Old Bow Project was an account of my last scouting trip where I found a place to hunt and saw a legal buck, all of which gave me encouragement and spurred me on to get ready for opening day 2012. Life experience has proved that no matter when I begin preparation for an anticipated event with a specific date in time, when the date comes I wished I had more time, August 18 2012 was no exception. My biggest concern was arrow groups. What I mean by arrow groups is how close together a dozen arrows are, when shot from a specific yardage. I mentioned in one of my earlier articles that dad used a pie plate or a paper plate as a reference point. I think the reason he used this as a gauge is because the vital organs of a deer fit in about the same area.

For example, the goal is to fire 5 groups of 12 arrows at twenty yards and place them all within the size of a paper plate. However that rarely happens, at least to an average archer like me. If I have 10 out of 12 arrows in the first three groups and say 6 out of 12 arrows in the last two groups I am very happy and would consider myself ready to hunt. By practicing in this manner it is easy to gauge if you are ready to hunt. There are many other factors that you have no control over in the field, so it is important to gain as much control as possible; accuracy in practice sessions is the one thing you can control about bow hunting.

This is where my anxiety entered. One week before opening day, my group accuracy was less than forty percent, and many of the arrows that missed were way off target. I thought I narrowed down the problem to my release. I worked very carefully on a smooth release with no jerking motions, and then I started having problems with left and right. I worked on narrowing the size of my groups until the day before it was time to leave. I could not get my groups to where I felt comfortable hunting with the bow. The day I was supposed to leave I was faced with a decision, hunt with the old bow or not. I stared at the old bow long and hard, wanting to hunt with it, but in the end common sense won out and I chose not to hunt with it. Fortunately while I had been preparing to hunt with the recurve, I had also been shooting my compound bow. My accuracy with it is better than eighty percent, with no arrows missing much more than a few inches.

I agonized over not hunting with dads recurve, since the whole reason for the TOBP was to remember dad by using his bow. In the end I think my decision to not use his bow would make him happy mainly because of the risk of wounding an animal and not being able to find it. This happens much more than it should, and it is one of the things I remember dad talking about frequently. He taught all of us boys to take responsibility for our actions and not hunting with his bow this year is one way of doing just that. Not using the bow this year also opens up the opportunity for next year and TOBP 2. I did go hunting and had a great time. In a few days I will gather some pictures together and write down some of the things that happened.

Until then God bless and thanks for coming by.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

TOBP: Productive Trip

TOBP: Productive Trip

This project has been an adventure in preparation and a journey back in time as I remember my father and his love for the outdoors. Driving up the winding, tree covered highway 4, with Sadie my mini Schnauzer, I spent some time talking with my Heavenly Father. In first Peter we are exhorted to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Humble is exactly what I felt driving under the canopy of huge pine trees. And humble is the only way to describe the feeling of going into a new area to hunt deer. I believe that God cares about me and the things that are important to me, and that I am encouraged to cast all of my cares upon him, so I did. I asked God for his blessings and the chance to see legal deer. Within minutes of praying I saw a forest road that looked like a possible place to hunt. I turned off at the next turn out to write the number down. Putting the truck in park I grabbed my note book and jotted down the number. Preparing to leave I looked across the road and this is what I saw.

Two bucks, the closest one is a forked horn and the one with his back to the camera is a spike. I know they are small, but that was a very encouraging thing to happen, and made the woods seem just a little smaller. I took a couple more snap shots of them and headed up for Mosquito Lake.

Stopping off at the ranger station I got a fire permit and talked a little with the ranger on duty. She gave me some good information about the Forrest roads and camping out side of camp grounds. I told her that I was planning on staying at mosquito lake; she said well no I probably won’t because it fills up very quickly. I should have listened; it would have saved me close to a half hour drive. Mosquito Lake camp ground was full and there were twenty cars parked along side of the road. Carefully making my way out of the busy area, I headed back down the mountain. The Forrest Ranger I spoke with told me about a couple of Forrest roads that cover a lot of area and are passable with a two wheel drive vehicle.

Turning off onto the Forrest Road I drove for about 6 miles. Just before the road made a hair pin, left hand turn there was a small dirt road to the right. I took it and followed it back for about two hundred yards where it turned into a wide cleared area with a fire ring. I thought the fire ring had been made by some industrious camper, but later found out that the Forrest service prepares these places for free camping. Sadie and I had a bite to eat and then headed up the hill to find a place to sit and glass. Sadie was very reluctant to follow and I did not know why until later. When I looked at her closely she was covered from head to toe in cockle burs. An hour later we had most of them out. I apologized to her and promised I would not make her go through that again. She accepted my apology and thanked me for getting the burs out. I wandered around for awhile trying to get the lay of the land it was covered with Christmas trees, and brush. The brush is what the deer are grassing on. I will have to find out what it is called.

After an hour or two we head further up the Forrest road. We ran across a herd of cows a few miles up. We heard them before we saw them. They all had cow bells on and what a racket they made, it sounded like pots and pans banging together. We found a place to make camp and had dinner. Sadie enjoyed hers very much. Mine was okay; I had an MRE and thought about my little brother in Afghanistan.

After supper Sadie and took off exploring on foot. We found a 4x4 road and followed it for a few miles, all up hill. We sat on the side of the road for a half an hour or so and saw deer cross about one hundred yards in front of us. We walked up where they crossed and I found a place to set up my blind. That was a relief. I feel like I have two places that I can set up on opening morning, where animals are. Sadie and headed back to camp and retired early. We had thunder and lightning for an hour and then about nine pm it started to rain and rained until eleven pm. It was cold and I did not sleep very well, which was actually a good thing. I know now that I need to bring more warm clothes and blankets. So all in all it was a productive trip. Here is a short video of Sadie and I on our way down from our last hike.

Next entry will be a little closer to D-Day. I still have much work to do on getting my groups of arrows smaller. Until next time,

God Bless


Saturday, July 21, 2012

TOBP:A Trip To B.P.S.

 Today was a fun day. I got my hair cut (thanks Ana), picked up a birthday present for my gorgeous wife, and went to Bass Pro for some shopping. It was time to update my camouflage. Everything I have is old, faded, and worn out. I got a new set of camouflage overalls, a small ground blind, scent blocker, a really cool camouflage backpack (my fanny pack is outdated) and some other odds and ends. Things are coming together for the hunt August 18. Next weekend I will take another scouting trip. I am thinking about going further north into D-4 and D-3. There is less public land to hunt on, but the land that is available is lower in elevation. I found out on the last scouting trip that I don’t move as well at 7000 foot elevation as I used to.

Dad used to say "Do something, even if it is wrong." I am almost at that point, but not quite. With about three week, till opening day I have much work to do. I am learning how to hunt Northern California; it is much different than the river bottom of the South Eastern Mojave Desert. From what I am hearing there is a mixture of Black Tail and Mule deer in the areas I have drawn. The above picture is of a big mule deer, I doubt if it is a California deer. I don’t know for sure I just grabbed it off of the internet. So any way I will keep posting as things come to mind.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TOBP: Fletchin’

I started the old bow project as a way to remember my dad and his influence in my life. He enjoyed archery and passed the sport along to me. My dad liked to do things his way, and was not in most cases, a follower. This character trait can be seen in the naming of his children. His name was Abbott, and as providence would have it, he married a woman name Beverly. To most people that would not be anything of importance, but to my dad it was a challenge. He suggested to my mom that they name their first son using the letter C. My mom accepted the challenge, and the legacy was established. I was Named Clifford, Danny flowed me and then Ernie. Nine and a half years later the fourth boy was born, and of course his name was Fletcher, after the sport he enjoyed. There are other tail stories surrounding the naming of the fourth child, suffice it to say my dad liked archery and that is how my brother got his name. Here is a picture of us all grown up. Right to left C,D,E,and F.

My dad told a story of a boy who lived across the street with a very unique personality. As I remember it, he wore very thick glasses and could not whistle so he always said “whoop whoop” to get your attention at a distance. He used to call my brother Fletchin, so that kind of stuck with me. I don’t think Fletcher particularly likes the name, but I guess that is just one of the privileges’ of being the older brother. I did not get to annoy him much growing up because I was already out of the house by the time he was of age to be irritated, so I get to do the irritating now. This picture ought to really irritate him. It shows the age difference pretty good. Thats fletchin peeking into the package and me on the left with Ernie looking on.

Anyway, I did some needed fletchin’ this weekend. I dug into some stuff I had bought a few years back from a frustrated archer who wanted to unload much of his stuff, and found three fletching jigs. The two Bitzenburger jigs are very nice jigs and do a good job of fletching. They do one vane at a time so they are a little slow. I also found a three vane jig made by Cabelas that I am going to sell. My favorite jig is the Arizona EZ fletch. I turned out 10 arrows with the EZ flectch to three arrows with both Bitzenburgers.

I shot all of the arrows at the same time and could not tell the difference in flight. I had three arrows sail way out of group, but after retrieving them and re shooting, they flew perfect. They sailed off because of my release. I am a little behind the curve in shooting so I need to step it up.

Opening day is one month away. Shooting is one of several important tasks I need to continue doing. The most important task is still not accomplished, and that is finding a place to hunt. I have some work cut out for me over the next few weeks. I am on call this weekend so I will not be able to go scouting until the last weekend in July. I will take some pictures and post after the next scouting trip. Hopefully the pictures will contain good fresh tracks and maybe even a shootable animal. So until the next post I will say good bye for now. Thanks to Danita for the old Pics.


Thursday, July 5, 2012


It’s the day after our country celebrated its independence from Great Britain. The key word that describes the Fourth of July is Freedom. Freedom is why this country is great. The basic idea behind freedom is having room to live as you choose. Freedom in America has become something that most of us are very sensitive about. We squawk at the slightest infringement of our liberty. This is because we have been made aware that other less than noble characteristics have disguised themselves as tenets of liberty. As a child growing up in Middle America in the 60’s and 70’s, I remember seeing great men speak out against glaring inconsistencies in our nation. They made us face the fact that freedom in America carried a double standard where only certain people were truly free. We struggled through the years of the civil rights movement and came through it with a better idea of what Freedom looks like. It is still not perfect, but it is better.

I believe so strongly in the right to live a free life that I joined the military and was willing to give my life for my country. I have a brother in harm’s way in the military as I write this. The point is that freedom is not free. It cost something in this life to stand against tyranny. So, as Americans we understand the concept of Freedom, the ability to live our lives as we choose. The sad fact is, the majority of American’s today are not free. Millions of Americans are living in bondage to an enemy greater than any foreign dictator our country has ever faced. This enemy lies within each of us. Millions have gained independence from this evil, but many millions are still in bondage. The enemy is sin.

Sin has brought with it a death sentence that no one can escape. The bible tells us clearly that we have all sinned and that the wages of our sin is death. But the good news is that the battle has been won and someone has paid the penalty for your sin. All that is required is to believe on the pesron of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Jesus, God’s only son, left his throne in heaven and took on human flesh. He lived a sinless life, died on a Roman cross, and was raised from death in three days. He paid the price, he was the perfect sacrifice. You must realize that you cannot earn your salvation. Nothing you can do will bridge that chasm that separates you from God. God is perfect and holy, man is imperfect and sinful.

The bible says that your good works are as filthy rags before God. You cannot earn your way to heaven. Jesus says “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6). As you sit quietly reading this, stop and think honestly about your life and the things that have happened throughout your life. How many events in your life would you like to change? How many of them do you feel like you had no control over, it was as if you were compelled to make wrong decisions’? It was as if something pushed you towards these destructive actions. In the 70’s Flip Wilson coined the phrase “The devil made me do it”. It became popular and many used it as a tounge in cheek excuse for actions that caused hurt. It is a fact that you have a personal enemy who hates you and wants to destroy your livfe. But a greater fact is that you are responsible for every action that you have ever done or not done. The only thing that made you do anything that was hurtful or destructive was the sin that warred inside of you.

You are not reading this article by accident. You are at a cross road in your life. If you know me personally do not look at my life, because I have struggled with sin and am just like you. The only difference is that I have forgiveness through my faith in Jesus Christ. I said earlier that freedom is not free. In this case Jesus paid the price that you owe. Today is the day you can experience true liberty, free from the bondage of sin.

Here is a sample prayer. Say it if you want to believe in Jesus and be saved from your sin. “Dear Jesus I know that I am a sinner. I know that I have sinned and am separated from God. I believe that you are the savior sent from God to save me from my sin. I now ask you to come into my life and cleanse me from my sin. By faith I thank you and believe that I am saved.” It is that simple. In the upper left hand corner of this blog is a link that is entitled “Gods Simple Plan”. When you follow this link you will find more scripture on the subject of salvation.

The bible is the word of God, and salvation comes through hearing the word of God. The stirring that you sense in your life right now is the Holy Spirit. He is the third person of the Trinity sent to earth to guide us into the path of eternal life. Trust the still small voice you hear. You may also hear a confusing, loud condemning voice. That tells you it is all hog wash and that you are not good enough to seek God. That is the voice of the personal enemy. The bible tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to you, resist the devil and he will flee you.

Today is the day trust Him with your life here on earth, and for all eternity. You are on this earth for a short period of time between eighty and ninety years, and then you are gone. After this life waits eternity, that is forever. There are two places to go. The first is Heaven, and you get there by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, or Hell and you get there by not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Choose to day! It is your responsibility and it is your choice. No one can force you. There is much to be written on how a person can live their entire life and never face the fact that they are making a decision for eternity. Ignoring the subject is the same as saying no I do nto accept Jesus as my savior!   God loves you! Thanks for stopping by. I am praying for you!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

TOBP: A day trip to D-5

Can you see Sheila?

Trying out my Bino's

Self explanatory

It was hard to catch your breath at this elevation

Bike riders love to ride Hiway 4
 We had a great day trip to the mountains up highway 4. The temperature was in the low 40,s to high thirties. We took a trip to Ebbetts pass at 8730 foot. We drove back to the 5500 foot level and did some scouting on the road to Bear Valley. We took a forest road marked on the map as 7N35. After a small family argument as to whether the PT Cruiser was made to go off road or not we took a hike.

You can see the wind blowing through the cabbage patch. We covered about a mile and half. It took about an hour. Most of the walking was up hill. The progress was slow. I realized that besides preparing my bow I need to start preparing my out of shape body.


These were the best tracks we saw. All in all it was a good trip. I added to the list of things I need to do to get ready. Just a little off subject, it was confirmed I was drawn for D-5. I got a preference point for putting in for A-20. In a few years I may get a chance to hunt one of the premium hunts. Until then, we will be going back to D-5 for more scouting. Next time I will probably spend the night and glass early in the morning. I still need to find a likely spot to place a blind or tree stand. We saw doe, but I would like to see something with antlers that will make all of the effort worthwhile. Although I have hunted before without ever seeing a buck, it makes it so much more exciting and offers more of a reason to hunt if you can see something legal.

we thought we were isolated, but as this next video shows we were mistaken.

Later God Bless.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

TOBP: First Scouting Trip

The Old Bow Project: 6/2/12 First scouting trip

Today was a great day. It felt good to “get in the woods” with the intent of preparing to hunt. I bought my hunting license and applied for deer tags last Sunday. I put in for zone A-20 for my first choice which is an archery only zone along the California/Nevada border near the Pacific Coast Trail. I probably won’t get drawn for it because they only issue one hundred seventy tags, so I will just a get a point for next year. More than likely I will be hunting in D-5, and will be hunting along highway four. I have hunted D-5 before, but much higher up near Alpine lake.

Today I drove to a road between Murphys and Arnold called Avery Sheep Camp Road. I got a tip from the forest ranger at the station near Arnold, that I could access the forest land via that road. The trouble with this spot is that public land is hemmed in by private land. Getting caught hunting on private land is very bad. Most people who have land are unwilling to allow hunting on their land. Here is a picture that demonstrates why people with land are reluctant to open it up to the public. The sign is shot to pieces by some junior genius with a shot gun and no sense. So actually, I do not blame ranchers and others with investments in equipment and land for trying to preserve what they have.

So, ideal spot must have two important components; it must be on public land and have deer. Today’s efforts uncovered public land, but I am not sure of the deer population. I saw a few random tracks as displayed in the picture below. There is a green leaf near the bottom right of the picture. Move your eyes straight up to a little stick, follow the stick to the left, it is pointing at one of the random tracks. There is a ledge about four feet high to the left of the track. This deer came off the ledge out of thick brush, headed directly across the road back into thick brush. I am not sure how much pressure they face back in this area but something seems to have them scattered. There is a picture above that looks like a mouse lying near a pile of dung. That is what it is. I think it is bobcat poop. The ground is so hard and rocky that it is difficult see tracks. Before I write this area off though, I will make one more trip in the early morning and glass as the sun comes up, hopefully I will see deer, if not my next spot will be higher up.

Tomorrow the plan is to finish putting away dad’s tools and start fletching arrows. I have about three dozen arrows with tattered fletching. I think that may be part of the reason I was getting such large groups, and having arrows just fly off to outer edges of the target. I don’t blame all of the miss-placed shots on bad fletching; some of the errant arrows were caused by bent shafts, and weak fingers. There is more to come later.


Sunday, May 27, 2012


Good morning to all my friends and family,

The old bow project is moving along with a measure of success. Today I get my hunting license and deer tags. I have not shot the bow in a few weeks because of a garage full of tools. We took mom home a few weeks ago and I had the opportunity to clean out dad’s shop. I brought many tools home and revived some forgotten memories. It is hard to talk about the experience without filling the page with worn out cliché’s, but it is healing and almost electrical to pick up a tool that your dad showed you how to use. Once or twice it seemed as if I was instantly transported back in time. I could feel his touch and hear his voice, as he showed me how to use a Block plane on an old piece of pine, or the time he showed me an inventive way to create a tool to make checker background on a piece of wood work. The whole trip, though long, was productive. We helped mom clean out the storage shed and straighten up around the yard some, as well as getting the shop cleaned up and out.

I have started work on a couple of new projects, and shelved an old project that was getting in the way; I will share more on those subjects later. At this point in time I am reading three books at once. I am in the middle of William Zinsser’s book, “On Writing Well”, a very good book for all who care to share their ideas with others. I am finishing up a book I have had for a while. It is a bit dry but filled with important information to those who write. It is much like the good pig; you can’t eat it all at one time. The book I am referring to is called “The Craft of Research”, by Booth, Colomb, and Williams. I have discovered it is a good book to read just before bed time.

The third piece I am reading is “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” By John Fox. I highly recommend this book to all, Christian or not. It will open your eyes to what the faithful before us have suffered for placing their faith in Christ Jesus during periods of persecution of those who swam against the flow of the social norm (does that sound familiar to anyone, except for the pain of death). Conversely, I found out the hard way this is NOT a good book to read at bed time, unless you want dreams of having boiling water poured on your head and then being burnt at the stake. All the same, it is a must read for those of us who have been saved for years, and complacency has set in. I pulled out the soap box and started to climb on board, but I will save my breath for another time.

So, you are up to date with my life, what is happening in yours? My daughter Keri has started a new project called “Unscripted Craftiness” Stop by and see what is new.

Here is a thought to end with. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not” John 1:1-5. Let the Living Word of God speak through you today. In the beginning He spoke the world into existence, what will that power living in you speak into existence today? Get out of the way and let God work, it works!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

TOBP: New Strings and Old Gadgets

Sunday morning time change, it is 7am and still dark. I shot yesterday at the new target purchased from the big sporting shop in Manteca. I found that I was able to relax a bit more and not worry about bouncing arrows around inside of my shop. It is two and a half times the size of the target I was using. I bought new bow strings for both bows. I was unable to get exact matches to the strings that were in place for both bows.
Dads bow, the Ben Pearson had a string that measured about 59”. I found one that was 58. Since the string that was on the bow was homemade, there could have been a difference in it from the original string. There is no telling how many strings have been on that bow in its life time. Every string that was on it since the time that dad bought it was homemade, so I am guessing there is probably a little leeway that I can use. The brace height for the average recurve is around 7 ½ to 8 inches. The brace height  of the Silver Sovereign, with the new string,  is 7 ½ inches. Brace height is measured from the deeps part of the grip to the string.
The Bear Grizzly had a string of 52 inches. The closest string to that in the store was 54 inches.  I have not measured brace height for that one yet because I need to install an arrow rest before I place the nock set. The Grizzly had a neat looking arrow rest that was glued on to the shelf of the bow, but someone had tried to peel it off and bent it. I went ahead and removed it and the old glue. The Ben Pearson Bow has a rest on it that is called a “Flipper”. It is installed just above the shelf of the bow and at the edge of the site window closest to the string. It is a nice rest because it folds up as the arrow flies through the rest.  I found one in my gear box the other day. I have had it for years and do not know if the adhesive is still good, but I am going to try it this afternoon.  The two inch difference in the string for the Grizzly can be made up by twisting the string.  It is recommended that you use no more than 20 twist. I will check brace height and see how much I need to make up.
I found instructions that dad had sent several years ago on how to make bow strings. I have his string jig and I am going to make some strings. I made one for the bow that dad and I built and it turned out ok. I found his old shooting glove with the instructions for how to make strings. The glove is handmade and very cool looking. I remember it from years ago. Dad never bought anything that he could make.

The instructions are all hand drawn by dad and very accurate. I had never made a string before and my first attempt turned out all right. Below is a second little note that he added. He said he wished he could come up and help me sort out “this mess” I think he was referring to the above sheet.
With the other things I found I found this string server that he made. It is out of some metal that was laying around his shop. It works very nicely for applying serving to the bow string. Beside it is a picture of one of the bow strings that he sent as a guide.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

TOBP: A New Addittion

I have been shooting several times since the last post. Fingers are strengthening, my eye is getting better. I love the old bow. It is very smooth and fun to shoot.
I have been looking on the internet for a deal on a Bear bow. This morning I queried Craigslist for recurve bows and came up with a bear grizzly, 55 pound pull, 58 inches tall. The guy who had it lives in Placerville. It is a two hour drive from where we live, but the bow sounded good, so we took off after church. The seller lives way out of town and up a hill. We met him at the base the hill he lives on. As soon as I saw the bow I knew I wanted it. It had a few light scratches on it but was in excellent shape very well kept.
I gave him his money and we drove home.  At home I had a few chores to do so getting to fire the bow was delayed. After finishing the sprinklers and planting blueberry bushes, I moseyed into the garage and had a look at my new addition. I inspected the bow once more, looking very carefully for any cracks in the lamination I may have missed on the first inspection. The bow is 58 inches long, but with the exaggerated curve in the limbs it looks short.  I strung it up and waxed the string. I was not happy with the string.  There is a small section where a few of the strands are frayed pretty badly and much of the serving on the top tip is loose.  However it did not look like it would let go today, so I decided to give it a few test fires.
I followed the procedure recommended by and pulled the string back a few inches at a time listening for any cracking sounds. I did not hear any unusual sounds as I reached full draw. I knocked an arrow drew back to full length and let it fly. Wow, what a rush it is to fire a thirty five year old recurve bow for the first time. I used the same arrows as I used for dad’s bow. At fifty-five pounds, the grizzly is rated at five pounds heavier than the Silver Sovereign.  After A half dozen arrows I felt the weight difference.
All commercially manufactured bows  are measured using twenty eight inches as the standard anchor point; this reference point was set by the Archery Manufacturer and Merchants Organization or AMO, It maybe that the average person has a draw length of twenty eight inches; however my draw length is thirty inches.  Most people will tell you that a bow will stack 2lbs for every inch over 28inches, but I think it varies from bow to bow.  In this case I think that it is stacking about 2lbs per inch.  It feels very stout and shoots great.
The top picture is me shooting the Ben Pearson bow, and the bottom one is of me firing the Bear Grizzly. You can’t tell, but I'm gritting my teeth and my arms are shaking, while asking Sheila to please hurry and take the picture.  I am planning on going to an archery shop tonight and buy a couple of strings and maybe a better arm guard. That Grizzly has a good slap. More to follow.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

TOBP: No Guts, No Glory!

I found a web site called “This Old Bow”.  The site displays old Bear archery equipment and refurbished bows. I wrote an email with pictures asking for a ball park figure of what it would cost to have the bow gone over and repaired if needed. There are scoring marks on the limbs of the bow top and bottom.

While I was taking the pictures I remembered that dad had built a bow quiver. I think it was designed after Fred Bear’s recurve quiver. It stays on by pressure. I will have to find one and take a picture for this journal. I do not think I will use it though. I was always a little suspicious of them.  He built several of them using different material. It is pretty ingenious the way he built them.  The one that I can see in my mind’s eye was assembled using heavy gauge spring steel wire, a piece of metal strap and and a piece of tire. I think that it may be what caused the scoring. If that is the case then it is probably just surface scratches and will not affect the bows performance.
I remember quivers were quite the topic of conversation around the table  at our house. Dad and Donnie Plemmons sat around talking about the next project they would build. Donnie was dad’s friend and hunting partner. They were always building something . My brothers and I always wished we had a friend like Donnie. He was part of the family. I am sure many of the memories of archery and hunting will include Donnie Plemmons. Much time was spent on building or finding the perfect quiver. The wrap around bow quiver was dad’s favorite. Some guy’s were drilling holes in their bows and mounting quivers that way. Dad rejected that idea, maybe because of the two exploding bows, I don’t know for sure.
Another quiver that they built was designed after the silent stalker. I am not sure who invented it or where the name came from. I think they got the idea from a magazine article in field and stream or outdoor life. Dad loved to find something new in a magazine or catalogue that looked useful and then figure out how to build it using material in his shop. Whenever I asked him what he was building  he always said something like, “Oh just cobbling up something I saw in outdoor life.” Then he would go onto explain his idea. He was great at describing things. I had a difficult time keeping up with the description most of the time so I would just nod. 
2/15/ 12
I got a response from This Old Bow. He looked at the pictures and believes that the scratches are surface only. He suggested getting a new string, string it and pull it an inch at a time, listening for cracking noise.  He also said I should clean it with denatured alcohol. I did everything except buy a new string. Tonight I strung it up and pulled it lightly
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I strung up the bow and followed the recommended procedures. I gradually increased the distance between string and bow until I was at full length. I pulled and held at full draw length several times. I heard no funny cracking sounds and there was no separation of lamination. So I grabbed an Easton Game Getter 2216, knocked it up and fired at about fifteen yards. What a thrill!! The arrow flew as straight and perfect as I have ever seen and arrow fly. I hit just right of the bull’s eye. Fifteen yards does not sound like much until you pull a recurve bow back with and arrow and point it into your garage at a target the size of a small box.
I fired four groups of 12 arrows and hit the target almost every time.  A few arrows went pretty far off course and upon inspection I discovered they were bent. I found 12 arrows that were straight and had a blast shooting. I think I am on my way to hunting with the old bow, more to follow.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Old Bow Project

The Old Bow Project started 1/24/12
Journal notes:
Goal: Hunt and kill a deer with dad’s bow.
The bow is a Ben Pearson Silver Sovereign Silver Marauder. It is 52” long and has a 50 pound pull at 28”. My draw length is about 30” so it will probably stack about 2 more pounds. The silver Marauder is a recurve bow.
It is made of wood and fiberglass. The handle or riser at it is called is made out of wood. The limbs are laminated wood and fiberglass. Making a recurve bow is a long and involved process that takes practice and determination. All of the plans I have seen say in so many words, that if you make a good bow on your first try, buy a lotto ticket because you have luck on your side. I remember when I was very young and dad was first getting involved in archery he bought a bow from a guy in phoenix who was supposed to be a great bowyer. Dad brought the bow home and could not wait to show it off to his boys. He strung the bow up and we were all very impressed. He grabbed the bow and began to pull the string back to full draw length; I remember hearing a funny sound. Dad released the string; I think he heard it too.  He looked the bow over closely admiring the beauty of the lines and the matching wood grains.
The bow was beautiful. With confidence regained he drew the bow back to full draw. By way of a tremendous crack the bow turned into a grenade, exploding right before our eyes. Everything happened so quickly that it was hard to grasp the ramifications of the event. Just thirty seconds before dad was holding a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that elicited pride. Now in his hands he held a mangled piece of fiberglass and wood dangling from a string like a grotesque marionette from some nether world.  He went over the event a few times to make sure he had done nothing wrong.  After a few minutes he was confident that he had followed the steps for stringing and pulling a bow, which was a futile activity in its self.  The only damaging thing that you can do during that process is dry fire the bow, which is to let the string go without an arrow in it, and that did not happen.
Dad called the guy and explained what happened. The man was slightly perplexed but said sometimes that happens. He told dad to bring it back and he would give him another one that he was building. I do not remember the time frame but probably several weeks later we were once again standing in the living room and admiring the bow. Dad strung the bow, grabbed the string pulled the string back, and once again we witnessed an explosion of wood and fiber glass. This time dad was ticked. He called the guy and let him know that another one of his bows was coming back in a small box. I remember that dad said the guy was a little suspicious but was willing to take the bow back.
Dad drove over to phoenix and was ready for any challenges, but after presenting the pile of wood, fiberglass and string the guy had nothing to say. Dad came back with the Ben Pearson Silver Sovereign, and things were good after that. Needless to say dad never recommended this guy’s bows to any of his friends.