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Thread: How effective is the Alaskan bowhunter?

  1. #1
    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Default How effective is the Alaskan bowhunter?

    In the discussion regarding the requirement for statewide bow certification, I asked Mike Strahan if he had any data or information regarding whether bow hunters were more apt to wound and lose wounded game than were rifle hunters. Mike was too busy to research the question so I took it upon myself to do so. The previous discussion is becoming a bit long winded and I do not want to derail that discussion so here is a new post regarding the results of my efforts to find whether there were any data available regarding wounding/loss rates of Alaskan bowhunters. I wanted to find whether there were reliable studies with real data that would stand up to peer review.

    The short answer is no such data exist.

    The longer answer is that I undertook a fairly extensive, though probably not exhaustive, literature search using tools that were available to me in my previous life as an academic scientist. Failing to find anything of a scientific nature, I undertook a search of the "popular" literature (opinion, not scientific, and not subject to peer review). I did find a few surveys, and one master's thesis, involving bowhunters of whitetail deer, mostly in the eastern and upper midwestern US. Since we do not have whitetails in Alaska, and since hunting here is very different, I decided that surveys of whitetail hunters in Maryland or Virginia were not relevant to our situation.

    I could not gain access to IBEP data, but I understand that IBEP does undertake some survey each year and the reported rates of wounded and non-recovered whitetails is in the mid-teens each year. While interesting, it is still not relevant to Alaskan hunters.

    During the course of my search, I felt as though I had stepped through a looking glass and fallen into a rabbit hole that lead me through a worm hole and into the twilight zone. There is a vast amount of opinion masquerading as fact, some even giving pseudo citations that are clearly made up, but also cleverly masquerading as scientific citation. As might be expected, most comes from the anti-hunting establishment which seeks to portray bow hunters as blood-thirsty and bungling idiots who only manage to stick poor Bambis like pin cushions, leaving them to die a slow, painful, agonizing, horrible death. I am sure that this is where any misperception and prejudice arises regarding the public attitude toward hunting in general, and bowhunting in specific. If an untruth is repeated often enough, it becomes regarded as fact, especially if one's inclinations are to believe the mistruth to begin with.

    I could cite some examples, but I wish to be brief and I do not wish to give any examples further citation. Any search engine will dredge up numerous examples and any search engine will pull up this site where it might be perceived that such propaganda originated here. If anybody is interested, I can respond to a pm and give you some interesting reading.

    I was tempted to give this thread some catchy title like "Alaska bowhunters recover 100% of game shot at" solely to get that idea out into the cyber world, but that would have been as dishonest as some of the drivel disseminated by the anti-hunting organizations.

    Thanks for wading through this report.
    Dan

  2. #2
    Member DanC's Avatar
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    I sure wish I knew how to edit my posts.

    I got to thinking that what I wrote may be misconstrued as being critical of Mike. I do not, in any circumstances, wish to appear that I am critical of, or disagree with Mike.

    If there was any perception in that regard, I apologize.

    If I have made some strongly worded statements the statements were directed at the anti-hunting establishment that attempts to discredit hunters by disseminating erroneous and damaging propaganda.

    Dan

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    While I cannot speak for the statewide bow hunting population I can speak for me. I am 100% on my shots to recovery ratio. I know that this is not always the case and that sometimes things can go wrong even for the most ethical among us. A desire to do things right goes a long way to insuring ethical kills and recovery. I shoot at least 5 days a week every week of the year. I practice out to 80 yards but limit my shots to less than 50. I will pass on a questionable shot even if it means the freezer stays empty. ( I know that for some the grocery store is not an option.)

    I have hunted in a number of states in the lower 48 where the seasons are very limited and restricted. I had a woman in New Jersey actually stop her car and spit on me as I was coming out of the woods from my stand. I always try to remember how the non hunter has the right to vote and in such can take my hunting rights away. I cringe when I see pictures of a moose walking around with an arrow in its face because I know this give the anti hunter fuel for the fire.

    I understand the argument that the government gets way to involved and regulations get way to complicated. I agree that the longtime ethical bow hunter has respect for the game and the art and probably does not need to have the state stamp off on his/her ability to shoot a bow. I also read the hunting regulations. Alaska by far has fewer bow hunt only options than any place I have ever lived. The few archery only hunts we do have are very short in timeframe. This leads me to believe that the archery hunter has been underrepresented at Board of Game (BOG) meetings, and that we have not done a very good job of champion our cause to our elected officials. Perhaps if we bow hunters were more proactive as a group, we would not have to be reactive to things like mandatory bow certifications. We might even gain a few days of archery only or a few more archery only hunts.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I big problem is the bow hunting on tv that shows game shot and not recovered till the next day or never and it happens alot.How often do you hear we re looked at the footage and it looks now like a miss.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    How effective?
    You mean like: Proficiency? Competency? Knowledge? Conservation? It seems kind of a broad question with a cou

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    Sorry about above, I fat fingered the send button...

    How effective? You mean like: Proficiency? Competency? Punching tags and recovering game?
    For myself as a bow hunter, I like to think that i try a little harder (practice, proficiency) to make the best ethical shot as possible. For me, there's too much time, $$, traveling, logistics, etc involved for me. I can't just walk out the back door of my farm everyday after work and hunt 10 different stands going after one deer all season. I've got too much into it and limited time. Fortunately my preparation and years of experience gives me the confidence to go out, make solid decisions, and not take chancy or cheap shots at game. If I come home empty handed, is that being effective?

    There are some that run to Sportsman's Warehouse (as an example) who buy a bow package, shoot enough to get certified and are now Alaska bow hunters. They run up the Haul rd (again, for example) and fling arrow after arrow at un-Godly distances trying to kill caribou. I use that because I've watched it happen. Many critters run off and do not end up on the meat pole. I call that, not effective.

    Answering your question has many answers to me, no real one clear answer. Anyways, I'm not totally opposed to proficiency testing. But that's me.
    My .02....

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    Member Longbow6360's Avatar
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    Based on the egos of many hunters, this would be hard to get an accurate assessment of wounding rates of bowhunters vs rifle hunters or of just stand-alone bowhunting stats. On one hand you have the hunter whos ego and/or reverence for the animals he pursues, will never let him speak of a wounded animal again. I know bowhunters who, for many years, have beat themselves up mentally for wounding game and have only spoken of it in camp among closest of friends. These guys make every effort in the future to never let that happen again. These are incidents that will never be considered in any citation.
    Then you have the dork who can't stand the fact that he missed or didn't draw blood during the season. He goes to work and pops off about "clipping" an animal and how they looked "forever" and still couldn't find it. Somehow, just drawing blood seems to stroke their ego just as much as killing something. I've been with a bowhunter who clearly missed a mule deer but when we got back to camp he swears he had "clipped it". I'm sure everyone he works with heard the same story. These are the same kind of guys who's arrows you see hanging out of an animal in a news clip. [side note: think about this, clipping an animal means you were way off. Just a little closer hit means you would have wounded them. You HAVE to hit them in the kill zone for a quick, humane kill. There's no in between shot.]
    Sadly, I don't have a 100% kill with my bow. I can think of an antelope back in the '80s that I made a bad hit on in the morning and I didn't get to deliver the coupe de grace until the sun was setting that evening. That was a long day. I've shot four black bears on the ground and I have a brown bear tag for this fall. Bears could very-well rearrange your plumbing if you miss or wound them. Shooting range and shot placement should be thought of as the same with hoofed animals as it is with bears. But I digress...
    It would be interesting if there were some way to get accurate numbers of wounding rates for bowhunting. I'd love to see how accurate our rates would be compared to how us bowhunters are portrayed.

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