Thumbs Up to Fairbanks ADF&G Bow Cert Class
I have to admit, I am fairly new to serious bowhunting. I have bowhunted in Wisconsin as a teenager but never harvested an animal with a bow. I had been practicing with my bow all summer long and finally decided to get the IBEF certification so I could head up the Haul Road.
I had heard stories about the proficiency shoot from several different people and all were different. Some said they did it indoor and shot only two arrows. Some said they did it outdoor and shot three arrows. Going into the class, all I knew was I was supposed to bring my bow and three field tipped arrows.
When I finished the classroom portion and they gave us instructions for returning to shoot in the afternoon I got really worried. I was told it would be eight arrows from four stations and one arrow from each station had to be from the kneeling position. Additionally, one of the stations was from an elevated platform. I was required to put one arrow in the vitals on each target and one target had to have two in the vitals. Now, I had been practicing and felt good about my accuracy but I hadn't practiced from the knees or an elevated stand. My only saving grace was that I would be allowed to use my range finder (I am horrible at range estimation).
When I showed up for the shoot and we were split into groups I noticed a lot of people started to lag behind as we approached the first station. They all must have been as nervous as I was. It's one thing to miss a shot in my back yard but another to miss it in front of half a dozen other archers and the instructor that will pass or fail you.
I ended up being first to go. I ranged the target at 20 yards. I put both arrows, one standing and one kneeling, in the vitals. After that it was all down hill on the next three stations.
But, on to the main point of this post. I was really amazed to see so many people with poorly maintained gear, horrible shooting skills, and really unprepared to shoot. I felt ashamed when one gentleman missed his first target completely with both arrows. Another missed with one arrow and put the second into the deer's belly. There were two other people that I believe failed the course as well and I was only able to see about a third of the class shoot. I heard comments of, "I just sighted in yesterday" and "I've only been practicing the last three days." It really appalled me to hear these statements from people who thought they were ready to harvest an animal in a few days.
Initially I was irritated that I had to get a certification to hunt in Alaska because I had hunted in Wisconsin without one. Now, I appreciate that the state is doing something to weed out those who aren't skilled enough to have a chance to take an animal. I'm glad the instructors had the fortitude to send some people home without giving them their certificate. Hopefully, it will eliminate some of the horrible Haul Road hunter posts on the forum and make it easier to get my 'bou next weekend.
You know, when I lived in Missouri and Illinois I did alot of bow hunting, mostly for deer. We did 3-D shoots in the summer and early fall and lots of shooting in the back yard. We didn't have to take a class to get certified in either state back then. (I don't know about today) So when I moved up here and found out you had to take a class I had a hard time understanding why. After reading your post, I get it! I guess I look at a situation like this different than most folks. I would want to be as proficient as possible BEFORE
signing up for the class. Obviously some of these folks had NEVER shot before taking the class. It is definitely a good thing to keep some of these people out of the woods until they learn the art of shooting a bow! Eric
First off Congrats to K9 for getting certified and for appreciating the "why" behind the class.
Back in the 80's as bowhunting was starting to boom, the state bowhunters association lobbied long and hard to make IBEP certification mandatory and were snubbed by the ADF&G. Then 1989's ill fated urban moose hunt took place in Anchorage. In an attempt to reduce human/moose conflicts, the BOG, at the behest of the ADF&G authorized a moose hunt in town. In the name of public safety it was limited to a bowhunt. At that time there was no certification requirement. When the September hunt was announced (in late July) there was a rush on archery tackle--K-Mart, Pay-N-Save, Long's Drug were sold out in less than a week.
The hunt turned into a fiasco with "bowhunters" shooting moose in peoples back yards, in sight of major intersections, and everywhere but the vitals. If you co into the ADN's archives there is an infamous photo of a big bull staggering across the Tudor/Muldoon turn with an arrow in his haunches.
Bowhunters got a major black-eye from that "hunt". Public outcry was justifiably loud and it rendered the possibility of future urban hunts practically void.
The silver lining was the pinheads in state govt agreed that maybe training and certification was a good idea after all. And so Bowhunter Ed was born in Alaska.
as a x instructor I'm glad to see you got out of it what was ment to be had.
I've been in ALaskan bowhunter for the past 10 seasons now and have only seen hunts like the haul road and the fbks managment area slowly going down hill as interest gains.
We all come from different back grounds and have different outlooks on "success" when in the field.
I've stopped teaching. It does weed out the people who are "not serious" about becoming a bowhunter (thought that is not the intent) and it shows those that are new and serious what is expected from their new found peers. So in a nutshell it does have an impact to some degree.
With the increase in people it's just not enough. We are our own worst enemy. The haul road issues are still there and continue to be brought to my attention. For the most part I hunt alone anymore as there are just to few bowHunters in this world!!! That is not a stab to anyone here, just a broad comment on how I feel this state is going.