Editor’s Note: One of the best ways to harvest a mature buck is to take that deer during bow season. Bowhunting’s never been easier to learn and do than today because of the legalization of the crossbow. Not only can people with disabilities use this bow, but older people, younger people and everybody in-between also can shoot accurately with only a little instruction to be ready for bow season. Too, if you prefer to shoot a compound bow because of its sighting systems and the other advantages it offers, learning to shoot the compound bow is easier now than it’s ever been. But what if you never have had the opportunity to learn how to bowhunt? How do you learn, and where can you find an instructor and/or a mentor if you’re an adult? Many states’ Departments of Conservation and Wildlife offer Adult-Mentoring Programs (AMP) on hunting like my home state of Alabama does. To learn more, go to https://www.outdooralabama.com/ and click on the tab that says “Hunting” (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting) to see another click for the “Adult Mentored Hunting” program (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/adult-mentored-hunting-program).
To learn more about Alabama’s Adult Mentoring Program (AMP) for bowhunters, I contacted Justin Grider, the R3 Coordinator (which stands for Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation) for Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). This program is designed to recruit more hunters and fishermen into the outdoor sports, retain more hunters and fishermen as they grow older and bring hunters and fishermen back into the outdoor sports. This program was created after a study was conducted that indicated a high percentage of adults wanted to learn to hunt, fish, shoot and participate in the outdoors, but didn’t have family members, friends or neighbors to teach them outdoor skills. The Learn to Bowhunt Adult Mentored Program (AMP) takes place in two locations in Alabama. On August 14, 2021, an introduction to bowhunting course took place at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham, and a second course will occur October 2, 2021, at the Autauga Wildlife Management Area (WMA) just outside Montgomery. Students who attend will be taught how to shoot crossbows and compound bows and be introduced to longbows, recurve bows and any bowhunting equipment that’s legal to use in Alabama. These introductory courses are called Bowhunting 101, and these two seminars are made available for in-state hunters and out-of-state hunters.
According to Justin Grider, “In our Bowhunting 101(the course’s nickname) courses, we’ll teach interested adults the foundational skills of the sport of bowhunting, so they can take what they’ve learned from a one-day seminar, go out and bowhunt on their own. We’ll also teach them how to get into bowhunting, what public hunting lands are available, and where they can go to hunt by buying only a hunting license and a WMA license that comes with a map of the land.
“One of the courses being taught at Bowhunting 101 is an archery-equipment introduction. We’ll teach the students about all the archery equipment that’s available today to suit their wants and needs and how to customize this equipment for the type of archery hunting in which they want to participate. They’ll see and learn how to use bolts (arrows for crossbows), arrows shot in longbows, recurve bows and compound bows and the different types of broadheads fitted on the ends of these arrows. More importantly, students will have opportunities to learn how to shoot crossbows and compound bows. We have the Mathews Genesis bows (https://genesisbow.com/) that can be customized for every shooter, and using these, students will learn the proper form required to shoot a bow accurately. They’ll have the chance to learn how to load, cock and aim a crossbow, a very accurate and efficient bow that requires little time to learn to shoot accurately. It’s become a popular addition to the bowhunting fraternity. The crossbow helps to shorten the learning curve in bowhunting.”
The crossbow has allowed more individuals to get out into the woods to hunt during archery season. The crossbow also answers the question, “Am I strong enough to pull a bow?” – because of age, disabilities or never having had the opportunity. The crossbow is easy to cock, usually has a riflescope on it and can be quickly and easily sighted in for various distances you may want to shoot.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, available in Kindle, print and Audible versions, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” at http://amzn.to/11dJRu8. You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free, and you can listen to 10% for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.
Bowhunting 101 starts at 8 am and ends around 4 pm. To learn more about how to become a bowhunter, classes and hunts available, go to the website: https://www.outdooralabama.com/ and click on the tab that says “Hunting” (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting) to see another click for the “Adult Mentored Hunting” program (https://www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/adult-mentored-hunting-program). You’ll find there not only the Adult Mentored Bowhunting Deer Program but also an AMP Program for Deer, which is primarily a gun program, and an AMP for Turkeys. You’ll get the times, dates and places these programs will be conducted, learn how to register and know all the information you need to participate in any of these programs. Many states’ wildlife sections have these types of programs, so if you live in another state, you usually can call the Wildlife Division of that state to learn about their adult-mentoring programs.
Tomorrow: Why Hunt Deer from Tree Stands and Ground Blinds