The journey began innocently enough four years ago when a friend of mine from Wichita called with a question. A young man in his church was interested in learning to build bows. He had received some money for Christmas and promptly purchased a drawknife, a four-way wood rasp, some scrapers, and a couple of books about bow building.
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My friend Jason and I crept quietly down the sandy dirt road, listening intently for the subtle sounds that would give away the presence of the South Georgia pigs we were hunting. As the dirt road curved gently to the left, Jason whispered, “This is where I shot that huge hog last year. He was up on that rise when I saw him.” Jason pointed to the spot where the hog had been feeding when he crept within bow range. I scoured the ground, looking for any tracks or droppings suggesting the pigs had been there recently.
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I’m fresh home from the Tennessee Classic and, as usual, more was built than just bows. Do I refer to memories, friendships, and the like? Of course I do, but there is something bigger, more personal, and even timeless. The bows will soon enough return to the earth. So will the bowyers. But we are all changed in the process.
To quote Chad again, “I’ve seen what it can do to men’s souls.”
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Anyone who spends time in the Maine woods hiking, fishing, or hunting knows that the experience can be almost spiritual, especially if your normal workday gig confines you to the concrete canyons and asphalt-covered fields of Boston. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot to like about Beantown, but walking the Public Garden and Boston Common aren’t quite the same thing as trekking through the woodlands of downeast Washington County, Maine.
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Jun/Jul 2015 Edition in this issue:

Broadhead Smoke and Mirrors Russell Thornberry

Gaelic Archery by Neal Matheson

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