Straight Talk - Dr. Dave Samuel By Frank Addington, Jr.
Dec 31, 2008 - 5:36:40 AM
Dr. Dave Samuel
FA: Dave, where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Johnstown PA, went to Juniata College in PA for BS degree, and Penn State Univ for MS degree in wildlife. Then taught at Bethany College in Wheeling WV for 2 years to pay off bills I generated in college, then went to West Virginia Univ for PHD in wildlife, and took a full time job there starting in 1968.
FA: Describe your life growing up.
With 4 children on a school teacher's salary, it was tough. Our house was 20 x 20 so you know we were squeezed in there pretty tight. Dad taught high school, dug coal in evenings and built houses in the summer. I grew up with a twin brother that made things interesting, even today. He just retired as head of the wildlife department at the University of Alberta. And last year he took up bowhunting again. Edmonton is a great place to live if you like big whitetails. I have another younger brother in PA, and a sister in Hawaii. I started building houses for my grandfather, (all the boys did) when I was 12, to earn money for college. It was tough, and I worked long hours, but it did put me through college. At age 12 my dad had us all bowhunting. What a blessing that has been to me.
FA: Can you describe that first moment in your life when you knew your life was going to include the outdoor lifestyle?
You bet. Age 9 when dad took me and my twin brother Bill with him bowhunting. We just followed him in the woods, scared the deer, and sat around. But it was a thrill. Due to a health issue I probably won't bowhunt again, but I was able to sneak in 56 years with the bow, starting at age 12.
FA: Every kid in hunting has a mentor. Who was yours?
My dad, but with three boys tagging behind, he needed help and I got mine from a neighbor, Bill Eash. Bill was a great bowhunter, excellent shot with the recurve, and he taught me a lot about patience, shooting, etc. He is still living, but can't bowhunt. I go to Johnstown to see him once or twice a year and take photos of my hunts. Bill loves that. He never did any out-of-state hunting except for whitetails in PA and WV, so he bowhunted vicariously through my out-of-state hunts. A wonderful guy, marine in WWII, who has passed the hunting heritage on to his son and grandsons.
FA: What was your first hunt?
I described that in the opening chapter of my Know Hunting book. My dad, my twin brother and I squirrel hunting at age 12 (that was the legal limit in PA). For some reason I cannot remember, the season that year did not open until 9 AM, so Bill and I walked around 100 yards from the car, no guns, and sat on a log. An 8 point buck came feeding through and walked less than 10 yards from us. Finally he caught our wind, blew, and ran off. That is my first memory of a buck, and started it all for me.
Spring 1962, graduation day for my twin brother on far right and me. That's mom and dad. I have no idea why we were not smiling. Juniata College, in Huntington, PA.
FA: What sparked your interest in biology and animals?
Great question. Penn State University had (and I believe they still have it) a "Conservation Camp" that ran for 2 weeks every summer and the Flood City Bowmen (local Johnstown archery club that my dad and Bill Eash helped get started around 55 years ago or so) provided half the funding to send me and my brother there. It opened our eyes to the potential of an education studying wildlife, and eventually got us both into our University teaching jobs. One neat thing ... when the Flood City Bowmen celebrated their 50th Anniversary, I was the banquet speaker. Got to visit with several of the original founders of the club, guys that mentored me as I shot competitively in their summer leagues as a kid. It was a fun night for me.
FA: When did you put a bow in your hand the first time and why?
We watched my dad and Bill Eash shoot their bows back in the late 1940's and dad bought us Bear bows when we turned 10. We harassed the starlings and rabbits for a few years and at age 12; we got to tag along with dad and Bill on deer hunts. We had no tree stands so we climbed into trees on our own. Probably not the safest thing to be doing, but it worked and we were lucky.
Dave with his black bear at Bear Paw.
FA: What courses did you teach at WVU?
Wow, good question. Over 30 years there were many. When I first started teaching I taught ornithology and vertebrate zoology for a few years. Also a wildlife techniques course and a graduate course on wildlife management. In 1976 I started teaching a wildlife policy course that we required for our wildlife majors starting in 1978. Of 43 University wildlife programs in the country, this was the first one to require a policy course. Within 10 years they were all requiring it and I am proud of that accomplishment. Around 1973 or so I also added an elective course called "Wildlife Attitudes." It was basically a pro-hunting course, and when I retired, I used the outline of that course to write my "Know Hunting" Truths, Lies, and Myths" book. The kids called the course "Anti-hunting 101", even though it was a pro course, because I hammered the animal rights folks pretty hard in that course. I opened the course to the entire student body and had 200 in there every spring. Lots of wildlife majors, pre-med, pre-pharmacy, forestry, recreation, agriculture, nursing, etc. students, any student whose career would be impacted by animal rights values. And yes, I had lots of hunters in there. We were polite to the vegetarians and anti-hunters, but I gave them real data, which has always made their position a bit untenable. The professor who replaced me when I retired in 1998 helped continue that course, with a course titled "Traditions of Hunting," and used my book as a text until it went out of print last year. For a few years I also taught a special topics course on Outdoor Writing. Several of those students have gone on to work in that field.
Fred Bear was one of the many bowhunting greats attended the Clinton Nationals in Clinton IN. Back in the 1970''s it was the biggest bow rendezvous in the country.
FA: Any students relative to our sport pass through your classes?
Maybe not any archers, but tons of wildlife personalities and writers: Bob Zaiglin from Texas; Dr. Jack Ward Thomas, former Chief of the Forest Service; CJ Winand, outdoor writer; Ben Moyer who does the outdoor page for the Pittsburg Press; Gary Alt, former Bear and Deer Biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and many others. Over 80 graduate students earned their MS or PHD degrees under me. When you are a professor, your heritage is your students and I really enjoyed interacting with my students.
This is the most important animal I ever harvested with a bow. This Pope and Young mule deer was taken in 1970 while bowhunting with John Lamicq in the Book Cliff Mts of Colorado. It was important because this is where I met two bowhunters from Ft Wayne IN that started Bowhunter Magazine. Thru that hunt I got to meet these men and was invited to write for the magazine. It all began right there for me. My first western hunt, my first western animal and a 2nd career in outdoor writing.
FA: Why did you decide to start writing about deer hunting from a scientific perspective?
Actually, my first article was about a bowhunt for mule deer with John Lamicq who was the first bowhunting guide in the West. That hunt was in 1969, in Colorado, and I shot a good buck the first day. What a thrill that was. There were some celebrities in camp, including Jim Dougherty. I published the story of that hunt in Bow and Arrow magazine. There were also some bowhunters in camp that wanted to start a new magazine, and I talked with them at length, and they invited me to submit a sample of my writing when I got home. It was bad, but they liked it and my outdoor writing career began at Bowhunter magazine, as Conservation Editor, in October 1971. That continues today. That job opened all kinds of doors for me on boards where I could use my interest in wildlife and the future of hunting to good advantage. Back to the question. My first real writings on deer was the Whitetail column in Petersen's Bowhunting, with Bob Robb as the editor. I started with their first issue I believe, and held that job for 5-6 years. I now do the Know Whitetails column for the Whitetail Journal, where Bob Robb is the editor. I do talks on deer for game dinners in churches, and tell them how lucky I have been to have two careers that I love. And, the neat thing about it all was that I created a writing niche that has worked for me since 1971, taking the wildlife science literature and writing it for hunters. Over the years, other than some hunting stories (that I am now writing into a new book, "A Lifetime of Bowhunting Adventures"), my writing has evolved into two areas, providing hunters the latest information on anti-hunting, the values of hunting and the future of hunting, and white-tailed deer.
FA: What are modern day bowhunters doing right? Wrong?
Growing bowhunting is very important, especially as other forms of hunting are on the decline. The National Archery in the Schools Program is the best recruiting tools we have and Mathews and others in the industry do serve a lot of credit for supporting this program in the public schools.
What is wrong with modern bowhunting and bowhunters? There are things happening that will come back to haunt us. I believe that baiting for deer in many states is not good for hunting. Two reasons. First, disease. The spread of diseases, especially CWD, but also other diseases that we don't even know about yet, is definitely exacerbated by baiting. Second, because beginning hunters learn very little about hunting by sitting in a green box over corn. On the positive side, kids that shoot deer during their first few years of hunting are much more likely to stay in hunting than those who do not harvest a deer. Another aspect of this revolves around doe harvests. We need to encourage beginners to harvest does. We are starting to harvest more does than bucks in this country and that is very positive. Good for the habitat and good for hunting.
Thats me on the right, then Dr. Gary Alt, a Doctoral student of mine at WVU and bear biologist from PA, now retired. Beside Dr. Alt is Dr. Robert Leo Smith, former professor of wildlife at WVU and my wildlife mentor. The girl was a wildlife student and sadly, I don't remember her name. One of the ways Gary collected his doctorate data was to go into dens in the winter and remove the female and cubs and collect data. That's what we were doing here.
FA: I know you knew the Rev. Stacy Groscup. How did he impact your life?
Stacy influenced me in several ways. I met him the first week I started my job at West Virginia University. I was single then and going thru a rough time and Stacy and his wife were always there for me. It was a growth period in my life and Stacy played a major role in that. Along the way we had some good deer hunts together, and his wonderful wife fed me fairly often. I remember one evening after dinner at Stacy's home, we were talking about hitting aerial targets and I mentioned that I doubted I could ever do that. Stacy laughed and took me into the yard and in 15 minutes I was hitting clay birds out of the air. We often ended up at the same archery shows and I'd throw targets for Stacy. At one show in Wheeling he had this blow gun, something new he was doing in his show. He asked me to shoot the blow gun, and I'd never done it before. As luck would have it, I hit the center of the target. Everyone applauded, and then Stacy "Robin Hooded" my dart with his. Hard to outdo Stacy when it came to shooting. Of course we all laughed and applauded him. Stacy volunteered his time to so many thousands, especially the youth. Our friendship grew and when I met Cathy, we had Stacy do our wedding ceremony. It was a small wedding at Stacy's country church, and he not only did the service, but he sang the Lord's Prayer. He was a very special person and I miss his smile.
Dave with Congressman Don Young from Alaska at the Congressional Bow Shoot, hosted by the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation in June, in Washington. Around 2002
FA: Who else from our sport has made a big impact on you?
M. R. James, Dwight Schuh, Brian Fortenbaugh, Jeff Waring, Jeff Millar, and all the people who work, and have worked, for Bowhunter magazine. They have always been very special to me. I've been there for 37 years and they've made that possible. Bob Robb is an outstanding outdoor writer who has befriended me on many occasions. Jay McAninch and I first worked together as wildlife biologists and officers in the Northeast Section of The Wildlife Society. That relationship carried over when Jay became Director of the Congressional Sportsman's Foundation and then the ATA. There are many others that I've met via the National Bowhunter Education Foundation, Pope and Young Club, and other organizations where I've served. Relationships are special a and I've made many friends (and I'm sure some enemies) through bowhunting. Friends like Bob DeLaney, Tom Hoffman, Jack Frost, Glenn and Kevin Hisey, Neil Summers, and many others, have greatly influenced my life. Then there are personal friends in bowhunting who many do not know. Folks like Steve Fausel, Rob Johnson, Keith Casteel, Scott Whyel, Denny Crabtree, Pip Pippinger, and others who have always been there, but especially since my doctors "accident." I'd be remiss for not mentioning Dr. Warren Strickland, cardiologist at the Huntsville Heart Center. When a doctor made a mistake and severed the nerve to my diaphragm on Dec 3rd, 2007, Warren called me and discussed how he felt there was something else wrong. In July of 2008 I went to his Heart Center in Huntsville, AL and he found that the paralyzed diaphragm was crushing my heart. A major surgery at the Cleveland Clinic solved that problem though it didn't help my breathing. But I believe it will give me more strength within a year or so. I will be forever grateful to Warren Strickland. He is not only an excellent archer and bowhunter; he is a great doctor and friend. While on that subject, I want to thank the hundreds of bowhunters all over the country who pray for me daily. I've got hundreds of emails, continue to get them, and am humbled by the support I get from the hunting community, some of which come from bowhunters I have never met. What a great community we have in bowhunting. Sometime in the future I hope to do some writing about this spirituality that comes from the hunting community.
FA: What were some of your best hunts?
That is very difficult to answer. As I mentioned above, my next book will cover my top 25-30 bowhunts. I love whitetails and my 1999 Iowa buck that greened over 172" really meant a lot to me. I worked with Neil Summers to open bowhunting in Zimbabwe and that led to some great bowhunts for me in Africa. Some of my greatest bowhunting memories were created in southern Africa, in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, and I've taken some great plains game animals there including sable, kudu, water buck, eland, spring bok, etc. My Rocky Mt goat from British Columbia taken three years ago at age 66 was a thrill. It was extremely tough, and very challenging but I was able to do it, not knowing that three years later my tough bowhunts would end. That goat hunt will be a featured chapter in my adventure story book for sure and it was published in a recent Bowhunter magazine article titled "Two Old Goats."
MR James, Founder of Bowhunter Magazine is talking to Tom Flemming. Tom and Dave co-wrote a book on Rattling Whitetails back in 1980. Between Tom and MR is Fred Richter, with the West Virginia Bowhunters Assoc.
FA: What's the most challenging animal you have pursued and why?
I'd been told that the Coues deer was the most challenging of the North American 28 big game species to take with a bow. Maybe so, but it wasn't for me. I got very lucky and took a super buck on the second day of my only Coues deer hunt in Mexico. For me the biggest challenge was the billy goat, simply because of the physical demands of getting up to them. I got very lucky and took a nice ram on the first day of my hunt. A bigger challenge was the grizzly bear. I did one hunt in 2007 with Jeff Lander in BC, and would have continued such hunts until I reached success, had the doctor's accident not prevented it. That is a challenge, and there are others, that I just will not be able to do. I put off several hunts because of my teaching job and because of finances. I've since hunted elk, for example, and had looked forward to more elk hunts. I also had a Yukon moose hunt booked for 2008, and I've had to cancel that as well. Disappointing not to be able to do those hunts, but that is the way it is.
This Iowa buck will always top my bowhunting memories.
A: Let's say that you are addressing a group of anti-hunters. You have a limited amount of time and space to "sell" them on a bowhunters role in today's world. What would your single main argument be?
Well, let me just say that I'd never be addressing a group of anti-hunters, simply because that is a waste of time. I could not convince them to change their thinking about hunting any more than they could change mine. Nothing they could tell me would cause me to change my thinking on the values of hunting. But I'd be happy to address the 80% of the population that doesn't hunt. I do a Power Point program on "the values of hunting" and there are many such values. Kids that hunt gain self esteem, develop character, learn to be punctual, understand life and death in the real world, learn compassion for living animals, learn to become stewards of the land, develop spirituality, etc., etc. Parents want their children to have these values and qualities, and it's all right there in hunting. If we could just get the non hunting parents to understand that these values are taught in hunting, it would go a long way to keep America strong and based in the traditions upon which we were established. One of my biggest disappointments is that we've bent over backwards to remove Christianity from everything. If one studies the basic precepts of the Founders of this country, the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and wrote our Bill of Rights, you will find that they were almost 100 percent Christian based. Today we want to discount that and remove it from our schools, our court houses, our everything. A shame and it flies in the face of this countries history.
Black bears have always been a passion. My teaching job greatly restricted my fall hunts, but allowed me to bear hunt because school was out the first week of May. Thus, I bear hunted every spring for over 40 years. This bear was the province record in Alberta for many years. He scored 21 9/16".
This Rocky Mt Goat was the toughest hunt I have ever attempted. It is something one should do when younger.
FA: When did you first become active in Bowhunter Education?
I believe it was 1976 when Bill Wadsworth asked me to serve on the Bowhunting Committee in the National Field Archery Association, the birthplace of bowhunter education. I served on that committee and then on the Board of the NBEF until 1994. There were two terms as President, and during those years we basically developed the International Bowhunter Education Program, manuals, tree stand safety guide, 3-D animals, instructor manuals, targets, etc. For many of the early years, all board members paid their own way to the meetings that were held at the Land Between The Lakes in Kentucky where the Boy Scouts of America had a facility that we used. Bill Wadsworth, the founder of the IBEP, worked for the Boy Scouts and secured that for us. I know that there were times when it was hard to convince wives that we needed to spend our money to work and develop the IBEP, but we did it. One of my "jobs" was to convince the archery industry to support bowhunter education. Back in the late 70's and 1980's the industry was concerned that the IBEP was a stumbling block that would keep bowhunters out of the woods. The reverse was true, and today the program gets huge support from the archery industry.
This eland came from Ombengu in Namibia in 2003. At that time he was the biggest eland taken with the bow. A huge animal.
FA: What do you think we as lay people should do to help promote the sport and protect it?
All forms of outdoor recreation are on the decline, from hunting to camping to biking to hiking. As parents we need to get kids outdoors, away from video games and television. That's hard considering that most parents no longer get outdoors. So, anything one can do that encourages kids to get outdoors is worth doing. I'm working with Bobby Warner, attorney and bowhunter from Charleston, West Virginia, who created the Beyond the Backyard Foundation to get kids outdoors. Anything we can do in that area is important. In addition, all bowhunters and bowhunting organizations should be volunteering to help the National Archery in the Schools Program. All of this is an uphill battle because society is changing and becoming more and more "urban." Even our University wildlife majors are growing distant from hunting and the values of hunting. How disappointing that is. A recipe for disaster, because hunting creates the revenues for all wildlife management. And if wildlife students don't understand that, then the future is very dim indeed.
Having MR James induct me into the Hall of Fame was very rewarding.
FA: You were recently inducted into the prestigious Archery Hall of Fame. Describe that.
I grew up watching Howard Hill "shorts" at the movie theater. I grew up watching Fred Bear on the American Sportsman TV show, hunting brown bears in Alaska. I read about ISHI when I was young, and knew a lot about the Compton brothers and Pope and Young before I got out of high school. These were my bowhunting heroes. Then there were friends such as Bill Wadsworth, Jim Dougherty, MR James, Stacy Groscup, Len Cardinale, who were in the "Hall" and joining all these distinguished people is the greatest honor anyone in out industry can have. I believe I got voted in because of the volunteer work I did with the NBEF, Pope and Young Club, American Archery Council, Professional Wildlife Committee (started under AMO . . . now the ATA), Bowhunters Who Care, and other bowhunting and wildlife organizations. Being able to tie my professorship with bowhunting gave me a way to give back to bowhunting. That is the way I looked at my volunteer work . . . giving back to the sport. An added plus was that my bosses at West Virginia University counted much of this volunteer work as "public service," which was a component of my teaching job. Doing all that volunteer work I missed a fair amount of bowhunting. But since my retirement from West Virginia University in 1998, I've been able to bowhunt a lot. Relative to the Archery Hall of Fame, things just fell into place, and getting into the Archery Hall of Fame was the greatest honor of my life.
At Dave's Hall of Fame Dinner.
FA: Tell me about your role with the West Virginia Bowhunter's Association.
I believe it was 1979 when a guy, a bowhunter, named John Negley from Williamstown, WV called me and said that we need a state bowhunting organization. It took awhile, but we held a meeting of around 25 bowhunters in my office building, at West Virginia University. I remember that Stacy did a shooting demonstration at that meeting. I also remember that I loaned that group $700 to do the first newsletter (at that time that was a lot of money). In exchange they made me a life member of the WVBA, the first life member, obviously. In 1984 I started the WV Bowhunter Education Program and chaired that for several years. I remember that we certified 75 instructors that first year, and most weekends in the spring and summer found me teaching either an instructors course or a bowhunter Ed course. I have no idea how many courses I taught, but there were many. Those were very busy, but, fun times.
I bowhunted Africa four times before taking a kudu. There were bulls, but I passed, waiting for something special. This guy was special.
FA: I like to bowhunt in South Texas on low fence operations. How we manage deer in the east and how they manage deer is very different. What's your professional opinion on this subject? What do we here in the east do right and what do they do right?
High fences bother me, but in Texas, and places like South Africa, high fences protect the managed herds. Of course, the real debate with high fences is ethics and that relates to the size of the pen. I bowhunted in Zimbabwe in a "pen" that was over a million acres. Now that's a big pen.
Now to your question. The major change in deer management philosophy today centers around quality deer management and encouraging hunters to harvest more does. That involves making the habitat better, but when Pennsylvania tried it, and lowered doe numbers, the hunters revolted. They were used to seeing lots of deer, and even though the forests of PA, and my own WV, are in bad shape, it is hard to convince them to harvest more does. However, we are harvesting more does everywhere, and it is my hope that this trend continues. Antler restrictions are also catching on and most hunters like them, simply because it creates bigger and healthier bucks. In the next year or so, the entire state of Texas, all 113 counties (I think that is the number) will switch to an antler restriction. They've tested it in over 40 counties there with great success. The state trend toward antler restrictions will continue.
FA: Who are some of your favorite hunting buddies?
I've mentioned some above, but there are others. But bowhunters tend to hunt alone, and it is not the social activity that gun hunting is. However, over the years I've enjoyed hunts with Len Cardinale from New Jersey (also in the Archery Hall of Fame), Fred Richter, Tim Reed, Rob Johnson, Bob Robb, Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, Denny Crabtree, Wade Nolan, Lisa Price and many others in camps all across the country.
Dave and wife Cathy.
FA: I know both you and your wife have battled some health and injury problems. I know this is personal but would you care to talk about them?
In 1988, three days after we returned from our first trip to Zimbabwe where I taught the first bowhunter education course there, a guy crossed the medial strip and hit Cathy head on. There was lots of nerve and bone damage to her feet, knees and lower body. That ended our skiing, hiking, tennis, etc. For years she had lots of pain, and still has some, but with two new hips in the past four years, she has done much better. We've always loved WVU Football and Basketball and being able to park in disabled spots has allowed us to continue to go to those games. Let's Go Mountaineers!!!
My situation is complicated, but simple, if that makes sense. I developed atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) and trusted my heart doctor when he told me that a local surgeon was excellent in doing a mini maze procedure. It was my fault for not doing more homework on the surgeon, but the result was that on Dec 3rd, 2007, he cut the phrenic nerve to my right diaphragm and I lost a lot of breathing standing, and most breathing laying down. It was a very painful outcome that ended my bowhunting, probably for good. A paralyzed diaphragm causes one to cough a lot, especially early on and I coughed out two hernias. That repair surgery was done yesterday. But the paralyzed diaphragm was found by Dr. Warren Strickland, to be crushing my right atrium and significantly reducing my cardiac output. The surgery for that is called diaphragm plication where they permanently flatten the paralyzed diaphragm. It was done September 24th at the Cleveland Clinic and it was successful. That surgery was very tough, and will require about a year to recover from it. I can't try shooting a bow, even a light weight bow, until July. Bottom line is that I now (Dec 11, 2008) have 13 scars on my chest and belly that were not there a year ago. I look like I've been in a sword fight and lost. I still have significant pain from the first surgery and even more pain from the second surgery. The hernia pain from this third surgery should pass rather quickly. Bowhunting friends have really rallied around me, lifting me spiritually every day. It has all been rather amazing. Guys had ground blinds set for me in PA, WV. OH and IL, but I never got there this fall. There is a chance I might sit ground blinds a bit next fall. It all depends on whether the pain and difficulty in breathing will allow enough comfort for such hunting to be enjoyable. But I'm exercising and working toward that end. Ameristep and Eastman Outfitters gave me two ground blinds that were put out for me. Hoyt gave me a great new bow set at 50lbs, which I was shooting well before the plication surgery. Shooting a bow won't be the limiting factor for me. Breathing and pain will be the limiting factors. Hiking will not be possible. Friends suggest using oxygen, but that won't help my breathing because the diaphragm doesn't work, and more oxygen doesn't make it work. I guess I didn't mention, but repairing the nerve is impossible.
Now having said all that, the joke in my house is that the doctor did not cut the nerve to my brain. So, I write more than ever, with a new deer book by Krause Publications (see Whitetail Advantage and the Table of Contents for that book at my web site, www.knowhunting.com). I've got my "hunting story" book going and should have it out by July, and am working on a book, "All About Antlers" that will be out in 2010. Plus I am still doing my "Know Hunting" column for Bowhunter and my "Know Whitetails" column for Whitetail Journal. I also do the "Ask Dr. Dave About Whitetails" for www.sportsmansguide.com, and do the weekly outdoor page for the Sunday paper here in Morgantown, WV. And I do game dinner talks in churches in the winter, spring and fall, with 15 already set for 2009. They are really fun to do.
Before moving on, let me add that I could not do any of these things if it were not for the support I get from Cathy. Before the "accident", but especially since the "accident" Cathy has been right there to pick up the load. This past year I have been to the doctor's office and hospitals over 95 times, and Cathy has been right there supporting and helping me get through this.
FA: I know there must be many but what was the funniest or strangest event you experienced during a bowhunt?
I hunted with a guy from Texas who owned an archery shop there. It was a bear hunt in Alberta and after a heavy snow the two of us were the only ones who wanted to go out. So we took two 4-wheelers and went to our stands, along a power line right of way. He shot a big bear high in the back and it ran out of sight. About five minutes later, a bear came in behind him and ran up a tree to the top. He emptied his quiver at that bear (you are allowed two bears), missed him every time, and sat down under the tree. Every ten seconds a drop of blood hit the ground beside him. He lit up a cigarette, thinking, if he keeps bleeding one drop every ten seconds, eventually, the bear will die. After his second cigarette, he fell asleep. Apparently the bear's claws scratching the bark as it died and started to fall awoke the bowhunter and he dived out of the way just as the 400 lb bear landed on his foot. It turns out that the bear was the one he'd shot from the bait. It had circled clear around and for some reason came into him and climbed this tree. Had he not looked up in time, it would have struck him on the head, and might have killed him. What are the chances?
FA: Ok, you have been granted a "Dream hunt" and this hunt can take place anywhere in the world with anyone--living or passed on. Who would be sitting by your campfire on this hunt and where would it be?
A brown bear or grizzly bear hunt with Fred Bear would have been pretty special. Meeting Saxton Pope and Art Young would have been pretty special too. But, looking back on my hunts, there have been many dream hunts done with some wonderful people. No sense dreaming. Just look at what I've got. Look at the hunts I have been able to do. I'm missing some for sure, but I have had many.
FA: Final question: What is your hope for our sport and do you have any last words of wisdom for our readers?
My hope is that all bowhunters understand the values they've gained from hunting and understand that today's youth is not oriented to the outdoors. Thus, it will take every bowhunter and hunter, to help with organizations that are aimed at getting kids in the woods, to hunt, hike, bird watch, or whatever. Once out there, they will love it just as we all do.
FA: Dave, we all you a debt of gratitude for all you have done to educate us and help grow our sport. Thank you and may God bless you.