The British Are Coming! By Zan Christensen
Jun 16, 2007 - 11:01:29 AM
To Be, Or Not To Be
This simple six word question profoundly posed so long ago, in itself deserves to be considered from time to time throughout our life. Whether driven by circumstance, relationships, or the years rolling by, we owe it to ourselves to evaluate who we are and the contributions we make within our circle of influence.
As I reflect on who I am as an outdoorsman and bowhunter since my sons have grown into men of their own right, I ask myself how am I giving back to the sport I so passionately embrace. Although I have passed on the torch to my two sons, who will pass it on to their children, I realize I still have the ability, desire, and enthusiasm to share my knowledge and teach others of less experience.
Wow, has THAT changed my life! Not just in a business sense over the past ten years, but socially during the last two years. Before BowhuntingTalk.com came online, I could not find a forum that I could fully appreciate and enjoy. I know there are scores of them out there, but egos always seem to underscore many of the responses and permeate the conversations.
For a long time, I simply gave up trying to find a compatible online community. That was until Robert Hoague asked me to become a charter member of his new forum BowhuntingTalk.com. The result of his mission statement in action is proof that people are hungry for decency and respect, and want to share and learn with others of like mind. As a “family friendly forum” it draws interests from people across the age and gender spectrum, including young archers and bow hunters. Thus, enter Norfolk Boy.
“Where I live, Bowhunting is Illegal. Bugger innit?”
Early last year, “Norfolk Boy”, aka Adam Durrant, from Norwich, Great Britain registered as a new forum member. Given his circumstances, his signature line in the heading above says it all. He is unique not only in his location “across the pond”, but is a witty young man of seventeen who displays the intelligence, knowledge, and maturity of men decades his senior.
We quickly learned over the months that "Norfolk Boy" could also engage us head to head on just about any subject with confidence and accuracy, and from the outset was a person of great encouragement, even when he disagreed with our opinions. It amazed me see such a young archer who lived in a country that outlaws bowhunting could embrace our adventures as though he was living them himself, all without expressing self pity. Full of enthusiasm and always complimentary with our successes, he was also much at ease poking us with his iconic sense of british humor when we blew a hunt or goofed in some way. We truly enjoyed his contributions to the forum.
Over the months that followed, we learned that he was saving his money, pence by pence, so that when he graduated from college he could make a trip to America and bowhunt big game. Given his constitution, I had no doubt that Adam could realize his life long dream one day. However, dreams change, too often as the result of circumstances beyond our control. As our friendship grew, throughout the hunting season I became more and more empathetic with his knawing desire to hunt with bow and arrow. I had to do something, “strike while the iron is hot”, as the cliché goes.
During the 2006 deer season I was blessed with ample time to chase after several large bucks which taunted me each passing month. Waiting in ambush, especially during afternoon sits gave me ample opportunity to think about how to get Adam over here to bow hunt. If I could pull this off, he would have the experience of a lifetime.
Not only would he be able to hunt under our supervision (making up decades of experience), he would have access to quality hunting on some of Texas’ best ranches. The best plot includes a conspiracy, and there’s no better person to conspire such bowhunting endeavors than with than my good friend Robert Hoague of Bowhunting.Net.
Although simple, my plan would involve several parties, any of which who could decline and nix the deal. After explaining what I wanted to accomplish and inviting Robert to join me and feature Adam’s adventure as an online bowhunt, he chimed in with a hearty “you bet!”. After bouncing a few ideas around as to where Adam should hunt that would live up Texas’ reputation, Robert said he would make a call to his good friend, Billy Don of the Wild Horse Prairie Ranch in central Texas. A few days later he called me and said Billy Don was on board.
Next, I needed to come up with a sizable amount of seed money, so when I announced the plan on the BowhuntingTalk forum, members would be inspired to join in with donations to help finance Adam’s trip. Within 48 hours of emailing my objective and requests, the Hunt Recorder and Notes Book Pro Staff Team answered with great enthusiasm and generous donations! Between theirs, Robert’s, and my pledges, we had a sizable amount of money to apply towards buying Adam’s airfare, nonresident hunting license, and whatever incidental equipment he would need for the trip. The only thing left to do was to execute the “Paul Revere” option.
The British Is Coming! The British Is Coming!
Finally, on Monday, February 19, I announced on the board what I wanted to do with the post The British Is Coming!. Within hours, Adam read the invitation and was completely blown away. In fact, he had to sign off and gather his thoughts. For days he was on cloud 9, in complete awe of his circumstance. In consideration of his parents blessing, he excitedly accepted our offer.
Best of all, with resounding response from forum members, the donations poured in, surpassing our needs to finance the trip! They truly lived up to our motto, “we’re the best bow camp on the net”! Since then, I have visited several times by telephone with Adam and his parents, discussing all the things parents want to know about their children's well being while under a strangers care in a foreign land.
Actually, the internet has made our job as parents more convenient, in that we can research anyone's background. Given my presence on the net, it made their work that much more easier. Satisfied I was not an outlaw or cattle rustler, they happily agreed to let Adam come. Happy Trails
Immediately after my announcement on the forum, I began receiving equipment pledges as well. Given Adam can only target shoot in England, he would need a few things to round out his archery equipment to be able to hunt. One member even built Adam a beautiful custom made hunting knife, complete with a hand made sheath!
And because he shoots an english longbow, he would need a new set of arrows, complete with broadheads, quiver, camo clothing, and the other assorted items we all count on to help make our hunts successful. With that in mind, I made a call to Rich Walton, marketing and advertising director for Bowhunting.Net.
After we discussed Adam’s online bow hunt, Rich was confident that Bowhunting.net sponsors would want to be a part of this unique hunt. And jump they did! Our sponsors include: Sticks-N-Limbs camo, Carbon Express arrows, Gateway Feathers, EZ Eye Arrow Wraps, Arizona EZ Fletch, and NAP RazorCaps broadheads.
Upon receipt of the arrow building materials, I will begin crafting some of the finest arrows Adam has ever shot. Not only will they be beautiful, they will become Dream Makers. Expect a report soon, complete with photo’s.
I must be the jammiest englishman alive!
Since this hunt has become a reality, Adam’s new forum signature "I must be the jammiest englishman alive" says it all, doesn’t it? We’re all most happy for him, and really look forward to his arrival next October. His unending excitement about this hunt is contagious, and for that I truly appreciate him for striking a new spark of anticipation within me.
Thank you Adam, you were the right person who came along at the right time. To all of the BowhuntingTalk.com forum members who dropped their money into the hat, Billy Don Van Cleave for setting up an awesome hunt with Adam and his forum friends, and Bowhunting.Net sponsors who contributed their fine products, “Thank You”! You’re the best. -Zano