Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Fall Journey

A Fall Journey

Let me start by saying, this is not a fly fishing or tying post.  Nevertheless, it is about what ties me to fishing and my life in the outdoors.

I grew up with a Dad that loved bow hunting. Likewise, at the age of five having been given a small green and white 10lb fiberglass recurve bow from Bear Archery, I was forever tied to my Dads hip in front of our hay bales.  At 7 yrs old I was upgraded to a yellow 25lb Bear recurve and was shooting my Dads rebuilt cedar "shorts".  Or more definitively, my Dads broken arrows salvageable enough to allow me to still shoot them.  I would cheer whenever he broke an arrow, and to possess 3-4 matching arrows was like having my very own custom set.  I'm certain it was bittersweet for my Dad.  That little Bear recurve took many squirrels and groundhogs over the years.  They were good years.

At age 12, I went with my Dad for my birthday to Becky's Sporting Goods where he bought me a new wood Blackhawk Archery 58" 40# draw Scorpion recurve and a dozen new cedar arrows. A half dozen of which were with broadheads for hunting.  I would shoot my first deer with that bow that very same year. It was a doe and I was hunting with my Dad and Uncle on opening day 1975. Sadly, the bow was lost over the years, however the arrow I do still have, shown here in the antlers of the last archery deer I was able to share with my Dad.

My first Deer

Over the years I have been fortunate to take a good number of deer with a bow. Whitetails from a half dozen states, along with Washington State Blacktails and a couple elk.  Countless bows have come and gone, and archery and bow hunting always seemed like the most natural extension of myself in the woods.  It was a part of me.  

Why you ask, am I sharing all of this?  Well, about 15years ago, I began having trouble shooting the recurves and longbows that I loved so much.  So reluctantly I went back to a compound, which resolved most of the issue.  And then about 6 years ago I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinsons, which explained many things over quite some time.  The past few years have been a struggle.....and the best outlet to the outdoors I have that allows me to deal with life, was being taken away.  It had been 3 years since I had taken a deer with a bow.  Something that was an event every year of my life until then.  It was looking like I would have to hang up the bow and go to a crossbow which would allow me to remain in the archery woods. 

 Not wanting to give up yet, and not wanting to let this %$#@$!!%^&! disease win, I decided to give it one more season.  The result of that took me away from the stream and the blog for the better part of 2 months. Over that 2 month period I missed 2 opportunities at buck that nearly broke me. I came minutes away from hanging things up.  

But on November 10th......44 years after my first deer, it came together.  I was able to make a perfect 25yd shot on a quartering away doe with another Bear Archery bow, dropping her in only a few steps.  My Mom and Dad were with me in spirit and for a moment I was 12 years old again and getting a congratulatory hug from them both.  


Parkinsons....Loses for one more year.

Now.....time to check on the water. 


  1. You,sir are a determined man and an inspiration for a lot of folks. I have enjoyed your blog and books because they each show a true appreciation for life, family and nature. I pray you continue to win your battles. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ralph, special congrats. A fine deer and an inspiration.

  3. Ralph
    What a great up lifting story for all who face health problems everyday. Keep up the fight my friend, and here's hoping you bag another deer next season. Thanks so much for sharing

  4. Excellent Ralph. Keep on fighting. we were worried when we had not seen any posts on the blog.
    A really nice deer- congrats - great eater. Do not let the disease beat you- you have many fish and more deer to take along the way. Your wog is one of the best bugs ever made. Keep on fighting and we look forward to many more posts, happy holidays

  5. Great news nice deer! So pleased to see you are back! Don't give in! The woods and water will fortify you. I, like many check your blog each day to enjoy your adventures and latest creations. I was afraid something was wrong. I am currently re-reading Tomorrows Fish, and tied up a bunch of skittles to restock my box last night. Prayers for strength and many more days afield and in the streams.

    1. Anon, thank you very much for the kind words. A great holiday to you and yours.

  6. That's a strong post. A prayer and a hope, and good luck to you, Sir.

  7. Ralph
    Happy Holidays to you- much tight lines and safe days afield and on the water.

  8. John, Thanks much and same for you and yours. Hope to be ready soon for another article in the near future.


  9. Great going, Ralph. Best wishes for these holidays, and may you enjoy many fine days out-of-doors in 2020.