Book Review: Traditional Bowhunting by Clay Hayes

Clay Hayes is no stranger to most traditional bowhunters. He’s well-known for his website, Twisted Stave Media, and has taught many a bowyer a lesson or two on his YouTube channel. If you’ve an interest in hunting with a traditional or primitive bow, I highly recommend reading his book, Traditional Bowhunting, available as e-book or paperback on Amazon and as a signed paperback at Twisted Stave.

“Nature is a great solvent for all the gunk that clogs a hunters head.”

The book begins following two archers on a sojourn through a swamp in pursuit of bullfrogs.  Skillful prose brings the swamp to life, and it’s a noisy, creepy, smelly, dirty… and downright magical place. Clay makes something clear in this story: you don’t have to chase something with antlers to have an incredible time hunting with buddies – it’s the pursuit that makes hunts memorable. This is a recurring theme throughout the book. Whether the prey is rabbit, elk, or bear, Clay’s love for hunting emanates from the page and inspires the reader to go make their own memories afield.

“What more could a romantic nut want than to be draped in braintan buckskin, hunting with a handmade yew longbow, camped in the shadow of the Teton with just enough grizzly sign around to keep things a little edgy.”

There are also a few chapters of plainly-written information the reader will find highly useful. Do you have trouble finding hogs? Clay is not only an experienced hunter but also a professional wildlife biologist, so his chapter on hog behavior alone justifies the price of the book. You’ll also learn tips about tree stands, survival techniques, butchering meat, and tanning hides. These informational chapters are short, sweet, and quick to reread on the eve before you try what you learn.

“With every pull of the pitted old knife another crenulated curl of paper thin osage, vibrant yellow with youth, drifted to the shop floor.”

While a short read at just under 100 pages, this book is as educational as it is enjoyable, and has the potential to inspire anyone to make a stickbow of their own and take it for a walk in the woods. If you’re still not interested in this book, then try the following:

  1. Go watch Clay’s films Ascent and Untamed
  2. Go see what Primitive Tim has to say about it
  3. Go soak your head (just kidding) (kind of)

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