Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Three

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Three

Part one of this series began with a discussion about researching forums and blogs and state-level bowfishing regulations. Part two continued to discuss finding launch sites. Check them out if you missed them.

Local Regulations

I find that local regulations are the greatest impediment to launching a kayak and shooting fish. Therefore, it would make sense for this to be the first step in finding a new place to bowfish – except you have to narrow down where to launch before you can look for local regulations.

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Book Review: Traditional Bowhunting by Clay Hayes

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)
Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Two

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part Two

Part one of this series began with a discussion about researching forums and blogs and state-level bowfishing regulations.

Launch Sites

Kayaks and canoes have a few advantages over power boats, and the biggest one is the ability to launch almost anywhere that land meets water (though we’ll see that local regulations are a big impediment to that later in this series). Paddlers refer to these as “launch sites” and you can find a huge database of them mapped out at paddling.com.

Map of kayak and canoe launch points across North America on paddling.net.

Map of kayak and canoe launch points across North America on paddling.com.

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Using Dry Heat to Reflex a Bow: Lessons Learned

Using Dry Heat to Reflex a Bow: Lessons Learned

I recently bent reflex into an Osage stave and learned a few lessons. These may be obvious to the seasoned bowyer, but I want to share my growing pains in case the reader is interested in trying to bend wood with dry heat themselves. The lessons are stated in bullet points at the end of the post for those not interested in my rambling.

The Osage stave in question was roughed from a small diameter tree and has a slightly crowned back. It’s 52″ tip-to-tip and tapers to 1/2″ over the last 8″ of each limb. I most likely wouldn’t have reflexed it had it not demanded it. But after roughing it out I was left with one limb reflexed about 2″ and the other dead straight. I hadn’t had much luck reflexing bows before, but it was time to face the music: this bow would be reflexed, or it wouldn’t be a bow. After reviewing the Bending Wood chapter in The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible, Vol. 2, I cut a form out of a 2×8, fired up the heat gun (pun slightly intended, sorry), and set to work.

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Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part One

Planning a Kayak Bowfishing Trip: Part One

Introduction

Like many sportsmen, I pass a lot of time during the week getting excited for my next weekend adventure, or planning the next outdoor vacation. For all the time we spend in backwaters, we spend even more dreaming of it. It’s part of the fun. This also means that we get pretty good at researching things like maps and weather.

In this four-post series I want to share how I plan kayak bowfishing trips and the tools I use for it. A few notes before I begin:

  • While the title here contains “kayak bowfishing,” this information will be useful for any paddling, any bowfishing, and anywhere the two overlap.
  • This post DOES cover how to research regulations, plan for a safe paddle, and where to launch your paddlecraft.
  • This post DOES NOT cover where to find fish – that part of the battle is more hard-earned than reading about it online!

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