OUTDOORS IN THE OZARKS

I need a flu-flu or two

As I began my career as an outdoor writer I was invited to Ben Pearson’s archery plant in Pine Bluff Ark., for a tour and was given a beautiful recurved laminate bow that I began to hunt with that very fall. I took it back to Missouri, to the watershed of the Big Piney River and on Halloween evening, I killed a buck with it.

He was a fork-horn that was 2 or 3 years old and made though he wasn’t much of a trophy he made good venison, which is why I hunt deer. He was an unlucky deer, because as he ambled along beside a small ridge top water hole, I drew my broadhead on his heart and released the arrow, which scraped a sassafras sapling and hit him in the back leg, severing the femoral artery.

The buck went down into a deep ravine and died there, and was easy to track. I was pretty excited about that first deer. There weren’t nearly as many deer back then in southern Missouri, and my family had never

But I had indeed used a bow before. My grandfather, quite a craftsman when it came to making johnboats and paddles, made me a sassafras bow when I was about 13 years old. It was a strong and accurate bow and I used it to kill a robin first. I felt so bad about that I never killed any thing else we didn’t eat. I bought 25-cent wooden arrows at Bill Duff’s Western Auto store and learned that it was darned expensive to shoot at rabbits and squirrels, because I lost so many arrows!

Hunting with that bow cost me a lot of time – time spent searching for arrows. Eventually there was that amazing archery invention we called “compound bows.” I got a good one from a pawn shop and got to where I was really accurate with it, hitting a 24-inch target at 20 feet about 50 percent of the time! At least when you shoot that poorly you seldom have to track a deer, you just miss them clean. But I did hang a few from the limb of the oak tree in the front yard. I developed a shoulder problem a few years ago, limiting me to temporarily abandon the 80-pound pull which my Fred Bear compound bow required.

Thinking about it now I feel pretty sure that Fred Bear could not likely have drawn that bowstring either. Every time I saw him he looked fairly average in a physical way. But there was one thing Mr. Bear could do. He could put an arrow darn near anywhere he wanted to with about any bow he had in his hands. Fred Bear once hunted pheasant with a bow, and was featured in a magazine I wrote for often, Outdoor Life. He wasn’t using the fancy new compound bow that bow-hunters were crazy about at the time, he was just using a regular recurved type that he had developed and some arrows known as flu-flu arrows. Those were arrows, which had a killing impact to only about 35 yards or so, had a special feather fletching that caused them to lose speed and fall to the ground without burying themselves beneath the ground cover, never to be found again.

Now the rules have all changed and old-time bow-hunters like me can hunt deer and turkey with a crossbow.

A crossbow, equipped with little scope-like sights is tremendously accurate and can easily kill a deer or a turkey at fifty yards if you know how to use that scope. Had the Sioux Indians developed the crossbow, the Dakotas would have been off limits to white people even today.

The first time I hunted with my crossbow I killed a buck at 40 yards with a heart shot I could never have made with a regular compound bow. And the fact that those little short broadheads cost about $5 each makes me hesitate to hunt squirrels with it, or I would do just that. I could make my own crossbow arrows for squirrel hunting, as I did back when I was hunting with grandpa’s sassafras bow, without any cash outlay. But if I consider my labor to be worth $2 an hour, well, a good homemade crossbow arrow might cost $10 or $12 in labor.

But one thing I have realized is that a crossbow can be shouldered and fired with a minimum of movement and therefore it is a great way to hunt wild turkeys, and even squirrels, all winter long. So I am getting to the point of this article: Is there anyone out there who knows where I can buy flu-flu arrows for a crossbow?

My address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613. Email address lightninridge@windstream.net and phone number is 417-7775227.

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