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ATVs and Crossbows The two have more in common than you might think.
By Bob Humphrey
The population of hunters isn’t getting any bigger, and the reasons are many and varied. In addition to a general urbanization of our society, we’re not recruiting enough young hunters to replace ourselves. Just as important, we’re not doing enough to retain older hunters. The crossbow is an excellent tool for both objectives.
Dr. Craig Dougherty, Chairman of the Quality Deer Management Association’s Board of Directors and former vice president of the North American Archery Group once told me a story about a Florida hog hunt he hosted several years ago. Among his guests was Ann Hoyt - a five-time National Archery Champion, two-time World Champion and then widow of legendary bowyer Earl Hoyt.
At the time of the hunt, Ann was in her later years and no longer had the strength to pull back a compound or a recurve bow. Knowing how much archery and bowhunting had meant to Hoyt, Dougherty provided her with a crossbow. She practiced enough to become proficient, then the two headed for the woods.
That afternoon the opportunity came, and Ann shot and killed a hog. “She turned to me with tears of joy welled up in her eyes,” related Dougherty. All she could say was “Thank you. I thought I’d never be able to bowhunt again.”
I’ve heard numerous similar stories since, mostly from middle-aged hunters whose fathers or uncles had taught them to bowhunt, then had to give up the sport due to physical limitations associated with age. Crossbows got them back into the sport by providing a simple, yet effective solution to their problems.
Very much the same is true of ATVs, particularly UTVs or Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicles. Many hunters who had given up the sport due to physical limitations can now get back (sometimes way back) in the woods with the help of a Yamaha ATV. These implements also counter the concerns of those who are still able to hunt afoot, but would have a great deal of difficulty getting a deer out on their own. Equally important, SxS vehicles provide a means to the woods for physically-impaired hunters of any age.
One of the really big pluses of SxS vehicles is they can carry a driver and passenger. That means one machine for mentor and his ward. But kids can’t sit still for long, which means you’ve got to tote blinds, seats, maybe decoys and who knows what else. Machines like the Rhino have a bed so you can carry all you need in one trip, and still have room to haul your deer out. SxS vehicles can open new roads to all kinds of hunters.