Briefly mentioned was Dick's daughter, Dawn Bombeck, an extraordinary bow hunter in her own right, and we wanted to learn more about her! Watching the Four Generations of Bow Hunters segment and reading Dawn's ode to archery, the passion that their family has for bow hunting, spending time with nature and each other is palpable.
For the Love of Archery was originally written for the Minnesota State Archery Association.
by Dawn Bombeck
It has been 10 years since I wrote this article for the Minnesota State Archery Association. I am still very passionate about archery and the great outdoors. Since then I have switched to shooting with a release for more accuracy while hunting. Jim and I are recently retired and retirement means different things to different people. I tell my kids that life to us is not about what or how much you have, it’s about experiences and who you get to share them with. We are looking forward to spending more time experiencing the great outdoors and making new memories.
As a junior in high school I met my now-husband, Jim, who took me bow hunting the following year. I can still remember when I bought my first bow: We walked into the archery shop and Jim said we were looking for a compound bow for me. Until then I had been shooting Jim’s compound bow. The salesman at the archery shop didn’t believe us, so I pulled back Jim’s 65-pound bow, and the salesman was speechless. All of those years shooting when I was young had built up my muscles. I bought my first bow, a Jennings. I was a terrible shot, but was determined to get better. I shot barebow with fingers. I then joined the Little Crow Archers of Willmar.
After a few years of hunting I finally shot my first deer: An eight-point buck. I made, what I thought, was a good 25-yard shot. I hit the buck in the neck and he dropped in his tracks. I waited 20 minutes and walked up to him when all of a sudden he sat up.
I was really nervous, but managed to get a second arrow into him. The shot was low. It was getting dark so I left him and called Jim to bring the Coleman lantern. I didn’t know it at the time, but the first shot just paralyzed him. After he thrashed around, the arrow moved enough to let him finally get to his feet. We tracked him for a long time, but we ended up at a road, unable to determine which direction he went. It was really late and we decided to come back in the morning. When we got home it started to rain and any blood trail would be lost. Just my luck! I hardly slept at all that night and couldn’t wait for daylight to break.
We went back and searched most of the day with no luck. A hunter’s nightmare! I was determined to find him so I went back the next day and waded in the neighboring sloughs; still no luck. At this point I was really disappointed and didn’t know if I ever wanted to hunt anymore! Through the years, when I would mess up and be disappointed, I would tell Jim, “That’s it, I quit!” He would look at me and ask, “Did you have fun?” After I thought about it, it was too much fun to quit.
On the evening of December 15th, I finally got my first deer. I was sitting on a five-gallon bucket and made the decision that I wasn’t holding out for a buck. It was cold and cloudy. I moved closer to what I thought was a bedding area because the season was almost over. I posted up against a tree on the edge of a plowed field with a small shrub in front of me. A doe came over the hill and as she got closer she became nervous. I used the shrub to hide my movements as I pulled back and waited for her to enter the woods. I shot her as she passed 15 yards in front of me. It was a good shot: I double lunged her and she only went 40 yards. I remember wondering what it would feel like to harvest my first deer. I thought I would be overjoyed, but there was a part of me that respected her and made me feel a little sad. I field dressed her and then met up with Jim to help me load her up. At first he didn’t believe me, but I think he was impressed.
With my love for bow hunting, really hunting in general, and the great outdoors I could talk for hours! I have been bow hunting for 30 years and have numerous stories. I I finally put sights on my bow, but still prefer to shoot with fingers. There have been numerous people who want to change me to shoot with a release, but I like fingers for hunting. I love everything about hunting: From scouting, to setting my own deer stands, to hunting, to tracking, to butchering, to cooking. If I shoot something, it’s just a bonus.
If I can share my experiences with anyone, that’s great! The guys I hunt with treat me as an equal. I feel like an equal in the field and I don’t get any special treatment. I work just as hard as anyone else and spend more time out there than the average hunter. I’m a die hard, glutton for punishment.
Being a mother, my boys always came first. When they were growing up, I put all of my energies into whatever they were interested in at the time. We have two sons who are grown-up and now share our passion for bow hunting. I remember when they were younger and Jim would have to work so I would take them out hunting. I often wondered what their friends would think when they told them their mom took them hunting. It couldn’t have been too bad because there were times when their friends came along. It’s funny, now they call me right away to tell me their hunting stories. We now get together and hunt for the camaraderie. It makes me proud to see that they enjoy hunting as much as I do.
I have taught archery at Women in the Outdoors, Youth Conservation Day, Firearms Safety and Girl Scouts. If I can get anyone to be able to experience the art of archery and the great outdoors, I have really accomplished something. I am now just starting to get back into the sport on a full-time basis; I’m an empty nester! I recently shot my first state 3-D shoot; it was a lot of fun! It was hard and challenging, but it was great! What a great way to get ready for the hunting season!
Happy hunting and always remember to ask yourself, “Did you have fun?”
Dawn Bombeck, Little Crow Archery Club, Hutchinson