Bowhunting season review

Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The week-long bowhunting season ended on Aug. 17.

Alaska Wildlife Trooper Sgt. Paul McConnell received complaints about a group of archers crossing unmarked private property. But the only charge came when a bowhunter turned themselves in for killing a cow.

"Someone thought they saw a spike, got up to a distance, and it turned out it wasn't a spike," he said.

During the special bow period, participating hunters must be certified by the National Bowhunter Education Foundation, International Bowhunter Education Program or a state authorized program.

Of the thousands of hunters who visit the Peninsula each year, no one knows the total number that use a bow, according to Department of Fish and Game Kenai area biologist Jeff Selinger. The biologist said that his department keeps track of successful kills through hunting cards.

"We don't do a mail out survey," he said.

Guide and 12-year veteran archer Joe Dilley said that bowhunting has a special appeal.

"It's like being on the same playing field as an animal," he said.

Unlike archers, regular hunters can shoot animals from a substantial distance, according to the guide.

"Anybody can see a moose at 200 yards. With a bow, you need to get within 50 yards," he said. "You have to be more stealy than your quarry."

He uses Matthews Solocam bows because they allow him to hold the string back for a longer period of time. Dilley said that can make or break a hunt if an archer has to wait for the animal to avert its gaze from the bowman.

The bow doesn't sit above the mantle piece after the season ends though. The guide plans to take a hunting trip with a group soon. He said that they'll use rifles to hunt game, but the first part of the trip will be archery.

Selinger said that anyone can use a bow during the regular hunting season.

Tony Cella can be reached at

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