It Started with a Spring Day

posted on December 19, 2013

Debbie Martin, of Oshkosh, Wis., never dreamed her high-school archery class would open up a whole new world of adventure. In fact, she wasn’t very excited about taking the class. She had never shot a bow and didn’t have any career goals that included archery.

The 2010 school year was winding down, and one of the final spring gym classes was archery—and it was being held outdoors. Getting outside in nice weather during school hours was Debbie’s motivation to attend. The instructor provided bows for everyone, plus a written test. The written part was quite easy, mostly common sense, but to her amazement the shooting was even easier. Helping her dad on the farm had developed strong shoulders on the blond, blue-eyed archer which made drawing the bow much easier for her than the other 15½-year-old girls.

When the semester finished up, she had developed great shooting form and excellent accuracy, which prompted her father to make the offer: “I usually go to Texas deer hunting in December with Sam Fruits, but he can’t go this year. How about you and I go? You can use your .243 or your bow with broadheads instead of target arrows.” By the time December arrived, the prospect of a deer hunt had motivated Debbie to complete many long hours of practice using special target arrows designed to fly like the broadheads she would use when hunting.

Debbie and her dad were soon headed to the Texas ranch where he had hunted before. They stayed in a cabin and would hunt from elevated blinds close to corn feeders, which is legal in Texas. Debbie found the area much different from Wisconsin. It was dry with cactus and thorns, not covered with deep grass like back home. It was also warm; the 75-degree temperature at mid-day was nothing like December in Wisconsin—but she didn’t miss the cold one bit. Even with the warm days, Texas nights get chilly, and when she climbed into the stand before daylight it was only 50 degrees. Dad had explained about the chilly nights so she brought plenty of clothes and stayed warm and toasty.

Everything was quiet until just after daylight when three does walked from the brush. Since the Texas license allowed her to take either a buck or a doe, she drew the bow, anticipating her first archery deer. A few seconds later, she learned her first bowhunting lesson: Don’t let the deer see you move. As she drew the bow, all three deer spooked and bolted back into the brush.

An uneventful hour passed before a large-antlered buck stepped into view. Debbie wasn’t going to blow this shot! This time, she decided, she would wait until the deer was standing so it would not see her move. The buck came to the feeder and stopped, then looked back over its shoulder into the thick brush. When the buck looked away, Debbie quickly nocked her broadhead and drew the bow. She reached full draw just as the buck turned its attention to the feeder, then she released the arrow.

Debbie watched the arrow and was nervous at first as it seemed the shot was too high, but at the last instant the flight trajectory dropped and the broadhead passed completely through the buck. The buck reared up then disappeared into the high cover. Debbie was devastated. The deer had run off!

After calming down she climbed from the stand and went to get Dad. They returned and began tracking the deer, which was quite easy in the soft sand and mud. Dad showed her how and where to look for tracks. Fifty yards later they came upon the buck. It was beautiful with huge, white shining antlers. It was the biggest deer Debbie had ever seen.

“I never dreamed taking the archery course in school could lead to hunting with dad in Texas or my taking a big buck with a bow I didn’t want to shoot in the first place. Even though I didn’t want to take the archery class it was an opportunity that changed my life. I now understand the saying: ‘You only get out of life what you put into it. Try everything you can, otherwise you may never open the door to a future opportunity.’”

Continues Debbie, “If I had not taken that archery class and practiced every afternoon to become a good shot, I would have been sitting home in the cold, doing my homework.”

Want a Youth Bow? Go to and check out these great choices!

Mathews Mini Genesis
The Mini Genesis is designed especially for young shooters, but it’s still going to fit you in five or 10 years. How does this work? With the Genesis system, there’s no let-off on light draw weight bows, so there aren’t any draw length requirements. It means that the bow can fit every draw length from 15 to 30 inches. Available in Blue Raspberry, Red Cherry, Camouflage, Pink Lemonade and Black Licorice.

PSE Mini Burner RTS Bow Package
This lightweight (only 2½ pounds) little compound bow maintains consistent draw weights with any draw length from 16 to 26 inches. At the top end of that capability, it can send an arrow downrange at up to 261 feet per second! Available from Cabela’s as a package that includes the bow, a Gemini sight, rest, quiver, wheel peep and nock set.

Bear Archery Apprentice RTH Bow Package
The Bear Archery Apprentice bow comes with a cam that has 13—that’s right, 13—draw-length positions, so it can also grow with you. At just 2.9 pounds, it’s light and easy to maneuver. The package, available from Cabela’s, includes the bow, a rest, a fiber-optic sight, a peep sight, a four-arrow quiver and a nock loop.


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