Traditional Thinking

We are a family of fishers. Kayaks, canoes, big boats. On the fly rod, conventional, spinning. Lakes, rivers, seas. It’s just the way it is. It’s always been that way. But in any family, there’s always that one. The one that breaks tradition, pushes further, wants more. The one that cuts a separate path even though their path has already been left prepared. Will this be the beginning of the end of the family legacy? (cue the tearful eyed close up shot with heartbreaking soap opera music in the background)

What could it be that might possibly tear this fishing family apart?

Bow Hunting.


Hunting? Well heck, why didn’t you say that in the first place. I love hunting. My son has been asking me for a long time if we could go hunting. My answer, “i’m a fisherman, son” and leave it at that. Main reason is, I spent all those years trying to be the best fisherman I could be, and so i’m pretty much a newb with hunting. Oh, I have guns and love to shoot, and have shot many a four legged or feathery creature that came within my sights, but never pursued it into the full time passion fishing is for me. I guess it’s the pride that prevents me from asking simple novice questions sometimes. Especially to people that know the kind of outdoorsman I am. You want to talk fishing, well, pull up a chair we’ll talk until the fire goes out. Want to know what a winter bass is thinking? I’ll tell you because I was out talking with them the other day. Or let’s talk hiking, backpacking, cast iron cooking, anything. But bow hunting? Um, maybe in my early twenties, but back then I thought I knew everything already. Stopping and thinking about it, it’s basically the same, hunting and fishing. Just two different ways of achieving the goal. The goal being the hunt, the stalk, the catch/shot, the trophy. In the old days it was food. Today it’s not so much food, as it is the excitement. The exhilarating feeling of the hunt and the catch. That’s why I love fishing. So when my son asked me, I thought to myself, this could be a great opportunity to learn something together. Create memories outside of the awesome fishing adventures we take. It can open up a whole new world, and maybe teach this old dog some new tricks. So shall it be written, so shall it be done. But wait….Compound? Traditional? Ahhh, so much out there…andย  WOW, look at the price tags.


I have everything to outfit, head to toe, at least 20 conventional fisherman and 6 fly fisherman. Anything someone needs to get starting or just play for the day. And now I have to start fresh with something else? My wife may not need to know about this just yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

After doing a ton of research and talking with trusted friends in the sport, we decided to start traditional. One, for the cost, and two, I absolutely love recurves, although I haven’t shot one since 1994. I had two old Bear compounds I kept from those days, but never used them, ever. Remember, i’m a fisherman. I sold those in a garage sale many moons ago, and never got back into it. Until now. We bought two recurves, and with the help of many good people, we were outfitted with everything we needed to get started slinging arrows towards the bullseye (or around it, or somewhat close to it).


I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if this was a phase for him, or if it’s something he would really get into and pursue. He definitely jumped right in. The first day we had to use the arrows we had on hand while we were having some made for us. Then his new ones came in, then I had to have some, then more things started looking appealing, then….and so on, and so on, as all my hobbies go. It’s been an amazing experience. I can tell my muscles are getting used to our new venture, since I can now get out of bed the next day after a long practice session. He talks about it all the time, just like I do with fishing. Always reading and watching videos online. He’s bound and determined to stick a pig, or get us a turkey or deer this next season. I believe he’s getting closer to that goal.






We get to practice about twice a week at the moment since it gets dark by the time I get out of work, but we hit it hard Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. We are both getting better and more accurate, and feeling more confident we can hit the side of a barn if the need arises. It’s been a struggle at times trying to make sure everything is correct as far as the basics. Stance, draw, etc. We’re far from good, but getting there. We continue to come up with new ideas to do just to keep practice fun and inviting. After 60-70 arrows, we’ll tape up a cup or something to the target and make a game of it. Then try it kneeling, the standing, then from this distance, then farther. I can’t believe I was so single minded in my goal of being a fisherman, I let this go for so, so many years. This is fun just practicing. I can’t wait for a chance in the field.


For me, it’s not just about the archery, but about the time I can spend with my kids. Anything I can do to be apart of something that we will always be able to do through the years, i’m all for it. Just like fishing. I can be 80 and still throw some lures or arrows with my girl and boy. Striving to be known as a great fisherman, kayaker, hunter, or outdoorsman may be something to push for, but I realized long ago my legacy will be built around one thing…being the best dad I can be, for both my kids. And if that means I have to learn new things, and get into another hobby that i’ll likely spend a ton of money on….i’m in! I’ve already got my eye on a couple of sweet lookin’ recurves for myself…um, I mean for the family. ๐Ÿ™‚


Thanks for coming along,



Scott Gartman

Scott Gartman

Scott Gartman is a photographer and filmmaker. He is also an avid fisherman, kayaker, backpacker, and overall outdoorsman. His accolades are too many to list, as with the many streets and towns named after him. He's a legend in his own mind. Check out his home page at

3 thoughts on “Traditional Thinking

  • January 26, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    You’re a great outdoor writer, Scott. I sure enjoyed this piece about you and your son venturing into bow hunting. If I hadn’t retired from the great South Texas Callaghan ranch, I would invite you and your fine son on a bow hunt for hogs. Good luck on your new adventure, soon to become passion.

  • January 26, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Nothing like father / son time in the great Texas outdoors…


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