The sun would be up shortly, and here I was still fumbling with the gate
lock. I squinted through tired, teary eyes at the combination tumblers, trying
desperately to distinguish the 3 from the 8. My SureFire flashlight provided
plenty of light, but I was about to Glock the damn thing in desperation! I
trotted back to the truck and whipped out a battered pair of small reading
glasses, and was finally on my way the last mile to my treestand where the deep
woods met the cattail marsh. Ahhhhh ... finally, ready to rock, doc!
With the ever mystical, soul warming sunrise igniting my sacred hunting
grounds, I felt wonderful to be alive, charged and energized to breathe in the
life-giving clean air of my magic hunting paradise. Gazing all around through
my binoculars, I saw every imaginable songbird and critter the incredible
habitat supported. Beaver, muskrats, a coon, possum, squirrels, rabbits, wild
turkey, sandhill cranes, mallards, wood ducks, geese, all kinds of woodpeckers,
tufted titmouse, nuthatches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, cardinals, juncos,
chickadees, wrens, goldfinches, a flock of cedar waxwings, a gaudy, iridescent
cock pheasant, bobwhite quail, field sparrows, song sparrows, a goshawk, a
redtail hawk, a screech owl, barn owl, a huge blue heron, crows, and more.
Listening To Songs Of The Wild
Unfortunately, not until I inserted my Walker's Game Ear and turned up the tiny
amplifier could I truly appreciate the glory of it all, my wild experience now
complete and exemplified by the wonderful songs and sounds of the wild. The old
guitarboy's hearing ain't what it used to be, but I didn't really think about
my eyesight in the same way as I admitted to my serious loss of hearing. I was
about to have a rude awakening regarding that at any moment now.
Perched 15 feet up in a four-trunked choke cherry tree, I had the wind in my
face 20 yards from the rutted trail leading from the muckswamp, on up onto the
sloping ridge above where the cornfields, soybeans, and food plots fed the
beasts. The enhanced audio clarity from my Walkers Game Ear was the only reason
I heard the buck coming from behind me. I slowly swiveled around to put the
approaching deer off my left shoulder for a chipshot on the handsome
backstrapper. It all came together perfectly, and I eased to fulldraw with
total confidence that the beast was mine. My heart sank when the white arrow
sailed under its armpit for a clean miss on a shot that I can make in my sleep.
I was devastated. You know the feeling.
What a dandy buck, what a perfect stand location, what a clever approach,
such a graceful predator ballet, what a terrible, numbnut shot! I couldn't
figure it out.
Determined to regain my confidence, I pulled out a Judo-tipped
arrow and took aim at my white arrow sticking in the ground just to prove to
myself that I know how to shoot an accurate arrow after more than 50 years of
working on it. As I settled in at fulldraw, I found myself straining to match
the distant arrow with my age-old instinctive sight picture at arm's length
that had been the foundation of my instinctive, bare-bow archery joy for a
lifetime. Yet shockingly, I squinted at the out of focus image of my drawn
arrow even as I tried to pinpoint the white fletch of the arrow 20 yards out. I
released and watched my second arrow of the morning fly a good 6 inches below
my intended target. Yikes! This is not good.
Pollington Is An Archery Legend
That afternoon, I arrived at my next hunting destination in Northern Michigan at
my longtime friend Claude Pollington's BuckPole Archery and DeerCamp, and
commenced to fling a few arrows prior to our evening hunt. Claude is a
legendary bowhunting hero in Marion, Mich., and much like his and my hero Fred
Bear, Claude is looked up to by many of us diehard bowhunters as a mentor and
guru of allthings bowhunting and whitetail deer.
Claude was wringing the final kinks out of a brand new model of his famous
CP Oneida bows, and as we good-naturedly competed for bull's-eyes on his range,
I told him of my painful miss on a nice buck that morning. I knew the old eyes
started to give out a bit once we hit the mythological age of 50, but I had
defied gravity for an extra six years and was not prepared for the abrupt
changes such a condition brought to my archery. Claude shared with me his own
experiences and exasperations with failing eyes over the previous years, and
once again encouraged me to try his revolutionary red dot sighting system that
had brought back consistent accuracy to his beloved archery life.
Sure enough, drawing back his smooth, graceful, natural feeling Oneida bow,
and with both eyes open, finding the small, glowing red dot on the middle of
the target brought it all in acute perspective for me. With the apparent
glowing red spec floating naturally in the unit's tube, where my instincts
pointed me on target, I squeezed my Scott release and the arrow smacked the
tiny black bull's-eye dead center. Next arrow same thing. And the next. Cool.
Red Dot Scope Is Awesome!
I'm no scientist or ocular physicist, so I can't explain why I could maintain
balanced focus with a red dot and the target, but not my old instinctive
barebow sight picture, but I can tell you this: it was magic and I liked it a
lot. I shot a bunch of arrows and Claude offered to let me use his new
prototype Oneida bow for my afternoon hunt, and I felt confident enough to do
It worked like a charm. As dusk settled over my north-country, big timber
honeyhole, I had a foursome of big Michigan swampdonkey does snake out of the
marshgrass and slowly pick their way through the bracken ferns to the west of
my old, towering white pine tree set. Just like back at the range, the tiny red
dot of Claude's sight danced gently on the old matriarch's ribcage, and in a
flash, the Stinger four-blade sliced perfectly in and out of the old gal's
pumpstation. She bolted 30 yards into the tag alders and crashed in a heap,
dead on her feet just like the good Dr. Backstrap ordered. Voila! The mystical
flight of the arrow returns! Rejoice, start the SpiritFires and prepare to
dance the predator celebration dance! Man did that feel good.
Now I am here to tell you how much I truly, dearly love my old-fashioned
bare bow instinctive archery shooting style. In fact, it runs mighty strongly
through my entire being, and has for more than 50 years. Wow! That's a long
time and many millions of arrows and many delicious, hard-earned backstraps!
Loves Instinctive Shooting Style
Without sights as my shooting reference, I have always celebrated the emphasis
on "arrow flight" instead of sight pin and/or peep sight. Messing
around with every imaginable sighting system over these many years has kept me
abreast of the technology and various products available to the archers of the
world, and God knows there is a plethora of proven, quality sights on the
market to choose from. But when it's all said and done, I have always returned
to my childhood longbow archery baptism, and stuck with my natural hand-eye
instinctive shooting style. I have just always loved it.
But my ultimate archery dream, regardless of equipment type or shooting style,
is "good arrows." Good, consistently accurate arrows are what I live
for. I am a bowhunter afterall, and a razor sharp broadhead into the vitals of
game is why I live. And like my heroes of the U.S. Marine Corps, I must be
ready, willing and able to improvise, adapt, and overcome for effectiveness in
my prioritized endeavors. Hence, my new love affair with the Pollington red dot
and other various sighting systems. It is a beautiful thang!
On that particular weeklong hunting trip in Michigan, I let 12 of my hunters
shoot this new CP Oneida bow with the red dot sight, and all 12 of them went
with me to Claude's shop in Marion, Mich., and they all bought the whole
package, lock, stock and barrel! Some of these guys were already gung-ho
bowhunters, but most were up for the firearm season and had never shot a bow
before. With the clever and innovative design and masterful engineering Claude
put into the overall marriage of bow and sight, they were all shooting
incredible groups of arrows right off the bat, and those that bowhunted for
deer for the first time in their lives, cleanly arrowed nice deer that week.
Sight Perfect For New Archers
I would call it the most instinctive sighting system in the world. Like all
good marksmen, the shooter discovers a natural body alignment with the intended
target, and the bow comes up naturally with the red dot floating where you are
already focusing on the target. Claude's overall design and geometry of his bow
and sight are as natural as pointing your finger. I have personally never seen
a more effective, efficient introductory setup for a new archer in all my life.
Claude Pollington possesses four critical attributes that have uniquely
brought such a combination together. No. 1: he is an old fashioned bowyer,
cutting his teeth on the original handmade longbows from the 1930s and '40s,
growing with the sport of archery into the recurves, and then compounds with
the industry. No. 2: Claude is a natural, instinctive sniper, especially with
the bow and arrow. No. 3: Claude is a master tool and die engineer with an
uncanny touch for numbers, measurements, and creativity, all zeroed in on
archery. And last but surely not least, No. 4: Claude lives to bowhunt the
American whitetail deer and elk, and he has dedicated his long life to bring
all these talents to bear on his love of the sport.
The final conclusion is that he has created a finely-tuned bow and sight
that brings the very best out of every man; woman, and child that ever picks up
a CP Oneida bow and shoots it! We all win because of Claude's dedication and
unbridled zest for bowhunting. You've got to shoot this setup to believe it.
Pick Up Pollington's Book
With a new autobiography out now, Claude has written a wonderful overview
of his incredible life of arrow flinging and backstrap procuring American
bowhunting dream for all of us to share and celebrate with him. Robin Hood,
Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Ishi, Fred Bear, Howard Hill, Ben Pearson, Dale
Martin, Roy Case, Ed Bilderback, George Nicholls, Chuck Adams, Bob Foulkrod,
Claude Pollington, and a short list of a few others whom define woodsmanship and
bowhunting to an ultimate artform. Pick up a copy of Claude's new book:
"Claude Pollington -- The Legend of the Whitetail Wizard" to discover the
best bowhunter within you. It is a fascinating read that I highly recommend.
For more information about the CP Oneida line of bows and Pollington Red Dot
sight, and Claude's new book, call 231-743-2427 or visit
Ted Nugent is best known for his musical career where the "Motor City Madman" recorded 29 albums between 1967-1997, selling over 30 million copies. Ted has hunted for over 40 years and will share his love of the sport in this column. "The future of the shooting sports in this country is in the hands of tomorrow's outdoorsmen and women," Ted says. "The youth of America must be educated in the wholesome and valued world of hunting and conservation ... because rock 'n roll plays such a pivotal role in a young person's life, I will share my wonderful lifestyle and experience with them." Ted writes two columns a month for sportsmansguide.com.