PSE’s Albert Quackenbush’s Hunting Roots
By Albert Quackenbush
My bow hunting roots were set at an early age in Western New York State. It should come as no surprise that I chose to become a bow hunter because of my dad. I loved being outdoors and so did he. When he would go hunting, he’d take my brother and me along with him, and often we’d get a chance to shoot at a squirrel or two. He taught me to shoot a bow when I was nine years old with an old fiberglass longbow with wooden arrows. He taught me how to shoot, care for my equipment and the safe practices that must be maintained as an archer.
My brother and I were extremely fortunate growing up. Being raised on a farm, we would always have an ample supply of straw bale to hold our targets and we would constantly make up different games to improve our shooting and have fun. Whether it be saving a train from robbers or pretending we were Robin Hood, we would always have fun.
The first shot I ever took on an animal with a bow was when I was 10 years old. My dad had been in the fields and had seen a buck meander into our overgrown orchard. He came back to the house, had me get my bow and he gave me an arrow tipped with a broadhead. With his equipment in hand, we hopped in the truck and drove to the edge of the field. He explained that he was going to circle around the deer and stalk up through the orchard. He posted me at the very top of the orchard, near the field in case the buck doubled back. A short time later, I peered around the apple tree I was using as cover and there he was! He was on a path to walk right by my tree. So I waited what seemed like an eternity and drew my bow thinking he’d be right there. Sure enough he came walking by and I let the arrow fly… right over his back. I was shaking like a leaf in a tornado and he bolted like nobody’s business. When I checked the yardage I was heartbroken. I had missed the deer at three yards! It was a lesson learned and it showed me how much buck fever can take over!
A couple years later, on a walk with my brother on the farm, we spotted antlers sticking up above the swale on the edge of a field. We quietly scooted back to the house and told my dad. Figuring this would be a good lesson for us, he told me to grab my bow and to go put a stalk on the buck to see if I could get him. My brother and I played the wind perfectly and got to within ten yards of this massive buck when the wind swirled and gave us up. He bolted away as our hearts were about to pound out of our chests. It’s hard to describe the excitement and thrill we both felt. Even without shooting an arrow, we had stalked very close to one of the most skittish animals on the planet. We were forever hooked on bow hunting!
Albert Quackenbush has been bowhunting for more than 28 years. He shares his adventures on his blog, SoCalBowhunter.com, and also writes for Bow Adventures e-magazine. He is a Pro Staff member for DIYbowhunter.com, Piranha Custom Bowstrings and Field Logic. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, California Deer Association, and is a Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.
Albert was born and raised in New York State where he learned to hunt everything from squirrels to whitetail deer. He currently resides in Southern California with his wife and daughter and hunts year round.