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Chat with archer brings Daniels back to early years
Bill Daniels strikes a pose with his second-place antelope. - photo by Photo by WAYNE DANIELS
In my last column, I told you about the antelope my son, Bill, shot and that we were waiting for the required drying time before having it was measured by Montana Fish and Game.

From Feb. 5-7, there was an outdoor sports show in Great Falls, Mont., and the state had an official measuring station set up. My son took his antelope in, and it measured 69 1/8 inches and took second place at the show.

 First place went to a buck that measured 74 2/8, just making the book, and the third-place buck was 63 3/8. The minimum for the record book is 74 inches. Not too bad for Bill’s first antelope.

While at the outdoor show, we had a chance to watch Frank Addington Jr. of West Virginia make some amazing shots with a 45-pound recurve bow. Frank was shooting balloons and baby aspirins that were tossed into the air from 10 feet away. Now, you are thinking to yourself, anyone could do that well try doing it with the bow behind your back.

After the show, I had a chance to talk with Frank, and he said he saw born with a sunken chest and had to have several surgeries to repair it. Several of the doctors told him that he could not play any contact sports.

Frank said about that time he discovered at an early age that he was gifted with amazing eyesight, and that was what led him to archery. He was able to make a living shooting a bow for Mathews Archery.

Frank did say that his outstanding eyesight got him into trouble when he and his wife were picking out an engagement ring, and he told her that he did not like the diamond on one of the rings she picked out because the stone has too many black spots in it.

After talking to Frank, I was looking back on my own introduction to archery when I was 12.

We were living in San Jose, and my parents gave me a 24-pound bow for Christmas. You would have thought I was a direct descendent of Robin Hood.

I tried to stalk everything in our neighborhood, including our neighbor’s chickens, but I got caught before any damage was done.

I grew up on the east side of San Jose, at the base of the hills just below Alum Rock Park. The park was just past the end on the bus lines, so on days when we had the fare, me and two other buddies would get on the bus with our bows and head to the park.
Now, I don’t think we were supposed to be on the bus with our bows and arrows. We would sneak on the bus by the back door and push our bows under the seat and walk up and pay the driver. Boy did we think we were great.

Later on I told myself that there was no way the driver could not have seen three little boys standing at the bus stop all with 4 ½- to 5-foot bows behind their backs.

In 1954, my parents bought a ranch in Delhi and I thought I had went to hunters heaven. I had never seen so many jackrabbits in my life.
On our first Christmas, by brother-in-law gave me a 45-pound Fleetwood long bow and some arrows. Now, I am not saying my old arrows were in need of some repair but these new arrows looked like they came right from the factory.

I talked my dad into picking up two bales of hay at the feed store and I was set. In no time I was able to hit a paper plate with some regularity. I’m not saying I was Robin Hood, but then again I would do until he came along.

We soon learned that the jackrabbits were stripping the bark of any new trees we planted, so it was my job to rid the ranch of the pest.

Then one day my mother came in and wanted to know if I had shot any of her prize road island red chickens (remembering the neighbors in San Jose). I said, “No.”

She stated that some of her chickens were missing. A few days later I saw a red tailed hawk setting on the barn and knew what had happened to her hens, so I got out my bow and two days later shot the chicken thief.
I had never shot anything bigger than a rabbit so in, 1959 just before joining the army, I had a chance to do deer hunting above Pinecrest and shot a small buck. I was proud to bring that deer home. I was in Germany for two years but when I returned, my mother had saved a steak for me, not to say it was a little freezer burned.

Looking back on those early years, we didn’t think too much about arrow length or spline. We figured if the arrow did not fall off the shelf when we pulled it back and it did not come apart when we shot it and if it stuck in whatever we were after, it was strong enough for and just right for our bows.

After moving to Montana, I purchased my first compound bow and have been lucky enough to shoot a very nice buffalo and several deer.

If you are new to archery or have never tried it, grab your bow and some arrows and just go out and enjoy yourself because it is a great sport and something you can do all of your life. On Feb. 24, I turned 69 and still enjoy archery and taking a deer the old faction way.
Speaking of things to do, Auto Like Sporting Goods in Modesto is having a hunter safety class on March 6, at 5 p.m. They are located at 901 N. Carpenter Rd.

To contact Wayne Daniels, e-mail