POINT AU MAL — Ken White loves to become one with nature, however some beings he joins in those natural surroundings are not so lucky.
There have been moose, caribou, bears, grouse, rabbits and many other species that had no idea the Point au Mal man and his bow were even near.
The kill itself does not hold as much satisfaction as the experience, the longtime and avid bow hunter said. It is the rush of the hunt, the difficulty of the challenge, and being one with nature that White cherishes more than anything.
“It’s an adrenalin rush like you can’t believe,” he said.
White said he has introduced many gun hunters to the sport of bow hunting, and they share the feeling. It is something that gets people hooked, he said, especially those who purely enjoy the hunt itself.
It all began as a five-year-old in Ontario for White. Most of his friends were enjoying the thrill of hockey when his father turned the shaft of a hockey stick into his first bow. He still has the fibreglass bow he was given at the age of eight, although he no longer shoots with it. He crafted his art with other bows of choice and years of creeping through the outdoors to get close to his target.
“It was love at first sight for me,” White said.
Eventually he began hunting with firearms, but he found the sport was taken out of the hunt. He still hunts with a gun at times, but it’s for a different purpose.
“I hunt with a firearm for food, I hunt with a bow for me,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. You are basically pitting yourself against nature with a sharp stick.”
White says a bow hunter must learn how to hunt — with the exception of those lucky enough to fluke a kill, which he admits being one of many people to have done. The hunt varies greatly depending on the species, he added.
There are some basic techniques which are a must, he said. It is important to use non-scent aftershaves, deodorants, soaps and laundry detergent to reduce your odour in the wild. You must always move facing the wind.
After that, a person’s stalking abilities come into play, he said. It’s an art that takes a lot of time, dedication and patience in order to do it well consistently. There must be very little movement and absolutely no noise as the hunter stays out of the sight and focus of the animal.
White, who has also competed in shooting competitions across the country, said he has killed a caribou from 40 yards with a bow, while he has taken down a moose from as close as nine feet.
He estimates there is more than 2,000 bow hunters in the province, and believes it is growing in popularity. He would like to see the popularity flourish and is lobbying the province to bring back the bow hunter’s education course.