It was the opening day of Virginia 2016 bow season and I had a doe walking right down the trail. I lifted the bow off my hook and prepared to draw. A few more steps and she would be in my sights at 15 yards—and my tag would be filled. As the doe stepped behind some brush, I lifted by bow and began to draw, but I froze! I could not do it!
After over thirty years of bow hunting, this was not a crisis of conscience or an equipment malfunction. Like every summer before, I had practiced week in and week out leading up to bow season. I knew that despite some recent pain in my shoulder, I’d be ready once I was up in the stand. But here I was, letting my first shot pass, and panicking about how I was going to fill my freezer and my Saturdays this fall. To make matters worse, I had just hung a dozen tree stands ready to spend the fall doing what I love best. A trip to the orthopedic surgeon that week revealed that I had torn a ligament in my shoulder and surgery was set for the end of December. The prescription read “deer season is over”.
Like any veteran deer hunter, I came to terms with my prognosis by heading to my local sporting goods store with an idea to cheat my injury. I started looking at crossbows. Of course, being right handed with a wounded left wing, there was no way in my state that I could support the weight of a long gun, much less a crossbow. Then I remembered my SkyRest shooting rest that I had used for rifle and muzzleloader season for a few years. Setting it up in my backyard, I noticed that the foot bar used to cock the crossbow could sit in the cradle of the SkyRest. Even with the torn left shoulder, I was able to use the crossbow (with a crank-cocking system) combined with the SkyRest. My deadly accuracy was back! I had a rock steady rest and I was able to take several nice deer during the Virginia bow and urban archery seasons. I have had the pleasure of using the SkyRest before it was available on the market and I never hunt without it for rifle, shotgun, and muzzleloader seasons-- in sickness or in health!
Tom from Virginia