Alaska Bow Hunters Certification Course


Brown Bear hunting in Alaska. Intense right? Imagine yourself looking at the massive Alaskan Brown Bear through your 4×12 mounted on your Ruger .375 Alaskan at 200 yards. Now picture yourself looking down the sights of your compound bow from 50 yards. Getting a little more up close and personal now? Well imagine yourself 15 yards away from this magnificent animal with no sights, no scope, no 300 grain bullet and no margin of error. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I am referring to a traditional bow.


Lack of time led me transforming my backyard into a range with the help of my father

Long Bows and Re-Curve bows are more primitive than most other hunting techniques and are taken up by hunters because of the skill level required to harvest any game with these bows.


What the game you are harvesting should look like so you don’t take an unethical shot.

I got hooked on traditional bows this past May from David Austin and Vince Pokryfki. Vince and Austin were still hunting and glassing for brown bears using their long bows. Austin let me shoot his bow a couple times and right after shooting his bow I told Vince and Austin “I am gonna get my license when I get back. These things are awesome”. Vince and Austin said that would be great, but I could tell by their response that they didn’t really think I was serious.


Hard at work

Well lone behold I went online and signed up for the next class. July 7th in Sutton, Alaska. I went to Fish and Game and got my booklet to study for the test and asked a few questions about the course. Although Fish and Game does not keep official records of the course, the hunter education section gave me the following rough estimates:

*There are around 1,500 avid bow hunters who register for the course annually.

*Of those around 3-5% of those hunters use a traditional style bow. That is around 45 people.

*Of those 45 people about 5% percent pass. That is around 2.25 people.

Now although those are rough estimates, those ares still staggering numbers.


Lack of space led me to using my environment to practice for all the tough shots I could expect.

When I arrived at the course for my bow hunters license on the 7th I was nervous to say the least. The course work was completed and the test was taken before I knew it and then it was time to head into the field and do the field day shoot to qualify. The whole class grabbed their gear and converged under a pavilion getting ready to start the shoot. Everybody in the whole class pulled out a compound bow. Everyone except me. When pulling out my re-curve everyone glanced at me like I was crazy. I was just thinking about all the advice Austin had given me (over the phone by the way). He stressed to be confident.


Shots on the test ranged from 5-30 yards from all angles. 

I was very surprised at how nervous I was. I couldn’t remember the last time I had so many butterflies. All I needed was a glass of “Man The Hell Up”, and sure enough I could hear Austin’s voice going through my head. Well “Man The Hell Up” is what I did.

After the course I called Austin, “Hey man I didn’t pass” -Me

(Awkward silence on the other end) – Austin

“Just kidding man I passed”-Me


Austin was so pumped up and surprised I passed It felt great. It wouldn’t have been possible without him getting me into bow hunting and allowing me to use his gear to get me started. I also have to thank my father, who received his bow hunter license in the 70’s in New Jersey with a bow similar to mine.


Fred Bear used to picture a fox in his head and placed it in the vital area of a moose. Aim small, hit big.

And I cannot forget Hidden Antler. From Texas to Alaska Hidden Antler was my gear of choice without a doubt. Check them out by following this link.


Hidden antler with me through thick and thin. Literally.

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