Real Name: Claudia A. Eisenmann TG handle: “Pinecone” Home State: Kentucky TradGang member number: 1931 Member Status: Contributing Member Number of traditional archery Big game kills: 16
(TG)- Tell us about yourself.
(Pinecone)- Hmm…that’s a more difficult question than it seems! Well, I am a Kentuckian who spent a good bit of time after college moving around the country pursuing graduate school and my career. After 15 years of running businesses in states such as West Virginia, Arkansas, and Texas, I was offered the opportunity to return to Kentucky and run a rural health system. Given the fact that my aging Mother and Step-Dad lived only 20 miles away and that this area is abundant with wildlife, how could I refuse? At this point I’ve been back in my home state for almost a year and have found it to be a wonderful move and great time to become reacquainted with my roots and many childhood relationships. It may be true that sometimes you can’t go back, but I am an example that sometimes you can! As for other things, I am a Pro-Staff member for Women Hunters.com, a site dedicated to promoting the outdoors to women and their families. Although this venture is not dedicated solely to traditional archery, it is an important method of outreach to women who may not have other means of exposure to the sporting traditions. And in this age where single parent families are so prevalent and where every vote for hunting counts, it is important to be involved in communicating the positive message of the outdoor lifestyle. Personally, I live with a diversified pack of diminutive hounds, lead by Albert, a wirehaired Dachshund, and a couple of bird-crazy Wirehaired Pointing Griffons. Rounding out the menagerie are four Arabian horses who consider me their indentured servant I suppose they are right in their assessment of my role, but dang, I hate to admit it!
(TG)- What do you do for a living?
(Pinecone)- I am the Chief Executive Officer of a rural health system in western Kentucky.
(TG)- How long have you been bow hunting with traditional gear?
(Pinecone)- I began my journey toward traditional archery years earlier than it finally became my preference for bowhunting. The allure of traditional bows attracted me in the mid 90’s after a number of years in modern archery. However, I became dedicated to really becoming proficient with this humble method of bowhunting in 2000 and finally killed my first traditional big game animal in 2001. So, I guess you could say that I have been a traditional “gear head” for 5-6 years.
(TG)- Any heroes? Any role models?
(Pinecone)- From an antiquities and a traditional archery point of view, how could I fail to recognize Fred Bear? He was an entrepreneur, a consummate outdoorsman, and an unfailing proponent of bowhunting ethics and traditional idealism. A number of years ago, I spent some time in the Fred Bear Museum while it was in Gainsville, Florida and left feeling more complete in whom I am because of learning who he was. What an amazing experience. On a more personal and local level, because I work in healthcare, I work among heroes everyday. These are people who dedicate their lives to others 24 hours a day and seven days a week…holidays and nights be damned…they are there when we need them. They are my heroes.
(TG)- Which eye is your dominant eye?
(Pinecone)- I am left eye dominant.
(TG)- Do you shoot right handed or left handed?
(Pinecone)- I shoot right handed. Yes, I know that the whole left eye/right hand thing is the subject of traditional disdain, but I have discovered a way to reconcile the two. It may not be textbook, but the critters that have fallen to the arrows flung from this mis-matched combination have uttered nary a complaint!
(TG)- What got you started bowhunting?
(Pinecone)- Genetics I suppose! My Dad was an outdoorsman in his early years, but wasn’t particularly dedicated to archery and bowhunting. Instead, he loved his 30.06 rifle. Still, when at the age of 22 I decided that I wanted to learn to shoot a bow, he was an advocate and a cheerleader. He had exposed me to small game hunting with a shotgun earlier in my youth, so migrating to the bow as my vehicle to pursue big game seemed a natural progression and although he couldn’t offer much instruction, he was delighted to support my endeavor.
(TG)- Who first helped you get involved in traditional bow hunting?
(Pinecone)- I developed an interest on my own and since I didn’t know any other traditional bowhunters, I started trying to learn to shoot a traditional bow on my own. The only problem was that I had no idea how to begin! Thus began my rather lengthy quest. I watched videos by G. Fred Asbell and read Byron Ferguson’s “Become the Arrow”. Although they all helped to some degree, it wasn’t until I went on a hog hunt in Oklahoma in 2000 and obtained a few impromptu lessons from traditional archery aficionado Matt Napper, that I began to connect the dots and to believe that I could actually be successful hunting with a traditional bow.
(TG)- Do you remember the first animal you took with a traditional bow? Tell us about it!
(Pinecone)- How could I forget?! I shot a fat, feral hog in Oklahoma at Shiloh Ranch in 2001. This is the hunting operation owned by Matt and Cheryl Napper, so it was all the more special that I finally connected at the very location where a year earlier, I had received personal instruction on how to shoot a traditional bow. In fact, one of my favorite bowhunting photos is Matt and I with my Black Widow bow and the fat boar that I took on that trip. In my book, that’s as cool as it gets!
(TG)- Do you prefer a glove or tab?
(TG)- Do you have any favorite memories or kills that stand out? Tell us about it!
(Pinecone)- I think the hog hunt I described above is really special. That was a defining moment for me with traditional archery because becoming proficient with traditional equipment was so important to me for so long and for me, it was so much work. The other animals I have taken with traditional bows also deserve recognition. There is not one that is more important than another, including those that are record book quality, because I am grateful for them all. In addition, I am grateful for the amazing people I have met along the way, the beauty I have seen, and for the health and perseverance which enable me to continue in this pursuit.
(TG)- Can you tell us a bit about your preferred hunting combo?
(Pinecone)- I own a lot of bows and think that each is a work of art. Let’s face it; this is the golden age of traditional archery and the bowyers and offerings are second to none. Having said that, I have a few go-to bows. For recurves they are a 60” Black Widow SAX in Osage at 46# @27”, and 60” Morrison and Brackenbury recurves at 47# @ 27”. For longbows, which I began to hunt with in earnest just this year, I favor a 58” Morrison Cougar that is 47# @ 27”.
(TG)- What is the one piece of advice you would give a new hunter to aid him on his hunting ventures?
(Pinecone)- First, try to find someone who shoots traditional bows to help you to develop your shot. Next, start slow with a low poundage bow and be patient. Finally, make your practice sessions realistic and fun. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t change the world whether you are immediately successful with a stickbow or not. Enjoy the experience of learning and be confident that it will come together for you in due time.
(TG)- What is your favorite animal to hunt?
(Pinecone)- That is a tough question, because I love to hunt so many different species! I guess my best response is to say that it would be a toss-up between the pronghorn antelope and the whitetail deer. Both are challenging, beautiful, and make exceptional table fare. What more could a girl ask for?!
(TG)- Do you have or prefer a certain method of hunting?
(Pinecone)- I prefer stands and blinds because they provide a more predictable shot situation.
(TG)- Does any of your family hunt or fish?
(Pinecone)- My dad enjoyed the outdoors prior to his death in 1997. My step-father still gun hunts at the age of 79. He and I, however, are the only family members who enjoy this great tradition
(TG)- Do you have any bowhunting goals or plans for the immediate future?
(Pinecone)- My plans for next year include whitetails, hogs, and who knows what else????
(TG)- Do you make any of your own gear?
(Pinecone)- I make an occasional quiver, but that is as far as my elementary talent extends.
(TG)- Where is the one place you would really just love to hunt?
(Pinecone)- There are so many places I’d love to hunt. I guess at the top of the list would be Alaska and New Zealand. Also, I’ve never killed an elk with a bow and would love to have that opportunity in one of our great western states.
(TG)- Do you primarily hunt private or public ground?
(TG)- Do you prefer evening, mid day or morning hunts?
(Pinecone)- I have had success at all times of day, but tend to favor evening hunts. Perhaps that is indicative of the fact that I love to have that extra cup of coffee around the fireplace in the morning!
(TG)- What is your favorite type of camo?
(Pinecone)- As for patterns, I like ASAT and Predator the best. Both of these will break up your outline in virtually any terrain or season. In terms of fabrics, I’m a natural woman! In cool weather I love wool and in warm weather I love cotton. It is hard to beat what Mother Nature has provided.
(TG)- Do you normally use anything like scent covers or attractants, camo, or calls?
(Pinecone)- I use all of them from time to time. I covered camo above and use cover scents that are natural to my hunting area. I also use calls occasionally, but am careful to be very discreet and to pay attention to the reaction of the animal. The other thing that I would emphasize is that there is no substitute for woodsmanship and for hunting with the wind! There is no camo, no scent, no scent control garment, and no call, that will ever make up for sloppy hunting or an ill conceived hunting situation. Do your homework, practice your craft, and the success will come.
(TG)- Do you do any small game hunting?
(Pinecone)- I occasionally pursue rabbits and squirrels with the company of my canine companions.
(TG)- Tell us what your dream hunt would be.
(Pinecone)- My dream hunt is a moose with a traditional bow. I currently have six preference points for Wyoming and my plan is to try and draw that tag in a good area in 2007. For motivation, I have my Dad’s moose antlers hanging in my trophy room. He killed that bull in the 1950’s with his 30.06 Springfield rifle in Ontario, Canada before he was married. I would like to hang a companion set of antlers, killed with a traditional bow, next to them. I guess this demonstrates that I am truly a sentimental sap at heart, but in the traditional bowhunting community, I know I’m not alone.
(TG)- What is the biggest obstacle you face being a female bowhunter?
(Pinecone)- The fact that my plumbing does not easily lend itself to back country bowhunts! LOL! Actually, I believe that obstacles are mostly a matter of perspective. I have never really seen anything as a barrier between me and what I want and that particularly applies to bowhunting. I am passionate about who I am as a bowhunter, as a professional, as a human being. Thus, that passion is my point of focus, and that point of focus obscures the view of distractions. For example, when I decided that I was going to become competent with traditional archery equipment, I had a choice. I could either focus on what I loved…the bending bow, the arcing shaft, the connection to antiquity…or the fact that I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn! I chose to concentrate on what I loved and that has made all the difference.
(TG)- What is the most important thing you have taken from being a member of Tradgang?
(Pinecone)- Warmth. Tradgang, virtual though we may be, is like a perpetual campfire. There is a palpable camaraderie, a sense of sincerity and connection that just feels like friends.
(TG)- You can invite 3 tradgang members to share a campfire, who are they and why did you choose them?
(Pinecone)- I truly cannot choose just three. I have seen so may Tradgangers that I would love to have the opportunity to get to know, that it would be an injustice to select so few.
(TG)- What do guys need to do that would encourage our wives/girlfriends to get involved?
(Pinecone)- First, is ask them! Many of us pursue the outdoors in order to be alone, so if guys want to ask their main squeeze to join in, don’t forget to extend a sincere invitation! Should that invitation be accepted, make it comfortable and make it fun. That means not inviting your wives/girlfriends along to hunting camp to be the camp cook and housekeeper, but as a true partner in the experience. That means everyone shares in everything!
If you want your wives/girlfriends to get involved in traditional archery and bowhunting, get them a bow they can handle, arrows that are appropriately spined and beautifully crested (yes, aesthetics matter!), help set up her basic form, and celebrate every single shot she makes…no matter where the arrow comes to rest! She will begin to ask you for further guidance and instruction only after she knows that you are there as a non-critical cheerleader. Make it fun for her, let her make it hers, and you might just have a hunting partner for life.
(TG)- What is one thing I haven't asked that you would like for people to know about you?
(Pinecone)- Bowhunting has been incredibly important to me for many years and moving to traditional archery was a natural, if not vital, progression in my spiritual connection with the outdoor lifestyle. However, for me, traditional archery is much more than a sport, than recreation, or even a means to harvest game. Instead, it is the extension of what I believe to be important in life…passion, commitment, discipline, challenge, achievement, and mostly participation in something that extends to touch both the past and the future in its positive influence on ourselves and others. At the risk of sounding a bit Zen, I do believe that archery can make a difference in society and to the extent to which we espouse its virtues, so too can we.