Years traditional bowhunting: Started shooting in 1963. First big game (deer hunt) in 1972. Stayed traditional except for a brief fling with compounds in the late seventies.
(TG) Tell us about yourself:
(Denny) Iíve been married to my wife, Marie, for 23 years. We live on a 140 acre farm with our four children; John (16), Gabe (13), Zach (12) and Alexa (11). We also have two dogs that are part of the family; Bubba and Klippy. Bubba in an overgrown, black lab mix that loves everyone (except Ron LaClair). Klippy is a miniature Australian Shepard. He loves to chase arrows. If you go judo tipping with Klippy he will usually find your arrow for you. The only bummer is that he loves to chew the feathers off.
Iím a residential builder. I worked for my dad as a kid and continued after I graduated from high school. We worked together everyday until he retired a few years ago. I have an awesome group of guys that work for me. They donít need me to do a great job and keep the customers happy. This allows me to take some time to go hunting and scouting.
Some people have accused me of being shallow and one dimensional. They are right; I guess. After God, family and work; seems like everything I want to do is tied into traditional archery. No golf, bowling, croquet, or whatever is of interest.
(TG) Any heroes? Any role models?
(Denny) I canít think of any bowhunting heroes. To me, the word hero is reserved for someone that lays their own life on the line, for the good of others.
Role models and people I respect? You bet. I think our sport is overflowing with role models and folks that deserve respect. I really admire the archers that have shared their knowledge and adventures in the form of writing and film/video. They inspired me to try and leave something behind also.
Being a whitetailer, the writings of Gene Wensel and Roger Rothhaar had a huge impact on the way I hunt and think.
(TG) What got you started bowhunting?
(Denny) Definitely my dad. He handed me a wood, Ben Pearson longbow when I was three-years-old. Weíve been playing together ever since.
(TG) Do you have any favorite memories or kills that stand out? Tell us about it.
(Denny) Itís hard to pick any one. Actually they are all extra special to me.
(TG) Do you remember the first animal you took with a traditional bow? Tell us about it.
(Denny) Absolutely. 1973, I was thirteen and it was a Pennsylvania doe. Taking a week off school and hanging around with my dad and his buddies in hunting camp was a great experience. Some of the guys on that hunt became the best of my friends to this day.
(TG) Can you tell us about you preferred hunting combo?
(Denny) For the last twelve y ears, Iíve been shooting Black Widow longbows. For general hunting I prefer a 64Ē bow around 80# at my 27Ē draw. BWís new PL design longbow with the locket-socket, TD feature has quickly become my all-time favorite.
When hunting for big game, I prefer a bow mounted quiver. My favorite is a Great Northern side mount/screw-on.I use an armguard and a Black Widow tab. In fact, I just purchased some cordovan leather and sent it to Roger at BW. They are going to make up some special ones for me.
Iíve used a bunch of different broadheads over the years. My favorites according to hunting situations are Woodsman, Zwickys, Snuffers and Grizzlys.
Iíve shot a bunch of different shaft materials over the years; various woods, aluminum and microflites. When Gold Tip produced the first insert carbon shaft, I was helping some guys on a video project. They sent us some shafts to use. After some experimenting, I ended up getting the stiffest shaft they made and gluing 1 ĹĒ pieces of ľĒ, threaded rod in the nose behind the insert. Today there are all kinds of products available to tune carbons.
I recently purchased some Grizzly sticks from Alaska Bowhunter Supply. So far they have proven to be extremely tough and exhibit great flight characteristics. I wonít be surprised if they become my new favorite.
(TG) What is your favorite animal to hunt?
(Denny) Whitetails for sure. I grew up hunting them and enjoy the total experience. Between scouting, practicing, selecting and hanging treestands, shed hunting, glassing and actual hunting, there is always something to do year round.
(TG) Do you have or prefer a certain method of hunting?
(Denny) Not really, I enjoy still hunting, spot and stalk and hunting from a blind or treestand. It just depends on the species hunted and the circumstances.
(TG) Does any of your family hunt or fish?
(Denny) My dad is definitely a hard-core bowhunter. Marie, my wife loves to shoot and hunt carp and deer. In fact, she just submitted an article to TBM that will be out next year. She is a full time RN and with four kids, she doesnít have a lot of time. Especially with a loser husband thatís always hunting. Since the kids have grown older, she manages to shoot one or two deer a season with her BW SA III recurve.
John, our oldest, enjoys bowhunting. In fact, he went to Africa and harvested six animals with his recurve. His girlfriend is very interested in trad archery too.
Gabe, Zach and Alexa all shoot traditional, but havenít shown much interest in hunting. They do love to fish though. They all really enjoy playing sports at school. While they know Iím ready to take them hunting whenever they want, Iím just glad they have something in their life to enjoy and be passionate about.
(TG) Do you have any bowhunting goals or plans for the immediate future?
(Denny) My goal for every whitetail season is to have a good time and try to shoot a good buck. If the area Iím hunting needs some does taken I try to do my part.
In June, Dale Karch and I are flying over to Australia to hunt water buffalo on Melville Island with Bill Baker.
(TG) That sounds like a good time. Whatís your equipment for that hunt?
(Denny) Iíll be using a 94# @ 28Ē PL III and Grizzlystick Safari shafts. For broadheads Iím going to use some special Zwicky heads that Jack made us. Basically, they are 2 blade deltas ground to the width of an Eskimo and dubbed ďThe little Delta.Ē
(TG) Do you make any of your own gear?
(Denny) Iíve made a laminated longbow on my buddy John Kolometzís form, but that is the extent of my bow making. Iíve made a bunch of Flemish strings too, but Iíve been buying them the last few years. I do generally fletch my own arrows.
(TG) Do you primarily hunt private or public ground?
(Denny) For whitetails in recent years, Iíve hunted all private ground.
(TG) Do you prefer evening, midday or morning hunts?
(Denny) Actually, I prefer all day hunts; when the situation is right.
(TG) Do you normally use anything like scent covers or attractants, camo or calls?
(Denny) I wear some camo and definitely use some calls depending on what Iím hunting for.
(TG) Do you do any small game hunting?
(Denny) Absolutely. Turkey, javelina, carp, rabbits, squirrels, varmints etc. Itís all fun.
(TG) Tell us what your dream hunt would be.
(Denny) Something with a little danger. Like grizzly or cape buffalo. A one month horseback hunt, for multiple species in BC would be nice too.
(TG) How is your latest video project progressing?
(Denny) Masters of the Barebow volume 1 is coming along good. Weíve already videoed Dean Torges, Dale Karch, Roger Rothhaar, Ron LaClair, Darryl Quidort and Gene Wensel. Rod Jenkins and David Soza will be videoed in June. Darryl is hard at the editing. It should be done by Fall.
Each shooter will have a menu button on the DVD. They will explain and demonstrate their gear, set up, shooting style and aiming techniques, along with some helpful tips. There will also be a button at the end for outtakes and supporters/sponsors. We have received a tremendous amount of support from the shooters and the traditional archery community on this project. It is our dream that these DVDs become classics and help archers for years to come. Volume 2 will have a bunch of great shooters also.
(TG) Tell us about your practice sessions.
(Denny) Man, I love to shoot! We have a 15 target 3D range behind the house, including a running javelina. There is a bag target in my garage and one to shoot from the deck off of the home office area. Behind the barn is a sand pile, a 3D target and another bag. A floodlight is conveniently placed so we can shoot after dark. I recently put up a 5íx 6í foam backstop that can be shot at out to 100 yards. This is for when Rod Jenkins and David Soza come to visit; they can really reach out there. One of my buddies has a private indoor range complete with a dart system. I donít shoot that many arrows at a time unless my dad and/or Ron Bergeron stop by. My fingers are usually sore after we get done. I donít know if shooting arrows several times a day makes me a better shot, but I think it is a stress reliever. I love to watch those arrows fly.
(TG) What advice would you give a new hunter to aid him on his hunting ventures?
(Denny) Learn to shoot consistently, have fun and spend as much time in the field as possible.