“Longbow: A Hunting Life” by Jay Campbell

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Title: Longbow: A Hunting Life
Author: Jay Campbell
Type: Non-fiction
Website: www.campbellsquest.com
E-version available here

As borrowed from www.campbellsquest.com:
Follow the wild adventures of Jay and Karen Campbell, who chase big game with the longbow in Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Jay Campbell weaves their complicated life and deadly encounters with big rivers and big animals through these stories, while still showing us the joy is in the journey.

Who will it appeal to?
I have yet to meet a stickbow shooter who read Longbow from cover to cover and didn’t enjoy it. Traditionalists will have no trouble getting sucked in to Jay’s adventures, but there is plenty of life here too, which pushes this well beyond the realm of a “niche” read in my opinion. You need not be a hunter to enjoy Jay’s writing – just human. Husbands, wives, fathers, friends, and sons alike will have plenty to relate to as Jay is all of the above and illustrates the meaning of each role within a hunting context beautifully.

My Thoughts
There are two types of writers in the bowhunting industry: a) hunters who happen to write; b) writers who happen to hunt. While both can create entertaining works there are discernible differences between the two. Basically, what it boils down to is meaning. Anyone can write about a memorable hunting experience, but few can identify what was truly special about it. A good story has a little something behind it – a reason why the author felt it needed to be shared without pulling any punches. Longbow is full of that, which is precisely what I love about it. There are stories in this book that don’t even mention a bow and I like them every bit as much as those that do.

I also appreciate the fact Jay doesn’t let things like gear or expertise cloud his story telling. In an industry full of “experts”, Jay has no problem being flawed and telling you about it, proving you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy the longbow and have success with it. And by “success” I mean discovering what it is about bowhunting that means the most to you.

Out of all the outdoors books I’ve read the last few years, this one has had the biggest impact on me as both a writer and a bowhunter. It is my “desert island” read and  is a must for any library. You can buy it at either of the websites above, but it is also available at Simply Traditional.


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