You can buy meat at the butcher shop, so that isn't what you are after.
You can chase a golf ball, ride a bicycle, or dig in the garden. You won't, so exercise isn't what you are looking for.
You can hunt, or you can fish. You can camp out in the open, you can get filthily and unashamedly dirty. You can eat your own cooking, and somehow survive it. You can, and do, raise a prize crop of whiskers. Haven't they the most gratifying itch in the world?
You can hunt with a rifle, and isn't it fine sport. You don't get much game, and do you care. You fish - with worms - or eggs - or fly, all depending on how badly you want the fish. You have a grand ole time.
Then you take up arching, more or less as a postgraduate fad. This time you know you aren't going to hit anything, but the way that rabbit, or deer, or rat, got out of the way delighted you hugely.
You have joined the game missers, and the rifle knows you no more.
Now there are archers who bring back game. I know quite a few of them myself. So they pack it out, and they clean it, and they brag and lie about it. Sometimes they even eat it. But somehow they haven't had nearly as good a time of it as the day they missed fifty ground squirrels in a row.
There is the game for you - ground squirrels. Any range is fair range, ten to a hundred yards. You do hit one occasionally, and you feel kind of ashamed of yourself. It is true that you aimed for it. It is true that you tried to hit it. It is also true that what you really wanted was to see how close you could get.
There is nothing wrong with the killing power of the longbow, but it is no weapon for grizzlies or lions, in spite of Art Young. Exceptions prove no rule. Every archer will freely admit that as a game getter the bow is far inferior to the rifle. The archer is no competitor of the rifle addict, has no wish to be.
I have known a number of successful archers, but they weren't the ones who brought home the biggest bags. They were the ones who utterly forgot themselves in the chase, the ones who came back tiredest, and dirtiest, and hungriest, and with the longest and scratchiest whiskers. The ones who got rained on, and snowed on, and who fell in the river. The ones who ate dough-gods of their own creation that a hungry dog would refuse.
We doghouse hunters rejoice mightily when one of out lower bracket brothers accidentally connects. We guy Chester Seay about that 700 pound bear he got, Joe Cosner about his javelina, J.E. Davis about his buck. We know they liked to be razzed about it, just as Forrest Nagler is ribbed about the game he has missed - nothing is said about his hits - not by the doghouse or lower bracket gangs.
What we understand best is when Gardner, Klopsteg, and Buchen spend ten days in a game paradise and come back without even an alibi. We don't rib them about it though - we envy them. We think of the lugging, and the grief, and the expense hunters like the Catheys and B.G. Thompson had getting their moose out of Canada. We think of the aching backs of our more fortunate brothers in the chase - and laugh contentedly. That's arching for you - doghouse arching.
See that rabbit, sixty yards if it is an inch. Sitting there laughing at us. Fair game for the bow at that distance, sitting or running.
Why, damn your impudence, Bunny, smelling at that arrow right in front of you. I'll teach you. One more! Too high! All right, see how you like this one. Crouch will you, I will straighten you. One right underneath the belly! Thought it was time to move, did you? Here's the chaser. What's that, a hit?
Good shot? No, poor Bunny! Doghouse arching, you said it!