An Archer's Inner Life by Dave Sigurslid

This title is part of BHA's Jim Posewitz Digital Library: Required Reading for Conservationists

In great part the appeal of public lands is that they provide a space for us to commune with the primeval. Though your HOA may frown on you shooting a Zwickey at the forkhorn browsing your hostas, the manager of your closest wildlife area likely has no such qualms.

An Archer’s Inner Life is a profound exploration of the yearning to return in some small way to life closer to the bone. Sigurslid’s work is challenging; the preconceptions that many hunters retain are addressed without blinking. Perhaps more importantly, the author also has the gall to systematically examine common criticisms of hunting with a clear-eyed approach that neither denigrates nor marginalizes our detractors.

Though the ethical aspects of this work are weighty, the series of essays is exemplary in its ability to capture the fundamentally spiritual nature of pursuing game with a traditional bow. Inner Life combines both prose and poetry to rhapsodize in uncommon fashion regarding the most enchanting aspects of archery. This is not a volume written by a platonic observer; Sigurslid is a professional zealot, compelled by the casting of the wayward shaft. Though deeply personal, the text can shift to a scholarly focus by the turn of the page. This leads us down unexpected paths towards understanding the woven thread of archery through diverse religions, before Sigurslid’s pedagogy necessitates exposing the reader to a taste of Asian philosophy.

An Archer’s Inner Life is heartily recommended to readers with an appreciation of craftsmanship, to introspective types, deep drinkers of the nature aesthetic, and to those weary souls who put in countless fruitless days with bow in hand just waiting for the quarry to close those last five yards. Note: compound shooters are not skewered, but they are treated cautiously as a breed apart.

-CODY BRUCE, BHA member, Oklahoma 

Purchase An Archer's Inner Life on Amazon Smile, and register Backcountry Hunters & Anglers as your preferred nonprofit to give back to your wild public lands, waters and wildlife. 

About Zack Williams

Backcountry Journal editor