Why Create TECHTUNE?
Be prepared for a lengthy story, but trust me, it’s just a snapshot of my current journey. This obsession started from a very young age and sustenance drove every minute of it. I was very fortunate in that my grandmother lived minutes away from the ocean. At that time, the ocean provided us with fish, shrimp, lobsters, octopus, crabs, sea urchins, limpets, sea cucumbers, etc. Nothing made me happier than being able to harvest fresh food for family and friends. Given that, it was inevitable I would eventually get into hunting. The only problem was, at the time I didn’t know anyone who hunted.
After asking around, I found some guys who were willing to take me boar hunting with the use of dogs and knives. Although I appreciated them for allowing me to tag along, in a short time I found that it was just not my kind of hunting. For me, it was always a “one on one” kind of thing. Even when I harvest fish, I prefer not using lay nets or spearing at night when the fish were sleeping. I have nothing against any of those legal methods, it just wasn’t for me. Soon after, I found others who offered to take me on rifle hunts, but it was the bow and arrow that always intrigued me and at the age of fifteen, I saved enough money to buy my very first compound bow. Here is where the story begins…
As I mentioned, there was no one that I knew with any experience at all when it came to bows and arrows. During those years, I was computer illiterate and the only resource I had was the Easton tuning guide. So I proceeded to follow the instructions. I built me a paper tuner, fletched and cut my arrows and began the tuning process. With the paper tuner set, I drew back, aimed for the center and fired away. From the entrance hole, I clean ripped that paper in half! Talk about years of tuning frustration!!! I could easily group my arrows at thirty yards, but when I screwed on my broadheads, I was off on every shot. Totally unacceptable to hunt with. I could stalk animals up to thirty, shoot out to thirty, but just couldn’t shoot a fixed blade with any dependable accuracy. Given that I tried everything I knew, I just had to put the bow on the side and pick up the rifle again. I refused to launch inaccurate arrows at an animal.
Lucky for me, I had an extensive background in fishing, to the point where I was even building custom fishing rods for a local fishing store. This is where I met the first guy that influenced my bowhunting journey. He went by the name “Bull” and I was soon to find out why! He lived on the neighboring island where he was a hunting legend. After a quick chat we decided to trade hunting strategies for fishing strategies. Over the next few years I flew up at least once a month where he taught me everything about bowhunting and I taught him everything I knew about fishing. He taught me how to tune, shoot, and hunt with my compound bow. It was a great relationship and I was well on my way to a successful bowhunting lifestyle.
But one day while shopping at the local pro shop, I noticed a picture hanging. It was a harvest pic with a recurve. Out loud, I said “you can hunt with those bows”? The owner answered “of course” and the very next minute I told him that I needed one! I left the shop that day with the cheapest recurve they had.
Talk about reoccurring nightmares, I couldn’t even hit my old foam body board at ten yards! I couldn’t figure out if it was my tuning or shooting. I didn’t know where to begin! Hours and hours of practice and I still couldn’t progress. At the time, I was just a “back yard” shooter. Being young and inexperienced, I was intimidated of the local archery range, but I figured it may be the only place I could learn more about the traditional bow. So every weekend I drove down to the range. For the first couple weeks no one showed up with a recurve or longbow. Not wanting to give up, I kept going. Finally I saw someone with a longbow! I went up to him, introduced myself and asked if I could ask him a few questions. He said “sure”. The first question I asked was “I think I’m aiming straight, but all my arrows are ending up on the left. What’s happening”. He responded, “just aim more to the right”. I didn’t know if he was being a “wise guy” or if that was his true answer. After a few more questions, I knew that this wasn’t the person for me to ask. Once again, I had to put down one weapon for another because I was uneducated. From there on out, I hunted with my compound and picked up my stickbow just for fun. I was disappointed, but still stoked that I was able to bow hunt.
As years went on, I had a better understanding of computers and soon found out about hunting forums. I started to stumble upon more and more information about bowhunting, specifically traditional bowhunting. Although I visited a few sites, TradGang was where I hung out. I met many great people and learned a bunch. At the same time, I was purchasing every traditional DVD out there and it was the first Masters of the Barebow that impacted me. Thanks to Denny, I met Rod, another guy who has been a huge influence in my shooting and tuning. That was a traditional turning point.
So finally when I thought I had the tuning and shooting down, missed shots in the field became my next nemesis. I can still remember my first heart breaker shot. I climbed to one of the highest ridges, pulled off the perfect stalk on one of the biggest billies and at ten yards I shot two feet over it’s back! It took everything in me to not toss that bow over the ledge! Let me tell you, there were many more heart breaker shots. Some that still haunt me till today!
As I soon found out, reading and talking about it was one thing, but trying to apply the strategies in the real world was another ball game. Lucky for me, my wife Staci was along for the ride. She’s been a shooting partner, sounding board, and supporter from day one. I’ve had many sleepless nights and have talked to Staci about the same thing over and over again! Together we worked tirelessly on our shooting, tuning and hunting. I finally feel that we’re making some headway and definitely learning, not only about bowhunting, but about ourselves and our lives.
Although it was probably the biggest hindrance in my bowhunting career, you can say I’ve grown obsessed with tuning, shooting and hunting with a stickbow. It was either going to make me or break me as I wasn’t going to knowingly fire a misguided arrow at an animal. I’ve never been one to make excuses. If I failed, I wanted to know it was all me and not my equipment. With hunting, there are times that you have just one shot and I say, “Make it Count”!
Because I’ve struggled so much. Because I spent many sleepless nights. Because I appreciate those who have helped me. I’ve decided to try and help others with what I can. I feel that I’ve found things that have worked for me and used those strategies to harvest numerous Hawaiian game animals with a stickbow. Now keep in mind, there are many great ways to shoot and tune. I‘ve just decided that I wanted to share what has worked for me over the past years. I’ve still got lots to learn and I’ll continue to do so as this will be a never ending journey for me. Take it from me, to become a traditional bowhunter, you don’t need to be good, just dedicated.
Mahalo and Aloha from the Hawaiian Islands!
Ryan K Sanpei
Below are the links to the TECHTUNE Resources.