A couple of good shotsDeer bow hunting season opened Sept. 4 and one Dickinson couple said couple hunting teams are becoming popular.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
Deer bow hunting season opened Sept. 4 and one Dickinson couple said couple hunting teams are becoming popular.
After taking an archery class in high school, Brian Ehrmantraut was hooked and has been shooting archery since 1984.
His wife Ruth Ehrmantraut started her archery addiction four years ago.
“I taught Ruth how to hunt,” Brian said. “I bought her a bow and she said she likes being outside doing it.”
Brian said Ruth “started out pretty good right off the bat.”
Contrary to popular belief, quite a few women bow hunt, Ruth said.
“You want to be able to pull and use a bow that’s going to kill effectively, to pull for 40 pounds,” she said. “Most of the average gals can pull 40 pounds. The more in shape you are the better … if you don’t shake.”
The Ehrmantrauts said they often hunt with other couples in the area.
“It is a great pastime for husbands and wives to spend time together,” Ruth said. “You can take long walks. It’s a peaceful atmosphere…you both sit in stands…”
The Ehrmantrauts hunt their deer with the use of a tree stand and their legs, often walking several miles. But, they do not walk aimlessly or without a plan.
“Usually whitetails are more of a tree stand deer because they have patterns you can catch whereas mule deer are in the grasslands,” Ruth said.
While the Ehrmantrauts said they have not been out yet this season, as it has been too warm, they generally hunt west of Belfield and in the Badlands.
“Next month we’re going to Wisconsin,” Brian said.
From the couple’s harvest, Ruth said she and Brian make country-style sausage, bratwurst, steaks and homemade jerky.
To keep their eyes and aim sharp, the Ehrmantrauts practice their archery skills a couple hours a week and have been honing their skills most of the year.
“When it’s not deer hunting we compete in target archery and local archery club tournaments,” Ruth said.
Members of the Roughrider Archers Club, the Ehrmantrauts practice year-round at Dickinson’s indoor 20-yard shooting range and during the warmer, snowless months, at the outdoor range which includes 24 targets scattered at different ranges.
“We’ve got a really good club in town,” Brian said. “We have meetings, banquets and indoor tournaments. There is getting to be a lot of women and younger people.”
About 16,500 deer bow licenses were issued for ages 16 and older for North Dakota residents in 2008, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
NDGF sells deer bow licenses at more than 500 venders throughout the state. Exact totals of licenses issued will not be known until March as many license issuers do so by hand and only 57 of those venders issue licenses online. From Sept. 2 to date, electronic sales of resident deer bow licenses total 4,780.
Indoor archery tournaments span a majority of the winter, after January through April and are held all over the state including Hazen, Fargo, Center and Bismarck, Brian said.
“Pretty much every month you’ll be able to find a place to shoot,” Brian said. “If you don’t want to compete you can walk through.”
Part of the hunting experience is to be amongst Mother Nature and speaking from experience, Brian offered some sound advice.
“When you figure out you like it, it kind of comes natural,” Brian said. “You have to go out with the idea to enjoy the experience not the idea to harvest the animal.
“You’ll have a lot more fun if you go out there with the idea to enjoy nature.”