Remembering the achievements of one of the greatest archers of all time.
Howard Hill was a name I was unfamiliar with until I picked up a book he wrote titled Hunting the Hard Way, found here, and is a name I will never forget after reading it.
Howard Hill, along with guys like Saxon Pope and Fred Bear, helped to carry the sport of archery through the hard years of the early 20th century. Here are a few of his most incredible accomplishments with a bow and arrow.
1. Wing Shooting
Once in a while you read an article about a guy who shot a few pheasants with his bow, or you can watch a YouTube video of somebody knocking a few out of the air.
Hill took this type of accuracy to a whole new level, and is credited with shooting 20 ducks on the wing. I’ve sat in a duckblind long enough to know these suckers can scoot right along, and shooting 20 on the wing is quite a feat.
2. 115-Pound Longbow
Are you kidding me? Some of the heaviest compound bows today get into the 90lb range and they have to be custom built, and not to mention, they have an 80 percent let off.
Hill shot heavy bows because he felt they were more accurate and adjusting for distance was easier. In his book, Hunting the Hard Way, he encouraged all archers to pick up the heaviest bow they could for the same reason. On a side note, Hill shot a bow over 70 pounds well into his 60s. Yikes.
3. The Prune Shot
In addition to being a bona fide ace in the hunting arena, Howard Hill also starred in several films. One film, The Cavalcade of Archery, was made expressly to showcase his shooting prowess. In one scene, Hill reenacts a scene of William Tell’s age-old story of shooting an apple off his son’s head.
Going one step further, Hill not only knocks an apple off his friend’s head, but he then proceeds to shoot a prune off his head as well. Not only that, but if you watch the film you’ll see without a doubt that Hill is using a broadhead to do the shooting.
4. Elephant Kills
Elephants are often regarded as one of the most dangerous game species in the world. Howard Hill trekked to Africa and took a slew of big game, including three elephants, with his bow.
Watching the video of the hunt, its hard not to get a feel for the danger Hill is placing himself in against 10,000 pounds of upset elephant. Taking three bulls with traditional archery equipment is a feat worth remembering.
5. Buffalo from Horseback
What is a more iconic image of archery than an Indian hunter riding down a buffalo and zipping a well-placed arrow into the charging beast? Hill’s book Hunting the Hard Way opens with his story of doing just that on the Wyoming plains. While mounted atop an old buffalo runner, Hill raced through a stampeding herd and slid up beside the herd bull of the group.
Imagine the dust filling the air, the rushing wind, the pounding hoofs of the horse and buffalo mixing together into a thunderous cacophony, and the adrenaline that had to be putting his body into high altitude mode. Not only is this hunt dangerous, but exciting and unique to modern hunters. For its romance and hair-raising excitement, it has to be considered the greatest feat of Howard Hill’s illustrious hunting career.