Bow Hunt By Nyal One November day, several years ago, I found myself with some surprise creeping through some bushes deep in the Arkansas wilderness. I was forced to be cautious of branches that whipped backwards, scratching my exposed skin, and dousing my already wet clothing with more moisture. It was early and it was cold, and I remember seriously questioning my judgment as I gingerly stepped in the muddy impressions left by my host who was largely responsible for this trip. I had met and talked with a man who was an avid hunter, who invited me out to observe the wildlife and his efforts to dominate it. Well, that, and he needed help hauling a carcass out of the brush. I consented on account of the fact that I loved the taste of venison and had no interest in hunting generally and gleefully relished the prospect of attaining fresh meat while possessing none of the skills required for obtaining it. Essentially, this is the whole story: we caught nothing. My hunter friend was exceptionally skilled at stalking his prey, he had a proven record of mounting heads on walls, and wonderful aim with his weapon of choice. We found a dozen or so potential prizes that squishy and frigid morning, my friend had several excellent shots, but we were frustrated in our role as top predators. Indeed, this trip was marked by what the hunter did not have; a rifle. This was a bow hunt. Much ink has been spilled and much frustration created as those within the running community come to terms with the barefoot running movement.Some will argue about injuries and injury prevention. More prattle about efficiency and speed. Others will opinehippy-like about returning to Mother Nature and how natural is inherently better. Many more simply speak in terms of enjoyment, pain, and such. For myself, all these interesting points are essentially irrelevant. My hunter friend hunted for years with a rifle. He was very good at it and could establish his prowess with a room full of vaguely creepy corpses. He had hunted many critters, some large and others striped, but after decades, he moved on to the final level of his passion: Soul. His philosophy was this: hunting plays out in three stages. One, learning how to do it. Two, learning how to do it well. Three, doing in a technical way. Bow hunting was his way of increasing the difficulty, simplifying the process, and finally, sharpening the skills. The final stage he called Soul. He knew that a rifle may or may not be a more efficient method of hunting, he surely realized he did not need to sneak up on an animal which has evolved an uncanny ability of not being able to be snuck up upon. Perhaps other hunters mocked him for being some kind of fundamentalist or pointless purist. But the trophies were no longer the point. The kill was not the goal blotting the horizon it once was. Instead, he found a way to hunt for the sake of hunting. Barefoot running, for this long time runner, did not appeal to me for any of the previously discussed reasons. I did not have a problem with injuries, I had no interest in efficiency or speed, and least of all was a hippy of any description. I really came down to the lesson I learned while watching a wise man hunt. I read and educated myself, and I was skeptical of the idea but tried it anyway. What I felt on my feet was not joy or pleasure or even texture. I sensed something else. A vibration that I had never discerned previously, a moving beat, or a unreadable text. I felt something there I had seen before and I felt compelled to understand it. I felt my Soul through my soles. I have been unshod ever since. I admit I find the controversies and discussions about barefoot running fascinating. I lap up with gusto threads on message boards, articles in magazines, and comments from fellow runners. However, this static is flying high above my head not intersecting much with the distilled thesis of barefoot running. Simply put, I have put my rifle away and picked up a bow.