Straight Talk - Jim Dougherty By Frank Addinton Jr.
Mar 13, 2007 - 6:59:20 AM
FA: Jim, where were you raised and who exposed you to hunting?
I was raised in South Pasadena, CA, ( born in 1936) lived there until the early 1970's. My father exposed me to hunting, he was a shotgun bird hunter primarily, he took up archery well after I did. He made me bows and arrows from the bamboo hedge alongside our house, he had no knowledge of archery, just something a father did for his son but that tweaked my interest in archery. Later he bought me a lemonwood bow and some arrows, I was about 9 or so but I guess you could say that's when I took up the sport.
FA: How much of your life has been spent in or around the archery business?
I was about 13, maybe just 14 when Doug Kittredge opened his archery shop in South Pasadena. I stopped in a couple times. It was just a small shop, a front end retail store and manufacturing in the back. Doug was primarily in the arrow business then. I asked him about a job, we had hit it off pretty good talking about fishing and my interest in archery, he said "yes" and I've been in it ever since.
FA: What were some of your earliest bow hunts ?
Hunting deer in the foothills around Pasadena, Glendale, La Canada. All places that have grown up and vanished over time. Later, as we got older my buddies and I made trips to the Kaibab in AZ, northern Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Getting that first deer was hard, after that they came easier.
Alaska called and this Moose went down in 1969
FA: What was your first actual job in the archery industry?
Sweeping the floors, spinning wood shafts.
FA: How many grandkids do you have? Any of them into archery?
We have 12 grandchildren, 7 boys, 5 girls. Most all are into bowhunting, not too much into competition? My youngest granddaughter took a buck this past season at age 11. My grandson in Idaho has taken two bucks, he just turned 13, Brian, here in OK has killed 4 or 5, Brad got his first two seasons ago, didn't hunt much this season. I think it's good that they get out and see what hunting's and the outdoors is all about, I certainly enjoy their company and that of their fathers who are all accomplished archers and bowhunters.
Jim with his Wyoming Antelope hunting with friend Judd Cooney - 1974
FA: Who are/were your archery heroes.
Well, Fred Bear for sure. I admire lots of folks in the sport but he comes immediately to mind as does Ben Pearson. Tom Jennings too.
FA: You've been pretty active in the industy, what offices have you held?
President of the American Archery Council and Pope & Young Club are the most notable.
This circa 1975 bowhunt resulted in a fine cougar.
FA: Dad was a fan of your arrow shafts, tell us about that.
I had an idea for some shaft patterns, the Natural being one. Anyhow I sat down with Jim Easton and they developed it for me, later there were others. The Serpent was the first attempt at permagraphics, very complicated, very successful.
FA: Were you in the retail archery business or just wholesale?
FA: You've hunted all over but do you have a favorite species you like to hunt the most?
Mule deer and/or elk
It was fun hunting javelina in South Texas
FA: Biggest bowhunting blunder?
There are too many to mention, let's just say I've gotten by in spite of myself!
FA: Who were some of your favorite hunting companions in those early years?
Doug Kittredge was a great partner, George Kili now deceased was another. My buddy George Wright (we are about the same age) has been my hunting partner for just about 50 years
FA: Have you ever had a favorite bow? Do you ever name your bows?
I had a Mercury Marauder I built at the Pearson plant that was my favorite for years, never named it though or any others.
FA: What's been your favorite trophy thus far?
I really don't have a favorite, each was the most important at the time and they all stack up pretty well in my memory book.
Nothing get the adrenalin going like bowhunting Cape Buffalo. Jim's was the last bowhunt to be conducted in Mozambique.
FA: You've seen quite a few changes in the sport. What equipment changes have impressed you the most.
Well, beyond the compound, which is not new anymore, I'd have to say carbon arrows, they keep getting better. Fiber optic sights for sure are a great aid especially for older guys like me. Ground blinds like the Double Bull are terrific. Range finders and improvement in hunting heads, even expandables, which I really don't care for . Scent containment products. The good stuff lasts, the bad stuff goes away. There's a lot of stuff we can do without but the old adage: He who dies with the most toys wins. Must have had some bowhunters in mind.
FA: Who are some major played that have had a lasting impact on our sport?
There have been many who have made significant contributions. Pete Shepley comes to mind as a true innovator and pioneer. Matt McPherson is another man with great vision for the sport. Jim Easton single handedly kept archery in the Olympic games, not mention has other sizeable contributions not many know of.
Nothing beats a bowhunt with friends for whitetail.
FA: Tell me a funny anecdote about Fred Bear
First time I ever went whitetail hunting. Fred and I walked down a long sloping ridge. He said we'd walk down the ridge and shoot our arrows into the bottom of the draw as we went, when we got to the end we'd drop into the bottom, walk back up as see what we got! Pretty cute!
FA: You have a lifetime of knowledge. Tell us about the books you have written.
I've written two for Digest Books (DBI) one on deer hunting, one on varmint calling. I just had a collection of my Trails End pieces published by Petersen's in a very nice book.
FA: Are you working on anything now readers should know about?
I'm working on another that's a combination history of bowhunting and autobiography that will be done some day! Currently I write full time for Petersen's Bowhunting and Bill Krenz' Inside Archery and a bit of free -lance here and there.
Hunting Kansas in 2003 Jim put another trophy buck on the ground.
FA: If you could go on a fantasy bowhunt with anyone around the campfire. Who would they be and where.
It would be with my sons, grandkids and a few very close friends. It would be a nice camp, shade trees and water, maybe a bit of fishing. Big campfire at night, lots of action, the grandkids would have a ball and we'd all have a very good time.
FA: You have designed products for various companies along the way, what were they?
Way back in the 60's Doug Kittredge and I designed the Silent Stalker, the first hip style broadhead quiver, we got the idea after my bow quiver broke and I rigged it to wear on my belt on a hunting trip. After that the 003 broadhead, a conventional three blade head that used razor blades for the cutting edge. Shortly after that I worked on the Switchblade by Ben Pearson, the Pearson Mercury Marauder, Pearson's Adjustable Bow Quiver and a handful of other accessories and of course there were the arrow shafts which was mostly an Easton project.
FA: What is your shooting style today?
I shoot Hoyt bows that are relatively short with a three to four pin sight, a caliper style release, four arrow bow quiver. Usually I set the bow up with a Center Rest, 4" to 5" helical fletching and shoot Easton aluminum arrows. I don't use a peep sight. I keep it pretty simple.
A stickler for well tuned equipment Jim checks an arrow before a hunt.
FA: Did you ever shoot instinctively?
Yes, for years and years right through the compound evolution.
FA: Describe your method.
High wrist grip, corner of the mouth anchor, looked through the string, let 'r rip! Worked real well!
FA: What do you think about today's archery industry?
It has come a long, long ways since I started. Most of today's archers have no idea what the old days were like, most don't even know who Fred Bear or Ben Pearson was. That's not wrong, just kind of sad. It has generally changed for the better, compound bows and whitetail deer have saved bowhunting and the industry. Changes will continue to be made, some will catch hold others will not, that's the way it has always been. I think today's archery industry is in pretty fair shape. To keep it growing we just need new archers…kids, we need lots of young people.