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Hope you all had a Merry Christmas.  Staying on the course of recommended reading, I read two books this last year that I think no bowhunter should miss: “Life at Full Draw: The Chuck Adams Story” and “Super Slam!”

It was Chuck Adams who inspired me as a young man to get really serious about bowhunting and writing. Rokslide Prostaffer, Doug Rosin, suggested I read the books and boy am I glad I did.  Written over a decade ago, neither book is hardly new, but both fall into the classic category.  While virtually everyone knows who Chuck Adams is, I’d wager that most people don’t realize how hard he worked nor the path he choose to become one of the best bowhunters and outdoor writers the world will ever know.  I’ll give a brief overview of each book here and you can decide if either should be on your “to-read” list.  

 

“Life at Full Draw: The Chuck Adams Story” was written by Gregg Gutschow who says of Chuck in the book’s introduction, “This is the true story of Chuck Adams—a behind-the-scenes, unabridged account of the least-understood, best-known hunter ever.”  I’d agree with Gutschow’s assessment. The book’s forward was written by a younger Jim Shockey who was greatly inspired by Chuck’s great achievements (and we all know where that led Jim).

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The book opens with the chapter, “Born to Hunt.”  It details Chuck’s childhood—his family influences such as his father, Charles Sr., and grandpa Brockman—and how growing up in Ishi country near Chico, California set the course of Chuck’s life.  Not Ironically, Chuck was awarded the coveted Ishi Award later in his life after taking the World Record Yellowstone Elk in September of 2000.  The book moves quickly through Chuck’s college years in pursuit of a Bachelors of English, family and marriage, and landing the job that sealed his fate as an outdoor writer at a then new publication: Peterson’s Hunting. 

You’ll read about his now famous Super Slam in it’s infancy, Chuck’s greatest hunts, and the ups and downs of working and writing full time in the hunting world. There is also an interesting chapter “What the Guides and Outfitters Say.” While Chuck prefers to go DIY, he will hire an outfitter where the law requires or if it’s the only way to access animals or country.  Contrary to what you might think, most outfitters and guides are not impressed with outdoor writers but Chuck seems to buck that trend.

There are chapters on the record books (earning 111 P&Y Awards is not the bowl of cherries one might think it is,) The Dark Continent, and the Bowhunting business that are bound to both interest and surprise you.  Chuck shares his secrets on keeping his passion alive even after it became his job. 

“Life at Full Draw: The Chuck Adams Story” will give you a new found respect for an incredible hunter who has brought more interest to bowhunting than any other writer or hunter.

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“Super Slam!”, the second book, was authored by Chuck himself.  In it, Chuck takes his reader on the incredible journey of the first bowhunter to harvest all 27 species of North American big game.  Every story behind every animal is there and written in Chuck’s simple straightforward style.  You’ll naturally become a better stalker of all game (the method he used most in his career) by carefully studying each chapter of “Super Slam”.

Some of the best stories were his British Columbian Grizzly, his World Record Coues deer, a 200″+ Alberta muley (my fav), and his Polar Bear (taken without dogs.)  Chuck writes about his World Record Mountain Caribou and what it was like to discover Sitka deer heaven at a time few people were paying attention to our northern deer.  The story behind his World Record Yellowstone Elk illustrates just how good Chuck was at focusing on one animal until the job was done.  It was that same elk that later earned him the Ishi Award.  There is the incredible story of his Canmore Alberta Bighorn Sheep hunt in minus 50 degree weather and the heartbreaking Desert Sheep finale to his Grand Slam of Sheep.  

Chuck writes about the mounting competition in the final years of the pursuit of his Super Slam.  Few people know that there were other very capable hunters hot on Chuck’s tail to beat him to the crown of archery slams.  Chuck also shares his incredible knowledge on a wide variety of species including in-the-field scoring techniques.  A thoroughly enjoyable book that takes the reader across the vast North American Landscape, Super Slam provides more bowhunting action than you’ll find anywhere.

In my opinion, everyone should study this hunter of hunters…Chuck Adams.  You’ll be a better hunter for it!

I found “Life at Full Draw: The Chuck Adams Story” on Amazon here

and “Super Slam!” here

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Robby Denning
Robby Denning started hunting mule deer in the late 1970’s, only missing one season in 35 years. At 25, he gave up the pursuit of all other big-game to focus on taking the best bucks possible. He began hunting the West on a DIY budget hunting an average of 30 days a year for mule deer. Robby loves the hunt as much as the kill and the entire process from research to scouting to hunting. He’s killed four bucks over 200 inches in the last 15 seasons, mostly on easily-obtained tags. He owns a public-land scouting service and runs a private-land outfitting business helping other hunters in their pursuit of deer and elk. Robby has scouted and hunted literally thousands of square miles of mule deer country and brings a wealth of knowledge about these experiences with him. To him, the weapon of choice is just a means-to-an-end and will hunt with bow, rifle, or muzzleloader – whatever it takes to create an opportunity to take a great mule deer. He is also the author of "Hunting Big Mule Deer" available on Amazon. Robby believes all of creation is from God for man to manage, respect, and through which to know its Creator

7 COMMENTS

  1. Well written reviews. I realize Chuck is a great hunter. I was at a seminar where he spoke, I was looking to do some learning about archery elk. I walked away from the seminar trying to figure out what he said that had to do with archery elk. I still don’t know. Your review has rekindled a desire to learn from him. Maybe if I read these books, I’ll get a different perspective on what he has to say.

  2. Don’t know what happened Bruce but I know I’m a better hunter for reading the books. I was surprised at how aggressive Chuck is in stalking and how much research he puts into his hunts. Many people think he got paid to go on all those hunts- NOT- he paid for them.

  3. Roby, I think it was the fact I was at an elk hunting seminar looking to get some good solid info on elk hunting. Chuck got up and told about a few hunts he had been on, but never went into detail about how he hunts. I hope to get these books and study them with an open mind looking to glean from them what I can about hunting.

  4. I have read Life at Full Draw (but have yet to read Super Slam) and found the book to be an insightful look at how Chuck Adams motivates himself; he was one of the leading bowhunters to fire my passion for our wonderful sport, nearly thirty years ago.

    Whilst sharing hunting camp in South Africa in 2002, I happened to mention to a hunting journalist who was also in camp how Chuck had inspired me. Back in the same camp the following year, and having written an article for ‘Bowhunter’ magazine, I heard from the journalist who’d been in camp the year before, who had recently interviewed Chuck, and having mentioned to Chuck that I’d been encouraged to pursue the sport by Chuck’s writings, Chuck was really pleased to learn of my hunting successes.

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