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Reflections

He's a Straight-Arrow Sportsman

December 26, 1987

Reflections showcases county people with an interesting life story and allows them to tell it in their own words.

Bob Fromme, 31, is quick to concede that hunting is "not right for everybody," but the sportsman and archery shop owner said that stalking and shooting wild game with a bow and arrow has brought him more challenge than anything he has done. Motocross racing, tennis and surfing consumed his free time during his high school years in Chino and college in San Diego, but one trip to Catalina with a compound bow got him hooked on a sport that became his profession. Although he has won three consecutive state championships for indoor target shooting--and teaches customers of all ages to hit the bull's - eye at the shooting range at his shop in Orange--it is the group trips he organizes to hunt in the wilderness of Alaska or Arizona that get his juices flowing.

His remarks were taken from an interview with Times staff writer Nancy Reed. There is a certain outdoor drive that you get when you are out there, and I don't know if it is an instinct or what. I really prefer eating wild game to beef because I took some time and actually harvested the animal with a fair chase--with a bow and arrow. I take a lot of pride in that. It's not just going down to some slaughterhouse and getting some pork that has been shot full of hormones and raised in a pen and hit on the head with a hammer.

Everything edible that I shoot, I eat. They (Department of Fish and Game officials) issue so many permits a year to match a certain harvest figure. All the money from hunting licenses and fees goes back into the department for research. People think we are out there shooting animals to see them die. But the people who want to see more game than anybody are outdoorsmen, hunters. I love animals. There is a big misconception about why people like to hunt, and it is so emotional.

It's hard to explain. I like the whole experience. I enjoy being out there for a few days. I enjoy the scenery, the camping part of it. I like the relaxation. The thing that drives you is looking for a particular animal, not shooting anything that walks by. If you are meat hunting because you need it like the Eskimos, then you shoot females; they are more tender. But for me to shoot a small animal isn't a challenge.

The thing that makes it tough is the challenge of archery. It takes a lot of skill to shoot a bow, especially in a hunting situation, because there are so many things that go wrong. You are using a very short-range weapon; you have to be 20 to 60 yards from the animal. There is a lot of strategy involved in how to approach the animal without him knowing that you are there. Then you have to make a good shot. The animal may hear the bow string, the wind could blow your arrow off course or you could be so damn excited that you can't hold the bow straight.

The percentage of hits is very low. Your yardage estimation has to be precise. One well-placed arrow behind the shoulders kills an animal within seconds. With an arrow, you only get one shot, and then they (the animals) are going to take off.

I got a caribou and a world-record mountain goat in southeast Alaska, the biggest one ever shot in the world. It has the largest horn and probably one of the biggest bodies, too. You have to bring out all the meat on those things. The challenge of shooting a bigger, exceptional animal is that he is going to be the oldest, the wisest.

That is why you make a trophy of him: He puts up the ultimate challenge as far as matching your skills. Plus he is about at the end of his life span. He is superior in survival tactics, compared with any of the other animals, because he has gotten through the harsh winters, he has survived hunters, he has gotten away from predators. The animal always has an escape route. He has wind currents where he can smell you. And where he can't smell you, he can see.

They are not too bad to eat. We have parties, a big barbecue. And I give (the meat) away to friends.

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