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The other evening, those in our household found ourselves in a very unusual situation.

We had an evening of free time. Work had been finished, dinner cooked, kitchen cleaned, chores were caught up to date, exercise performed, and even my honey-do list had mostly strike-through marks crossing out the items on my list.

So, with the newfound freedom, we plopped ourselves on the couch and fired up the big screen, and pointed the remote toward our favorite streaming channels.

I will admit, I’m not a TV guy or a binge-watching fan.

When a group gathers and starts talking about the shows they are binging and how wonderful they are, I generally slither out the back door in hopes of finding someone who wants to communicate about hellgrammites and smallmouth bass, or which turkey call best mimics the kee-kee run call used for fall turkey hunting.

But, to my surprise, we landed on a channel and a show about a group of people competing in a survival scenario in the wilds of the Arctic.

According to the History Channel, “Alone” is the most intense survival series on television.

No camera crews.

No gimmicks.

It is the ultimate test of human will.

As the men and women battled their environment for food, water, shelter and loneliness, I found myself drawn into the reality show.

They were making fires, building structures in which to live and hunting, fishing and trapping for food.

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As a lifelong learner of all things categorized as arts of outdoor pursuits, I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching them perform their skills while self-filming every move of their victories and struggles.

Each person was allowed to bring a certain amount of survival gear, and most brought a bow — not just any bow, a traditional longbow or recurve.

Not only did they bring a traditional bow to hunt, but this particular group of people could also shoot!

They were proficient in the hunting of rabbits, squirrels, porcupines, even muskox. Not only was I impressed for a reality show to be based on a reality that I was interested in, but I was also fascinated by their bows.

So much so that my memories of growing up a bow hunter and the fun I had learning to shoot traditional bows came flooding in.

The next morning, I had to own one. With kids, career and life obligations, I did not own a traditional bow and I regret selling or giving away my recurve bows over the years.

To remedy my situation, I gathered as many trading classified papers as I could source and spent my lunch hour looking through the classifieds to see if anyone who made a mistake as I did by selling their traditional archery equipment.

As I flipped through the last of the papers, I found a listing for a bow. Not just any bow, a Bear Kodiak Hunter!

This particular bow was one I have never owned but was always Jonesing after ever since I first laid eyes on one as a child. I was impressed then that a recurve bow was designed specifically for hunting, and with a name like Kodiak, it had to be the best.

Now I may never be on a reality show in the Arctic pounding out 100 days trying to survive, but thanks to the show I have rekindled my love affair with stick and string bows.

In fact, this archery season here at home, I plan on using the bow to hunt deer at my farm and creating my own reality show experience.

As a reminder, archery seasons open in West Virginia on Sept 25, and the Mountaineer Heritage Season, for primitive weapons, opens Jan. 13.

Chris Ellis is a veteran of the outdoors industry. His book “Hunting, Fishing and Family from The Hills of West Virginia” is available at Contact him at

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