Besides being one of the nicest guys you will ever...

Besides being one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, Nathan Andersohn is the first person to shoot the Grand Slam with a longbow.  Nathan owns his own law firm in Broomfield Colorado and is a regular contributor to Traditional Bowhunter Magazine .  When Nathan is not practicing law or hunting he enjoys skiing and “working” (building blinds) on his farm  in Kansas.   Nathan is well on his way to be the first to shoot the Super Slam with a longbow.

General

How long have you been hunting?Longbow Desert Ram taken by Nathan Anderson
35 years

Where do you live?
Broomfield, Colorado

What is your favorite species to hunt?
I am asked this question a lot and I don’t have a favorite species. Every Fall I have a series of big game hunts planned and I look forward to each one of them.

Sheep Hunting

How many sheep hunts have you been on?
I went on five hunts to take the Grand Slam of North American Sheep with my longbow. The only hunt I repeated was the stone sheep hunt. I wish I had as many hunts as Tom Foss; However, Tom Hoffman puts us all to shame.

Where were your sheep hunts?
My bighorn hunt was in the State of Colorado, the dall sheep hunt was in Northwest Territories, both stone sheep hunts were in British Colombia and my desert sheep hunt was in Mexico.

Which outfitter did you hunt with? Why did you choose this outfitter?
My first hunt for sheep was the bighorn in Colorado; it was a self guided hunt. I hunted for dall sheep with Greg Williams, Nahanni Butte Outfitters, because he had the best reputation of any outfitter in North America for his success with bowhunters. My stone sheep was taken with Upper Stikine River Adventures. My guide was the outfitter Jerry Geraci and I picked him because he had guided several of my bowhunting friends to rams. I chose Carmen Island for my desert hunt because of a recommendation by Greg Williams; he felt that the island had suitable terrain for bowhunters.

Did the outfitter offer you the proper gear list and preparation information?
All of the outfitters gave me general information of what to bring; however, none of the outfitters were bowhunters and therefore did not have a complete understanding of my gear needs.

What were the weather conditions throughout your hunt?
My bighorn hunt was in November and there was a foot of fresh snow on the mountain. My desert sheep hunt was at the other extreme with mid-day temperatures reaching the eighties.

What was the hardest part of your hunt?
The hardest part of hunting sheep with a longbow is the psychological preparation to be patient and wait for a stalking opportunity to develop, which is feasible for a close shot. There is a definite intensity required to do what is necessary to close the deal with a limited range weapon.

What were you not prepared for?
I was not prepared for the absolute beauty of the mountain ranges I hunted and the excitement that I would experience upon taking the rams.

Gear

What is your gear list for a Stone or Dall Sheep Hunt?
I have attached a gear list for my dall sheep hunt.
Dall Sheep Backpack List by Nathan Anderson

What would you change on this list?
I would take higher quality, lighter weight gear. In 1994, when I did my dall sheep hunt, the gear selection was quite different than today. In the last five years I have used a single, adjustable aluminum walking stick whenever I carry a heavy backpack. The stability is amazing and I would not go on a sheep hunt without one. The Marmot Helium Sleeping Bag and Jetboil Stove are both great products for sheep hunters.

What was your loaded pack weight?
My pack weighed over 50lbs.

What size pack & brand of pack did you carry? Would you take this pack again?
I believe I was using a Peak One Coleman backpack. I still use this pack; it is light weight and has enough room for everything that I can carry.

Do you have any recommendations of gear not typically on a gear list?
I always carry a SOG multi function tool, sunscreen, small tube of gun oil or Vaseline to waterproof my broadheads, orange flagging tape, water filter, camel back hydration system and a face mask.

Training

What physical conditioning program did you do to get ready for your hunt(s)?

  • Cardio – Going to the gym several times a week has been part of my life since I was 31. I either run or use the stair machine during every workout.
  • Strength training – Most of my weightlifting is oriented toward my upper body to keep me in condition for shooting my bow. Over the years, one thing that I have learned is that squats are a wonderful workout for the mountain hunter.

Any other training you would recommend?
I have always maintained that the best way to get into shape for climbing mountains is to climb mountains. During the summers in Colorado I try to climb a couple 14,000 ft. peaks, carrying my hunting packs and using the same boots and walking stick that I use during hunting seasons.

Tony Mudd is the guy to talk to about conditioning; he is always buffed out.

Shooting

How did you prepare?
I have shot traditional equipment instinctively for my entire life. Since 1988, I have exclusively shot longbows. Regardless of what I am hunting, the most important thing is to properly execute the shot. Even though I have always hoped to take shots under 25 yards on any hunt, I practice extensively at 40-60 yards before any sheep hunt. Close range shots become easier when you practice at long range. Luckily I have never had to take an extremely long shot, however, three of my sheep were shot between 35 and 45 yards.

Shot distance(s)?
See above

What was your bow set up?
I used a 60lb Bighorn Ram Hunter longbow for my dall, stone and bighorn hunts. I took the desert sheep with an Alaskan Black Wolf 53lb longbow. All four sheep were shot with aluminum or carbon arrows weighing around 450 grains. Two of the sheep were taken with Zwickey Eskimo Four Blade Broadheads. Another with a three blade Woodsman and the last one with a three blade Razorcap.

Any changes you would make?
I would not change a thing on any of the hunts, as at the time of each hunt I was using the best gear I could find.

Closing

What advice do you have for a first time sheep hunter?
Before undertaking the physical and mental stress of a sheep hunt, I would recommend that anyone who desires to hunt sheep to go on numerous spot and stalk hunts for elk, mule deer and caribou to learn stalking techniques and also to become self educated on the gear necessary to survive the elements in high elevation situations. It is also good to become accustomed to hunting with guides, planning stalks and working as a team to spot and stalk rams. The first time sheep hunters should definitely study the record books and learn how to score a ram before the hunt so that the hunter has some idea of what he is looking for and to understand the requirements for a legal ram.

Anything else you would recommend or we are missing?
I look at sheep hunting the same way I did taking finals in law school; it requires extensive preparation after many hardships and struggles. No one ever practiced too much with their archery equipment or worked out too much in the gym preparing for a sheep hunt. If a bowhunter is not totally obsessed with hunting sheep he should wait until he is. The highs and lows of hunting such a noble animal are very hard to describe to a person who has not experienced it. However, no matter how tough it is, there is an incredible high when a bowhunter touches his first downed ram on the side of a remote mountain, harvested with a homemade arrow. Most of all, have fun.  Whether a hunter draws a tag or buys a hunt, savor the whole process, from scouting and gear selection to telling the stories when you get home.  It’s a privilege to go sheep hunting.

This article has 4 comment(s)

  1. Tom

    It’s been a privilige to have known Nathan since 1994. If he carves anymore notches into that particular Bighorn longbow, it’s gonna break! Great interview.

    -Tom

  2. Tony Mudd

    Excellent interview! I too have known Nathan for years. What he has accomplished with a longbow is amazing. My hats off to him. He’ll keep you laughing most of the time too!

    Tony

  3. Tavis Rogers

    Great interview Nate! Congratulations again on getting that Sheep Slam with a longbow! Hurry up and get the rest of those North American species for the Super Slam!

    Tavis

  4. “Grub” Matthews

    Nate is a true friend who is always there for you. Our first hunt together was on Kuiu Island, Alaska for blackies.
    He’s dedicated to the sport of traditional archery and willing to give back with shared knowledge by speaking at banquets and writing articles.
    He’s a world class bowhunter. Focused. Humble. Accomplished. Friend.
    Good luck with the 29.