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Tip My Hat To M.R. James
Tip of my hat to Marion R. James, better known as M.R. He is a founder and driving force of Bowhunter Magazine, a true conservationist, on my list as top five bowhunter in the world, a tremendously talented writer and a great friend. He is also, three-years my senior and as of yesterday, he has hunted 98-straight days this season. Now, the rest of the story.
A close friend of his passed away in 2017. Prior to his passing, he gave M.R. a favorite recurve and asked him to kill a buck with it. (I think I have that straight however, the friend’s wife may have given to him.-not positive.) Anyway, M.R. has been hunting the same buck for 98-days, a beautiful 10-point. On several occasions, he has passed up shots at 30-35 yards because M.R, will not shoot an animal with a recurve at over 20-yards. Yesterday, day 98, he once again passed up a 30-yard, broadside shot. Looking at pictures, I would say this buck is in the high 120’s. Not a monster, just the one M.R. picked out. In addition, he has passed up many smaller bucks. He has two days left in his season.
Readers, that is what bowhunting is all about. That is a bowhunter. It is not about killing old deer or big deer or many deer or taking long shots. It is about three things-dedication, enjoyment of the outdoors and self-imposed ethics. I wonder how many on this site, have that kind of dedication. I know I do not. I know there were days, M.R. did not feel well, days it was raining or cold as in four degrees one morning and days when, as so often it is with me, he just did not feel like going. But he went.
I tip my hat to friend M.R. and look forward to hunting a day or so with him next year. It is time for a gathering of graybeards.
M.R. cracks up at one of my lame jokes when we shared a few days in deer camp, some years ago. You'll not find a better camp mate.
He’s always been a class act. And he put together a team of other class acts when he ran Bowhunter. Many of those same people run the magazine today. He has done more for bow hunting than most will ever realize.
The accomplishments of many who make a difference are often overlooked or dismissed due to quite a variety of reasons, and not all of these reasons are free of malice. MR may, to some extent, fall into this category. I certainly agree with the statement above that, "He has done more for bowhunting than most will ever realize." And, his efforts and contributions date back over 50 years. Archery and bowhunting as we know it today would be a different, and lesser, place without his efforts. He is a man who certainly deserves all the accolades sent his way.
I should have added at the end of my post...Thanks MR, it has been a pleasure!
Truly an icon in bowhunting.
Always friendly and down to earth.
I don't know him. Only of him. He indeed seems like a great guy. And, has more resolve than I do. God Bless
From one gray beard to another Mr. James, nicely done. my best, Paul
When I started bowhunting he was one that I idiolized. He is one of the greats in the bowhunting world.
Hope he gets his shot at his target buck!
It's because of MR I found the Bowsite. Someone took out an ad in Bowhunter and that led me to the Bowsite. I still subscribe to Bowhunter but enjoy the Bowsite more.
M.R. is the real deal. A true bowhunting icon and one of the most genuine personalities I've ever met. Pretty good author/writer too...... ;^)
I met MR at Spearhead Ranch on an Antelope hunt somewhere around 15 years or so ago. Pat was there also. I remember MR as being a really nice guy. What I remember most about MR was his wife's cookies. Man, they were good.
LOL- Her fudge is even better. I think Jim Dougherty and I, foundered on it, one time.
I'll sit at the feet of an honorable man who can bowhunt 98 days in row. Given his bearing and profession, I reckon most of us have done just that.
When I sold my first story to him and received that hand-signed acceptance letter it was like God himself had touched me. Truly a living legend, and it's a shame so many newbie and millennial bowhunters have no clue about his massive contributions, and instead idolize rock star TV "hunters" who couldn't carry MR's jock strap.
Yep, a cool dude and a great writer. Check out his essay "Dealing With Death" if you can, it's in the book collected by David Peterson titled "A Hunter's Heart- Honest Essays On Bloodsport".
I was on deer hunt with him, Larry Jones and Neil Summers one year in Kansas. I knew he was the founder of Bowhunter but didn't really realize at the time just how big of a deal he was. I had never heard of Larry or Neil at the time. I think the year was maybe maybe 97' or 98'. I figured he would be kind of an arrogant guy but was way off on that. Him along with Larry and Neil were super nice to me. I was 23 or 24 years old at the time and on my first ever hunt. The stories I heard every evening, of some of the hunts these guys had been on and the people they hunted with, had me hooked forever on bowhunting. We spent the middle part of the day shooting at 3d targets or some little foam ball thingy that Larry brought. Many years later I realized how fortunate I was to get to hang with these guys for a week. The hunt itself was a bust for all of us but after many many hunts since, its still ranks as one of the best I've ever been on.
If you are confident enough to surround yourself with top end talent with high moral character you are a wise man. MR is a very wise man in many ways. He was President of the P&Y Club during a very challenging time but did a fantastic job. Thanks big time! C
He has a huge heart for Fair Chase ethical bowhunting. An icon and a mentor for a great number of bowhunter. Ed F
There are guys that hunt with a bow, and there are bowhunters. MR is a bowhunter
Hope he gets that buck! M.R. came to my remote bear camps several times and when he let arrrows rip it was always a short trail to very dead bears. Bet he’s having fun and loving the challenge with that recurve. When he wrote an article my phone would ring steady and very few folks were kicking tires. Well over 100 clients told me “ If M.R. says it’s good I gotta go so tell when to be there. “ He has had the trust and respect of thousands of serious bow hunters for a very long time and it is well deserved.
Just found it. I sold my first article to M.R. in 1983. It was the first of several for a few years.
Wow, the words written here in respect of the man speak for themselves. And it’s not even an obituary! :)
My dealings with MR always left me with the impression of a complete class act in all regards. This tribute to his friend and his dedication to seeing it through should be an inspiration to everyone. Well done MR.
He is one of my heroes and I couldn't agree with you more John. Trailblazer.
As you say, a real class act! I met him the first time back in 1980 when he was the guest speaker at the Kansas Bowhunter's Assoc. banquet. He mixed & mingled just like one of the members. A few years later, I started going to the P&Y conventions. He remembered me like it was only yesterday.
The KBA wants to get him back to speak, but with his age, he will not commit to anything very long range.
From one Tn.graybeard to another great read John loved his book on bow hunting best and had a good chapter on bigdan thanks for sharing Lewis
Reading my dads Bowhunter magazines in the late 70's before I was old enough to hunt, made a eastern farm boy dream of chasing elk, sheep and mule deer in the western mountains. I vividly remember enjoying MR's articles as a kid...that magazine created the burn inside of me to bowhunt that will last a lifetime. MR is certainly a legend in my eyes.
Not much more I can add that hasn’t already been said, other than this. Just think where Bowhunting would or would not be, without him! Thanks M R!!
Years ago (13 or 14 yrs.) when I was first getting into traditional archery I emailed bowhunter magazine asking about what to look for in a new bow and general advice. I figured they might send me back an email, after all that magazine must receive countless letters and emails asking for help. A couple weeks later I got a phone call from no other than MR himself. He told me what to look for and even gave me a name of another person to call in my home town that he knew shot trad. It says a lot about ones character when he took the time to return my message personally. I will always appreciate his help he gave me. Matt Houska