“It’s just a quiver, something to put your arrows in,” she said with complete sincerity.
“No, it’s more than that,” I replied without a way to accurately describe it. Of course she is right. A quiver is nothing more than something that holds your arrows, but I’ve come full circle in terms of selecting one I like.
When I became a man and had the resources to buy my own quiver, I initially chose one for functionality. I wanted one that mounted on my bow for hunting. I wanted it to hold six arrows, not because I intended to miss but a man can never be too sure. When I practiced I just shoved my arrows down in my back pocket.
When I began making and shooting selfbows I chose a quiver based on appearance vs. functionality. Every self-respecting selfbow shooter had a back quiver so I had to have one too. Of course every time I bent over the arrows fell out of it and as I walked through the woods before daylight my arrows hung on every limb within 10 yards of me. I sounded like a man trying to get to his treestand pushing a wheelbarrow full of shovels through the woods. And then there is that reaching back for an arrow when you shoot and barely being able to grasp the nock of the arrow you did not want to begin with and then fighting to stretch just one more inch to get the one you want.
Big men are especially fun to watch struggle with a back quiver. They reach as far as they can but they can’t see that they are coming up 6 inches short so, thinking they are just a half-inch short of the arrow, they keep straining, as they turn red in the face. They usually try two or three times until they finally give up at which time they reach up with their opposite hand and grab the strap across their chest and then pull the quiver up onto their shoulder and pick out an arrow.
After fighting and losing with two or three back quivers, including several that I made for myself, I decided that they looked really cool filled with arrows hanging on the wall in my shop. I then went to a forward facing target quiver, which I liked, but you could not hunt with it due to the noise and it’s unwieldiness in the woods. This quiver is the target archers dream. You can hang stuff from snaps all over it, put your bowyers square in by the arrow tubes, separate your arrows, include a bare shaft, hang two or three back up tabs on it and look like an archer scientist. With that quiver it doesn’t matter if you can hit a target, you look the part. Everyone that sees you on the practice range naturally assumes that you must be a professional.
After getting over the, “it’s not how you shoot it’s how you look,” phase of life I settled on a rearward facing side quiver that seems to keep the arrows out of my way and has adequate space for my tab, a backup string, arm guard, and a pencil. For hunting I strapped one of those back quivers to a little backpack in which I can carry some hand warmers, my dragline, a snack and my camera. Out back I have a little pocket quiver that helps my hip pocket hold the arrows without them falling out on the ground as I walk. I’m satisfied for the moment, but I’m old enough now to know that I may change my mind tomorrow.
“You’re right honey. It’s just a quiver. I’ll try and do better.”