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Remembering Larry Bamford.

Larry Bamford was 34 years old in 1971 when I asked him to become Bowhunter Magazine's first Hunting Editor. At the time he was a professor of industrial design at Arizona State University, but his 17 years of nationwide bowhunting experience interested me far more than any academic credentials. Soon we shook hands to cement our business arrangement. That marked the beginning of a friendship that lasted until cancer claimed Larry on February 28, 2004.

Although he was well known by his fellow professors and students, especially at Colorado State, it's likely that many modern bowhunters have never heard of Larry, despite his many contributions to bowhunting in the 1960s and 1970s. Longtime readers will recall his popular "Trophy Hunting" column, which appeared in Bowhunter from 1971 to 1980. Longtime Pope and Young members likely remember that he was the Club's second President, replacing P&Y founder Glenn St. Charles in 1972. Three years later Larry was the driving force behind publication of the first P&Y record book, for which I served as editor. And veteran bowhunters in Colorado, where Larry settled and helped write that state's bowhunting history, will remember Larry's myriad contributions.

Take it from me, Larry was unique. Intellectual, inquisitive, and a deadly instinctive shot with his trusty recurve, aiming and shooting Apache style, he was as much at home studying architecture at Harvard and Oxford as swapping hunting stories around some high-country campfire. Perhaps the first major university professor and licensed big game guide and outfitter in North America, he earned one Bachelor's degree, two Master's degrees, and two Doctorate degrees. Along the way Larry received national conservation honors and knife design awards.

Larry was the first bowhunter I knew to use takedown bows and takedown arrows on backpack hunts. He was the first bowhunter I knew in rig a double arrow rest, which allowed him to simultaneously shoot two arrows at bears standing at his baits. During a single 10-month period from 1967 to 1968, Larry arrowed two cougars, two black bears, two mule deer, one elk, and two Rocky Mountain goats. Seven of these animals qualified for the P&Y record book, and two were large enough to earn Boone and Crockett Club honors, as well. Larry once held the world record for the largest cougar ever arrowed (15 7/16 inches), and he was the first bowhunter in Colorado history to take all species listed on the 1960s-era Colorado Sportsman's License: deer, elk, bear, lion, goat, small game, and rough fish.

In early 1976, however, Larry abruptly severed all ties with the Pope and Young Club. He publicly cited that "certain difficulties" had taken a toll on his professional responsibilities, family life, and peace of mind. In truth, his withdrawal was due to differences of opinion and internal bickering with other P&Y leaders. Some disillusioned supporters resigned from P&Y at that same time.

Larry continued his association with Bowhunter as a columnist and contributor until 1980, when he finally resigned and was replaced by G. Fred Asbell. Larry eventually drifted away from bowhunting entirely, devoting his time, talent, and energy to his work and family (Camille, Kyle, and Cheyne). He gave away his many trophies and archery artifacts. (An original P&Y practice arrow he sent me in '76 remains near my desk.) We last saw each other at a Michigan bowhunting rendezvous over a decade ago, yet we kept in touch. A final letter included the sobering news that his terminal illness had taken "a dark turn." But Larry ended his message with words that I will always treasure: "M.R., I consider the years I worked with you on the magazine as golden."

That feeling was mutual.

M.R. James, Bowhunter Founder/Editor Emeritus
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Title Annotation:Bowhunter's journal: a log of bowhunting news, issues, and events
Author:James, M.R.
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Previous Article:2003 FHFH hunt.
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