Rob Davis, Salisbury, Md.
Born in Baltimore during 1920’s John Robert Davis Jr. of Maryland’s Eastern shore is our sovereign “Ambassador of Archery” here in Maryland. Growing up mostly fishing as a child, Rob (as he is known) would spend most of his free time learning as much as possible about the bounties of nature.
His interest in archery pretty much grew from always portraying the Indian while playing Cowboys & Indians. As well as absorbing as much Howard Hill short features at the movies as he could. His first self bow was composed of Mulberry and strung with string donated by a local shoemaker back then. And the arrows where made of reed.
Later in his youth Rob would be discharged from the Navy in 1946, and marry
his bride Betty Lou. They would now reside down in Maryland’s Eastern shore where they still live. His first commercially made bow was given to him for Christmas from Mrs. Davis. It was a Lemonwood longbow.
Rob was quite instrumental in helping to establish our present right to bow hunt in Maryland. In 1952 with the help of a few archery enthusiasts, Rob would co- found Wicomico Bowmen. It became affiliated with NFAA (National Filed Archery Association). Further, the club became affiliated with the League of Maryland Sportsman and Maryland Bowhunters.
Wicomico Bowmen converged upon Maryland lawmakers in Annapolis along with other NFAA archery clubs to request a separate deer archery season. Law was passed and Maryland had their first bow and arrow deer season that
lasted 1 week from 8a.m. to 5 p.m. Whitetails deer where scarce back then so Sitka was the intended prey. Rob accounted for 1 of 6 bow killed Sitka that season.
Ironically, it would be 7 years later before Rob would harvest another deer with bow. It turned out to be a beautiful Whitetail of Pope & Young caliber. It became Maryland’s first “book buck“ listed in the records.
In these years, Rob expanded his passion in archery by designing and building his own archery gear. Later he would design and build his own bowfishing boat called the “Turkle” in their living room. It was composed of marine plywood, fir strips, and glue which cured by the heat from the family fireplace. This was the beginning of a new era in Rob Davis’s archery career.
A tried and true traditional archer, Rob nerver gravitated to the modern compound in the late 60's as his buddies did. Becoming fond of the Wing Red Wing Hunter recurve bow made by the famous bowyer/hunter Bob Lee who then owned Wing Archery Company, he would go through several of these great short bows in his bowhunting career. Although Wing Archery has since gone out of buisness many years ago, Rob is still using that vintage model today as well as a Mike Palmer custom recurve bow. Rob’s persistence is unparalleled. He would bowfish during his lunch hour at work while wearing his 3 piece suit. Now that is dedication.
He would go on to take hundreds of deer and other “critters”… mammalian, reptilian or amphibian that would cross path within bow range. Whitetail, Mule, Sitka, Elk, Pronghorn, Javelina, Turkey, Turtles, Snakes, Frogs, and furred small game. He would go on to pioneer Maryland bowfishing by taking Sharks. Lemon, Sand, Dusky, and soft toothed variety. He would also take a variety of other aquatic game. Southern Stingray, Butterfly ray’s, Cow nosed ray, Skates, Gar: needle nosed & Alligator, and of course our favorite…the Carp.
Not since the days of Maurice Thompson, Saxton Pope or Art Young has such a list of game variety been tallied. To this day Rob still bowhunts with the same ambition and persistence as he did back in the 50’s. He still takes fellow bowhunters out in the waters for Shark and Ray bowfishing.
Rob’s success in hunting did not go unnoticed. He is the 10th member to be awarded the Art Young game Award by the NFAA in 1967. Also, more recently he was awarded the Grand Master Bowhunter Award in 2002. Rob has penned numerous articles that have been published since the 50’s. Many of his writing appeared in magazines like: Archery World, Bowfishing, The Professional Bowhunter Magazine, Bowfin, Lone Star Bowhunter, Del Marva Outdoors, Traditional Bowhunter Magazine and others.
At present, Rob is in the final stages of production of his book entitled, FAFFY - Flinging Arrows for Fifty Years. It should be printed and ready by the time you read this. Rob and his lovely spouse will be attending the Maryland Bowhunters Society Banquet on March 17, 2007. Please stop by his table and say hello.
Pictures are as follows:
1) Rob with Maryland 1st Pope & Young buck
2) Another look at the P&Y
3) Rob and his bowfishing rig
4) The "Ambassador of Archery"