Local hunter successful (Inside the Outdoors-Nov 28, 2008)

Latrobe archers, Lou and Trish Sartoris are pictured here with a long bow similar to one that she gave her husband for his birthday. Accomplished experts in 3-D shoots, the couple has placed numerous times in first place as competitors in the sport. Some of the many awards that they received for their marksmenship can be seen on the wall behind them. Lou would like to take on the challenge of using a long bow for hunting in the future.

One thing that has always impressed me about outdoor enthusiasts is not only their knowledge, but also their success levels, whether it be bird watchers, anglers, or in this case, hunters.

Lou Sartoris is not just an average archer. He is one of the best, and he lives right in our neighborhood! He accredits his ability and marksmanship to continual practice, not one week or one month before archery season begins, but all year long. A matter of fact, after he got his third deer in the second week of archery season this season, the next day he went out into his back yard and continued his everyday tradition.

“I shoot with a bow all year-around. That way I have confidence in my shots,” he said.

“At what age did you become interested in hunting?” I asked the marksman.

“My start came when I was 16. I became interested through a neighbor. Jim Gracie lived on Fifth Avenue and I lived on Fourth Avenue at the time. I would watch him come home with different animals he had killed. I’d go over to his house and watch him skin them. That further enticed me to take up the sport,” he explained.

Gracie, past employee of the former Pohland Lumber Company, worked in the hardware department. Through it, he was able to buy a rifle at a discount which gave the young hunter a chance to further pursue the sport. “I was 16 when I acquired a Winchester Model 94. I started hunting for deer back in the 50’s, but it didn’t give me the thrills I wanted,” Sartoris related. Then while working at Teledyne Vasco approximately 15 years ago, a buddy approached him and said, “Lou, I just won a bow. Would you like to buy it form me?” That was his beginning of a long list of accomplishments.

“After I got my first deer, I was hooked,” he said. “Every year thereafter, I got more deer using a bow.”

What I find so remarkable about Sartoris was his success records. “Every year I got a third tag after applying for it,” he stated, “I always got three deer.” However, there were some years he didn’t apply.

I asked him which one was his favorite. His reply – “My first deer. I brought him in on some lure – Tinks 69, from 100 yards away. He got wind of the scent, turned and started coming closer to me. He came right up to me, gave me a broadside shot and I let the arrow fly, killing it. This was the most exciting one about 14 years ago.”

Where does Sartoris find his deer? “I love to hunt in Derry and Unity Townships.”

I asked him if he goes alone. “No, my long-time friend from Latrobe, Mark Bellissimo, usually hunts with me.”

But what I learned from Lou wasn’t the fact that he shot so many does and bucks, but the wealth of information that he gained through his experiences.

One of the topics I presented concerned just how close one should be before shooting at a deer using a bow and arrow.

“I feel comfortable up to 30 yards, I wouldn’t recommend over 25 yards for most guys, but I practice a lot, so that is why I find 30 OK for me.” He went on to say, “The furthest distance I killed a buck was 38 yards. I don’t recommend doing that, but I would recommend doing it from 30 yards and under to be comfortable.”

We then got on the subject of trophy deer.

“I don’t think big deer is always the trophy,” he emphasized. “I think trophy is in the situation. Maybe you rattled or grunted it in. Your lures worked for you. You picked out an excellent spot and did everything right. You had the right wind situation. You put the right shot on him. That’s a trophy.”

He continued, “I think a good hit is terrific, and a good miss is terrific. You don’t want to hit deer and wound them. You have to get a good shot in. That all falls in place with good preparation. You owe it to the animal to practice so you will get off a good shot.”

Both he and his wife, Trish, participate in 3-D shoots from Jan. to the end of Sept. Lou’s standing is in the upper 10 % of the men’s group, while his wife is in the upper 5% in the women’s division. They both use Matthews Compound 60 pound bows.

At one 3-D shoot, Lou shot an arrow into the middle of an orange ping pong ball pinned on an elk from 69 yards away. “What made it hard,” he told me, “was that it was hung from a cord, and the wind factor played into hitting it in the center.”

I asked him if he had any aspirations for the future. “I have been using a compound bow, but I really would like to take on the challenge of using a long bow in the future.” His wife gave him one for his birthday, so he feels inspired to give a try.

“Are there any words of wisdom you could recommend to all hunters?” I inquired. The owner of Lou Sartoris Frame Shop and award winning master wood carver responded, “Practice, practice, practice. That’s the key to be successful.”

The couple resides at 565 McFarland Rd.

Photo & article by:
Paul J. Volkmann (November 28 2008)
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