When taking pictures of harvested game, it is customary for many hunters to display the gun, bow, or other tool they took the animal with. For John “Chief A.J.” Huffer’s snapshots, however, there is no rifle, bow, or shotgun in sight. In his photos, the Illinois resident holds up a modified slingshot that fires 28-inch-long arrows. Huffer says the invention, which is a type of “sling bow,” is powerful enough to take deer, moose, and even grizzly bears. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) disagrees, and is now fighting a lawsuit from Huffer over whether his sling bow can be used to hunt big game.
“You buy a traditional bow, get it all set up, it’s going to cost you over $1,000,” Huffer said. “My sling bow is $85 and with the arrows and balls you’re ready to go,” Huffer told the Herald and Review.
You can see how the sling bow works in the video below:
Huffer sells his sling bow, along with a 12-minute instructional DVD and wrist brace, on his website. Huffer’s flagship product is a modified slingshot called the Tribal HFX, which is the same tool the hunter claims to have used to down a grizzly bear in Alaska. He is currently in the process of having the bear’s hide turned into a coat.
Huffer’s version of the sling bow is not the only one on the market, and other inventors have adapted the slingshot to take arrows for hunting small game or fish. When it comes to big game, however, some critics doubt that the sling bow is capable of making quick, humane kills. According to the Associated Press, the Illinois DNR currently does not allow the use of a sling bow for big game hunting, despite Huffer’s claims that independent tests showed that the weapon is capable of easily killing deer.
The inventor has filed a $5 million federal lawsuit against the DNR on the basis that the agency is requiring the sling bow to meet big game hunting criteria not required of traditional bows. Huffer also claims there is racial discrimination involved due to his Cherokee and Menominee ancestry.
Testimonials on Huffer’s website show other hunters taking deer, moose, wild hog, and various species of fish. Huffer himself also holds an impressive history of projectile-related accolades, including a world record for shooting continuous aerial targets. He briefly appeared on an episode of National Geographic’s Showdown of the Unbeatables.