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.

Image screenshot of video by heraldandreview on YouTube.

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8 thoughts on “Sling Bow Maker Sues Illinois DNR over Regulation “Discrimination”

  1. How is this racist? The sling bow IS NOT CULTURAL HERITAGE Cherokee and Menominee have not used sling bows for centuries both nations used bent wood string bows. The Menominee rubbed their bows with bear grease as both a ceremonial significance and to weather proof the wood. Cherokee bows have distinctive diamond shaped tips where the string attaches. A SLING BOW IS A MODERN WEAPON, THERE WAS NO HIGH TENSILE RUBBER FOR THE SLING until the current modern age. So how is this a racial issue? To insinuate racism when there is no racism is racist in itself… Arguments that drop the race card immediately cause me to ignore you, if you can not argue intelligently enough on the merits of the weapon alone so that you feel the need to drop a race card you should have someone else do the talking as you just make yourself seem ignorant. This not only sullies your name but also your weapon. Yes there has been and still is racism towards native people, however in the issue of a sling bow it is an issue of the definition of what constitutes archery equipment not the racial heritage of the user.

    That being said, I see no difference in the down range ballistics of an arrow launched from a long bow, a compound bow, a recurve bow, a cross bow or a sling bow. So long as they can launch an arrow (or bolt) with sufficient speed to allow the sharp blades to penetrate then to me there is no difference. It is the difference between shooting a muzzle loaded black powder rifle using iron sights vs a modern scoped magnum rifle vs a hunting pistol. All are capable of killing humanely so long as the placement of the shot is done properly. I think sling bows of sufficient draw weight should be allowed as archery as ultimately it is the arrow and the head that do the killing not the launcher. An animal can not tell the diffrence between a well placed sharp broad head whether pushed by bow, crossbow or sling bow. There is even an air gun that uses compressed air to shoot arrows, the FX Verminator. I also think it should be allowed. However those who make the regulations are slow to change them.

    1. I agree unfortunately its the norm today. Just like everyone sueing each other. So your telling me the ancient Cherokee’s didn’t hunt grizzlies with slingshots ? I still think chief AJ is a really great guy I hope he wins !

  2. It will probably take a huge amount of practice to be proficient with this at ranges required to take a bear. He is an expert. Just like firearms, the shorter the weapon, you will miss if you do not practice.

  3. I used to shoot arrows with my Wham-O slingshot. Along with small shot and ball bearings, of course. It’s not really a toy. It’s a serious weapon. And if you practice enough, you can accomplish what you need to. And some people will be better and stronger than others. You have to remember that technology has made things easier for us. Howard Hill, the famous hunter/archer made his own tackle. I remember that he made a 400+ yard shot with a 250 lb draw bow to down a bighorn sheep. Anything can be done by someone. Why exclude anyone? The race card is a cheap shot, but I’m all for it in this case.
    It’s a problem when someone saying that it doesn’t count as a weapon. That’s stupid. Maybe someone is probably getting paid to declare that kind of rule? Or they’re just that stupid. If it’s not a fair rule, it should go gone. It’s time politicians and others stopped being pansies about this kind of thing. Too many rules. Too many exclusions. Play nice.

  4. Let me get this straight. A black man or woman yells racism daily but you all have no problem with it. But when a man with Indian decent feels that he has had his Indian heritage trampled on you have a problem with him saying they were being racist. None of you even know what was said to the chief in full details for him to claim them being racist.I say have at it Chief, if you can bring them down then do so and piss on anyone who say you are not capable. Oh and I am of blackfoot heritage so I have seen the full effects of racist people. So if their is a response to my message about racism being played out then you all need to take a trip down to the dirty south and stand in line at a black store and see how far you get in line and type of service you get while you are their. That card is still happening in all area’s and all races.

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