David L. Sparkman is passionate about the ancient sport of bow hunting. A fourth-generation Texan and a member of the Sparkman/Hillcrest funeral-home family, Sparkman took a liking in his early 20s to bow hunting and “call” sports, where the hunter lures prey like geese by mimicking the sounds they make.
“It’s a tremendous challenge,” Sparkman says of bow hunting. “You have to know more about the animal. You have to have an idea of what they’re doing. You have to be aware of the wind direction, for example, because [for some animals] their nose is their strongest sense.” You “aim small and miss small,” he goes on, much like in “golfing, where every aspect of the swing and the follow-through impacts what’s going to happen with the ball.”
Sparkman hunts mainly with a Mathews compound bow. But he also owns an Excalibur crossbow that’s outfitted with a scope for better aim. In the past, he’s bow-hunted pigs and deer on his brother’s property in Athens. He killed a javelina on a mule-deer trip near Fort Stockton, and he’s taken an antelope at 40 yards in Wyoming. Last year, he brought down a black bear from 20 yards away in New Brunswick, Canada. Recently he bought a 200-acre ranch in Hico, where he’s bow-hunted for deer and “an awful lot” of turkeys.
Not surprisingly, Sparkman believes that it’s hunters—whether using a bow or a gun—who are the true conservationists. “Hunters are the ones who take care of the wildlife in this country,” he says. “I’m interested in keeping the numbers of animals, and the quality of the wilderness, as good as they can be.”