John "Chief A.J." Huffer enjoys stalking big game. And he likes to do it with a modified slingshot he says can fire arrows fast enough to take down deer.
Huffer sells the device he calls a sling bow. And he'd like to see it in the hands of hunters on the trail of deer and other big animals.
But while the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the sling bow is OK for smaller animals, it isn't approved for deer.
According to The Herald & Review in Decatur, the 76-year-old Tuscola man has filed a federal lawsuit against the DNR. Tuscola is about 20 miles south of Champaign.
Huffer says he's being required to meet performance standards that manufacturers of bows do not. He says the DNR says his slingshot doesn't generate the velocity needed to be a humane hunting weapon.
The DNR did not respond to a request for comment.
Huffer says he has engineering reports indicating his device has plenty of velocity to pass the humane-hunting test.
His website includes pictures of Huffer with a grizzly bear he says he killed with the sling bow in Alaska. The hide, he says, is being turned into a coat.
"Instead of hanging my trophy on the wall, I'm going to wear it," he said with a smile.
Huffer demonstrates his weapon while wearing a headdress that features turkey feathers and a set of deer antlers
"And I shot the turkey with my sling bow," he said.
He believes the sling bow makes something like bow hunting more affordable than it otherwise can be. Compound bows can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to almost $1,000.
"My sling bow is $85, and with the arrows and balls, you're ready to go," he said.