Interested In Traditional Archery?
Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:31 pm
I am posting a photo of my archery rig for those who also enjoy traditional archery. It is a 32" Bear Kodiak Magnum made in 1968. The draw weight is 50#.
As you see, it is as basic as you can get...the bow, a string, and an arrow. I use nothing else, unless you count the flimsy, cheap plastic bow quiver and ragged, worn out camo sleeves. I wear a standard leather three finger shooting glove and a leather arm protector, although I don't really need that as I hold my bow slightly canted and that keeps my arm out of the path of the string.
Obviously, there is very little maintenance required for this bow, typically just replacing the string and keeping the arrows in good condition. Some of the hunting arrow shafts I have are more than 20 years old and still functional. They shoot just as well as any of the new arrows do. The bow itself is 42 years old. The deer, of course, could care less what age or style of bow I am using to fling arrows at them!
If you haven't tried traditional archery, you can pick up a decent recurve similar to mine at reasonable prices from many sources, often with a few arrow shafts included,and typically for less than $200. As you can see from my set up, you really don't need much else to get into traditional archery. Give traditional archery a try!
Re: Interested In Traditional Archery?
Posted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:39 pm
Ok, if you get a recurve or longbow and give traditional archery a try, what kind of results can you expect? While there are some expert shooters that can do amazing things equal to anything a compound archery expert can do, I am not one of them. Most traditional archers I know aren't either. But the good news is you can learn to shoot traditional equipment accurately enough to be successful deer hunting. A deer's vital target zone presents a fairly large target. WITH AMPLE PRACTICE, you can learn to hit the vital zone on a deer.
Some traditional archers use a variety of equipment items to assist them in making a more accurate shot. Usually the first thing many add to a traditional recurve is a stablizer bar. Many recurves have fittings drilled and mounted in the bow to hold a stablizer bar. Some traditional bows also have mountings to accomodate various styles of pin sights. Some traditional archers use like to use a string mounted "peep" sight. Other items like a "kisser button" to help insure a consistent anchor point are popular too. And so are fuzzy silencers mounted on the string itself. And there are several types of release aids used to help insure a smooth string release. All of things things may help some shooters achieve better shooting results with a recurve or longbow. Feel free to try any of them, however some archers, like me, prefer shooting without these things. I "finger shoot instinctively" meaning I just put three fingers under the arrow, pull the string back, aim with my naked eye, and let the arrow go.
Most traditional archers accept a lesser degree of accuracy shooting a longbow or a recurve, especially if shooting instintively, than they would be happy with if shooting a compound. For a variety of reasons, including the slower speed of an arrow shot from a traditional bow and lesser kinetic energy delivered by the arrow to the target, a traditional archer ordinarily voluntarily limits shots to deer at closer distances, usually 30 yards or less. Most of the shots I have taken at deer have actually been closer, ranging from 10 yards to 25 yards most of the time. At closer ranges, a small amount of "spread" in arrow grouping is not as critical. Or said another way, a three inch spread in your group is ok at 2o yards but when shot from a traditional bow would widen considerably at 50 yards and be totally unacceptable.
The below photo is taken from ten yards looking at my block target set up at the approximate height of a deer's vital zone. Start at this range, straight out from the target, and shoot until you can consistently hit the target from this position with acceptable groupings. The key word there is "consistently." Keep practicing until you get consistent. Then, you can move to different distances or different angles and repeat the process.
I shoot groups of six arrows. Pulling a heavy draw weight recurve or longbow repeatedly is like doing repetitions with gym weights. You are working upper back and shoulder muscles and there is no "let off" as there is with a compound. Thus at the full draw your muscles are holding back the entire poundage force. So do your practice shots in "reps" of six arrows each in sets of three, then take a break. If you push past your endurance level, you will start getting lots of wild shots. That will tell you it is time to take a break.
Here is a group of six arrows shot at the "deer" side of the target. I actually reshot one of the arrows in this group, which missed more than I was happy with, so this is a "best six of seven" effort. The fact that they are not all grouped tightly together in a snug center position is merely a reflection of the reality of finger shooting instinctively than it is anything else. However, any one of these arrows would logically have produced a killing shot on a deer at that distance.
Finally, here is the last group of the day that I shot, again a "best six of seven" situation, with one arrow being pulled and reshot because I believed I could do better than where it first hit (and I did.) Taping an 8 inch pie plate to your target like this may help you pattern where your shots are grouping. All six of these grouped in the right half of the pie plate. The grouping is predominately within about a 4" diameter circle of each other but is about 3 inches off center to the right. I can work on that by adusting my point of aim, however it is usually better to shoot a little right of center on a deer than it is left of center because left of center moves the point of impact closer to the front leg. The point is that any of these shots would probably have been a killing shot. You don't have to be dead center each and every time with traditional archery. (Actually, you don't have to be dead center with a compound either, but try telling a compound archer that!)