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Traditional Archery Post #1

 

One of the questions I get asked a lot is why shoot traditional?300887_1540756494274_150212780_n
Well the answers are many and varied. It will depend on when you ask me, who you ask and when you ask them. Many of us shoot for the simple pleasure of it. Many of use shoot because we like the discipline. Many of us shoot because we love the romance of it. I fall into the last category. I love the romance of a long bow. The stalk, the flight of the arrow and the sound it makes upon impact.


 1470028_3747925032108_503074651_nIn truth though. In our deepest darkest corners of our souls. We shoot (at least men anyway) because we all want to be Robin Hood or William Tell, Howard Hill, Fred Bear, Art Young, Saxon Pope, a Sioux on the plains or maybe one of a million other childhood heroes. Not one of us reading this or thinking about it didn’t play GI Joe or Cowboys and Indians or rescue the Maid Marian. So really to answer to the question of Why? Because we never want to grow up. It’s FUN!    

Go to any 3D shoot that is the majority traditional shooters and you won’t find a lot of us lining up at the pegs and taking score. Nope. We’re shooting trick shots, thru thickets, car doors, trying 1239829_3992340382339_348359337_nto bust nocks off our friends’ arrows and generally just being kids and having fun. We treat hunting the same way. It’s as much about the plaid, the stalk, the blind we built, as it is about the animal.
In January and February of 2014 a friend and I hosted two traditional only rabbits hunts on our properties. No guns nothing but stick bows. Two full days and 45 people came to those hunts. 1 rabbit was killed. But everyone of us is counting down the days until next year when we get to do it again. Shoot at one point a buddy and I missed the same rabbit 6 times. I mean it came back around to be shot at 6 TIMES!!! At 12 yards!!! The last couple of times we were laughing so hard we couldn’t have hit it with a bulldozer!

Shooting traditional archery means a lot of different things to different people. I am not trying to make light of everyone that shoots trad just pointing out my outlook and that of the group of archers I shoot with the most. In these articles we are going to address many issues but let’s first start at the types of bows.

Traditional archery in general practice breaks down as follows:
Recurves- the bows most people get into shooting trad with. A Recurve is a bow that the string touches the limb and runs along it for some period. Think of a Fred Bear bow. A classic such as the Grizzly, Kodiak or Super Mag. The old Damon Howatt Mamba or Browning Nomads were all great recurves and have killed tons of deer and won lots of trophys and bets. I killed my first trad deer with a Grizzly by Bear. 45lbs and a 125 grain Zwickey broad head.
 1551666_3820025314570_1606319299_nLong Bows- Probably the most recognizable of the traditional styles. A bow where the string does not touch the limbs except at the grooves on the limb. Most long bows made today are probably going to be a reflex/deflex design which means it is simply a more modern design and refers to the style of the limbs. Hill style (named after Howard Hill) bows are however making a huge surge right now and are the older D style (meaning the bow looks like a capital D). These bows are often referred to as American style long bows. The English style is a bow that looks today almost the same as the bow that the English would have fired at Agincourt. The grips on long bows can vary wildly too. Hill style and English style bows typically have a flat handle that requires you to learn a grip and all out style of shooting. R/D long bows can go from tiny dish style handles and locator grips to grips that are more akin to your Mathews or Hoyt than what you think of as trad.
Self Bows- A bow that usually doesn’t have much of a riser and may be shot off the knuckle. These were the earliest styles and those that the native americans built from osage and etc. These are typically 1 wood bows bent and shaped by carving away the wood to make a flexible stick. They usually have backs (thin veneers on the outer part of the limbs) on them made from either snake skin or sinew most often.
There are many more styles of bows such as horse bows, Japanese style and I really don’t know how many others… But these are the 3 that you will see if you go to a trad shoot, hunt or gathering. I know lots of people who shoot everything. I also know lots of people who refuse to shoot anything but 1 of those. To each their own!1979626_4156596928650_6005357879245447797_n
The best way to figure all of this out is to visit a traditional archery shoot. There are a good many in our home state of GA and I typically shoot twice a month at them down in Laurens Co at TRAILs and then up in Gainesville at NGTA. As this series develops we will publish more and more of the dates and locations so you can join in. Trad archers though are typically more than happy to share with you and are always looking to rope someone else into this madness that we love so much. When you show up at a shoot be honest tell someone your skill level let them know you have or have not done this before. We always have extra bows at our shoots and we share them and arrows as much as possible. You will get to shoot many different styles by doing this and it will help you decide what to do in taking your first step into archery.
All in all though I cannot imagine a greater hobby and a more fun way to hunt and spend time with my friends and family. I hope you will decide to take the plunge and just try it. It may not be for everyone but I would almost promise you that you will meet the coolest people and have a lot of fun!

 

 

 

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