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Becoming A Traditional Archer
“Is this going to mess up my shooting form? How do you aim with this thing? What arrows should I use? What is the best way to practice? Where do I anchor? I’m not so sure, maybe I should just try next year.”
These are common thoughts that run through a compound bow shooter’s head when considering trying to pick up and shoot a traditional bow. Compound bow users are used to holding pretty good groups at 10, 20, 30, 40, and even out to 50 yds. Now to pick up something completely different- a weapon they may not even hit the target with on the first try-- is pretty intimidating. The attitude of precise accuracy is not high on a traditional archer’s list. Yes, eventually, we would all like to shoot very well and hit where were aiming consistently. However, some truly believe traditional archery is more in the journey than the end result of perfection. The journey of a traditional archer can be a long one, but no matter how well or poorly you shoot, you are always being drawn back to pick up that bow and try again.
The feel of several types of woods laminated together or of a one piece self-bow as you release the arrow can be thrilling, much like shooting a compound bow. In fact, hitting the anchor and trying not to peak or drop the bow arm are similar issues both compound shooters and traditional shooters must focus on; it’s just a little easier for the compound user, given the technology they often work with. As a beginning traditional archer you just have to prepare yourself for a longer journey to consistency and accuracy.
A big key to those concepts is using good bowhunting equipment to prevent early frustrations and thoughts of giving up. There are a lot of custom bowers who can make a bow to fit you like a glove and set you up with the proper equipment to help eliminate any un-needed frustrations. Once you have the correct bowhunting equipment though, you still might fight yourself from giving up and going back to the “comfort” of the compound and all its bells and whistles—this just might be the toughest challenge. But just like in life, if we try to leave our comfort zone of security and dedicate ourselves to trying a new, albeit frustrating challenge, you will be amazed at how well these bows shoot and how accurate you can become.
Another thing to realize during this quest is to set small goals of accomplishment, not like when you started shooting a compound bow and within a few minutes you might have been slapping arrow shafts; the traditional bow will require smaller, more easily achievable goals to begin with. Remember the journey is long and motivation must be kept up at all times.
The more excited you may become as you reach your goals, the faster you realize you still have so much to learn. That’s probably what keeps me coming back. The most important bonus for some is that they don’t have to take this journey alone they can share it with their spouse, kids and friends, thus making them the luckiest traditional wannabe in the world.