Top 10 Mistakes in Trying Traditional Archery

Here are 10 mistakes or oversights that new traditional archers tend to make when first starting out. These can be in any order but tend to be some of the most common.

  1. Putting off trying traditional archery for another year

    Some say that a lot. In fact some bowhunters used to say it a lot, but doing it has been the best hunting decision they have ever made. Just think of it as adding another tool to your compound bow, rifle, and shotgun arsenal. If it is something you are curious about-- just do it. There is a disclaimer: traditional archery may not be for everyone. But as a famous redneck once said, “You won’t know until you find out.”
  2. Being over-bowed

    Just because you can shoot a 70 lb compound bow does not mean you can shoot a 60-70 lb traditional bow. Most bowers would recommend a bow from 43 – 55 lbs depending on your draw length. Overtime you will get used to shooting and may increase your weight.
  3. Expecting perfection right away

    Forget it!! Remember this is a journey and should be an enjoyable one. You are shooting a very primitive piece of wood. Like in other forms of archery, shot placement is a huge factor in taking game. Keep in mind most shots are probably going to be within 25 yards. In fact over 37,000 whitetails registered in Pope and Young were all killed on average at less than 30 yards.
  4. Taking the traditional journey alone

    Invite a friend, spouse, kids. This just makes the experience that much sweeter, and it is great to have someone to watch your form consistently over time so they can give you suggestions and vice-versa. Remember, it is the journey—you might as well take it with a friend!
  5. Using improper/unsafe equipment

    Hand-me-downs are great-- if they fit. Make sure you have good archery equipment in the hands of new archers. The idea of traditional archery is simplicity (less equipment). Remember that the bow should be at the proper draw weight, brace height, and length. Know what the proper arrows are for you and your bow (paired with practice). A 500+ grain arrow can still shoot close to the 200 fps mark. The most important thing is having arrows with the right spine and weight to fit your needs. Giving your wife or a kid your old arrows that have been cut down to fit their draw length but not their bow can result in inaccuracy (or worse). The bottom line is that everyone is safe and using safe equipment.
  6. Setting unrealistic goals

    Make sure the goals you set for yourself are small and achievable. Several little goals that can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time will boost your confidence more than one large goal that is out of reach. Don’t expect too much out of your first few experiences with traditional bowhunting equipment. Think about the big picture. After the small achievable goals are put together, the larger goal will be met and then surpassed.
  7. Trying only one type of bow

    Try different types of traditional bows like a recurve or a longbow, a takedown versus a one-piece, or maybe hybrids. Some may not feel as good as others, while some will feel great. Quiet, smooth, and accurate: these are obviously great characteristics in a bow; it must fit you. Don’t force yourself into equipment you are not sold on. If a traditional bow is quiet and smooth on the release, that is a good indicator that the bow and the shooter are a good match.
  8. Giving up too soon

    Terms such as peaking, torqueing the grip, and target panic happen in traditional archery as well as compound. This will be a long journey. As a pitcher, throwing strikes consistently takes time; I feel traditional archery is similar. But eventually you won’t even have to think about your shot. Remember the movie Bull Durham? The pitcher was told not to think, just pitch. That is what you need to do as you shoot. Let your subconscious take over and your synergy with your bow kick in. Eventually, it will click. When you grab your bow, hit your anchor and everything else happens without you involved in the process—but this will take TIME.
  9. Losing interest

    Be sure to take enjoyment in the little things: setting up targets at different ranges, making games like “H O R S E” out of shooting, attending your local archery clubs to shoot in their 3-D shoots. Ranges vary and hunting situations can be duplicated. You may have to get creative: stump shooting with blunts or judos can be a great time while walking through the woods. Give it a good honest effort and talk to other traditional shooters. There are a lot of great people in the traditional world who are more than willing to help. You will be glad you gave it a try.

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