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Grouchy Infidel
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been shooting and hunting with traditional stick bows since as far back as I can remember. My grandfather gifted to me a handmade lemonwood bow when I was a kid. I was hooked fast quick and in a hurry.

The flight of the feathered shaft has mesmerized man for millennia, I was no exception. Seeing that wooden missile flash forward, bright fletchings spinning in a blur, the solid thwack at impact, it was and is addictive.

So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men... The Witchery of Archery Maurice Thompson 1879

My personal perspective is pretty simple regarding archery equipment and hunting. The less there is to go wrong the better off I am. It boils down to skills learned through practice and execution thus eliminating as many moving parts and widgets as possible. Keeping it simple means less failure due to something failing. The fewer moving parts, fewer gadgets the less potential problems. Make a list of what can fail mechanically with a typical set up, do the same for a traditional off the shelf finger shooter. One list is going to be really long, the other one really short.

Learning to do something well, without mechanical additions translates in the long run to better reliability and simplicity of use.






To that end a simple stick and string works well for me. I shoot off the shelf instinctively. I do well out to 30 yards, able to put 6 for 6 in a 6 inch ring at that range. I practice daily on my own range at varying ranges and positions and conditions. I prefer to practice for what I am likely to see in the field, heavy brush, low shots, lots of obstacles. Only once in my life have I been presented with the classic flat terrain no obstacles, perfect 20 yard shot like I see most folks practicing in their backyard.






Arrows are easy to make, so are strings, broadheads can be but I've just put back a huge stock and have a sizable collection. I don't lose them. At my current rate I've probably got enough broadheads for my life time twice over. I keep spools of dacron and fastflight for my Flemish twist strings. there really isn't that much left. I've got 18 to 20 dozen tapered cedar shafts on hand in my shop, tons of turkey wings left to cut for feathers plus a large supply of full length feathers on hand. Cutting your own is cheap and easy.

All in the expenditure for a lifetime of enjoyment, through shooting and hunting is nominal. The usefulness of being able to hunt quietly, consistently with a renewable or reuse-able resource is very attractive. I once tracked how many shots I got out of an average cedar arrow of my own build, I stopped because it was ridiculous. In a single arrow I have on average less than 60 cents since I bought everything in bulk over time, when I stopped counting I was getting upwards of 400 to 500 arrows shot per loss or breakage.

Cedar arrows have other advantages as well, not limited to the aroma of fresh split cedar but they also are the best shaft material for stump shooters like me. Stump shooting is wonderful practice, roaming through the hills and woods shooting at stumps, banks, leaves, anything that will stop the arrow without damaging it. It's shooting from unknown distances, angles and so on which further helps program the old hair covered computer. The more you do it the more data your brain has on hand for the hand-eye coordination calculation. Sounds complicated but it isn't. The pitcher throws from the mound to the catcher without a set of sights, hand eye coordination is the key. The quarterback makes the 30 yard pass to a running receiver, didn't see a set of sights mounted to his helmet! To steal a phrase, aim small miss small.




Archery is a blast as is, adding in the enjoyment of building your own equipment, learning to hunt within your limitations in mind and the simple song of the feathered shaft flying true equals a lifetime of satisfaction.
 

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The Power of III
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1,365 Posts
Great post! Love, love archery - my daughter and I haven't done it quite as traditionally as you have, but we'd sure love to learn some that way as well - thanks for sharing this!
 
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The Power of III
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Also, the way you have your targets is fantastic. From March - October we participate at least monthly in our local 3-D club. It is a 2 mile path through the woods surrounding a large lake - there are usually at least 20 stations - and all have the targets well placed so you have to use your skill to make the shot count. Best way to practice!
 
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