Struggling to find my archery path...

North Idaho Stickbow

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Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
300
Location
Idaho Panhandle
If there was a trad bow season to get better odds at good tags, I'd be interested. But I don't see that ever happening.
Yeah, that would be really cool, but it would be taking away opportunity for others around here. The season is already pretty long. It won’t happen.

I have communicated with one state game commissioner here, and the idea of opening any elk/either sex for traditional tackle has been kicked around. That would be exciting.
 

hodgeman

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
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1,222
Location
Delta Junction, AK
I kind of landed the same place you did several years ago. Trad is aesthetically appealing, but ultimately too limiting for a guy that just wants to hunt more and get some better tags. I compare it to fly fishing, I much prefer to fly fish...unless the goal is to catch a bunch of fish.
 

Hoot

Senior Member
Joined
May 18, 2013
Messages
446
Location
Ft Collins, CO
I sort-of had the same dilemma a few years ago, I was so frustrated with local pro-shops and the “tuning” they did when working on my bows.

I initially had the same thought as you, the “simplicity” of the traditional bow was appealing.

I decided to go the other way and just buy all the equipment to work on compounds myself.

there’s more moving parts on a compound bow, but I think dialing in and shooting accurately, a compound is far simpler than a traditional bow.

I have a 35# recurve that I shoot rabbits in the yard with, but I really don’t have a desire to hunt big game with a stick, to each their own!
 

24on48hunting

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
28
Location
Georgia
I’ve been traditional archery only for the past 2 seasons after dabbling in it for 14 total. I made the switch and never looked back. It has been very rewarding for me.

You won’t kill as many animals at first but in due time you will find increased success if you commit to it and change the way that you hunt.
I often think of a particular quote made by Fred Bear,

"If you consider an unsuccessful hunt to be a waste of time, then the true meaning of the chase eludes you all together."​

Yes, you have to limit your shots as compared to compound, but I don’t consider it to be a handicap as some would call it. In all of my years shooting a compound, I rarely shot a deer past 30 yards, with a consistent average of 20.
My current recurve setup is accurate to 30 yards if I do my part, but traditional archery is an up close and intimate type experience. Past 20 yards I have to shoot deer at kneecap height so that they duck to where the arrow will be, so I set up to get them a lot closer. I learned that from a fella in S. Ga who nearly limits out every year with traditional archery gear.
If you can afford a high end bow, go for it, but you can get used bows that are good quality and are more than good enough to practice with at first.
Id recommend going to a local archery club event and shoot as many bows as you can. Most good clubs will have guys tripping over each other to help a new archer out.
If not, find a place that carries a good variety of bows and try them all of possible.
Traditional bows don’t forgive us for the flaws in our form like compound bows do, that is what gets so many folks frustrated with them. It’s not the bow, it’s our form.
You will need to practice.....a lot. I don’t shoot a bunch of arrows every day, I simply shoot one arrow, pull it and then shoot it again. Repetitive, constant shooting with a hunting weight bow is counterproductive and will make you tired if you are over-bowed.

Proper tuning is an art and is hard at first, your best bet is to have an experienced trad archer help you along to shorten the learning curve. Brace height, tiller/nock point and a suitably spined arrow are all you need starting out. I found that aluminum arrows were the easiest for me to get spined correctly.
Bareshaft tuning can happen later on down the road after you master form.
Id recommend starting out with a bow that is about 60% of what you can draw on a compound. If that’s still too much, go lighter. You’ll move up in poundage in due time, don’t sweat it. A takedown bow will lessen the cost when increasing poundage, as you’ll only buy new limbs. I shot 70-75 with a compound and found trad to be most enjoyable with a 40-45# bow. I’ve now worked my way up to 55-60#, but that’s another story.
Setup is unique to the individual, I prefer a 3-under hold on the string and started out using a string clicker so I didn’t snap shoot (releasing prior to my anchor point) and to ensure my draw length was consistent every time.
Form is paramount. Don’t worry about accuracy at first, that will come in due time.
Focus on a consistent shot sequence that you can do over and over consistently. This is the biggest hindrance to good accuracy second to poor arrow selection. Draw, anchor and release must be mirrored every time. Find a comfortable anchor point and commit to it. Once I anchor, I engage back tension and as I do so, my clicker goes off and thats my audible cue to let the string slip through my fingers.
Blank-baling is a good way to practice on your form. Get close to a big target or hay bale, don’t focus on a specific spot, just draw, anchor and shoot repeatedly, focusing solely on good form and a repeatable shot sequence. Don’t forget a good follow through also. Remember, you aren’t trying to hit a specific spot-this is where you focus on consistent form. I mentioned using a 55# bow for hunting, but I have a 45# bow for blank baling and warm-up sessions.
Once you get that down you are ready to focus on accuracy.
Clay Hayes and the Push are some of the best videos out there for new trad archers.
They cover different shooting/aiming methods in great detail. Gap shooting and string-walking with a shooting tab are good if you like to do that. I’m more of an instinctive shooter myself.
When I have a bad day of shooting, I go back to blank-baling for a few minutes, then start back shooting at 10-15 yards and work my way back as I improve.
If you commit yourself to it you will see much improvement. Don’t expect immediate results or you will only end up disappointed. It’s a process that takes time.

I hope that you find this to be informative and not too overwhelming.
If you ever need any help along the way, feel free to contact me. I’d be glad to help out in any way possible.
Mark
 
Last edited:

JasonR1

Newbie
Joined
Feb 17, 2021
Messages
4
I know a lot of guys that love shooting trad. They all have the mentality to do it. I appreciate the closeness and extra time afield my bow offers over my rifle, bit I've yet to accept passing the 40 yard shot. Some day I hope. In the mean time I'll enjoy all my time afield. Good luck with your decision, there's no bad choice between them.
 

roosiebull

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
1,117
Location
oregon coast
Looking for some help, thoughts, and just general conversation to help me decide if I want to pursue traditional archery or stick to compound bows.

I'm 46 years old now and have been privileged enough to have taken several animals over my lifetime with rifle, bow & muzzleloader. My hunting desires have evolved over the years. I'm much more interested in hunting locally where I can hunt right out of my house and also to spread that hunting out over as long a time period as possible (August-November). I love hunting mule deer late season in the rut with a rifle & don't see that changing. Antelope will be second choice doe tags for either archery or muzzleloader and draw a buck tag every few years for archery. Elk will be primarily OTC archery and draw a cow tag for the rifle season that takes a few points every few years. All of these hunts can be done right out of my house.

I've been archery hunting for maybe 15 years? I'm not a hard core archery guy as it's never caught my attention like it has some guys. I'm much more interested in the hunting than I am the weapon that's used. That being said I'll be archery hunting every year for elk for the foreseeable future as that's the season and time that works best into my plan to hunt every year from home as long as possible. Up until now I've been using a compound but have always been intrigued by the traditional bows and the perceived simplicity of them.

Here's my hang up and my concerns... since I'm not a hard core archery guy is trying to go traditional biting off more than I can chew? I've never been a long distance shooter since I don't practice as much as some guys, so I have a 50 yard limit. The units I'll be hunting have a success percentage of around 10-15% (really low). Is going traditional where my shot limit might be half that distance really a good idea in a unit where taking an elk will already be quite a feet?

I need to make a decision in the next month or so, so I have time to get geared up and practiced up by next season. I sold my compound bow and everything I had to go with it a few months ago as I had no archery hunts planned for 2020 and my bow and gear was getting dated and needed an upgrade anyway.

Since I'm in a purchasing mode, I need to make a decision and stick with it. I've wavered back and forth so many times it's crazy! Figured I'd ask here and get some opinions and hear others thoughts, and maybe bring to light something I haven't taken into consideration. Thanks...
couple things to consider.... how often do you kill an elk with your compound? how important is killing an elk on a regular basis?

you aren't an archery fanatic.... a trad bow really could change that.... but what if it doesn't?

we all have a different path, so ultimately, you know you best..... weigh all of the odds and make your decision and do it for you, no other reason, what will give you the most joy walking around the mountains in Sept?

i have always had the desire to hunt with a trad bow, and 2019 was the year i was gonna do it after a crazy amount of shooting. i had killed 15 roosies in a row with my bow going into 19', and i knew within the season i would be able to get within "trad range" i did.... i ended up missing 4 bulls... 9yds, 7yds, 14yds, and 18yds.... ouch! first year in a bunch i ate my elk tag. i had some bad luck(hitting my bottom limb on the shot, and clipping an elderberry branch i did not see) and some target panic. i had developed some bad target panic, and toughed it out but did nothing to change it, and i was shooting good.... until the stakes were high.

i knew what was going on but did nothing to remedy it, and figured i would be fine.... the problem with target panic is that it shows itself at the most inopportune time. i never had it with a compound, but got it bad with my recurve....

i too went "all in" and my biggest struggle was the summer leading up to season. i didn't have another option so i decided to just not let it effect my shots, haha.... didn't pan out. i planned on hunting my recurve in 2020 and get my redemption, i think it was about mid july, maybe late july i wasn't shooting as good as i wanted, i didn't have the confidence to go all in, i didn't feel like it was responsible to hunt with my recurve with the doubt i was carrying, so i bought a compound last minute. i ended up killing my bull this past fall at 7-8yds, part of me was bummed i didn't just stick with the recurve, that would have been a tough shot to miss, but part of me was glad, because what if i did miss, or make a bad shot on that easy of a shot?

this year my shooting is on point, i'm pretty sure i'll be packing the Blacktail in Sept, but my mach 1 isn't going anywhere. being self taught shooting a recurve is a bumpy road, and i like the challenge, but i also want to kill a bull. as long as my shooting doesn't fall apart, which i don't see happening, i will be 100% confident i'll kill one with my recurve, but until i get a few under my belt with a recurve, and gain confidence in the weapon and my ability in clutch moments, i'm keeping a compound around, and i will stay well practiced with it.

if i was you, i would be hesitant to go all in, with the knowledge we have.... i think keeping a compound around and focusing on recurve shooting is a pretty safe option. shooting recurves is way more fun than shooting compounds, i love shooting them to the point i never was shooting compounds.... not even close.

if you do take the plunge, don't worry about everything "being trad" i don't care how "trad" your bow is, if you can't shoot it well, you have no business hunting with it. i was hard headed that first year, and didn't want to put a clicker on my pretty Blacktail.... that was dumb, for me, a clicker helps a lot to keep me present in the shot, and separating the aim from the release.... keeps me out of autopilot, and i have proven i don't need to be hunting in autopilot.

i will say, last year with my compound was fun and shooting was fun.... i had a new challenge to overcome with the compound, and it took some time and effort to overcome. i had to pretty much start over with a compound, my target panic carried over and it was bad. i could not put my pin on the target for awhile, i was stuck low and was drive by shooting.... it was bad.

there was some gratification overcoming that, and it sure felt good walking back into the woods with the confidence i always had before, knowing my shooting wasn't going to be the make or break of the encounter. hunting with a recurve was like going back in time 20yrs, having to re-learn the things i already learned, feeling insecure the weapon in my hand was enough to kill an elk efficiently.... and the whole shooting thing, haha.

i would never discourage someone from getting into traditional bows, just make sure you keep things realistic, and know what you're getting into. i'm very confident that with time, a trad bow isn't a handicap at all in the woods, but the road to get there isn't short or easy.

i think a good coach could really be a game changer, i think you could potentially skip a lot of the downfalls i have had, but no matter what, trad bows are not an instant gratification weapon.

i am also like you in the sense i like hunting, the weapon isn't very important to me, i like hunting with any weapon, but i'm always chasing a personal experience from every season, that's where the weapon comes in. i'm far from a purist, but i do like overcoming challenges, and we constantly find ways to test ourselves if we choose.... that's where i'm at. i have unfinished business.
 

24on48hunting

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
28
Location
Georgia
^^ Well said ^^.
The clicker is a wonderful training aid and an excellent way to overcome target panic.

Just a little bit of FYI: I removed the entire bead chain on my clicker and hand tied a piece of braided cordage through mine so the bead chain didn’t nick my top limb when I shot.
 

roosiebull

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
1,117
Location
oregon coast
^^ Well said ^^.
The clicker is a wonderful training aid and an excellent way to overcome target panic.

Just a little bit of FYI: I removed the entire bead chain on my clicker and hand tied a piece of braided cordage through mine so the bead chain didn’t nick my top limb when I shot.
same here. i use thin d-loop material, and put a small piece of velcro under the blade, so it's barely audible, and doesn't make more bow noise (before i did that, on the shot my clicker was the loudest part of the bow going off)

i initially was attracted to traditional archery because of the simplicity, which is laughable now.... compounds have a lot of moving parts, but it's mostly mechanical adjustments... trad bows are anything but simple.... crazy how complex the whole system is to get good arrow flight and repeatable accuracy.

you have bow tuning, and there are so many little factors that are more important than they are on a compound.... something as simple as nock fit, or serving material and how you come off the string (i just went through that, haha) so many things have to be so precise.... fine tuning nock height, brace height, arrows are another story.... you need an arrow that shoots well, but you also need repeatable form to know that arrow is right... got a nock right... is that the arrow or me? then nock left.... WTH??!! haha... then you have all of the precise tiny movements in your body to make the whole system function correctly.

one day you have a break through on a little tiny movement, that little directional movement you have been seeking.... arrows are zipping in there, you can't miss.... the next day all excited and that movement eludes you... you can't find that tiny movement, you can't make it feel the same, you can't get that perfect alignment..... crap! that stuff doesn't really seem to go away either, at least not in my 3 years and thousands and thousands of arrows. it's so gratifying and frustrating at the same time.... that's part of the draw though, that keeps it so addicting..... i think it's a personality thing whether you will like it or not. i don't think it's for everyone, and that is in no way a comment with any sense of superiority connected to it.

some people geek out on compounds, and probably feel the same way, though they are chasing perfection, while me with a recurve am chasing mediocracy.... some form of consistency, haha.
 

24on48hunting

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2021
Messages
28
Location
Georgia
same here. i use thin d-loop material, and put a small piece of velcro under the blade, so it's barely audible, and doesn't make more bow noise (before i did that, on the shot my clicker was the loudest part of the bow going off)

i initially was attracted to traditional archery because of the simplicity, which is laughable now.... compounds have a lot of moving parts, but it's mostly mechanical adjustments... trad bows are anything but simple.... crazy how complex the whole system is to get good arrow flight and repeatable accuracy.

you have bow tuning, and there are so many little factors that are more important than they are on a compound.... something as simple as nock fit, or serving material and how you come off the string (i just went through that, haha) so many things have to be so precise.... fine tuning nock height, brace height, arrows are another story.... you need an arrow that shoots well, but you also need repeatable form to know that arrow is right... got a nock right... is that the arrow or me? then nock left.... WTH??!! haha... then you have all of the precise tiny movements in your body to make the whole system function correctly.

one day you have a break through on a little tiny movement, that little directional movement you have been seeking.... arrows are zipping in there, you can't miss.... the next day all excited and that movement eludes you... you can't find that tiny movement, you can't make it feel the same, you can't get that perfect alignment..... crap! that stuff doesn't really seem to go away either, at least not in my 3 years and thousands and thousands of arrows. it's so gratifying and frustrating at the same time.... that's part of the draw though, that keeps it so addicting..... i think it's a personality thing whether you will like it or not. i don't think it's for everyone, and that is in no way a comment with any sense of superiority connected to it.

some people geek out on compounds, and probably feel the same way, though they are chasing perfection, while me with a recurve am chasing mediocracy.... some form of consistency, haha.
I’ve had days like that and I keep coming back for more, just to see an improvement. I’m striving to perfect my mediocracy, if there is such a thing as that.
When it comes together there’s nothing quite like it. I shot at squirrels for 2 or 3 days straight before connecting on one. I came so close on several, possibly cutting hair on a few. I refused to give up and kept at it knowing I would connect.
I made a perfect, head shot with a judo tipped arrow that I had set up from a bare shaft, fletched and footed myself. Had you been there, you would’ve thought that I just killed a B&C whitetail.
 

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