2nd In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:
David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.
We have made and purchased our first steps to becoming Traditional Bow Hunter. The Bass Pro Shop (BPS) Archery Staff will take you through step-by-step setup of your recurve bow and use of the bow stringer. The Archery Staff will cut your arrows and go thru the use of everything else purchased. We want you comfortable with the items you purchased. If you have questions Please Ask! This is your journey and we are your mentors to a successful process and experience!
Why did we recommend this instead of that?
- First, anything recommended in the first Blog is open for discussion between you and the BPS Archery Staff. This is about your success so ASK Questions!
- Why the Fred Bear Bow Stinger when there are others to choose from? I believe that this bow stringer is the safest and best for either longbow or recurve bow available on the market today.
- Why the Calf Hair Finger Tab instead of the Shooting Glove? I confess this is a matter of personal experience and preference for me. Hunting in the upper part of the country we experience cold climate at hunting season. A finger tab works well for me with fingerless wool gloves and mittens.
You are ready for the shooting style that matches the Sage Recurve. Think about it, your bow compared to the other bows in the shop has No Sights! How are you going to hit anything? Remember the 3-legged stool? This is the 1st leg.
Shooting Style, Instinct shooting.
One of the great things about choosing to hunt traditional is the ability to see and get a shot off quicker than the compound bow hunter. A traditional bow hunter does not have to look thru the peep and find the right distance pin. With instinctive shooting we see our game, we shoot in a fluid movement, we bring home our harvest. Right? But, not without practice, practice and practice.
Shooting the Bow
How does instinctive shooting work? You can throw a baseball, football, shoot a basketball, bean bags or play darts. These are hand eye coordination that we all develop as we grow. So, you have instinctive shooting in you already. Unfortunately it is not quite that easy, in that it takes time to learn. But, once you have learned it, it is very accurate and you get better in time. It’s very important that you learn to shoot your bow well. As a matter of fact it’s absolutely necessary to in your quest to harvest an animal ethically. Shooting your bow well will be a great feeling. I know it is for me and a lot of other bow hunters.
Shooting off the shelf
Instinct shooting starts with the arrow rest. Getting the arrow to go where we are looking begins with the arrow rest and locating as near to the bow hand as possible. Why is this important? Instinctive Shooting is shooting the bow using only the abilities of eye, body coordination and instinctive memory.
Simply, it’s shooting an arrow where you are looking.
Canting a bow is not as common as it used to be for a couple of reasons; 1st the increase in hunting sights which dictate that the bow held vertically; 2nd elevated arrow rests which requires the same position. Another reason for canting the bow is that it opens up your field of view for a cleaner shot. Here’s a Canting exercise to do.
- Make a fist using your bow hand, representing holding your bow exactly as though you are shooting.
- Choose a spot on the wall like a picture.
- Aim using your closed fist with simulating the arrow sitting on top of your fist as with the arrow rest.
- Now canting your fist to the right 90-degrees (assuming your right handed / left handed would be opposite).
- Notice the arrow simulation is still pointing at the spot.
You can do this exercise holding your bow as well. As you can see, canting your bow when shooting off the shelf does not change much.
Shooting off the shelf greatly simplifies instinctive shooting. When the arrow is down close to your hand, the arrow becomes part of the sighting / pointing system. Your arrow is pointed where your hand/arm is pointed; thus improving your ability to shoot quickly and to shoot where your bow is pointed.
Learning to Shoot
The ability to shoot instinctively is a result of form and practice. No matter what type of bow and arrow you choose to shoot... the basics are fundamentally the same principles.
Those fundamentals are:
- The Stance, most popular with shooters: is left side towards the target, feet parallel and spaced comfortably, head turned 90 degrees with chin touching, or almost touching, the left shoulder.
2. The open stance is also popular. Similar to the standard stance except the right foot is slightly forward of the left foot and the left foot is turned slightly towards the target.
3. The Draw is the very center of instinctive shooting. The draw includes keys: hand position on the bow, bow arm position, finger position on the string, the draw itself and head position.
4. The Anchor, the anchor is the rear sight on your bow. It’s the tail end or nock of the arrow lack of consistency in the anchor has dramatic impacts on hits. Moving the anchor up or down, right or left will send the arrow in those directions.
3-Finger Anchor Split-Finger Anchor
- Aiming: when we think aiming in today’s terms we associate it with tools or devices, a mechanical system. Aiming in instinctive shooting certainly is mechanical, it’s concentrating on your target. At first aiming will be difficult because we all have a tendency to look where we want our arrow to go as in spot 1 in following sketch. With practice you will see where your arrow is going as in spot 2.
Seeing versus Aiming where we want the arrow to go.
- The Release: the release is affected by letting go of the string… allowing the arrow suddenly leave your fingers. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When this is done with your bow and arrow. The bow arm is pushing forward as the string is pulled back… two opposing actions. As long as you continue to push the bow arm forward, the release hand will easily let loose the string. Your bow hand must be pushing forward and your release hand pulling back. It is a push-pull method. One last thing, the term “hold” is a misnomer… you do not hold in traditional instinctive shooting.
Here’s a very good tool and exercise to work on these fundamentals in the house, break time at work or during TV commercials… Make a String Bow.
It’s As Easy As This:
- Take an 84-90 inch length of string fold the string in half by placing the cut ends in your bow hand.
- Hook the first three fingers of your drawing hand in the loop end of the string. The string should be resting in the first joint of line of the first and third fingers and just inside the joint of the second finger.
- Release the cut ends from your bow hand.
- With the back of your bow hand facing you, close your bow hand around both strands of string 12 inches or so from where your fingers are in the looped end.
- Straighten your bow arm and hang it towards your imaginary target now, lift your while facing the target lift your bow arm to eye level.
- Draw the string through your bow hand fist by pulling the string toward your face and placing the middle finger on the corner of your mouth. If you do not shooting Split-Finger Style but, shoot Three-Finger Style you would place your index finger at the corner of your mouth. Your drawing hand and arm should be level and above your bow hand and arm.
- While keeping your bow hand wrapped around the string, remove your drawing hand fingers from the loop. Use the drawing hand to hold the string where it exits the bow hand.
- Now tie a knot as close as possible to this place, tie a second knot a hands width away from the first knot and cut away the excess string.
- It’s very important that the “string bow” be the proper length, make sure the bow hand string (with the knots) is place in the hands lifeline. Proper draw length is critical for ethical hunting and the use of the tool like the string bow helps us in its use. Proper Draw Length,
See the alignment from elbow to bow hand.
The BPS Archery staff will go through these principles with you when you purchase your bow.
Practicing Your Form And Release
Start shooting by being close 5 to 10-yards to your target and just work on your form, release and concentration. As these get better you will notice your arrow groups will get better, tighter and smaller.
In the archery we say “Perfect Practice makes Perfect” so, take your time when practicing. You will see the results.
The 3rd Blog in this series will be shooting tuning equipment.