Sometimes, in an effort to fit in at the local archery shop, people end up embarrassing themselves.
New to archery? A bit intimidated when you step into an archery shop? We cannot blame you. There's a huge learning curve to learning to use a bow. If you want to avoid embarrassment, here are the top nine things you can do to stick out like a sore thumb at the local archery shop.
1. Draw a bow without an arrow in it.
Unless you intend to purchase that bow, fractured limbs and all, don't do it.
2. Invite yourself into the tech's area or behind the counter.
There may be other non-employees coming and going, but save yourself the embarrassment of making things uncomfortable for the staff. Most shops have regulars that help out or have been around for years and have earned their trust. Don't assume you're one of them yet.
Wait to be invited, and then revel in being part of the club when your time comes.
3. Talk about your draw weight like it's a badge of honor.
That's like asking, "How much you bench, bro?" It's just an obnoxious thing to do.
No one is impressed with your 77 pounds of draw weight if your arms quiver, your face turns red and you miss the paper. Kinetic energy is not a competition. Shoot what's comfortable and let others do the same.
4. Insist that others aren't shooting the right brands because it's not your brand.
There are lots of great bows on the market today. You can have preferences and favorites, but it doesn't make all others inferior. You can share your opinion with others, but when you cross the line into being a brand snob, most folks will tune you out.
5. Poke fun at other archers for their shooting.
There's enough latent competitiveness floating around a shooting range without someone actively calling people out.
That's not to say some good-natured ribbing is sometimes called for among friends, but most folks are self-conscious about their performance and adding color commentary doesn't help. Be encouraging.
6. Blame your equipment first.
"It's that darned rest." Or maybe, "My cam's out of time."
Most of us have hoped there was a magical loose component that once tightened or replaced would have us punching Xs but in reality, it's usually operator error that causes a bad shot. Look at yourself first.
7. Talk about how you could have gone pro.
Anybody could have done lots of things so if you didn't, you didn't. Maybe you can still go pro. Who knows?
Instead of talking about it, go sling some arrows and make it happen. Otherwise, keep these comments to yourself, Uncle Rico.
8. Pretend to be an expert.
Archery shop guys can sniff out a pretender in short order and would prefer customers be candid about what they do and don't know. A quick tell is when someone confuses spine weight with grains per inch. If you don't know, that's fine. There's no one to impress here.
9. Brag about stupid things you've done in the field.
Darrell Stiennen, owner of Select Archery in Normal, Illinois, had a customer brag about shooting a deer in the face and another customer proudly announce that he had killed a deer in July. That's getting you cred with no one and will isolate you from the bowhunting community in short order.
On the whole, archery shop staff want to help you find the right gear and provide a welcoming place to hone your skills. Help them do all that by being friendly, candid and willing to listen and you'll be in no danger of embarrassing yourself (and you'll probably fit right in).