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Making the Switch to Traditional Archery

Here's what you need to know about making the switch to bowhunting. 

Many hunters seeking a greater challenge and connection with their prey are switching to traditional archery equipment. With practice and the right equipment anyone can learn to shoot a traditional bow.

Get Started with the Right Stuff

All that is needed to make the switch to traditional archery is:

  1. A bow. Those new to traditional archery should choose a bow with a draw weight around 15 pounds lighter than their compound bow. This may seem like a huge reduction, but archers must remember that traditional bows don't have the let-off of compounds. It is much easier to learn to shoot a traditional bow that you can draw without effort. Traditional bows can be purchased at specialty stores or online.
  2. Arrows. Traditional archers use arrows made of carbon, aluminum, or wood. Traditional arrows are typically heavier than arrows shot from compounds to increase penetration. Arrows should be fletched with helical feathers for the best possible arrow flight. Hunting arrows should be tipped with heavy, razor sharp, cut-on-contact broad heads.
  3. Shooting glove or finger tab. Traditional archers don't use releases. Instead, you should purchase a shooting glove or finger tab to protect your fingers from the bowstring. Experiment with different styles of tabs and gloves until you find what suits you best, then stick with it.
  4. Arm guard. The last piece of equipment you will need is an arm guard. These can be made of leather or synthetics.  They protect your arm from string slap and keep any baggy clothing out of the way of your bowstring.

Aiming Techniques

Once you have gathered the necessary equipment, you have many choices on how to aim you traditional bow.

  1. Instinctive Shooting. The most popular aiming technique for traditional archers is the instinctive method. This involves the shooter focusing on the target and allowing hand-eye coordination and muscle memory to guide the arrow to its mark. This technique is often compared to throwing a baseball.
  2. String walking. This technique requires the shooter to move their string hand up or down the bow string in order to change the arrow's trajectory.
  3. Gap shooting. Gap shooters use the tip of the arrow as an aiming device. The "gap" between the arrows point and the target is adjusted for different yardages.

There is a lot to learn about traditional archery, but this gives you a sense of what's needed before you dive in.

Check out this video of some fellow Pennsylvanians shooting frogs with their traditional bows.

Are you ready to make the switch to traditional archery?  Let us know by commenting below.

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Making the Switch to Traditional Archery