Traditional Archery – By Doug Besherse
“I want to switch to a recurve/longbow, but there is no one around here that shoots one. I was wondering if you might explain some things to me?”
If I have heard that once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.
In my family opened business BESHERSE BROTHERS, a mail-order business that revolves around traditional bowhunting, I have helped hundreds of people get off to a good start with traditional bows and equipment.
This article is only the basics, but it should give you a solid base to start you on your journey.
1. When picking out a bow, probably the most important thing is the draw weight. When learning to shoot a recurve/longbow, you will want to and need to shoot a lot. You also will be using muscles that you didn’t use before. Both these things dictate that you don’t overblow yourself.
- Depending on your physical condition, a bow between 40 and 50 pounds is generally good to start with.
- If you are not abnormally short or tall, a recurve 58″ to 64″ or a longbow 62″ to 68″ should do the trick.
- If you are able to actually see a group of bows, pick out two or three that appeal to you. Hold each bow and buy the one that feels the best to your hand. It has been my experience that if a bow looks good to you and feels good to you, it will generally shoot well for you.
- If you can shoot the bows before you buy one, that’s even better. Again, buy the one that feels the best to you.
2. You will need some arrows. Any arrow will shoot out of a recurve/longbow. Regardless of what type you prefer to use, you will need to get the correct spined or stiffness of arrow. Get advice from a reliable source on this subject. Just because your buddy Leroy set up his bow doesn’t mean he’s an expert. Matching arrow spine to bows isn’t complicated, but there are some basic principles that must be understood.
3. Variables such as bow weight and type, draw length, broadhead type and broadhead weight also have to be considered. You will also need qualified help in setting correct brace height and nock point placement. When the bow and arrow are set up correctly, you should get a perfect arrow flight. Arrow wobble of any kind is unacceptable and should be eliminated.
4. The only accessories that one needs is a properly designed bow stringer, a good basic glove, an armguard, and a quiver. Every quiver has good points and bad points. Talk to someone who knows what’s available, and let them help you decide which one is best for you.
You are now ready to go play. There are different styles of shooting a recurve or longbow.
The style I feel is most beneficial to the hunter, and it is the most natural, is a swing and shoot style.
It is initially different from what you are accustomed to, but it’s easy to learn. Follow these basic instructions and adjust them to make this style work for you.
- Start with the bow hanging at your side, as if you were standing in a treestand.
- As you start raising your bow, start drawing the string, all in one fluid motion.
- Time this motion so that you come to full draw, hit your anchor point, and have the bow on target all at the same time. (The bow should be about two o’clock and eight o’clock in relation to the ground.)
- Then you release.
- This routine should be practiced without trying to hit anything until this motion becomes natural.
One thing that will speed this process along is to make everything comfortable. The way you stand, the amount you lean into the shot, and where you anchor should all be done so as to maximize comfort. Being comfortable also helps you concentrate on what you want to hit. After this motion becomes naturally, you will be surprised at how well you hit targets. Begin shooting at about 10 yards.
Look at what you want to hit, concentrate on the exact spot and just let the shot happen. When you can group at 10 yards, back up to 13 yards or so. When you can group there, move back 16 yards or so, and so on. Take as much time as you need before moving back to the next distance. I wish you all the luck in the world as you start your journey.