How to get hooked on Archery

Here's the story behind this bow.

        A few years ago Bud, a good friend of mine, tried for a long time to get me interested in archery.   He would explain how archery equipment had improved over the years.   In fact, he mentioned it often; but I kept assuring him that my shooting interest was strictly in rifles, pistols, and sometimes a shotgun.   I could tell that he was practicing with his bow, and he wanted to find some competition.   However, my interest in shooting includes ONLY the "most effective" firearms.   I just had no time or interest in shooting anything that delivered less performance than a modern firearm.   He was convinced that sooner or later I'd get interested in archery.

        One day when Bud came by the shop, he tried to convince me again to give archery a serious try.   He then pulled out an impressive looking modern compound bow.   Before I could say a word, he said "It's yours . . . . now let's head out and give it a try".   Well . . . . I sure didn't see that coming . . . . I was really shocked; and of course, very greatful for such a gift.   I couldn't turn him down, so we went over to his range to give it a try.   The performance was absolutely awesome.   I was hooked.

It's much easier to find a place to shoot arrows.

        He had a nice backyard archery range setup that really was a great looking place to shoot.   It reminded me of a place where I used to shoot arrows when I was a teenager (over 40 years ago).   Back then, I used to shoot a recurve bow, and I was pretty good with it.   However, that was a very long time ago, and I figured that any archery skill I once had surely must be a bit rusty.

        I soon found that Bud had good reasons to be interested in archery.   He can shoot an arrow better than most shooters can shoot a handgun.   He must have spent a lot of time practicing!   In the next few months we went shooting every chance we could.   I was surprised to see how well I could shoot out to 35 yards.   I'm still trying to shoot arrows as well as Bud.   It's a great challenge and a whole lot of fun.   Just wait, because my practice is really improving my skill at archery.

The modern archery release now provides a crisp trigger pull - just like a fine rifle.

        Imagine a modern bow with peep sights, a 30" sight radius, and a 4 ounce hair trigger arrow release strapped to your wrist.   This is a very impressive evolution in archery.   My old recurve bow convinced me to finally abandon archery for decades, but modern compound bows now have the technology to shoot 2" groups at over 50 yards.   Bud was right about the many improvements in archery, and it's now well worth the time and money to get back into the sport.

These modern cams reduce the draw weight (that you actually hold) by almost 90%.

        The single most noticable improvement in archery is the cams that lighten the pull of your bow.   Once you get halfway to full draw, you'll notice the bow string becomes very easy to pull, and even easier to hold.   At full draw it requires very little strength allowing you to hold steady for a good shot.   This feature gives the average archer the chance to shoot a much more powerful bow.   The arrows are faster, and they have a much flatter trajectory.   It becomes easy to take your time and hold your aim longer.

Modern bow sights provide an incredible sight picture.

        I recently decided on a top quality front sight made by HHA Sports.   They make a jillion different variations of this sight, so you can order the EXACT features you want.   This particular sight has a single front sight pin (.019' diameter).   It's a bright green fiber optic pin with adjustable brightness, and the elevation is easily adjusted by dialing the distance marked on the scale at the rear.   This particular sight has a large 2" ring around the sight, and you can adjust the windage with a "micro click" adjustment just like on a target rifle.   Most rifle shooters know how accurate peep sights are, and this front sight is used with a peep sight that's mounted on the string.   Now . . . . just imagine a bow with peep sights having a 30" sight radius and a crisp hair trigger.

Bear Archery factory showroom in Gainesville, Florida.

        I remember watching Fred Bear on TV, back in the 1960s.   He performed some of the most remarkable archery shooting I've ever seen.   Decades later while returning from a deer hunt, we visited the Bear Archery factory in Gainesville, Florida.   They had a huge museum located on the second floor of the complex that overlooked their entire manufacturing facility.   At that time it was the largest privately held collection of archery artifacts in the world.

        Fred Bear died in 1988, and Bear Archery sold the museum's collection to the Bass Pro Shops in 2003.   The factory still makes Bear archery products.   However, their museum is gone.   Too bad . . . . because that was an awesome place to visit.     I was lucky enough to have visited the factory before they sold the museum.

Fred Bear (the one with the bow)
Bear Archery factory & museum

His parking space reserved - forever.

        By the way . . . . if you're even just a little interested in archery when you visit the Bear factory, you'll be seriously hooked before you leave.   Bud convinced me that this would be a good chance to get a better bow and give the "older model" away to a new shooter.   The bow technicians there are highly skilled and capable of making the ultimate bow while you wait.   How cool is that?   I had them put together a short hunting bow with a straight riser, and it looked awesome.   They fitted it with spectacular sights and said to give it a try - right outside the building on their archery ranges.

        The bow tech somehow knew that the sights were set pretty darn close, and he wanted to see my first arrow on their 50 yard target.   Wow . . . . I've never shot an arrow at that distance.   The targets on their range were HUGE with a backstop was as big as a barn.   There was no way I could lose an arrow at that range.   It would be interesting to see how close I could come to the target.   I lined up the sights and let one fly.   As the arrow went completely out of sight - it looked like a great shot.   Then I heard the sound of the arrow hit the target.   "Whack"   When we walked half way up to the target, I could see the arrow was perfectly centered.   What an experience!

Arrow repair . . . . it's sort of like reloading.

        Sometimes the arrows need repairing, and it's an easy job with the right equipment.   In some ways, it's like reloading.   There's a lot to learn; and after you get the right information, you can build top quality arrows.   Another friend of mine recently got me interested in building and repairing arrows.   I've learned from several experienced archers, and I had a chance to shoot with one Hall of Fame shooter (Edgar Chattin).   I've met many hunters that actually "prefer" to hunt with a bow instead of a rifle.   Now that's going a bit too far for me, but I like the idea of two hunting seasons.   I definitely want to do more hunting, so I'll keep practicing.

100 gr. (Thunderhead) broadhead above
vs 100 gr. standard field tip.

        Select the right arrowhead for the type of target you're shooting.   They just screw in, but be sure to choose the best one.   Just like shooting different bullets, different type arrows will seldom hit in the same place even when their weight is exactly the same.   Be sure to verify your sight settings when shooting broadheads.   Archery equipment has come a long way.   Arrows are now made of lightweight graphite.   Bows have luminous sights and hair triggers.   Give it a try.   Don't wait for a generous friend to get you started - because it'll probably never happen.   After you get hooked on archery, try to get new shooters interested.   It's similar to rifle shooting.   You'll probably meet some great people along the way.

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