ARROWGAZM! ARCHERY 101- GO GITYA SOME by Ted Nugent
In numerous articles I have written over the years, I have made the emphatic point how the mystical flight of the arrow has always turned me on, thrilled me and cleansed my soul. Amazingly, more now than ever. Those of us who celebrate the discipline of archery simply cannot get enough. Archery as a physics of spirituality artform, and particularly the ultimate Zen of bowhunting, brings us so much joy and excitement as to be rather challenging to describe. Take my bright eyed bushytailed word for it.
See that uppity sparkle in my eyes? It is available to everyone.
The point has also been made on more than a few occasions how bewildered I am that the number of bowhunters in America has been stagnant at around three million for more than 30 years, and that the ultimate bowhunting paradise of Texas has the fewest bowhunters per hunting license sold than any state.
Not being one to want to keep such pleasurable pursuits of happiness to myself, and surely not one to simply complain without offering a solution, it is here and now that I will do all in my power to assist all parties so interested in joining the ranks of the bowhunter brotherhood.
I know you want it, and you know you do too.
I have witnessed so many potential archers ignore the basics, and then give it up after a brief, feeble attempt at flinging arrows heather and yon. With all due respect, do please pay close attention, as I am convinced that when pursued properly, bowhunting is indeed for everybody who loves to hunt, and archery, for just plain everybody.
First and foremost, it will not come as easily or as quickly as does firearms’ marksmanship or firearms’ hunting capability. In fact compared to rifle hunting, bowhunting is downright difficult. Hence, the magical allure. The rewards of gratification are directly linked to the efforts expended. Viola!
The absolute ultimate introduction to the mystical flight of the arrow is best experienced with a lightweight traditional bow. In fact, the Genesis youth bow also falls into this introductory category because of its natural archery feel and basically unlimited draw length capability. But lightweight draw, I say 30-40# for grown men, 20-30 for kids and women, once again is the key so that the new archer, young, old, strong, weak, no matter what, will develop their natural hand eye coordination more naturally and smoothly with such graceful equipment.
Another important element, especially with a first bow, is to use properly spined arrows based on the archer’s draw length. These arrows should be fletched with feather fletching, not plastic vanes so arrow flight off of a usually hard, unforgiving arrow rest will go where they are pointed instead of kicking off erratically in flight.
Of equal importance is to shoot at a good, safe backstop target like bales of hay or straw, at close range, say about 20 feet, not 20 yards to begin with. A simple paper plate to draw your natural focus is perfect.
Start without a bow sight, what is referred to as “bare bow” shooting. With the Apache draw of three fingers under the arrow, properly knocked on the string for center shot, draw back so that the string hand touches the face in the exact same spot everytime. This anchor is critical for consistent accuracy, as the anchor represents the rear sight of your hand eye coordination sight picture.
Tutored by an experienced archer, slowly and patiently develop proper archery form, how to stand and address the target, how to look at the target from behind the bow and arrow, how to draw, anchor, release and follow through properly.
These critical basics will be the foundation for ultimate archery. Anything less, will be a hindrance.
Once your arrows group close together constantly at close range, back off in five step increments until you extend your range where your accuracy is solid. This is the test. Do not expect to shoot accurately beyond 12-20 yards for awhile. Be patient. It will come in time.
Rule One-do not borrow a compound bow. This simple mistake has caused more people to get a woefully mistaken misunderstanding of archery basics and give up before they even get started. With the modern compound bow, personal fit and feel is a make it or break it issue. You must get a bow that fits you to a T, with the proper draw length and comfortable, graceful draw weight.
I bet you that there are more bows gathering dust hanging up in Texas garages that anywhere in the world because so many borrowed a bow to give it a try.
Suffice it to say, that according to the world’s master bowmen, all agree that the draw length is critical, and that a slightly shorter than perfect draw length is still quite shootable, but a too long a draw length is literally anti-archery, and you will never know if you can shoot accurately or not.
Visit a qualified archery pro-shop and try as many different makes, models, poundage and draw lengths as possible, and discover the ultimate feel based on your own dimensions and physical properties. A little extra time choosing the best bow for you is more than worth it.
My pet peeve is the inexplicable phenomena forever where most archers purchase a bow that they have to lift above the line of sight to draw because someone sold them a bow that is too heavy of a draw weight. It is The Curse of American archery. I have witnessed it so often I remain baffled.
And the most amazing part is that of the thousands and thousands of archery shops across the country, the vast majority of wanna be archers will not and cannot find a bow of the proper light weight draw in order to actually get into the sport. Absolutely weird.
Bow manufacturers should produce more 35-50 pound bows than the current 60-70 pound range. If I had a dollar for every person who gave up trying to buy a comfortable light weight bow because they couldn‘t find one, I could buy a few more machineguns. Really.
I will repeat the self evident truth once again. My svelte, sexy, skinny, gorgeous wife Shemane kills everything she shoots at with her 38# Martin bow and 400 grain Gold Tip tipped with a good old Magnus two blade broadhead. Everything! One arrow, one kill, on huge zebra, wildebeest, warthogs, nyala, kudu, impala, blesbok, deer of every shape and size, rams, antelope, hogs, you name it. She draws, she fires, she kills. 38-40 pound draw weight.
And though I can draw an 80# bow, I kill everything I shoot at with 48-53# with the same arrow and broadhead.
Stealth, grace, timing, and shot placement makes venison. Know it, live it, enjoy it, and celebrate it.
Choice of equipment is unlimited. Every bow, every arrow, every broadhead, every quiver, every release, every arrow rest, every sight, everything in the archery and bowhunting world is killer these days. It all comes down to personal feel and choice.
Do not give up. This wonderful bowhunting lifestyle is available for everyone everywhere. Approach it the right way and the mystical flight of the arrow will cleanse your soul. Go ahead, have an arrowgazm. It’s legal.