I began my journey with traditional archery just a short year ago, so I am hardly the stickbow connoisseur, but I have learned an incredible amount over the last year and feel that it will undoubtedly aid in shortening the learning curve for some recent compound converts.

Practice doesn’t make perfect.

Not what you heard in little league huh? I should clarify, practicing the wrong way does not make perfect. You may be tempted to run to the backyard and fling 100 arrows. Don’t. Instead, go out back and shoot 10 well thought out arrows. What does well thought out mean? Focus on your target (a very small target is best) throughout your draw, reach your established anchor, and focus on a nice smooth finish. At this point, the  impact location of your arrow is irrelevant compared to establishing consistent form.

Don’t over-bow yourself.

A 70# compound does not translate to a #70 traditional bow. It doesn’t even compare to a 50# traditional bow. With a compound you are pulling 70# for a quick moment and then hit full draw, where you are holding 4-9#. When getting into traditional archery somewhere between 40 and 45# is a good start. Build up the correct muscles, establish muscle memory, and then, if you deem it necessary, bump up to a higher weight.

Tune your arrows.

This is especially vital to those looking to get into traditional hunting (Ask me how I know). With a compound, all I ever really did was pick the arrow spine that matched the chart on the back and pair it with a 100-grain head. Boom. Pass-throughs nearly every time. With a traditional bow, an arrow flying poorly can result in marginal penetration, resulting in a wounded animal. The other benefit? A well-tuned arrow will shrink your groups too!

Buy a field point test kit for $6.99. Shoot your bow using each weight head to see which flies best. Keep in mind that a heavier tip will offset a stiff spine while cutting down the arrow’s length (in small increments) will stiffen the arrow.

Shoot in the Dark.

Allow me to explain, it isn’t as dangerous as it sounds. This is a personal observation so it has not been scientifically tested by any means other than my own experience…and I’m not a scientist.

I shoot far better instinctively, meaning I focus on the target rather than my arrow. Some people shoot what is referred to as ”Gap” shooting, where the distance between the arrowhead and the target is measured mentally as a method of aiming. I found myself half using this method, and experiencing poor accuracy. What I found as a great solution is to find a dark and safe environment, illuminate your target, and step back to 15 yards (where it’s dark). Focus on that target intently and keep your form consistent, and soon enough you won’t be tempted to look down the arrow anymore!

Ask for aid.

The traditional community is very helpful and inviting. Ask someone more experienced for guidance. They are generally very willing to offer  advice and share their experiences with you.

Good luck with your new adventure! Traditional archery is the best kind of addiction. Stick with it, and before you know it your compound will be on Craigslist like mine. Shoot Straight!

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