Out 'N About: Traditional archery not quite dead yet

March 01, 2004|BUD BARNARD

With all of the hoopla surrounding modern archery concerning such as compound bows and carbon arrows, you can be overwhelmed with the personal choices you have to be make when buying equipment.

The speed of the arrow from the bow has always been, and will continue to be, a determining factor for many archers of today and tomorrow. But the manufacturers of compound bows and related equipment thrust innovation after innovation upon the archery world almost daily.

Still, not all archers conform to the compound bow craze. There are many who would rather shoot the traditional stick and string.

There are many, many traditional bowyers that make exceptional recurve and straight bows, or longbows. The prices of these bows in some casesis almost as much as the most expensive compound bow, and some will exceed it.


Innovations in glass and wood technology have made the traditional bows faster.

One of these traditionalists is Harrodsburg's Tom Barlow, who prefers to shoot recurve bows. His favorite recurve bow presently is a Hoyt, but he does shoot carbon arrows.

Barlow said he prefers traditional equipment because the taking of deer with a compound is "too easy." So he decided to revert to the traditional bow.

"I shoot instinctively," he said. "I just look at what I want to hit, pull the string and let it go."

There are other archers who try to "gap shoot." They try to guess the right gap by holding the point high or low in relation to the target to hit their desired point of aim.

Another term traditionalists use is "point on." It is determined when the archer lines up the point with the bullseye of the target. The distance traveled by the arrow upon release is measured, giving the archer his "point on." One of the bows Barlow shoots is a 90-pound recurve, and his point on distance is 95 yards.

Hunting trips to Texas each year are where Barlow hones his skills. A recent trip to the Callahan Ranch in south Texas produced a harvest of two javelina with a bow.

Barlow has attended the Callahan Ranch's The South Texas Shootout for the past 16 years.

Texas has a good program for young hunters. With a minimal charge for a license, a young hunter can harvest just about anything that crawls, flies, runs, or swims.

A trip to the Gutierrez Ranch produced three wild hogs and three bobcats. These animals were harvested with a rifle.

The one "modern" gadget that Barlow wouldn't be without is a global positioning system. If he sets his position, or waypoint when he exits his vehicle, the way back is a piece of cake. That is provided the hunter has a working knowledge of just how the GPS unit works.

I don't own one yet, but I hope to. Prices for GPS units will vary from around $100 for a bare bones unit upwards.

A good friend of mine just installed a GPS unit on his new boat. He says that if you fish Lake Okeechobee in Florida, having a GPS unit can be a lifesaver, especially in fog or other inclement weather when north, south, east and west is not always apparent.

Compasses are good to use, but will not take you back to your exact starting point. GPS units will bring you back almost to the footprints you made when you left.

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