Reasons to try Traditional Archery

Predator recurve bow lying on ground in fall season.I’m sure there are people in this world that ask, “Why would anyone want to use a traditional bow when modern compound bows are readily available? What reasons exist for someone to want to make archery more difficult?”

This is not easy to explain. Most of us who shoot traditional archery would say it’s not a ‘reason’ why we shoot, but an ’emotion.’ Let’s take a look at why so many traditional archers have a strong passion for the sport, and why you might want to give it a try yourself.

The Heritage of Archery

Traditional archery represents a certain amount of adventure and a spiritual challenge to many people. Bowhunters are especially attracted to the traditional side of archery as shots are made fast and the minimal amount of gear needed can be a big benefit.

Target archery is very popular and many schools have programs as part of their curriculum. The added challenge a traditional bow offers compared to a compound bow (with its let off, sights, releases, etc.) definitely has its appeal.

For those who enjoy history, the story of the bow and arrow is closely tied to the story of man. The traditional bow started as a tool for survival. Then the bow helped to build some of the largest empires this world has ever known. Then finally, traditional archery became a sport practiced by kings and commoners alike.  Today Medieval reenactors show off at Renaissance faires and other events how the bow was used in medieval times for those looking to experience that.

As technology has advanced to the point of affecting most (if not all) aspects of our lives today, many of us look for ways to revert back to simpler methods. Traditional archery allows us to put technology aside and experience the simple joy of a ‘stick and string.’  Inside there is a feeling that entices us. Witnessing the simple arc of an arrow in-flight, and the overwhelming satisfaction when it strikes the intended target. It is a feeling hard to describe, but when it hits you, you will be hard pressed not to smile and feel your concerns drift away.

Simplicity of the Bow and Arrow

Primitive bamboo backed bow with wood arrowsMaybe it’s time for you to put down the high tech equipment and give traditional archery a try. Most beginners I speak with are afraid to try this sport, feeling it’s overly complicated. Like anything else, there is a learning curve, but the sport really isn’t all that complicated. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

In its basic form, traditional archery is very simple. You have the basic equipment needed to shoot, which is the bow and the arrow. A few other helpful items, while not entirely necessary, but worth purchasing are a glove, an arm guard, a bow stringer, and a quiver. Other types of accessory equipment, like elevated rests, sights, releases, stabilizers, etc. aren’t necessary. Even though these items can be combined with the sport, you don’t need them to get started. In fact, it may be easier and more enjoyable without them.

All the technology available also means that there are many resources available to help you learn about the sport. On top of that, you’ll also find most archers are willing to offer advice. The overwhelming amount of information sometimes leads to confusion. Shooting traditional archery is meant to be simple. So don’t be discouraged by all the information or knowing where to start. You are always welcome to call us at 3Rivers Archery to have any questions answered and to help point you in the right direction.

The Challenge of the Traditional Bow

Successful Bowhunter with deer and recurve bow

A vast amount of people pick up the sport of traditional archery looking for a new challenge. A lot of traditional archers seek to really test their skills and resolve.

Traditional archery is a lifelong journey that challenges the best of archers and hunters alike. Learning the basics for shooting a traditional bow is simple enough, but becoming proficient over time is the real challenge. Willing to accept the limitations of the sport will give you something to embrace and keep you coming back to shoot more and to perfect or achieve your goals. Even the best of archers spend their entire lives working to perfect their form and enhance their skills.

For target archers, the competitive side of the sport can be motivational. You compete against other archers yes, but you will compete against yourself the entire way. Making sure you are shooting at your very best every shot can be quite the thrill. The mental game of consistently putting arrows in the gold is tough. Setting goals and hitting them, such as shooting a 270 on a 300 Vegas round, is quite an accomplishment. To learn more on the competitive side of traditional archery, be sure to check out World Archery.

The popular saying of, “It’s not where you’re going, but how you get there,” explains a lot of the desire to hunt with a traditional bow. Traditional bowhunting is about getting close to an animal and having a huge amount of patience to wait for, and execute, the perfect shot. Traditional bowhunting can be one of the most challenging aspects of the sport of archery. The thrill of getting closer to game than you do with any other hunting weapon is hard to describe. The immense feeling of pride in your hunting skill when you arrow your first animal is another feeling that you just cannot put into words. Nothing is quite like it.

For some bowhunters taking away the advantages, such as bow sights, and using only ‘primitive archery’ equipment is the reward they are searching for. Their success comes from relying on their woodsman skills instead of technology.

Mental Focus of Traditional Archery

Dale Karch shooting his longbow.To be an accomplished archer means that you need to have control of your mental focus. It’s often one of the most difficult things to execute, but one of the reasons many find archery so relaxing. Being able to focus on your form, technique, and target requires practice. When done properly, your mind doesn’t wander, but concentrates on the task. When you pick up a bow and shoot a few arrows, you’ll find yourself forgetting about all your troubles. It truly is a great form of relaxation.

There are not a lot of things that can go wrong with the simplicity of the equipment used. Therefore, you won’t be focusing on things like whether or not something changed and needs an adjustment. If the shot is off its mark, then it is probably the fault of the shooter, not the equipment. It can be satisfying to know that the harder you work, the better you can be. Archery is an individual sport. What you put in is what you get out of it. From shooting in the backyard, to shooting on the World stage for your country, it is all achievable and enjoyable (if you’re doing it right).

Traditional Archery is an excellent form of recreation that the entire family can enjoy. It’s also a great form of physical exercise, not just from shooting, but also from walking, whether it’s a 3D target course or just back and forth to the target in your backyard. Another benefit is the fact that archery can be shot year round, indoor and outdoor.

What Does it Cost to Shoot a Bow?

Sports can be expensive to get started and the more involved you get, the more it can cost. However, traditional archery is one of the few sports where the cost is reasonable and doesn’t have to get very expensive to enjoy it to the fullest. While it’s true that you can spend a lot of money on high end equipment, the basics to get started are quite reasonable. A good starter package can range from a little more than $100 to $300.

Be sure to check out our selection of Traditional Bow Kits here.

Once you give traditional archery a try, you most likely will never look back. It’s an alluring sport that captivates the mind, sending you on the journey to explore the archery experience. Try the 3Rivers Archery Product Finder to get you started in Traditional Archery.

By R. Strong and Johnathan Karch