If you have not shot aerials with your traditional bow yet, then you are truly missing out on one of the coolest things you can do with a trad bow besides hunting.
One of the reasons I love shooting aerials is I remember all the old films of Fred Bear shooting thrown discs with his recurve. I was always intrigued and knew that one day I wanted to be able to do that.
I am proud to report that I am not only routinely shooting aerials, but I have also introduced a lot of my friends as well as our boys to the sport. Shooting just fixed targets all the time can start to get old. As a parent I was constantly looking for ways to keep my kids outside in the great outdoors and introducing them to new ways to enjoy archery. That includes practice, bowhunting and of course safety. From paper targets I graduated the kids to 3-D targets. As a way to keep things fun and exciting the next step was discs in the air. Shooting aerials is tons of fun, great practice, and a terrific way to either get kids involved or to help keep them interested in shooting a bow. It also looks pretty impressive and can be picked up easily with a little practice.
What You Need– The nice thing about aerials is that targets are inexpensive to buy. Three Rivers Archery has aerial targets available for purchase. I suggest a few of them so you don’t have to keep stopping the fun to pick up one target. If you’re into building your own, you can simply cut circles out of cardboard and start gluing them together. Usually, 5-6 layers is plenty to stop an arrow. I suggest starting with a 15″ circle and try working down to something tougher like a 6-8 inch disc.
After either purchasing or making your targets you now need some Flu Flu arrows. If you have never heard of a Flu Flu arrow Wikipedia defines it as “a type of arrow specifically designed to travel a short distance. Such arrows are particularly useful when shooting at aerial targets or for certain types of recreational archery where the arrow must not travel too far.” The term Flu Flu arrow in my opinion is not really accurate because you are shooting the same arrow you target shoot or hunt with. The only difference is the feathers. It also doesn’t matter if you use arrow shafts made of wood, aluminum or carbon. They will all work fine with the addition of larger feathers.
The history of the Flu Flu dates back to Maurice Thompson’s book, “The Witchery of Archery,” first published in 1878. In it Maurice talks of a Native American who used “broad-feathered arrows which he had named “Floo Hoo” on account of a peculiar roaring sound it made while flying through the air.
To sum it up, basically it is just oversize feathers placed on your regular hunting arrow that acts as a wind drag preventing the arrow from going very far. There are tons of combinations and ways of applying the feathers to achieve the desired result. The easiest way to get Flu Flu’s is to order them from Three Rivers Archery. Oftentimes local archery shops can also fletch them up for you as well. If you would rather make your own, you can just purchase some full length feathers and make them yourself. There is a learning curve here and I would suggest purchasing a video or following instructions on-line to help you fletch up your arrows correctly.
Once you have some Flu Flu’s fletched up you can enjoy some great fun target shooting. Besides aerial disc shooting, Flu Flu’s are also great option for close range hunting on small game like birds, squirrels, rabbits or anything where you don’t want your arrow to head out of sight. As always be safe and have fun…. Fred
By: Fred Eichler