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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: learn archery

Learn the Basics of Shooting Traditional Longbows and Recurves

Shooting Traditional Archery

Trying to focus on the target, I could hear the voices in the background, some were encouraging, but the loudest were intended to rattle my nerves with the hope that I would miss the shot.  We were shooting traditional bows and the stakes were high adding pressure to the shot. I did my best to concentrate and recall the shot sequence I had developed and practiced all summer. As I did, everything slowly disappeared, except for the aspirin sized target I was focusing upon. The string slipped from my fingers and in an instant the feathered shaft streaked towards the target.

People gravitate toward archery for different reasons, but many find traditional archery a relaxing and therapeutic sport since it’s one of the simplest forms of archery. While shooting traditional archery can be addicting, it can also be frustrating at the same time. If you have trouble hitting your target, the enjoyment you first had when picking up a bow can quickly turn to discouragement. However, learning the basic steps will put you on track to developing consistent accuracy.

Consistency sums up most everything in archery. There are many methods and variations all designed to make you a better archer. Just keep in mind the most important thing to remember, regardless of the style or method is to remain consistent shot after shot. Without consistency, it will be difficult to gain the precision needed to master the sport. Above all things in archery; stay consistent.

While there are books and videos dedicated to becoming more efficient, I’ve condensed it into seven basic steps. These steps are for starting purposes only. In time, you most likely will tweak and/or change as you feel necessary. Following these steps will get you started in the right direction when shooting  traditional equipment.

Learn to shoot traditional archery
Beginner’s Guide to Traditional Archery Book
Masters of the Barebow DVD Set
Masters of the Barebow DVD Set

Steps for Learning How to Shoot a Traditional Bow

Note: These steps are for a right handed shooter, a left hand shooter would mirror the process. Illustrations by D. Echterling

Proper Archery StanceStance: Start by facing 90° to the target with your feet set and spaced shoulder width apart. Keep your head centered while standing upright and your weight evenly distributed. I prefer to open the stance by rotating the left foot slightly towards the target.

Proper Archery GripGrip: Hold the bow with your left hand by placing the dished part of the handle on the webbing that is between your thumb and index finger. Using a light grip, rest your palm, section right below your thumb, on the bow and lightly wrap your fingers around the handle. Keep your knuckles at an approximate 45°. You never want to grip the bow too tightly as this can cause torquing and throw off the shot.

Archery Finger PlacementNocking the Arrow and Finger Placement: Hold the bow in your left hand in front of you and approximately at waist level. With your right hand, hold the arrow about eight inches from the nock end. Rotate the shaft so that the cock feather is pointing out and away from the riser. Snap the throat of the nock on the string under the brass string nock locator. Position the three fingers of your shooting hand on the string with the index finger above the nock and the middle and ring fingers below the nock. Keep the fingers located on the string just in front of the first joint approximately 90° to the string.

Archer AlignmentDraw Sequence: Raise the bow so that it is in a vertical location. Keep your bow arm elbow rotated so it’s pointing straight down during the draw sequence. With the drawing arm parallel to the arrow shaft and your head in an upright position begin the draw sequence. There are two thoughts on drawing, one is keeping everything in line while drawing back, and the other is the rotational draw. The rotational method uses more of the back muscles as the drawing arm and elbow rotates around while keeping the elbow more or less at the same height and is the recommended method. Keep light tension on the draw fingers to help prevent any torque during the shot.

Archer's Anchor PointAnchor: The anchor point is a position of reference where the draw sequence ends at a specific location. There are many different versions of anchor points and what works best, but it comes down to personal preference. The most common is the side anchor, where the index finger is tucked into the corner of the mouth. The problem with this method is that the corner of the mouth is soft tissue that moves.

The best anchor is to have a minimum of two reference points (preferably hard bone) for repeatability. For example, use the ‘eye tooth’ (tooth right below the eye), then thumb base knuckle behind the jaw bone. This hard bone two point reference system gives the same sight picture every time. It can’t be  over emphasize the importance of an exact point of reference.  Being off by the smallest amount will have a drastic effect on where you hit the target.

Cartel Plate Magnetic Clicker
Clickety-Klicker
Clikety-Klicker Draw Check

Some archers will also use the aid of a draw check device letting them know they have reached full draw. These devices are very useful and can help in many ways. One of the most common uses is to help overcome tragic panic.

Release: Once you have reached anchor, you want to focus on the spot you wish to hit by using your sighting method. There are many different sighting methods which will be explained in other articles coming soon. Whatever method you choose, you should only focus on the target for a couple of seconds, anymore and your concentration will probably be broken before releasing.

The release is probably the easiest of all steps to understand, yet probably the most difficult to master. Unfortunately, archers work a lifetime perfecting their release. Simply stated, the release means to relax the fingers to let go of the string, known as the ‘dead release’. Today, more shooters are using back tension and getting better results. This form of release is an action where you expand during the shot by pushing the elbow back further using back tension until the shot goes off. If you do this properly, the string merely rolls off the finger tips without any conscious effort and your hand continues back touching the shoulder.

Archer Follow ThroughFollow Through: The best way to describe follow through is to prevent any unnatural movements. After the release, the hand continues to the shoulder, but you want to prevent any unnecessary movements. It is so important not to move after the release. Most people will have a tendency to “peek” at the arrow to see where it hits. Preferably, you want to remain as still as possible. I always recommend that you wait until you hear the arrow hit before looking to see the results. Any bit of movement at the release can throw the arrow off course.

Shot Trainer to learn how to shoot traditional bowsThe Shot Trainer is a great device that helps you maintain proper form and release with or without an arrow.

There you have it, seven steps to get you started shooting traditional archery. The most important thing is to practice and then practice some more. Keep these seven steps in mind and work on them individually while practicing. In our follow up series, we will get more in depth about the different shooting styles, like Instinctive, Gap Shooting, String Walking, Fixed Crawl, and many others. Oh… and about that bet at the beginning, that was back when I was a young teenager and the bet was between me and one of my buddies. I made the shot and he still owes me a Pepsi today…

By: Sam Strong

What Makes the Best Recurve Bow Cases?

Finding the best recurve bow cases

A bow case to protect your recurve bow should be high on your list of archery gear must-haves, as let’s face it, recurve bows are valuable, both in cost, and the sentimental value that grows over time. A bow case for your recurve will help keep your bow safe. Plus, for many states it is a law to have your bow in a case when it is in the car.

With so many different cases out there what makes the best bow case for your recurve? You can spend more on your case than you did on your bow, but does that make it ‘more safe’ than the next case? Answer is… Maybe? Every case is going to have its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at a few styles and models of recurve bow cases here.

Hard Recurve Bow Cases

3Rivers Recurve Bow Travel Case
The 3Rivers Archery Travel Recurve Bow Cases are designed to take hard impacts. Click image to learn more about this case.

From airline approved travel bow cases to molded plastic, a hard bow case definitely has it on protection. Short of driving your car over them, they can take all sorts of punishment. Our 3Rivers travel bow cases offer the best on impact resistance. The Cordura ® outer shell adds plenty of style (definitely with our deluxe models that have leather end caps), and they fit many different size recurve bows, from one-piece to takedown recurves. So what’s the negative? Well, all of our travel models are more than $100 a piece, which for many archers, is almost as much as they spent on their bow.

Traveler Takedown Recurve Bow and Arrow Case
The Fleetwood Traveler Takedown Recurve Bow and Arrow Case is perfect for takedown recurve bows. Great bow case for the Samick Sage Recurve.

On a molded plastic case, like the Traveler takedown bow case (shown above), there is a foam cut interior providing lots of cushioning for storing your bow. The outer shell will chip if dropped on hard surfaces, but it’s solid protection when transporting your bow in the back of a pick-up truck. . A couple of drawbacks are that it’s not recommended for airline travel, and you have to disassemble your bow to put it away. But if you have a 3-piece takedown recurve, like the Samick Sage recurve, it is a solid option.

Soft Recurve Bow Cases

Takedown soft recurve bow cases are great for tight spaces
The 3Rivers Roll-Up Takedown Soft Recurve Case is great for takedown bows when you have tight spaces. Click image to read more about this case.

If you’re looking to keep your bow safe, but don’t need a ‘safe’ to do it, then a soft bow case is up your alley. You can choose from the most basic bow sock like our 3Rivers stretch bow sock (perfect for a backseat trip), up to bow and arrows cases like our 3Rivers Strung Recurve/Longbow case. There are tons of different options when it comes to soft shell bow cases, such as strung vs. unstrung, or one-piece vs. takedown. There are also options as far as the different materials used. Our 3Rivers line of cases uses durable Cordura® for an outer tough shell to shield against most nicks and scrapes, with a soft fleece lining to add a little cushion for added safety.

3Rivers Stretch Bow Sock
As basic of a case you can have for your bow, but the 3Rivers Stretch Bow Sock does get the job done

Some bow cases will have added value with pockets or space for arrows. These can be a great addition, as having all your archery gear in one spot can be a lifesaver, keeping you from ripping up floor panels in the truck looking for a spare shooting tab.

For backseat rides, soft recurve bow cases work great
For backseat rides, the 3Rivers Strung Recurve/Longbow Soft Case works great. PLUS, it has a pocket for an Arrow Case, to keep all your shooting gear in one place

So what IS the Best Recurve Bow Case?

One of the best things about archery is how personalized it can be. Which makes this a hard question to answer. If you don’t plan on doing a lot of traveling in tight conditions, then a soft bow case may be the perfect fit for you, plus it saves money for future archery gear. Then again, having the peace of mind that a hard recurve bow case offers definitely warrants the cost when you have to shell out more money to replace a broken bow limb because you closed a car door on the tip. All comes down to what fits your style, and your budget.

By: Johnathan Karch

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