Why Traditional?

by Fred Eichler

Fred Eichler takes aim with his recurve bow.
The Author with his trusty recurve bow.

It constantly surprises me how many times people ask me why I like shooting traditional equipment so much. The answer is easy. There are really two main reasons I like traditional equipment. It is fun, and in my opinion, it is often the easiest way to harvest an animal.

I am in no way bashing compounds when I say traditional equipment is more fun and easier to hunt with. Having hunted and competed with both types of equipment I just lean toward the traditional side. 

I feel traditional equipment (selfbow, recurve, longbow) is more fun because these types of bows are easier to goof off with. You can shoot standing, leaning, upside down, lying on your belly, lying on your back, and even using your foot in the riser and drawing with your hand.


Don’t try this at home! Only experienced shooters should do “trick shots!”

Of course “trick shots” take practice and should only be attempted by a trained professional. (This last sentence is compliments of the litigious society we live in). I can just see someone shooting off their big toe and telling the attorney I told them to shoot with their foot.

My point is there are just a lot of fun things you can do with a traditional bow that you can’t do with a compound. To test my “fun factor” theory all you need to do is take some kids and give them a recurve and a compound and a few arrows and see which one they play with the longest. In case you’re curious this “fun factor” test works with adults too.

Another plus to a traditional bow is that if you do miss, your arrow doesn’t end up in the next county. So it is easier to sling arrows at stumps, dirt clods, pine cones, ant mounds or anything else that catches your eye.

Fred Eichler having fun with his recurve bow.
Fred takes aim with his recurve bow.

In my opinion, it is also easier to shoot at moving or aerial targets  with traditional equipment. If you grab a handful of Flu Flu arrows and shoot at a few aerial discs you will be surprised how quickly you pick up shooting them and how addicting it can be.

Another fun feature is how many more arrows you can shoot out of a traditional bow versus a compound in the same amount of time. More arrows equals more fun in my eyes because I love shooting and I really enjoy watching an arrow fly through the air.

The old KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) theory is what I love about recurves, longbows, and selfbows. With a Traditional bow I shoot off the shelf so I don’t need a rest. I use a metal nock on my string as a reference to make sure I nock my arrow in the same place every time, but I can also use a piece of wrapped twine or dental floss as a nock reference as well. I use a finger tab, but can shoot with my bare fingers just fine. If my string breaks I have an extra in my pack that I can put on in seconds. 

With my compound I have a D loop that I have tied into my string. My arrow gets nocked between the D-loop knots. I always need my rangefinder and my release aid (some people shoot without but it is pretty rare) and like most people I have a sight with multiple pins that I use to shoot accurately at different yardages. I also have a peep sight and my rest is a fancy drop away that allows perfect arrow clearance on every shot. If I happen to break a string it is time to head to the bow shop or my barn for a bow press so I can replace it and then I have to re-tune everything. I am also done hunting or shooting if I forget or lose my release. If I should drop my bow I am worried until I shoot it again to confirm everything is okay. The words “simple” and “compound” rarely go together.

When hunting, the less I have to think about the better. I like to simplify things as much as possible because when I see an animal I usually get so excited I forget everything I am trying to remember. Simple to me is less things to think about, and that equals fewer things that can go wrong.

Fred Eichler enjoying the simplicity of Traditional gear.
Fred keeps it simple with his Traditional gear.

Bowhunting to me is about getting close, and since zero to twenty five yards is perfect range for a traditional bow, I think it should be easy to see why I lean toward a simple bow that I can shoot faster from more positions, and also have more fun with.

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