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University » Articles » Start Your Traditional Journey Now

Start Your Traditional Journey Now
by Russell Scarbrough

front_pageGiving up modern archery hunting is not a prerequisite to taking the plunge into traditional archery. I like to do both, because I let the area I’m hunting determine which bow I use. If the place I’m hunting is thick and all my shots around the stand are 20 yards or less, I opt for the trusty Black Widow recurve. If the area is more open and my shots are out to 30+ yards or so, I take my compound bow. The decision is as simple as that. I have not always hunted like this, but since starting my Traditional Journey, this is how I’ve now chosen to roll. I’ve spent years hunting with the compound bow, ignoring the tug of war I was playing with myself about getting a recurve, and have finally decided to join in on the fun. As I look back now, my heart aches from the pain of waiting so long to enter the world of traditional archery. If there’s only one thing you take away from this article, I hope it’s the fact that if you’ve ever conceived the notion of stickbow hunting, do not wait any longer to start. The longer you wait, the sorrier you’ll be.

What Makes Traditional Well… Traditional?


Unlike a longbow, a recurve bow's limbs curve outward near its tips. In some people's eyes, this modern fiberglass specimen blurs the line on defining traditional equipment.

Let’s just ask ourselves a basic question: What do you  consider to be traditional? Do you consider a heavy handled recurve bow with a center-shot sight window, fiberglass limbs, Fast Flight® string, and a flexible rest to be traditional? All of theses things have only been around for a blink of an eye in archery’s 12,000 year old history. To me, the difference between modern archery and traditional archery is 10 fold. In one hand, you have the modern compound that is computer designed and machined, and in the other hand, you have the pure essence of what it is all about—the stickbow. In my opinion, traditional archery should use equipment that has the same general form and method of use as it’s had throughout all of time. It should make us feel as though we’re part of those simpler, easier times, and with the way the world is today, what could be better than this? With that being said, a stickbow should require the same physical and mental demands on us that it’s had on everyone throughout the ages. Nobody ever said traditional archery would be easy. If any of the aforementioned criteria I’ve mentioned exists, to me it really doesn’t matter if someone shoots aluminum arrows rather than wood, or aims his bow by using the point of the arrow instead of instinctively. Regardless, he’s considered a traditional archer by me. So let’s all cut eachother a little slack if we all don’t share the same views on equipment or shooting styles.

Traditional Bows

I’m sure most are aware that longbows are more historic than the recurve bows. They are usually lighter to carry, quieter, and more forgiving to shoot due to their thicker limbs. A recurve bow is smoother pulling, harder hitting, and has less hand shock due to its heavier physical weight and often deeper sight windows for easier arrow tuning. Their deeply contoured grips also help with consistent hand placement. Pick the one that you can shoot the most accurately, even if that means giving up some performance. Stickbow hunting is not about speed. You might consider choosing a longer bow over a shorter one. It is more accurate and forgiving due to less finger pinch. It also stores more energy than a shorter bow, therefore making them hit harder down range. A bow’s performance is determined by both draw weight and its draw length.

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