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January 31, 2004





Question:          Can I start shooting archery with a compound bow like my friend has, or

                        should I start with another type, like a recurve, traditional bow, or a FITA style



Answer:            You should start shooting with a bow that you will enjoy shooting, and that will

                        work best for the type of shooting you want to participate in.


                        It is easier to learn how to shoot using a compound bow. When a 50# draw weight

                        bow is drawn back, the bow goes through a drawing curve in which the draw

                        weight increases as the bow is drawn back, then decreases to a lower holding 

                        weight at full draw. That holding weight can be anywhere from 50 to 80 percent

                        of the bows rated poundage. This makes the compound bow easier to hold while



                        When you draw back a 50# recurve, the weight increases throughout the draw

                        until you reach your designated anchor point. If you have a 28” draw, and the bow

                        is rated at 50# at 28” draw you will be holding 50# until you release the arrow.

                        Shooting a recurve or traditional or FITA type bow requires more muscle and

                       strength than a comparable compound bow of the same draw weight.


Question:          Does it make a difference if I am left or right eye dominant?


Answer:            Yes. This has a greater effect than anything else on a person shooting archery.

Whether you are right handed or left handed makes no difference. You have to

know which is your dominant eye. You might have to learn to shoot left handed if

your eyes are left eye dominant. A case in point. When I started my wife shooting

two years ago I put her in the capable hands of our local archery shop. They tested

her and determined she was right eye dominant. I bought her a new bow, sight,

quiver and everything for a right handed shooter. After she received her bow and

started shooting I determined she was left eye dominant. As a result of this error,

she now has to shoot wearing a special eye cover which covers her left eye. Had

she been correctly diagnosed, I would have started her shooting left handed.


Question:          How can I tell whether I am left eye or right eye dominant?


Answer:            Look at any smaller object that you can clearly see. I target spot for archery will

work very well. Keep both eyes open. Extend your arms. Make a small opening

with your two hands so that you can look through the small opening at the target

spot or other object with both eyes open. Keep the opening as small as you can.

                        Once you can see the target spot or object clearly through the opening in your

extended hands, move your hands toward your face while continuing looking at

the object or target. When your hands get to your face, you will be able to see the

object through the opening with only one eye. That will be your dominant eye.


If you loose sight of the object while moving your hands toward your face, or you

see through the opening with your left eye one time and your right eye another

time it would indicate you do not have a dominant eye. If this is the case, shoot

either right handed, (left hand on the bow and the right hand drawing the arrow)

or shoot left handed if you are left handed.


Use a special opaque eye cover designed for rifle and pistol target shooting to

cover the eye which you are not using to sight the bow.


Question:          Can I use tape over my eye or a black eye patch if I have a problem with a

dominant eye?


Answer:            Yes you can, but if you totally block out the non shooting eye, your shooting eye

will not be 100 percent effective. Completely covering the eye not being used

decreases the seeing ability of the eye you are using.


Question:          Which type of bow would be easier for me to learn to shoot?


Answer:            The compound bow would be easier since you do not have to hold so much

                        weight to shoot it.


Question:          Which type of bow will be the most accurate for me?


Answer:            It depends on whether you are going to use sights or not, and whether you will be

                        shooting using a mechanical release or your fingers or fingers with a shooting tab

                        or glove.


                        On the average, most shooters will learn to shoot a compound bow equipped with

                        some type of sight shooting either with a mechanical release or with their fingers

                        using a tab or a glove. I have yet to meet a person that shoots this type of bow

                        with their bare fingers, it hurts! A person of average athletic ability and

                        reasonably good hand/eye coordination can learn to shoot a compound bow and

                        become reasonable accurate in a short period of time.


                        The recurve, traditional, or FITA bow require many hours of training in correct

                        shooting style, release, learning how to shoot a recurve bow requires an intensive

                        training regime. This type of shooting is instinctive for some. Some use the arrow

                        tip as their sight reference. Some anchor below their eye and sight down the arrow

                        shaft. There are many different methods used by recurve type bow shooters. Each

                        method used shooting the recurve requires many hours of practice, and usually

daily shooting practice to remain accurate once they have achieved accuracy in

their shooting. There are many recurve shooters that have a great love to shoot

that type of equipment for the nostalgic comradeship that is usually involved in

recurve shooting.


                        Many archers I that I know (including myself) started off shooting a recurve bow.

                        The down side of the recurve bow for most archers is that it takes a lot of practice

                        arrows and a long time dedication to become an accurate shooter.


Question:          Should I shoot a release, or use my fingers with a tab?


Answer:            Many shooters start their archery careers shooting compound (and recurve) bows

using there fingers and a tab since it is the least expensive way to start.


A good mechanical release can be very inexpensive, or very expensive. Depends

upon the level of shooting ability you want to obtain, and the type of release you

eventually prefer using. Shooting a mechanical release can be the quickest way to

become a good shot.


Question:          I have never participated in Archery, where should I go to obtain equipment and

                        help. What should I look for, what do I need to know?


Answer:            Look for an Archery shop in your area that has knowledgeable staff that is

                       qualified to determine your correct draw length, and has the knowledge and

                        expertise to fit you with a bow that is the correct draw weight for your size and

                        strength, and is the correct length axle to axle and has the type of cams that will

                        serve to provide you the ability to learn how, and to enjoy your archery



                        If you do not have an archery shop locally in your area look for an archery club. If

                        you find a club, go to their meetings or shoots, introduce yourself as a NEW

                       SHOOTER, and ask for assistance from those that are recognized as experienced

                       shooters. I guarantee they will do everything they can to help you get started.


                       This will give you the opportunity to observe various types of equipment and

                       shooting styles.


Question:          Should I buy a bow and arrows from a catalog, newspaper, friend, garage sale, or

                        a Big Box store?


Answer:            Only if you are knowledgeable about your draw measurements and what type of

bow or equipment you are purchasing. If you are a new shooter, I would

recommend that you do not make this type of purchase. I have seen numerous

bows that were purchased online, from catalogs and from Box stores that were

not what they were purported to be. It generally cost more to pay for new cams

and cables to make the bow correct for you than the bow is worth. Many

of the bows being sold are discontinued models and it has been suspected that

some bows could be seconds.


                        Unless you are qualified or have an acquaintance to help you that is qualified

                        to determine that the bow is suited for the type of archery you want to participate

                        in, and is the correct draw length and draw weight, you are better off not

                        purchasing a bow from these sources.


Question:          Is it OK to start shooting with used equipment?


Answer:            If you have visited an archery shop or club, and know your draw length, and the

                       draw weight that you can best handle you can enter into archery on the ground

                        level without the expense of purchasing expensive new equipment. There is a lot

                        of quality archery equipment available through local archery club members that

                        have purchased the newest latest bow model and want to sell a good used bow

                        with accessories included at a very reasonable price.


Question:        If I purchase a used bow, will the local archery shop work on it, or tune it for me

                        since I did not purchase the equipment from them?


Answer:            I cannot answer for your local shop, but my experience with  a large number of

good archery shops is they will work on your used equipment for a fee. They can

be of benefit to you by making sure your new bow is tuned correctly for the type

of archery that you want to be involved in. By helping you, they will have

established a new friend and a new customer that will most probably purchase a

top of the line bow in a short time after they have determined they like being

involved in archery, and want to upgrade their equipment.


Question:        Should the Manufacture’s name on the bow I purchase to start archery make any

                       difference in my choice of bow?


Answer:          No. The manufacturers name on the bow does not need to be your concern when

                       you first start shooting. All bows are not created equal, but any professional archer

                       can take any brand of bow and shoot it well. Different manufactures have different

                       options available on their brand of bows. You will not be able to determine any

                       difference until you have shot your bow for awhile. There are bows, which are

                       easier to draw back then others, and have less shock transfer to your bow hand.

These bows are usually the top of the line bows sold by most archery shops. The

top of the line bows can  be more comfortable to use, but you will pay more to be

able to use them. Archery equipment is like anything else, you get what you pay

for, buy cheap, get cheap, pay a reasonable price and expect a quality item.



Question:          Should I start with a two cam, single cam, or a Cam and One-half bow?


Answer:           You should go to your local archery club when they are having a shoot, or to the

                         local archery dealer shop that has an indoor shooting area. Most shooters will

                         allow you to pull their bow back providing you do not dry fire it. When you pull                                   

different bows back, you will notice a difference in the amount of resistance you

                        you feel drawing the bow back, and having the cam’s peak at their rated draw

poundage. You will also notice that some bow cams make holding the bow at full

draw very difficult. They feel like your string keeps wanting to pull forward and

make it difficult to hold the bow at full draw. Others have what is called a valley,

and it is comfortable to hold the bow at full draw without feeling the bow string is

going to get away from you. If the arrow wants to creep forward, it can cause you

to prematurely release the arrow or collapse your bow arm. 


                        Some bow cam’s feel harder to draw to full draw even though they are the same

                        draw weight as another type of bow. This is due to the design of the cam.


                         There are easy to pull and hard to pull bows in both single and double cam bows.

                         By pulling other archer’s bows, you will be able to feel the difference, and that

                         should dictate your choice of bow to start your shooting career.


Question:          Which is the most accurate bow, a single cam or a double cam.


Answer:              Either type of cam is very accurate in the hands of an accomplished shooter.

                          There are followings that swear by each type, and swear at the other type. It is a

                          matter of choice after a person has shot a few bows and makes his own decision

                          which type of cam they prefer shooting. Many National Outdoor and Indoor

                          tournaments have been won using both types.


Question:          What length of bow should I buy?


Answer:              It depends on what you want to use the bow for, and whether you intend to shoot

                          using your fingers or a release. The height of your body and your draw length

                          also makes a difference. A tall person with long arms is usually best suited to

                         shoot a longer length bow. A person with short body height and short draw length

                         will usually find themselves restricted to a limited amount of bows which they

                         can use.


                          If you are interested in bowhunting and shooting 3d shoots, you would have

                          an advantage using a shorter bow length. Long bow lengths can be a

                          problem when shooting out of a tree stand for example or hunting in heavy

                          brush. If you live out west, and will be hunting elk or mule deer in open terrain,

                          a longer axle to axle bow length could be your choice.


                          If you are interested in indoor target and outdoor field target shooting, you could

                          possibly be happier using a longer axle to axle bow length. Bows which are

                          longer in axle to axle length are usually more stable and accurate for the average



Question:            What is the difference between the long and short axle to axle lengths of a bow?


 Answer:             The longer the length of bow, the less apt you are to hit your arm with the bow

                           string when you shoot. They have a higher brace height. You will have less

                           angle on your bow string when at full draw. The angle of the bowstring effects

   how you see through your peep sight. If you intend to use sights on your bow,

                           it will be easier to see through the center area of the peep sight with the longer

   axle to axle length. The less angle your eye has to the peep in the string

   (preferred string angle is about 45 degrees), the easier it will be for you to see

   through the peep sight. If you shoot a bow with a really short axle to axle length

   bow, unless you use a special peep sight you will be looking through an oblique    

   hole with less then desired visibility.


Question:           What draw weight should I start with?


Answer:              If the State you are going to hunt in has a minimum bow weight requirement

                           you have to take that into consideration. Most states have a 40# to

                           50# minimum bow weight for hunting deer. Lets say the minimum is 50 pounds,

                           what should you do? First you need to find a bow that is set at 50# and see if

                           you can pull it back. You might be in for a surprise. I have seen large sized men

                           that could not draw a 50# bow!


                           If you plan to use the bow for hunting I would recommend this test. Set

                           down on a chair or a stool. Hold the bow out in front of you with your arm

                           extended towards the target with an arrow on it. Can you draw the bowstring

                           back to your face without going into body without pointing the bow at the

                           ceiling or the floor? If you cannot do this, the bow draw weight is to heavy for

                           you to pull without probably injuring your shoulder and your back muscles.


                           If the bow peak weight is 50#, but it has be ability to decrease the weight to 35#

                           or 40# than that would be a good bow for you to start shooting with. Start at the

                           low drawing weight and build up your muscles.


                           Note: I am 6’2” and when I started shooting compound I weighed about 220#. I

                           started out with a 60# bow with energy cams. I did not know any better, and I

                           ended up tearing the muscles on my scapula about two weeks after I started

                           shooting. This muscle injury continues to haunt me 20 years later. I was very

                           physically fit at the time I started shooting this bow about 18 years ago, and it

                           was all I could physically do to pull the bow back to full draw!


Question:            Will I need to have a heavy draw weight for hunting to get penetration on an



Answer:                Not always. Most game in the North American Continent can be taken with a

                            50# pound bow using either carbon or aluminum arrows with a SHARP

                            broadhead. The secret is being a good shot, shooting within your range

                            limitations based upon your shooting ability and hitting the animal in the right



Question:              I want to shoot 3D shoots and feel that I need a fast arrow speed. How can I do

                            this if I do not have a heavy draw weight?


Answer:                Arrow speed can be accomplished by shooting smaller diameter arrow shafts

                           without having to shoot excessive draw weights. There are options on cams that

                           will provide faster arrow speed. Unfortunately for the average archer speed

                           requires short limbs, hard cams, high poundage draw weight and low brace

                           height. All of these are not what the new shooter should be considering.


                           If you have a low brace height, you will usually have to wear an arm guard to

                           protect your arm while shooting. If you do not, it will really hurt when the string

                           hits the inside of your forearm.


I hope that these questions and answers will help you on your new journey to become an archery enthusiast.

The opinions and thoughts expressed are my own, and have no reference or bearing to any firm that I represent

shooting archery.


If you have further questions feel free to send me a PM or email.


Sam Weatherford

(aka Alaska Sam)


Hoyt National Shooting Staff

GKF Pro Staff

Carter Release Staff

FeatherVisions Staff





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