Bows: Compound vs. Traditional

This is probably one of the most discussed topics throughout the archery nation, which one is better compound or traditional? Everyone has an opinion and justification to why you should choose one over the other. As you know, there is not a real clear cut answer to which one is better and there probably will never be one either. I would like to share my opinion as to why I believe both are equally good and why you should try both options to enhance your archery experience.

My family was heavily into archery which provided me with a great opportunity to start at an early age. My first bow, when I was a smidge over 5 years old, was a very lightweight long bow. The bow was so long that I had to use a chair to stand on so that I can shoot it. Archery became my new found love and passion from the time I held that long bow in my hand. I practiced everyday so that I could shoot as well as the rest of my family. I worked hard practicing daily to where I eventually gained enough strength plus grew a little taller to start shooting a traditional recurve style bow. Finally able to go hunting with my traditional recurve bow, I was so ecstatic and couldn’t wait to go shoot an animal. Years past with little success and I realized that I should look into getting a compound bow to increase my chances. I finally purchased my first compound bow. I had spent the entire summer mowing grass and delivering newspapers just to afford it. Even though it was a used bow, it was like unwrapping a Christmas gift to me. I never shot a bow that you did not have to hold all the weight or worry about not hitting the target because of the accuracy, but I worked through it and fell in love with the sport all over again.

As you can see from my brief story, I started with traditional archery and evolved into the newer compound archery arena. Beginning with traditional archery is, in my opinion, a great way to enhance the abilities of an archer and will assist them with becoming a better archer in the future. I am not saying that you or anyone else you introduce to archery should start this way. I believe that if someone is interested in archery you should allow them to decide which way they would want to go but assist them in making a smart decision when it comes to buying the right setup. However, I do believe that starting with the basics and working on the mechanics plus the fundamentals of archery, will provide a better foundation in making of a solid archer.

Traditional archery has very long historical roots and many feel this is the only method that should be used today. On the other hand, there are those that believe that compound style archery is the new wave and the direction that everyone should go to. Traditional archery plays an important role in the compound archery shooting today. Back then, there were no such things as sights, let off percentages, or adjustable draw weight, there was just draw, aim, and shoot. Traditional archery is believed to have more challenges especially with distance estimation, arrow grouping at long distances, and portability. These challenges provide great opportunities for compound shooters as well. Distance estimation is a valuable tool and is still needed with compound shooters today. 3D archers rely on their ability to range targets properly to obtain the best score. Using the same anchor point every time you aim is also a trait that is carried over from traditional archery shooting. So, not only does traditional archery shooting help with the beginner basics but it also provides compound archers qualities they can use in the future.

Currently I shoot compound bows more than I shoot traditional archery bows, but I still love to shoot traditional bows. I believe that shooting both styles really keeps your skills fresh. Skills are easily forgotten and need to be refreshed every once in awhile. Taking time to learn traditional archery will not only assist with new abilities but provide a basis to why compounds are so popular today.
Compound bows are driving the sport of archery into new unforeseen territory. I view compound bows like cell phones, everyone has one but it is always nice to have a handy home phone (traditional bow) for those emergencies. Compound bows have really come a long way since I bought my first one. Technology along with the computer age really has changed the way archery developed over the years. Speed, accuracy, distance, poundage, and more have all changed the way people hunt, target shoot, or otherwise.

There is nothing wrong with strictly shooting compound bows and not traditional bows, but I feel that shooting both are equally good. Each option assists one another in different forms. Maybe it was the fact that I started with the traditional route and developed into shooting the newer compound bows or maybe it is just how the challenges have shifted in a new direction, I am not certain. I do know that my passion for archery has always been and always be no matter shooting traditional or compound.

Either way you decide to choose, I hope that you see the benefits of looking into both options to enhance your archery experience. I know that I have definitely seen the benefits of learning both. Hopefully I am able to continue the traditions with my own family and friends in keeping archery spirit alive. Remember, helping others realize and understand the sport of archery will only aid in continuation the sport. Can you take the challenge and be successful in trying both traditional and compound archery?

It may make you a better archery shooter yet!

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