Is this for you? – Outdoor Georgia News

Bowhunting has had a long journey. Early human civilizations hunted with primitive bows and stone points. Since then, we have evolved enormously from compound bows with mechanical tips, to crossbows that can shoot with precision up to 100 meters. Yet there is still a group of individuals who hunt with traditional bows. The term “traditional bow” is debatable, but it is widely accepted that traditional can be defined as any recurve or longbow. Simply put, it’s a stick and a string, with no cams, pulleys or fancy gimmicks to make it easier.

But with all the advances in modern weapons allowed during archery season, one wonders why anyone would even consider traditional archery as a hunting option. That was the question I kept asking myself. In this article, I briefly explain my short experience of traditional archery and talk to three of the state’s best traditional archery hunters about how they got started. I hope this article will not only be enjoyable, but will pique your interest in what is often referred to as the “wrestling stick”.

For me, this journey started with a challenge. I started to feel like compound bows weren’t as difficult as they used to be. Many hunters would start chasing mature males only for more challenge at this stage. But, I don’t have the luxury of having access to lots of land with trophies, or the time to travel and pursue mature males on large tracts of public land. Still, I yearned for a greater sense of accomplishment. I wanted a similar feeling to catching a trophy bass, killing a giant buck, or what I felt the first time I killed a deer with a compound bow. This feeling of missing something led me to traditional archery in 2021.

I was given a 1969 Ben Pearson Cougar Recurve with a weight of 42 pounds. pull weight in the summer of 2021. I started training daily with it. It took me several months to become proficient enough at 15 yards to think I could humanely kill a deer with it. Finally, after killing three deer with my compound bow last year, I dedicated myself to hunting only with my recurve bow until I succeeded. I finally sealed the deal after three missed shots in December 2021. I killed an old doe that I had missed not just once, but twice before. This started my foray into traditional archery.

As I started talking to more people about traditional archery, I learned that they all had the same reasons for their love for traditional archery. Whether they started out as a traditional archer and later returned to it, or started with more modern weapons and regressed to traditional archery, all ended up becoming a “traditional archer” first and foremost. . Almost every hunter I interviewed mentioned an increased reward compared to more modern hunting methods.

Crispin Henry, from Dunwoody, started shooting recurve as a child and transitioned into compound bow hunting as an adult. He has hunted exclusively with a traditional bow for 11 years and, like all hunters interviewed for this article, is one of the most successful traditional hunters in the state.

“The most rewarding part of traditional archery is knowing that you can shoot a bow and arrow without all the gimmicks and gadgets attached. I like to make and tune my own equipment, from bows to arrows and strings,” Crispin said.

Crispin Henry with a large velvet buck taken with traditional archery equipment. Crispin has been hunting only with a traditional bow for 11 years.

Crispin mentioned the importance of continued practice and mentorship from a seasoned traditional archer as the best advice he can give new traditional archers.

“The hardest part of traditional archery can be getting started without proper instruction and guidance. However, the basics can be done in a reasonable amount of time, and all you have to do is practice, practice, to practice and practice some more,” he said.

Crispin thanked two experienced traditional archers for helping him on his journey.

“The first was Lowell McMullan from Dublin. Lowell worked at Mountain Archery in DeKalb County in 1984 and spent countless hours teaching me to shoot instinctively. The other was Al Chapman, from Marietta. Al taught me how to apply my skills to hunting with a traditional bow. He’s also responsible for taking me down the rabbit hole of turkey hunting with a traditional bow,” Crispin said.

Al Chapman, 74, said on the day of our interview for this article that he had just returned from a hog hunt in July, one of the hottest and wettest days of the year. You will never guess what his weapon of choice was on the day of this hunt. That’s right, a traditional bow.

Al’s experience with traditional archery began when he was making bows with his friends.

“I grew up in Texas and couldn’t afford a real bow. We made limb arches out of osage orange wood. We would use any kind of rope we could get our hands on. When I was 14 I was given a 50 pound strong fiberglass. Ben Pearson bows and begins to hunt small game with it.

Al highlighted the effort and reward of traditional archery when asked why he gave up compound archery.

“I guess the biggest reward comes from the effort. If it were easy, anyone could do it. I make my own bow and my own river cane arrows with my own stone tips. The point culmination of it all makes everything I’ve killed with a real trophy. I can shoot a deer and just get tickled to death. The rewards come from the effort,” Al said.

Al Chapman’s experience with traditional archery began when he made his own bows out of wood from osage orange trees. Al, now 74, still prefers his Osage handmade classic. Al got this gobbler from Georgia with a traditional bow in 2019.

Al said his favorite type of bow for hunting is his homemade osage orange bows which he pairs with his own arrows and stoneheads to go with it. But it also doesn’t exclude itself from more modern traditional bowhunting methods. When hunting hogs at night, he uses a Hoyt Buffalo with a front-mounted green light that allows him to track hogs in the dark.

Dendy Cromer of Cobb took up archery later in life. He hunted deer with a 30/30 rifle when he was younger, but by the time he was in 9th grade, he began to develop an interest in archery. His first bow was a PSE Pulsar Express compound that he worked for and saved for. He hunted with this bow until he graduated from high school and went to the army. He didn’t hunt much while enlisted.

Once Dendy’s time in the military was over, he returned to civilian life and his passion for archery rekindled. He started shooting ASA 3D archery tournaments with his compound and he was hunting more archery. Even though Dendy hunted very well with compound, he was ready for something more.

“There was something missing, it was too easy. Anyone can shoot a compound. It was almost a gift. If he was within 30 yards you knew you were going to hit him, the hunt was over But with a curve, when you see something, the hunt has just begun,” Dendy said.

Dendy’s passion for traditional archery came about by chance during his lunch break.

“We stopped at a convenience store and I bought a Boar Hunter Magazine. At the end there was an article about shooting wild pigs with curves. It was a short post, but one of the photos showed a classic Black Widow and that’s when I said, “This is what I have to do!” That’s what I wanted to do. I called the number at the end of the article. His name was Robert Carter, we had a long talk and he helped me learn traditional archery,” Dendy said.

Dendy’s explanation for his reason for hunting with a traditional bow was almost identical to Al and Henry.

“The most rewarding part is doing it the hard way and knowing you are. There have been a few times where I’ve seen a big deer beyond 20 yards and had to look it up. I know if I had my pen or a gun I could kill him. When the hunt becomes more important than the actual killing, I think you’re there and you understand,” Dendy said.

A well-placed arrow does the job. Dendy Cromer killed this large black bear with traditional archery equipment while hunting in Quebec, Canada.

Each archer interviewed for this article offered advice for new traditional archers, and all three had two tips in common: daily practice and finding a mentor. Practice will help with repetition and the ability to repeat good form. With a traditional bow, there is no backstop to know where the full draw is and no sight to know where to aim. Not shooting your bow at exactly the same spot every time can make consistently good shooting nearly impossible. A mentor will be there to tell you where that draw point should be and if you are doing it correctly.

A mentor will also help you with all the technical parts of arrow flight, which will greatly reduce the time it takes for a new archer to become a great archer. The length, weight, and stiffness of the arrow’s spine all have a big impact on how well the arrow will fly. Since traditional arrows fly at much slower speeds than compounds, hunting with an arrow that flies completely straight is very important. There is so much less energy in an arrow shot from a traditional bow than in a compound. You want all of that energy to be at the tip of your broad head to help with penetration. If an arrow flies slightly up or down, it can really reduce penetration, although you can consistently hit your target during practice.

All archers interviewed for this article are members of Traditional Bowhunters of Georgia. This organization is committed to hunting with traditional bow methods and has members across the state. If you contact them through their contact page on their website, they can put you in touch with a loved one to learn more about traditional archery. Their website is

Whether you’re looking for an extra hunting challenge or just a fun experience and a chance to make new friends, traditional archery is a guaranteed way to add variety and excitement to your life. hunt. If you find a traditional archer near you, they will probably spend hours explaining everything they can about it. The traditional archery community is small, but the passion you’ll find in this group would be hard to match elsewhere.

Author Drew Hall with his first traditional hit, a Walton County doe taken last December.

Earnest A. Martinez