Anyone hunt with a recurve?


April 23, 2009, 08:00 PM
I have this old bow. I got it in 1973 when I was working near Pearsall, Texas on a summer job when I was in college. I traded a guy 4 8 track tapes for it. I still have the bow, my last 8 track player is full of dirt dauber nests on the back porch...:D Anywho, this bow is a "Colt Plainsman", 50 lbs draw weight at 29". My draw length with it is 28". I never could shoot the thing worth a toot and just finally gave up on it after a while. In the mid 80s, I stuck a bow fishing rig on it and got all into shooting gar with it for a while, then lost interest.

Well, so, not long ago I just started thinkin' about that old bow, about how I could better shoot it, actually AIM a shot. What I did was mark elevation lines on the bow to reference and put a nock stop on the string to align with my eye on the marks. I also began to realize after thinkin' about it, consistency of the draw was crucial, too. I'd never really concentrated on that in the past, but it makes sense. I put a kisser button on the thing to help me get it in the right spot on my cheek each draw. I don't see well out of my right eye and can't see sight pins very well through a sight on a compound, so I just never got interested and didn't wanna buy a compound just for fun since they're rather expensive. I sorta like the traditional, anyway, even getting all into my old Hawken BP rifle again for some odd reason.

Well, after about a week of practice, I've gotten to the point I can hit a 1 gallon Quaker State can out to 25 yards with it with regularity. A fish at 10 yards, forget about it! He's stabbed. Okay, with gar, getting time on target is the problem, but I'm a lot better using this technique than I was just trying to judge elevation instinctively, I can tell ya that! At 10 yards, I'm hitting the EDGE of that oil can!

So, I know my major steps in improvement are due to the fact I sucked to badly to begin with, but this technique works big time for me and I'm getting to the point now that it feels right and when I miss, I know why, just like with a rifle or handgun. I can call the shot by knowing what I did on release to cause it. If I concentrate and follow through, I am scaring myself with the accuracy I'm getting. Just never did good with bows before.

So, I'm already thinkin' about actually trying to HUNT with this thing next bow season. I'm going to keep practicing and working my range out to maybe 40 yards max eventually. I'm thinkin' if I can get inside 35 yards, with more improvement, I can score.

So, I'm wondering, does anyone here hunt with a recurve? I really like the recurve and figure if I'm going to use a compound, I might as well use a rifle. What does a compound give you, but a few more yards, anyway? I figure I can set up a ground blind 25 yards or so from my feeder, maybe one of those tent blinds, but I'd rather just gather up some brush and set up in an oak mott all camoed out. Whadda ya think? One problem I could have is mosquitoes that time of year. Man, we got 'em when it's wet especially and I can't stand it without my deep woods off.

Hell, it's something new. I had totally written off the possibility of bows knowing how I sucked with the recurve and my bad eye and all (I shoot long guns left handed), but I'm sorta getting excited over it again. In the past, I've killed deer at 30 yards with a handgun. I'm not sure why I couldn't do it with the bow if I keep practicing.

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April 23, 2009, 10:55 PM
I try to!

Georgia was the last of the 50 states to legalize compound bows for hunting and when I was in high school (graduated in 1976) recurves were the only option. I think compounds were allowed around 1982, I think.

I bought a compound sometime in the mid-1980's but always came back to my old recurve. I picked up an old 50# Browning Nomad from a pawnshop for about $25 around 1990 and had it fitted for pin sights to replace the old Ben Pearson I had had since about 1973. Still have my origonal bow but just shoot it. The Browning has become my preferred bow for hunting.

I teach and coach high school football. That is a 7 day a week and about 80 hour/week job from August till November. For the last 10 years or so I have had very few chances to get into the woods during archery season, but usually hunt with a rifle every day possible from mid November-January when rifle season ends.

I can still shoot the recurve pretty well as long as I get regular practice. Take a week off and I cannot shoot it well enough to feel ethical about hunting. I can pick up the compound and put the 1st arrow in the kill zone after a long layoff so I have used it more in recent years.

I still like the recurve better.

April 23, 2009, 11:41 PM
I shoot my recurves for fun and would like to hunt with them eventually, but my only problem is I can't make connections on the first shot. Second shot is on out to 20 yard every time... Thats why I shoot a compound:D

April 24, 2009, 01:35 AM
I can shoot a recurve and have owned several over the years…but I prefer a Longbow.

This will be my 40th year shooting/bowhunting with traditional equipment.

Archery has always been my first love.

Cpt. America
April 24, 2009, 03:50 AM
Love my recurves, I can't hit nothing other than the bathroom door with it. Long story short if its raining don't shoot your bow's in the house. Unless you just want to tick off the wife.

April 24, 2009, 09:02 AM
I shoot 3D shoots with my compound and then I'll do a round with my recurve. Nothing will tell you if you are ready to hunt with your recurve than a round or two at a 3D shoot. As of now, I can tell I am not ready. I prefer the simplicity and purism of the barebow though. I just don't want to risk wounding an animal.

On the other hand, my dad has taken many deer with a selfbow he made. I would definitely recommend a cut on contact broadhead.

April 24, 2009, 10:25 AM

I hunted with this Wing Archery 45 lb recurve for many years. No sight pins or gizmos but I could kill a deer at 20 - 25 yards. As the years clicked by, my friends bought compound bows and all sorts of gizmos. But I had a custom take down recuve built for me by Owen Jeffries.

I made the switch to Ten Point crossbow in 2008 and sold my recurve bows. I can hit a dixie cup at 30 yards. No kidding.

In my opinion, good shooting with a recurve bow takes year round practice. Unfortunately, this dedication to the sport dies not match my numerous time commitments.


April 24, 2009, 11:06 AM
Well, now, there you go, the need for practice. In the past, I worked 12 hour shift rotation and couldn't practice often enough anyway, even if I'd figured out how the shoot the thing. I just had too much going on most of the time. Now, I'm semi retired, have a part time job 2 days a week and work on small engines here, which I'm trying to wind down by not advertizing. Still, my commute to "work" is walking out my front door and the 20 yards to the shop building. LOL I set my own hours, so if I need a break, I can pick up the bow and fire a few arrows. :D There's also a bow shop just down the street and they have an air conditioned indoor range I might try out sometime, embarrass myself in front of all the good shooters down there.

I might try to shoot my son-in-law's compound sometime. I don't know if I'll be able to handle the sight thing with my 20-90 on a good day right eye, but we'll see. The recurve has a profile to it. I can't actually see the reference lines on it, but I can line the nock point up with the spot where I know the line is by the curve of the bow, if that makes sense. I see the target well enough to align the arrow for windage and such.

I don't know if I'll be ready by bow season, but at least I'm having fun in the back yard. And, I do wanna go shoot some gar again. That was always fun. I haven't gotten a really big one, but a 40 lber pulled me around for 30 minutes one day. I finally put a .38 in his head to get him in the boat. LOL! We've got one of the better rivers on the Texas coast here for bow fishing, the Navidad river below the Texana dam. I've seen 'em bow fishing there on outdoor shows. I'm going to have to build a shooting platform on the front of the boat and get me a fresh trolling motor battery.

BTW, TR, that bow looks a lot like mine. I guess most recurves have the same lines, though.

You know, after the first few days, I kinda overdid it. My right arm and back were throbbing. I couldn't hardly straighten out my right arm due to the soreness in the bicep. LOL! I've gotten past that. A guy on another board told me they found one of Henry VIII's ships and it had a bunch of in tact long bows on it. He said they measured 'em at 150 lbs draw weight! DANG, those guys must have been built like NFL linebackers from the waste up!:eek: No wonder they won at Agincourt!

dagger dog
April 24, 2009, 05:10 PM
The Mary Rose was the name of that ship it rested in the mud for 500 years or so, they also found human bones on board it went down with a large crew. They could actually distinguish the bones of the long bowmen from the others because the size of the bones of the left arms were so much larger from the hours spent at the butts practicing, the 150 lb draw weight was enought make those bones grow so much larger from the constant pounding they took.

The bows they found were in wooden cases never opened, the horn knocks were eaten away by microbes in the mud but the wood was perfectly preserved, they had to go through a special process of drying, but after that some were strung and shot. A whole lot of history about the long bows was unknown until these surfaced in the Mary Rose.

I shoot a long bow, at 45 lbs draw @26# a 535 gr cedar arrow tri blade design broad head. I shoot instinctive, in other words I look at the spot I want the arrow to hit, draw and release comes as one fluid motion the bow is held at an angle of around 40 to 45 degrees . With practice I can keep 6 arrows in a 6" circle at 30 yrds. I also have the wife roll some 6" rubber balls as targets with out knowing the distances, and am getting pretty good at connecting with them.
I want to try some aerial shots with the balls it shouldn't be too long before I start connecting with them, but it takes so long to chase down the arrows that miss!

Do plenty of roving, taking shots at unknown distances really helps.

This year I plan to take a deer but that will be after I try may hand at squirrels earlier in the season.

There is nothing quite like a traditional bow it just seems so natural when you get the hang of it!

April 26, 2009, 07:52 PM
Nothing better and I have 2 Mathew compounds. I love my old Bears.

April 27, 2009, 08:16 PM
I also hunt with recurves. I have several but i mostly use an old Hoyt Huntmaster Takedown that draws 60# @ 28". My DL is about 27", so i'm pulling a little less. I have taken maybe 8-10 deer and 2 bull elk with mine using the old Bear Razorhead with no insert.

Love to shoot carp in the spring, as that's the 1 hunting sport i can take the wife with me that she actually likes to watch me do it.

About 10 years ago i snapped one of the limbs drawing it. Hoyt didn't have any limbs left, but said that PSE used to offer a very similar design called the Black Hawk, and they might have some. Sure enuf they did and the limbs slid right into the bracket. Now i have a "Hoyps" 60 lb. takedown bow i hunt with.

I hunt pine squirrels/rabbits with it and had a blast shooting them. I usually take old aluminums, refurbish them as much as possible, screw in steel blunts in front of a washer. This way they don't stick into the pine trees as easily.

2 years ago i wanted to shoot a rockchuck with it and actually nailed one on the run at about 25 yds. but he got into his hole and i couldn't get him out--maybe this year.

Hey MC, once u're practiced a bit go to one of the local 3-D shoots i'm sure they'll have somewhere in TX close to u. That'll tell u whether u're ready for hunting or not--that is "hunting" inanimate tgts. that don't raise the heart rate any at close range.

1911 guy
April 28, 2009, 02:32 AM
First thing you need to do is take it to an archery shop and get it squared. They'll put a nock on the string that will put your arrow at the same place every time and that will make a difference. Take five minutes and cost a couple bucks.

Either stick with the kisser or use a corner of the mouth anchor point. Both methods put the draw at the same place every time.

Don't use one of those glove looking things. They get grooves in them and the string rolls out rather than slipping smoothly at release. Either shoot bare fingers or use a tab.

Work on your left hand grip. A lot of folks grip the bow too tightly and this causes it to move left or right at release. Gripping force is applied only with the thumb and forefinger. The rest of your left fingers are touching the bow jut enough to keep it from tipping foreward or backward on release.

Use your right shoulder and back to draw. A smooth, straight to the rear movement will keep left/right variations in your draw and release to a minimum.

Keeping the nock, draw, anchor and release consistent will allow you to use the traditional method of "aiming" a recurve or longbow, called instinctive shooting. You see the bow, the arrow and the target. With practice it is very possible to hit relatively small targets (I use quart baskets) out to about 30-40 yards with no real problems.

The bow I started hunting with was my Granddads 65 pound Bear recurve with a flipper rest. I still have it, but it had to be retired because it has developed a small crack and I'd rather not break it. It's just a wall-hanger now, but it was still his and I like to remember him.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 28, 2009, 10:44 AM
I have, and at the time, I was pretty good shooting instinctively (6 arrows in 4 or 5" at 20 yards), but never got a shot off on the whitetails I sought. With a little practice, I could probably knock the rust off and try again. Used a late 60s 45-lb Shakespeare bow and modern PSE 45 lbtakedown before. Now I have a mid-60s Ben Pearson Stallion 50 lb. if I want to shoot or hunt with a recurve - nice shooter.

Advantages are QUIET draw, and QUICK draw & release (gaining the "instinctive sight picture" is fast, and releasing with fingers is also fast). Also, the satisfaction of being more primitive. Disadvantages are no sights (unless you're sacrilegious enough to put sights on a recurve), and long length means shooting kneeling or seated usually won't work, and limbs can interfere in a tree stand. It would certainly give a feeling of accomplish to take game with one.

The bow I started hunting with was my Granddads 65 pound Bear recurve

Holy cow, you must be strong - I started with a 45 pounder in my late 30s, and it was really too much for a starting bow. I have the 50 now, and I think with practice, I could use a 52 without straining, but 55 and up is for the birds AFAIAC. 'Course I'm kinda skinny.

Now my compounds run about 67 lb draw weight, but that's another animal from a recurve.

April 28, 2009, 07:59 PM
Bummer. I was shooting today and drew the bow, felt and heard a snap and the string was out of line, part of the laminate popped on the lower limb. Scratch one recurve. :banghead: I have a little fiberglass target bow, probably about 35 pound draw, I can play with in the back yard. I checked ebay and there's a ton of recurves and compounds on there, some going cheap. Might do that later in the summer. I'm just going to play with the little target bow to keep up my practice for the time being.

1911 guy
April 29, 2009, 01:48 AM
O.K., clarification. I started shooting a 35 pound recurve in the back yard. Got hooked on bow shooting and wanted to start bow hunting. That's when I got my Granddads bow. I think I was about twelve or so. Don;t have any idea what happened to the fiberglass 35 pounder, it got lost in a few moves.

April 29, 2009, 07:28 PM
Actually, that little target bow is turning out to be a good training tool. I've noticed that if I don't follow through, if I move the bow after the release, the arrow will move with the movement of the bow. It's so slow, the arrow stays on the bow longer. It's kind of a challenge, but I think good training. I'm not sure the draw weight, but it ain't much. I'm just guessing 35 lbs. I can draw the arrow half way back and hold it with my finger on my left hand and remove my right hand. LOL It penetrates a 1/4" sheet of plyboard at 25 yards, though. I think it'll be enough for bow fishing. Was looking at bows at Academy today. They had a bow fishing compound there, all set up, a bit over 200 bucks. Draw weight was 40 lbs. You don't want too much power or you'll shoot right through the fish. Big gar are kinda tough, but buffalo suckers and carp and flounder aren't. So, I'm gonna try this little bow on fish. At 7.5 yards, it's deadly on an oil bottle, LOL. If I get another bow, I'll likely get it off ebay. There were 7 pages of recurves and about as much of compounds there when I checked it last night. I watched a compound with accessories, three arrows with broadheads, bow quiver, a release, counter balance, sights, etc go for 32 bucks with 36 dollars shipping. Under 70 bucks, forget the brand. I might get something like that knowing if I can't use the sights, I can try using my system which really is mostly instinctive.

April 30, 2009, 02:20 AM
Bowfishing has been the best thing for me. I had never shot a bow until I picked up a friend's that didn't make it to the boat ramp on time. I had been manning the gig, so I knew a little about how to aim. It took most of the night, but I got pretty good. Season is here now, so I've got my own bow all rigged up to skewer 50+ lb carp. Can't beat the 70 pounder my friend shot with his 12 ga while we were duck hunting last season though!

April 30, 2009, 10:38 AM
When I was a kid, my grandpa and I went down to my uncle's (grandpa's sister's husband) bait camp at Matagorda. We used to go there a lot in duck season because his rent cabin was usually empty and we'd stay and fish. He had a 14 ft flat bottom he let me use, his rental, no motor. Grandpa would haul me out towing me behind his boat up the intracoastal to big boggy flats, up a cut to the mount of big boggy, and I'd pole my way across to a little bayou where I'd pull the boat into the reeds after putting out my deeks. I was sitting there one day with four or five birds in the boat when I felt a thump on the side of the boat. I looked over and there's a BIG redfish, 27 inches, laying by the boat. I eased the muzzle of the shotgun over and shot right beside his head. Mud and water everywhere, but it stunned the fish and I reached over and grabbed him near the tail and hauled him into the boat. Grandpa comes to get me some hours later, pole back over to him. "Whadya git, son?" "Oh, five gadwall, and, well, a redfish." I held up the fish and I thought the ol' man was going to choke. They'd been fishing for 4 hours and ain't got squat. ROFL!

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