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longbow hunting

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by gibson_es, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. gibson_es

    gibson_es Well-Known Member

    My father in law has a longbow he doesn't use and might give it to me. I plan on practicing as much as precious time allows once I receive it. I have never used a bow (besides 9 years ago in high school when we did it in p.e. for a week. Lol) so my question is, on average (I know it veries from person to person and probably depends on the bow and arrow(s) used as well) assuming 4-5 hours a week practice(Hoping to get in way more) how much time give or take would it tak3 to be good enough tosuccefully hunt deer and maybe even some small game?

    It might be a better question to just simply ask how long did it take YOU to learn and be able to hunt with a longbow?
  2. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    About 40 years. :rolleyes: Seriously, I never sought instruction and thought I could just learn on my own. Well, there are things you need to know about technique and the biggest is CONSISTENT draw! Took me a while to figure that out.

    I got my first little kid's laminated fiberglass 25 lb bow when I was about 12. I tried and tried and couldn't figure out how to quit losing arrows in the grass. In college in the summer of 1973, I was working in south Texas counting cotton insects for a research project through Texas A&M's ag extension service. One of the guy's had an old Colt plainsman 45# recurve and I traded him 4 eight track tapes for it. Over the years, off and on, I'd try and fail and give up. Biggest problem was I was not drawing to a consistent point with the bow string. Also, instinctive shooting is tough, takes LOTS of practice to learn how to guesstimate range elevation as the arrow is not at eye level. Getting the windage is just a matter of sighting down the arrow, but learning to elevated is a pain. Lots of shots over and under the target. Arrows disappear in carpet grass.

    So, about 6 years back I had been reading online about proper technique, kisser buttons, all that. Then I had an idea, to put a nock at eye level and put marks on the bow to better "aim" for elevation. It worked pretty well, but was hard for me to line up quickly which must be done with a stick bow as it's not easy to keep at full draw. Meanwhile, I ebayed a 90s Hoyt Hunter compound and rigged it and found out I could actually, with the sights properly adjusted and after a month or two of practice, keep all shots on a paper plate at 25 yards. I've since gotten pretty good even with my weak eye out to about 45 yards with the compound. But, I still had problems with the stick bow judging elevation.

    My old Colt Plainsman busted, bought a PSE Kingfisher (mostly for bow fishing) and recently a friend gave me a Bear Stag Hunter 50 lb recurve in excellent condition. I bought a string for it and started playing with it, again. My consistent draw gained from practice with the compound seemed to help a lot, but I still had problems judging elevation. Then, I was watching the movie "Mongol, The Rise of Genghis Khan" the other night, excellent movie if a little slow, and in the battle scenes I noticed they had a red string tied from bow to string. I'd thought this might be an elevation sight, but turns out they did that to limit draw length in the interest of a consistent draw while shooting from odd positions on horse back (googled that). But, ever the tinkerer, I got some sight stretch tubing I had in my archery box and tied it from the bow to the bowstring at eye level, played with it adjusting it up and down the bow until I could, from 25 yards, consistently hit proper elevation. It works FANTASTIC! I couldn't quite believe how well it worked at first. I know it's not "instinctive", okay, I'm a lazy wuss who tries things, ain't that how the compound got invented in the first place? I look down the arrow for windage and can see the elevation string/rubber in the same focus, sorta like looking down a tube or something. I pull, see the elevation and the arrow and line up windage and elevation at the same time and release much faster than trying to use sights and pretty danged accurately! I can still shoot better with sights on my compound and have sights on my Kingfisher recurve. Maybe it's because of my weak eye, but shooting the recurve this way is a LOT quicker than trying to pick up a sight pin through an aperture or lining a nock with a mark on the bow as I'd tried already. I'd be real proud of myself for this, but it took me until I turned 60 to figure it out! :rolleyes:

    If you plan on learning to shoot instinctive, not using any other system, no matter how simple, to judge elevation. I think you're going to have to first learn techniques, developing a natural, consistent draw, then lots and lots of shooting to master the judgment of elevation. I look at guys like Byron Furguson and just marvel at their skill set. I don't think I could get that good if I were trained from birth like a Mongol. But, I'm pretty efficient with my elevation string to 30 yards with the recurve, now. After I finally take a deer with my compound, I might try it with the recurve. Don't have a long bow, but little is different from a recurve, really, far as technique goes.

    Just my $.02. I'm sure not God's gift to archery as you can probably tell. Took me this long to want to go bow hunting. :D I've done rifles, black powder, and pistols. I need to go after one with a bow. I think I'll not go so far as wasting a 5 dollar arrow on a squirrel, though. That's why God gave us .22 pistols. :D
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  3. Oklahoma Tumbleweed

    Oklahoma Tumbleweed New Member

    Just as important as the consistent draw is to make sure that your arrows are tuned to the bow. The arrows can make a huge difference in your consistency. My wife had borrowed a professionally tuned set from her aunt. Kept 4 inch groups at 30 yds. She bought her own bow, grabbed some off the shelf arrows and her groups moved to about 3 ft at the same distance. We did some simple tuning by changing her point weight and we are back to about 12 inch groups.
  4. gibson_es

    gibson_es Well-Known Member

    How do you tune an arrow? I will have to get budget wally world arrows for now but should he able to grt good arrows by end of month. He doesn't have arrows to give, just a bow.
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Walmart rarely has anything archery here, though I did pick up on the clearance race at the superwalmart in El Campo two whisker biscuit arrow rests. I just picked out an affordable (about 4 bucks) aluminum arrow at Academy and played with various weights of field points and broad heads until I found what broad head would shoot the same. I shoot a 125 grain field point and a 75 grain broad head I found on ebay, came with replaceable blades. Forget the brand.

    Here's the arrows I'm using, group about 4" at 25 with the compound if I do my part and shoots well if I shoot well with the recurve. If I ain't pulling my shots, shooting well, I can keep 'em all on a paper plate at 30 yards. Beyond 30, frankly, I'm out of my range with the recurve, but I think that's pretty danged good, myself. :D I can keep these arrows, broad head or field point, on a paper plate from 45 yards with the compound. They will bend if you strike something hard like a tree stump, but are otherwise pretty durable and are somewhat heavy. They'll have a bit more drop than a carbon arrow, but they'll also carry more penetration via momentum....theoretically, anyway. These arrows work well with a 28" draw. Longer draw, you probably will want to move to a longer arrow.


    I haven't heard the term "tuning an arrow" either. I just found what works for me and stuck with it. :D
  6. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Well-Known Member

    A few flights of arrows most evenings will have you shooting pretty well in 3-4 weeks but get a little instruction in the beginning to save time a avoid bad habits that are hard to untrain.
  7. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    With a long bow shooting instinctive? I think it'll take quite a bit longer than that to be able to put 5 of 5 from 25 yards into a kill zone of a deer, but JMHO.
  8. MartinS

    MartinS Well-Known Member

    You may need real feathers for shooting off that long bow's arrow rest.
  9. Dirty Bob

    Dirty Bob Well-Known Member

    As others mentioned, some instruction can be a huge help. Some towns have an archery club or an indoor or outdoor range where you can meet and shoot with experienced archers. They can help you focus on the fundamentals. Like a lot of things in life, fundamentals are very important to being good with a bow. Mastering the fundamental skills of consistent anchor, clean release, good follow-through, etc. will go a long way toward your goal.

    "Practice" alone won't help enough, especially if you're reinforcing bad habits. Practicing good form and good habits will help enormously. Unfortunately, a lot of what we see in movies and on TV is the stuff of bad habits. Look at the terrible form displayed by an "expert" Japanese archer in The Wolverine. I was actually uncomfortable watching it, he was so bad. It's painful because there are true experts who would have probably coached the actor for free. Sorry I got worked up there! </rant>

    All my best,
    Dirty Bob
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    You don't.

    You figure out your bows poundage, and your draw length.

    Then you buy arrows properly spined (diameter, stiffness & length) for that weight and draw length.

  11. nmlongbow

    nmlongbow Well-Known Member

    Of course you tune arrows and bows. The exact same spine arrow can shoot perfectly from several different bows depending on length, point weight, fletch etc. Real bows tune differently depending on style, woods, centershot and a lot more.

    The archer is the most important factor by far. A good, clean consistant release can make the difference in an arrow that flies true or one that flies sideways. When I'm target shooting or roving I always keep a bareshaft in the quiver to check my release and form. If I'm doing my part they all fly the same and if not it's usually my release.

    Modern compounds take most of the work out of tuning and accuracy. With a good rest and and a release you can make a lot of mistakes and still shoot tight groups if your fingers never touch the string.
  12. T.R.

    T.R. Well-Known Member

    I started out with a Wing recurve bow in 1972. It was a beauty and fun to shoot. Draw weight was 45 lbs. It took me about 2 months of shooting nearly every day to hit bullseyes consistantly at 25 yards. My first archery deer was taken with that bow. I shot cedar arrows with turkey feather fletching.

    I graduated to a custom recurve by Owen Jeffrey in 1990. It was much longer at 64 inches with draw weight of 55lbs. This bow also downed many deer for me. But an accident ruined my traditional archery shooting due to an unhealed elbow fracture. So I took the next logical step to a scope sighted crossbow in 1998. This crossbow has also been quite effective for me.

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  13. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Well-Known Member

    My advice IS! Take yourself AND your bow to an Archery shop and let the experts help you. A good shop will help you in every way including arrow selection and technique.

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