October 15, 2015
In my experience, there are two kinds of hunters that give traditional bows a chance. The first are legit, interested folks who want the simplicity and challenge of a tradbow.
Then there are the other guys... who might want an excuse to never kill anything, or they may simply like lording over their equipment choice on the "training-wheel shooters." Those hunters tend to be the ones that I see at the range in August who can't hit a Block target at 15 yards consistently.
The former group is a different breed entirely. I know because I lived in their world for a few seasons and I can say it was awesome, but brutal.
To master traditional shooting is to commit yourself to shooting five times a week all year long. At least at first, that's the case. After years of doing that you might be able to back off of the pedal a bit, but not stop entirely.
It's not a case of picking up a recurve or a longbow and getting the hang of it quickly. That doesn't happen. It's a slow-burn situation that takes a quiver-full of patience. It's also extremely rewarding.
One of my favorite deer mounts, by far, is a clean eight-pointer that definitely wouldn't turn too many heads in pro shops. The deer was my first buck with a recurve and he means plenty to me.
Back when I flirted heavily with being a full-on traditional shooter, I didn't know much about quality bows, tuning a recurve or any of the nuances to the endeavor that would have helped my shooting some. All of those are important, but it starts with bow choice.
Hit the range with a clunker and you'll have a much harder time getting the hang of instinctive shooting. Pick up a good one and your quest will be easier — not easy — but easier.
Following are our five best traditional bows to get you started correctly.
3Rivers Archery | DAS Takedown
Options abound with the DAS lineup from 3Rivers Archery, with users capable of choosing the Dalaa recurve riser or the DX5, which uses recurve technology and a longbow design to create a truly unique longbow. Choose from riser lengths of 15, 17 and 21 inches and a multitude of bow grips. The true beauty of DAS
bows is the fact that they are designed for limitless tuning.
For example, you can shoot off the shelf or with an elevated rest and plunger, and you can fine tune draw weight and tiller. Each riser is machined from 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy to ensure zero flex during the shot cycle. Several finish options are offered for the limbs to guarantee you'll get the look you want. I've got quite a few recurves, but find myself enjoying shooting my Dalaa more than most.
Bear Archery | Super Kodiak
Aesthetically, the Super Kodiak
is comparable to something like a 1970 Corvette Stingray LT-1. It's not just the classic looks that make this bow such a sweet option, however. It's also designed with a large profile leather rest plate and a newbie friendly feather arrow rest. The Super Kodiak measures 60 inches AMO length and is available in a huge range of draw weights.
Right-handed shooters can choose from 30 to 65 pounds of peak weight, while southpaws can find Super Kodiaks in the 35- to 55-pound range. If the Super Kodiak doesn't raise your heart rate enough, take a look through the rest of Bear Archery's traditional bow line up. You will find something that you like.
Cabela's | Saberhawk Take-Down
A great entry-level option for the curious bowhunter comes your way via Cabela's. Their Saberhawk Take-Down
is a 60-inch offering that features a hardwood riser and wood-core limbs, and does not shoot like a $150 bow. I've started bowhunting small game quite a bit in the last few years and this bow has been my go-to squirrel and bunny shooter.
It's a sweet handling bow that takes down and goes together easily thanks to the dual-pin limb alignment. The only downside to this bow is that if you're a lefty, you're out of luck. Otherwise, it's a killer option for anyone looking to increase the challenge of bowhunting.
Hoyt Archery | Dorado
It takes about 85 years for a company to master making the highest of high-tech compounds, and some of the top traditional bows, which means the engineers are Hoyt Archery are breathing some rarified air indeed. Their Dorado
, is a great example of this given its classic design that incorporates custom wood core limbs and results in an extremely smooth shooting experience.
Choose from a 58- or 60-inch bow and draw weights ranging from as low as 35 pounds up to Cape buff capable 65. A litany of finish options allow you to fully customize the Dorado, which features a shooter friendly seven to eight inches of brace height.
PSE Archery | Heritage Series Mustang
It's easy to say traditional bows aren't right for you when you take a peek at the price tags hanging off of them. Fortunately, not all quality bows are cost prohibitive to the archer looking to dip his toe into the instinctive pool. Take the Mustang Recurve
from PSE, which sits firmly in their Heritage Series line, for example.
The Mustang is a 60-inch take-down that is designed with black walnut, cherry, and maple to look like a paycheck buster. Brace heights of seven to 7.5 inches are standard, as are peak weights of 40, 45, 50 and 55 pounds - which is plenty to kill backyard whitetails or bull moose in the Alaskan alders.