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Showing posts with label Archery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Archery. Show all posts

Bow String Brace Height

Q

"What is the best brace height for my bow?" 


A

It depends on the type of bow and the manufacturer. You should check the manufacturer's guidelines for the best brace height. If you cannot find the manufacturer's guidelines for the ideal brace height then you may need to experiment a bit.

Once you have the manufacturer's recommended distance then you just measure the distance between the lowest point in the handle to the bowstring. If it is too low you need to tighten the string by twisting it about 5 to 10. If the bow string is too high then you need to untwist it 5 or 10 times and check again. Keep repeating this process until you reach the optimal distance.

I personally use the "rule of thumb" method for recurve bows, and slightly less than that for longbows and flatbows. I am less worried about being exactly precise because I know the optimal brace height is really often a range within 1 to 2 inches of the rule of thumb method.

The important things to keep in mind are the physics involved...

The Physics of Brace Height

Too Long Bow String = Too Low Brace Height = Bow string de-accelerates, causing slower arrows, more arrow vibration, more bow vibration, sluggish accuracy.

Perfect String Length = Optimum Brace Height = Bow string accelerates fully, causing nice fast arrows, reduced vibrations, optimal accuracy.

Too Short Bow String = Too High Brace Height = Bow string doesn't accelerate fully, causing slower arrows, vibrations are still reduced, accuracy is down because arrow speed is slower.

Optimal > Too High > Too Low.

Thus it is better to be slightly too high than slightly too low, but ideally you want to get as close to the Optimal Brace Height as you can.

So if you cannot find the manufacturer's recommended brace height then it is better to try the "rule of thumb method" and experiment a bit.

If your bow string is hitting you in the wrist during shots then your brace height is definitely too low.

What is the rule of thumb method?

Holding the bow sideways with the string away from you place your hand on the lowest point on the bow's handle in the "thumbs up" position towards the bowstring. If your thumb is touching the bow string then the brace height is too low and is likely to hit you in the wrist.

You then unstring the bow, twist the bow string 10 times to make it tighter, and restring the bow.

You check the brace height again using the rule of thumb method and if it is still touching your thumb then you repeat the process.

Because people have different sizes of hands the optimal brace height may be roughly 1 or 2 inches above your thumb.

Notes

With longbows and flatbows expect the optimal brace height to be slightly lower than what is normal for recurves, so closer to your thumb or even touching your thumb.

If a bow string is brand new expect it to stretch a bit during the first hour of being used. You may need to stop and adjust the bow string's brace height 30 to 45 minutes a second time.

Why I Love Blunt Field Points and Wingnuts

When it comes to archery finding a really good target to shoot at is really important.

However what you can safely shoot at (depending upon the distance and other factors) can really vary significantly based upon the type of arrowhead you are using.

The standard metal blunt arrowhead, like those sold by 3riversarchery.com, I would argue are the most useful and beneficial because you can add a wingnut or a washer behind the arrowhead and make it so digs into the grass or dirt like an anchor.

Using a metal blunt with a wingnut means you can use a target ball like the Rinehart target ball, shown below, which is extremely durable and if used with blunt arrowheads will last a really long time. (I currently have two of these target balls and use them regularly during my archery lessons because they're very versatile with respect to both field archery and target archery.)

If you don't have a target ball you don't necessarily need to use blunts however.

You can also add wingnuts to pointed field points (like in the image below), allowing you to shoot at anything you don't mind damaging. Eg. Plastic water bottles raised upright on a broken arrow I find makes a great target.


 There are also other types of blunt arrowheads, like those shown below which have sharp edges and are meant for small game hunting. Don't use those on a target ball, but combined with wingnuts they work great for shooting at plastic bottles and similar targets which you don't mind damaging.

With respect to rubber blunt arrowheads you don't want to use those on a rubber target ball either. For some reason rubber bouncing against rubber BOUNCES LIKE CRAZY!

So yes. Definitely don't use rubber blunts on a rubber ball.

Using the blunt field points and wingnuts in combination also works well for:

  • Shooting in snow.
  • Long distance shooting.
  • Any time you are worried about possibly losing your arrow.

Do field points plus wingnuts still work? Yes, but then you need to use a target that you don't care if it gets damaged. So you don't get the versatility and durability of a target which is reliable when it comes to stopping your arrow. (When hitting a plastic bottle your arrow will often rip right through the plastic and the plastic can damage your fletches. By shooting at a rubber ball it STOPS the arrow and your fletching doesn't get damaged.

So really this is a matter of durability and longevity for your equipment.

Plus doing field archery shooting at a rubber ball is great practice for small game hunting and hunting in general. Also good practice if you want to enter a field archery competition.

Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto by emailing me at cardiotrek@gmail.com to learn more.


Archery Lessons in Toronto 2021

February 10th 2021

I am not sure when I will be able to resume teaching archery lessons in 2021, but my best guess at this time is that I may be able to start teaching again on May 1st 2021. This is a conservative estimate on my part based upon on the current decline in COVID rates and the increasing vaccinations of the general public.

If large scale mass vaccinations for COVID begin in April wherein everyone in Toronto can go get vaccinated then you can bet I will be one of the first people getting vaccinated. I may even get vaccinated sooner than that, as there is already at least 3 clinics so far in Toronto that are open to vaccinations to the general public. I also expect more mass vaccinations clinics to open as the country ramps up the release of the vaccines, making it even easier for people to get vaccinated and go back to normal life.

Thus depending upon how soon I can get vaccinated (both shots 1 and 2), and how soon Ontario reopens the economy from the current lockdowns, then I expect to be up and running with archery lessons by May 1st - or possibly sooner.

Note - I may update this post later if it turns out I can resume teaching sooner. For now May 1st is the best estimate I have. 

MARCH 10TH UPDATE - Yes, May 1st will be the official start of the archery season for me. People wishing to book archery lessons for May, June, July, etc may do so.

Rates

I am keeping my archery lesson rates the same as they were during the bulk of 2020.

Availability

The good news however is that my availability this year is going to be improving dramatically: I will be able to teach 5 days per week, similar to my old schedule from 2017 and earlier. I am currently looking at teaching on the following days:

  • Tuesdays
  • Wednesdays
  • Fridays
  • Saturdays
  • Sundays

Returning / New Students

Returning students are advised to email me regarding finishing any remaining lessons that are leftover from last year or for scheduling new lessons.

New students wishing to secure time slots in May, June or July should email me at cardiotrek@gmail.com to discuss scheduling and availability.

 



Hay Bale Archery Backstop

Q


"How far in to a round bale would one of my arrows go when [shot] from the same kind of distance as we do in class?"

- Michelle H.

 

A

Hey Michelle!

It will vary upon the poundage of the bow, the weight of the arrow, how much damage the hay bale has previously suffered, etc. Some shots might only go in a few inches, others more so. If it has been shot repeatedly in the same location you will discover it goes a lot deeper.

I think you mentioned previously that you were planning on using the hay bales as a backstop, behind a target made of cardboard, plastic or foam? The hay bales should make a decent backstop, but you will probably still want to swap them out once per year as they will get rained on and start to smell/etc.

Some people even build a roof for their archery target so the hay doesn't get rained on as much.
 
Another thing to look into is a traditional straw archery target, like the kind used during the middle ages. They're inexpensive but last a long time because they're woven together like a rug.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca
 



 

3 Frequently Asked Archery Questions

Archery Questions

1. What poundage should I start with? I know that some bows are harder to pull back than others, which should I start with the easy ones or the hard ones?

2. Where can I get archery equipment?

3. Can I make my own bow?  I have seen some videos on YouTube and I would like to try it out.


Answers

1. You should start with a lower poundage.

If you're an adult I usually recommend people starting with either 20 to 25 lbs, depending upon their physical strength. You want to start with something easier so you can practice proper archery form - which is an ENDURANCE activity - and not being physically exhausted after only doing a few shots.

People who start with 30 lbs or more often do so out of ego (or lack of knowledge), but their form suffers from it because they are frequently shooting too quickly before they have adjusted their form properly. This develops into a bad habit of sloppy form and equates to sloppy accuracy.

What you want to do instead is to think of your bow(s) like dumbbells. You start off with the some lower weight dumbbells and build your endurance/strength, and then as you get stronger you start getting some heavier dumbbells.

You want to use that same philosophy with your bows. You start with an easier 20 or 25 lb bow and then progressively get stronger bows. So if you start with a 25 lb bow then your second bow might be 30 lbs, your 3rd bow might be 40 lbs, etc.

Also when buying a beginner bow I recommend getting a 3-piece bow where the limbs can be removed and swapped out. This way you can start with 25 lb limbs and when you want to go to a higher poundage then you just buy extra 30 lb limbs.

This then gives you the option of switching to harder or easier limbs when you go to the archery range as you might have 2 or 3 different sets of limbs to choose from.

"What limbs do I want to use today?"

2. There are archery specific stores you can go to, or you can try hunting/fishing stores that also sell archery equipment (although they might have a limited selection and only sell compound bows or crossbows).

ArcheryToronto.ca has a list of recommended stores in the GTA and southern Ontario which you can look into at http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Archery-Equipment-in-Toronto.html

With respect to specific brands and models I usually recommend the Samick Sage. It is an affordable bow, usually costing $150 to $180 CDN, it isn't bad to look at, and it offers everything that a beginner archer will want in their first bow.

3. Yes, tt is certainly possible to make your own bow, although I recommend using a simpler design when trying to make your first bow.

Eg. A flatbow made out of oak, ash or hickory may be the easiest thing to make and a good thing to try when making your first bow.

Think of it like a progression, a learning process. Make something simple for your first bow.

A normal flatbow is a very good way to start off.

A pyramid bow is a bit more complicated, but the handle looks more interesting.

And there are other more complicated bow designs that you can look into, but I recommend practicing making flatbows and pyramid bows first.

I also recommend getting a book:

"The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume One"

Technically there are four volumes of this book series, but the first book is the most important book that anyone who wants to do bow making should definitely read. So if you read the first book, especially the section on bow design, and you make several bows and decide you want to learn more then you can look into buying books II, III and IV.

In my case I also went a step further than just buying the books. Years ago I also invested in getting bow making lessons from a local bowyer here in Toronto, which is certainly more expensive than just buying some books and doing it yourself, but for me I felt it was important to see what other bowyers were doing in their workshops so I could perhaps learn some tips and tricks to bow making that I wouldn't necessarily learn from a book or from a YouTube channel.

I also habitually watch woodworking episodes of "The Woodwright's Shop" from PBS, which isn't about bow making, but certainly informative in other ways. Many of those episodes are now available via YouTube.

There are lots of YouTube channels out there on making bows too. One of my favourites is Mick Grewcock from the UK. I find his videos very relaxing and enjoyable, and there is a lot of quality effort put into his videos.

Below I have included a video from Mick Grewcock's YouTube channel in which he makes an ash flatbow in a day.


Where to Buy Bows Online

Q

"Hey fellow archer! I saw your post and was wondering if you had any advice. I'm looking to get a new recurve but not sure where to buy them. Do you know any good online places or do you get them in person? 


I'm looking to replace my 60" recurve. I got two of mine from an antique store and one is still going but barely.  I ordered a horsebow for my wife but I really want something closer to what I saw in your post.  Not a huge fan of take downs.  Sorry, I don't know a lot of archers I can ask."

Jarin H.

A

I usually buy my bows in person from stores in Toronto, but I also buy vintage bows off eBay.

  • Basically Bows Archery
  • Canada Archery Online
Both of those locations accept online orders.

Buying vintage bows on eBay is trickier because you're taking a risk, but you can mitigate the risks by only looking at bows where they have 12 to 20 photos of the bow from every angle so you know if the bow has any damage.

I would NEVER buy an eBay bow if it has very few photos of it (or the photos are of low quality) and you cannot tell if the bow limbs are straight / undamaged.

I also sometimes buy archery equipment (but never bows) off of Amazon. The problem with Amazon is I don't exactly trust the third party sellers on Amazon, whereas with eBay I know that I am deliberately buying a vintage bow and that it is used, and it comes with the territory. Amazon in contrast doesn't sell used/vintage bows.

Other websites to consider:

  • 3riversarchery.com
  • lancasterarchery.com

I have browsed those websites many times, but never actually ordered from them. Given the choices I usually buy locally as much as possible. Due to COVID/Coronavirus I get that many people these days might prefer to order online, but it is important to note that both Basically Bows Archery and Canada Archery Online do accept online orders. (BBA basically ONLY accepts online orders and pickups currently. The owner Gary doesn't allow people to come in the store and browse any more.)

So it is still possible to shop locally and order online.

Happy Shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Below is a circa 1974 Shakespeare Sierra Model X18 which I recently shot on November 7th.

I got the vintage recurve bow for xmas in 2018, but it sat on the shelf for almost 2 years because I kept delaying getting a new bowstring for it. I finally got a new fleming twist bowstring and a new arrow rest (from CAO) for it recently and took it to the range to do some shooting. Despite being a vintage bow it shoots beautifully, and it looks like it is practically brand new.



 

 

Xmas 2018



Fun Halloween Archery Ideas that won't make a Mess

 Every year some silly person brings a pumpkin to the archery range, makes a mess shooting at the pumpkin, and then leaves their stinky mess behind.

Also they make a huge mess on their arrows and then have to clean their arrows with rubbing alcohol, otherwise their arrows will smell like rotting pumpkins.

There is a better however!

And it is reasonably frugal...

#1. Halloween Skull from the Dollar Store

Your local dollar store sells a wide variety of Halloween items which makes for a fun (and less messy) archery target. It doesn't have to be a skull, but that is certainly an option. It could even be a glow in the dark skeleton suitable for night shooting.

#2. Zombie Archery Target

Sometimes your local archery stores sell a variety of zombie themed archery targets. Below is a zombie pizza man. They're pretty inexpensive too.

#3. Old Halloween Decorations

Chances are likely you have some old Halloween decorations you should throw out. But before you throw them out, why not reuse them as an archery target?

#4. Halloween Archery Target

Print out the following Halloween Archery Target using your printer or take it to Staples / Kinkos to print out a larger poster.

Or make/decorate your own archery target.



4 More Ways to Improve Your Archery Form

 Want to improve your archery form and accuracy? Pay attention to these 4 tips that will help to improve your form/accuracy.

Also see my old post from March titled "4 Ways to Improve Your Archery Form". If you read both then that is 8 tips on how to improve your form / accuracy.

1. Align your Torso / Bellybutton to 90 Degrees

It may sound weird, but when you begin pulling back you want your bellybutton to be aligned so it is 90 degrees away from the target. Doing this aligns your torso and allows you to use your upper back muscles (rhomboids) more efficiently, and it allows you to relax your shoulders more.

If you don't do this it results in your shoulders being more stressed and that extra strain on your bow shoulder will often result in a midshot "arm jerk" that will cause your arrow to go to the side. This is obviously bad for accuracy.

Likewise if your drawing shoulder isn't relaxed you are more likely to get a backwards pluck when you release, which will typically make your arrow go higher to the side.

Lastly, if you're not aligned then you aren't using consistent back power. You want to be using consistent back power with your rhomboids so that your arrows are shot with the same amount of power each time.

2. Keep your Drawing Fingers Perpendicular

Avoid drawing back the bowstring with your fingers on a diagonal angle. What you want is to keep them perpendicular so that they release evenly. If they're on a diagonal angle then you will release the bowstring unevenly, often resulting in the arrow flying in a "whale tailing" or "porpoising" manner, which reduces accuracy. The bowstring during the release will also make a more "snappy" sound and will sound weird.

3. Pull your Fingers Evenly

Often beginners will put less power on their third finger on their drawing hand. This likewise effects having an even release. What you need to do is pay attention to giving the third finger and little extra power so it matches the other two fingers.

Beginners aren't used to using the third finger so much and it is weaker compared to the other two fingers, but there is an exercise you can do to increase the strength in your third finger: Snap your third finger 50 times per day on days you are not doing archery. (Hand grips don't work to build muscle in your fingers, that is more for forearm strength. You want to target building muscle in your third finger.)

4. Three Fingers is Stronger than Two

Beginners sometimes try to shoot with just two fingers, because that is what little kids do... Or maybe they saw it in a poorly made movie... What you want to do is use three fingers and half your fingertips. Do not pull to the joints because that will result in more plucking during your releases and can also lead to joint pain in your fingers.

Bonus Tip

Also doesn't hurt to get archery lessons. Get archery lessons in Toronto from Cardio Trek.

In somewhat related news... I have started giving my 3-year-old son archery lessons. He is really enjoying it.

Also in somewhat related news, check out the cover of the September issue of Archery Focus Magazine.

 



Feel Vs Technique - Archery

"If it feels wrong, just start over."

Have you ever done an archery shot and it just felt wrong for some unknown reason?

This is the point when I tell students to just start over. The saying goes "If it feels wrong, just start over."

The execution of a shot should feel normal/natural. If something feels weird, odd, off... Just start over.

You could be doing everything you can think of technically correct, in terms of technique, but if something feels off - even if it is purely mental - I will still argue it is better to start over than to shoot a shot that feels wrong.

It is possible that an archery could be doing something weird with their neck or shoulders and they become aware that something feels off. They wouldn't necessarily notice that something is a bit off if it is something unusual that isn't on their normal checklist of things to do before releasing a shot.

Technique Vs Good Habits

Ideally what archers want to do is to chip away at their bad habits and replace them with good habits. You do this by fostering techniques (and technical knowledge of form) so that you can add it to the checklist of things you do before performing a shot.

Being aware of the technical issues of form is necessary to become self-aware of your form. You don't necessarily need to know the name of what you are doing correctly/wrong, it is more important that you simply know the issue exists and can add it to the things you are checking before shooting.

As an archer's form technique improves likewise they start to develop more good habits, habits which eventually effectively replace technique and you stop consciously thinking about it because it is "just habit".

The problem exists however when an archer persists in a bad habit because they're not aware of it. If they're aware of it then they can consciously work to correct the bad habit, but if they're not aware of it at all then they are hampering their progress because they don't know what they are doing wrong.

If an archer doesn't know what they are doing wrong that is a good time to consult an archery instructor or ask a fellow archer to watch them shoot and hopefully they will spot what they are doing wrong.

Eg. I had an Olympic archer approach me years ago who couldn't figure out why his shots were going erratically to the left. I watched him shoot just a few shots and determined he was unnecessarily tensing his anterior deltoid (also known as the front deltoid) and that this was causing his arm to jerk to the left during shots. This isn't normally a muscle archers even think about when shooting, and with beginner archers it is usually the posterior deltoid (rear deltoid) that they end up tensing by accident. He was doing the opposite and wasn't aware what he was doing wrong, he just knew that something "felt wrong".


In A Nutshell

A beginner archer learns technique, and keeps doing it until they chip away their bad habits and replace them with good habits. Learning the various aspects of form can be technically challenging, and a beginner cannot learn everything all at once. It takes time. It takes practice. Eventually, with ample time, the habits start to take over.

An experienced* archer shoots based upon feel. Everything they do when performing a shot should be based upon habit and feel. If something feels wrong then they remember the technique and double check what they might be doing wrong.


* Obviously there are different levels of experience when it comes to archery. An archer who has been shooting for 30+ years (like myself) will be shooting (and feeling) their shots differently from someone who has only been shooting for a year or two. 

An "experienced archer" may have different fortes (things that they're good at). Some might be better / more experienced at shooting longer distances. Some might be more familiar with shooting at moving targets. Some might also be more versatile. My goal during my archery lessons is to give students a comprehensive knowledge of archery so that they are more versatile and can reach higher plateaus of excellence by having constant challenges.

It has been my experience that stagnation happens when an archer stops looking for challenges and is no longer pushing themselves to get better. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this. Some archers are simply content with their current level of skill and want to maintain it through practice, and if they happen to get better over time due to regular practice then they are content with that too.

I would argue therefore that sometimes even so-called "experienced archers" should try to challenge themselves / learn new things in order to become better archers.

 

The learning process only ever reaches a plateau when you stop trying to reach new heights.

Where to buy Archery Winter Gloves

Q

"I shoot down to a temp of just above zero but my hands get cold. Do you know of any cold weather gloves I could try?"

- Mark M. 

A

Hey Mark!

There are archery winter gloves you can look into. I got a set years ago from England, from a company called Merlin Archery Centre:




 
Then I showed them to Gary at Basically Bows, and he ended up finding a supplier who makes the same gloves with a different company logo on them. You can see the gloves on his website at https://basically-bows1.webnode.com/accessories/, but you will need to make an appointment and go to his physical shop if you want to purchase. He does apparently do online orders too, so you could just order over the phone or via email.

Historically, before I got the archery winter gloves from Merlin, I would just cut three fingers off a cheap pair of gloves from the Dollarama and then shoot like that.


GOT AN ARCHERY QUESTION???

JUST EMAIL cardiotrek@gmail.com AND I SHALL ANSWER IT FOR YOU.

HAPPY SHOOTING! 

 

 



FAQ: Why can't I just do archery in my backyard?

Q

Frequently Asked Question:

"Why can't I just do archery in my backyard?"


A

In theory you can, but it is a problem of how safely can you do it.

If you own a farm, a cabin in the woods, or a similar large property nobody is going to complain about you shooting on your own property in a safe and reasonable manner.

If you own a property in a town or city you need to be taking precautions to make certain what you are doing is still being done in a safe manner. Eg. Higher fences, using some kind of a backstop, shooting on a downward angle so the arrow is certain to be hitting the ground or the backstop, etc.

Now we could imagine if you don't do these things what might happen, but instead I am going to tell the story of an incident which was told to me via word-of-mouth by another archer.

It involves a 12-year-old boy shooting a youth compound bow (depending upon the poundage youth compound bows can still be used for hunting and are still deadly) in his parents' lane way near the garage beside their suburban home. The father meanwhile was cleaning the backyard and while the son normally shot in the backyard in a safe manner due to the backyard being busy the father gave his son permission to shoot in the lane way, but he wasn't supervising what his son was actually doing.

What happened next is a bit predictable.

The child began shooting in an increasingly reckless manner. He started shooting from further away, walking into the street and shooting across the street and into the lane way. He also started shooting higher and eventually nearly straight up to see where the arrow would land. One of the neighbours complained, asking the child to please shoot in a safer manner.

The father still wasn't paying attention and was unaware his son was shooting so recklessly. He was also unaware of the exchange with the neighbour.

The son ignored the neighbour and continued to shoot in this dangerous manner. Eventually one of his arrows came down and hit a passing motorist's car in the front windshield, giving the driver quite the fright and causing hundreds of dollars in damages.

The driver, under the impression that the child had shot at his car deliberately, immediately called the police.

Police arrived to find the driver in a shouting match with the father, with the driver wanting to be paid for the damages to his car and threatening to sue, plus accusing the son of attempted murder.

The neighbour stepped in and gave a statement to the police, confirming that it had been accidental, but that the son had been behaving in a reckless manner by shooting arrows straight up, etc.

Police then arrested the father (not the son) for Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm, and fined him $4000. They also confiscated the compound bow and arrows as evidence and took photographs of the crime scene/damages.

The father tried to initially plead ignorance of the law, claiming he didn't know it was illegal, but ignorance of the law is not a defense. If someone accidentally kills someone due to negligence or by behaving recklessly they are still considered to be guilty in the eyes of the law even if they claim that they didn't know that being negligent or reckless was illegal. Why? Because it is common sense that if you're doing something dangerous that someone could get hurt. He later pleaded guilty, served one month in prison, paid the $4000 fine, and was forced to pay for the damages to the driver's car.

The son received a weapons ban, prohibiting him from owning any kind of firearms. It is unknown when or whether the weapons ban would expire*.

* I looked it up. In Ontario a weapons ban is 10 years for a first offense. For life if it is a second offense.

The father was lucky he didn't get sued and his son was lucky not to be charged with something worse.

Assuming that the son doesn't get into additional trouble in the future, he would be allowed to own weapons when he reaches the age of 22.

Now this is admittedly an extreme example of why people need to be careful. Shooting in the backyard is certainly safer than shooting in the front yard, and any children shooting should definitely be supervised.

After hearing this story I tried looking it up to see if it was the media, but it was not. Instead I found similar stories, usually involving people getting injured or killed. Which I kind of understand why those stories would get more media attention. "If it bleeds it leads" and so forth. A damaged car doesn't seem that newsworthy in comparison.

And certainly this doesn't happen very often because most people have common sense, but it does happen and there are reasons why Reckless Endangerment with a Firearm carries a prison sentence and a fine, and likewise there are reasons why bows and crossbows are considered to be firearms in the eyes of the law.

So yes, it is entirely possible to do archery in your backyard. But you need to do so with a degree of caution because bows are legally considered to be firearms.

I know of multiple people who do archery in their backyards or on their private property. Most archers have built their own mini archery range in such circumstances, not just for safety reasons, but also because they don't want to damage or lose arrows.

You're not limited to your backyard either. Some people build a private range in their garage, in their basement, or even in their attic like the photo on the above right. Owning a large property is certainly ideal, but for those who don't having a small space in their attic or similar location is what works for them.

I have also heard of people renting a tractor trailer or a storage unit and building a private archery range inside such a space.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Second Wave of COVID, still open?

 At this time I am still accepting new archery students, but I am being pickier about who I am accepting with respect to students.

Depending upon what happens with future lockdowns I may end up suspending lessons until after any such lockdown. I am expecting the schools to get shutdown any day now because it is obvious that the province of Ontario has not figured out a safe way to reopen schools.

If they shut down the schools but maintain Stage Three then I will continue to offer lessons. If the province decides to do another big lockdown, going back to the same conditions we had in March then any remaining lessons might end up being delayed until Spring 2021.

Knowing this I totally get why some potential archery students might just decide to delay their archery lessons until 2021 in the first place... Whilst some others might prefer to have them now because they're hoping to learn archery for hunting purposes, in which case the argument is the sooner-the-better. A percentage of my students these days want to learn bowhunting because they're worried about the COVID shutdowns causing the equivalent of the Great Depression and food shortages.

Basically everyone has their own reasons for learning archery. Some people are just bored of being at home all of the time because they work from home these days and they just want to get outside and do something fun.

Fun and potentially useful? Yep, good to go.

Of course there is also the people who just have always wanted to do archery and they just keep procrastinating. Always a new excuse for procrastinators. If you're a procrastinator then you're probably thinking of an excuse right now while reading this.

But if you cannot think of a good excuse maybe now is the time to do.

Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto today. :)

In unrelated news check out the interesting and cool decorative arrowheads below. One of the archers I know makes them as a hobby.



Archery Trick Shooting


 My new article for Archery Focus Magazine is now available as of September 1st 2020. The topic is "Archery Trick Shooting". Unfortunately I am not posting it here. You will just have to visit the Archery Focus website and read it there.

Also kudos to fellow Toronto archer Crispin Duenas for his review of the BOWdometer.

An one year subscription to Archery Focus Magazine is $32 USD and gets you access to their back catalogue of magazines. Learn more by visiting archeryfocusmagazine.com.

Happy Shooting!





PS. You can also view my past articles for Archery Focus Magazine in the following issues:

  • "Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches", July 2017.
  • "A Lesson in Adaptive Archery", July 2018.
  • "Teaching Archery Through Narratives", November 2018.
  • "Rinehart Target Balls (and Alternatives)", January 2020.

Pain in Middle Finger after Archery Lesson

 Q

"Hi Charles, 

After the lesson today I noticed the last joint (closest to the tip) of my middle finger is quite sore. I noticed the same thing the last time I shot with my new glove, bow, etc. Is this normal for a new glove or is it an indication of something wrong, either with my form or the glove? 

Regards,
-Brian H."

 

A

Hey Brian!

That happens sometimes when the glove is either not protecting the fingers enough or the person is not used to pulling a higher poundage.

In your case however I did notice that you sometimes pulled the bowstring unevenly, wherein your middle finger was usually about half an inch further across the bowstring and the bowstring was then on the joint itself (as opposed to halfway on the fingertips). You were only doing it with your middle finger (and you didn't always do it so at the time I wasn't too worried about it because I felt you would eventually stop doing it) and you are not experiencing pain in any other fingers, correct? In the future I recommend making an effort to only use half your fingertips and see if that solves the problem.

You may recall me saying "Half your fingertips is twice as accurate." In this case however it could also be "Half your fingertips is twice as accurate, but also less painful." Half your fingertips also reduces the chances of plucking the bowstring during the release. Definitely something to build into a positive habit.

See you at the range!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

 

 

Are women more associated with archery?

 Q

"Can I ask you an archery question for research/my thesis?

Okay so I’m writing a thesis about gender and gender presentations in warrior women. I argue that gender is a construct and that objects should not be gendered when they are tools in one’s art of being a warrior, but my professor countered that bows and archery are more associated with women than men (not meant to offend anyone just looking for answers) is that true? Where does that come from? 

To me, when I think of archers I think of famous ones like Green Arrow, Robin Hood, and Legolas...Are there other archers in literature that you can think of that identify as a woman besides Susan Pevensie that would dominate the symbol of archers?"

- J. E. T.

A

Gender is indeed a construct, much in the same way that identity is a social construct. Or Zodiac signs is a superstitious construct.

With respect to archery it is predominantly a male sport. For example, with respect to my local archery range, men make up over 80% of the archery range's users, and that the "regulars" are even more male dominated, making up at least 90% of the frequent users.

Archery is a sport requiring strength and endurance. Far too often non-archers are expecting the sport to be easy, and they are not at all prepared for how difficult or strength intensive this sport is.

Part of this misconception is the fault of mass media, Hollywood, and the types of body types depicted in films, television and literature. People see these depictions in a variety of media and then perpetuate the false idea that archers are a specific body type. Eg. Skinny Legolas.

There are a variety of films during the past 30 years wherein skinny female characters are depicted as archers. This depiction is a double edged sword: It creates the stereotype that skinny women are ideally suited for archery, promotes archery to women, but also pushes the idea that women are unsuited to hand-to-hand melee.

While I appreciate and applaud that Hollywood is pushing the idea of more women in archery, it is coming at the expense of saying women are unsuitable for using axes, lances, swords or a variety of other medieval era weaponry, while simultaneously pushing the idea that archery is not a sport of strength and endurance.

This all comes back to depictions of body types in my opinion. Eg. Try to think of a film that depicts a female archer as not being skinny. I cannot name one. Hollywood depicts female archers as being ballerina skinny (and usually Caucasian, Asian, or giant blue alien, but that is another topic entirely).

In reality archers are all kinds of body types, but there is one commonality with respect to experienced archers - They are all strong and have built up their back muscles so that they can pull higher poundage bows. Some archers started being reasonably strong, and then became stronger as they built up their rhomboids, deltoids and other muscles used for archery. Some were weaker, but built up the muscle groups over time. Even older archers are often surprisingly robust and strong for their age.

Thus even if an archer started as being skinny or overweight, after 20 years of doing the sport regularly they're going to have a more robust stature because they've built up the muscle groups.

This strength factor doesn't mean that women cannot excel at archery however. While women are certainly a minority, I have met plenty of women who excel at archery.

Eg. Back in March (a week before COVID shut everything down) I had the pleasure of teaching a dancer in her 40s who has what I would describe as having an Amazonian body type. Certainly more in the direction of an athlete, which was an asset and she did very well during her first lesson. You can see a video of her on my Cardio Trek YouTube channel. Her lessons are supposed to resume this Autumn.
 

So does having more of a Tom Boy / Amazonian / athletic physique help when doing archery? Absolutely it helps. It is a sport of strength and endurance after all. However that doesn't mean it is only body type that can excel at archery. An archer who is overweight can excel just as easily if they build up the needed muscle groups, and likewise a skinny will become stronger over time.

With respect to archers of literature like Green Arrow, Robin Hood and Legolas there is definitely one missing:

Hercules.

Now you might think "Wait, Hercules did archery?"

Indeed he did. He was supposedly extremely good at archery, owing to his demigod strength.

Here's another: Odysseus / Ulysses.

Ulysses returned after 20 years of fighting Trojans & being lost at sea to find his kingdom in turmoil and suitors trying to marry his wife and take his kingdom. But his wife was very smart. She said she would only marry a man who could string her husband's bow. All the suitors tried and failed. They weren't strong enough. Then Ulysses, now an old man in disguise, asked to try. He strung his bow easily and killed all the suitors. There is a lovely clip of this scene on YouTube wherein actor Kirk Douglas plays Ulysses in the scene from the 1954 film.
 

So what is Greek female equivalent of Hercules or Ulysses?

Atalanta, and to some extent the Amazons.

Atalanta was abandoned on a mountain and raised by bears. Away from the social constructs of her fellow Greeks. The Greek myth makers clearly understood that femininity is a social construct and apparently believed that the only way a woman could grow to maturity without such constructs was to be raised in the wild by animals.

The Amazons it is now believed was one part myth and one part based on the Scythians (or the forebears of the Scythians), who were a nomadic group of hunters from Asia Minor wherein men and women both hunted, often from horseback, and they perfected the Scythian bow, which is a very complex recurve-decurve-recurve shape. As such they were phenomenal archers. It is small surprise that the Greeks mythologized such encounters with any warrior-women they encountered from Scythia as they were doubtlessly deadly with the bow.

Obviously I could keep going. I could probably write a nonfiction book on this subject.

So yes, in conclusion the idea that archery is strongly associated with women (and a skinny body type) is a stereotype perpetuated by the media. Largely due to Hollywood and anyone influenced by that false narrative. Archery is still very much a male dominated sport, it is a sport requiring strength and not agility (despite what Dungeons and Dragons would have people believe).

I would also assert that gender identity is not a factor in archery. People can identify as whatever gender they want to, it will make zero difference when you hand them a high poundage bow and ask them to pull it.

Anyone wishing to disagree can come to my local archery range and I will hand them a 50 lb Browning Wasp recurve bow, at which point we shall see if their perceptions of archery being "easy" or not requiring strength is remotely accurate. If they can't pull it I will give them a "much easier" 24 lb Ragim Matrix recurve bow. And if they still cannot pull that I will swap out the limbs for 18 lbs.

I have been teaching archery for almost 12 years now. Beginners are continually surprised at how physically exhausting the sport is. It is the reason why my lessons are 90 minutes long. Two hours is too long. People get tired and start making more mistakes close to the 90 minute mark.

There is a reason why I have blog posts on my website pertaining to weight training exercises specifically aimed at archers, so they can build more muscle in the needed areas of their body faster.

It truly is a sport of strength and endurance. Anyone who has fallen for the Hollywood fantasy that it is not... They're just perpetuating the false narrative.

My apologies if this is a bit of a rant. Archery is a lifestyle for me. I have been practicing the sport for over 31 years. Teaching for almost 12 years. My wife shoots. My 3-year-old son shoots. I write both fiction and nonfiction about archery. I am very passionate about promoting the virtues of the sport and it annoys me that there are so many false perceptions of it.

I recommend including my entire email in your appendices for your professor to peruse. If they have any questions or follow up they can address it to cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

What kind of bow should I get my wife?

Q

"Hello! My wife weighs 115 lbs and isn't very big. What kind of bow should I get her for getting into archery?

Matt M."

A

Hey Matt!

Her weight isn't the biggest concern, her height and strength are bigger factors. I am guessing she is petite?

Start her on a low poundage bow, like a 15 to 20 lb recurve. I recommend a 3 piece recurve where she can get more powerful limbs later so she can build more muscle as she progresses.

If she is short you should also consider a youth bow. Some of my adult archery students who are closer to 5 feet tall need to use a youth bow, so if your wife is 5'2" or shorter this is an option, otherwise she may have clearance issues with the bowstring rubbing against her side.

If you have any questions just email me at cardiotrek@gmail.com

Good luck and happy shooting!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
 
 
Follow Up

"Thank you very much. This has been a big help. She is 5'3" so I am probably gonna go with a 3 piece so I can get her stronger limbs when she improves.

I was thinking the Samick Sage for her, but I'm worried the riser might be to big for her hands any other good starters you can recommend?"

A


Also the lowest poundage for the Sage is 25.

Perhaps the Samick Little Fox?

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/samick-little-fox-48-takedown-bow.html

Maybe get 20 lbs and she can later get 25 lb limbs. By the time she is ready for 30 lbs or more you can look at more expensive bows.

Cartel has a slightly bigger 54" bow that would also suit her, also available in 20 lbs.

https://www.lancasterarchery.com/cartel-triple-54-takedown-recurve-bow-58177.html
 
Or the Galaxy Bullseye 54, if she prefers wood.

Due to her height try to find something in the 48 to 58 inches range. The bigger the bow the more likely she will have clearance issues. 60 to 66 inches might be too big and have clearance issues with the bowstring.


Reply

"Thank you very much again. Very helpful."

New Archery Lesson Rates

Morning / Afternoon Rates (No Evenings)

1 Student, Weekdays or Weekends
$70 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $200; 5 Lessons - $320; 10 Lessons - $620.


Notes

My new rates are effective as of July 8th 2020. See my Older Pre-COVID19 Archery Rates.

I no longer offer pairs/couples or groups of 3 lessons. All lessons are now one-on-one.

Older archery students from 2019 or earlier who are returning for more lessons get a discount. Ask for details.

Please be advised that I no longer offer evening time slots.

Ask about my 10% Seniors Discount if you are over 65. Ask about my 10% Veterans Discount if you are a former or current member of the Canadian Armed Forces. (Discounts are not cumulative.)


Email cardiotrek@gmail.com to Schedule a Lesson.
Notice
Anyone who previously purchased an Archery Gift Voucher for single, pairs or group lessons will still have their gift voucher honoured and as previously announced I have extended the expiration date for Gift Vouchers due to COVID19 throwing a wrench into the scheduling of lessons during 2020. See Gift Voucher Extension of Expiry for more details.

Anyone wishing to purchase Archery Gift Vouchers can still do so and the expiration date is similarly extended, but they can only purchase gift vouchers for one-on-one lessons at this time. No pairs or group lessons.

New Arrows for Archery Lessons in Toronto

Purchased new arrows yesterday for archery lessons.

There is something about unboxing brand new arrows that always brings a smile to my face. They are shiny, perfect, pristine...

It is very satisfying.

And these arrows should hopefully last a long time.

In other news I have resumed teaching archery lessons, as of today (July 3rd), but I am limiting the number of archery lessons I am willing to teach and invoking the following new rules due to COVID.

#1. All lessons will be conducted using physical distancing of 6+ feet.

#2. No more couples or group lessons. All lessons going forward will be taught one-on-one.

#3. Equipment will be cleaned before and after lessons. Possibly also during lessons.

#4. No more 30% deposits. Students booking lessons must pay the full amount in advance. This is prevent cash being handled by both the instructor and student(s).

#5. Students will be expected to fetch and clean arrows themselves during the lessons. No more will the instructor be fetching arrows and then handing them to the student between shots.

#6. Instructor will only be available to teach a limited number of lessons / students per month. This will apply to all lessons being taught in July and August. September and October will have more availability.

#7. Additional rules may be applied based on circumstances.


If you want to book Archery Lessons in Toronto or have any questions please email cardiotrek@gmail.com.

Older / Pre-COVID Archery Rates

I have decided to update my archery lesson rates due to COVID and have made some other changes.

For record keeping further below are my older "pre-COVID19" rates for archery lessons. My new archery rates are listed on my archery lessons in Toronto page.

Starting in July 2020 the new archery rates come into effect.


Weekday Morning / Afternoon Rates (No Evenings)

1 Student
$60 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $170; 5 Lessons - $270; 10 Lessons - $520.

2 Students
$80 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $225; 5 Lessons - $360; 10 Lessons - $700.

3 Students
$100 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $285; 5 Lessons - $450; 10 Lessons - $880.

Weekend Rates

1 Student
$90 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $255; 5 Lessons - $405; 10 Lessons - $780.

2 Students
$120 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $337.50; 5 Lessons - $540; 10 Lessons - $1050.

3 Students
$150 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $427.50; 5 Lessons - $675; 10 Lessons - $1320.


New Changes


My new archery lesson rates come with some big changes.

#1. No more different rates for weekdays and weekends. One rate regardless of the day of the week.

#2. No more pairs/couples or groups of 3 lessons. All lessons going forward are one-on-one. Doesn't that mean I am making less money? Yes, yes it does. Teaching 2 or 3 students at once is definitely more profitable, but due to COVID I will no longer be teaching any kind of pairs/group lessons.

#3. Compared to my old weekday rate my prices are going up by $10 per lesson. Compared to my weekend rate my prices are going down by roughly $20 per lesson. The new base price for a single lesson is $70.

#4. In previous years due to sheer demand I charged a 50% premium for weekend lessons, hence the price differences listed above for the older rates. Due to COVID19 the demand has pretty much disappeared. Not a lot of people are looking for archery lessons any more.

#5. See my new archery lesson rates to see the changes.



COVID Themed Archery Targets

For your amusement / archery practice.


GIFT VOUCHER, Extension of Expiry Date due to COVID


1. Gift Voucher Expiry Extension

Anyone who has an older Gift Voucher for Archery Lessons from Cardio Trek which was set to expiry during 2020 can still redeem their Gift Voucher in 2021.

I am extending all such older gift vouchers which would be expiring at any time during 2020 so that they now expiry in December 2021. (I may amend this later if the Covid Crisis + Lockdown lasts into 2021, although I doubt that will happen. I am currently expecting to be teaching archery lessons as soon as September 2020.)

2. New Expiry Policy

Where previously Gift Vouchers had an expiry of 18 months, giving recipients a sum of 1.5 years to redeem the gift voucher before it expires, starting immediately new Gift Vouchers will now have a 30 month (2.5 years) period before they expire. That should cover the duration of the COVID Lockdown and then some extra.

Notes

If anyone has any questions about Archery Lesson Gift Vouchers feel free to ask by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com.

If you are really anxious to begin learning archery NOW I can recommend the following:

  • "Precision Archery", an impressively good book by Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson.
  • "Archery Focus Magazine", edited by Steve Ruis (with articles by myself and other archers).



Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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