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

Is my 15-year-old son still eligible to learn archery?

Q

"Hi, my son is very interested in learning archery. However he is just under 15 years of age. I know you have an age minimum, please advise if he is still eligible?

Do you have any spots open for Saturdays in the morning? Full package.

my thanks,
Nancy H."

A

Hey Nancy!

I retired from teaching archery about a week ago to spend more time with my son while my wife works on her career. My weekends are pretty busy indefinitely so my availability even on weekends is best described as "fully booked". So I am not available any more to teach, regardless of your son's age.

Sorry if there is some mixed messages with respect to my Retirement Signature Message. I should update that.

However I do have a suggestion. Sign your son up for Boy Scouts (when he turns 15 he can switch to Venturer Scouts, which is for ages 15 to 17).
  • Beaver Scouts (Ages 5-7)
  • Cub Scouts (Ages 8-10)
  • Scouts (Ages 11-14)
  • Venturer Scouts (Ages 15-17)
  • Rover Scouts (Ages 18-26)

I can also recommend an excellent book:

Precision Archery
By Steve Ruis and Claudia Stevenson
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/precision-archery/9780736046343-item.html


If you have any questions (such as questions about buying archery equipment) let me know and I will help the best I can. Have a good day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Retirement Signature Message - I officially retired from being a personal trainer / sports coach as of August 28th to pursue being a full time stay-at-home-dad while my wife pursues her career. I will be using the time to finish writing an archery book and I may sometimes teach Archery Lessons (weekends only), depending on my availability. In the meantime please browse free archery tips on CardioTrek.ca, testimonials, and check out what else Cardio Trek has to offer.

OFFICIAL RETIREMENT, AUGUST 28TH 2017

1975 Browning Wasp, at the Toronto Archery Range
August 28th 2017

Hello!

If you are here looking for archery lessons in Toronto, I have some sad news for you: I am official retired, as of today.

I announced my upcoming and now present retirement back in July in the following post: My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training. The details and reasons for my retirement are listed there.

Unofficially I may still end up teaching a few archery lessons in the future, only on weekends, and only when my new schedule allows me a little extra time to teach.

Otherwise you will just have to shop around for a different archery instructor, which I am sorry to say there are few archery instructors who have the knowledge and experience that I have, having done archery for 28 years and having taught archery for 8 of those years.

Furthermore I teach all 5 major styles of archery:
  1. Traditional Recurve
  2. Olympic Recurve
  3. Horsebow / Shortbow
  4. Longbow / Flatbow
  5. Compound
I know a few archery instructors who teach 1 or 2 styles, but I know of no other instructor who is qualified and experienced at teaching all 5 styles.

I have been told that my retirement will be "a loss to the Toronto Archery Community" and I am not going to dispute that I have made some contributions to the promotion of the sport in Toronto. In the 8 years that I was teaching I taught well over a thousand different people. I don't know the precise number because I did not keep accurate records in the beginning, but I do estimate that I was teaching approx. 150 to 200 different students each year. The exact number is likely in the 1,200 to 1,600 people range.

Many of my former students now visit the Toronto Archery Range on a weekly or monthly basis to continue practicing their sport. Some of my former students have gone on to compete, including several Olympic contenders from overseas.

Some students came from very far away to study with me. From South Korea, from Japan, from the USA, Britain, Ireland, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia and a variety of other locales. Some of them came all that distance just to study archery under me.

I do not discriminate with students. I have taught young and old. As the years went by I began cutting back on the younger students, preferring to teach people who are 16 years old or older - but I sometimes made exceptions and taught younger students if they were exceptionally interested in archery and showed a keen obsession with the sport. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching seniors.

In the photo below is two police officers who were visiting the Toronto Archery Range, one of my former students from 2014 (John G.), and myself in the sunglasses / Ducks Unlimited hat. This photo was taken recently, on August 14th 2017. John has become a regular at the archery range over the past 3 years and students like him have been a highlight of my archery teaching career and one of the reasons I give discounts to seniors.


I am going to miss teaching archery.

It has been the most enjoyable career I have had thus far. I got to meet lots of interesting people, make all sorts of archery jokes, educate people on the history of archery / the sport of archery, and promote one of the greatest pastimes of all time.

It therefore makes sense that I won't be giving it up completely. I will continue to teach from time to time, schedule permitting, but it will be very different from my current schedule of teaching approx. 10 to 15 lessons per week.

There was a time a few years ago when I was teaching 18 to 21 lessons per week, and frankly feeling exhausted after teaching 5 lessons in a single day. I eventually realized that I needed to cutback on teaching so many lessons and relax more. Around that time I raised my rates, cut back on my total number of lessons I was willing to teach per week, and started scheduling more vacation time.

Such vacations likely helped in the wooing of my wife and resulted in our marriage in August 2016. Quickly followed by a Honeymoon in Montreal.

A few months later we began planning the birth of our son Richard who arrived in late June 2017. (2.5 weeks before his due date, I guess he was impatient to meet us.) Below is a photo of our son Richard with a slingshot during a recent trip to the beach. He doesn't know how to shoot it yet, but I had fun shooting beach pebbles into Lake Ontario.


In a few short years he will be shooting that very slingshot and learning how to shoot his first bow. With both parents doing archery and a number of other relatives who do archery (including my cousin Ken who is the 1990 and 1991 Traditional Recurve North American Champion and had so many trophies he was throwing them out...) Richard will raised thinking archery is something that many people do - and frankly many people do archery, it is just not as much as say soccer or baseball.

Richard will be raised with an active lifestyle, something I am looking forward to, with a heavy emphasis on appreciation for nature, science and the world around him. Everything from bird-watching to rock-climbing to geology to astronomy to the wonderful languages and food our world has to offer. (As a polyglot myself, I hope to have him learning a variety of languages during his summers when he is not attending school.)

My Future

I have a long list of things I want to do with my life, outside of raising my son with my wonderful wife. I listed some of those things on my previous post announcing my retirement.

One of the things I most would like to do is to buy a horse farm, raise horses and teach equestrian archery. To me that would truly be living the dream. If I could add Falconry to that dream, that would be fun too.

The Future of CardioTrek.ca

The website isn't going to disappear, I can tell you that. I am going to keep using it to promote exercise and a variety of sports, including archery of course.

By the end of 2017 I expect there to be a total of 830 posts on this website and I will continue to do 5 to 10 posts per month indefinitely.

The big change will be that I will be adding Google Ads on the side of the website, and I will be allowing advertisers to post sponsored articles in the future for a reasonable fee. (I have a baby to feed and clothe after all, and babies are not cheap, so I see nothing wrong with allowing some advertising.) All ads will be family friendly and abide my sense of good morals.

Happy shooting!

Archery Lessons in Toronto, Limited Time Slots Left

Hey Toronto!

So I am looking at my schedule and I only have 8 time slots for teaching archery left before I retire. (See My Retirement from Personal Training / Sports Training for more information about my upcoming retirement.)

So if anyone still wants archery lessons, the time to book is NOW before my retirement arrives.

In unrelated archery news...

Below is a photo of a Toronto police officer who visited the Toronto Archery Range on August 18th and was checking out a vintage Bear Takedown Recurve Bow. The Toronto Police were in the area looking for a homeless person with mental issues who is believed to be camping out in the park surrounding the archery range. The homeless person has been making threats and shouting at people.


And yes, that is a shotgun slung across his back. That particular shotgun shoots non lethal bean bags in order to subdue targets.

The photo below is from August 14th and is a selfie taken by the officer on the left - who was kind enough to send me a copy. In the photo is himself, my old student John G. who I taught in 2014 and is now a frequent visitor to the archery range, the officer's partner, and myself in the sunglasses. (The bow I am carrying is a vintage 1972 Black Hawk Avenger.)


The two officers above said they were just patrolling the park, but I now have a hunch they were also there searching for the same homeless person. The homeless person is considered a threat because they keep shouting threats against people and making references to the terrorist organization ISIS.

Expensive Compound Bows Vs Super Adjustable Compound Bows

Q

Hey Charles.

Question for you on Bows...

I'm really interested in getting a decent composite bow off the start (after a few lessons of course). The one I'm thinking of getting is the Oneida Kestrel or Pheonix. Do you think that's a bad idea? I read online that it's ok to go with more expensive bows as it just means I won't grow out of the bow quickly. I know online comments aren't always accurate, so I'd like to hear from a pro. Thoughts?

- Geoffrey C.

A

Hey Geoffrey!

The Oneida Kestrel as seen on the popular "Arrow" TV show.
The bow has seen a boost in sales thanks to the show.
Well, the Oneida Kestrel/Pheonix are definitely more expensive hybrid recurve compound bows. I only know of two people who even own Oneida bows, as they are pretty rare. I should note that older Oneida's can also be very accurate, judging from the one I shot a few years ago and it was made during the 1990s.

I would disagree with the statement that "people don't grow out of more expensive bows as quickly" because obviously there is going to be exceptions to that statement, and since there are so many different kinds of expensive bows, that is quite a few exceptions.

A better statement would be:

"A compound bow that is easy to adjust, fully adjustable, and has a broad range of power settings, draw length settings, and even comfort settings is the kind of bow a person will not easily grow out of."

This weekend I met a guy who had purchased a compound bow with two comfort settings. The first one had a hard Wall, but faster FPS arrow speed, while the second setting was more comfortable with a soft Wall, but slower FPS arrow speed. Modern compound bows are becoming ever more complicated, and this is largely due to manufacturers trying to make bows which are more easily adjustable and have more options for adjustment to suit the user's needs.

Consequently having more options / more adjustability can make a compound bow more expensive...

However not all compound bows are super adjustable. Some are quite the opposite, they are very narrow in how much they can be adjusted because the manufacturer has decided to focus on making a bow super powerful, faster FPS arrow speed, a harder Wall, more let off, extra gadgets for the sake of accuracy, more durability, lighter, better balanced, more expensive materials, etc.

There are many ways to make a compound bow more expensive. The ability to not grow out of it too quickly doesn't necessarily factor in to the ways a particular bow is more expensive.

With expensive bows there is always the chance a person ends up buying the wrong bow too and ends up regretting it because it was too powerful, not adjustable enough that it was suitable for the individual, etc.

eg. I saw a guy a few weeks ago who bought his girlfriend a compound bow expecting her to be able to use it, and unfortunately she wasn't strong enough to pull it even at the lowest possible setting because the bow he had purchased was not adjustable enough. She then ended up shooting his bow instead - which was super adjustable and could be adjusted to her draw length and power needs. Later he ended up shooting her bow instead of his own. (Maybe that was his evil plan all along, to get himself a new bow?)

If you have additional questions let me know. Have a great day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

The Oneida Eagle Phoenix Hybrid Recurve Compound Bow

Average Wind in Toronto - Archery, Adjusting for Wind

August is the least windy month in Toronto - on average. In contrast January is the most windy month. Clearly this means doing archery in August will be more accurate due to less wind. But how do the other months stack up?

Average Wind Speeds in Toronto, Historical Averages
  • January - 18 kmph
  • February - 17 kmph
  • March - 17 kmph
  • April - 17 kmph
  • May - 14 kmph
  • June - 13 kmph
  • July - 13 kmph
  • August - 12 kmph
  • September - 13 kmph
  • October - 14 kmph
  • November - 16 kmph
  • December - 17 kmph
So as an archer if you want to avoid wind, August is a clear choice. However August is also the 2nd hottest time of year (#1 being July) in Toronto, so there may be other factors to consider.

eg. April, May, June, September and October are considered to be the best times of year temperature wise. Not too hot, not too cold.

Of course maybe you are one of those archers who love a challenge. Who embrace the wind and wnt to learn from it. In which case, you want to learn how to adjust for the wind conditions. It is definitely not impossible to maintain accuracy in these conditions however, you'll just have to modify your shooting patterns a little bit and understand the physics of what happens to your arrow in flight.

Regarding Equipment

Your equipment can have some serious effects, in addition to the wind. If you know you're going to be shooting on a heavier day there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Heavier arrows will always tend to fly better in the wind. This might seem counter-intuitive since they'll fly at a lower speed and thus are exposed to the wind's effect for longer but they'll maintain a truer course in windy situations thanks to their weight adding to their forward momentum. The heavier the arrow, the less wind can push it. You can plan ahead for this if you know you are going to be shooting on a windy day and bring your heaviest arrows.

Thinner arrows will naturally be less effected by the wind as well. This in theory makes a heavy, thin arrow the easiest to shoot in the wind, but good luck finding both of those qualities in an arrow.

Smaller fletching on your arrows also makes a difference. Larger fletch is more effected by the wind, smaller fletch is less effected. So having heavy arrows with tiny fletching is more accurate in wind.

Your bow's profile can also play an effect, particularly in heavier crosswinds. You'll have to compensate in the direction of the wind in order to stay on target. This can mean removing some accessories depending on your shooting style, but a heavier bow will also be less effected by the wind - and a bottom heavy bow will be more accurate.

Aiming with a Sight

If you use sights on your bow and do target shooting they can make things a bit easier on you as you can learn to shoot at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock on the target. If your arrows are dipping due to lost speed in windy conditions you might even aim at 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock.

Head Wind - Slightly higher, 12 o'clock.
Tail Wind - Slightly lower, 6 o'clock.
Cross Wind - 3 or 9 o'clock. (Or sometimes higher.)

And if the wind is coming from angles, a bit of head wind + cross wind for example, then you might find yourself aiming at 1, 2, 10 or 11 o'clock in order to have a more centered shot that is the correct height.

Cross winds will often slow your arrow down so you may find you have to aim closer to 9:30 or 2:30.

Traditional Aiming or Gap Shooting

If you are aiming off the arrow (Traditional Aiming) or Gap Shooting (similar to Traditional Aiming, but you are looking at the gap between the target and the side of the bow) then you will make similar adjustments just like you would with a sight, but you have to imagine and guess how much adjustment you need to do. eg. For gap shooting you might be shrinking or widening the gap, while aiming a bit higher depending on wind direction and power.

How The Wind Affects Your Arrows
  • A wind blowing from 12 o'clock will not cause sideways drift, but will slow it down.
  • A wind blowing 1 or 11 o'clock will cause a little sideways drift and slow it down.
  • At 2 or 10 o'clock the sideways drift will be stronger, but the arrow will only slow down a more moderate amount.
  • At 3 or 9 o'clock you're at a direct crosswind and the arrow will definitely have sideways drift, but it should only be slowed down marginally.
  • At 4 or 8 o'clock you will see sideways drift, but the height should not be effected as much because the tailwind is giving it a bit of a push.
  • At 5 or 7 o'clock most of what you will see it tailwind with a little sideways drift.
  • At 6 o'clock you'll be at a tailwind, your arrows will go faster and slightly higher.
Fluctuating Wind Directions and Power

Whenever possible try to pay attention to the following and adjust accordingly:
  • Which way flags are going. Wind socks are also handy.
  • Which way trees and/or grass are going.
  • Gusts - either wait for a gust to stop or adjust more than normal. Being patient and waiting is your best bet for accuracy as a gust can end at any time.
  • Stable wind from one solid direction is a good time to shoot.
  • Fluctuating winds form different directions can really cause problems.
  • Don't worry what the wind or flags are doing behind the target, worry what the wind is doing in front of the target - preferably at half the distance.
Don't Forget the Wind is also Pushing You

Depending on how much you physically weigh, the wind can also be pushing YOU sideways too, thus causing you to be less stable during a shot. The best solution for this problem is to tighten up your abdominal muscles that your core (belly and chest area of your torso) remains stable.

Alternatively it is also possible to try and shoot from a position where you are less effected by the wind, such as a bowhunter who is stalking and trying to shoot a deer might decide to shoot from a different angle where trees or a hill might give them more protection from the wind.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much wind is too much?

Honestly, I find 30 kmph or more is quite a bit. Definitely more challenging, but not impossible. 40 kmph or more is when you might as well not even bother. 50 kmph or more is basically a windstorm. Seek shelter.

Is there any equipment I can buy to compensate for the wind?

Asides from heavier arrows with smaller fletching, yes, buy flags! Flags will help you learn how to look at the wind and adjust for the wind accordingly. Or failing to get a flag, try to get a wind sock, weather vane, or something that tells you what the wind is doing.


Any Questions?

If I left anything out please leave any questions in the comments below and I will respond to your questions ASAP.

Also for fun, here is scene from Game of Thrones:


The Bear Takedown Recurve Vs the Samick Sage

Q

Hey Charles, this is the bow I'm thinking about getting I'm just wondering what configuration would work best for me?
http://www.bow-shop.com/secure/store/index.php?main_page=document_product_info&cPath=124_127_141&products_id=584
- Jon C.

A

Hey Jon!

Ooo fancy, the Bear Takedown. I have been wanting one of those for almost a decade. I will probably get one eventually, if I ever stop buying antiques / vintage bows - or maybe I will buy a vintage Takedown. We shall see.

See also http://www.beararchery.com/bows/traditional/takedown so you have a better idea of its stats.

The Takedown has two different riser lengths, 56 and 60 inches. I recommend the 60 as it is more forgiving of canting mistakes. (Shorter bows / shorter risers are less forgiving, so if you make a canting mistake it can be way off instead of a little off.)

The real problem is the poundage of the limbs - for which the minimum is 35 lbs. Ideally for someone who is still learning I recommend 20 to 25 lbs so that they can work on building their form while building strength, and then later get a 30 to 35 lb bow and work their way up to 40 to 45 lbs. Starting off at 35 lbs right away can cause a person to develop bad habits and I want my students to avoid that.

The analogy I like to use is dumbbells and weightlifting. You start off the smaller dumbbells, use them with good form in a variety of exercises, build up strength and eventually go to a bigger set of dumbbells when the old dumbbells start to feel too easy. This way a person progresses from one stage to the next, working on their form while simultaneously building strength/endurance.

Starting off with a bow that is too strong a person will often get exhausted easily, their endurance will lag, they will start making form mistakes / shooting too quickly / etc.

Here is one you might consider in the meantime:

Samick Sage - available with 25 lb limbs
http://www.bow-shop.com/secure/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=124_127_201&products_id=1558

Then after you build up strength and that bow feels easy you can get a 30 to 35 lb bow, eg. the Takedown, and progress from there.

The good news about both the Sage and the Takedown is that you get more powerful limbs as you progress too, allowing you to experiment with other poundages to see which one you like best. Obviously there will be a big price difference between those two bows.

Also it is handy to have an extra bow that is easier to pull in the future should you ever introduce a friend to archery, or perhaps even just have off-days when you want to relax and just shoot without it feeling like a weightlifting workout.

Pros and Cons

The Bear Takedown is one of the best traditional recurves you can get. It is powerful, durable and comes with a great warranty.

The Samick Sage in comparison is basically the Ford F-150 of bows - it does everything you need the bow to do, on a budget. (History Note - Decades ago the Damon Howatt X-200 / Martin X-150 used to fill that role, and was quite literally the F-150 of bows.)

Both bows have lots of great reviews, although Bear's warranty / craftsmanship / quality assurance certainly make it a fan favourite.

Both bows are attractive to look at. The Takedown is obviously prettier, but the Sage is certainly not ugly either.

There is the obvious price difference, however the price I don't think is the biggest issue here. It is the available poundages that matter.

The Samick Sage is available in 25 lbs. It is even possible to get 20 lb limbs that match it, but it is trickier to find those. This will make it easier to pull and work on quality form.

The Bear Takedown has a minimum of 35 lbs. It is not meant for someone who is still building up their strength and working on form. It was primarily designed to be used for bowhunting.

The Samick Sage does have a very good resale value. If you buy one for $175 CDN you can later sell it for about $140-$150 CDN. Thus if you decide to get one and later switch to the Bear Takedown, that is certainly an option. Or keep it as an extra bow for friends to try archery.

Conclusions

By now you have probably guessed that I feel strongly about this whole patience / proper form / building up strength issue. I have seen past students ignore my advice because I was not adamant enough about the whole being patient / working on proper form issue, and they bought a bow that was too powerful for them to properly practice with and they eventually stopped shooting because it was simply too hard - and now their bow is probably collecting dust in a closet.

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Archery Lessons Syllabus, Updated 2017

This page is an update to my Archery Lessons Syllabus, so that students have a better idea of what to expect when they sign up for 1 or more lessons.

Regarding packages it really depends on how much you want to learn:

3 Lessons - $170;
  • First lesson includes safety lecture, eye dominance test, lecture on how to aim, lecture on proper form, and archery lesson focuses on field archery (targets at different distances).
  • Second lesson focuses on target archery (one distance, 60 feet) and includes a lecture on arrowheads.
  • Third lesson focuses on long distance field archery and includes a lecture on arrow spine.

5 Lessons - $270;
  • Fourth lesson focuses on target archery but introduces a different way of aiming (gap shooting) which is useful for shooting at moving targets. Includes a lecture on how to wax a bowstring.
  • Fifth lesson can vary sometimes, but usually focuses on teaching the archer how to shoot while in motion and/or shooting from a kneeling position. Includes a lecture on types of fletching and pros/cons of different fletching types.

10 Lessons - $520.
Lessons 6 to 10 usually vary on the student, focusing on the student's individual needs but covering a range of topics depending on what the student is more interested in and also special attention to getting rid of any remaining bad habits so that the archer can shoot competently using several different bows/poundages. Topics may include:
  • Adjusting for Wind Conditions
  • Long Distance Shooting
  • Shooting at Moving Targets
  • Precision Archery Practice
  • Instinctive Archery
  • Mental Discipline
  • Aiming Exercises
  • Flight Archery
  • Longbow / Flatbow / Shortbow / Horsebow Form
  • Horsebow Releases
  • Various mini lectures on a variety of topics. eg. How to string a longbow, how to repair a bowstring, how to oil a wooden bow, etc.

Archery Lessons in the Rain in Toronto

It has been raining so much in the last two months (April and May) that I am curious how many people actually want archery lessons on rainy days.

Normally if it rains I reschedule lessons for several reasons:
  1. Water damages equipment.
  2. Water also causes mildew to grow on equipment.
  3. People are susceptible to getting sick if they get cold.
  4. People don't want to be standing in a field holding a potential lightning rod.
  5. People often feel miserable when shooting in the rain, which effects accuracy.
  6. A downpour will effect the accuracy of individual shots.
  7. The archer's ability to aim can be reduced by rain interfering with their visual sight.
However in theory if I used equipment that is immune to water damage I could teach on rainy days to people who are willing and up to the challenge. (I already have arrows suitable for this, although I might have to invest in different bows for teaching with than the ones I normally teach with.)

I am curious if there are people out there who would actually want archery lessons in the rain - perhaps there are people out there who really like a challenge.

If this sounds like you, send me an email and we shall explore this option.


Outfitting your Archery Man Cave

Disclaimer - There is no reason why women cannot have their own "Archery Cave" or whatever people want to call it. I am simply using the vernacular "Man Cave" in this situation as it represents the often male urge to create dingy dark cave in which a man can indulge in their interests.
man cave 
nounhumorous 
noun: man cave; plural noun: man caves
  1. a room or other part of a home regarded as a refuge for the man or men of a household.
    Example - "a man cave equipped with a pool table and pinball machine"

Right - Bo Jackson in his Archery Man Cave.

Typically many a man cave is dark (hence why they are jokingly called caves) and not very clean - as men are sometimes prone to not cleaning up after themselves.

Bo Jackson on the right clearly believes in keeping his Archery Man Cave organized, with lots of hooks to store everything on.

So what should an Archery Man Cave have in it?

#1. A target to shoot at and space to shoot. Any good Archery Man Cave should at least have a small shooting area within it so you can take a few shots if you desire to test out a new product, creation or just shooting for fun.

Speaking for myself, my "Archery Man Cave" is in my garage, but as you can see in the photo on the right a basement with a fair bit of length can also be used.

#2. Lots of hooks for storing for archery items on, or a toolbox to store them all in.

Because if you are like me, you tend to collect arrowheads, nocks, fletching, fletching glue, fletching tape and all manner of archery related items.

#3. A rack or container for storing arrows in.

eg. I think a Bowman Dairy Milk Can would be great for storing arrows in. The trick is finding one, because those old milk cans are tricky to find and collector's items now.

#4. A magazine rack or shelf for archery magazines.

There is a fair number of archery publications available out there, including:
  • Archery Focus Magazine
  • Bowhunter Magazine
  • Petersen's Bowhunting Magazine
  • TradArchers' World Magazine
  • Traditional Bowhunter Magazine
  • Ontario Out of Doors Magazine
The last one I listed, OOD, is a local magazine here in Ontario which is also about fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities - not just bowhunting. I do not subscribe to it myself, but I do keep an eye out for issues with articles about archery because they do sometimes have articles worth reading. Plus I enjoy fishing, but that is a whole different topic.


#5. A bookshelf for archery books.

Plus related books on bowmaking, arrowmaking, and general woodworking books. You might even store DVDs on that shelf about various topics like bowmaking, bowfishing, bowhunting skills, or even your favourite archery movies like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, etc.

#6. A collection of woodworking tools commonly used for bowmaking.
  • Rasps
  • Files
  • Draw Knives
  • Sand Paper
  • Tillering Stick
  • Work Bench
  • Vise
  • Etc
You might even have items like a Fletching Jig or an Arrow Dowel Maker (I started building an arrow dowel maker two years ago and it is on my To Do List to finish making it...) and similar useful tools.

Photo Courtesy of ArtemisArchery.ca
Take Gary for example, the owner of Basically Bows Archery in Toronto. His archery shop, commonly just known as "Gary's", is essentially both his Archery Man Cave and his archery shop. He has all his tools there for doing woodworking, he has decorated the place, and has lots of archery equipment all over the place, but roughly one third of his shop is dedicated just to his tools and woodworking area.

#7. Archery Posters, Paintings and Decorations.

No Archery Man Cave is complete until you've added some decorative touches.

Paintings, posters, photographs, sculptures, beadwork, drawings, decorative bows, antlers or taxidermy - if it is artwork or decorative, it has a home in your Archery Man Cave.

It doesn't even have to be archery themed artwork per se. It is your "Man Cave", you make the rules for what you want to have in it in terms of decor.

#8. A Bow Rack.

Clearly this is something any bow collector will need. Now admittedly some people only have 1, 2 or 3 bows, but for the collectors like myself (I currently have 30 bows) having a bow rack is a necessity.

Below is the bow rack I built in 2015 and is currently in my living room.


 But there are many different ways to design a bow rack. You should not feel limited by one design. Here are a few more sample designs to look at.





 #9. Something to sit on.

I always find it annoying when you go somewhere and they don't have any seating. Stools, comfy chairs, whatever you can find. A nice sofa.

It was one of the first things I suggested to Gary when he opened Basically Bows Archery - get stools to sit on. I was his second customer after he opened years ago and I am happy to say he took my advice about getting some stools, because when you visit his shop you really need to sit down and take your time there. (He should probably sell drinks too, as talking about archery for long periods can be thirsty business.)

#10. Entertainment and Relaxation.

This may be an archery themed man cave, but it is still a man cave - so having some form of entertainment is a good idea.

My recommendation? A big screen TV, a PS4 and a copy of The Elder Scrolls - Skyrim Special Edition. Because frankly that particular game is so good you can play it for years and never get bored of it. The Special Edition version uses updated graphics and is smoother / more detailed, and includes all the expansions.


A friend of mine a few months ago gifted me with a map of Skyrim, so obviously that is something that would be used as decoration for a wall in some future version of my Archery Man Cave. For now I keep the map folded up and near our PlayStation.

Assassins Creed III (the one about the American Revolutionary War) also has archery in it and might also be on your list of games worth playing.


#11. Archery Comic Books.

Not all of us are into Green Arrow, Hawkeye or various other superheroes found in Marvel/DC or other sources (Japanese Anime for example), but for those people who are it would probably make sense that they would want to store all of the archery themed comic books in their Archery Man Cave.

You know, because you are just obsessed with archery, and that is frankly okay. You are not alone.

You might store them on a shelf, in a display case, framed on the wall like artwork - or in the same rack you store your magazines in.

And because you might enjoy other kinds of comic books, you might as well store your Batman comic books / etc there too. And if anyone asks why your Batman comics are in there too, just mention The Dark Knight Rises and how in the very first scene with Bruce Wayne he is practicing archery in his own little Archery Man Cave in Wayne Manor... Except his Archery Man Cave is way more well decorated than anything we could have. So there you go, in a round about way you now have an excuse to include any items pertaining to Batman in your Archery Man Cave. Congrats!

Bruce Wayne, right after scaring Catwoman with an Arrow.
When it comes to making Man Caves, Batman clearly deserves some attention right?

#12. Some Non-Archery Things that you nevertheless Enjoy.

Personally, I would include a dart board and darts. Something fun to do when bored. I guess a dart board technically counts as entertainment, but it is more of a "like archery, but obviously not archery" item to put in the man cave.

A person might also store their throwing knives, throwing axes, javelins, fishing equipment or other items in their man cave.

Personally my Man Cave would have a lot of woodworking items in it. After all, I consider Woodworking to be Exercise.

Keeping my collection of dumbbells and other exercise equipment in there would also be useful.

So clearly #12 here allows for a lot of personal taste in terms of personalizing your Man Cave to suit your needs.

I quite enjoyed writing this. Enjoy designing and decorating your own Man Cave!

Archery Equipment Checklist

Q


"Is there a checklist of items I should get when looking for archery equipment [to buy]? I am looking to shoot recurve."

- Joe B.

A

Samick Sage is a very popular beginner recurve.
Hey Joe!

Sure, here you go:

  • A recurve bow in a poundage you can pull and hold steady for long periods. Avoid any bow you cannot pull and keep steady. When sold a new bow typically comes with a bowstring. See a list of popular recurve bow brands and models, there are plenty to choose from.
  • A Bowstringer - to string your bow properly, without the risk of damaging it).
  • An archery glove or tab (to protect your fingers properly). The most common style is a 3-finger glove, such as the one made by the American company Neet.
  • Arrow Rest - there are many styles of arrow rests, choose one you like that is within your budget. Generally the better quality arrow rests effect the accuracy of your dramatically, so if you are going to invest in something better, spending it on the arrow rest is a good idea.
  • Nock Bead - a tiny brass bead that goes on your bowstring that is used to prevent Stringwalking by accident.
  • Arrowheads - 125 grain field points are the most commonly used. Heavier field points are for shooting at close targets, light field points and for shooting further distances.
  • Arrows that are spined correctly for your bow's poundage. This is actually extremely important. You want the right arrows that suit your bow, both for accuracy reasons and for safety reasons (shooting cheap weak spined arrows on a very powerful bow can cause the arrow to shatter midshot and you can end up with pieces of arrow in your bow arm or hand - see photo below). See 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Archery Equipment for more details.
Just one reason why you need arrows that are spined correctly for your bow.

Optional, but Not a Necessity. See Optional Archery Equipment for more details.
  • Armguard or Bracer - arguably a necessity for some people, but not everyone needs one.
  • A spare bowstring. (In case the first one breaks.)
  • Spare Parts for Arrows - spare nocks, spare fletching, fletching glue, spare arrowheads, spare inserts. This is in case you ever need to repair arrows.
  • A quiver of some kind - possibly a back quiver, side quiver, hip quiver, ground quiver - or you can just make your own.
  • Dampeners - puffy balls that make your bowstring quieter.
  • Archery Backpack - to carry your gear in.
  • Bow Sock - for storing a longbow or one-piece recurve in.
  • 3D Targets - for shooting at fake rabbits and such.
  • Portable Archery Targets - for when you don't have anything else to shoot at.
  • Stabilizer - a gadget to help prevent people from canting the bow.
  • Decorative Limbs Skins - purely for decoration.
  • Wrist Strap - so you don't accidentally drop your bow.
  • Bow Racks / Bow Stands - for storing your bow when you are not shooting it.
  • Strange Arrowheads - Whistling arrowheads, Tibetan howling arrowheads, blunt arrowheads, glass arrowheads, flint, obsidian - there are quite a variety available.

Analyzing Compound Bow Arrow Clusters

Yesterday (Easter Sunday) I did some personal practice with one of my compound bows.

It was rather windy (mostly wind coming from the south, but with occasional strong gust from the south). So lets see how I fared and analyze the results.

Disclaimer - This post is NOT sponsored by Tim Horton's. I just like using their coffee lids as targets.

#1. A Good Beginning.

First up is a near perfect shot. A good start for the day. This Tim Horton's coffee lid was doomed from the beginning.

This particular shot was so good I decided to just stop there and relax the rest of the round. It was highly unlikely that I was going to beat it - or worse, I could end up Robin Hooding the arrow (hitting it in the nock and splitting it), thus ruining my arrow. I have Robin Hooded so many arrows with my compound bow I now only shoot 3 or less arrows per round in an effort to reduce the chances of hitting my own arrows.


#2. A Gust from the South.

Below you can see what happens when the wind starts gusting from the south. Now what you might not understand is that the arrows themselves were not effected by the wind very much - it was actually the wind blowing me around that was the biggest annoyance. When the wind is blowing the archer around it makes it difficult to maintain your aim, your balance and hold steady.

You can tell from the angle of the arrows that some of them were effected more by the wind, by they are still in a tight cluster on the target - largely due to me being patient and timing my shots when there is less wind / more stability.

In theory if I wanted even more stability I could just wait until the gusting stops completely, but that would be missing the point of practicing during windy conditions. Practicing during the wind allows you to work on how well you adjust your and get used to it - and what skills you learn in the process to improve your accuracy.

Having flags at the archery range also help. Gives you a better idea of what the wind conditions are and their precise direction.

There isn't much left of the Tim Horton's lid at this point, so I am aiming for the upper left corner of the lid.


#3. Less Wind equals Tighter Cluster.

I held it together and timed my shots better during this particular round. You can see it is a nice tight cluster, and I am still aiming for the left side of the lid since there is so little left of it. The top right arrow ripped a chunk out of the lid.


#4. Not Much Left of the Target.

In this shot I hit the white golf tee so it pushed it into the target butt and the Tim Horton's lid ended up dangling from the arrow. There was so little left of the lid it was clearly time to pack up and leave.

Plus it started spitting a bit so I was content to pack up my gear and take a walk up the hill towards the Tim Horton's. (Where I later met my wife and we went to visit my mother-in-law for Easter Sunday dinner.)

How to Oil a Wooden Longbow or Flatbow - FAQ

On a rainy day (like today) it is a good habit to remember to oil any wood bows that you used outside.

Now in my case, I ended up shooting inside my garage today because it is just plain pouring today - and spitting even at the best of times.

Today I wanted to shoot one of my antique longbows - a wooden flatbow made by "Archery Craft Toronto", circa 1960s. But just walking from my home to the garage gets the bow a little wet from walking in the rain.

Fortunately I routinely oil my wooden bows each time I use them and they get wet. This is a good habit to get into, so if you know if your bow got wet you should remember to wipe it down afterwards and give it a quick oiling.

What Type of Oil should you use?

Well, for starters, don't use WD40 or any oil meant for machinery. That is just plain wrong.

Oils used for protecting wood are usually made from mineral / plant oils or animal grease.

You do not have to use Tung Oil. This is just for example.
I used both linseed oil and mineral oil. However there is a broad range of oils out there that are available. For example I know that Mike Meusel, the Toronto Bowyer, prefers to use tung oil. Some people prefer teak oil or gunstock oil, although it often depends on what they have handy / within their price range.

Traditionalists often prefer animal grease - such as deer grease, bear grease, or other kinds of animal fat. I even know one person who uses bacon grease.

What kind of oil doesn't matter so much as you might think. Some oils last longer, some provide a thicker protective layer, some sinks into the pores of the wood better, there are pros and cons.
  • Mineral oil is cheap. Does a decent job.
  • Boiled linseed oil does a good job. Takes awhile to dry.
  • Tung oil is more expensive. Dries faster.
Generally speaking it is considered a good idea to use multiple different kinds of oil, that way you get multiple layers of oil which protect the surface of the wooden bow.

Some archers might prefer to use type of more expensive / better quality oil that provides a good protection and a nice shine. Others might simply use whatever they have available. Others might prefer to use a mix of both plant oils and animal grease. Some archers even have their own "special recipe" that they like to use.

What is more important is that you are at least oiling the bow to protect it from water damage.

Should I clean the bow before oiling it?

Does it look like it needs to be cleaned? Yes? Then the answer it yes, you should probably clean it.

Before oiling you may decide you want to first clean your bow, possibly using rubbing alcohol or fine grit sandpaper. Sandpaper should be something you want to avoid using unless the bow is in really bad shape and needs some heavy duty cleaning. I have purchased some antique longbows and recurves in the past which were "absolutely disgusting" and needed to be thoroughly cleaned because they were covered in guck and stains, and that is a good time to get out the sandpaper. Otherwise rubbing alcohol works very well.

There may be other cleaning products out there that are safe to use on bows, but those are the only two things I use.

How do you apply the Oil to your bow?

I recommend using paper towels and pouring a small amount of oil on to the paper towel (a lint free cotton cloth also works well) and then proceed to rub the wooden areas of your bow with the oil in a manner similar to using sand paper on wood.

After everything is well oiled wipe it clean with a second paper towel and then store in the open air. (Do not stick it back inside a bow sock or case right away.)

If you are using multiple different kinds of oil, I recommend starting with the cheapest oil first and repeat this process with each oil, using the most expensive oil last. So for example I would use the mineral oil first, and then the linseed oil. (The order you use might depend on personal preference however.)

How often should you oil your wooden bow?

Honestly, once it has a good layer of oil on there, it should be fine - as long as it doesn't get soaked in water for long periods of time. For paranoid archers like myself however, I routinely oil any bow that gets remotely wet. I would rather be paranoid about it than to later discover I had forgotten to oil one of my wooden bows and it became damaged as a result of negligence.

Should I use wax finish or expensive wood finishes?

Not a necessity, but some people may decide to do so for the sake of appearance. Some traditionalists might use a beeswax paste to apply a more waxy finish to the bow, but that is mostly for the sake of appearance. For the purposes of protecting the wood waxes are unnecessary. I personally don't use waxy finishes on any of my bows, but I might decide to use them in future on my homemade flatbows in the future just to give them a waxier look, especially if I am planning to sell them.

For the purpose of selling a bow, it makes sense to wax a bow before showing it to a potential buyer, in the same way someone selling their car should probably use car wax before showing it to someone who is thinking of purchasing. Generally speaking, the shinier something is the more people are willing to spend on it.

To learn more about archery sign up for archery lessons in Toronto.

When should you get a better bow?

While this is an uncommon question (more suited to an intermediate archer who is ready for their second bow), but it is an important one when it comes to archery equipment.

First lets explore what the word Better might mean to some people:
  • More expensive.
  • Higher poundage.
  • Faster limbs.
  • Different style of bow.
Next we shall answer the questions according to each of these different meanings?

Gold Plated Martin Firecat
When should you get a more expensive bow?

This first question really relates more to budget than anything else. Someone who is on a frugal budget might want to limit themselves to buying 1 new bow per year (along with arrows with the correct arrow spine for that bow).

Someone with a more expensive budget could buy a new bow every 6 months or so, or more often, depending on their whimsy. It is their money after all, they can spend it on whatever frivolities they want - like buying a gold plated compound bow, like the one on the right. I suggest 6 months however because I feel that is a good amount of time to get reasonably good with one bow before moving on to the next (assuming the person is practicing regularly).

When should you get a higher poundage bow?

When your current bow feels too easy and weak because your muscles have grown so much that it now feels easy in comparison. If it feels a little easy, get a bow that is 5 lbs heavier. If it feels very easy, get a bow that is 10 lbs heavier.

Not sure which to get? 5 lbs heavier is the safer option.

When should you get a bow with faster limbs?

This is a trickier question, because faster limbs really comes to style, brand and model. For example Black Swan is a recurve bow manufacturer that makes bows with ceramic-carbon limbs - which are very fast, comparable to compound bow speed.

Black Swan Ceramic Bow Limbs

If you shoot a compound bow and want a faster compound bow, this becomes more of an issue of your budget, in which case see the More Expensive Bow option further above. How often you buy a new compound bow and go through the process of tuning it is really up to the individual. Compound bows comes in a variety of speeds, with each bow having a variety of pros and cons such as:
  • More speed / kinetic energy
  • Less hand shock / vibration
  • Smoother draws
  • More let off
  • Less physical weight
  • More durable materials
  • Smaller or longer axle to axle length
  • More gadgetry
  • More overall accuracy
  • Price
The problem however is sometimes one pro offsets a con. eg. If something is made of more durable materials, it is typically also heavier. If it is both more durable and lighter weight, then it probably be very expensive - however using lighter weight / more durable materials can sometimes be a good way to increase overall speed, so there can also be a speed benefit by using better materials.

Note - Most compound bows already shoot in the range of 300 to 350 fps anyway, so you do have to wonder what difference a few extra fps actually makes? Answer: The biggest difference is more accuracy at longer distances - in which case if you are shooting that far then you had better learn how to breathe properly while shooting because a simple error like breathing into your chest and lifting your shoulders can ruin a shot.

When should you get a different style of bow?

When you feel like trying something new and different. Nobody is forcing you to use one style of bow, and no single style of bow or archery style is "better" than other styles, it is simply different and comes with its own pros and cons.

Someone who shoots compound bow and later decides to get into longbows might decide that longbows is something they feel is better simply because it is more enjoyable and challenging. Some people really enjoy the simplicity of shooting longbows.

Detail of arrowrest on fibreglass backed laminated wood longbow.
Or vice versa, someone who is getting older and wants to keep shooting despite some physical ailments might decide to swap out their old longbow for something different - like a wooden compound bow made by Black Hawk, example below. This way they still get to shoot a beautiful wooden bow, but get to relax a bit more thanks to the 50% let off.

Black Hawk Warrior Wooden Compound

Spring is here early, time to get outside and do Archery

March 1st 2017

This year global warming seems to be in Toronto's favour. I just checked the forecast for the next two weeks and there is only one snowy day (March 3rd) coming up for the city of Toronto. There is supposed to be a little bit of rain next week, but the average temperature will be getting very warm in a hurry.

Historical averages are also handy for predicting how warm the weather will be, but with global warming we can expect it to be warmer than average.

In the photo below you see a homemade moving target I made two years ago for Easter weekend (April 2015). See the amount of snow on the ground? Very little. But that was April during a very long winter we had back in 2015.


In contrast if you go outside today, March 1st, and there is no snow at all. None. We are clearly having a very short and mild winter this year.

On Friday, March 3rd the forecast is calling for 5 mm of snow. Just a tiny bit. Probably will melt by Saturday.

And judging by Toronto's extended forecast for the rest of March, that will probably be all the snow we get in March. (I am starting to really love global warming...)

So how can we take advantage of this lovely weather?

Start booking Archery Lessons right now. Because if you wait too long all the warm weather days will be booked up for the rest of the year.

What do Competitive Archers eat before a Competition?

What Fuels Archery Professionals?

Guest Post by Robert Gate - February 2017.

When preparing for a tournament each archery professional has a different way to train and to prepare for the contest. This extends to the meal they eat before the match to prepare their bodies for the strain ahead. Each member of Team USA champion has a different way to use nutrition to feed their body and to calm their mind, and the following gives insight into the food groups and dining choices these archery athletes choose and why they choose them.

Notes
  • To gain extra energy many athletes will consume sugar, salt and electrolytes moments before a competition. This isn't limited to archery, but is found across many sports.
  • With archery what they eat can be tricky, as they don't want to consume anything that might make them jittery (like caffeine), which could spoil a shot by ruining their ability to remain calm and focused.
  • Archers also want to stay well hydrated. Dehydration (and over-hydration) can cause an archer to lose focus, become forgetful, and consequently ruin shots.

Photo: World Archery
Sarah Lance
  • Breakfast: fruit, bowl of cereal or bagel
  • Snacks: Crackers and carrots
  • Drinks: Gatorade or water
Sarah Lance prefers to maintain a similar diet on a shooting day as she does on a normal average day. Making large changes in her diet alters her ability to be able to control her movement and to steady her aim. Most often she chooses the healthy option of fruit for breakfast, or sometimes the more filling option of cereal or a bagel. She likes to snack throughout the day to maintain her strength and stamina and to keep hydrated she drinks water, Gatorade and sips some soda.

Photo: World Archery
Braden Gellenthien
  • Breakfast: Salad
  • Lunch: Steak or grilled chicken
  • Snacks: Almonds, dried fruit, and Clif Bars
Braden Gellenthien likes to prepare for a tournament a week in advance. This includes making healthier food choices that will give his body the edge that it needs. During this period, he prepares all of his meals at home and grills his meat instead of frying it. This way his body is adjusted to his healthier life choices when the time comes for the archery contest. He makes sure all his nutrition is covered by including meats, fruits, and greens in his daily diet. The snacks are also natural, healthy and allow his body to feel light and agile.

Photo: World Archery
Erika Jones
  • Snacks: Subway, Pringles, and Oreos
Erika Jones prefers to take a more casual approach to meals at a tournament and eats what she wishes. This can be a healthy option or give in to her cravings and bring a snack higher in sugar and salt content.

Photo: World Archery
Lee Ford-Faherty
  • Snacks: Veggies and Carbs
  • Drinks: Powerade Zero
Lee Ford-Faherty bases her diet on the components that will give her the most energy. This includes a diet high in carbohydrates and protein which as an athlete she needs. She believes that it is possible to eat healthily wherever you are for the same cost as it would purchase a nutritionally deficient meal. She makes sure she gives her body the fuel it needs to perform and to give it the right balance of nutrients to maintain her endurance. She also gives her body a lot of fluid because it is quickly lost when standing in the heat of the sun. For this, she drinks Powerade Zero, which as well as hydrating her replaces vital electrolytes.

Photo: World Archery
Crystal Gauvin
  • Drink: Water
Crystal Gauvin’s main focus is to drink a lot of water to keep herself hydrated over long periods of standing. Nuun tablets can be placed in the water to replace electrolytes sweated out while shooting and also provides a sweeter taste to the drink. It is healthier than other sports drink options and still provides the hydration and energy that an athlete needs. She brings her cool water to a tournament to ensure she has a constant supply and as much as she feels she needs.

Photo: Sarah Bernstein
Ariel Gibilaro
  • Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese or egg
  • Snacks: Chewy Bars and Crackers
  • Drink: Water
Ariel Gibilaro finds it difficult to keep to her usual eating routine when attending a tournament due to the traveling and the extended training involved. Long days at the tournament means most of her meals are snack sized and easy to carry. Chewy Bars and crackers can easily be carried with her and quickly eaten when she has a spare moment. One meal she tries to take regularly is her breakfast, which is a bagel spread with cream cheese or served with eggs for protein. To keep hydrated, she chooses water as the healthiest and most natural option.

Photo: archery.tv
Christie Colin
  • Dinner: Restaurant food
Christie Colin believes she deserves to have some fun after a hard day at a tournament. She likes to take her friends to The Olive Garden and restaurants and binge on carbohydrates.

Mackenzie Brown
Photo: Mackenzie Brown
  • Snacks: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Dinner: Italian
Mackenzie Brown brings pre-prepared snacks to tournaments with her, so she doesn’t have to worry while busy with the competition. These snacks on an international trip remind her of home and include the traditional American peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She treats herself before a ranking match to dinner at an Italian restaurant with pasta as the main course.

Photo: Dean Alberga
Reo Wilde
  • Dinner: McDonalds
Some less professional and unconventional athletes prefer a quick and easy alternative. Reo Wilde prefers to grab fast food before the tournament and he always relies on McDonalds to be there, wherever he is in the world.



Robert Gate is the founder of Archerytopic.com. He was enthusiastic about hunting from the first shot, from then he decided to become a pro hunter. If you find something helpful in his blog, he would be proud to hear from you.
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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