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

Good News and Bad News: Archery Focus Magazine

Well, I have good news and bad news...

The good news is I have another article that is being published in "Archery Focus Magazine". It will be coming out in the November-December 2021 issue.

The bad news is that the November-December 2021 issue will also be the final issue, the farewell issue, of the magazine.

It saddens me that the final issue is coming so soon. I am aware that many magazines thrive and survive based on subscriptions, and that if those subscriptions eventually falter that the magazine may be unsustainable. Many print media magazines and newspapers have ended during the past 20 years, and digital magazines are similarly vulnerable due to the subscription format.

Between 2017 and 2020 I contributed five articles to the magazine in the following issues:

  • 2017, July-August (Marketing Strategies for Archery Coaches)
  • 2018, July-August (Adaptive Archery)
  • 2018, November-December (Teaching via Narrative Storytelling)
  • 2020, January-February (Reinhart Target Ball Review)
  • 2020, September-October (Trick Shots)

I regret not writing more articles. Contributing 1 or 2 articles per year was one of the highlights of teaching the sport, but I could have written more. I have been very busy doing other things like teaching, raising my son, and writing multiple series of fantasy books... But I could have contributed another article or two. Sadly, we writers have to learn to live with our regrets, just like archers have to learn to live with their botched shooting.

I have also been writing my own "how to book" with respect to archery, so perhaps I will devote more time in the near future towards finishing and publishing that book. Or I might solve my thirst to publish more articles by contributing to magazines like Traditional Bowhunter or TradArchers' World. We shall just have to see what happens.

One last bit of good news...

While the magazine is ending, the back issues will continue to be available. You can visit archeryfocusmagazine.com and get any of the back issues of the magazine dating back to the first issue from 1997. You can get unlimited access to 25 years worth of the magazine's back issues for $160 USD.

2021 is Fully Booked for Archery Lessons - Prebook for 2022

Hello Toronto!

Bad news if you wanted to book archery lessons in Toronto for August, September or October of 2021. I am already fully booked and am no longer accepting new students for this year.

I am currently accepting new students for 2022. If you want to book for 2022 you should contact me now (if you know what your schedule will be like in the coming year), or if you're not sure what your schedule will be like in 2022, then I recommend contacting me in February or early March if you want to get your preferred time slots (before things start booking up).
 
I am expecting 2022 to be a very busy year for me.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Have a great day!

 


Limited Archery Time Slots Left / My Writing Career

Due to COVID I am going to be restricting how many students / time slots I teach this year during August, September and October. It isn't a matter of time constraints, I am available, but I am putting a limit on the total number of archery lessons I am willing to teach this year.

So my advice is that if you want archery lessons between now and the end of the season you need to contact me sooner rather than later and hope that there is still time slots available and I haven't reached my "quota" for the year.

Basically the point I am trying to make is that this year, due to COVID, I am setting a quota for the maximum number of lessons I am willing to teach. So if you want archery lessons in Toronto then you should email me today and start booking.

If you wait too long you might have to prebook for 2022.


My Writing Career

In related news, my book sales during 2021 are expected to triple my 2020 book sales, which tripled my book sales from 2019, which in turn dectupled my 2018 book sales... So if you can do math that means my book sales are up by a factor of 90 in the past 3 years.

If my book sales continue to triple annually I will be able to quit my day job (teaching archery) and focus on writing books sometime in 2025.

Now don't get me wrong, I love teaching archery. Absolutely love it. But there are days when I would love to just sleep in, spend more time with my wife/son, and focus on writing instead.

Teaching archery, and being good at it / able to make a living doing it, has given me the freedom to pursue my writing career during the cold winter months when very few people in Toronto ask for archery lessons.

Becoming a full time professional writer is the dream of pretty much every writer. I love archery and I love teaching it, but I foresee a time when I will just jack up my prices and only teach on 1 or 2 days per week so that I can focus my energy on writing.

Or quit teaching archery entirely and focus solely on writing. In addition to getting an annual tripling in book sales I keep getting 4 and 5 star reviews, so that's always a nice feeling to know people really like my writing. Cannot complain about that.

And what is the content of my writing? I mostly write heroic fantasy featuring, you guessed it, archery.

You can find my books, available in trade paperback and ebook formats, at amazon.com/author/moffat. I expect to be releasing audiobook versions in 2026 if my book sales continue to go up at the current rate. Hardcover versions of the novels are also expected sometime. If you have the paperback ISBN numbers you can order my books from your local bookstore.

Horsebows and Poundages


The bow in the photo above (and below on the right) is a Samick SKB horsebow (sometimes also called a shortbow).

Learning how to shoot a horsebow is trickier than learning how to shoot a traditional recurve, although they have many similarities in design. There are some additional challenges, which is why I recommend that students take 3 lessons of traditional recurve before progressing to shooting horsebow, so that they have a good grounding in proper form in that style before proceeding to a more challenging style of archery.

(Same goes with anyone wanting to learn how to shoot Longbow or Olympic Recurve. Definitely study traditional recurve first, then make the transition.)

There is an issue concerning the matter of the poundages made available by the manufacturers.

Many manufacturers who make horsebows do not make low poundages: 20 lbs or less.

This phenomenon of manufacturers not making lighter poundages is not limited to horsebows either. Some manufacturers who make longbows and the higher end traditional recurves also limit what poundages they produce, knowing that their target customers are adults (and mostly men).

The Samick SKB horsebow shown above (and on the right) only comes in 25 lbs to 55 lbs (with 5 lb increments). The bow I purchased was 30 lbs, which I felt was a good poundage for my needs as an archery instructor, and knowing that most of the people wanting to learn horsebows usually have an end goal of purchasing a horsebow that is in the 30 lbs to 50 lbs range.

This consequently creates limitations on who can potentially be using the bow. Eg. Most children won't be able to pull it properly, and many people who are complete beginners really should not be using a 30 lb bow.

However someone who has done 3 archery lessons previously, and proven that they can handle 18 lbs, 20 lbs and 24 lbs, and expressed an interest in learning horsebow. Well, then we can discuss the matter as they might be capable of pulling 30 lbs.

Otherwise they will need to purchase their own equipment - which is usually the standard situation when it comes to anyone who wants to learn how to shoot horsebows (or compounds, or Olympic recurves), and archery in general as the goal of most archery students is to eventually buy their own equipment so they can practice on their own.

Someone who is petite in size will find a difficult time finding a quality horsebow that is sized correctly for them and offers a poundage they can use properly. There are a few manufacturers who make children's bows (and youth bows) that offer lighter poundages, but the issue of quality means there is a gap in the market for well designed bows that fall into these age categories. In some cases they simply don't exist, and what does exist is slim pickings.

The big name manufacturers simply aren't interested in making certain types of bows aimed at children, youth and petite adults.

Still, that doesn't mean a person cannot do archery. It just means they are limited to doing traditional recurve (or potentially longbow or compound shooting) because there are bows being manufactured and sold which are aimed at children, youth and petite adults.

The market is there in my opinion, but nobody is making them.

Pride in my Archery Students

Personal Note

I feel an almost fatherly pride when I see my archery students excelling at the sport.

And I get that sense of pride whenever I see my students returning again and again to the archery range, becoming almost religious about practicing. They're not there for lessons any more. They're there to practice because they love the sport.

It doesn't matter whether they had 3 lessons, 10 lessons, or whatever. It is good to see them out there practicing, and knowing that I had a hand in their tutelage is a matter of personal pride for me.

And as my son grows and is already obsessed with archery, I look forward to seeing him grow and shooting. I want to note that I am not forcing archery upon him. He is naturally obsessed with it because he gets to see both of his parents shooting and he wants to do it too.

Even if by some chance in the future he gets bored of archery (which I highly doubt will happen), it won't matter. Because I will still be proud in the knowledge that when he was 2 - 4 years old he was obsessed with the sport and wanted to shoot "bow arrow" with daddy as often as he could.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

PS. The photo below of my son is from February 2021. I remember that day fondly. The stonework in the park looked a bit like a castle, so we were playing with his bow and arrow in there. (With all the heat lately that snow looks wonderful.)

 


Teaching Archery Again = Awesome


It feels really good to be teaching archery again. The photo above is recent, from June 2021, and shows a quiet moment at the Toronto Archery Range.

Anyone interested in archery lessons in Toronto (one-on-one lessons only) should contact me to discuss scheduling and availability.

Happy Shooting!


Vaccinated! Finally! Archery Lessons starting in June!

I got my first shot of Moderna today and I am pleased to announce that I will resume teaching archery on June 2nd when the current lockdown/stay-at-home order in Ontario ends.

Various archery students have been contacting me since January asking for archery lessons, but due to the cold winter weather + lockdown measures I have been unable to teach.

My vaccination also lined up nicely 8 days before the reopening so I happy about this new turn of events. Thanks to the new stage one reopening of sports areas (tennis courts, golf courses, archery ranges, etc) plus my vaccination I can now say with more confidence that I am finally able to teach again.

People interested in archery lessons in Toronto are invited to browse my rates and let me know which days they are looking to book lessons.

And it couldn't come soon enough. While I enjoy gardening in my backyard, I clearly need to get out more! Just look at those trilliums and ferns. They are doing just fine without me! 😋


When is it time to buy New Archery Equipment?

Q

 

"When is it time to buy new archery equipment?"

 

A


Well, it varies for many people.

#1. Can you afford it in your budget?

Not everyone can afford to be buying 1 or 2 new bows (or more!) every year. *Cough Cough* as I glance at the bows in the basement that require a new bow rack on the wall so I can store them properly.

Some of us (eg. actors seeking to expand their skill sets that they can put on a resume) can even claim things like riding lessons and anything related to owning a horse as a business expense on their taxes because they want to star in a Western someday. Or a fantasy film, or a historical film, or a post apocalyptic film featuring horses... Basically any film with horses.

Likewise an actor could in theory claim their archery expenses as business expenses, as I am sure William Shatner did during the early days of his acting career.

But not all of us can do that and thus we also have to weigh whatever financial pressures we are facing against our thirst to go buy more and more archery equipment.

So let's pretend that money is not the issue...

#2. Do you want a stronger bow?

Some archers (usually men) want a stronger bow because they want to be able to go hunting someday, or perhaps they just want their arrows to fly faster, or perhaps they just want to get more exercise by pulling a harder bow.

For whatever the reason I recommend waiting at least 6 to 12 months after you purchased your first bow before you go and buy your second bow. Why? Because hopefully during that 6 to 12 month period you went out and practiced with the first bow at least once per week (or sometimes twice). So at least 24 or even 48 times.

After that much practice the archer then might be ready for a higher poundage, at which point they should consider getting a bow which is 5 to 6 lbs heavier.

Thus if you started off with a 24 or 25 lb recurve it would now be time to consider getting a 30 lb bow.

Or if your bow is a three-piece recurve bow, well then you could just buy bow limbs that are 5-6 lbs heavier.

Why should you not make bigger jumps? Like 10 lbs or more? Because it is a bit like dumbbells at the gym. You start with the 10 lb dumbbells and repeat that for a few months and then switch to 15 lbs. Then 20, then 25, then 30. You take your time doing it and focus on your form.

If you skip ahead a person's form will frequently suffer, you lose accuracy, you stop making progress with respect to the quality of your form, and such inaccuracy effects your mental confidence. You stop shooting because you think you suck at the sport... But in reality you just pushed yourself too quickly.

Personal Note - I go through this process every Spring. I start by shooting my lighter bows and then practice with them slowly, rebuilding any strength I lost during the Winter. I gradually build up my strength until I am used to shooting 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 or even 60 lbs.

#3. Do you want a prettier bow?

This is certainly a thing. Some archers just want a bow that looks really nice. There are some very pretty bows out there. But here's an interesting rule when it comes to price, prettiness and accuracy.

  • If a bow is both pretty and accurate, it will also be pretty expensive.
  • If a bow is both accurate and inexpensive, it will be "meh okay" to look at.

And nobody wants to buy a bow that is pretty and cheap, because guaranteed it won't be accurate.

Take for example the bow below... It is a Blacktail Elite VL Series bow... It is currently priced at $1470 USD. It is a very pretty bow and suitably accurate when you consider the price tag, but most of what you are paying for is the looks.

This is actually one of their less expensive bows too. They have other bows from their Legacy series which are priced at $4500, $6500 and $8999 USD.

So yes, you can buy super expensive bows it you really want - bows that are essentially more art piece than craft, but would you really want to shoot that bow regularly or take it hunting???

My advice for anyone who is new to archery is that you should aim smaller when it comes to buying a prettier bow. Something in the $400 to $800 range is still a very pretty bow, but you won't need to get financing just to buy it. (Seriously, Blacktail Bows offers financing on their website...)

#4. Do you want to collect archery equipment?

Yes? Awesome.

Most collectors however are not buying "new archery equipment". They're buying vintage. Specifically they are looking for bows that are 40 or more years old. So right now that means anything from the 1970s or earlier.

It also means you are usually browsing bows on eBay or similar websites where people auction off old vintage bows.

When buying such bows you want to look carefully at the photographs being offered. There should be photographs of every part of the bow, and from every angle. Usually that means 16 or more photographs, in high resolution, with no blurry photography.

#5. Do you need new arrows?

Honestly this is the most common reason people buy new archery equipment.

Usually it means they have:

  1. Broken most of their arrows beyond repair.
  2. Damaged most of their arrows (and they need repairs).
  3. Lost most of their arrows.
  4. Combinations of reasons 1, 2 & 3.

Now if you are just dealing with damaged arrows that could be repaired, then absolutely, you should learn how to repair them. You can buy replacement nocks, replacement fletching, replacement inserts, replacement arrowheads... Modern arrows are rather like Lego. Most of the parts are interchangeable and can be replaced.

If they are broken beyond repair / lost, well... Yeah, not much you can do about that. Time to buy new arrows!

#6. Did you break your bow?

Breaking a bow is a very rare occurrence. Extremely rare. Most modern bows are very durable if you take good care of them and are not mistreating them, and the rare manufacturing defects are quite rare.

If it was a manufacturing defect you should check your warranty and see about getting a replacement from the manufacturer. If you don't have a warranty... Well then, you need to buy a new bow.

I definitely recommend buying a bow that comes with a warranty. You never regret it.

Note - Vintage bows definitely do not come with a warranty. Likewise certain cheaper companies don't offer warranties at all. Likewise, there is also the problem of counterfeits - you send the broken bow back to the manufacturer and then they inform you that your bow is a counterfeit, and thus there is no warranty. (Counterfeits are more often purchased online during some kind of sale or discount, so you need to beware of any company selling bows online at large discounts.)

#7. Do you want to try a different style of archery?

One of these days I am going to buy a Japanese yumi bow. It is on my Wish List of bows to buy, but it might be a few years before I do that.

Wanting to try different styles of archery is just something that many people want to do, so you're not alone in this desire. The problem is that certain styles of archery are more expensive, and learning the different style of archery is also an issue.

Eg. When learning a new style you should probably get archery lessons in that specific style.

So yes, if your goal is to try a different style then you should get lessons in that style, and presumably your archery instructor can give you advice about what kind of bows you can purchase, what other archery equipment you will need, where to purchase, anything else you should know, etc.

And if you live in Toronto and want to learn one of the five styles of archery then you should contact me to get archery lessons, because I teach all 5 major styles of archery.

  1. Traditional Recurve
  2. Olympic Recurve
  3. Longbow / Flatbow
  4. Horsebow / Shortbow
  5. Compound Bow


#8. Accessories and issues...

Wear and tear is a thing. Take for example the common three finger glove used by traditional recurve and longbow archers. Made from rawhide (usually) they eventually wear down and stop offering you protection from the bowstring. When you start experiencing this you need to buy a new archery glove.

Same thing happens with bowstrings. You can maintain them as best you can by waxing them, taking good care of them, but eventually you will need to reserve them if they unravel or replace them when they break.

Your gear will wear down and/or break over time and certain things will need replacing. My recommendation whenever replacing an item is to try and replace it with something that is better quality / more durable that will last longer.

Eg. When replacing a plastic arrow rest aim to replace it with either a traditional fur arrow rest, or with a wire arrow rest. Fur or metal will last a lot longer than plastic.

Personal Note - I once bought a plastic arrow rest back in 2010 that broke on the first day. Complete trash. I will never buy another plastic arrow rest.

Additional Note - I routinely see plastic arrow rests on the ground at the archery range. Not broken ones necessarily. Some of them look to be brand new. But this is the inherent problem with them. They're so bad (and people know they're bad) that people are just littering with them.

#9. Did I miss anything?

When in doubt ask yourself the following question: "Do I need this new piece of equipment?"

If you're talking about buying an armguard because you keep hitting yourself, then the answer is probably yes.

But if you are thinking of buying a new armguard just because it is pretty, and you already own 3 other armguards... The answer is no.

But hey! Maybe you are collecting armguards, in which case that is your hobby and who am I to throw stones? I have 30+ bows in the basement that need a new bow rack...

3 Bizarre Cases of Archery Injuries

Archery is a very safe sport. Injuries in the sport are more likely the result of repetitive strain from pulling a bow incorrectly, leading to tennis elbow (previously known as archer's elbow before tennis became popular).

Another common archery sports injury is when archers over tense their bow shoulder and don't learn how to relax it; Your back muscles should be doing most of the work, not your shoulders!

Lastly there is also "Bowstring Burn"... This is what happens when you keep hitting your elbow or arm with the bowstring. If you bruise easily you should really be wearing an arm guard or bracer to protect your arm. Furthermore if you're a beginner, you really should get archery lessons so you learn how to position your elbow correctly.

However just because the vast majority of injuries in archery are sports injuries like tennis elbow (cough cough, archer's elbow) that doesn't mean that more bizarre and serious injuries don't happen.

Plus accidents do happen.

 

#1. THE BACKYARD RICOCHET MISHAP

Take for example 2012 case of a young Australian man who was practicing in his backyard when he missed a shot, the arrow ricocheted off a door, and then hit a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk 30 meters away.

 


Which is all the more reason why people should practice archery in a proper archery range like the Toronto Archery Range. Or at very least in a wide open field, on a farm, in a secluded forest, etc. Accidentally hitting someone with an arrow isn't really an accident if the person was shooting in their backyard and not taking adequate precautions to prevent any kind of ricochets that could lead to someone being injured.

Nor is this an isolated incident. Many cities around the world have laws in place regarding the firing of guns and/or archery equipment in backyards, largely because of the associated dangers of such reckless behaviour.

 

#2. THE GALKA VS STANKIEWICZ INCIDENT

In October 2000 two men in Toronto were at the Toronto Archery Range and lost an expensive arrow. In a bizarre turn of events however one of the men proposed the idea of shooting over one of the targets while his friend stood in the vicinity of the lost arrow and reported where it landed. But instead of this unusual plan leading to the lost arrow Patryk Stankiewicz accidentally shot his friend Wieslaw Galka in the eyeball (and brain), resulting in the loss of his eye, permanent brain damage, mobility problems, and psychiatric needs.

You can read details about the case in the court document PDFs found at:

The two men ignored the safety bylaws and presumably were each fined about $4000 CDN for reckless endangerment with a firearm.


#3. THE TEEN SHOT IN THE HEAD & SURVIVES

This particular incident happened in October 2013 in Piatt County California. According to the Sheriff's Report the incident was caused by multiple factors:

  • Archer fatigue
  • Bow not tuned properly
  • Lack of safety precautions

Not necessarily in that order.

The victim was a teenager (16-year-old Maci Webb) who was down range from where the archer was shooting (in the line of fire). She was sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck at the time.

The archer, Andrew J. Dick (age 21) loaded his compound bow while other people were down range from him, which is a big safety no-no.

The bow was relatively brand new and had not yet been tuned properly yet, which means the arrow could go further to the left or right than the archer is expecting.

It is also noted that AJD was a new archer and had only been shooting two days, and he had shot roughly 80 arrows (approx. 16 rounds of 5 arrows per round), and thus was exhausted.

AJD then either drew back his loaded bow, while either intending to fire or perhaps just to pull it and let it back down slowly, when he misfired, his arrow flying down range and striking the unsuspecting teenager.

And this is why you never load a bow (especially not a compound bow) while other people are down range from you.

And you certainly don't pull back the bow in such a situation, because all it takes is a misfire for someone to get injured.

Such an incident also wouldn't have happened if the shooter had had archery lessons. Any competent archery instructor would have given him a safety lecture first, his compound bow would have been tuned second, and he would have known to follow safety etiquette when shooting, which includes things like:

"Don't load your bow when other people are in front of you."


So yes, another reason why you should get archery lessons.

For archery lessons in Toronto please contact me to discuss availability.


How do I make my own bow?

Q

"How do I make my own bow?"

 

A

One of my archery students during 2020 (one of the very few people I taught between COVID lockdowns) asked my advice on how to make his own archery equipment, specifically longbows.

My response was that he should try learning how to make flatbows first, because flatbows are easier to make than longbows (and many people confuse the two because they don't know the difference anyway).

Also because of the COVID restrictions and everything I suggested a number of books that would help him. I got bow making lessons years ago with a bowyer in Toronto, but because of COVID having in-person lessons isn't really a good idea right now.


Specifically...

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume I

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume II

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume III

The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume IV

and

The Traditional Bowyers Encyclopedia


The 5th book, TBE, is really mostly about recurves, which are more tricky to make than flatbows and longbows. However that book is available from the Toronto Public Library, so good news, you don't need to purchase it if you're curious about reading that one.


There are also lots of videos on this subject, available via YouTube.

One of my favourites is Mick Grewcock's YouTube channel and videos like the following in which he makes an ash longbow in a day.


I should also note that it takes a lot of tools to make a longbow or flatbow. You really shouldn't be getting into bow making because you think it is a good way to "save money". You won't save any money. For someone just getting into bow making it is actually very expensive to buy all the tools you will need. It really only becomes economical when you are making multiple bows. At least 6.

Also don't expect your first bow to be particularly good. Expect it to be bad and break.

But then you keep trying and you get better at it.

As you progress at it you develop your craft and your skill improves. Your bows stop breaking so easily and your bows get progressively better.

I am reminded of a chart I found on social media...


And this is why people need archery lessons from a professional archery instructor.

For bow making it is basically the same chart. You are learning how to do something and you really should be expanding your knowledge on the subject. Hence why I recommend reading those books above. The books + bow making lessons from an experienced bowyer is arguably the best solution, but in lieu of that I recommend the books + watching YouTube videos made by experienced bowyers.

Admittedly Mick Grewcock doesn't consider himself to be an experienced bowyer. He thinks of himself as a beginner, but that is just his modesty showing through. His videos are also very well made, which certainly adds to the enjoyment factor when watching them.

What should you do with broken or damaged arrows?

Q

"What should you do with broken or damaged arrows?"

 


A

Well, there are a number of options you can use them for.

#1. You can repair them and use them again as arrows.

Possibly even keep using the same arrows for years and years if you get good at repairing them.

You could potentially even take a broken aluminum arrow that has a wider shaft, cut the shaft into smaller pieces, and use them to make footed shaft arrows out of your carbon fibre arrows, thus making them more durable (and more accurate at short distances).

#2. You can throw them out / recycle them.

I personally find this to be very wasteful, even though you are recycling them. They would have to be completely useless in my opinion to do this.

Also it should be noted that because carbon fibre arrows are made from carbon fibre, well, they're not really recyclable... So you should probably try to find a different use for them. Aluminum and wooden arrows however are certainly recyclable.

#3. Gardening! 

I know multiple people who use their old broken arrows for gardening. Why gardening?

Because a wide variety of plants often need a pole for them to climb on. Peas for example, as well various other varieties of plants. Broken arrows can also be used for labels so you know which plant is which (sometimes it gets confusing when they look similar), and there are other creative options for how to use your broken arrows in your garden.

#4. Crafting!

Some people are just really creative and can use long straight hollow rods for a variety of things. You can glue the arrows together to make sculptures, items for your home, decorations (xmas, halloween?), and other things.

#5. Reuse them for something else!

This is borderline crafting, but not necessarily. You might only need to trim the broken arrow shafts to a desired length and then you can use it for a variety of things.

Eg. While gardening is one example of reusing the arrows, you could also potentially use them for fishing by making a fishing pole out of broken arrows. It wouldn't be a very fancy fishing pole, but all you really need is a pole, fishing line, a hook and bait for it to catch a fish. (A little luck helps too.)

Winter is arguably the best time of year to be doing any kind of crafting project, but with spring coming gardening will soon be an option too!

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.


3 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Olympic Archery

Question #1.

"What equipment do I need to practice Olympic-style archery?"

Question #2.

"Why do Olympic-style archers swing their bows forward?"

Question #3.

"Do I need to compete to do Olympic-style archery or can I just do it for fun?"


ANSWERS

Answer #1.

Generally speaking you will want all of the following:

  • 1 Olympic-style riser.
  • 1 or more sets of Olympic-style bow limbs.
  • 1 or more bowstrings of the correct length for your bow.
  • 1 arrow rest (typically it will be a wire arrow rest).
  • 1 Olympic-style stabilizer.
  • 1 set of Olympic arrows (I recommend starting with 12) with the correct spine for your bow's poundage and glued-in arrowheads (I recommend starting with heavier arrowheads when you are first starting).
  • 1 shooting tab.
  • 1 bowstringer.
  • 1 nock bead installed on your bowstring.

Everything beyond the list above is basically optional. See the Archery Equipment Checklist and scroll to the bottom to see a list of optional things people sometimes purchase.

Answer #2.

They're not actually swinging it forward. They are letting gravity roll the bow forward, while maintaining their hand in a relaxed position.

The whole goal is to have their hand relaxed completely and to never grip the bow. Gripping the bow causes a loss of accuracy because the archer's body will sometimes shake or move unconsciously, so instead archers will maintain a very relaxed hand. When they shoot they let the arrow go and allow the bow to roll forward due to the weight of the stabilizer on the front.

Answer #3.

Of course you can do it just for fun. Every type of archery can be done for recreational - just for fun. There is no rule saying you have to be competitive in order to do a particular style.

Note - Saudi Arabia does require that people be Olympic archers before they are allowed to even purchase equipment in that country, which is ironically a Catch-22 because how are you supposed to become an Olympic-style archer unless you first purchase equipment and learn how to use it??? This is why beginner archers from Saudi Arabia often get archery lessons overseas and purchase their equipment overseas before returning.

 

Got More Olympic Archery Questions???

Maybe these will help.

Olympic Archery and becoming an Olympian

What does it take to become an Olympic Archer?

Olympic Archery Equipment - Does more expensive equipment matter?

Optional Archery Equipment, Need or Don't Need?


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.

 



3 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Compound Bows

Question #1.

"I dryfired my compound bow and the peep sight ripped out of the bowstring. How do I fix this?"

Question #2.

"An older archer told me that my compound bow is 'cocking upwards' whenever I shoot. What does that mean and how do I fix it?"

Question #3.

"Where is a good place to practice shooting with my broadheads? I cannot shoot broadheads at the local archery range."

(Okay, so technically the 3rd question isn't about compound bows, it is about broadheads. However this is a common question for compound shooters because many of them want to get into hunting. While it is possible [and increasingly popular] to hunt with a recurve or longbow, most bowhunters prefer to hunt with a compound. Thus I lumped this question in with compound related questions.)


ANSWERS

Answer #1.

Take a field point arrowhead and insert it halfway between the bowstring strands of where the peep sight used to be. Once fully inserted do this a second time next to and then spread the two apart to create space to reinsert your peep sight in there. Once the peep sight is fully in remove the two field points.

Then you will need to check the peep sight's alignment. Pull back the bow (do not dryfire!!!) to check that the peep sight is now aligned with the front sight housing. If it is off to the side to the left or the right then you need to repeat the first step and adjust the angle of the peep sight so that it is facing the correct direction when at full draw.

You may need to repeat the process 3 or 4 times to get the perfect alignment, offsetting the angle a little bit each time.

Answer #2.

'Cocking upwards' means that your compound bow is rolling so that your stabilizer is going up instead of down when you shoot. (Sort of like the Pitch axis on an airplane.) For accuracy purposes you want it to be rolling downwards, not upwards. This happens when people use a stabilizer which is too light (or when they don't own a stabilizer or are not using a stabilizer). The solution is to either get a heavier stabilizer or to add some extra weight to your stabilizer.

Answer #3.

Multiple answers for this:

  • Private Archery Ranges
  • Private Land (eg. farmland or woodlands)
  • Ghost Towns / Abandoned Land
  • Campsites that allow archery

However I should also point out that practicing with a broadhead is really unnecessary if you have field points that weigh exactly the same amount. Practicing with broadheads often leads to damaging your broadheads. Or your arrows if the cluster is very tight.

Why is it so hard to book an archery lesson on a Saturday?

Q

 "Why is it so hard to book an archery lesson on a Saturday?"

A

Honestly, because it is the most popular day of the week for people wanting archery lessons, but there are other factors.

#1. People Order Multiple Lessons

When someone contacts me asking for archery lessons most people (roughly 80% of them) are asking for 3 or more lessons. Thus if a particular person requests "Saturday at noon" that means I just became fully booked for that time slot for a period of 3 weeks.

Or what happens when someone asks for 10 lessons and wants "Saturday at 2 PM"? Well, that means I am fully booked for that time slot for roughly 3 months.

#2. Certain Time Slots Are More Desirable

Saturday at noon is easily the most common, and it usually disappears quickly. It is the most popular time slot on the most popular day.

#3. Most People Work On Weekdays

I do teach archery on weekdays, and there is a reason why I give discounts to seniors and veterans because I know they are more likely to be available on weekdays. (They're also a joy to teach.) But because most people work on weekdays, Saturday and Sunday are consequently more popular and more likely to fill up faster.

#4. Popularity

My archery lessons are popular. Why this is so is open to debate. There are many contributing factors. I have been doing archery for 32 years and teaching for 12 years. I get good reviews and testimonials from my archery students and they tell their friends about me. I provide all of the equipment during archery lessons so that beginners don't need to purchase their own equipment. I only teach one-on-one lessons, no group lessons. I publish archery articles in magazines. I have been on radio and television multiple times promoting the sport. I am even on Netflix. (I was nearly on Apple TV too, but I turned it down because I was too busy.)

Honestly, if my archery lessons weren't popular then I probably would be doing something else for a career, wouldn't I?


SO HOW DO YOU FIX THIS PROBLEM?

Easy...

Book your archery lessons well in advance. Like during the winter, and you are then practically guaranteed to get the day and time slot that you want because you booked them months in advance.

I heard recently that a lot of campsites across Ontario are fully booked until August, and it is only February 2nd. That is how crazy the booking is for campsites right now because of COVID and people wanting to go on vacations / go camping.

Another thing people can do is book their archery lessons for March. Yes, it is a bit cold outside, but it isn't super cold like January or February. If you book your archery lessons for mid-March / early-April then you can beat the rush of people who start booking in April and May.

Another great solution is if you don't work on weekdays and/or your work hours are flexible. If you fall into this category then it is much easier for you to potentially book a lesson on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday.

And one more tip...

Don't procrastinate. Emailing me now is better than emailing me later. A particular time slot might be available right now, but if you wait 2 weeks to email me then it might be gone / fully booked for months.

Browse my rates for archery lessons in Toronto and email me today to discuss 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



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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