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

The Benefits of Practicing Clout Archery

Clout Archery is a sport in which archers compete at shooting a "clout of arrows" as close to a target flag pole as possible, often at really long distances such as 140 or 180 yards away.

For people new to clout archery (or when the field is shorter than desirable) you may want to use shorter distances such as 60, 70, 80 yards, etc. Or if you have a really large field available, you could even try shooting longer distances like 200 yards or more.

The image below shows the results of 1 round of shooting with one of my archery students recently on June 4th 2022, shooting at a distance of 60 yards (180 feet). She got two clusters near the flag pole as you can see, nearly hitting the flag pole despite windy conditions that day.


Which brings me to the topic of what makes Clout Archery something that is useful to learn:

#1. Clout Archery is really good for archers learning how to adjust for wind conditions.

#2. Clout Archery is very good at teaching people how to shoot long distances accurately, with the distances often being more than that used by Olympic archers (70 meters).

#3. Because shooting long distances magnifies any mistakes the archer makes it forces the archer to be more of a perfectionist than shooting short distances in comparison.

BONUS THOUGHTS

Shooting such long distances can also be quite fun as there is a level of joy in watching an arrow fly so far and yet manage to land near the flag pole (or on rare occasions, even hit the flag pole).

For extra fun you can also use whistling arrowheads.

To make it easier to find your arrows (depending on the distance) you can also use wingnuts behind your screwed on field points so that when they hit the ground they dig in like an anchor and are easier to find. Alternatively, you can also use large (flu flu) fletching on your arrows.

Clout Archery Lessons?

Anyone wanting to learn archery (and specifically Clout Archery) can sign up for archery lessons in Toronto and mention that you want to learn Clout Archery.

How to Fix Holey Archery Targets

 

As time goes by eventually your archery targets will get holey (or fall down) in which case you either need to replace the material or repair it in some manner.

Repairing Natural Tentest Targets

In the case of Natural Tentest targets, like those at the Toronto Archery Range located at E. T. Seton Park shown above, one way to repair the big gaping holes is to wait until one of the target butts collapses and falls down - often due to heavy rain and/or wind - and then you can use the broken fallen pieces of Natural Tentest to stuff the holes in the other targets.

And for fun, you can also add a large water container to the target butt which collapsed so that people can still potentially shoot at something until that target's tentest is replaced.

Repairing 3D Targets

In the case of 3D targets (deer, raccoons, etc) that are popular with hunters one of the best ways to repair them is with foam, like in the video below. What brand or style of foam you use doesn't really matter, what is really important is that you don't overfill the holes you are repairing because otherwise excess material will leak out (as demonstrated in the video below). A "less is better" approach is best for that scenario.

Repairing DIY Cardboard Targets

The beauty of cardboard targets is that they're super easy to repair and cost effective. Just make a habit of saving any large pieces of cardboard from your home and/or workplace and you can easily just rip out any damaged pieces of cardboard from your DIY targets and replace with new cardboard.

Best of all, the old cardboard is still recyclable so it has simply been reused before eventually reaching the recycling bin.

Your cardboard archery target doesn't need to be fancy either (like the one in the image below). It simply could be a cardboard box which is filled with cardboard. Having a wooden frame is really unnecessary for most people's purposes. But once you have a cardboard target they're very easy to repair.



Ikigai and the Archer

About one year ago my colleague Steve Ruis wrote a blog post called "The Ikigai of Archery".

Ikagai is a Japanese word which means "live reason" or "reason to live".

Basically Ikagi is when you have something that helps you get out of bed in the morning and provides a purpose or meaning in your life is certainly helpful.

Can archery be a reason to live?

I believe so.

Sometimes we just don't want to get up in the morning, but we force ourselves to do so because we have to get to work - often to a job we dislike.

I am fortunate that I have a job I really enjoy and love to do. There are many people out there who wish they could quit their regular jobs and just do what they love to do.

Even so there are definitely days when I am excited to teach archery and do some personal practice, and then there are other days when I have to go to work and I would rather stay home if I had the choice.

I find the quality of sleep I got the night before is a factor.

Same thing goes with my students. I can tell based upon their focus and the quality of their shooting whether they didn't sleep well the night before - or worse, if they're hungover, distracted by something, stressed or upset, hungry, etc.

And yet they still got up and they came to their archery practice because it was something they wanted to do, because they deemed it important, and quite possibly they were excited about it.

Thus in this case I think Ikigai is an excellent word, and an apt word. If archery can be the crutch that helps people get up in the morning - and in some cases to strive and find purpose in their lives - then so be it. Sometimes people need a crutch to help them to keep on surviving so they can find other reasons to live.

I believe people can have multiple reasons to live, including an important one: Family. Speaking for myself then my wife and my son are two of my biggest reasons to live, but archery is another. As is writing. I have many reasons to live.

For my students who are curious about the more spiritual sides of archery I usually recommend two books:

1. Zen Bow, Zen Arrow
2. The Unfettered Mind

The 2nd book isn't actually about archery. It is about Zen Buddhism and swordsmanship, but also about being a good person who learns to manage their thoughts and emotions. So while it is primarily about swordsmanship, the principles described in the book also apply to archery.

Years ago I even published my own book of poetry on the subject, a book called "Dreaming of Zen Archery". (The ebook version is $2.99 if you're curious about it.)

So yes, I believe archery can be an Ikigai - a reason to live.

It doesn't have to be your sole reason to live however, but it can be the crutch that keeps you moving forward until you find other reasons.

Accepting New Archery Students for 2022

Hello Toronto!

Do you want to learn archery? Of course you do, you're here reading this aren't you?

Well, the good news is that I am accepting new students for the 2022 archery season.

Contact cardiotrek@gmail.com to book your archery lesson(s) today. When in doubt I recommend starting for 3 lessons for $200. See my archery lessons page for more details / discount rates / etc.

So what's so special about my archery lessons?

#1. I make them fun and informative. So you're learning, but you get to have fun while doing so.

#2. I have been teaching archery so far for 13 years (and doing archery for 33 years). Suffice to say I have been doing this for a long time and have learned some of the best ways

#3. I have published articles over the years in "Archery Focus Magazine", which recently released their final issue in November 2021. (My article "Gap Shooting: Aiming for Versatility" was included in the final issue.)

#4. Browse my Archery Lessons Plan to learn more about the how each lesson is different.

#5. One on one lessons. No group lessons. You get personalized attention from an archery coach and I tailor the lessons to meet my individual students needs.

#6. I also teach people with adaptive archery needs. So if you're in a wheel chair or have other difficulties, not to worry, you can still do archery. Just email me to discuss your situation.

#7. People over 65 get a 10% Seniors Discount and people from Canada's armed forces get a 10% Veterans Discount.



Archery Student Pierces String on Moving Target

 

Above is a photo of one of my archery students after she successfully pierced the string on a moving target. It was her 6th lesson.

I usually start teaching how to shoot at moving targets on the 4th lesson or later, but actually splitting or piercing the string on a moving target is very rare. More rare than "Robin Hooding an arrow", which is when you pierce your own arrow in the end of the nock.

How to make a Moving Target

I find one of the easiest ways to make a moving target is to use an empty water bottle and dangle it from a string. The water bottle blows in the wind fairly easily, but not so easily that it is impossible to hit if you're good at it.

When dangling the bottle from the string you want to offset it from the target. A broken arrow or a stick inserted into the target works well. If you do not offset the moving target then it will rub against the target and the friction will reduce how much the bottle moves about.

How to make it easier...

If you want less of a challenge you also use a larger bottle. Eg. A 2 liter Coca-Cola bottle is a great size if you want something less challenging. If you want to make it even easier pick a day to shoot when there is very little wind.

How to make it harder...

Cut the bottle in half. Or only use just the bottle cap. The moving bottle cap makes for a very difficult target to hit. If you want to make it even harder try to do it on a windy day.

But not impossible.

I did it twice in one day (back in 2015) when I brought a tripod and a camera to the archery range. The first time however the camera stopped recording so I didn't actually manage to record it. The second time however the camera did record it properly. Thankfully it wasn't too windy that day.

Anyone wishing to book archery lessons in Toronto for 2022 should feel free to contact me. Better to contact me sooner to start booking your lessons.

 


The Final Issue of Archery Focus Magazine

The final issue of Archery Focus Magazine is now available. I am fortunate to have been part of it.

I will miss it.

People interested in reading the final issue or reading back issues can learn more at:

archeryfocusmagazine.com

 


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.

Unusual Ways to make your Arrows Fly Faster

APRIL 1ST 2022

Question:

"My arrows are going at 170 FPS, but I want them to go at 170.422, which according to my calculations will beat the reaction time of a deer in the off season at a distance of 18.69 yards. Can I get the added speed by just concentrating harder with my left eye, or should I just close my left eye and stand closer while humming so I can get the added speed to my arrows?

Asking for a friend."

- Simon P. Freely

 

Answer:

Clearly you've thought long and hard on this topic. There are many ways to make your arrows go slightly faster.

First, you should consult your horoscope and whether Mercury is in retrograde. If the conditions are favourable, try to shoot from uphill to the deer so your arrows get a gravity assist and this should counteract any negative effects from the planet Mercury.

Secondly, remember to always wax and polish your arrows. Don't forget the fletching! A well greased arrow will travel through air faster thanks to lubrication.

Thirdly, if you could grow taller or get longer arms, you could add more power to your shot (and thus more speed). If you cannot do this, just invest in some high heeled boots that make you at least look taller to the deer.

Fourthly, get yourself a really expensive tree stand and place it at the very top of the highest tree you can find. The taller it is the more gravity will make your arrow go faster on the downward trajectory. Remember to only shoot at a sharp angle downwards. You will need to practice shooting at your feet ahead of time so you understand how to shoot almost straight down.

Fifthly, headwear is very important. Make yourself a hat out of aluminum foil or tin foil (aluminum is better however) and keep your archery equipment in a lead box when you're not shooting it. This will protect your equipment (and brain) from harmful radiations which could slow down your focus and the speed of your equipment.

Sixthly, bubblegum. You need to be shooting while you chew so that you get better at concentrating. Every time you chew bubblegum you need to practice shooting at things, and force yourself to concentrate on speed while you are chewing.

Seventhly, if you are still having problems buy a crossbow, abduct a mad German scientist like Jeorg Sprave, stick him in a well and force him to make the crossbow faster. Keep quoting lines from "Silence of the Lambs" until they make you a faster crossbow.

 

Eighghghghgthly, use an arrow that isn't so stiff. Your arrows should have the flexibility of overcooked spaghetti if you want them to go really fast. Or better yet, use actual spaghetti.

Ninethly, taper your fletching from back to front so that the fletching at the back is significantly shortly than the front fletching. I know this looks weird, but as the arrow goes over your arrowrest it will have increasingly less drag and therefore more speed.

Tenthly, run towards the deer while shooting, thus adding your running speed to the speed of your arrow. If you can run at 10 fps while shooting at 170 fps, your arrows should go 180 fps. Faster if you jump while shooting.

Eleventhly, draw the string back to your ear and hook it directly on your ear. This will provide more speed + power, but you will also train your ears to get stronger, which has the added effect of making you more attractive to women. As an extra bonus, this frees up your drawing hand to drink beer, learn crochet, etc.

Twelfthly, buy flash bangs. Stun the deer and then don't worry about speed. Or better yet, put the flash bangs on your arrows, and pull the pin right before shooting. This way you stun and kill the deer at the same time!

Thirteenthly, lean exactly 5 inches closer to the deer before shooting, thus making it feel like you are shooting downhill and making your arrow slightly closer even before you shoot, so it will reach the target faster while getting a gravity assist from shooting on a downward angle.

Fourteeeeenthly, remember to coat your fletching with beeswax and lick it before shooting to cut down on how much the wind effects your arrows.

Fifteently, shave a few extra grains off your arrows so they are slightly thinner. Or better yet, put them on a diet of string beans, celery sticks, and ice water before going hunting. If you starve them a little they will be lighter and therefore faster.

Sixteeenthly, hold in your farts and when you are ready to shoot release a really big one to give your arrows an added bit of wind so they go faster. The more wind you make, the faster the arrow goes.

Seventeeenthly, place your tree stand in alignment with the rotation of the earth so you get extra speed thanks to earth's rotational axis. Always shoot away from the sun so the sun's gravity doesn't accidentally effect the speed of your arrows.

Eightghteeenththly, learn how to channel your chi into your arrow to make it go faster. A good strong chi can overcome even a moderately windy day. Plus, as you get better at focusing your chi you can learn how to reach into the fourth dimension of time and slow down time so your arrow is infinitely faster than the deer. However, if you do learn this you will need to beware of interdimensional demons.

Nineteenthly, train European swallows to carry coconuts and when they're really strong, cut off their tail feathers and use that to make your fletching. Trim the fletching into the shape of a Lamborghini so it goes faster, and let it fly.

Twentiethly, just learn magic. Magic will solve all your problems. Stay away from dark magic however, that stuff will rot your soul and make your genitalia shrink.

Happy Shooting! April Fools!

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.


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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