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Traditional Archers | Bowhunters
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jaz5833

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Reply with quote  #1 

I'm going to preface this post with this statement: I was encouraged to repost this here, by someone here, from another site where the replies lacked...shall we say, support.

I'll also add, it's not intended to sway or malign anyone's definition of Traditional. Only to share the viewpoint of a well known National Champion and his wife, who both dedicated their later lives to furthering the sport of archery.

It's an open letter, written to the National Archery Associations of the day, during a time when compounds and string releases were just starting to make their way onto the national competition scene (1971).


AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NATIONAL ARCHERY ORGANIZATIONS

Early in the Fifties, a hue and cry went up protesting the use of aluminum arrows. "They aren't archery!" adversaries maintained. "They'll ruin the sport, because they'll assure higher if not perfect scores. The archer shooting wood arrows won't have a chance. "
As is inevitable with progress, however, the aluminum arrow proved itself. It became accepted throughout the world because it was more accurate and afforded the new archer more success in less practice hours. The aluminum arrow was not panacea or a pot at the end of a rainbow. The archer had to have a steady bow arm, a good release, and had to learn to aim.
Bowsights had their share of troubles, also. The first national ruling allowed but one fixed pin. Gradually this evolved into the sliding site which was grudgingly approved and over the years has developed into some of the most sophisticated sighting devices known to man. Much of this was in conjunction with allowing marked distances on the field range, another change that was a bitterly fought.
Site accessories were in for their share of criticism. Levels, Bubbles, and other leveling devices were considered "unfair" advantages. Even the kisser button got in the line of fire although many years ago a string knot was used in the same way without protest.
The clicker raised even more dust. It was outlawed for barebow shooters until someone like Chuck Saunders developed one that couldn't be used as an aiming aid and finally was accepted.
The point is this: Every " help" in archery has always been actively resisted by the purest, whoever they are. Yet archery should be for everyone no matter what type of equipment they shoot, from a crooked stick to the most highly developed and engineered equipment there is.
It is curious that the essential argument against the "release aids" and the compound bow is that these things enable an archer to achieve levels of success that in other eras is could have been achieved only by months or years of practice. Now, with these aids, a new archer can become reasonably proficient in a few months. Is this bad? The name of the game is to be able to hit the target and nothing is more discouraging to the new archer then not to be able to do this. As a matter of fact, many older archers have returned to the sport since the development of releases and the compound bow.
There was a historic discussion between Howard Hill and Rube Powell many years ago wherein Howard vowed in his inimitable southern accent regarding recurve bows, "I wouldn't paddle a canoe with one of those!" Yet he finally relented and produced his recurved "Typhoon".
There has been far too much emotional reaction and far too little intelligent facing of the facts. All the national archery organizations have somewhere in their constitutions a pledge to further and promote archery. When any of these organizations put out a ruling which discriminates against any archer's equipment they are 1) negating their own constitutions; 2) discriminating against one group of archers; and 3) actually performing an act which could be considered a "restraint of trade" which is against the United States Constitution.
It is difficult to believe that the duly elected officers of the national archery organizations could be so short-sighted and completely against progress. They are duty-bound to promote and encourage archery but by their recent arbitrary rulings regarding release aids and types of bows, they have turned their back on hundreds of their members.
If, with these innovations, and archer can achieve earlier and long-lasting success, this should be applauded and commended not censored and punished. These ruling smack of a tremendous amount of sour grapes on the part of the perpetrators.
In every other sport "Freestyle" means just that: FREEstyle. When you hobble it with meaningless and discriminatory restrictions it is no longer free.
Considering the release aids, if the national officers think this is something new they don't know much about the history of archery. The ancient Chinese and Japanese used not only thumb rings but a variety of strap releases such as present-day flight shooters use. In 1941, Frank Eicholtz developed his Bow-Loc, a one-piece ledge release that many hunters and archers are using today....thirty years later. As a matter of fact the Bow-Loc supersedes all the present day one piece ledge releases and has never been protested at any tournament.
There is a strong possibility that, under the present idiotic rulings, The archers involved will form their own Association and withdrawal completely from the existing ones. Since organized archery is spread too thin already and what this country does not need is another National Organization, it is strongly and respectfully suggested that the national organizations review their decisions on release aids and compound bows and come to a more acceptable decision.
----Rube and Mary Powell

I support getting along with everyone who calls themselves an archer. Here in San Diego,  we have a very healthy Archery Club that welcomes all styles of archery that's legal under the state, and we all enjoy competing and socializing on the same range. We make fun of each other but we're genuinely all good friends. Most, if not all, promotes the sport, whether it happens to be Traditional,  Olympic,  Compound, or any of the various styles practiced in Asia or beyond.

 
Your thoughts?


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Tom M

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Reply with quote  #2 

Jim, being around and an NFAA member at the time this was written I can recall the uproar the ”new devices“ like the release caused. I sat in a local meeting of clubs where the subject of binoculars was being argued about. I can recall the push in the late 70’s to have more than 5 pins on a sight to shoot “bowhunter“ class in NFAA. Personally being “new” to organized archery I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Then agian I was not really that competitive. 

 I know some folks get wrapped up in “traditional archery” to the point of no return. I like old camo, old bows, wood arrows, but I also believe our equipment can be better. Modern material, some tweaking of designs have already made our bows, arrows, broadhead, etc more efficient and effective. This is especially true with the trend towards lower bow weight for hunting. 
  As for competition I know there are rules, like them or not. Only way to change them is get involved with the rule making. 


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Sun City, Az. by way of San Diego, Ca. Bear TD's Wes Wallace Royal LB, ILF risers and various limbs, Vintage Works 1962 Kodiak reproduction made to my specs

I hunt public land.
chuckc

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Reply with quote  #3 
Well....it comes down to individual thought. If, however, you are competing against others and you are using a piece of technolgy that helps you achieve more accuracy than the others, is it your skill or the technology that wins ? Doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to use it, but maybe not against those that aren't using it. Not fair for you, but equally not fair for them. So...there are classes.
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jaz5833

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Reply with quote  #4 
My thoughts in reviving the opinions of Rube and Mary Powell were not one of equipment issues, but how as Archers, the more important issue is introducing folks to the sport - in any form.

I think Rube saw potential damage to the sport in the then current turmoil over competition rules. And I think there's a lesson to be learned from the past. How many more Archers, might there be today, if not for those past restrictions and arguments?


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Hud

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Reply with quote  #5 
I think he was right, at that time. There were controversies brewing.  Bowhunters were no exception.  Glenn St Charles wrote about the resistance to fiberglass arrows, and later about the Pod's use on hunting arrows. Thankfully it died. Only a few wanted to use strychnine on arrows.

Some things never change, there are the groups pro and con in the NAA and the NFAA. In the NAA, Clayton Shank want amateurs in the Olympics (1972), and not professionals. Others wanted to allow sponsors to fund athletes like they did in winter Olympics. At the time the International Olympic Federation and FITA over looked teams from Communist Block providing training and funding for their athletes. Equipment changes were evolving when Rube Powell dominated in the NFAA.  Equipment changes including bows, stabilizers, sights and aluminum arrows were approved early. As I recall the NFAA later created classes for compound, release aids.

I think Howard Hill saw how many were joining the sport and realized the benefit of offering a recurve. Jim Darling was Howard's bowyer and I believe a national (NFAA) champion.

Today, most bow hunting organizations oppose crossbows for hunting except for the disabled. By todays standards or lack thereof, the sport back then was pretty clean. All you need to do is think about professional sports today and you might conclude, there wasn't any problem that wasn't resolved, then.



Steve Graf

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Reply with quote  #6 
It boils down to classes (as Chuck said) and definitions.  What is archery?  Is it a bow if it shoots an arrow?  Do you have to shoot a bow to be an archer?  Until we can agree on a basic definition, argument about what is acceptable will persist.

Humans are busy little beavers.  We can't help but to make things "better" and with change comes change.

For me, the dividing line between bow and not-bow is that the device must receive its energy from the archer, and must not have a mechanism to lock it in the drawn position.  But even by this definition things like the arrow sling-shot would be a bow.

All this angst over class and definition is one reason why I have no interest in competition.  The arguments about it on the range bore me to death.  The other reason is, of course, 'cause I can't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside [redface][tounge2]  I think maybe even Earl Stanley Gardner would have ejected me from his Lower Bracket Club...  But that's neither here nor there.
Bisch

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Reply with quote  #7 
Totally agree!!!!! To me, these same issues are going on today with string walking and fixed crawl. It should be allowed, and if a guy thinks it’s an unfair advantage, then he should put out the effort to learn how to do it instead of whining about folks that have figured it out!!!!!!!!

The only thing I disagree with these days is crossbows in archery season. To me, a crossbow is not a bow, but a gun that shoots an arrow. I’m not against them being used to hunt, but feel they should be used during general hunting seasons and not in special archery seasons.

Bisch

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aromakr

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Reply with quote  #8 
The one thing that no one talks about is from the perspective of the clubs that host these shoots whether they be novelty shoots or NFAA  competition shoots. There are now more classes than you can shake a stick at. As a founding father on one of California's well know Clubs, we spent more time giving out awards at the end of our open shoot than it took to shoot the course. Every little change in style that became a "different" class required three trophy's 1st, 2nd, 3rd place for men's, women's, and youth classes, plus A, B, & C, divisions, That's 27 awards for each new class! The cost of these awards to the hosting club is staggering, regardless of how meager the award is, not to mention the time and effort it takes the club to calculate and post the winners . This is one of the reasons why I have advocated no scoring shoots for so many years, if you want to keep score fine, but no awards.  I could care less what someone does while hunting except for the crossbow during bow seasons.

Bob

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Sam

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Reply with quote  #9 
Isn't a lot of the controversy a debate within individual clubs regarding local rules? I think it is. In some clubs, a very rigid and conservative base will be opposed to new technologies, while others are more likely to embrace newer ideas. I see it as a fairly easy dilemma (but not necessarily painless) to resolve. One is to create classes that allow the use of these things while retaining classes that stay old school. Granted, there are some on each side of this question who will never tolerate an opposing viewpoint. Or, if the base chooses that the club must adhere to the old school approach no matter what, then some archers will simply need to realize that they may not fit into this group. This is not a pleasant notion, but it is realistic.

I am in the first group here. I don't care what type aiming and release aids another guy uses, even though I don't employ them at all. I, like all trad guys, do have limits as to what creates an acceptable hunting weapon, such as the crossbow being used in archery season. However, if a club chooses to restrict membership based on these technology restraints, it may have difficulty attracting new membership. In the competitive target world, the Freestyle classes (without all the sub-divisions) can accommodate the new stuff without cramping the style of more conservative participants. I think national organizations should lean this way. In short, let everybody shoot within the restrictions they agree with. The debates, the arguments, and the free-for-alls that are so common don't change minds nor often reflect much common sense (self sometimes included). There is room enough under the tent to accommodate differing opinions.

I think a lot like Bisch on this topic. However, I won't support any thing electronic. It still comes down to an archer shooting the equipment they prefer, and no, it is not the business of others. Not being argumentative, just my viewpoint with full realization that some will strongly disagree. However, no need to argue about it.
 



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Sam McMichael

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chuckc

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Reply with quote  #10 
Sam...i mostly agree. Kinda. I don't keep score, so i personally don't care what you do. But for those that sre competing anything you add has the potential to make it easier to be accurate. How to compete ? And mr Bisch, getting on the bandwagon and doing all those things with em is one viewpoint, but another is that i want to compete the way it was before (whatever improvement) started. Is one more right than the other ?

I don't know. I am not smart enough.

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ChuckC

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Old3Toe

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Reply with quote  #11 
“How to compete?” Indeed—that’s an interesting question, Chuck...

It might be said that all the archery contests are variations of target archery. Meaning static targets of various shapes and sizes, shot from fixed distances, with no other elements of speed or dexterity required. Just different settings/venues and basically the same skills... and variations in equipment and technique has evolved linearly to that end.

Why not change the game entirely? How about a formalized score-able archery contests based on targets that move/swing/fly? That have time constraints too... say like 30 seconds and as many arrows as you can shoot. Or no drawing the bow before the target is in motion. Bring back the wand shoot too. Roll it all together and call it the ”bowman’s decathlon” or something.

I dunno, just trying to come at this from a different angle. Done right, there might not be any classes or equipment division to worry about... it would showcase a variety of archery skills—not just one.

Edited to add: Where no single technique or gizmo would lend enough advantage to rule the day. Day after day.

Edited again to add: Honestly, I believe that the American longbow and back quiver would prevail as the equipment of choice.... but regardless of what you use/choose, this kind of shooting is a hoot and fun to watch too!






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chuckc

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Reply with quote  #12 
If that is the game at hand, then that's the rules. I don't know, i just wanna have fun. I don't want to come across defending one and not the other. Just the premise that in any contest there are at least two involved.
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ChuckC

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Reply with quote  #13 
Having been to exactly one competitive shoot in my life, and having spent many years hunting public land and having to "compete" against guys with scoped crossbows that can bullseye an elk at 100 yards, here is my extremely well-informed opinion:

I shoot primitive gear because I like it.  If I compete against people who shoot modern gear, I'm going to get my clock cleaned.  This leaves me three choices:  1.  Demand that the contest conform to my choice of gear, 2.  Change to modern gear myself, or 3. Make peace with my self-imposed limitations and shoot what I want to shoot.  I pick door #3.

Thomas

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steelflight

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Reply with quote  #14 
I agree. Agree that you can't expect everyone to shot how you do. Then it would be utterly boring and lacking in culture.
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Reply with quote  #15 
Bisch,

I really appreciate your post!  I haven't shot with you in a very long time...but I'd be surprised if I was to go to a shoot...which I haven't done also in a very long time...and if you were there....to see you not drilling 10's with your split-fingered "boring a hole in the spot" style that you seemed to shoot so successfully when I knew you.  No one IMO can say that you don't know how to shoot a longbow!  I've tried most all of the styles....and have for the time being kind of settled on my "own blend"....just working on good form and good shooting fun 😉 LOL!

To me having fun with a bow should be just that simple...."having fun with a bow"....

Sincerely,
Kevin 

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MikeNova

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Reply with quote  #16 
Would a crossbow be ok if it was a traditional one? Say a 1600 A.D. model.
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