From the Blueridge Mtns. of Pennsylvania along the banks of the Susquehanna and Lehigh Rivers to a ranch in Craig, Colorado. A past president of Waxobe Archers, and    Muzzleloading clubs. Survival along with Horse Travel are just a few of Howdy's interests. Has written numerous articles for Outdoor Magazines, Tomahawk and Long Rifle and now The North American Frontiersmen Magazine.



     Instinctive Shooting.  Getting involved in Primitive Archery is a highly personal and self satisfying sport.  Probably the nicest aspect is that you can practice in your garage or back yard.  The most fun is with a group of friends going afield and stump shooting.  Keeping in shape in order to handle the weight bow you have chosen is very important.  It's difficult to go to a shoot and attempt to shoot 4 arrows  at 14 or 28 targets and run out of  gas. During the winter months I use a machine to keep my upper body tuned.  This along with a walking machine.  When you live in the high snow country with 3 straight months of minus temperatures these machines do the job. Conditioning is a serious part of the game. If you live near an archery range join up and take advantage of it.  You wont regret it. It's like shooting your way around a golf course.
     I cant imagine a Frontiersmen not knowing something about making and shooting a bow.  Especially if they were fortunate enough to have contact with an Indian Tribe. I know if I were in that situation I sure would take advantage of learning it's use because of it's stelt and noise over the gun.
     I got involved shooting a bow at an early age.  Needless to say my brothers and friends had to figure it all out after finding bows and arrows at park sales.  We became quick studies because we always had a sling shot hanging out of our back pockets so learning to shoot instinctively came easy.  It's the same concept finding a sight picture.  Along the line we found a well organized Archery Club.  We were in heaven.  The people were the nicest and talented people you would ever want to meet.  The WA-XO-BE  Archers.  They had a 28 target field course.  WAUGH     We lived on it.
     A fellow from New York State, Bob Landers ran a yearly deer hunt with prizes and a banquet.  He invited shooters and dealers like Howard Hill, Fred Bear along with a host of other famous shooters and hunters.  When I saw Howard and Fred shooting coins out of the air I was floored.  I could not believe how accurate an instinctive shooter could be.  These guy's were trick shooting with 70lb. bows and to boot Howard Hills left eye was his dominate eye and Fred Bear was left handed.  They were amazing.  Needless to say I hung on their every word.  After spending some time with these guy's it was back to the range.
     The main ingredient for instinctive shooting is practice correct form, instinctive aiming a swing shot draw , a solid anchor and a smooth follow through.  This is the formula and must always be foremost in your mind.
      Howard Hill termed his style of shooting a swing shot.  This is one fluid motion.  Take hold of the bow, fingers on the string, slightly bend at the waist, draw, anchor while aiming and release, follow through.   Go over it again in more detail.  Take hold of the bow with a relaxed grip.  A death grip on the bow handle will take away it's working ability.  Your bow arm must be slightly bent at the elbow.  This will absorb the shock and help you with a clean release.

      Lets place an arrow on the string.  Keep in mind that you must have a marked spot on the string were you place your arrow nock each and every time you put an arrow on the string.  This is important because it keeps your arrow from proposing in flight  after the arrow leave the bow.  You must raise your nock at least 3/8 to 1/2 inch high of center.  When an arrow leave a bow it has a tendency to somewhat catapult from the bow.  This will help keep this from happening.  You may have to experiment with this .  When you find the right location on your string  you want to wrap something above the nock so that you can find this spot without looking.  

Another important thing is to measure your string height.  This is called brace height.  Place a ruler inside the handle of the bow and measure the height of your string.  This must be exactly the same every time you string your bow.

     Another important measurement is were your arrow lies against the bow.  Use something to mark this spot.  I shoot with a glove on my bow hand.  The arrow rides across the top of my left index knuckle.  Place some sort of an indicator on your bow handle so that your hand grips the bow in the same place every time. 

     Anchor point is a spot on your face that you draw to every time you shoot an arrow.  My anchor is the corner of my mouth.  I use the tip of my index finger in the corner of my mouth with my thumb cupped down along my jaw bone.  A lot of shooters use their third finger and that's fine.  The index finger does a couple of things.  It gives me a cleaner release and follow through, it will keep you from developing the habit of plucking the string.  Most important  I hunt with a 50 to 55 lb. bow and sometimes heavier.  This anchor gives me the most distance possible out of my bows.  I also sometimes walk my face and that's a later story. After spending years on various field courses with yardages ranging from 10 to 80 yards you can understand why yardage is so important.
     Release - I swing draw the bow, touch my index finger in the corner of my mouth and release.  one of my treasured secrets  is from the time I begin my draw I Hum ----- to myself so theirs no distractions.  I also do this when shooting.  From the moment I place my finger on the trigger I hum so that when the gun goes off its a total surprise. 
     Sight picture, say your at about 15 yards.  Take hold of the bow and begin your draw.  Your burning a hole in the target and your peripheral vision will see your arrow which should be  below the target and slightly left.  Arrows correctly spined for your bow will bend or flex around the bow upon release.  If you are constantly shooting left you may try a lighter arrow.  If the arrows going left continues then you must work on your release.  One thing I remember from a long time ago.  If you make your own arrows always make sure that the grain of the arrow is stacked top to bottom and not right to left.  This could cause inconsistent arrow flight and cause arrows to break especially with heavy bows.
     Lets put it together.  Try closing your eyes and keep going over this time and again in your mind.  Take hold of your bow, fingers on the string now swing shoot, draw, sight picture, anchor, release and follow through.  That's it.  No black magic.
     Next time I'll address all the ins and outs of primetime shooting terminology plus the shooting rules as they pertain to our sport.  Until next time.  Keep your feathers dry.



period archery pertaining to those than went before us.

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