Making bow hunting a snap
For years I have hunted with a compound bow made in the early 1980s. When I bought it, the technology that went into making it was cutting edge. Cams, cables and pulleys at the end of the limbs decreased the amount of strength required to hold it...
For years I have hunted with a compound bow made in the early 1980s.
When I bought it, the technology that went into making it was cutting edge. Cams, cables and pulleys at the end of the limbs decreased the amount of strength required to hold it from 70 pounds to between 35 and 40 pounds. This was a dramatic improvement over the old long bows used by Indians and archers of the middle ages. When a person pulls a 70-pound long bow to its full extension, he is holding 70 pounds.
Needless to say, one does not hold at full draw for long periods of time. If I had been hunting with a long bow 200 years ago as an Indian, I may have been forced to become a vegetarian, the old Indian word for "lousy hunter". I can not, nor was I ever able to hold a full draw for more than a second or two.
The newer compounds with 50-percent let-off made practice and hunting much easier. In a hunting situation, I could hold at full draw for 30 seconds, sometimes slightly more, depending on the amount of adrenaline rush caused by the deer in my sights. The longer a person can hold, the more sure they can be of a good shot. A deer might be passing behind a tree, giving the hunter a perfect opportunity to draw, but a limited amount of time for the target to emerge into the correct position.
With my compound, the increased draw time made hunting much easier, but the deer had to get himself where he needed to be or I would have to let off. Letting off an arrow, rather than releasing it at a target, is rather awkward at best. The force that would have been put on the arrow, sending it off at a high rate of speed is instead transferred into a person's arm and shoulder causing an unmistakable jerk and grimace of pain from joints trying to avoid being separated. The deer that did not move into position quickly enough is now heading over the hill, wondering what all the commotion is behind him.
Last Christmas, I made the next great leap in technology. My sons bought me one of the new, latest and greatest bows. It did not look dramatically different than my old compound, but things have definitely changed in the past 25 years. At the time, I thought it was really nice, and a good Christmas present. It beats a couple of neck-ties by a long ways.
I did not get it set up until a couple of weeks ago. It is amazing. The let-off is approximately 85%. This converts to between 10 and 15 pounds at full draw. A person can hold that much at the ready for several minutes or until another entirely different deer walks into the picture. When everything was set properly, it took less than ten shots to be able to group my arrows well within the kill zone from 15 to 40 yards using the same sight pin.
I know, for regular readers that are not bow hunters, all this information may be useless and a bit boring. For the bow hunters in the audience, this is earth shattering news. All the hype we have heard and not believed about advances in the science of archery is not all hype.
If you are shooting a bow that is 15 or 20 years old, it is time to trade up. Just about everything you have heard about the new technology is true. The new bows will not keep up from falling into ditches or out of trees, but they will definitely make us better shots and the hunt more enjoyable.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.