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New To

Traditional Archery

This page was created to educate, advise, and inspire new traditional archers.

Whether you are considering switching over from other gear, or are new to archery altogether, as The National Traditional Bowhunting Organization we feel it is our duty to help you get started on the right track.

Below you will find quotes from traditional bowhunters, some of them are stalwarts of traditional archery, while others were in your same shoes not long ago.

Traditional archers are happy to help anyone seeking to join us on this path we've chosen. Please reach out to us for help or advice, and become a part of 

The National Traditional Bowhunting Organization,

Compton Traditional Bowhunters.

Archery is meant to be challenging. Without taking the time to enjoy those challenges, one will never fully understand or appreciate the joy of archery. The efforts are well worth the rewards, and those rewards can only be experienced through what we now call 'traditional archery.'


Past President, CTB

Traditional bowhunting is as close as a person can get to the animals, their habits, their habitat, and Mother Natures wonderful gifts. You can't enjoy the ultimate thrill of hunting until you are as close as you can stalk- for me that is 20 yards and under, and preferably under 15 yards. That's where
traditional bowhunters limit themselves. They must learn to be great outdoorsmen to do that consistently.


Past President, CTB


Past President, CTB

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of people who decide to go traditional and never look back. The successful ones have enjoyed an immersion of their soul into a rewarding pastime that offers an identity which defines who they are for a lifetime. At the same time, the decision isn’t one that comes without pitfalls. If you truly intend to go trad and not look back, you must be ready to be ready accept and understand the limitations of traditional archery. The efficiency of modern equipment has evolved to where at fifty yards, the hunt is over. For the traditional archer, fifty yards is where the hunt is about to begin. As a traditional bowhunter, the definition of a trophy changes. Your trophy has only to meet YOUR standard, not the preconceived standards established by others. If the flight of a helically fletched arrow cranking its way to the target is for you, welcome to the family.

For someone new to making the switch, start out with a lighter weight bow, work on form, then accuracy will follow. Be persistent and practice, and above all keep it simple and don't over complicate it. Archery and bowhunting should be fun and too often we make it far more difficult than it should be.


Former Vice President, CTB


I look at a 3d shoot and you will see compound guys all sober and serious, not be talking, where a group of stick bow shooters will be laughing and talking all the way through the course, teasing each other and having a great time, even if it is not where they wanted the arrow to go. Honestly, it's just fun even to watch the arrow (mine looks like a rainbow.) This is not meant to be disrespectful, but there seems to be more camaraderie with traditional shooters. They are always willing to help each other out.

Past CTB Board Member

I'm one of the guys that switched over from compound, and here is my best advice. First, just pick up a bow and shoot it. Don't spend years thinking about the perfect bow, just put your hands on traditional equipment and start shooting. You'll figure it out. Second, I had to change the way I hunt. The idea is to not to see how far you can shoot, but how close you can get to the animal. Last and most important, traditional archery puts the fun back into hunting. I've killed more animals with my traditional equipment, I've made a ton of great friends, and I've become a better hunter in the process. It might take a few years to find success in the field, but believe me when I tell you that it is worth it.


Past CTB Board Member


Past CTB Board Member

The first is the simplicity of the equipment. There is very little that a beginning archer can not do for themselves. Spend the time to tune and match your equipment Although I love making and shooting wood arrows, carbon are hard to beat for a beginner as they take out some of the variables and are more durable.
Second is check your dominant eye and learn to shoot accordingly. Lastly shoot a bow that you can shoot comfortably all day. Do not pick a bow that is too heavy, especially at first. Do not be afraid to try different techniques, but if something works, give it an honest shot to perfect it.

Occasionally I have been asked by friends and acquaintances who shoot compound bows my advice when they are considering switching to a traditional bow. Of course, the first suggestion would be to reduce the weight. On average not to shoot over a 45 pounds and preferably less.

Then, do they start with a recurve or longbow? My answer would probably be recurve, due to the handle configuration which is closer to that of a compound. I would also suggest starting with a bow that doesn't break the bank. There are plenty of good used bows on the market at a reasonable price. If they get hooked of traditional shooting more bows will definitely follow


Past CTB Board Member

When they have decided on the bow, they want to try next would be acquiring a set of arrows that are properly matched to the bow. They will not enjoy shooting with arrows that wobble all over the place.

Then comes the fun part, shooting the bow. If a person can find a friend that has shot a traditional bow for quite a while and shoots one well, it can make all the difference. Have the friend show you how to properly set up the bow, like getting the right string nock location and brace height right. Practice 10 yards or less and do not shoot groups of arrows. Shoot one arrow then retrieve your arrow from the target. That will help the shooter make every arrow count. Form is everything and having a solid and consistent anchor point and keeping the bow arm up until the arrow strikes the target will put you well on your way.

I can't state how important it is to continue to practice only at short distances and develop the proper hand and eye coordination and good form before shooting at longer distances even though the urge will be there.

If the new traditional shooter decides he or she is ready to hunt, my last piece of advice is not become discouraged if you happen to miss a animal. Remember you are putting a self imposed challenge on yourself. Keep your shot distances short and concentrate on a spot. Do not rush the shot. When you finally harvest a animal with your traditional bow, believe me you will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing you did it the hard way!

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