No modern hunter took up traditional bow hunting because it was the most effective way to hunt. It is about something different. It’s about the joy in the experience. It’s the rush of having no choice but to get really close. It’s the feel of the string in your fingers and a wood bow in your hand. It’s the pure concentration it takes to make a perfect shot, and the overwhelming feeling you experience when it all comes together.
I shoot a 55-pound takedown recurve bow that I bought a long time ago at a local hunting shop. I used to use wood arrows to keep it traditional, but then I started to buy carbon arrows that look like wood because they shot a lot better. I have a leather three-finger glove I shoot with to keep my fingers from blistering and I carry three arrows in a quiver mounted to the bow itself.
I am not sure how much practice it takes to become an expert with a recurve. I shoot mine as much as I can, and I don’t consider myself even close to expert status. Unlike a compound bow, where there is a decent amount of proficiency gained in a relatively short amount of time, a traditional bow is something that takes a lot of dedication to get good at.
Even after a lifetime of shooting, you won’t be as accurate at long ranges as a newbie archer with a tricked out compound cow. For me, this is the appeal of traditional archery: simplicity combined with challenge.
Although I had taken plenty of animals with a gun and compound bow, it took me a few years of hunting with a recurve before killing a deer with it. My first deer with a traditional bow was a huge 4×4 mule deer. After the shot I was shaking like it was my first hunt all over again.
I was so overwhelmed by excitement and emotion I just had to sit there on the mountain and collect my thoughts. To be 100% honest, I thought I was going to shed a tear. I put a lot of work into hunting that deer and when it all came together the moment was almost unbelievable.