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What is the state of traditional archery? Is it on a fall, on the rise, or has it been level for awhile. I assume (being brand-new to this sport, I assume a lot of things) that the advent of the compound bow way back when caused a downward spiral in sales of recurves, but has there been a resurgence at any time since then? What have you "old-timers" seen as far as trad archery participation at shoots - getting better or worse or staying about the same?
 

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Barebow,
It's doing just fine, most of the bowyers I talk have more orders than ever. Some have a waiting list of a year or more. I'll take longbows and recurves any day.
Have fun
Out for now
 

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Being kinda new to the competition end of archery, I have gone from sights and release to compound barebow. I have also purchased 2 recurves and I am currently looking for a takedown longbow. I am VERY interested in keeping everything real and pure.

Unfortunately, today's beginner looks at the newest and greatest technology and think it will make them shoot as well as the pros. Without giving everything a chance and learning the basics.

I did it myself!! Now I know better!

As far as the compound classes go: Barebow shooting is a dying tradition. I got into it on a dare actually and LOVE IT!! I hope to get more shooters interested and grow the class to the place it deserves.

I know traditional classes are on the rise, from what I've seen.

Why do the most challenging and pure of the shooters get the least recognition??

All is not lost.......Keep it real!!
 

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Because it's about archery not hey look at me. Trad archery = us!
Recognition is for those with insecurity issues.
We're a tight close knit family at least up here in the NW.
Once again I quote "a wise man does not need to boast"
It's an attitude thing.:D

Out for now
 

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Barebow -

Maybe I can give you a little perspective. I've been doing this for about 35 years, so I've been through through a lot of it.

In the late sixties, the laminated recurves were the rule, for most serious shooters. Archery was at it's height. There were a lot of ranges, both commercial and private (clubs), spinging up, and all was right with the world. It was a great time for archery. At that time there were actually realtively few longbows, the only guy shooting a Howard Hill longbow in my old club, of about 200 members, was, well, yours truely. Early 70's, the compounds came along, and weren't taken too seriously. Most organizations, didn't allow them in competition. This gradually changed, and IMHO, co-insided with a fall in archery's popularity. Many ranges closed, and quite a few people left.

Since that time, the compounds became more and more prevelant, and most organizations recognized them. Given the compound's "ease" ofd use, especally for would-be hunter, this got a few more people in, and for a while got the recurves out. (I actually bought a brand new Hoyt Pro Medalist Super Hunter for $50, during that time, because the shop owner couldn't get rid of it!) After another while a bunch of folks got tired of the high-tec look of the compounds, and began getting back to basics. With a bit of a vengence. Longbows started appearing on ranges, and the manufacturers saw this and started offerring new models. Bear Archer, for example, didn't offer a longbow in the 70's, but they do now. Interesting, no?

As for today, the only recurve only groups, other than the traditional / primitive types are the Olympic shooters. They're pretty hi-tech too, but at least they fully bend their limbs and use their fingers! The traditional guys do have matches, meets etc, so you just really have to find your niche.

For me, these days, I'm a casual shooter. My my newest, bow is a 20+ years old Hoyt Pro MEDALIST T/D (no number), bow, with limbs ranging from #43 - 81, (that I bought 20+ years ago!!!)

Viper1 out.
 

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I , think it is on the rise in the local shoots and rendezvous, but on a national level I would say it is falling, the numbers seemed down at the last world championship, of course the same top shooters are still there just not many new faces. I shoot an olympic style recurve and my class had only 30 archers in the money and about another 30 archers in for the trophy class, very similar to the number of barebow compounders. I didn't know the number of barebow compounders was as low as it is until I started thinking about trying that class hoping for more competitors and more recognition, but that class is in the same boat so I will just stick with my recurve for now and hope the class starts to grow. I have had alot of guys tell me they wanted to try traditional archery but they just don't want to put the time into it. So I am a firm beleiver in every chance you get to introduce someone to the less technical side of archery....go for it! we need more numbers.
 

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I know what you mean about a tight knit family type group. I think there were just over 20 shooters in MCU money....I only know of 5 who were in the trophy. On Sunday afternoon I was PROUD to find out the best in the world had beaten me. It's not about winning or loosing with us, it's about preserving our style and keeping it real. It feels pretty good to have 2 past world champions pat you on the shoulder and say NICE SHOT, and equaly pleasing to congratulate them when scoring their 11.

I can see why you are reluctant to switch classes. If you know anyone who is thinking of comming over to barebow......we'll be more than glad to accept 'em as one of our own bloodbrothers in the tight family of ALL archery. Keep hammering on and build all calsses. But educate our youth on keeping it real.
 

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Overall, I think that Traditional Archery, however one chooses to define the term, will always appeal to a minority. This is because it's more difficult to acquire the requisite skills. On the otherhand, once acquired the skills don't break and are easier to adjust than the sundry gadgets on a mechanical bow or compound.

Unfortunately, many people, I think, are more interested in tinkering than shooting. So even the poor compound shooters stay at it, hopelessly mired in attempts to correct their lack of skill with more gadgets and adjustments.

Occasionally though, it dawns on someone that they might just be wasting their time with mechanical bows if their real interest is in shooting the bow more than they tinker with it. These people often drift into the traditional side of the sport then, and if they exercise diligence in practice, they often wonder later why they ever needed training wheels or sights in the firstplace.

Consequently, there's probably going to continue to be a bigger market for mechanical bows that traditional bows, but there is also going to be a persistant realization that technology doesn't solve everyone's problems or provide the kind of experience that many archers seem to want.
 

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i think it's on the fall

When I first started shooting five years ago there were several shops that carried traditional gear in North Carolina. Now I only know of one shop and they only carry one recurve but they have pictures of other bows you can order. This place does not even make arrows!

The other shops are very busy with Hunting gear and compound bows. They try to be accomidating and will order what you need but they can't tell you how to use traditional gear.

I could be taht there are more of us out here but we don't buy much from the shops because we are happy with our simple sticks and strings. Quite frankly it is much easier to order new strings and arrows on line.
 

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new archers

The problem with new archers is that when they go to a dealer for a bow, the dealer sees not a person who wants to learn to shoot, but dollar signs, so, sell them a compound bow that you need a release to shoot it and tell them that they will shoot better and higher scores with a release than with fingers. More profit for the dealer this way than selling a recurve or long bow or for that mattewr any bow that can be shoot with fingers. More asserroies needed, more profit. Dosen't matter if they shoot good or not. Some realize their shooting problems and take the proper steps to correct them, but most don't.
Most dealers make no effort to encourage a new archer to learn to shoot with good form or even suggest getting a coach and the manfacutures are no better, maybe even worse, because only a few are making bows which can readly be shot using fingers.
No wonder that all finger shooter styles are declining.

http://home.earthlink.net/~baswb/archery/
 

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someone once asked a man why he bothers shooting that old primitive bow and doesn't shoot a compound. He replied,"Becuase I can!"
 

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First off what do you define as traditional archery?

This may upset some but I don't consider Fita & Olympic style recurves and shooting as truely traditional. Metal risers, carbon limbs, knitting needle carbon arrows , plunger rests, sights & scopes, stabilizers etc are more closely related to compounds than to a Bear Kodiak Mag.
 

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traditional archery

My Bear Kodak special and wooden crested arrows shot off the shelf. barebow, no peep, sights, stablerisers, only a nocking point.
Keep it simple!

Hhhhmmmmmmmmmm, maybe I should shoot that way again.

http://home.earthlink.net/~baswb/archery/
 

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Traditional archery? Well, that's a very complex question actually. How long does a particularly style of tackle have to used before it's considered traditional? Are crossbows traditional? How about turkish bows fitted with overdraw appliances?

Or are we making it more complex by associating it with tackle rather than technique? What techniques could be considered traditional? Is a thumbring a mechanical release? Is a mechanical release traditional?

Well, that does muddy the water does it not?

In my own more or less humble opinion, I think we could distinguish traditional tackle as essentially a bow with a string, no other moving parts and a traditional release as one using the fingers or thumbs, protected or not in contact with the string.

And, yes, crossbows are traditional but they're also crossbows not handbows. Compounds are mechanical bows, some have even called them vertical crossbows. They might be traditional someday but not yet.
 

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I think a lot of it is involved with economics and demographics. The peak of tradbow was in the post WWII and Korea era. A lot on coming home GIs took up bows for hunting and sport just as the Bear publicity and production empire got rollin with the debugging of 'glas for bows. A lot of others Pearson, Wing etc etc functionally rode on FB's coattails (no denigration implied). Bows represented a relatively inexpensive hunting opportunity for low income ex-GIs with growing families. And the realtive quietness of the sport allowed development of ranges in public parks and on property close to population centers (In a pre- litigatious era as well) their children--the 1st postwar baby boomers grew up with their example and similar values and interests.

A lot has changed since then, newer generations have become enthralled with technology----most have given up on outdoor sports--especially hunting of any sort and a lot of fishing. We are on the downhill side of the Postwar baby boom. and the newer generations'd rather play computer games. the few that still hunt are enthralled with high tech. toys and tools. Suburban growth wiped out many of the archery clubs and ranges as their members died off.
The bows you used to find in shops over the counter were factory production-made which kept costs low and developed extensive dealer networks. (I recall reading somewhere that Bear produced a quqrter of a MIllion bows a year at its peak) Factories switched to compounds 'cause thats what the bowhunters who wanted instant results wanted. They had/have lots of money to spend on equipment but modern pressures of life mean they don't have, won't make, time that traditional archery requires to become proficient.

The pendeulem is clearly moving however. Many of the factories are responding to the growth of interest in tradbows by bringing back recurves and longbows. However the most noticable growth is in the custom and limited production bows-----which are mostly special order. Only a few supply houses carry on-the-shelf- inventory. On-line ordering is killing the local shops unless they cater to the wheel and gizmo crowd
. In one sense the custom bowyers and modern materials are giving us a golden age of stick and string bows in terms of preformance and reliability. However the costs are going up and the present economy may prove to be a brake on tradbow industry growth as we create more and more dropouts who can no longer afford the expensive custom stuff, the growing cost of getting to and from hunting locations, and there is more and more development pressure on accessible public lands.

traditionalists are always in the minority and we further devide and weaken ourselfs by squabbling over whats traditional and holier-than-thou eye-poking over types of equpment and shooting methods.

just my take on it---now somebody else can have the soap-box
the other DWS
 

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:) I have read this thread a few times and, have been a little reluctant to reply. It seems many have different ideas on just what traditional is or should be. Back in 1996 I had grown tired of the gimmicks and, also through the years had alot of problems with reliability of my compounds. I decided to go back to what I started out with. A bow with no wheels and cables. I still use a recurve that has a single sight pin and, a flipper 2 rest. I also shoot bare bow---like both ways. Many can be very critical of seeing a custom bow with a sight and, rest. The people I associate with are NOT into anything that does not have wheels, cams and, a ton of stuff attached to the bow. These same people did not start out with a bare bow either and most folks I talk to feel that hunting with a recurve, long bow, self bow greatly diminishes their chances of success. They also like the idea that alot less practice is involved. I think that in todays world and, I hate to go down this road but,----here it goes-- many are looking for the shortest and, surest way to fill a tag. I have come in contact with folks whos attitude literally blows my mind with the idea that one must absolutely without any deviation have the latest gadget or device that promises a short cut. Only on rare occasion do I come across a guy who still desires a challenge and, realizes that if the tag isn't filled--YES--the sun will still rise and, set. I do not want to sound or, be so negative. For me though I have come in contact with many people who just are not willing ti give a plain old stick a chance. They see it as a giant leep or step backwards.
 

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In my part of the woods Oly recurve still dominates and more people are shooting barebow and longbow. Gluttons for punishment if you ask me :D The club I shoot at is down to only 4 full time Oly recurvers. There are a few others but they're gone all traditional. Yuck :p
 

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Sticks rule

I'll put it this way it's all "Native Evolution"!
Up here in the PacWest it's alive and well!
:D

Eat safe
Out for now
 

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traditiional

Heck, I don't care of I tag anything or not, it's just great to be out in the field and watch the various animals. A clean shot and I will take it and if no shot is there, I'll just observe. At times, I wish I had a camera with me.

http://home.earthlink.net/~baswb/archery/
 
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