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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Traditional Archery - the perfect sport for summer + the zombie apocalypse

12 Reasons Why Traditional Archery is the Best for Beginners and more Advanced Archers

#1. Traditional Archery Gets You Outdoors

Unlike Archery Tag which is usually done indoors, or Olympic Archery (which is far too frequently practiced indoors), traditional archers love being outdoors.

There are plenty of archery clubs in Toronto that encourage you to play in outdoor spaces, and most of them use the Toronto Archery Range as their main place to have club meetings.

The Toronto Archery Club is just one of many clubs based in Toronto - there are also a variety of smaller clubs catering to more specific topics.

You can learn more about the Toronto Archery Club at

If you decide to take archery on as a hobby, there are plenty of tournaments that happen across the Ontario, close to Ontario and throughout the world.

#2. Traditional Archery is open to All levels of Fitness
You don’t need to be a gym bunny or a super athlete to shoot a traditional bow.

If you can lift your arms, you can shoot a bow, whether it is a traditional recurve, a longbow or even an horsebow (aka shortbow).

#3. Safety

Many archery clubs pride themselves on their level of safety. The Toronto Archery Range is no different.

The Toronto Archery Range has only ever had 1 incident causing injury in the last 50 years, which was determined to be the fault of two individuals (see the Galka / Stankiewicz incident from October 2000) who ignored the safety rules.

The Toronto Archery Range has a long list of archery safety rules people are supposed to follow and it is a $4,000 fine if they ignore the rules.

Tomfoolery is not prohibited because that is reckless endangerment and punishable with prison time and a huge fine. If other archers see people acting in a dangerous manner, they are quick to tell them to stop doing that nonsense.

With respect to traditional archery it is one of the safest forms of archery to do as the bows are typically significantly less powerful than compound bows (which store and release a lot more kinetic energy).

#4. Traditional Archery is the Easiest to Learn

Many archery instructors prefer to teach traditional archery before teaching other types of archery.

Typically a beginner learns traditional recurve first, and if they desire to learn a different style later on then it is easier for them to later learn longbow, horsebow, Olympic recurve or even compound bow.

It is strongly recommended people take a beginners’ course first, so everyone learns the basics properly from an experienced instructor. In Toronto the best archery instructors are listed on

Many places around the world have a severe lack of experienced instructors, but Toronto is fortunate because it has some of the best instructors that can be found in all of Canada.

Hot Tip, if you are looking for the best instructor you can afford, try to get Charles Moffat. He is the most expensive, but he is also the best archery instructor in all of Ontario and teaches all five major styles of archery.

If you cannot find a tutor, you can also try to learn by reading websites or books, but ideally an instructor will be able to spot your mistakes and help you to prevent mistakes - and since broken arrows = lost money, it is wise to get an archery instructor as a cost savings measure.

#5. Traditional Archery is the Most Friendly

It is a known fact that Olympic archers tend to be snobs, compound archers tend to be anti-social, and traditional archers are the people having a party with their traditional recurves, longbows and horsebows.

As a whole many archers tend to be helpful and overall social, but it is the traditional archers who are the most open to just hanging out, relaxing and shooting. Many of them shoot recreationally, but a few also shoot in traditional competitions - and carpool in groups to go to such events.

#6. Competitions and Awards

There are more traditional competitions than there is any other style of archery competitions. While compounds and Olympic recurves seem more prestigious, 90% of archers shoot traditional bows and consequently the lion's share of competitions out there are actually traditional. Most compound shooters hunt, they don't bother to compete because their primary goal is to get a big buck or turkey. And even most Olympic recurve archers don't compete either, it is really only a tiny percentage of Olympic archers who actually compete.

Thus if you want to compete, the chances of you finding competitions that are near you is much improved if you get into competitive traditional.

And as explained above, traditional archery is very social and many trad archers like to carpool to competitions and socialize at those events.

#7. Traditional Archery is all about Skill

There are no gadgets in traditional archery. The person with the most expensive bow is not guaranteed to win. It is the most experienced and most skilled archers who typically are the best shots.

And because it is based on skill, not strength, men and women, young and old, able bodied or not, all people have their own skill level that is separate from their strength, endurance and mobility.

Which oddly enough means it is usually the elderly people at the archery range who are the best shots.

Regardless of your height, size, shape, age, gender are all equal.

Aage and experience shooting are certainly beneficial, however that doesn't mean you cannot get beat by a 15 year old who has been shooting since the age of 4 and has 11 years more experience than you do.

In contrast, compound archery and Olympic archery are all about the gadgets: Sights, stabilizers, clickers, mechanical releases, levels, peep sights, etc.

#8. Archery Etiquette and Politeness

Traditional archery is the most polite. (Especially in Canada, where people are generally very polite anyway.)

Olympic archery snobs have a tendency to be rude and compound shooters are just generally anti-social, so when it comes to people with social skills and understand etiquette and politeness it is the traditional archers who really understand it.

Hot Tip: It is a good idea to carry $10 in your wallet/purse just in case you step on someone's arrow and break it, this way you can just quickly hand them $10 as way of apology and you can stop having to say sorry a million times and feeling embarrassment for breaking their arrow. $10 won't break your budget, but it is typically more than enough to pay for a traditional arrow. (It can sometimes be more than that, but it certainly smooths things over faster regardless.)

#9. Traditional Archery is All Year

Olympic archers typically only practice during the summer.

Compound archers typically only practice before or during a particular hunting season.

In contrast there are quite a few traditional archers who practice Spring, Summer, Autumn - and even in the Winter. And in Toronto, that means going outside in the freezing cold to practice. (One might argue that "trad archers be crazy man", but the winter archers have some serious dedication to their sport.

#10. Traditional Archery Vs the Weather

Rain, snow or wind - traditional archers can still shoot in it because they love a challenge and learn how to adjust for the wind conditions.

There is an equipment issue as wooden bows can be damaged by water, but there is also a tradition of archers oiling their bows using a various oils / greases. eg. Local Toronto bowyer Mike Meusel typically coats his wooden bows in tung oil. (The even more traditional archers who are also into bowhunting sometimes use deer grease or bear grease, although that is not for everyone obviously.)

The oil or grease (regardless of what you use) soaks into the wood of the bow and protects it from water damage.

It is still possible to do traditional archery indoors where it is potentially warmer and/or air conditioned, but it is certainly not a necessity to do so.

#11. Traditional Bows usually have a Long Life Span

The great thing about a well-made bow is that it will typically last decades. There are archers out there using bows that were made in the 1960s and 1970s (or older!) and they still shoot great.

Thus buying a traditional bow is for life, not just one summer.

When you buy a bow you can expect to be shooting it for years or even decades to come. You might later get a better bow and sell your old bow, or you might decide to keep it. Or even collect bows as some archers do.

In addition to having long life spans, the resale value of used bows is typically quite good. As long as a person takes good care of their bow (no dry-firing, stringing it properly, not misusing or abusing it) then a bow will typically stay in very good condition and have a good resale value - often 70 to 90% of whatever a person originally paid for it. Some archers even tell stories of selling a bow for the same price or MORE than they paid for it.

In contrast the technology used in making compound bows / Olympic bows changes every year. As such the bows depreciate in value faster. This is especially true of compound bows which these days are so complicated that they start to fall apart after a few years and need regular repairs, and since nobody wants to buy an old used compound bow model from 2012 when they could get the latest 2017 model it becomes pretty clear that you can be sure people won't want to pay anywhere close to full price for an used compound bow.

Once you have a bow you rarely need to buy new things for it. You might buy new arrows, a new bowstring or a different glove once in awhile, but otherwise you don't need to buy new equipment regularly. That is part of the charm of traditional archery. It is so simple you really don't need much.

#12. Traditional Bows Vs the Zombie Apocalypse

Okay, so the chances of zombies rising up is nil, but it is still fun to think about.

So here is the thing...

Olympic arrows are useless for hunting. They are designed for speed and long distance accuracy, not for killing things.

Compound arrows are designed for killing things, but compound bows are notoriously easy to break because the cams are so fragile. *You would not want to club a zombie's brains in using a compound bow, that is a great way to break your cams.* And once broken, good luck trying to fix it. A few years after (or possibly sooner) the Apocalypse happens your compound bow would break down and be useless. Compound bows just cannot handle normal wear and tear like a traditional bow can because they have too many moving parts.

Thus when it comes to survivalism (whether it is zombies, a nuclear war, or societal collapse) the best type of bow to learn how to use is a traditional bow because they are so durable.

Unlike bullets, traditional arrows and arrowheads are relatively easy to make - which gives traditional archery a distinct advantage over firearms because people will very quickly run out of bullets.

People around the world still choose to hunt with bows - indeed there is an island off the coast of India which has never been visited by anthropologists because the locals there shoot anyone visiting their island with arrows - as in shoot them dead, and they are reputedly very good shots.

So if people still bowhunt, it is clear that should worst come to worst, you too could bowhunt - but you really should learn how first. And a true survivalist should really have archery lessons so that they learn how to do it properly.


Did I forget to mention that archery is great exercise for the upper body, especially the back and shoulder muscles?

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