The Dark Side of Archery

“You’ve gone to the Dark Side!” my friend at the archery range exclaimed in mock horror.

“I didn’t throw away the old traditional bow,” I assured her.  “I’m just learning a new one.  Besides, it’s not like it’s a compound.”

“True,” she consented to the compromise. “Perhaps it’s just the Gray Side.”  Even after her disparaging words about my new bow, she wanted to examine it.

It’s a Hoyt Helix, and I can tell that learning this new bow will be slow.  Only a fool believes that she can instantly transfer all of her skills in traditional archery to a FITA type recurve, or vise versa.  So far, it’s just a bow with an arrow rest, plunger and clicker.  But so far, I can still shoot better without the clicker than with it.  When that’s no longer true, I’ll add a sight.  Learn one thing at a time, learn it well, then move on to the next thing.  This has been my philosophy in archery.

This is why I bought the Hoyt — I do very well with the traditional bare bow.  My walls have accumulated a fair amount of awards. Time to learn something new.

The first thing that attracted my attention in this bow is how noisy it was.  “Damn!” I said after the first couple of shots.  “Can’t we quiet this thing down a bit.”

“It’s a target bow,” people told me. “Get used to it.”

The bow did not come with any literature, so I hit the internet and was able to find the Hoyt ’08 Recurve Operator’s Manual. The first thing I found was right there on Page 10: “Hoyt does not recommend less than 10 twists in a string.”  The archery shop people had given me the bow with a string that had perhaps 3 or 4 twists in it.  I asked about the brace hight, and they said, “It’s already been tuned to 8 3/4 inches.”

Well, according to the manual, that’s the minimum brace height, and has a range of between 8 3/4″ to 9 1/2″.  In traditional and bowhunting archery, the brace height, or fistmele, is “tuned” in order to find the “Sweet Spot.”  So I set about finding this Sweet Spot on the Hoyt by twisting the string, shooting, and twisting it again until the bow quieted.  Now the bow spends more energy sending the arrow downrange and less energy making noise.

So, what have we learned today?  That the people at the archery shop are wonderful, but don’t take their word for maintenance of your bow.  Never hurts to do some research, and some traditional skills are translatable to modern archery.


One Response

  1. Welcome to the Grey Side!

    We have one archery shop nearby that is famous for bad advice. They managed to attach the wrong pressure button onto my riser, sold me the wrong arrows when I bought my first ‘real’ bow there, etc. I don’t understand why they do not take little trouble in training their staff, it would make for happier customers and better business. The only way to shop there is to make sure you know exactly what you want and not listen to their advice.

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