Getting to know a new bow

by Steve Galea | August 4, 2015

bowblog
Steve GaleaI got the call a couple of weeks ago. My new long bow had landed in Ontario and was residing at a friend’s house.

This one is the bow of my dreams – a Howard Hill, Big 5, laminated longbow drawing 64 pounds. Like me, it’s left handed – and perhaps a tad heavier than it needs to be.

I’ve been drooling over this bow in catalogues and on-line for several years now. Luckily, an off-handed remark in a phone conversation revealed that a friend had sent one out west to be sold on consignment. He asked if I’d like to see it. I jumped at the chance.

My old 52-pound longbow, a proven deer taker, is not going to be retired just yet. But she’ll become my back-up bow. She and I have already had this talk and she has been very understanding thus far. Which is evidenced by the fact, there have been no broken bow strings or inexplicably wild arrows.

Moving up to a heavier bow is either an act of faith or recklessness, depending on how large the weight increase. Move up 20 pounds and you might regret it. Move up 12, as I’m doing, and things might work out just fine. It all depends on how you do it.

The faith versus recklessness thing is further complicated by age. When I was younger, I used to shoot a 67-pound longbow, so this weight is nothing new to me. But the key word in that sentence was younger. These days, my elbows, neck and shoulders complain a bit more.

Not enough to stop me from buying the new bow – just a bit more.

The thing I keep telling myself is that I might not be a spring chicken, but that’s OK because I’ve never seen a chicken draw a 64-pound longbow.

The thing I keep telling myself is that I might not be a spring chicken, but that’s OK because I’ve never seen a chicken draw a 64-pound longbow.

So I’ll start by shooting it just a few arrows a day – perhaps a dozen or so, close up to my target bag. I’ll be tempted to shoot more; I’m always tempted to shoot more. But I’ll remind myself that my middle-aged muscles need to get used to the new weight.

Why get a heavier bow?

A bow like this is a big game taker. In the right hands, with the right arrow and broadhead, there isn’t a game animal in North America it can’t handle. A bear, I might have passed up with my lighter long bow might not be so lucky with this one.

That is to say, it will fling arrows downrange with some authority. And it will provide advantages in terms of flatter trajectory and more kinetic energy.

But mostly, this bow is a tip of the hat to those great hunting archers of old – the legendary Howard Hill being chief among them. This is the style of longbow he designed and used with astounding accuracy. And he shot a much heavier version of it, at a ripe old age that I am not even close to yet.

I take comfort in that – and the fact that a spring chicken wouldn’t have stood a chance within 40 yards of him.

Comments