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Babbs in the Woods: Back to the business of flinging arrows

Trial and error. Live and learn. That’s about all I can write so far about my foray in the world of bowhunting.

Last year, when I poked a deer decoy right smack dab in the middle of its nose with an arrow, shot from a tree stand about 18 feet off the ground and at a decoy about 25 yards away – I shied away from bowhunting. I just could not get my groups of arrows together, anywhere on that decoy’s body or on any archery target.

Many of you probably know or have read that I teach NRA handgun courses and I also know how to shoot shotguns and rifles. But this bow thing … it had me stumped. Until … I realized that my arm that pushes out the compound bow did not extend fully because the bow’s draw length was set at 24 inches.

So, I asked hubby to measure the distance between my extended arms, from middle finger tip to middle finger tip, and divided it by 2.5. That measured about 26 inches.

Image courtesy of http://www.huntersfriend.com/draw-length-weight.htm

Then, I took the bow to a local bow shop, Aaron’s Archery, near Newburg, Mo., and they ordered a part for my bow and extended the draw length to 27 inches. That means I had to compensate for three inches of a too-short draw before now.

I liked how the guys in the shop treated me like I was one of them, with respect and encouragement. I also noticed that women came in and out of the doors of the small shop set on a remote highway in the Ozarks, to have their bows adjusted for the upcoming archery/deer season.

What I don’t like is that I had this bow set up for me at a big box store in Springfield, Mo., at Bass Pro Shops. I talked to the guys at the archery shop about that experience, and they basically rolled their eyes and said it was like getting someone from the underwear department at Walmart to sell you a gun in the sporting goods section.

And, not only did they “short” me on my draw length, they also sold me a release that does not work with a loop on the bowstring. I always had problem clipping the release to the loophole and wondered how I’d manage in a stressful situation, when the adrenalin started pumping and I had to draw on an animal.

I would think that an archery shop at a large sporting goods’ store would do a better job at setting up a new hunter with equipment than to short her three inches in draw length. And, no, my arms have not grown longer in the past couple of years. I’m sure of that …

So, lesson learned. Go to the real pros in the archery business to have your bow worked on, or to get a new bow. Besides that, you’ll hear better stories at these shops, too.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/babbsbaird
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  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • Joanna says: September 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Interesting. I’m definitely going to have to do some measuring. Of course I haven’t been out since I was pregnant with my daughter 3 years ago when my belly started getting in the way. Now I’ve got a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old, so I probably won’t be getting out this season either. Some day…

    • Women's Outdoor News says: September 3, 2010 at 10:36 am

      Hey Joanna,
      I hear you. You’re talking to a woman who still has a strap mark from carrying a diaper bag for about 13 years (4 kids!). You’re getting there though and it won’t be long before you can pack the bag and head to the blind with bow and kids in tow. Yes, check out the draw length though. And if you need to, find a crusty old guy bowhunter in a nearby bow shop to help you out!