I bought a compound bow this week. This is the first bow I have ever owned and the first bow I’ve shot since I was in the Boy Scouts. The bow is a Diamond Razor Edge, which is actually a youth bow. I ended up with a youth bow because it turns out that I am a weakling, and this bow can be adjusted down to a low draw weight — about 45 pounds in my case.
In Missouri, the archery deer season is four months long, from September 15 to January 15. That is eighteen weekends. By comparison, the regular firearms deer season is only twelve days this year. Additionally, most of the public lands that are close to St. Louis prohibit deer hunting with firearms, but they allow archery deer hunting. I can even hunt around my mom’s property without alarming her neighbors. Bow hunting drastically expands my deer hunting opportunities in both time and space.
Before I even started looking at bows, I picked up and read Bowhunting Equipment & Skills. It is a great little introduction, and I was glad to have the many mysterious features and nomenclature explained before I tried to have a conversation with a salesman. The guy I worked with at Cabela’s was very knowledgeable and very helpful. Not only did he help me select the right equipment, but he coached me at the in-store archery range and quickly had me shooting decently.
I have set up a little archery range in the back yard. I have a self-healing target block made of polyethylene foam. I leaned a four foot square piece of plywood against the concrete back wall of the house, and then I set up the foam target block in front of that. If I miss the block, I will hit the plywood. If I miss the plywood, I will hit the house. This seems to be the safest arrangement. Of course, I never missed the foam block. This evening, I marked off ten yards and practiced from there, but I should have room for twenty or twenty-five yards. Practicing in the back yard is much more pleasant than going to a public shooting range. Also, I get to talk to the neighbors this way.
During this evening’s practice, I realized I was using the peep incorrectly. The peep is black, and so is the guard around the sight pins. I had been letting the sight pin naturally fall into the center of the fuzzy circle of the peep, but it turns out I was mistaking the top of the guard at the front for the top of the peep in the rear. Once I started paying better attention to the peep, my groups tightened up a bit. I think I can reliably hit a two-inch circle at ten yards. However, it also means the point of impact is different. I am now shooting about three inches high at ten yards. I will need to adjust the sight.
The muscles that you use to draw and hold a bowstring are muscles that you don’t use for anything else — except rowing. I certainly haven’t been using them in my IT career. If I can build up those muscles, I can increase the draw weight of the bow. My bow goes up to 60 pounds, which is a normal draw weight for an adult bow. From now on, I will make rowing exercises part of my routine at the gym. I can already feel some soreness in those muscles from this evening’s practice session in the back yard.