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My family and I are heavy into archery. I have 3 compounds, 1 takedown recurve and 1 longbow. My son has 2 compounds. The wife and daughter each have their own comounds as well. My son and I teach bowhunter education and take a lot of game with an arrow every year. Here is my take on archery:

Compound bows: With proper practice and some gear investment you can reasonably hit soda cans at 40 yards without too much issue. Our family is over 90% hit rate on paper plate size targets at 60 yards. I am a little better, but really have my Martin dialed in. Compounds are very accurate and pack one heck of a punch. Because we use 4 blade broadheads for hunting big game, we put a hole the size of my thumb completely through the animal. With small game, we destroy a lot of meat with our heavier weight bows. We also damage a lot of arrows with small game due to the nature of carbon arrows. Carbon arrows are strong, but one small crack will destroy the whole thing. It is not that hard to crack one either. If you hit a rock or glance off a tree stump it is not that uncommon to destroy a carbon arrow.

Traditional (trad) bows: I love my takedown. It is 60 lb pull, but I can vary the pull so that I can match my desired arrow speed/power to what I am shooting. I don’t have to do a full draw when hunting squirrels or rabbits. This helps save arrows and meat. Many people freak out about draw variance, moving anchor points, and the sort. These are the people that have never read any historical documents about hunting with a bow. Ishi’s interviews mentioned this techique and we know most of what we know about bow hunting due to his teachings. Saxton and Arthur (Pope and Young who don’t know their first names) learned from him and passed along that knowledge in such works as “Hunting with the Bow and Arrow.”

What it all comes down to is this: If you want to learn archery, learn ALL aspects of archery and apply it to the equipment you have. Learn target shooting (although I have never had to defend myself from a target so only some principals apply), trad as well as compound bow hunting, and then research trad bowhunting principals for big and small game. This should be enough information for you to be able to head out and practice with your gear. Just be leery of those “archery experts” that do 3D shoots and competitions. Their techniques are based upon that venue and have NOTHING to do with shooting a variety of game in a variety of situations. Keep that in mind because they will shove specific forms down your throat as the only way to shoot. Also be leery of big game only hunters. Make sure you learn about hunting all game to include bow fishing and bird hunting. There are good techniques you can adapt from both fishing/bird hunting that can transition over to make you more well rounded.