Instinctive Archery

I think instinctive archery with a traditional bow may objectively make people happier than using a compound bow with sights.

Instinctive archery is aiming by feel, by intuition, instead of using intellect and sights.

When I aim, I focus on a single point, and I aim up, down, left, and right, seeking what feels most likely to connect with that point. And then I watch my arrow fly, and my feelings vividly and measurably learn.

It's how you aim when you throw a ball or a rock. We evolved to be able to throw better than any other animal, which was very beneficial to our ability to hunt, eat, survive. This innate ability seems to adapt well to archery, with practice. (We similarly evolved to be the best long distance runners.)

The combined experience of teaching my intuition, with exercising that innate ability, is, well, Grizzly Jim described it as one of the closest things to magic a human can experience. It's pretty neat.

Instinctive archery is harder, it takes more practice. Don't knock it till you've tried it with a thousand arrows (roughly 6 hours) in one week. (You probably should start out doing less to avoid hurting yourself.)


I started off with a Galaxy Sage takedown recurve bow, because they seemed like the best consensus on a good bow to start with. (Galaxy is a Lancastar Archery store brand. This is a copy of the Samick Sage.) Inexpensive for the quality you get. I started with a 25 pound draw weight because I think the lower draw weight you practice with, the faster you get more accurate. My second bow was another Sage, at 35 pounds. I thought I would do things like 5 minutes with my 35 pound bow then do the rest of my shooting with my 25 pound bow, but since the point of aim was different, that was a pain, so I think I would've been better off just getting 35 pound limbs instead of a whole 'nother bow. The third bow I've ordered is a Galaxy Black Ridge 70" Longbow. 40 pound draw weight, the minimum draw weight for hunting deer in my state. Because the elegance of longbows pleases me, and again this one seems like a good price for decent quality.


My arrows are Gold Tip Traditional. Which I think is a fine choice. Decent quality and price. Although functionally they seem indentical to feather fletched Gold Tip Hunters, which cost a little less, and don't have the fake wood grain. If I knew in the beginning what I know now, I would have started with Gold Tip Warriors. They're significantly less expensive, but they do not have a weight consistency specification - so they're probably not as consistent as others. I wish I could get completely plain black shafts, no wood grain, no logos, no labeling. It would be glorious.

Hunting Arrows

For arrows for my third bow, if I get fletched arrows, I'll get Gold Tip Traditionals again. If I fletch my own arrows, I'll get Gold Tip Hunters (which I can't find fletched with feathers). They cost a little less than Traditionals, have the same straightness and weight tolerances, and are mostly black instead of fake wood.

I'll buy individual shafts of all four spine ratings, to figure out which spine works best. I noticed the Gold Tip recurve spine chart says the effecitve spine changes every 3 inches. So I'm planning to test uncut (32"), and then cut off as much of the 3" as necessary for best flight. Since 3" less is right around the minimum length I want with my draw length anyway.

I believe there is some benefit to high FOC (Front Of Center), which means having more weight on the front end of the arrow. More mass in the front should help with flight stabilization, to counter the disadvantage of broadhead blades acting like fletching on the wrong end and destabilizing flight. But I think if you accomplish high FOC by just using a heavier broadhead, you tend to get more broadhead surface area, and therefore more destabilization. So I'm planning on a 100 grain broadhead, and a 100 grain brass Gold Tip insert.

I want fixed blade broadheads because mechanicals just seem too fiddly for my taste. And I have seen a number of tests showing they are less reliable. And I want something very easy to sharpen, which means three blades (designed so you can just lay two of the bevels flat on a fine sharpening stone). And I do not want a vented broadhead, since they may be noisier. I ordered Annihilators. I've seen two videos concerned they may be noisy.

I've seen some evidence that because they are quieter, deer are less likely to jump the string with a longbow than a compound. Flemish twist strings are quieter and less efficient than endless loop strings. Dacron B-50 strings are quieter and less efficient than fast flight type strings.

It seems commonly recommended that you not shoot at animals past half the distance you can reliably hit the size of the vitals at. And the vitals of white-tailed deer seem to be about 9 inches. So I'm planning to see how far I can reliably hit a 4.5" target, and not take shots at deer farther than that.

Nocking point, shooting off the shelf

With my new longbow, shooting off the shelf, I've discovered some additional complications that aren't a problem when shooting off of a raised stick-on arrow rest. It's apparently common to have difficulty avoiding nock high flight. If your nocking point is too high, the arrow flies with the nock too high. If your nocking point is too low, the back end of the arrow bounces off the shelf, and the arrow flies with the nock too high. Fine, try all the points in between, and see what gives you the lowest nock flight. The problem I found was that no matter what I did, the nock was going crazy high. I found adding a second nocking point under the arrow dramatically reduces nock high flight.

"My favorite camo pattern is sit still and shut up."