Home Blog  
Archery When to Leave the Compound Behind & Consider Traditional

When to Leave the Compound Behind & Consider Traditional

Compounds are the most popular choice for archers in the woods, but more and more bowhunters have been moving to longbows and recurves in recent years.

If you’ve been shooting a compound bow but are considering switching to traditional tackle, here are some signs it’s time to make the jump.

You’re Ready for a New Challenge

Bowhunting with a compound can be tough enough. But swap out your rig for a recurve or longbow, and you’ll face an even tougher challenge.

Without sights and other added accessories, you’ll have to learn how to shoot instinctively rather than aim with a particular pin. A traditional bow won’t offer the same letoff as a compound, so you’ll need to adjust to the physical demands. You’ll likely want to stick to closing in on and shooting game at closer range. And all this combines for a mental challenge on top of the other challenges. It’s not easy, but that’s what makes it worthwhile for many archers.

You Want to Shift to a Simpler Style

Modern compound rigs are loaded with technologies that make them fast, quiet, and deadly accurate. Then there’s rangefinding sights, drop-away arrow rests, countless stabilizer configurations, and several styles of release aids. It can get pretty complex — and expensive.

But traditional archery generally requires minimal gear. There are fewer parts to maintain or that could potentially malfunction. And even if you opt for a custom recurve, you’ll likely drop a fraction of what you would on a compound and all its accessories. Traditional archery is just simpler — and your rig will be much more lightweight because of it.

You Have Time to Commit to Practice

Becoming proficient at archery demands a lot of time and dedication. But if you plan to bowhunt with a recurve or longbow? Expect to spend significantly more time at the range.

Although some principles carry over from compounds to traditional bows, you’ll need to master new skills and retrain your brain to become consistently accurate with a recurve or longbow. It’s not a great fit for someone who’s lazy and doesn’t want to invest time practicing. But for a dedicated bowhunter who’s willing to put in the hours, it’s worth the effort.

Traditional archery isn’t for everyone. But if you’re up for the challenge and have the chance to change up your setup, making the switch could be incredibly fun and rewarding.

9 thoughts on “When to Leave the Compound Behind & Consider Traditional”

  1. Plus being able to see the arrow in flight is a hoot!

    And if you have even more time, space, tools and patience; get book on bow making. You will not believe the amount of pride and satisfaction in taking game with a bow (and arrow and broadhead) you made yourself.

    If you start, you’ll not make just one. (My first two broke..) I have a dozen (or two) hanging around.

    • >>> You will not believe the amount of pride and satisfaction in taking game with a bow (and arrow and broadhead) you made yourself. <<<

      You said that right rk!

      Was squirrel hunting the other day when an ironwood tree (hophornbeam) called out to me saying "I'm a bow, I'm a bow! Let me out, I'm a bow!"

      So, I brought it home and split out some staves to work on when it's to cold to be outside. Planning a couple of selfbows and maybe a longbow or two.


      • I currently have 10-12 hedge staves standing in the corner. Plus a couple black locust.
        The plan is to retire next summer. I’m sure shortly thereafter, the wood pile is going to get smaller.

        • Question for you rk, have you ever noticed that green staves that were standing in a corner take a “set” at the bottoms?

          I’ve had a bunch of staves that did that and l had to cut 12-18 from the bottom – fortunately I’d cut those extra long anyway. Taking advantage of the fact that the green wood will settle I always store/dry my staves horizontally on two pegs spaced 4 feet apart. The notches on the pegs hold the staves (bark side up) so they dry with a bit of a backset.

          Yeah, can’t resist collecting any piece of wood that could be a bow. Got maple, elm, cherry, hickory, birch and ironwood (my favorite) staves.

          Also have some Buckthorn I want to try. Beautiful orange wood that’s very hard and strong (fibrous), but it’s small (3-4 inches diameter) and grows with a lot of “character”. I’ll have to splice it to make a stave.

          Fun stuff!


          • Hank
            All my staves were dried horizontal (2-5 years) before standing in the corner.
            I’m guessing Buckthorn is the same as Hedge Apple (Osage Orange, Bois de Arc) Different name for the same stuff. Depending on where you live.
            Hedge splits fairly easy when it’s green but is Very hard to split once dried. Have to drill a pilot hole to drive a nail.
            The crooked hedge trees make fence posts that will last for a hundred years. Black locust posts only last forty years or so.

        • rk,

          No Osage locally (Ontario, Canada) and I’ve tried to grow it (several times) but the saplings don’t survive the winter.

          Think you are right that the Osage and Buckthorn are related where the Osage is a tree and the Buckthorn more of an overgrown bush. Buckthorn has a distinctive white sapwood that turns a silver/gray when dry and the heartwood is a golden orange that takes a nice polish with lots of deep highlights. Makes great walking sticks, canes and slingshots.


  2. TBB,

    Interesting thought that traditional archery is “something new” to try.

    I learned archery with selfbow long before compounds were ever heard of and I tried compounds out of curiosity. Hunted with compounds for a couple of years, found them to be too heavy, noisy, expensive and complicated compared to a selfbow that was a fraction of the weight and I could make in an afternoon.

    Never thought (traditional) archery was any more difficult that throwing a ball and that it was a heck of a lot easier than golf.

    Oh, IMHO, archery practice is not a penance – it’s a fun skill to learn. I must be wierd eh?


  3. In truth,, the concept of instinctual shooting is completely unknown to the vast majority of bow hunters, today. It is the way I learned and when I pulled out an old 45 lb recurve from my closet, last week. I put three cedar shafts I in a pie plate at 20 yds. Amazed my son and a couple of his friends. ( amazed myself, too)


Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    We have a team of expert technicians and a complete repair shop that are able to service a large variety of brands/models of airguns. Additionally, we are a factory-authorized repair/warranty station for popular brands such as Air Arms, Air Venturi, Crosman, Diana, Seneca, and Weihrauch airguns.

    Our experts also offer exclusive 10-for-$10 Test and 20-for-$20 Service, which evaluates your air gun prior to leaving our warehouse. You'll be able to add these services as you place your order.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.