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Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Old Bows and 5 Reasons to Love Them"

1965 ....52 years ago. The Federal Debt was $322 Billion. US troops were sent to Vietnam -- by the end of the year, there would by 190,000 troops in country. The first spacewalk by an American (Ed White) and the Rolling Stone's "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" reached #1. If you were alive back then, most of your possessions from that era are probably gone, lost, broken and tossed. The 1965 Mustang is in a scrap yard and Mom threw out the baseball cards. But archery bows from that time period are still around. 


While these bows were mass produced by companies like Bear Archery, Pearson and Wing Archery, they still have a lot of personality and are simply beautiful. The wood used was bubinga, rosewood, shedua and other hardwood types with remarkable figuring. At the time, they might have sold around $29.95 and up. Today, you would go to a custom bowyer and pay $600 and far more to find a bow with these types of woods. Over the next decade after '65, and well into the 70's, these old wooden bows became overshadowed by compound bows, metal risers and cables that were the start of a meteoric rise in compound bow popularity that continues in archery to this day.
But those old bows --- they are beauties! 
Pictured from Left to Right in my collection:
a. 1972 Bear Kodiak Hunter, b. 1968 Bear Kodiak Magnum with attached Quiver, c. 1965 Bear Kodiak Magnum, c. 1967 Bear Grizzly, d. 1968 Wing Red Wing Hunter, e. 1969 Bear Alaskan with Reynolds Sight, f. Pearson Apex No. 9

Here are 5 reasons to fall in love with these bows and treasure them.  

1- They work. And they work well. They are called vintage bows and they still shoot extremely well. Every year, hunters kill large and small game with these bows and some prefer them to modern recurve bows in terms of their liveliness and performance. Get to the big auction site and search "Vintage Archery" for a sampling of the times and products of yesteryear - from broadheads to bows.

2 - Family. Imagine heading to the woods with the same bow that your Father or Uncle used years ago when he went hunting. Look at the wood and the worn leather grip knowing that they were once held by a family member and you are continuing the tradition. Maybe the bow was saved from the trash bin when it went unsold at a garage sale --- but behold the treasure. Any vintage bow has history and stories left only to the imagination.

3 - Shooting Satisfaction. Pick up a Kodabow Crossbow and YOU WILL hit exactly what you aim for. The same is true for a modern compound bow. Some shooters look for something more. They want more challenge and begin to enjoy missing the target as strange as it sounds. With practice, you will be able to shoot these bows as accurately as any other archery tool. With the bows pictured, a good archer will hit a coffee cup at 20 yards with regularity. 

(Editor's Note: When you positively need to put some venison in the freezer and time or schedule is limited, a Kodabow is the #1 choice. But sometimes, a hunt has additional considerations. We hunt with both traditional bows and crossbows.)

4. Peace and Well Being.  Shoot these bows with a deliberate purpose and get connected with your inner spirit and self. There is nothing mechanical about these bows. An archer will feel the wood of the bow bend and slowly load with stored energy powered by one's own muscles. Zen, Japanese Archery, Become the Arrow ...whatever ....but the connection is strong. To propel an arrow well, the archer's mind must be "right" and the process can't be rushed. There is no room for other thoughts. There are no shortcuts. Every arrow sent downrange teaches the archer. To think less about the process while being very mindful of the process is the key from my viewpoint.  Fred Bear said that shooting an arrow "clears the mind." 
Walk and retrieve the arrows and begin the process again. In all of the shooting sports (rifles, handguns, crossbows, compound bows etc.) there is not a stronger, closer or immediate connection to the tool than with a traditional bow and your hand on a bowstring.  

5. Hunting Awareness. Fred Bear said, "You can learn more about hunting deer with a a bow and arrow in a week than a gun hunter will learn in his entire life."
In fact, Fred Bear had numerous insights about hunting and the outdoors that you might find valuable (Google - "Fred Bear Quotes") but the point is that archery hunting and in particular, hunting with traditional bows has the potential to be the most satisfying experience of any hunting activity simply because it is so difficult and so close and personal. With modern rifles and optics, shooting a deer at 500 yards is in the realm of possibilities for the average hunter like never before. It can be intense but it's a calculation. Shoot a deer at 7 yards with a traditional bow and it's deeply personal.
Most of the time, traditional hunts do not end
with a downed game animal. 

At Kodabow Crossbows, we learned a great deal from traditional bows. Our Kodabow Destringing Aid was born from the typical aid used with traditional bows. Our stringmaking was shaped by traditional bow experience in terms of strands and materials. The ability to change a bowstring in the field is a Kodabow feature we share with traditional bows as well as the deep experience that comes from designing a proper arrow and hunting head that will efficiently dispatch game. We kept everything simple with a hope that 50 years from now, hunters will look at our crossbow work and craftsmanship with an appreciation much like we have for these "old bows."

Merry Christmas,

Chuck at Kodabow
December 2016

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