Don’t Come Up Short… or Long

August 2008 I made a trip to our local archery shop to purchase a bow and get set up with little knowledge of what to expect. I decide on the Mathews DXT. The staff measured my draw length using a recurve style bow with an arrow with measurements on it. 24 inches is the magic number and who am I to question it; they are the experts right and I am uneducated on it.

Fast forward nearly 4 years of thinking I was just too weak to pull more than 38 lbs, that my inconsistent arrow placement was lack of practice, that I was just a girl who couldn’t compete with the guys and making changes to everything but my draw length. I was still able to harvest animals but I always struggled holding my draw and I was almost forced to use the “death grip” by holding my bow with a closed fist causing me to torque or cant my bow. I just figured I was different and things just weren’t going to be easy for me.

While taking pictures target shooting one day, my husband and I started comparing pictures of each other and friends while at full draw. Long story short (no pun intented) my draw length was too short; a full inch and a quarter too short. Although that may not seem like much, once I had a new cam installed (and new pink and purple string for fun) my new draw length increased to 25 ¼ inches and my new found confidence in my shooting increased as well. I bumped my draw weight up from 38 lbs to 44 lbs, I can draw with ease because I can use my back muscles not just my arms, I can use the proper “open hand” grip instead of the death grip, my shot placement is more consistent and accurate, I can hold my draw longer, and I am hoping to continue to increase my draw weight even more a little at a time.

There are numerous methods to measure your draw length from using basic math to specific measuring tools and I would recommend measuring with more than one of them to get an accurate length. The two I used were measuring your wing span from middle finger to middle finger and dividing by 2.5 and placing your closed fist against a wall, turning your head as if you were looking down the sites of your bow, and then measuring from the wall to the corner of your mouth. Research and try a few different methods before heading to your local archery shop and if possible take a seasoned archer with you. The tool used to measure my draw length may have been accurate for others, but for a woman, who had never drawn a bow back in her life, the movement was awkward, the bow was stiff and hard to draw, and it caused me 4 years of frustration.

Please understand that I am not an expert on this subject or at bow hunting; I am just a woman who is learning everything I can and if my mistakes and experiences can benefit anyone else I want to share them. I wish I knew women bow hunters when I started out to provide insight. I do place a little blame on myself for either being naïve or just not taking the time to do a little research but for rookie bow hunters sometimes you don’t know what questions to ask or who to believe. Try different methods, don’t be afraid to make adjustments and try again until you get everything just right for YOU. This one little mistake that provided huge frustrations for me could have easily deterred me from bow hunting because I felt I just couldn’t get it right and I never want anyone, especially a girl or woman, to pass up the opportunity to fall in love with bow hunting and experience the passion that I feel.

Nov 07, 2012 | Category: Blog | Comments: none


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