Written by: Dave Maas

The author shot numerous compounds and crossbows during the 2022 ATA Trade Show, but it was 30 minutes spent in the Bear Archery shooting lane that refueled his desire to hunt with a recurve.

Like many kids born in the mid-1960s, I shot toy bows at everything from pop cans to water balloons in our backyard. For Christmas in 1975, Santa brought me a “real” bow, a Browning Cobra 1. This 50-inch recurve was made in the USA by Browning during the years 1969 to 1975; mine had a draw weight of 45 pounds.

Even though 45 pounds doesn’t sound like much, for a skinny 10-year-old, I struggled to draw the string to my anchor point, and my shooting form suffered greatly because of it. With my toy longbow, which featured short fiberglass limbs with a draw weight of less than 10 pounds, I could draw smoothly, anchor and aim briefly, then release the string. I was deadly at close range with my lightweight longbow, but I had trouble hitting a large paper plate consistently from 10 yards with my harder-to-pull Browning.

I shot at only one whitetail with that Cobra 1 recurve — and missed from 15 yards. My arrow sailed a foot in front of a big doe’s chest as she stopped broadside while I slipped through the woods during a deer push. I was too proud then to admit that I was over-bowed (i.e. shooting too much weight).

In the late 1970s, I stashed the Browning Cobra 1 in the corner and focused my attention on a new Browning Deluxe Nomad compound. With the wood-handled compound set at 50-pounds with 50 percent let-off (as I recall), I could shoot it very well, first without a bowsight, then with one.

My desire to go “old school” hit a handful of years later, however, when I invested in an expensive custom recurve. And while you’d think I would’ve learned about proper draw weight from my time spent with the 45-pound Cobra 1, I wasn’t the sharpest broadhead in the quiver when I ordered — and this is not a misprint — 70-pound limbs. I know — crazy!

Needless to say, I couldn’t draw the bowstring of my new recurve back to my face. Even so, I practiced with it a lot, and killed a handful of whitetails with the bow. After many years, I finally admitted my mistake and ordered a second set of limbs for the take-down recurve. But even then I made a mistake: I ordered 55-pound limbs. Sure, the lighter limbs were a tremendous improvement over the 70-pounders, but I sure wish now I would’ve ordered 40-pound limbs.

That Was Then, This Is Now

This walk through my bowhunting past brings me to today, or more correctly, to my time recently at the 2022 ATA Trade Show and the Bear Archery shooting lanes. Traffic was light at the Show due to Covid concerns, plus a winter storm had hit the Louisville, Kentucky, area, further reducing the number of attendees. I took advantage of the situation and stopped to look over a wide selection of recurves in the Bear Archery shooting lanes.

“Do you have anything that pulls 40 pounds or less,” I asked Kenny Branham, pro staffer with Bear Archery.

“There’s not a bow on this rack that draws more than 45 pounds,” he said. “In fact, almost all of them are 40 pounds, with a few at 35.”

I smiled ear to ear as I slipped my fingers in a leather shooting glove.

As I shot and we talked, I was brought back in time. With these recurves, I could draw smoothly, find the corner of my mouth with my index finger, aim briefly and then release the bowstring. Arrow after arrow went where I was looking. I didn’t have to worry about heavy poundage; instead, I focused on the bull’s-eye and let my hand/eye coordination take over.

This is not an exaggeration: While I’ve shot a bow of some type my entire life (I’m nearly 57), and various top-notch compounds for the last 25 years, I haven’t had that much fun sending arrows downrange since I was a young boy sniping pop cans in the backyard with a toy fiberglass longbow.

Continue reading the full recap on Grandview's website: HERE 2022 Bear Archery Take Down Recurve Hunting Bow

2022 Bear Archery Traditional Hunting Bow Lineup