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Thread: recurves and Howard Hill

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default recurves and Howard Hill

    I just sold my long bow about 4 months ago to hunt only with my compound. After a caribou hunt on the haul road I started missing traditional archery. I sold my long bow because I was pretty much useless with it outside of 30 yards. I miss traditional archery and was thinking about a recurve(I think it just fits my hunting style better). I just read Howard Hill's book "Hunting the Hard way and could not help but notice that he had absolutely nothing good to say about how recurves perform while hunting. I realize that al ot has changed with archery since Howards day, even traditional archery has changed some. I am wondering if long bows are that much more superior a hunting bows than a recurve. I was hoping I would be able to get a bit more range out of a recurve than I did with my long bow. According to Howard Hill though I would be wasting my time buying one. Ive never shot one before so I dont really know. Is there anyone out there that has hunted with both and could fill me in on the pros and cons of hunting with each?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Deep in Hllary country NY

    Wink Close up?

    ARKY, you have to remember hunting with a bow and, every thing is a trade off. I started in the 60"s hunting with recurves 65 lbs,then went to compound, overdraws, 70, to 92, lbs. Always looking for speed, longer bow range, etc.. No matter what bow I had in my hands when the animals were out of range I wished that I was shooting something else! The fact is a bow is a short range wepon. The reasons given by Hill, and others for choosing the longbow is bow weight, forgiveness, and effectiveness in HIS hands as a hunting weapon. I to use a longbow now, my range is 23 yards, for sure I"m going to watch nice deer, or whatever as they are out of range, so what. A Big advantage to me, hunting with trad. equ. is that I can get a shot off in a fraction of the time, even as the animals are moving, than I can with the compound. No alignment of peeps, levels, locking on release aids, now I just pick a shot, draw, shoot! Oh but I can"t shoot at 50- 60 yards, so be it. Recurves also feel good in my hands, are they effective, and Better than longbows , who knows, it turns into the shooters choice, ask Fread Bear!
    ; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 SAMUEL 2;30

  3. #3


    I shoot a 57# at 28" longbow with a little bit of reflex. I used to hunt with several different 65 and 70lb recurves. But I never found that my range increased on game out past 25 yards. No matter what bow I was using. You know when I step out into the woods with my bow. I go out to beat teh animal at his own game, launch an arrow at close range and beat him in his own backyard. I think thats what traditional archery is about. Plus, how many people have you seen wingshooting with a compound! Small game is just a hoot with a longbow. Flushing grouse, running rabbits, launching a flu flu 90feet in the air straight up at a grouse in a tree. You cant do any of that with a compound. Oh and look at howard hill, dont say longbows are no good past 30 yards. He shot a 90lb bow and he could shoot out a gnats eye at 50 yards. I can tell you right now, my longbow shoots a lot better than I can make it. Even though at 20 yards I will hit a tennis ball 9 out of 10 times.

  4. #4

    Default longbow

    Years ago I swapped from a heavy handled recurve to a long bow and had a heck of a time. I had shot a lot of formal target archery and had some success hunitng and was a shooter to be reconned with in NFAA. With the long bow I couldn't hit anything using my reurve form.I finally did what Howard said and "got hold"of the bow. with recurves you never want any more hand pressure than necessary and the bow needs to just float in the hand. Healing the bow will cause limb twist in recurves at full draw. A long bow is much different and you must get hold of the bow, really keep a rigid arm and grip to control the bow becasue it is so light. many people missunderstand the thing about Howard's so called bent elbow.You will notice you can hold a rigid bow arm actually pushing the bow away with out totally locking the elbow or rotating the shoulder. They arm is rigid but the elbow not hyperextended to a locked position. You will notice that at full draw the bow arm actually looks sort of bent but it isn't. Trying to totally lock the bow arm rolls the shoulder inward and causes health and shooting problems over the long run. I have hunted with nothing else but a long bow all over this continent and will take a longbow any day in the woods, but you probably will always be more accurate with a heavy recurve on paper. Longbows are just a delight to carry, fun to shoot, throw a very heavy arrow just as fast as a recuve with a heavy arrow and seemed to jump into position for that instant you have to lose the shot. If you get control of that bow arm, really get hold of the bow and keep a good push- pull pressure your anchor doesn't really matter much. Actually settling into a firm anchor causes me to loose tension and shoot worse Bowhunting is a close range endeavor. The early guys tried long range shooting and realized the secret is get close. Howard said as much. Hope this helps.

  5. #5

    Default howard hill bows

    i have a friend that is going to be selling like 5 of his bows and he might let you try one to see how you like it pm me anmd i will give you his number nick

  6. #6


    well said guys!!! It's seems a rare ideal might be coming back full swing.

    I'll punch that ticket one more time. It's a close range sport!!! If you want to kill farther, pull out a machine, or a rifle, so be it, that's your choice and the only one who has to live with the end results. If you like to hunt and challenge yourself, come home empty handed enough you'll question yourself, but enjoy every last second there is, stick with it.

    I can't vouch for Howard, but I have read quite a bit of his writings. He didnt shoot recurves because he didnt feel he could, not because his longbow was better then or worse then a recurve.

    And I believe Howard shot a critter at over 100 paces...I believe John paced it at 120 paces? I'd loan out my books however fear they'll never return. If you need titles I can get you some when I get back home for the winter. I'm in southeast running a charter boat right now.


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