As I start writing this blog, I think about my journey as an archer. I never have been taught by anyone or had any lessons other than what they taught us in junior high and high school using bows more of the traditional like. Archery was not something I enjoyed and it felt like a chore, even up to a few years ago, to go out and shoot just because I knew I was going to shoot average at best and normally shoot below average. I never made many adjustments to my gear in fear of not being able to get back to where I was comfortable. As time has moved on my skills have improved and I have started enjoying the sport and have more confidence in my self to try those more challenging shots, so as I think about my journey I wanted to see what somebody else’s journey looked like. I reached out to Jeremiah Gadsby, a man who is dynamite with which ever bow he chooses to pick up.
What age did you get into Archery?
I didn’t get into archery until I was 24, so I got a much later start than most people. I grew up in a hunting family but nobody I knew was an archer or bowhunter. What first drew me to it was the shotgun only law when I was living in Ohio and also the oppurtunity to extend my season from just a week or two to several months long.
Was there a time when you would say you weren’t a great archer?
I still do not consider myself a great archer but I have come a long way from flinging that first arrow. Shooting a bow has a way of humbling a person. It is important to keep your mind focused on your shot. If you start to let your ego get too big, thats when you start making mistakes.
What are the most common form flaws you see?
The most common flaw I see is people having a draw length that is too long for them, that is a set-up flaw though. As far as form, I would say people’s bow hand is the biggest thing I see wrong. The point was made a long time ago that you should not “grip” your bow, so now a lot of people point there fingers straight out. This actually has almost the exact same effect as gripping. The bow hand should be totally relaxed, which will leave the fingers with a slight bend in them but not wrapped around the riser. Any tension in the hand induces pressure on the bow which creates torque upon releasing the arrow.
Hardest thing for you to change to start shooting better.
The hardest thing for me to change by far was my release. I shoot a wrist strap style release, which although is probably the most common style, it is also the hardest to execute correctly. It is extremely important to bury that trigger deep down in the finger, not on the tip, and to pull through the shot, not squeezing or “punching” with the finger. It is my opinion that if done right, this is the best style of release but it does require a lot of mental control.
How often do you shoot a week? How many arrows average?
I used to shoot a lot! I would spend at least an hour a day sending as many arrows as I could in the time I had. I would keep a journal tracking how many arrows I shot each day/week/month. This worked for a little while but then my shot fell apart. I was more concerned with how many shots I was taking rather than how good each shot I took was. These days I dont shoot nearly as much. I dont have a set amount of days a week or number of arrows that I try to shoot, it is generally 3-4 days a week. I do shoot year-round in order to keep that muscle memory and to ensure my aim stays true. The number of arrows I shoot during a session varies depending on how Im shooting. If I shoot 6 arrows that I feel were 6 perfectly executed shots, I might just stop there. If I feel like I am making mistakes and need to work on something, I’ll shoot more. Either way, when I feel myself getting tired, I stop. When you become fatigued your shot breaks down and that does you no good at all.
When did shooting become fun and not a task or a job.
This is a tough one. Shooting has always been fun for me but there has always been a specific purpose behind it too, making it a task or a job. The end goal has always been one thing, to make that 1 shot when it counts the most. For me, that is the kill shot. Im just a hunter and everything I do, every arrow I shoot, is to better myself so that hopefully when I draw back on an animal, it ends quickly and cleanly. Having fun with it just makes any task or job easier to accomplish. Friendly competition with fellow archers is a great way to incorporate some fun into it.
Like 3d or spot more?
I do shoot some 3D throughout the year. There are a handful of local archery clubs near me that have shoots on Sunday mornings from spring through fall. I do not get too serious about it but it is a great way as a bowhunter to get in some extra practice in a life-like enviroment. This is also a way to throw in some of that friendly competition and fun as stated above.
I have never shot spot and honestly it does not really appeal to me, just my opinion.
What is your current set up?
I shoot an Obsession K34 at 28 1/2 inch draw length and pulling 71.2 pounds. It is equipped with Americas Best Bowstrings, a G5 Meta-peep, a HHA Optimizer Lite OL-5019 single pin sight with the added 3rd axis adjustment bracket, NAP Apache drop away arrow rest, a 12 inch Shrewd Raid Series stabilizer and I have Bowjax limb, cable rod and stabilizer dampeners on it. I use a TruBall Beast II hook style release. My current arrows are Black Eagle Rampages with the 50 grain stainless inserts and tipped with 125 grain points at a total weight of an even 450 grains.
Important extra tips
Two important things I have learned throughout my shooting over the years are one, build a solid foundation. By that I mean it starts with your feet. Everyone has their own stance that is comfortable for them but I have found it super important to keep your weight back on your heels. I achieve this by standing up straight, chest stuck out a bit. With the weight on the heels rather than more towards the front of the foot, it allows you to stand much steadier and therefore to hold better on target. Secondly and actually more importantly is do not get caught up in all the hype of the latest and greatest bows and gear. There may be some slight advantage in one product over the next but in all reality, if your ability as an archer is not on point, no product is going to really help. This is much more of a mental game than it is a brand name game. Also, every bow manufacturer of today makes a great product. Try them all and pick whichever feels best to you, not what someone else uses or tells you that you should use.
Goals for you in archery?
My goal in archery always has and always will be the same, to be the most effective bowhunter I can be. Along with that, I also want other bowhunters to feel the same way and I enjoy trying to help others learn and improve upon their skills in this wonderful addiction.
Not everyone’s journey is the same, but our end goal, to be the best archer when we take to the woods, should be the same. We owe it to the game we chase to put the time in and double check our equipment and shoot several times a month all year round to keep our shot straight and true.