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How Switching to Traditional Bowhunting Has Made Me A Better Hunter

Originally published in the 2020 Winter issue of the TBG Newsletter

By Matt Brown

I'm now over halfway into my second season as a traditional bowhunter. I couldn't be happier as a

bowhunter. Falling in love with arrow flight and hunting with a bow nearly 30 years ago has

turned out to be a big part of my life.

At 13 years old, I worked hard and saved enough money to purchase my first bow, a used Jennings

compound from a pawn shop. It had no sights or rest. So, it was back to work and saving more

money. When I figured that I had enough cash, it was off to K-mart I went, purchasing the finest

pin sight they had and a lil' sheet metal, v-cut flipper rest.

I shot at every opportunity I had, slinging three mixed sized arrows a friend had given me. Over

time, I got better and better. I saved more money and bought myself a half dozen matching ar-

rows! They were beautiful Autumn orange XX75s, 31 inches long with white and orange 5 inch

feathers. When shot from my way too long draw length and squeaky 70# Jennings they, wobbled

like a poorly kicked field goal attempt. However, despite my gear woes I managed to get pretty

good out to 30 yards.

The following spring I turned 14. Shooting after school every day and scouting every weekend fi-

nally brought me to my first bow season. I hunted my guts out! Sleepless nights, daydreaming

about it in school and reading magazine articles over and over occupied all of my time. Finally,

after a couple of failed attempts due to near fatal buck fever, I closed the deal! A doe that dressed

out at 65 pounds! She fell to my slow and heavy XX75. I was the happiest kid on the planet! Noth-

ing had ever come close to that feeling of accomplishment.

As the years flew by and my archery gear got better and better, more and more whitetails fell to

my release. My biggest buck ever came in September of 2018. But something was missing. I scout-

ed halfheartedly. Sometimes I found myself feeling like hunting had become like work, almost like

I had to. Shooting had become easy and boring.

Late in the season of 2018, I began to flirt with the idea of trying to kill a deer with a recurve bow,

even though I'd never shot one! So, with the New Year of 2019, I bought myself an eBay special. I

became the proud owner of a 45# Michigan Bear Grizzly! Then got online and found a company

called 3Rivers Archery, where I got me some of those wonderful aluminum arrows, similar to the

ones I had started with!

The first arrow I slung from that thing looked like who done it! 45 pounds was much different than

I expected and way different from my super fancy, high let off, wristed release contraption! But I

was determined. Shot after shot after shot...bow season was coming up fast. I thought if I could

just kill one lil' doe, I'd be done and have it checked off my bucket list.

Well, that was 4 deer ago. Sold the wheelie bow. I've since upgraded to a 55# Grizzly, tweaked my

arrow set up just a lil' and shooting ‘bout near every day. Because I love it!

So how has trad made me a better hunter? Since going trad, I have seen more deer from the stand

and have them come in the way I anticipated them doing. See, I had gotten lazy and apathetic in

my scouting. The zeal was gone. I'd go sit in my trusty old spots and just hope one came within 40

yards (my wheel bow max hunting range). But now, I'm focused on my scouting again like when I

was a kid. I want to know where they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going, adapting

and changing as their food sources change.

When I went trad I knew I'd have to be close! I wanted to be super close for that first one (due to a

lack of shooting confidence). This hunt close thing has really intensified my scouting. And it has

helped my deer and good buck sightings go through the roof! And the best part is, I'm loving every

minute! Bowhunting meant so much to me as a kid. I was hell on wheels back then and

bowhunting probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. It was a gift from God. Now, all these years

later, I'm not as wild, not as stupid, but definitely just as crazy about this thing we call bowhunting

as I've ever been.

Since going trad I've met so many great people. Some have become good friends. The Traditional

Bowhunters of Georgia has been a huge help to me, an organization worthy of our energy and


Bowhunting. A gift from God.

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