Steve Levering is the manager of the archery department at H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City. He recently answered questions from The Oklahoman and its readers in an online chat on NewsOK.com.
Here is a partial transcript of that chat.
Q: Interest in archery seems to be on the rise. Why?
A: I attribute it to, one, the Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) program. There is a JOAD program in Oklahoma City that shoots at H&H in the winter and at Trosper Archery Club from basically Easter to Halloween. They meet every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The other one, believe it or not, is Hollywood with the movies “The Hunger Games” and “Brave,” and TV shows like “Arrow” and, believe it or not, “The Walking Dead.” They shoot crossbows in it. I get a lot of people in here who say they want to get a crossbow like the one in “The Walking Dead.”
How many of new shooters are hunters as opposed to just recreational target shooters?
I say it is about 50-50. There are a lot of people doing it for recreation and believe it or not, stress relief. It is a physical activity. It seems to help relieve stress.
Is it expensive to get started in the sport?
If you shoot traditional archery, it is not that expensive. You can get into it for under $200. The least expensive good, quality compound hunting bow is in the $350 range.
What has been the biggest technological advancement in archery equipment?
In the past 20 years, the biggest improvement in archery has been the vibration dampenings, which eliminate noise. From a hunting standpoint, that is what you want. And it extends the life of your bow. A lot of bows come standard with a certain amount of it, but you can never have too much. You can buy products to help eliminate the residual vibration and noise.
Are there specialty bows just for fishing?
There are or someone can use their existing bow. You just have to put bowfishing equipment on it. Most people who get into it find they want a bow just for bowfishing. It used to be a person would use one bow for everything, but now they dedicate bows to the different disciplines.
How difficult is it to learn to shoot a bow accurately?
The most difficult distance to master in archery, in my opinion, is 41/2 inches. What I mean by that is the distance between your ears. It's mental. Once you master the mental part of the game, the rest is easy. I've found golfers are some of the easiest people to teach because they understand the importance of grip. Most people don't hold the bow right when they are starting. Once they learn that, the rest is really pretty easy.