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Of True Wood, Of Yew Wood

Well, this ought to be fun. Thanks, sweetie!

Last week, in between gift shopping and whatnot, I went into Adventure Outdoors. It's a local hunting store, selling enough handguns and rifles to arm the county, along with enough camouflage to let them disappear into the woods like so many Eric Rudolphs. They also sell bows; however, since they cater to hunters, most of their bows are compounds.

If you don't what the deal is with compound bows, they operate off a system of multiple strings and wheels, which gives them a closer resemblance to portable exercise equipment rather than weaponry. This design gives them quite an advantage in the hunt: all that high techery makes it possible for the archer to pull roughly double the weight they normally could. For example, a 60lb compound bow means you have to be able to handle 30lbs of resistance. The heavier weight lets the arrow go farther and faster with a flatter trajectory. Physics at its deadliest.

The maximum point of resistance also occurs as you pull back the arrow, at roughly the halfway point. For ordinary bows, that happens when you've got the arrow at full draw, the shooting position. And that means with a compound you can hold that position a lot longer. Very useful while you're waiting for whatever beastie you're trying to kill to present its best profile.

Now, then. Killing is all well and good, but that's not what I'm interested in. For one thing, compound bows are both complicated and expensive. Compound bows are also verboten in target shooting. And finally, you don't really see a lot of compound bows in fantasy, Everquest notwithstanding. People don't expect it, so there's bound to be a lot of resistance to it. Altho' writers considering the idea for a non-steampunk setting should look at the Pennobscot Double Bow used by Native Americans way back when.

At any rate, AO did have a few recurves for sale. The guy behind the counter was kind enough to string up a couple of them for me, and I took some shots in a little shooting alley they have. One bow was a 50 pounder, the other a 40. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could pull both of them all the way back, altho' my arms were trembling enough on the 50 for me to officially rule it too much bow for me. I'd probably damage myself trying to string it. But the 40 pulled just fine (hooray! I'm not as weak as I feared), which means I'll be fine with a 35. Now all I need to do is find a traditional archery store, where I can try a few out.

Of course, I could just chuck this whole bow & arrow thing and take up the deadly art of impaling people with office supplies.

Recent Reading: V For Vendetta, by Alan Moore & David Lloyd (soon to be a Major Motion Picture! Or so the cover tells me!)