BB Guns and Recurves Prove Popular in Recent Survey
The results from last week’s NDA survey regarding when people shot their first gun or bow were very familiar to me. Most who responded said that they shot their first gun between the ages of six and 10, and their first bow between that ages of six and 15. In the comments, almost 80 percent indicated that the first gun they shot was a BB gun, with most referencing a Crosman 760 Pumpmaster. When it came to bows, a similar percentage shot a recurve first before eventually switching to a compound or crossbow. My experience closely mirrored the results of the survey, except I was given a bow to shoot when I was about eight years-old, and did not get my BB gun until I was 10.
When it came to hunting with a gun or bow, predictably most hunted with a firearm between the ages of 11 and 15, while the majority of bow hunters didn’t start until they were 16 and older. In fact, the largest group, coming in at 38 percent, did not hunt with a bow until after they were 21. Roughly, that means most didn’t take to bow hunting until about 10 years after they first began hunting with a firearm. That is surprising to me, and it makes me wonder why archery has lagged behind.
My first bow was a yellow plastic longbow that came with three wooden arrows fletched with molded green plastic feathers. The arrows were tipped with brass caps that resembled practice points, although they were crimped to the end of the arrow as opposed to being screwed in. The string was pretty much just household string that nobody would ever mistake for a real one. In fact, I’m pretty sure when I broke the string, we replaced it with whatever we had laying around the garage, and it worked just fine. There were no sights, and the rest was a widened out area on the black rubber grip. Several other kids in the neighborhood had the same bow, and it was common for us to shoot together, or at least talk about shooting when we saw each other at school.
Before we were deemed old enough by our parents to have “real” bows, we would make our own out of branches and string. I can vividly remember experimenting with different lengths and flexibility of the branches, and spending hours looking for perfectly straight sticks to make arrows from. Over time our bows became more effective, but never approached the capability of the top-end yellow plastic ones. I wish I would have kept one of those homemade bows, or at least got a picture of one because I would have framed it.