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Have Bow Will Travel


He claims to have "ridden his bow around the world."   Longbow master Byron Ferguson will bring his special brand of trick shooting to West Virginia this weekend.     The Alabama native will put on an exhibition of his amazing shooting talent Saturday at the National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park.

"Archery, as far as I’m concerned it not only the Sport of Kings, but it’s also the King of Sports," Ferguson tells MetroNews from his home in Alabama. "It’s just a blast to sling arrows downrange.  It’s actually a lot more fun when you can hit the target that you’re shooting at."

Ferguson works exclusively with the longbow.   He’s long been an advocate of the implement, ever since his fellow Alabamian Howard Hill was used as the shooter to produce the movie Robin Hood with Errol Flynn.   He does admit to taking one doe a year with a handmade muzzleloader given to him by a friend as a gift.   Otherwise, when Ferguson is in a deer stand, he’s pulling a 70-pound string.

"There’s a huge advantage once you learn to shoot the longbow, it is a superior hunting tool," explained Ferguson. "The way I shoot and the way I teach people to shoot, I do not have to know how far it is to the target.   All I need to know is if it’s close enough for a shot."

He says using a longbow, where sighting is purely a game of eyeballs can extend a hunting day deep into the dusk or give you the earlier opportunity for a shot over those using pin sights.

"All I got to do is see the outline of the animal and I can take the shot," Ferguson said. "I don’t have to see the pins.  I squeeze every minute out of it (the hunting day)."

Learning to shoot the longbow takes practice and dedication.   Ferguson uses what he likes to call the "be the arrow" style of aiming.  He suggests picking a single spot in the center of your target.   Such a practice enables you to always have the same target. 

"The center of a watermelon is the same size as the center of an aspirin," Ferguson notes.  

The second key to quality shooting is form.

"Form is everything, without it you’ll never be a good shot," explained Ferguson.

He suggests two key elements to good form.   First, hold the bow still until the arrow reaches the target.   Ferguson says if you drop the bow to see the shot, all you’ll see is a bad shot.    Secondly, make sure the elbow on the draw arm is all the way back and in line with the target.  

"It doesn’t matter if it’s a bow, a pistol, or a howitzer," said Ferguson. "If you get it lined up that’s where it’s going to go."

Ferguson‘s show will be on Saturday at the National Hunting and Fishing Day activities, coincidentally the same day that bow season for deer opens in Tennessee where he has a lease.   Therefore he intends to use his hunting bow during the West Virginia event–so he’ll be consistent later in the day when he climbs into his tree-stand in the Volunteer State


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