By: Bears Butt
The other day I shared a video on Facebook that a guy named Matt Dernzack (sp) put together, the video is titled “The Push”. It has to be the best video I have seen to date on shooting traditional bows and he covers nearly everything about shooting them. His details on how the different bows look, fit the hand and shoot really helps you understand the minute differences in the various bow styles. He is an accomplished marksman in his own right and shoots competition as well as hunts with his bows….all traditional. He talks about shooting olympic style, gap and string walking in three different portions of the video and even though the video is over 2 hours long, it is worth every minute watching it.
One of the main reasons for him putting together this video is to show us how he has developed a shooting method to help us with out hunting. He calls it “Fixed Crawl”. I’ll get into what that means in a paragraph or two. The other reason (main reason) he put this video together is to explain his thoughts on hunting with a bow. As I recall, his words were something like this: We are all hunters no matter what we choose to use as our primary weapon, be it spear or 2,000 yard rifle. We need to embrace each others styles and quit hammering each other on ethics and start supporting each other on proper technique and ethical kills. He goes on just about bow hunting and says that as a bow hunting group, we too need to support each other any way that we can and still encourage ethical kills as our number one priority. That means practice and getting as close as we can to the animal we are hunting.
There was more to his statements on supporting each other as hunters, but that is what I got out of it. His statements are worth the watch and to listen to, if nothing else is gained by the video.
Now, as for the “Fixed Crawl” method of hunting.
“Gap shooting” is getting to know how far below your target you need to place the tip of the arrow at various yardages and last summer I showed you my “gap chart”. You should have some understanding as to what is meant by that. It is obvious in the archery world that you can’t just aim straight at your target while shooting an arrow. The arrow is going to arch to the target. And so it leaves the bow going in an “up” direction and then reaches an apex somewhere along the line, and then falls down into your target. A pretty simple concept. So, the closer you are to your desired target, the fact is, you have to aim below it. That is, the tip of the arrow will be below the desired spot you want that arrow to hit. As you progress farther back, away from the target the less you have to have that aim point below the target and there is that magical spot somewhere back there, where the place you put the tip of the arrow and your desired spot on the target you want to hit, are one and the same. That is called the “Point On” distance. And for a 50 pound bow, that usually is around the 40 yard mark, give or take a few yards. So, that is Gap Shooting in a nutshell.
“String Walking” is marking your string, or your glove, or tab in such a way as to help you move your string hand “down” the string in order to change the angle of the arrow as it leaves the string, so that you can aim your arrow at the target. The farther down the string you have your string hand, the steeper the angle placed upon the back end of the arrow, and thus the farther you can shoot while aiming the tip of your arrow at the desired mark on your target you want to hit. Of course there are maximums in everything and this method is no exception. I’ve never looked into just how far down the string you can have your drawing hand but I’d guess not more than 5 inches, maybe less.
Both String Walking and Gap shooting incorporate a method of “aiming” using the tip of the arrow. Well, when a man was using a spear to bring home the meat, he would have had some way to make it easier to hit his mark. And I doubt there were anyone in the clan against whatever he used just as long as he consistently brought home the meat. Then someone decided he could shoot his spear from a bow and I doubt, again, that anyone said anything but praise to him for inventing such a way to bring home the meat.
And so go the inventions in hunting that bring home the meat better and more efficiently than before. You can’t throw a spear 2,000 yards and hit anything but the ground, but you sure can shoot a long range rifle with high powered scopes and lots of ballistic charts and graphs and practice. Well, Mr. Matt Dernzack has come up with another, and in his opinion, more efficient way of hunting with a traditional bow and it is what he calls “Fixed Crawl”. With his method, he is taking parts from both the Gap shooting method and the String Walking method and here is how it works.
This is all about using traditional archery equipment. Given a “point on” distance of 40 yards using a 50 pound bow, his thoughts are that normal shots at big game animals should be taken at 20 yards or closer. In that distance kinetic energy is still enough to push an arrow through most of Americas big game. So, when setting up your equipment with this Fixed Crawl system, you are going to set your fixed mark at 25 yards. Why 25 yards and not 20? Well, under normal hunting situations, a hunter will most likely “fudge” and take that shot a bit farther away than what he says he will take. So, set this system up at 25 yards and hope your shots are closer than that. What you will do then is find that point on your string, where you will anchor your string fingers (tab or glove) below your nocking point such that when you draw back, you can use the tip of your arrow and put it on the point of the target you want to hit. The arrow itself will be closer to your eye than any other way of shooting, especially instinctively. You will be able to look right down the shaft of the arrow, find the point, put the point on the impact spot and release the arrow as usual.
Setting up your string hand is more of a trial and error thing than anything else. To begin with, I marked my 25 yard yardage and then used some tape to mark my string about an inch below the nock point. After shooting about 5 shots from this yardage and with my string point marked, I found I was fairly close to where I wanted to be. Of course, over time I will adjust my string hand up or down to fine tune this. But for now it looks like this:
The green threads is where my arrow is nocked, and the brass clip is where I bring my string hand up to when I shoot. This is a good starting point for my Fixed Crawl shooting.
Well, there is always some doubt about trying something new and this is nothing but new to me. Will it work? Well, according to Matt, if you set this up well to start with and practice (practice is always a key to anything archery related) you will find that shooting at 25 yards will put your arrows exactly where you point them on the target. He then goes closer to the target and still using the tip of the arrow as his sight, he shoots at 20 yards, 15 yards, 10 yards and even 5 yards. Each consecutive arrow hits the target higher above the bullseye. But even at 5 yards it is only 10 inches or so above the bullseye. AND, going the other way, at 30 yards his arrow is hitting about 10 inches below the bullseye!
So now, picture a mule deer buck standing broadside at 20 yards. You place your arrow tip exactly in the center of the kill zone and release the string….the arrow will ideally hit exactly where you are aiming, or perhaps an inch or two higher than that. A dead buck! At 10 yards the arrow will hit high in the kill zone, but still be a double lung shot! And at 30 yards, the arrow will strike near the lower portion of the chest, taking out the heart…a dead buck!
So, you see, using this method for hunting, you have a “point on” between 10 and 30 yards, yielding you a dead buck every time! You don’t have to think or know about what your “gap” is between those distances, nor do you have to worry about moving your string hand up or down the string from the nock point. Place your tab on the marked spot on the string, put the tip of the arrow on the point you wish to hit and release the string! TWANG….dead buck!
I tried it last night. I set my mark on my string where I bring my tab up to it. Draw back with my arrow nocked in its normal spot. Anchor a bit differently, with the nock of the arrow now touching my nose, I sight down the arrow and place the tip of the arrow on the spot on my target and release the string….here are my results after 3 successive round of “all the arrows in my quiver”, light weight ones, some with 100 gr. tips, some with 125 gr. tips, some fat arrows, some skinny arrows.
With no practice at this game, I was rather impressed at my groupings. These are not weighted and tested arrows, these are right out of the quiver arrows, the ones I have been using for target practice for a few months and several of them are some I just purchased in my $5 encounter for a box of arrows.
I think with some practice my groups will be better and more around that 5 inch circle of a target. Keep in mind too, this is at 25 yards.
I am impressed with this method of shooting and I will continue to post more as I progress, but folks, I believe this guy is onto something with this “Fixed Crawl” method of his!
May 12, 2o16