I think one of the best parts of engaging in a new sport is the ability to learn new skills and slowly enhance your knowledge as you go. It’s fun to look at where you started and how much you’ve grown, year after year.

My PSE Chaos bow has been my faithful companion since I started in the sport of archery less than a year ago. People talk about a bow’s “forgiveness” when shooting, which means something completely different than the forgiveness I’m talking about. When I say my bow has been forgiving, I mean I can shoot it seven days a week or take long breaks when work and life gets hectic, and the bow continues to shoot the same regardless of the time between trips to the lanes. So far, my bow has been maintenance free – just a little bit of string wax and it’s as good as new. It’s an easy bow to learn with and I find it to be trustworthy and reliable, shot after shot. If I’m at a shoot and need to lean it against a railing because all of the stands are taken, I don’t worry about it. My bow is not fragile and has taken a lot during its time so far.

As I am growing and learning in this sport, I find myself wanting to expand my knowledge and try different things. Working at the magazine has only furthered this desire, as I’m sitting in the perfect position to learn about new archery products as they are released to the public.

As a shooter with a short draw length (25 inches) and a lower poundage draw weight (about 42 pounds right now), I am eager to try arrows that are made specifically for archers of my type. As I mentioned previously, the Hot Pursuit arrows from Easton top my list of new products to try. I also want to see how fat, line-jamming arrows work for me and my scores during competition. It’s on my agenda to compete in more FITA shoots in 2014, and line jammers could be the way to go.

The next item on my upgrade list is my arrow rest. My bow is equipped with a whisker biscuit rest, but I have heard that drop-away rests and spring-loaded rests improve an archer’s accuracy. I also had the chance to look at several other types of arrow rests at the ATA Show in Nashville in January – and some that grabbed my attention right away as an item to try. G5 has an arrow rest that fully encloses your arrow, which is great for hunters crawling through the bush or up tree stands, but the rest drops away as soon as the arrow is released.

Although it is high on my upgrade list, changing my release is a step that I’m actually nervous for. My current release is Velcro and wraps around my wrist. I love pretty much everything about this release – how it feels, how well it works for me – but it’s difficult to make the Velcro wrap consistently, so that can change your accuracy each time you put the release on. And if you’re shooting for long periods of time, this release has rubbed the skin on my wrist raw before. But it seems every time I try a new release, I just can’t bring myself to love it as much as I love my current one. I would, however, like to try a handheld release, such as the ones you activate by pushing the trigger with your thumb. To be frank, I’m not sure if I’m good enough with my bow to use this release, but we’ll see. You have to get there sometime, right?

As far as archery and bows in general, I think I am ready to designate my PSE as my hunting bow and I’m in the market for a target bow. I love shooting this PSE and because I’m so comfortable with it and I can rely on it, I know it’ll be the perfect bow for hunting. For my future target bow, I’m looking for something a bit longer than my PSE, and faster for better accuracy. And, of course, something a bit more flashy. Once I find the perfect target bow, experimenting with different set ups will be an enjoyable experience, and something I expect to learn a lot from as I go.

Pictured at the top: Assistant editor Michaela Ludwig competing in an outdoor 3D shoot at Parkland Bowbenders.

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