Legends and Pioneers > Fred Asbell

Please feel free to post about Fred

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Rick Henry:
I met Fred one time. It was at Kalamazoo a couple of years ago. I had read all his articles I could get my hands on because he shot a bow the way I shoot a bow. My brother and I taught ourselves as kids with the old solid fiberglass bows. We didn’t know how to aim we just looked at what we wanted to hit and let the arrow fly and after a while we got pretty accurate most of the time. We didn’t know what it was called and I had never heard of instinctive shooting. Fast forward several years and I had stopped shooting bows. I didn’t even own an adult sized bow. I started shooting compounds with sights and a string peep and for a while it was fun but after a while I lost interest. One day I was at my parents house and I noticed my old fiberglass bow hanging on a gun rack in my dads unattached garage along with a couple of old BB guns. I grabbed the bow and a few old arrows and shot it a little. Thankfully it was structurally sound. It was like being a kid all over again. In no time I was hitting what I looked at with that little bow out to about 15 yards or so. I have never shot a compound bow again since that day. Fast forward 10 or so years and I am hooked on trad archery and own several bows and I am shooting almost daily. I always shot the way my brother and I did as kids and had a lot of fun and also got pretty darn accurate. Then things changed. I joined a club and started to shoot 3D tournaments and guys started telling me all the things I was doing wrong. The cant of the bow, my stance,my arrows and my release. They were trying to help me and I bought into it because I wanted to get better and most of them were pretty darn good. So I listened and I changed every single thing I knew about shooting a bow. I even bought an expensive super heavy riser and ILF limbs in different weights.  They are all good guys but my shooting got worse and worse. It was frustrating to say the least. I just couldn’t get used to using the point of my arrow to aim and the stance didn’t feel natural to me and I didn’t like holding the bow more in a vertical position. Honestly I couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn anymore. So I go to Kalamazoo and Fred and his wife are there. I bought one of his wool back quivers and start talking to Fred. I tell him I always enjoyed his articles and mention that he had written in one of his articles that he was always amazed how guys were always trying to change how they shoot in an attempt to get better and that I had done the same exact thing. He says “ how is that working out for you?”  I replied that basically I stink and most days I’m pretty frustrated. He then says “then go back to what you were doing before”. It was like a lightbulb came on. I came home and started shooting the way I had always shot a bow. And now a couple of years later I shoot better than I ever have. I don’t shoot tournaments anymore and for the most part I’m a loner. I stump shoot and bow fish and I might start hunting again this fall. I enjoy shooting the stick and string again and I’m pretty darn accurate out to about 25 yards. I know this has gotten long winded but the moral to my story is I guess you can’t always teach an old dog new tricks. Competition isn’t for everyone, me included and their isn’t just one way to shoot a bow. I shoot differently than a lot of guys but that’s ok with me. The way I shoot is best for me and the only way I can shoot accurately and be consistent. Call it instinctive or call me a snap shooter or say I have target panic. Doesn’t matter to me at all anymore. I don’t really know what my style is all I know is it works for me. Lol. And I really feel that I owe it all to that short conversation with Fred in Kalamazoo. Wish I would have gotten the chance to talk to him again because I would have told him how much that little talk helped me out. Nothing against the guys that tried to change how I shoot, they were just trying to help but from here on out I will do it my way. The way I think Fred Asbel did it and a lot like Fred Bear and so many others did it.

Rick Henry

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