If you have one hand but are in reasonable physical condition you can shoot a modern compound bow. You may do it better than people with two hands. You can bow hunt or compete in archery contests. If you have an interest in this I have freely provided this information. Please pass it on to those it might help.
No Story! Show Me!
How It All Started
Several years ago I went through Eustis, Florida on my way to South Carolina to hunt deer. I went to the Sports Shop on Highway 19 because I wanted to pick up a new Warren and Sweat climbing stand to carry along. The Warren and Sweat factory is just across the street and the fine people there will run over and pick up whatever stand I want while I wait. I wanted to buy a sort of light stand because I wanted to carry it into the swamp. While I was in the shop waiting and looking around a young man approached and struck up a conversation. He told me that Saturday was opening day for bow season in Ocala National Forest. He said that because I had one hand I could get a permit to use a crossbow. I told him that I had never bow hunted and that I had a Ruger 30.06 in the truck but was thinking about an atomic missile to cut down on the number that got away. He was a very nice young man. I did not forget him and what he said. I sometimes think about how a few words may change someone's life for the better. (Or their wife's life for the worse!)
The Seed was Planted
Several years passed and I noticed an announcement that Florida Bow Season would start on a certain date. Ocala would be open to any sex bow hunting. I was now retired. I had time to get a permit and a crossbow. I called game and fish at Lakeland and they sent the forms. I looked around on the internet to see what crossbow I should buy. In my search I found that bowhunters objected to crossbow hunting for several different reasons. Some of them I thought very valid. That is for another time and place.
OK! OK! ..... No Crossbow!
I thought it might be fun to build an artificial arm type appliance to hold a bow. I would be able to shoot a regular bow. I made a cast of my stump. I was searching for information. I get a magazine that shows the amazing number of high tech limbs that are produced today. I searched the old magazines and the internet. I bought a bow. It was not a real good one but pretty good. I was under way.
What? I Can do That!
One day as I was studying my problems I took the end of my left arm, without a hand, and hooked it on the bowstring and was amazed to find that I could pull the bow with great ease. What? Now it was a whole new game. I actually found that I could shoot the bow by pulling the string with the end of my arm. The release was very rough and the shots went everywhere. A smooth release was impossible and, as I soon found out, a smooth release is what shooting a bow is all about. The string was very hard on my arm! Almost all bow shooters use releases to keep from hurting fingers and allow for a smooth release. All I needed was a release that I could use. Soooo... easy!
I Was Hooked!
It felt great to pop that bow string back, release the arrow, and see it fly at the target. I built a number of devices that worked with varying degrees of success. A regular release with a piece of plastic gas line tubing on the trigger that I could pull with my teeth worked pretty good. I bought another bow. With the left hand off you shoot a left handed bow. I built an electrical release using a small motor and two flashlight batteries in my shirt pocket with a switch on my trigger finger. Very nice, but too much to tangle or break. The device pictured on these pages is what I finally decide on. It is a standard "Little Goose" release from Scott that can be bought with ease. It is a fine quality device from a great company. A mounting bracket, photo shutter release, and a maple clothespin like mouth release are all fairly simple and can be installed in a few minutes. I have a spare with me most of the time. Simple and smooth!
The Bottom Line Or .... What I Want You to Know
If you have lost one arm but are in reasonable physical condition you can shoot a compound bow with the same accuracy as a person with two hands. It may be that you would have some advantage. Could it be that the release of the string is smoother using my device than the standard way of the two handed shooter? Maybe. I shoot a coke can at 30 yards to show my device. I usually hit it on the first try. I never shot until I was over 65 years old. A young person might have unlimited potential!
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