Traditional Archery Gear – Pro Shop Vs. Small Shop

Source: Stick & String Adventures Podcast – Episode 27 – Archers Roundtable

A Conversation between

Ned Miller – We’re going to kick it off with the first topic which is going to be, “First Time Buying of Traditional Archery Equipment.” What that means from a buyer’s perspective (The kind of things you run into).  And also from a shop owner or product owners perspective and the kinds of opinions and the kinds of advice we give to new time archer’s and buyers. So, Alright guys, let’s kick it off with that topic.  Whoever wants to chime in first on first time buying.

20120822_174304.jpgJason Albert – I have so much to say about this because I made like every mistake in the book when it came time for me to buy my stuff. So, I figure a good place to start is on bows. For me…  I am going to start it right off the bat with something a little controversial.  I know that I am going to get a lot of hate mail for this, but……

  • Stay away from the large commercial sporting goods stores like Cabelas & Bass Pro’s if you are not an experienced archer.  Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop are great places to buy stuff if you know what you are doing, but most of their employees are short-term employees.  I have to recommend to buy from your local Mom & Pop pro-shop because they have the passion for the sport and they have the knowledge and experience to get you set up properly.

Ned Miller – Now, Jason, Have you had some particular personal experience with that or is that coming from some other people you’ve talked to?

Jason Albert – From my personal experience and other people I’ve talked to.  I mean…  They come away with arrows that are not even coming close to being spined for their bow.  They’re over bowed because they just wanted to sell them what they could.

Ned Miller – I get that.  And you can tell just by looking at their products or some of the websites.  Cabelas and some of the bigger establishments…  They have great products.  there’s no doubt about it.  But,  if you are a first time buyer and have a lot of questions that are very detailed, and to what a lot of people consider to be a niche market, I can see how you can get on the wrong path.

Jason Albert – Definitely buy from your local Mom & Pop pro shop.  Even if you have to drive 25, 30, 50 miles.  It will be worth your time because they’re going to be the one’s that get you set up right. And their more likely going to be the ones you set up a relationship with.  Sporting good stores…  They’re very impersonal and they’re just not going to be there for you when you need it.

Nick Viau – I couldn’t agree more.  I actually couldn’t agree more with Jason here. I originally did a lot of shopping online.  I was actually set up with an outfitter. Fortunately they had a traditional guy on staff that was traditional first and everything else second.  He was able to set me up with what I needed.

“But, most of the experiences I’ve had when people go into a sporting goods store, a large one, aren’t very good”

But, most of the experiences I’ve had when people go into a sporting goods store, a large one, aren’t very good.  They usually come back spending way more than they should have.  Like Jason said, they usually don’t have very tuned equipment. They’re usually sold on really high-priced carbon arrows.  A lot of guys come back with blazer vanes and stuff like that.  They’re not feather fletched.

Most of the staff aren’t trained on what they’re selling.  They only know, and most of them will tell you, “I am really not that familiar with them (traditional bows that is).” That’s kinda where they stand.  There’s so much to know in the modern world than traditional.  And that’s what they sell.  I mean, let’s face it.  We’re a very small percentage.  They are not trained in setting people up like that.  Unless you get somebody on staff who happen to have been one first, you’re not going to have very good luck.

I highly recommend the Mom & Pop stores.  Plus, the Mom & Pop stores are going to put you in contact with other people who shoot like you do.  And you’re going to be able to find a community.  I really had to shop around for that for a long time.  It took me a few weeks to find a shop that said, “Yeah, we got a traditional guy.  You might want to stop in here on Tuesday’s” or something like that.  That community is important.  Finding that mentor is so important at first.  You’re not going to get that at a major sporting goods store like that.

Ned Miller – I could really see the pitfalls you could run into.  The thing is… I think a lot of these big stores have basically a very canned perspective or canned package towards traditional archery.  Here’s two or three bows we may have.  If they have that many.  And they’re definitely not going to have any traditional wooden arrows.  It’s all going to be carbon, aluminum.  If you want to go down the wood arrow route.  I can see that they have a very canned perspective.  One set up for everybody.  And we all know that with traditional archery, there’s not one set up for everybody.


Here is a link to another blog post on a similar topic: PSE’s Will Jenkins on Buying Online vs. Pro Shops


About rasherquivers

Owner/Operator of Rasher Quivers
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