Instinctive Shooting II (1993)

[In light of G. Fred Asbell's 2011 release of "Advanced Instinctive Shooting for Bowhunting (his third book on the subject), I decided to revisit his first two texts with a quick overview.  This should help compare and contrast the books for those already familiar with the series.  Here is the second.]

Instinctive Shooting II - G. Fred Asbell

Instinctive Shooting II by G. Fred Asbell

G. Fred Asbell’s 1993 Follow-Up to his hit book “Instinctive Shooting”is not a re-write of the original, but it is not strictly a sequel either.  It was written to expand upon many of his thoughts from the original where it was necessary.  This means that some topics are explained again in full, other topics are reviewed with references back to the original, and new topics are added as well.

The book is only 25 pages longer than the original, but the content is more focused on instinctive shooting.  When the first book was published, Asbell felt it necessary to give some background and information on traditional archery itself, as well as his shooting methodology.  In this follow-up, the content is more focused.

“Instinctive shooting is shooting a bow and arrow using only the ability of the bow hand, eye, body coordination, and instinctive memory.”  With that definition, Mr. Asbell again sets out to explain and teach instinctive shooting, but with the aid of 5 additional years of questions and experience on the topic.  The result is a book that again covers the basic components of shooting from beginning to end – but with chapters (or multiple chapters) for each component.  Check the Chapter List below to see the details.

Two noticeable additions in this book are the chapters dedicated solely to the Longbow and Compound.  He gave these bows brief treatment in his first book, but expands on them here in detail to account for the differences required when shooting them instinctively.

In summary, Instinctive Shooting II is a book that allows newcomers the chance to learn the Instinctive Shooting technique in detail, while also giving even experienced shooters information that they can use to improve their shooting.  Reading the first book (Instinctive Shooting) is helpful, but not necessary, to understand and practice the methods that Fred Asbell describes.  If you shoot a longbow or compound specifically and want to expand your instinctive shooting abilities, then this is the book to start with.  But if you hunt with any traditional archery equipment at all, then this book should be considered required reading!

Instinctive Shooting II

Author: G. Fred Asbell
ISBN: 0-9639479-2-3
Published: 1993
Pages: 153


  1. Why Instinctive Shooting II?
  2. Understanding How a Bow and Arrow Works
  3. The Hand, The Eye, The Bow And The Arrow
  4. Hand And Wrist Position
  5. The Bow Arm and Drawing The Bow
  6. String Fingers and The Drawing Hand
  7. The Anchor and Its Location
  8. The Release
  9. Canting The Bow and Head Position
  10. Aiming
  11. Bend Those Knees
  12. The Longbow
  13. Shooting The Longbow
  14. The Longbow Handle
  15. What Now?
  16. Other Bow Handle Considerations
  17. Handle Shapes
  18. The Longbow And Arrow Matchup
  19. Other Important Considerations…
  20. Shooting the Compound Bow Instinctively
  21. Drawing And Shooting the Compound Instinctively
  22. All Instinctive Shooting Begins With The Same Hand And Arrow Relationship
  23. Important Considerations
  24. If Nothing Else, Good Arrows Should Be… Highly Visible
  25. Practice For Bowhunters Only
  26. Did I Ever Tell You The Story About…
  27. Old Green, My Faithful Friend And Companion
  28. Caribou Memories
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Instinctive Shooting (1988)

[In light of G. Fred Asbell's 2011 release of "Advanced Instinctive Shooting for Bowhunting (his third book on the subject), I decided to revisit his first two texts with a quick overview.  This should help compare and contrast the books for those already familiar with the series.  Here is the first.]

Instinctive Shooting - G. Fred Asbell

Instinctive Shooting – A Step-by-Step Guide to Better Bowhunting by G. Fred Asbell

G. Fred Asbell’s original book was written at a time when traditional archery was at a low, with few serious recurve shooters and even fewer serious longbow shooters, but it was also a period of renewed interest in the subject.  After writing a couple articles regarding traditional archery and shooting instinctively for Bowhunter Magazine, the ensuing interest within the bowhunting community was enough to convince him that a book on the topic was necessary.  Instinctive Shooting was the result, and was published in 1988.

Mr. Asbell begins with his thoughts on the renewed interest that traditional archery was receiving at the time, and proceeds into a description of what instinctive shooting is and how it works.  In his words, “Instinctive shooting is shooting a bow using only the abilities of eye, body coordination and instinctive memory… It is shooting an arrow where you are looking.  It is looking at the target and shooting.”

Much of the book is dedicated toward the details of how to best make Instinctive Shooting work for others.  This includes sections on shooting off the shelf, stance, drawing the bow, string fingers, anchoring, body position, concentration, and practice.  Overall, the topics are given with enough detail to introduce somebody to the realm of instinctive shooting from beginning to end.  Many of the given details focus on recurve shooting in this book, though the advice would generally apply to longbow shooters also.

Additional chapters include “Handcrafting Wood Arrows”, a selection of hunting stories, and Q&A regarding instinctive shooting and traditional archery tackle.

Overall, this is still a quality text for anybody that is entering the realm of traditional archery and wants to know how to become a better bowhunter.  There is certainly more to be said about instinctive shooting than is covered here, as shown by Mr. Asbell’s two follow-up books – but start here, practice, and continue on into Instinctive Archery II and Advanced Instinctive Shooting for Bowhunting to learn more and answer questions that you might still have.

Instinctive Shooting – A Step-by-Step Guide to Better Bowhunting

Author: G. Fred Asbell
ISBN: 936531-05-3
Published: 1988
Pages: 128


  1. The Traditional Revolution
  2. What is Instinctive Shooting… and how does it work?
  3. Why Instinctive Shooting?
  4. Shooting a Bow Well
  5. Shooting off the Shelf
  6. Learning to Shoot Instinctively
  7. Setting Up and Tuning Your Bow
  8. Getting Better
  9. Questions and Answers
  10. Handcrafting Wood Arrows
  11. Reunion Hunt
  12. Bighorn Bowhunt
  13. The Water Test
  14. One Season on Pritchard Mountain
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Recap and Photos of the Midwest Traditional Expo, 2011

The Midwest Traditional and Primitive Archery Expo was held last weekend (March 4-6, 2011) in Waterloo, IA at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. It was the first year for this event, which many would love to see become an annual affair. Doors opened on Friday to a rather small crowd, but Saturday went much better with crowds coming from all four corners of the Iowa, as well as Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and beyond. The final vendor count was 37, with bowyers, archery shops, hunting gear and organizations. See the list of shops below and the vendor map in the images.

I spent most of the weekend in the Iowa Traditional Bowhunters Society booth, which didn’t give me much opportunity to talk to vendors but it DID leave me with the opportunity to talk to a lot of the attendees. Much of the feedback that I received was very positive – they were impressed with the facility, the number of vendors, and the number of people that were there. Judging from the long Saturday line-up at the Bow Try-Out range, it seems that the vendors were kept active as well. Talking with the bowyers afterward revealed that was the case, and a number of folks went home with new bows during the weekend.

Here you’ll find a number of photos from the event, with more coverage below:

There were seminars both Saturday and Sunday, including Steve Gorr (bowhunting Africa), Paul Shore (Bowfishing), Dan Brockman (bowhunting western whitetails), Gene Winter (Primitive Archery), and G. Fred Asbell (instinctive shooting). I only had time to attend Asbell’s seminar, and it was literally standing room only once everyone had packed into the room.

The facility itself was fantastic – the expo hall at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center is clean, spacious, well-lit, and seemed to have ample room for booths, shooting, and vendor-access during setup and teardown. Also nearby on the ground floor you will find the meeting rooms where the weekend’s seminars were held. Upstairs you will find windows that give a panoramic view of the expo floor, and meeting rooms which are where the vendor banquet was held. Perhaps most importantly for visitors and vendors that bring their families – the Convention Center connects via skywalk to the Ramada hotel across the street. This makes it easy for family to come and go from the hotel throughout the event without any travel, making this a definite benefit for people wanting to bring their children. There is plenty of parking across the street in a public parking garage.

In short, this seemed to be an excellent first-year event for the Expo and it sounds like we can expect to see it again next year. I would encourage everyone that attended to contact Tom Colstad and to thank them for putting on the event, and encourage them to bring it back next year. With all the learning experience that a first-event always holds, I’m sure the 2012 Expo will been an even bigger and better event.

Vendor List:

  • G&M Archery
  • Kota Bows
  • Jerry Co.
  • 21st Street Archery
  • Ruby Ranch Outfitters
  • Prairie Traditions
  • Rapids Archery Club
  • Sauers Veneers
  • St. Joe River Bows
  • Lost Nation Archery
  • Tall Tines Traditional Archery
  • Best Friend Longbows
  • Northern Mist Longbows
  • Holm-Made Traditional Bows
  • IBO
  • Hunter’s Niche
  • Sky Archery
  • Lon Scott
  • Cascade Archery
  • Joe Howland
  • Tri-State Archery
  • Dwyer Longbows
  • Da Wool Lady
  • Compton Traditional Bowhunters
  • The Footed Shaft
  • Black Widow Custom Bows
  • Pine Hollow Longbows
  • Hunters Image
  • Iowa Traditional Bowhunters Society
  • RER Bows
  • Ricke Custom Knives
  • Prairie Longbows
  • Paul Shore
  • Nutrilite
  • TradArchers World
  • Tottorelli Traditions
  • Winter Bow Shoppe (Eco Dipper)
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Midwest Traditional and Primitive Archery Expo

Logo for the Midwest Traditional and Primitive Archery Expo 2011

For all of you traditional archers living in the upper midwest (especially Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), I have an important event to announce! There is going to be a Traditional and Primitive Archery Expo in Waterloo, IA this March – sponsored by TradArcher’s World Magazine. The event is schedule for March 4-6 (Fri – Sun) and has already lined up a good number of speakers and vendors to help make this an event worth attending.

This is a chance for the midwest to kickstart their own, annual trad archery expo – For anyone that is able, I encourage you to drive over and check it out! Don’t forget to spread the word!

Guest Speakers will include:

  • Fred Asbell
  • Steve Gorr
  • Paul Shore
  • Gene Winter
  • Dan Brockman

Vendors that will be attending include:

  • Black Widow Custom Bows
  • Dwyer Bows
  • St. Joe River Bows
  • Holm-Made Bows
  • and more!

The venue is the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, which should make for a spectacular setup. Follow the link below to find out more.

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