A Recurve Dead Release Spotted!

Video of the 2017 Shoot Up Finals for the Barebow division at the Lancaster Archery Classic in Lancaster, PA has been posted on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39ppQpTQcz4). Recurve Barebow is more popular around the world than it has been in the U.S. (driven, I suspect, by the popularity of compound archery in the U.S.) but Barebow is on a rebound now and more and more people are attracted to it. Featured in these final matches are: Dewayne Martin, Scott Bills, Bobby Worthington, and John Demmer III.

Interestingly, DeWayne Martin shoots with a dead release, something very few recurve archers can pull off. (More and more I am coming to the conclusion that there are no absolutes in archery (e.g. You must use a “live” release in Recurve.), just some things make shooting “more or less difficult.”

View the video! Flinches! Creeping! Tape on the nose! Tournament nerves! Stringwalking! (Although the announcers were somewhat clueless about the advantages of a crawl.) At 29:18 a close-up of John Demmer III’s quiver (current WA world field champion) shows arrows with two different fletching patterns. This would not be allowed in a WA shoot. The Lancaster Archery Classic uses a mixture of NFAA rules and their own. (It is a private shoot, they can do as they wish. If they apply for a sanction from one of the governing bodies they would have to conform to that association’s rules. Note Many people do not know that the Vegas Shoot, while owned by the NFAA, is a private shoot with its own rules.)

John Demmer III, the eventual winner, and an elite Barebow archer, shoots with a tilted head. You don’t have to do it right, you just have to do it over.

If you shoot Barebow or your students do, watch this video. This gives you a good idea of what is possible, at least indoors. It gives you an idea of what “the best” can shoot under pressure and then you can determine how you stack up or how close your students are.


Filed under For All Coaches

9 responses to “A Recurve Dead Release Spotted!

  1. Tom Dorigatti

    “Gentleman Jim” Pickering was the Master of the dead release. Although he shot predominately Freestyle Limited, he still has the dead release mastered down to a science.
    I also think that Frank Pearson, a great finger shooter, in his own right show with a dead release when he shot with fingers. He also used a clicker when he shot with a release aid! I don’t know if he still does it with a cilcker or not, however.


    • Becky does not, Frank does from time to time. Are you talking about the compound days of these gentlemen? (I never got to meet Jim Pickering, which I regret)

      A dead release with a compound bow is not only acceptable I think it it superior to a live release.

      How are you doing TD? I have a cold and am quite miserable at the moment.

      On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 11:34 AM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



      • Tom Dorigatti

        With regard to “Gentleman Jim”, dead release with both recurve and compound. Had the pleasure and privilege of shooting with him and also work with him a bit when I was on Hoyt, USA’s shooting staff.


  2. starground

    Also note John Demmer III’s centre shot setting. Way, way out to the left. Myself, I have a dead centre setting… Everything goes, as long as it works for you!
    I often see seemingly dead releases when bare bow archers anchor high. I find a high anchor really makes follow through difficult, as I would pull into my cheek bone. And fellow (recurve) archers would call it “plucking the string” when they see your fingers come flying from hitting your face after release… A lower anchor makes it easier, but then you would need a greater crawl, which might decrease your precision.
    However, it’s a really colorful and entertaining video!


    • I have seen centershots inboard of center, too. I have to believe, though, that those can be tuned out. Whether there is any benefit from doing so, I question.

      The results are determined by the archer, not the equipment, unless the equipment breaks down or is incapable of the level of consistency demonstrated by the archer (a rare thing).

      On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 1:23 PM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



  3. starground

    “If you shoot Barebow or your students do, watch this video. This gives you a good idea of what is possible, at least indoors.”
    Speaking of what bare bow archers are capable of:


  4. Caio Taniguchi

    For some reason, this is the 1st target archery event video i’ve EVER seen. I think I just had this idea in my mind that competitions like this would be ‘gold only, lot’s of X’s, ocasional bad shot defining who wins’, and it is great to see that score variations like those seen on this video are actually what happen.
    Also it was great seeing that it envolves people so different among themselves, from greatly diverse places and of different ages. It gave me the same feel as poker, where in a tournament’s final table you can see Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, and other people of such different backgrounds and ages, all in the same place competing for the 1st place.
    Great post as always!


    • Thanks! Too often the videos of super-human performances get all of the attention. More of these videos are now showing the nerves, flinching, mistakes that accompany all archery competitions. And these, as you now know, are good to see for us mere mortals! ;o)

      On Sat, Apr 22, 2017 at 11:46 PM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



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