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Advanced Instictive Shooting for Bowhunting

Reviewed By Andy , 18 October 2011

If you want to be the best then you need to learn from the best. G. Fred Asbell is one of the worlds best bow hunters and has been writing books on the subject of archery for over 30 years. What Fred doesn't know about archery isn't really worth knowing, certianly when it comes to instinctive archery at least. Picking up a bow and just shooting can at first feel very natural but it's not long before the frustration starts, which is usually the moment the instructor moves you back further than 5 yards. It can then take a life time to master and many of us drift off on a path, some with sights, some without, some with traditional bows and some with compounds.

Everybody has something to learn, and Fred still understands this for he is as willing as anybody to tell of how he has made those same journeys we have, changing anchors, different bow hand positions and beyond. Over the 50 years Fred has been shooting he has refined his methods and through the course of 3 pervious books and a DVD tried to pass those methods on to other archers. Advanced Instinctive Shooting for Bowhunting is squarly aimed at the instinctive bow hunter, but there is plenty in the 180 pages for everybody.

This first and foremost is an instructional book and there is none of the ususal "This is a bow", "this is an arrow" basic explanations you find with many other books. That is not to say or indicate that the book is for very experienced archers only just that it knows what it's focus is and sticks to it. There is a small section on tabs and gloves but Fred offers no adivce other than to state his own preference and move on to something else. 

Over the course of 17 chapters Fred takes us through the various componets of the shot, body, arm and hand positon and also chapters on practice, why we miss and then a Jane Fonda style work out (leotard optional). One of the key chapters which Fred often refers back to is Push-Pull shooting and it is a running theme from that point onwards. Personally I would say much of Fred's advice is unconventional, particuarly on stance and anchor, but this is all about instinctive shooting and he has developed his methods to make the best of that situation. There is a strong bias towards hunting, obviously as the title says it all on that front, but there is pletny there for any type of archer and in my view any exposure to different techiniques is more than welcome.  

For me the highlights are the chapters on concentration, stance and bow hand and wrist position, the two titled "Why We Miss" and "Bow Weight" come across as fillers if you want an honest opinion, which labour their points a little too much and could have been adequately covered in other areas in less detail. It's difficult to write a book review without giving too much of the plot away so I won't go in to detail about what's covered in each but there is a wealth of information in each one, you could certainly dip in and out of the book at intervals, although a full read initially wouldn't go a miss. It would be as equally useful to get it out at the range as there is some excellent advice on practice towards the end which is well worth focusing on. 


If you want to improve your archery then I can only recommend that you read as much as possible, if you are an instinctive archer then this book really is a must along with Fred's other books, but there is still plenty for those looking to improve using other aiming methods. It's clear that Fred is on the same journey as all of us, constantly looking to improve and refine his methods, thankfull he has invited us all along.


It's wasy to read with a nice two column page layout. The chapters are packed with information but Fred has avoided any waffle. Plenty for anybody looking to learn something new or improve on current methods.

Softback but a nice shinny cover, there are tons of colour photos. One word of warning on those, there are as many images of people doing things wrong as doing them right so make sure you read the text.
Value for Money
Not cheap, especially if you are outside of the US as it doesn't seem as if it's available on the world market. But archery books are not cheap so if you were to by any archery book this would be as good a choice as any.
A must for any instinctive archer and a must for anybody really wanting to expose themselves to tradtional archery methods, plenty in there for everybody. 


Your Comments

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  • Posted by: Jim Willard on Jun 1, 19:05

    Fred Bear, Howard Hill, and Ben Pearson amazed me how good there were with a bow. Been shooting a bow for 56 years and never have read a book or article that truly explained instinctive archery. In the late 60’s I accidently stumbled upon what instinctive archery really is. I developed this method so well that the last year in competition I won the IBO, ASA World Championships, North American Bowhunter Jamboree, and the NFAA 3-D. This was during the time that there were many participants in the barebow division and all either shot some type of point of aim, or gap method. I won all these shooting purely instinctive with targets out to 60 yards in the IBO. To this day the guys I competed with doing those times will argue with me when I say I shot it all purely instinctive. Been thinking about a little booklet describing my methods and what I have learned about truly instinctive archery. Just don’t know if there would be an interest or not.

  • Posted by: Allan Scott on Aug 29, 04:42

    I have this book, as well as Fred’s first one on instinctive shooting. I read that book three times, and had not shot a bow for two years prior to the third reading. While spending a week at Martin Archery learning the bow making process(about one week after my third reading), I went to their shooting range above the offices to get some target time( remember,I had not shot a bow in 2 years). I picked up a Martin Hunter, 40#@28”, and three cedar arrows that looked about right, and started shooting at the 20yd target. The first 9 or 10 shots were all over the target, but by arrow 18 or so, the techniques put forth in the book were starting to take hold.By arrow thirty, the groups were getting tighter, and I decided to shoot six more arrows.The first three were in the 10 ring- the last three were grouped tightly on the X! So tight,in fact,that I could hardly pull them out! I was shooting with a buddy who was shooting a 300fps compound, and when he saw what I had accomplished, he said,“How in the Hell did you do that?!” I said,” I’ve got a book you need to read…….”

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    Essential Details
    What :
    Advanced Instictive Shooting for Bowhunting
    Price :

    Jane Fonda eat your heart out 

    Everything is well illustrated 

    The ant hunt section left a little to be desired 

    There are plenty of hunting pictures so if that's not your bag be warned 

    There is even time for some ballroom lessons. 


    Magazine We were very pleased to give our support to the James Whale Kidney Foundation shoot which we cover in this months magazine. We were also contacted by Lars Pilø with news on the archery related finds on Jovfonna, and while we couldn't get out there ourselves Lars kindly filled in some background information for us.

    Views of the course at Dunkery A mixed bag this month, me in the South West, Geoff putting the record straight, a chat with Keith Stay and the wisdom comes from South Cox of Stalker bows. 

    We take a tour the length and breadth of the British mainland to visit Scotland with Border Bows, Yorkshire with Aidy Hayes, the Wirral with Jason from, down South with the Company of Canterbury Longbowman, and Geoff is in Spain.

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