The hobby of archery started early on in his youth for Bob Kekahbah of North Platte.
“I actually started shooting a bow with my dad when I was little,” Kekahbah said. “We’d shoot bullfrogs around the pond down in Oklahoma.”
After getting away from the sport for a while, Kekahbah got back into archery in 2006.
“I went to a big box store and bought what they said I needed,” Kekahbah said. “Then my mother-in-law told me about Roger at the lake with Flatwater Archery and he helped me get everything set up and done right.”
Kekahbah said the initial cost of buying a bow is the biggest thing, but after that it is dependent on how deep one wants to get into archery.
“Anybody can do it,” Kekahbah said. “I have a friend of mine, he’s 89 years old and still bowhunting. My grandson is six and he goes with me and shoots. ”
There are different types of bows and Kekahbah has several models.
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“I have a take down re-curve bow,” Kekahbah said, “and I have a custom made long bow, a Howard Hill long bow. It’s a traditional bow. ”
Most people will shoot wooden arrows with the long bow for a little more of the traditional aspect of it.
“There’s not much to it,” Kekahbah said. “It’s a stick and string, pull it back and let it go. They call it instinct shooting. ”
There isn’t any kind of aiming reference, he said.
There is also the recurve bow. It starts out like a “D” then reflexes back out for the recurve.
“These store a little bit more energy than the long bow because the ends pull back farther,” Kekahbah said. “A lot of people are going back to traditional. Here lately, I’ve sold a lot more recurves than compounds. ”
He said it’s a lot less expensive than the compound bows. The average compound bow is between $ 600 to $ 700 for the bow. Recurves are $ 200 or less.
“Compound bows have come a long way,” Kekahbah said. “On a compound bow, the shape of the cam, it builds power, then lets off.”
Bows can be custom designed to fit every individual and there are multiple factors that can be adjusted.
“You can change the draw length for a taller person like me,” Kekahbah said. “It shoots 30 inches and will go down to 24 for someone with shorter arms.”
The poundage can be selected as well, which is the amount of power the bow will generate when shooting. The poundage needed depends on what is being hunted.
“If you’re hunting antelope, 70 pounds, the higher the poundage the better because those are usually longer shots,” Kekahbah said. “You want the shot to be fast enough to make a good shot and you don’t want the animal to suffer.”
He said a 40-pound bow might not penetrate the skin of a larger animal. Most hunters shoot turkeys with 40-pound bows, although most people in this area shoot everything with a 60-pound bow, he said.
Kekahbah said he can build custom equipment for archers, which includes the string, the sights and everything associated with their particular style of shooting.
“The sights are all fiber optic,” Kekahbah said. “You set the pins for the shooter and each bow is different for each person, how it’s held and how it’s sighted.”
There are a lot of choices in arrows and broadheads, as well.
“The old standard three blades, six blades, they don’t move,” Kekahbah said. “We sharpen them and these are what they are, just a solid blade, steel blade.”
There are mechanical broadheads that stay folded until they hit the target and then the blades open up. He said those arrows have less wind resistance so they fly a little better.
There is also a hybrid broadhead that has the six-blade out front that stays solid, but the two blades behind it fold back. Once they hit, the rear blades swing open and make a wider cut.
A newer option is with the nock, which is the end of the arrow that is placed against the string.
“They light up so you can find them and trace them,” Kekahbah said. “They fit on the string and once the string fires, it pushes a little button that turns the light on and it stays on.”
Some of them flash to make it easier to locate them in dimmer light.
Most of the arrows these days are carbon. There are three or four different sizes, Kekahbah said. A standard size arrow is 19/64 in diameter and they go down to 11/64.
“You get into some of the competitive indoor shooting, 3D shoots,” Kekahbah said, “and they’ll use arrows that are 27/64 in diameter.”
For folks who are interested in learning archery, call Kekahbah at 308-539-0839. A 3D shoot is scheduled for today at the Maniohuta Archery Club at 204 Pheasant Run Road south of Lake Maloney Road from 9 am to 1 pm