Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

Traditional bows and arrows

“Building bows is a series of pitfalls.”

Bill Dunn’s job for the last 10 years has been making bows and arrows from scratch by hand, avoiding a multitude of hurdles in the creation of these crafts on a day-by-day basis. Dunn, who’s wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and a short but unkempt beard, currently builds Zipper bows and Grizzly broadheads, and he owns both labels.

The bows sell on his company’s website for anywhere from $600 to $1,500, and he ships them as far east as China, as far west as Hawaii, and seemingly everywhere in between.

But while a bow and arrow may seem as easy to put together as an Apple Pie on a warm August day, the process to build the perfect product takes not only time, but the utmost precision.

“You’re just constantly trying to avoid those pitfalls,” Dunn, 39, said outside his barn in Sterling Township in Brown County, which operates as his workshop. “There’s so many places you can go wrong but if you can keep avoiding all those spots and correct the issues that come up with every one, you’ve got a good bow.

“Sometimes I’ve taken some pretty good stuff and cut it in half, because it’s just not going to be right.”

Humans have been using bows and arrows to hunt for thousands of years. In fact, according to research conducted by professors with the University of Tübingen in Germany and the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, there’s evidence to show humans used bows and arrows 64,000 years ago.

But in the years since, the bow and arrow went from the most popular hunting instrument to one that’s been relegated to the sidelines in favor of rifles and other firearms. A 2011 study by the U.S. Census bureau found that 13.7 million Americans use firearms to hunt, compared to 4.5 million using bows and arrows.

However, the bow and arrow seems to be making a bit of a comeback these days.

Using new technology to add carbon in the risers and limbs of the bows, the equipment has become even more lighter and accurate when firing at a target.

“The stability is so great with it,” Dunn said. “If I’m shooting and I twist my fingers out or I make a poor release, that carbon has the extra stability to stabilize that limb faster and get the string going straight, which equals better performance.

“Plus, there’s better shootability, which is also another aspect of performance, because it’s going to be more accurate the faster it lines up, gets straight, and sends the arrow down range faster. With the carbon, it’s so stable that I don’t believe you can intentionally twist a limb. What that lets me do is build a much more radical limb and it’s still more stable than a wood limb.”

Dunn has been into bow and arrow hunting since he was a teenager. While in high school, he cut down Osage trees nearby and made his own self bow out of it, as he couldn’t afford the manufactured bows used by more experienced hunters.

He then met Zipper founder Bob Thompson after graduating high school at shooting events, and Dunn said he always displayed a love for the Zipper bow brand.

“My wife (Tracy) got tired of hearing me talk about how great these Zipper bows were so she said ‘order the dang thing’, so I ended up getting my first one,” Dunn said.

Two years later, Dunn purchased another Zipper bow from Thompson and eventually developed enough of a relationship to work with Thompson as Thompson was preparing to retire. Dunn spent four or five days in Brown County shoeing horses, before driving to West Virginia to work with Thompson in his shop.

“Finally after about six months of that, I took it over and brought everything here,” said Dunn.

According to Dunn, it’s a two week process from start to finish to build a bow. He starts with about four risers and sets of limbs at a time, but he said inevitably, one of them is dropped to the next two-week cycle.

The risers need to be cut into shape, potentially with other elements added to them, sanded, and then applied with as many as ten layers of finish. For the limbs, it’s even more complicated, as they need to be sanded, then shaped to the riser and be of equal length and weight on both sides of the riser so that the string holds tight.

The broadheads meanwhile need to be sanded, finished, and grinded so that it’s sharp on both sides.

“The Grizzly is a single-bevel head,” Dunn said. “In the single bevel, what it does is, when it meets resistance, that thing is going to twist and turn.

“When it meets resistance, there’s pressure pushing against this bevel and that bevel,” explains Dunn, while demonstrating how the arrow spins,” so it will twist when it meets some material. If you have a heavy enough arrow, instead of trying to force through that bone, it will split through that bone.”

Despite the new technology, Dunn considers himself a traditionalist. He hunts with a wood bow and arrow, which means that he has to usually be within ten yards of a target on a hunt in order to make an accurate shot.

Or in his words, “I want them close enough that I can smell them.”

He sees the use of traditional wood bow and arrows as a progression, from beginning hunting with firearms, to challenging yourself more with a carbon composite bow, to using a wooden bow, which raises the hunting challenge even more.

Even with the lure of computers and video games keeping children inside and away from learning hunting techniques, Dunn isn’t worried about hunters going extinct.

“Hunting’s not going to go away. We are hunters when we’re born. The biggest thing that we say a million times is just getting kids into it, but we are hunters. That’s why kids play hide and seek, that’s why they’re out there catching grasshoppers. We just have to make sure that the kids realize the reason they’re playing the games they’re playing.”

Dunn also said that more respect should be paid to all animals, and that new hunters shouldn’t be focused on tagging the biggest buck of the year.

“An old, smart, doe, is just as intelligent or more during the rut than any buck out there,” Dunn said. “And also, consider the effort you put into the hunt in correlation to the trophy that you take away. If you hunt hard and you find that smart, old doe, or whatever it is, it’s more rewarding.”

Dunn keeps a list of all his bow’s measurements in a notebook to use when he gets a repeat order.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper8-DanielKarell-1.jpgDunn keeps a list of all his bow’s measurements in a notebook to use when he gets a repeat order.

Bow limbs prior to being sanded and shaped.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper7-DanielKarell-1.jpgBow limbs prior to being sanded and shaped.

Bow limbs on the workshop set.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper6-DanielKarell-1.jpgBow limbs on the workshop set.

Arrows before becoming broadheads.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper5-DanielKarell-1.jpgArrows before becoming broadheads.

Limbs hanging in Dunn’s workshop.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper4-DanielKarell-1.jpgLimbs hanging in Dunn’s workshop.

Completed Zipper bows.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper3-DanielKarell-1.jpgCompleted Zipper bows.

Dunn holds a riser in his hands.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunnZipper2-DanielKarell-1.jpgDunn holds a riser in his hands.

Bill Dunn of Brown County holds a hand-made bow he constructed, one of many that he’s made over the last 10 years since he bought the Zipper bow brand.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_BillDunn1-DanielKarell-1.jpgBill Dunn of Brown County holds a hand-made bow he constructed, one of many that he’s made over the last 10 years since he bought the Zipper bow brand.

By Daniel Karell

Daniel Karell is a content producer for the Georgetown News Democrat and the Ripley Bee. Reach him at dkarell@civitasmedia.com

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2016 News Democrat