Stranded students rescued by Brown County cooperation 4-H Teen Ambassador Dunning attends SHOT Show Veterans Service Commission invites veterans to seek help with benefits Unemployment rate rises in Brown County Pick a Lollipop, help a dog A season to remember G-Men hit the field for first baseball scrimmage Eastern’s Rigdon, Purdy earn AP SE District Div. III honors New blocking, kicking rules address risk minimization in high school football Judy A Schneider James M Darnell Lawanda R Truesdell Paul E Grisham Arrelous R Rowland Dennis E Stivers David M Daniels Fayetteville man is charged with child porn April 1st Grand Opening for Jacob’s Ladder Resale Boutique in Georgetown Talent Show auditions at Gaslight Theatre Nine indicted by county grand jury Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall visit coming next May to BC Fairgrounds In it to win it! Bronco wrestlers end season on successful note Eastern’s Hopkins finishes 5th in long jump at OATCCC State Indoor Track and Field Meet SBAAC awards academic all-stars, winning teams Marvin D Atkin Beverly S Flatt Jessie M Sanders Leroy Deck Sr Jody A Towler Sherman E Young Kenneth C Burton Varnau’s face second defamation suit Attorney General to visit Georgetown schools Clermont County GOP hosts Wenstrup, DeWine at dinner Fatal car crash in Adams County BC Chamber welcomes new Cricket Wireless store to Mt. Orab Aberdeen Council approves 2017 budget Royce K Zimmerman Lady Warriors advance to Elite 8 SBAAC awards boys basketball all-stars SBAAC girls basketball all-stars take home awards SHAC Winter Sports Awards Banquet set for March 12 Altman claims 170-pound district title Sirkka L Buller Arthur C Schneider Lowell G Neal Virginia M Schirmer Connie S Darling Harold L Purdin Terry E Frye Lucille Schumacher Lady Warriors roll to district finals Broncos take care of business to claim sectional crown G-Men upset MVCA to earn berth sectional finals WBHS JROTC Rifle Team competes at Camp Perry Lady Rockets finish 12-12 Season reaches end for Rockets Eugene D Ring Two indicted on major drug charges Two charged with home invasion Cincinnati airport expanding services, lowering prices in effort to compete Two sentenced in common pleas court Georgetown man hurt in car crash Robert G Miller Linda M Howland Robert E McKinney Mildred J Hodges Farrel L Amiott Patricia Brown Rick L Dye Mary E Nagel Betty Ratliff Broncos claim SBAAC wrestling title Broncos pull ahead for win over G-Men in SBAAC Tourney Ripley boys wrap up regular season with win at Lynchburg Eastern girls are sectional champs Anderson pleads not guilty to battery charge Some county offices to change locations Fayetteville prepares for Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall HealthSource hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Five sentenced in Brown County Common Pleas Court June Howser Marguerite A Fender Timothy D Harris Jay R Purdy Robin S Godwin Marc A Wachter Chester W Eyre Warriors blast past the G-Men, 61-40 Rockets performing well heading into post-season tournament play Lady Warriors bring home the Gold with perfect 13-0 finish in SHAC Western Brown Junior High wrestling team wraps up successful season Rockets fall victim to ‘Pack’ attack Broncos suffer heartbreaking loss to Mentor Lake Catholic in state quarterfinals Adult Education Center coming to county ‘Senior Playground’ moving forward at Georgetown park Brown County 4-H kicks off another year Eastern Middle School celebrates “Kindness Week” Billie L Shoemaker

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2016 News Democrat