Why Archery and Bowhunting Forums Can Sometimes be a Poor Source of Information
July 7, 2023
Many archery and bowhunting beginners turn to public archery forums like archerytalk.com, tradtalk.com, and crossbownation.com hoping to learn and advance their skillsets. However, over the years, as you continue to learn and research, the more you begin to realize that forums may not always be the best place to source authoritative information about bowhunting.
Why is this?
There’s a fair number of reasons.
First and perhaps foremost, the top experts in the bowhunting field, and perhaps any field for that matter, typically don’t hang out on forums. This is not to say there aren’t experts on forums, it’s just pointing out that, as a percentage of the forum population, experts are fewer in number than one might expect.
Conversely, the opinions of people who really aren’t particularly well-informed or qualified to be giving advice about bowhunting are quite well-represented.
In addition, forums tend to be dominated by the loudest and most prolific posters, but just because you’re a loud and prolific poster doesn’t necessarily make you an expert on a particular subject. In fact, the better-informed members of forums often tend to post less often and be more reserved and introspective.
Another factor that comes into play is groupthink, whereby people often assume that because a majority of people do things a certain way, that must be the best way. “Listen, practically everybody is doing it this way, therefore it must be right.”
For example, the majority of bowhunters shoot 100-grain mechanical broadheads, so as a result, a sizable group of bowhunters sincerely believe, based on popularity alone, that must be the best choice. “That’s what I use, that’s what I’ve always used, that’s what my friends all use, that’s what I harvested a deer with last year, that’s what came with my bow from the manufacturer (and they should know what’s best),” and the sum of all this information leads many to conclude they are both well-informed and making the best choice when it comes to choosing their 100-grain mechanical broadhead.
We should also not underestimate the role that manufacturers play in influencing the opinion of forum posters. Many bowhunters believe that whatever came with their bow from the manufacturer must logically be the best choice. “The manufacturer built the bow, they must know what’s best, they must want me to succeed with their product, therefore I trust the choices they have made for me.” Unfortunately, many aren’t aware that manufacturers are often just making choices based on what is cheapest for them to source, and the decision of what broadhead, arrow, and components to ship with a bow may be more based on their own desire to maximize profitability, rather than their great concern over the buyer’s actual hunting-effectiveness.
All of these factors combine to create an information environment on forums that can be, at times, dubious.
In conclusion, for those hoping to really hone their bowhunting skills, as an alternative to, or in addition to participating in forums, perhaps consider taking the time to seek advice from and establish relationships with established experts in the field. The experts at Ashby Bowhunting Foundation, for example, would be a good place to start.
Agree with us? Have another viewpoint? Please take a moment to post your thoughts in the comments below!