Old technique tried and tested

By Zac Yates


Many modern archers use high-tech carbon fibre bows with stabilisers and sights fitted, but Wanganui's Fred McMillan is a purist.

At this weekend's Masters Games archery the 78-year-old was using a wooden recurved bow body he had made himself, without any fancy additions or aids.

"If you make them yourself, they do tend to last a while. I was using one up until this year that I'd made in 1987. The one I'm using today I made about 15 years ago."

Archery seems to be in McMillan's blood, as he started shooting when he was still at school.

"I've been doing it all my life, right from when I was a kid. But this sort of shooting doesn't really suit me. I'm more into the hunting side of things."

McMillan shared photographs from his teens where he and his mates, complete with bows on their backs and quivers of arrows slung over their shoulders, posed with goats and even possums they had hunted.

Other photos show him posing with trophies and cabinets full of awards, showing he said he has had luck in competitions too. He also won a silver medal at the 2011 Masters Games.

"I was the very first Wellington region archer to win the New Zealand Bow Hunter championships. I won it twice, and got a few second and third places along the way. I won the Wellington trophy eight times and the Taranaki one 19 times.

"Unless they cheat, no one's ever going to beat that."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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