Bowhunting Basics: Part 1


Have you never been bowhunting? Getting started is easier than you think.

Plenty of hunters out there consider learning how to bowhunt, but have convinced themselves it’s too complicated or time consuming. Decades past this might have been true, but modern archery equipment has made bowhunting more accessible than ever. These next few blog installments will demonstrate why. Enjoying archery success now requires only months instead of years of preparation to gain proficiency. Bowhunting opens doors to increased hunting opportunity, longer seasons, and in many cases, hunting where and/or when firearms hunters cannot. Start now and you could easily be bowhunting this fall!

Start at the Pro Shop: Getting good equipment is as easy as scanning the internet or making a drive to the nearest pro shop. I recommend the latter approach. Having access to hands-on knowledge speeds the learning curve and also helps eliminate start-up technical issues. If you’ve never shot a bow, or have been away from it a long time, a visit to a local bow shop is highly recommended, if for no other reason than to get properly fitted in regards to draw length and weight. If budget restraints mean buying used gear via on-line auctions, it’s still a good move to haul your new gear to a local pro shop for assistance in getting started on the right path.

Don’t Sweat the Speed: There really are no lemons in archery today (something not true only 10 years ago); all the major bow manufactures make compounds that are trouble-free, deadly quiet and sweet shooting (with the exception of a few of the fastest, performance-driven models created for “experts” in the latter case). This is something to keep in mind when buying your first bow. Don’t worry about raw arrow speed and accompanying advertising hype – or buying the most expensive model. The slowest and most affordable bows offered today often shoot 50 fps faster than models that served well only 10 years ago. Buy something you shoot well, focusing on forgiveness (pure shootability), a smooth draw cycle and good balance. Too, select a draw weight you can handle easily, or a bow that can be backed off in draw weight to begin with. Slowly add more weight as you become stronger. The modern compound’s much more efficient than old-style traditional bows. A lot of big game is now cleanly killed with 45- to 50-pound bows.

If bowhunting is something you have long wanted to try, the time to start is now. It’s not as tough as you might think, and many huge rewards lay ahead. Stay tuned; in Part II I’ll discuss additional tools you need to get started.

Are you just getting into bowhunting, or helping someone who is? Share any questions or tips you have below.