Unlike other forms of hunting, bow hunting pits you directly against your prey. Quiet, meticulous tracking requires the huntsman to get in close before taking the shot. Success with a bow comes with learning the basics, honing archery skills over time, and taking an ethical kill shot.
When asked why they picked the bow over other forms of hunting, the number one response was, “The Challenge.” Learning to hunt with a bow requires careful practice and mastering the nuance of up-close hunting. Bow hunting is fast growing, with a positive trend for women and youth entering the sport.
Bow hunting trends are favorable from every angle and grow faster than other shooting sports. Perhaps it is because the season is longer than those who choose to only hunt with a gun, or there is a bow hunting season before and after firearm seasons.
The challenge of bow hunting conquers all; the sport requires a greater degree of stealth, with more skill and effort to get into position to make the shot. Hunting with a bow and arrow increases the hunter’s hand-eye coordination, which in turn helps to focus on the target better.
Every bow can be broken down into four main categories:
- A longbow is a compact, straight piece of wood. Modern-day “traditional bows” are made from composites and fiberglass.
- Recurve Bows are the evolution of a longbow with curves at each end. The Recurve Bow dates back nearly 2500 years.
- Crossbows have exploded in popularity in the last decade. Crossbows have the history of a Recurve and are the easiest of all the bows to shoot.
Xpedition Archery, Viking X-430. A modern-day affordable crossbow that combines speed and a smooth draw. Built from aluminum composite weighing only eight pounds, it produces an arrow speed at an outstanding 430 fps.
- Compound Bows are newcomers to the archery scene, invented in 1966. Compound bows allow the archer to draw and hold at only a fraction of the total draw weight.
Learn to Shoot:
The following four tips can get you started. They are by no means the only things to learn with bow hunting. Archers with a lifetime of knowledge still consider every piece of advice to improve their shot. Begin with the basics and PRACTICE, skill with the bow does not happen overnight.
Bow hunting comes with its own set of fundamental keys; a hunter must keep these fundamentals at the forefront of their mind.
*A proper shooting stance for the bow hunter is critical to success. The body should be erect and pointed sideways toward your target. Feet should be shoulder width apart and evenly distributed. Resist the urge to lean forward when you draw. The head should be the only body part pointed directly at the target.
*Aiming is looking directly down the arrow and aligning your shot with the target. Maintain the stance as described above, and this will become instinctive with practice.
*When starting your draw, place the first three fingers on the string, the forefinger above the nock. The arm holding the bow should be straight. Pull the string back until it is anchored to your cheek below the eyes. Consistency is the key to each of these steps.
*Release is the slow relaxation of your finger muscles once you have a good aim on the target. Consider a mechanical release aid for this process.
*Novice bow hunters should never hit the ground without a seasoned hunter. To be successful at this sport, you will need the proper guidance and teaching only an experienced bow hunter can provide.
*Never startle the animal, and always be discreet before you are in a position to make the shot. Use as much camouflage as possible when bow hunting. Find a good scent eliminator.
*Accuracy with the bow is a hunter’s most essential skill. Arbitrarily aiming for a whitetail deer without knowing precisely the target can result in a missed shot and tracking a wounded animal. Do not be a statistic of wounded animals never recovered.
*Choose your hunting grounds carefully. If the deer population is higher on protected grounds, your odds for success will be significantly improved.
Shopping for the latest broad head or bow sight is half the fun of bow hunting. However, having the latest gadgets does not guarantee success. Bow hunting is an exciting sport; develop patience, and your results will improve.
Broadheads and Field Tips:
- NAP Hellrazor Crossbow BroadHead. A deadly 100 grain all steel construction broadhead with an accurate flight gets the job done with any prey—3 per pkg. in Black.
- Spitfire Mechanical by NAP. A 100-grain silver/black broadhead flies with pinpoint accuracy. Patented spring technology guarantees the broadhead springs will stay closed in the quiver and open during flight.
- Practice Points Field Tips by NAP. 125-grain practice points are perfect for foam and cardboard targets. Machined from solid steel and durable, the 3D practice points are easy to pull and replace.
Barnett Rope Cocking Device. Considered one of the best inventions in bow hunting. Reduces the constant strain and pounding on the wrist and hands. Wrist straps allow people with disabilities to pull back a bow.
Feradyne Inc, Axe Bolts. These micro-diameter .166 deliver extreme accuracy and penetration. Fitted aluminum nocks ensure proper fitment every time.
Carbon Express Piledriver Crossbolt. 22-inch, heavy carbon fiber arrows are designed for the hunter wanting extreme penetration. 6 per pack with moon nocks and 6 universal nocks, 6 C Nocks.
Garmin A1I Bow Sight. A right-handed sight that delivers accuracy and confidence. Digital laser range finders and target display measuring angle compensated range to your target. LED pins with a single trigger adjust brightness depending on conditions. The Garmin A1i Sight takes your bow hunting to the next level.
Bow hunting, and even target practice in the backyard, is extreme fun for every family member. The more a person practices bow hunting, the better they become. Add gear to your setup as bow hunting becomes successful.
There is no end to the excitement and fun when you become obsessed with the string and bow.