Bow Hunting For Beginners: An Ultimate Guide To Get You Started.
There is no other activity that puts you so close against your prey then bow-hunting. For me, it’s the ultimate thriller that gets on my nerves and pushes through the adrenaline all over the body.
Perhaps, even the basic archery skills give so much satisfaction and being able to hone them to a fine edge to harvest an animal is simply just experience from another world.
So, if you are just getting started with bow-hunting, I can understand the intimidation you must be going through getting used to all the terminologies and equipment involved in the sports.
Therefore, in this article we have come up with viable and actionable bow hunting tips to help beginners learns the basics of the sports and experience their first kill; and I am sure there’s no going back after it.
Why Bow hunting?
Well, ask ten archers why they choose bow-hunting as their preferred sports and ten out of ten will answer “the risk and challenge”.
Unlike any other forms of hunting, bow-hunting is a close-in sport that required years of practice, an unwavering passion and absolute understating of the hunting techniques.
And since unlike other forms of hunting, bow-hunting has a longer season; typically, always before and after firearms season.
As Eli Screven put it, bow-hunting comes with an instinctual aspect to it. The most successful of bow-hunters are those who can attune themselves to nature (in other words can regain our primitive “cavemen” instincts).
Finally, we can’t overlook the positive health aspects of bow-hunting. Besides massive mental strength, it offers numerous physical benefits for when you draw the bowstring, all your upper body muscles get to work.
Consistently aiming improve the overall hand/eye coordination, while you obviously get benefited with the increased focus on the target.
Did I forget to mention that just practicing archery for 30 minutes helps you burn 140 calories (yeah, good for your stubborn belly fats)?
Beginners’ bow-hunting setup.
Now that you are ready to take your first adventure in the woods with the bow, let’s see how the entire process goes along and what you need.
1. Bow Selection
How to choose a bow can be tricky as a beginner.
What I have observed is that most beginners try to go with the most expensive option in the market, without giving a second thought about the technical aspects of bow selection.
In reality, you don’t need the most expensive bow, rather you need one that fits you well. And no matter how tempting price you may find for a great used bow over craigslist until it fits you perfectly, there is no benefit in buying one.
Having said that, the first thing you need to do as a beginner is to know about the bow fit, so you can actually test the bow before investing your money in one.
And while it may seem a little hectic, the best way to do it is by visiting the local archery shop. Tell them openly about your beginner level and let them help you out.
Most reputed archery shops have experienced hunters who are emphatic to help beginners, given you are willing to listen and learn. And while they definitely love to sell you bow as well, you need to communicate to them your requirements and let them have you measured.
If you find them helpful in their approach, congratulations; you got your spot to buy the first bow.
Most pros at archery shops will measure your draw length. Next, they will measure your ideal draw weight by having you pull some bows.
Pull the draw till you are comfortable (compensating for the muscles build-up you are going to have over time).
Typically bows come in with 10-pounds increment like “60 pounds”, “70 pounds” draw force. Now as for ethical hunting, hunters need to choose a bow that gives at least 40-pounds of draw force.
Not to forget that there are specific techniques for drawing a bow and while initially you might feel little overpowered by the draw size, with the time you will get it easily.
Nonetheless, you get the point that you need to try a few different bows to be able to feel them and choose the one that feels best.
To give you some idea, a bow arrow needs to have flex during the initial flight phase.
However, over-flexing isn’t recommended. There are online sizing charts available that can help you choose the right arrows for your specifications. And if you ask me, I will recommend going with carbon-fiber arrows, easily available with different specifications in the market.
Again, you don’t necessarily have to go with the very best or most expensive arrows as a beginner, rather the focus should be to get the right arrows as per your bow specification.
3. Bow Sight
For beginners, we recommend going with five-pin bow-sight (hunting-style) with “micro-adjustments” function.
While bow-sights without micro-adjustment knobs perform just fine and are relatively cheaper as compared to sights with micro-adjustable knobs, the initial will come handy for saving time when you are looking to zero your sight.
The pro at the archery shop will be able to install all these things along with a peep sight (something that resembles the rear sight of a gun), to help you with accuracy adjustments.
Lastly, you will need to choose a quiver to help you keep the arrows protected from damage and handy. You would have to practice shooting with a quiver to get used to it, though.
Hunting Accessories you’ll need:
Now that we are done with all the essential hunting equipment, let’s look at few hunting accessories that’ll come handy down the road…
Honestly, the number and different types of broad-heads available in the market are too much to be discussed here, however, I would recommend going with a 125-grain razor-sharp broadhead.
While I am strictly in favor of going with affordable equipment as a beginner, broad-head is one accessory where I recommend otherwise.
That’s because, once you release your arrow, rest all depends upon your aim and the quality of the broad-head. Thereby, invest a little time to research the best broad-head depending upon the hunting intent.
You’ll need an arm guard if you are looking to go hunting in cold weather. An arm guard will help clear your way off from jacket or other bulky clothing, thus facilitating you to keep up with bowstring’s path and eventually hitting your target.
While you may not need it all the time, nonetheless, if you are looking to hunt from the top of the tree, you’ll need safety harness or tree-stand. To couple it up, you’ll also need to buy pull-up rope to be able to pull your bow up the tree, once you have climbed it.
This is yet not mandatory equipment, however, certainly a useful investment. Laser rangefinder will help you judge the target range precise with ease, and as a beginner, it will certainly help you to perfect the shot and make more kills.
How to do it / Fundamentals of Archery.
So, you have all the essential and accessory equipment with you and now you are feeling the woods calling, right?
You can’t just pick up your equipment, hit the woods and shoot the bow.
That’s because while almost anyone can shoot a few arrows reasonably well, mastering the art requires years of practice and repetition.
And even though you might even be able to hit the bulls-eye after a few shots if your bow is set-up properly, still, there are various aspects that you need to consider before you actually hit the woods for the first time.
To start-off imprint, this in your mind to never dry-fire the bow (drawing and firing without an arrow nocked). Doing so will most often lead to damaged bow. Once you have your bow worked out fully, workout on following important considerations.
While it will definitely some time to perfect your stance, it’s always good to know the basics.
Make sure you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a right angle (90-degree) to the prey, such that the shoulder of the arm holding your bow is pointing towards the target.
While your grip of the bow should be strong, it shouldn’t be too tight, rather keep it a little loose. Don’t support the bow using your palm or fingers, rather use the web of your hand.
The trick here is to not overburden your hands and wrists, which can induce “bow torque” and indefinitely twist the bow as you release the draw; thus, essentially annihilating your accuracy.
Don’t lock your elbow while pushing your bow arm (or grip hand); you need to have a little cushion for bending.
Now, as you pull the string back with your release hand make sure you pull it across the chest and not into it.
Practice pulling the bow using the back muscles as well and not just the shoulder muscles.
- Anchor Point:
For most hunters, the anchor points of their choice are the point of the jaw, which besides coming as natural anchorage also ensure they are able to replicate the position every time bow is drawn.
Since, the anchor point will reflect anchorage from where you will release the draw every time, thereby, make sure you are comfortable with the point for consistency and better accuracy.
- The Release:
Take a deep breath, then slowly start squeezing the trigger while letting a quarter of the breath out. Make sure your sight remains steady on the target until you make the shot.
Ok, interestingly a standard follow-through for bow shots will include doing nothing for few seconds as the arrow is released. Keep the bow in its pre-shooting until the shot hits the target.
Bow Hunting tips for Beginners from experts
Ok, I guess we have come a long way in your learning of bow-hunting, and you now must be really anxious to hit the woods already.
But wait, I got a few more pro tips for you so keep reading and I am sure you will gain even more insight into the sport:
i. Go along with an experienced hunter
They say that experience has no alternative and experience in hunting is no exception. By getting attached to experienced hunters in the first few hunting campaigns, you will certainly learn intricacies and insights of the sport which no one else can help you learn otherwise.
ii. Keep your licenses
You can be asked to submit hunting licenses, stamps, and permits by officials. Thereby, make sure you have them with you when you hit the woods. The hunting rules and requirements vary state to state, make sure you know the laws of the state.
iii. Choose release style
Generally, there are two bow release styles including; “traditional shooting fingers” and “mechanical releases”. Make sure you know what style suits you well.
iv. Wear Safety Harness
The moment you step off the ground, safety should be your priority. Whenever you are looking to hunt from the tree, wear a safety harness, double down the safety measures with children around.
v. Learn the art of concealing
When you are yards away from your prey, slightest of irrational movement can spook an animal. Make sure you learn the art of concealing well.
vi. Know where to aim
A common phrase that will help you here is, “aim small, miss small”. Make sure you learn the meaning behind it.
vii. Learn patience
Hunting is all about patience. Not just when you are taking the shot, but also when you have hit the target. Running straight to the prey after shot will push it to run away, only to be never recovered.
There you have it, things that have kept me going through the years.
Did you enjoy it?
Hope I have checked all the boxes in providing you the information which a Bow hunting beginner may require.
Do you have a valuable information you think has been left out in this list? Please add as a comment. And don’t forget to share this post if you like it.
I’m looking forward to your comments…