Bow hunting is a challenge even for the best archer but at the same time, it’s enormously rewarding too. In every state of the country, hunters are waiting in anticipation for the hunting season as this sport is becoming more and more popular day by day.
Bow hunting pits you against your prey directly. As it requires taking you in a close range with the shot, it is no doubt a thrilling way to hunt. It is a truly captivating process starting from drawing an arrow from the quiver, nocking, drawing aiming and finally firing the arrow, and again continuing with the whole process. The smooth motion of every arrow released gives you the real satisfaction and enjoyment you are seeking.
But wait what if you are just a beginner and you wish to go for hunting. Well, it’s the responsibility of an advanced hunter to provide you with easy and actionable hunting tips. You get great satisfaction when you learn the basics of archery and then implement these skills while harvesting an animal.
If you want to give archery a shot, it’s never too late! Some basic knowledge combined with a lot of patience and practice will no doubt allow you with the best memorable hunts you have ever dreamt of. If you are just a beginner, you must be intimated by all the gears and technologies involved in archery. So here is an organized list to get the job done and hone your skills. This guide aims to help you with all the basic skills and actionable hunting tips and the list has everything you need to know and take a long while going hunting.
Why Choosing Bow Hunting?
Bow hunting is a challenging and close-in sport. It is the fastest growing among all the hunting and shooting sports. It requires you to focus on and understand the animal you hunt well. It has perhaps a longer season than hunting with a gun. They often have a season before and after the firearms season.
It’s a healthy activity too. When you draw a bowstring, all the muscles on your upper body are working. It burns your calories along with increasing your strength and flexibility. Moreover, you get a natural environment to hunt which adds more to the fun of this sport in an attuned environment.
Moreover, it’s a rush to look at your own reflection in the eyes of the pray. Here is when the real challenge begins and you need to bring all the skills you have been taught in some real-life action.
8 Fundamentals of Archery
Archery requires years of repetition and practice. To master the art well, there are few things you need to know before even picking the bow. These are the basics of archery every archer needs to follow either that be a newbie or an expert.
1. Avoid Dry Firing
The first important thing you need to know is that never ever dry fire a bow. No matter which bow it is, you should avoid dry firing as it damages your bow and may even result in serious injuries.
Read more about why should avoid dry firing.
Stand facing 90 degrees towards your target and your feet and shoulders wide apart. The shoulder of the arm gripping your bow should point towards it.
You should grip the bow loosely with your hand’s web rather than your palm or fingers. Relax your fingers by wiggling your full draw. Don’t squeeze the grip and let the draw weights force hold the bow. Avoid bow torque by just holding it up with little contact with the bow and get ready to aim.
Push your bow arm towards the target. With some bend avoid fully locking your elbow. Now pull the string back with the hand you release.
5. Anchor Point
Find a consistent place that feels natural on your face near the corner of your mouth or jaw. In each shot, you will release your arrow from this place so it must be familiar as well as comfortable. To achieve accuracy, a consistent anchor point is necessary.
Now the ring of your bow sight should place in the ring of your peep sight. Focus on your sight pin and pick a small point of your aim. Even if you are targeting an animal, still focus on a small part of it.
Take a deep breath and squeeze the trigger slowly. Don’t move the sight from your target until the string is released.
8. Follow Through
It means staying still after the shot. The bow should remain in the same position as you aim and till the arrow doesn’t strike the target, don’t drop the bow.
Famous Types of Bow:-
All bows are made up of three things, string, spring, and a projectile. The bow itself (limbs with a grip) is the spring. The transfer of energy by the spring to the projectile ( arrow or bolt) is the string. The four types of bows are
The traditional bow is a piece of wood or laminate. Today these traditional bows are made of composite materials like fiberglass. They may be compact with only a few feet long or even taller than the archer. Their design allows drawing and releasing quickly.
2. Recurve Bow
The evolution of the longbow is the recurve. its name is self-explanatory as it has curves at each end. Just like the traditional bows, it’s usually made of wood but to incorporate greater strength and durability, the modern ones are often made of carbon or fiberglass.
The recurve bow requires the archer to hold back the string at full draw weight while taking aim. So to build up your arms and shoulder muscles, it requires a great time along with a lot of practice. An archer must start with a light bow and keep increasing to heavier draw weights. These recurve bows being simple turn to be quite deadly with practice. They are easy to transport as their limbs are removable.
Being almost as old as a recurve, this small bow is being mounted to a gun stock. it is really easy to shoot just like a firearm. Once you cock the bow, just pull the trigger and fire the arrow. With spending less time and practice on the range one can become an expert at the range. They are packed with incredible power.
Their draw weights typically range from 150-200 pounds and shoot their bolts with a speed of almost 380 FPS. This bow is the best alternative to other types of the bow as people with disabilities and injuries can easily use and handle them.
4. Compound bow
The compound bow is the latest among all using the cams and pulleys system. These pulleys tend to reduce your shoulders strain at full draw and allow you more time for aiming which increases accuracy. The bow limbs have these cams which turn and break to release pressure beyond a certain point. So with a 70 pound, the archer will be holding only 20 pounds.
Though being more powerful, they shoot with greater accuracy at longer distances. It also has the edge that you can mount more accessories to a compound bow. it’s difficult to shoot moving targets with a compound bow.
How to Select the Right Bow?
You must find one that fits you well. No matter how attractive a bow may seem.
DO NOT BUY if it doesn’t fit you perfectly. You need to properly test the bow before selecting one. While selecting any bow, at first, you need to check the state rules if it allows that specific bow you are selecting especially the crossbow as its illegal to use in many states.
The next step is to visit a local archery shop. They usually helping to all beginners, listen well to what they say. The first thing they will do is to measure your draw length. To find your draw weight they will ask you to pull some bows. Don’t panic to the weight because once you start practicing you will build up your muscles in no time. Now its time to select which type of bow do you want? A compound, recurve or crossbow?
The traditional bows due to their long limbs are easy to draw but are slower than recurve bows. Recurves are smoother to shoot. Recurve bows and traditional bows are lighter than the compound bows.
But at the same time compound bows are far faster than the recurve allowing great let-offs so it’s less prone to miss your targets. For archers who want to hunt a larger game, the compound is the best choice. Crossbows require the least movement and are deadly accurate.
For enjoying a true bow hunting experience, it’s better to stick with the traditional bow designs.
Selecting a bow also depends on what type of animal you want to hunt. The traditional and recurve bows work perfectly for hunting small game animals. On the other hand, compound bows are perfect for hunting big game animals as you can draw and hold it for several minutes while waiting for the target animal.
You must be able to hold and point the bow at the target and draw it easily without any movement. No matter which bow you choose, it should meet your requirements for minimum draw weight and your arrows are fixed with appropriate broadheads, it will harvest any game animal you wish for. So you must select a bow which will give you the best balance of cost and quality.
Setting Your Bow
Buying a bow from an archery shop will be your best buy as they will set it up for you and besides it you can try many different bows there and they guide you well, which bow would suit you the best. You can also purchase it online from Amazon.
Amazon has variety of compound bows, crossbows and recurve bows, Offering you the best customer service and detail description of product.
Check the reviews of other people and if satisfactory, then buy it because now you don’t have to visit to the archery shop. You can save your time and money by buying online.
However, If you buy your bow from any other source, it won’t be set when it arrives. You have do it by your self or to take it to the archery shop to do the required setting of draw length, attachment, and adjustment of sights and other accessories.
Essential Gears for Bow Hunting
After selecting and buying a bow, now it’s time to gear up. There are some fundamentals gears which you must purchase with a bow. some packages already include these gears with the bow when they arrive, but if they do not, you must buy them to improve your skills.
On bow Necessitates
These are the most essential gears you need to purchase while buying a bow. you need to budget for them before anything else as they are the vital necessities which would be of great help to attain your target.
- Peep sight
- Allen wrenches
There are some additional accessories you need to get once you are done with the on bow necessaries. These necessities once again are of great help in the field but you don’t immediately need them when you get started. You can buy them later on for improving your skills further.
- Range finder
- Bow case
- Field points
- Archery targets
Basic Hunting Gears
You will need these basic gears to hunt. You may borrow them from a friend or buy them later, once you are done with the basic archery gears.
- Camo clothing
- Safety harness
- Tree stands
- Field knife
Which Animals can We Hunt with a Bow?
By using a bow we can hunt animals of two different categories successfully by using the correct techniques combined with an appropriate bow.
Large Game Animals
- Bighorn sheep
- Wild boar
- Mule Deer
- White-tailed deer
For hunting a large game your arrow should have a large head and should be as sharp as possible as these animals have a thick skin with heavy bones. So you must use the correct bow which launch arrows at faster speeds.
Small Game Animals
- Ring-tailed cats
The small game animals have longer seasons and less hunting restrictions. They are more challenging but they are large in number and spotting them is much easier. Experts recommend recurve bows for hunting small animals.
Study Animals Anatomy
Once you made a choice of the animal you want to shoot, the next step is to study its anatomy and find out where its organs are located especially the heart. In this way, you will know exactly where to aim. Think in 3-dimensional ways where you want the arrow to enter the animal.
For beginners, it’s advised to wait for a full broadside shot or the slightly quartering away one as they provide a larger sight area. Some archers suggest that its best take the full front shots. For example, with a deer which is broadside to you, you can aim the best by hitting it just behind the shoulder. But if the deer is facing away from you while you are standing in a tree stand, the best place to aim is slightly higher and further back than behind the shoulder.
In this way, you can deliver clean shots and kill the desired animal within seconds. Don’t aim ever for the neck, head or rear of an animal.
Once the animal is shot, take a deep breath. Remember patience is the name of this game. Watch and listen for the animals carefully how it moves or reacts after the shot. Think and mark in your mind where it was standing when u shot it. If you think you will forget it, you can even take a picture from your phone.
Also, think where did the animal run the last time you saw it and where did the last sound come from. Now, remember after the animal’s reaction after the shot. Did the animal clamp its tail tight? Or kick high its back feet? Or scramble to the ground? These reactions are all clues you can use for recovery.
Wait almost 30 minutes, and then climb down to the spot where you saw the animal last standing. Look for its blood and your arrow. Now examine it well if you find any of them. Bubbly and pink blood will be a clue that the animal is shot in the heart or lung.
A bright red or crimson blood is a clue that it was a muscle hit or a liver shot. Now nock an arrow to keep your bow ready for another shot and start tracking the animal. Start searching for more obvious signs while following and tracking the animal. This is the time you need to exert your maximum effort for finding the animal you shot.
Thus if you wait for a perfect shot and shoot the animal’s vitals, you will be rewarded with healthy meat on your table.
Other Aspects of Animals to Consider
There are some other general aspects you need to consider while going hunting in the woods. You should remember that there are no artificial lights in the jungle, so the day of these animals starts and end according to the sunrise and sunset. So whatever you need to accomplish must be done these hours of daylight.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that most of these animals are not able to gather and store food so as soon as they wake up they start searching for food.
You also need to locate where they are fed and where they sleep. In this way, you can easily find an ambush point between these locations.
Practice Makes a Man Perfect
A true sportsman hunt can be achieved with practice and following rules and disciplines. Once you understand the safety rules and assemble your safety gear, start tuning your skills with practice.
Taking a few quality shots is better than racing for unlimited ones on the field. Seek a coach to ensure a good start along with a strong foundation. You should be confident enough to hit where you aim. Focus and practice the mechanics of shooting.
Read more how to hit the bulls eye in 10 Steps.
Before heading the woods, perform a rehearsal and use everything which you are planning to take with you while going hunting like your safety gears, jackets, etc. You need to do this in order to get used to them and feel comfortable while using them for a real hunt as these minor things affect your accuracy. So you need to figure out these things before the hunt and not during it.
Another important thing is to use your broad head and sacrifice it while practicing as they have a different impact on your target. Also, practice shooting from different field positions like ground blinds and tree stands. As your skills improve, they increase your comfort range.
Start practicing with field points. 3D animals targets help you prepare for the real hunt and are quite beneficial but expensive.
Note: don’t try shooting farther than the distance you have practiced.
Bring it Altogether
The final step of this process is to find a place and go there for hunting. You must scout where you are heading for your bow hunting. You can use private or public land to do so. If your budget allows you, you can lease or even buy land for bow hunting. Check your state rules and seek help from the wildlife agencies.
You get opportunities for learning whenever you enter the woods for bow hunting like you will recognize the behaviors and habits of the animals learn woodman ship and bring some food on your table. It’s a never-ending list which will make you learn more as you keep experiencing more thrills of bow hunting.
4 things to check before going to Bow Hunting
There are some main elements you need to consider while preparing for the hunt:-
- You must have a good knowledge of the land you opted to go for hunting. Select the best spots for setting up your stands. You can use trail cameras, topographical maps, and Google earth for help.
- Organize and set other gears the night before you plan to go for hunting. Make a checklist of the things you need and pack them. Place the things you will need frequently in your easy reach.
- Set your stand and place it almost 15-20 feet high in the tree a few days ahead of going hunting. In this way, the animal you plan to hunt will get used to it. Place your stand to the opposite side of where the animal is expected so that you can easily hide behind the tree.
- You will be nervous and quite excited when you first when you spot the animal for the first time. You might be tensed and may tremble while drawing and aiming at your pray. This feeling is quite normal which can only cure after gaining experience.
While heading towards the woods, you need to be cautious about a few things. You have to carry your bow through the thick bushes and set your stand in the trees if you haven’t set it earlier. You have to deal with limited space and adjust your bow and accessories in it, so you need to pack as light as possible.
If your target is close, you can take a seated shot but if it’s far away you need to stand. You should pick your movement and draw your bow while standing. When you shoot at a downward angle, you target seems to be nearer though being at the same distance and the easiest way to judge your distance to use a range finder which tells you how far away exactly your target is.
Bow hunting is a process of lifelong learning which is both enjoyable and rewarding at the same time. You may get frustrated at times due to it but don’t be discouraged. Keep practicing and it will be fun. Even the experienced archers practice regularly to improve at their own pace.
As we took you through all the ins and outs and lead you to the right direction of bow hunting, so by now being a beginner you know everything to get started with. If you follow these steps and advice efficiently, you can go bow hunting in just a few weeks. The market is flooded with the essential gears of bow hunting for beginners with different prices ranges. Thus it’s not essential for a newbie to buy expensive gears as soon as they enter the field. The best idea is to get the inexpensive ones and slowly upgrade them if your funds allow.
Don’t forget bow hunting is a huge responsibility which requires adequate practice and study otherwise it can turn disastrous. So to start out right is your main duty. The sky is the limit for this entertaining sport with a long and proud history so it’s up to you how far you take it.