How to Bow Hunt: a Beginner’s Guide08/11/2021
Bow hunting is a gratifying experience that connects you with the primal origins of human nature. While it can take a lifetime to master how to bow hunt, getting started is easy.
Start with the Right Equipment
Modern hunters have a wealth of options when it comes to bow hunting equipment. It’s easy to get excited and purchase a ton of gear you won’t need. However, to start learning how to bow hunt, all you need is a quality bow and an assortment of arrows.
Bows for Beginners
There are two general styles of bows available: compound and recurve. Compound bows are the modern improvement to traditional recurve bows. Compound bows use a system of pulleys to reduce the amount of force required to draw back the bowstring. This is an excellent option for those just learning to hunt since you likely haven’t developed the strength necessary for the draw.
Arrows and Tips
Arrows are the other essential tool used in bow hunting. To get started, you’ll want about a dozen arrows. Modern arrows are lightweight and manufactured from aluminum, carbon and plastics. Check the draw length of your bow before purchasing arrows to determine the best size arrow for your bow. You’ll want to purchase two different tips when you first start bow hunting. Field point tips are perfect for practice and target shooting. When you are ready to head out on the hunt, you’ll want broad-headed tips.
Depending on how serious you are about bow hunting, some additional accessories can be helpful. For example, picking up a mechanical release aid, bow sight and target can help you practice your technique. Before heading out to your blind, you’ll want to pick up a quiver and mounted bow holder to make the hunt easier. Ensure you’re selecting the proper bow holder for your specific bow since each model has a different shape. Whether you’re using a compound bow, a crossbow or a recurve bow, you’ll appreciate a spot to rest your weapon.
Practice Your Technique
While you can hone your craft over the years, archery basics are simple. After a few practice sessions, you should have made significant progress toward becoming a skilled archer. Never fire a bow without an arrow nocked on the string. Known as dry-firing, shooting a bow without an arrow will damage or even destroy the bow.
Stance and Grip
Good technique starts with your body position and grip. You should stand with your feet at a 90-degree angle to the target. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Your arm that grips the bow should be closest to your target, with your shoulder pointing directly at it. The web of your hand should support your bow. Keep your fingers relaxed and grip the bow loosely. The more relaxed your hand is, the better your aim will be. Gripping the bow too tightly can create torque as you release the string, twisting the bow away from your target.
Keeping a slight bend in your elbow, push your bow arm toward the target. With your release hand, pull the string across your chest with your elbow pointing back and up toward the sky as you draw. Pull the string toward you with your back and shoulder muscles to prevent injury. You should draw the string back to your anchor point. This is a point that you choose that you can consistently draw back toward. Many hunters choose the corner of their mouth or the edge of their jaw. The more consistent you are with your anchor point, the better your accuracy will be.
Aim and Release
If possible, keep both eyes open as you place the ring of your bow sight into the ring created by your peep sight. Focus on the sight pin, keeping your target in the background and out of focus. Pick the tiniest of targets and focus your sight pin on this location. You want the release to be a surprise for your body to avoid flinching in anticipation of the shot. Take a deep breath, slowly let a quarter of the breath out, and then release the string or squeeze the trigger on your mechanical release aid. Keep your sight on your target as you release and until the arrow lands.
Plan Your Hunt
You’ll have to alter your hunting style to bow hunt if you’re used to hunting with a rifle. Bows have a short effective range, so you’ll need to be within about 50 yards of your target when bow hunting. However, even with the limited range, you can still hunt almost any prey you could pursue with a rifle, such as whitetail, elk and turkey. Keep in mind that the bow hunting season is different from the rifle hunting season and depends on the land, so you will need to do some research before you go to test your skills.