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Your all-inclusive surefire guide to the world of Bow Hunting
So you’ve been out rifle-hunting a couple of times and you feel like perhaps it’s time to tackle the more elegant and intriguing sport of bow hunting?
I still remember my rookie years. Picking up that bow for the first time was as scary as it was exhilarating! But before I knew what bow to use, I had to learn the tricks of the trade and get into the game!
I found myself contemplating the idea. I mean, since the dawn of time man has hunted with a simple bow made with nothing more than a stick and a string. So why was choosing the right bow such a difficult task?
Short answer? Technology changed the way we consume, and essentially, changed the things we need in order to be on top of our game. Thanks to modern inventions, bow hunting is more popular than ever, and you need a sharp eye and a serious wit to find what’s going to work for you. I’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to make bow hunting for beginners a breeze.
Bow Hunting for Beginners – A Perfect Guide
The Different Types of Bows
Essentially there are 3 main types of bows that you should know about for hunting purposes:
- Recurve Bows – these are the bows used for Olympic Archery, but some hunters also use them if they’re using higher-poundage bows
- Compound Bows – these bows are very versatile and can be used for field and 3D archery as well as for bow hunting. They are the preferred bows for hunting because they can deliver more powerful shots, are weather-resistant and won’t fatigue you at full draw while you’re aiming.
- Crossbows – these bows actually resemble firearms, but they have short bows that are horizontally attached to the muzzle. You’ll fire them with a crank mechanism and you just have to pull the trigger to shoot. The downside is that they have short firing ranges and require heavier draw weights to perform at the level of compound and recurve bows.
Most manufacturers produce beginner, main line and pro line bows.
Main line bows are just about your best bet right now, since pro line bows were designed for speed and archers with serious skill. Don’t waste your money or time by buying a beginners bow!
How to Choose Your First Bow
If you seriously know nothing about bow hunting, I’d advise that you just head out to a fish and game club, the folks will probably be more than happy to get you on your feet. Once you understand the basics, you can visit an archery shop.
I love to buy online by the way, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup-a-tea, plus beginners are better off having a thorough talk-through with the salesman in anyway.
The Bow Made For You
Obviously, if you’re visiting a store the salesman will try and pitch a certain brand to you, but don’t go on his word alone.
Try the bow out, and ensure that you’re able to try out a bunch of different bows.
I’ll say this again: DO NOT buy a “beginners bow”. Beginners bows equate to the same thing as buying a “beginners car” when you’re out buying your first car.
Within a season or two, you’ll be on-top of your game, and if you’re going to have to buy a new bow again, it’s just useless to buy it now.
Sure, you don’t need the latest technology bow on the market, but you also don’t want to invest in outdated technology.
The Thing about Optics
While you probably don’t need it, optics will just enhance your experience tenfold.
Optics are things like range finders, binoculars and spotting scopes to help you get a clear sight of the target before the shot.
Straight off the bat I’ll tell you: I prefer to use Nikon optics because I know its solid quality and the prices are also very affordable. I have the Nikon Bolt XR fitted on my crossbow and it just makes the world a better place.
Choosing Your Arrows
The length of arrows you’ll use will be determined by your draw length. I’m not going to elaborate in detail about this because I’m an old fashioned guy who still believes in face-to-face coaching.
The salesman at the archery shop will guide you through this entire process and advice you on what’s going to work for you.
Arrow weight is another thing I’m not going to dwell on. The ideal weight is anywhere between 5 and 8 grains. Another thing you shouldn’t be concerned about in the early days is the spine of the arrow, as long as you’ve got arrows on par with your draw weight, you’re good to go.
Some of the Best Bows for Beginners
Since I’m telling you all about the gear you’ll need, I’ll throw my 2 cents worth in here. I’ve rounded up some of the best bows perfect for beginners just to get you started and see what your options are.
Infinite Edge by Diamond Archery (Bowtech)
Okay firstly, the fact that Diamond Archery bows are made by Bowtech pretty much seals the deal for me. They build solid, reliable bows that come in at the top of their game.
The Infinite Edge itself is a great pick for rookie bow hunters.
It comes with an adjustable draw length of between 13 and 30 inches PLUS the draw weight can easily be adjusted from 5 to 70 pounds without having to use a bow press.
Here’s what I love:
The Infinite Edge can be bought as a package deal that includes the bow, a sight, a full-capture rest, a quiver, a peep sight and a string loop.
Here’s what I’m not keen on:
PSE Stinger 3G
If you’re serious about bow hunting but not yet a pro, this is an excellent choice. With superior performance, the PSE Stinger 3G is the all-time darling of PSE bows, which means it’s pretty darn good at what it does. Coming in at a very reasonable price, this bow is all you’d expect from the name. Fast. Forgiving. Quiet. Extremely Accurate. And totally awesome!
Here’s what I love:
The Stinger comes available in three levels of draw weight; 30-50 pounds 40-60 pounds and 50-70 pounds. It also has an adjustable draw length reaching from 30.5 inches down to 25.5 inches.
Here’s what I’m not keen on:
The Stinger doesn’t come with nearly as much adjustments as the Infinite Edge and it also costs a lot more.
In a nutshell, that’s about as much as I can tell you in words. The rest is really up to practice.
For the bow hunting beginner, this is all you’ll need to get started. Once you gain more experience and insight, you can always come on back to see what other great tips I have for you.
Coming up next, I’ve got a serious bone to pick with the Fluting Knife, and from there I’ll tackle the things that most hunters and outdoorsmen keep close to their heart (or hand?) like the best sharpening steel and the best skinning knives out there.