A Beginner’s Guide to Bowhunting

Hunting can be a rewarding experience but even hunters skilled with a firearm can find switching to a bow challenging. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks out there that will help you fall into the practice of bowhunting much easier. These pointers will help get you started on the right foot and keep you on track your first few times in the field.

Getting Your Hunting License

To hunt legally and safely with either a bow or firearm, the first thing you need to do is obtain a hunting license for the area state you’ll be hunting in. Without one, you risk not only safety concerns but legal repercussions as well. The exact steps and requirements for obtaining a hunting license vary from state to state, so you’re going to want to carefully research what you need to do to obtain your license. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has a handy resource list for each state.

When you actually go out into the field, you’re going to need to keep a copy of your hunting license on you. This way, you have proof of your right to hunt on you in case you are asked for it.

Choosing the Right Bow

Before you can hit the field, you have to make sure that you have the right bow for any kind of game you might be interested in hunting. There are plenty of different models available to choose from, though, and this can make the process of choosing seem pretty overwhelming. Luckily, there are some key features to watch out for.

The first thing to consider is your dominant eye. Typically, your dominant eye is the same as your dominant hand but it isn’t always the case. To test this out, place your arms out in front of you and create a triangle with your hands. Put a dominant focal point on the wall in front of you such as a colored piece of paper. Close each of your eyes to gauge whether looking with your left or right eye will keep the focal point in place. Your dominant eye determines the dominant hand you should shoot with. For instance, if your right eye is dominant, you’re going to want to look for a right-handed bow.

The draw length of the bow is also important to consider. You can measure this yourself by measuring the length from the middle finger to middle finger when your arms are straight out and then divide the measurement by 2.5. You have a little more room for preference when it comes to axle-to-axle measurement. You aren’t going to want anything too unwieldy. For example, a long axle-to-axle measurement won’t be your best choice for shooting from ground level.

Finally, you’ll want to choose the right draw weight. As a beginner, you’re going to want something with a lower draw weight that will be easier to handle. Many compound bows have an adjustable draw weight, so you can make adjustments as you gain more experience on your bow.

Consider Your Release Mechanism Carefully

When you’re choosing a bow, you’re also going to want to pay attention to the release mechanism of the bow which will either be traditional or mechanical. Traditional release systems work the way most of us think a bow does; you pull the bowstring and release it when you’re ready to fire.

If you’re a beginner, you might want to opt for a mechanical release bow instead. These bows rely more heavily on a trigger system and are a popular feature in compound bows. These tend to be more accurate and easier to fire with precision. Keep in mind that, whether you’re a beginner or advanced, you need to choose carefully the different types of gear for bowhunting.

Choosing Arrow Points

When you’re practicing with your bow, you might be using arrowheads called field point arrowheads. These are more bullet-shaped than most arrowheads and create a small point of impact.

On a hunting trip, though, you’ll want to make sure you’re using broadhead arrowheads. On a strictly technical note, these wider, razor-style arrowheads create a broader cut when you land a shot which lends itself better to make a fatal shot rather than just injuring an animal. These are also a more humane choice and more widely legally accepted compared to field point arrowheads. It’s a good idea to practice with these broadhead arrowheads as well, so you know what to expect from them specifically.

Practice, Practice, Practice

This is an absolutely crucial point to bowhunting. Firing a bow isn’t impossible but it isn’t something that you’re going to be completely accurate the first time you pick up a bow. Instead, you’re likely to need plenty of practice before you take a single step out into the field.

It’s a good idea to find plenty of time to practice using your bow before you move out into the field. You can find help at the shooting range but it’s a good idea to take lessons or turn to someone with more experience if at all possible. This way, you can be sure that when you take a shot in the field, it’ll hit home.

Know Your Game as Well as Your Bow

Knowing how to handle your bow is only part of the equation when it comes to bowhunting. You also have to know your game well enough. For instance, where is the best place to take a shot when you’re hunting a deer to make a clean kill? You don’t want to simply harm the animal or make the death inhumane. That’s why it’s best to make sure you do your research on the biology of what your hunting as well as the technical aspects of how you’re hunting and where you’ll be.

Bowhunting isn’t impossible but it does take some practice, skill, and preparation. You’re going to want to make sure to take these tips and tricks into consideration when you’re getting ready for your first bow hunt. They’ll make sure that you have the chance to find success early on in your hunting career.