Hunting bows – Buying guide, Reviews & Comparison
If you want to find the best hunting gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best hunting bow. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional hunters and target shooters, we have concluded that the Genesis Bows Original is the best bow hunting kit out there. It’s packed with everything that you might need to get started and since it offers reliable performance every time, with no exception, you’re bound to learn to love using it. Given that this unit does not have a specific draw length, it’s a versatile alternative for young hunters who always risk outgrowing their bows. If the Genesis Bows Original is unavailable, you should consider the SAS Rage as we’ve found it to be a reliable compound bow with an excellent performance.
Our top choices – Find the best hunting bows for your needs
Best kit hunting bow
When you have to buy all the bowhunting equipment you need one by one, you will have to be prepared to do some heavy research that can enable you to effectively compare products adequately and ensure a great purchase. With so many websites and much literature out there about archery equipment, a beginner would be hard pressed to make an informed decision in the least time possible for them to get started in the sport.
The task is not any easier even for those just intending to upgrade their existing equipment. One needs to know that cheap doesn’t always mean lousy quality, as is proven by the best bow hunting pack on the market.
Another great thing about buying a bow package is you get to try out new technology from a different manufacturer altogether to see if the company offers the perfect tools for your needs as you develop your shooting and hunting skills.
Why blow all your hard earned cash on a single item that may just end up in your closet? You can also save more with a bowhunting package while enjoying versatility. Plenty of kits come with everything you need aside from the bow, such as a quiver, stabilizer, bow sight, arrow rest, projectiles, and even a wrist strap. If you’re after value for money, a bowhunting kit is what you should get.
Included is the Genesis Original bow, which is the official bow of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), and which testifies to the dependable performance of this hunting bow.
This bow makes a fantastic starter model for archers of all ages, sizes and shooting capabilities. It has no specific draw length, so children won’t outgrow the weapon quickly.
The machined 6061-T6 aluminum riser ensures durability for lasting use, along with the aluminum cam and idler wheel that both guarantee a lightweight design and ample toughness.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Best compound bow
First developed by Holless Wilbur Allen in Billings, Missouri In 1966, the compound bow earned a US patent in 1969. It is the most popular bow type in the United States. Today’s modern bows utilize a levering system, typically comprising pulleys and cables, to bend the limbs. The cam/pulley system provides a mechanical advantage for the shooter, giving the limbs greater stiffness compared to those found on longbows or recurve bows.
Thanks to the more rigid limb design, a compound bow also offers greater energy efficiency as well as reduced energy dissipation in the movement of the limbs. The greater stiffness and more advanced technology of a compound bow also ensure more accurate shooting because of the reduced sensitivity of the bow to humidity and temperature changes.
Composite materials are typically used in the construction of the limbs, making them able to accommodate compressive and high tensile forces. All the kinetic energy is stored in the limbs, so the cables and pulleys hold nothing of that energy back.
The draw weight typically ranges between 10 and 100 pounds, which delivers arrow velocities of 150 to 370 fps. The let-off is also provided by the cam/pulley system. The central mount on the bow on which the other components are attached is called the riser. This component, which can be made of magnesium alloy, aluminum, carbon fiber or 7075 aluminum alloy, is where the sight, limbs, quiver and stabilizer come together to form a single unit.
The compressed Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) limb provides ample strength and weight to ensure extended bow life.
The rigid layered limb offers a draw weight up to 70 pounds for easy handling. Reducing the draw weight by 5 pounds is easy by simply loosening the bolt, while tightening increases the bow’s draw weight by 5 pounds.
Held in place by the rear pivoting limb pockets, the limbs deliver a robust connection that can deliver tight tolerances for greater shooting accuracy. Enjoy a stylish waffle lock thanks to the cutouts in the riser.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Best recurve bow
A recurve bow is characterized by limbs with an outward curve from the shooter when unstrung. The best recurve crossbow is designed to store greater amounts of energy at more efficient levels compared to the straight-limbed bow. This ensures that the arrow or projectile gets propelled faster and with more energy.
The recurved design enables the construction of a shorter bow compared to a standard straight limb weapon for a specific arrow energy. This is a preferred configuration by shooters for use in hunting situations where a long weapon could be unwieldy, such as in tight spaces with forest terrain or brush, or when carrying the weapon while on a horse. With the introduction of firearms, recurve bows were eventually eased out of widespread use for war.
The non-categorical phrase ‘a recurve’ or ‘recurve bow’ in modern times is utilized by Olympic archers and participants in a variety of archery tournaments.
The recurved design places more pressure on the bow materials so the weapon tends to generate greater noise with every release of the projectile. Multiple layers of fiberglass, wood and/or carbon on a wood or carbon foam core comprise the limbs. The riser, which holds all the other bow components on the center section of the unit, is typically constructed independently of magnesium alloy, aluminum alloy or carbon.
This is a vibration-free bow, so you are sure that the arrow is released with little noise to ensure terrific shooting every time.
Comfortable to hold, this lovely bow is easy to use as well. Aluminum and magnesium are used in the construction of the riser, ensuring a sturdy yet superbly lightweight configuration. You can easily attach accessories such as a stabilizer to the riser.
The bow comes with an adjustable arrow rest to suit your preference. The wooden limbs are laminated with fiberglass, making them resistant to bending and distortion.Click to see the price on Amazon!
The longbow derives its name from its long design, which is just about the same measurement as the user’s height. This configuration delivers a reasonably long draw, either to the jaw with modern versions or to the ear with medieval military issue models. English longbows do not carry a recurved design except where the stave comes with a recurve, in which it is more aptly considered as ‘character’.
The limbs of the best longbow are comparatively deep in cross-section and also narrow, giving them a distinct D-shape or eccentric deep ovoid design in cross-section. Some longbows have a nearly rectangular shape with corners that are heavily rounded. The D-shape longbow is still a dominant configuration though, aside from the dedicated single-stave yew bow.
Plenty of cultures still make longbows from a variety of woods. The traditional self-bow made of wood, whether long or otherwise, has long been used over a period or time in history wherever it is found. Several tribes around the world have a very long bow archetype with a cross-section that is completely circular. For millennia, the longbow has been indispensable in war and hunting activities, and its use in play was always for practice for its principal purposes.
OMP Ozark Hunter
Engineered with a traditional design, the OMP Ozark Hunter offers an excellent fusion of high performance and a smooth draw to ensure perfect execution of shooting.
This sharp shooting best longbow for beginners comes with a sleek limb and handle design that minimizes hand fatigue one shot after another.
The hard maple, walnut, and Purpleheart riser ensures durability for extended periods of use. The black fiberglass limbs with reinforced tips also provide strength and durability.
The built-in arrow shelf on the multi-laminate handle provides easy latching of the arrow for stability while aiming, and also assists with a straight-and-true flight towards the target.
The included Dacron string offers seamless propulsion and release.Buy from Amazon.com for ($213.84)
Commonly used as an angling method, bowfishing utilizes distinct pieces of archery gear to catch fish. To shoot fish, bowfishers use a barbed arrow attached to a reel via a special line to the bow-mounted reel. Bowfishing is characteristically similar to spearfishing save for the absence of hooks for luring fish. The best fishing bow may be a longbow or recreurve bow.
The best recurve for bowfishing comes with an extremely simple design. Generally, it doesn’t come with sights because aiming is executed using pure line-of-sight judgment to the tip of the arrow. The optical illusion that comes from the water medium can be compensated by aiming well below the target.
The bow can come with a hook and roller rest or another type of rest. Little to no let off is present, and there isn’t much draw weight either. The option depends on personal preference.
Compound bows eventually came into use in modern times. This type of bow features a pulley/cam system that assists in shooting, with many premium models offering as much as 120 pounds draw weight. Some bow anglers use crossbows, which have the added advantage of being easily incorporated with a reel. Bowfishing can be done while wading in rivers or from a boat. To keep fish while wading, a stringer tied to a belt loop may be used by the bow fisher.
Boasting an all-season camo finish, the PSE Kingfisher is easily the best recurve bow for bowfishing. This takedown recurve is quite easy to put together. Assembly takes ten minutes or even less, and you can be ready to check the weapon’s power and accuracy right after.
Available in right-handed configuration only, this recurve bow can be found with draw weights of 40, 45 and 50. The 50-pound draw weight is quite powerful enough for hunting small prey aside from bowfishing. You won’t notice any limb twisting owing to the fact that the bow is solidly constructed.
The bow comes as part of the best bowfishing setup that includes a front-mounting reel, 50 feet of 80lb test line, a Snap Shot arrow rest, as well as a arrow with point made from fiberglass. The arrow rest is durable and sturdy and will withstand the test of time as it was made from quality aluminum and stainless steel. Many owners report that this unit offers excellent value for every cent spent.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)
Best bow for target shooting
Target shooting and actual hunting will require different types of bows. While you can use all kinds of bows for target practice, not all target shooting bows can be used for hunting. It is best to assess the shooter’s physical strength to be able to decide on the best bow for them. Some people suggest starting with a trainer bow then advancing to any type you prefer. By far, recurve bows are considered the best for target archery. If traditional bows are preferred, you could get a bear hunting bow or a longbow.
Recurve bows are exceptionally intuitive, since the greater the draw weight, the faster the arrow speed. Standard target bows with a recurve configuration come between 48 and 54 pounds, but beginners ought to start with lower draw weight in cheaper bows. Upgrading can be done in six months or longer, depending on how developed one’s skills become.
Recurves are commonly used in Olympic events, with award winning tournament bows made to be complicated devices designed to propel the arrow faster and on target. There are no balance arms on beginner bows, but they do have a sight. Balance arms are pretty useful for heavy competitions but can be inconvenient to use in tight spaces aside from being difficult to set up.
Compound bows employ cables, pulleys, and very stiff materials to deliver plenty of power packed in a small profile. Drawing the string takes little effort to obtain the same arrow speed at projectile release compared to a recurve model.
This type can be used for target practice as well as hunting. Compound bows are popular in the US. A self- or simple bow is constructed of a single material. Full-sized English longbows made of yew are capable of releasing an arrow up to 200 yards although accuracy won’t be as great. Self-bows typically serve as children’s toys nowadays.
Southwest Archery Spyder
The Southwest Archery Spyder is designed by the same group of engineers that introduced the iconic Samick Sage, this time with an enhanced comfort grip plus a tougher, more robust design for many seasons of hunting.
This model is outfitted with brass bushings to accommodate accessories as you develop your shooting skills.
This bow accommodates Fast Flight and Flemish strings for versatility. The improved flush limb bolts and reinforced limb tips are just perfect for the beginner archer.
This 62-inch takedown recurve bow is available in both left- and right-handed configurations and at draw weights between 20 and 60 pounds for novice and advanced level shooters. This bow is suitable for bowfishing, hunting and archery practice.Click to see the price on Amazon!
Best archery target
An archery target is quite essential when you’re just into target practice in an effort to eventually sharpen and develop your skills for hunting. Since the archery target will definitely take a lot of beating and pressure from trajectories flying quickly toward it, the product should be tough enough. It will be at the receiving end of pointed arrows flying speedily up in the air to get embedded into the target.
The product should enable you to shoot a huge number of times into the same hole without getting all ruined or wrecked. It should not cause injury to you every time you pull the embedded arrow out, and most importantly, the entire process of arrow removal should be effortless using only a two-finger pull. The target should also not ruin or break your arrows. It should accommodate the type of bow and projectiles you use.
A filled bag target features a large surface area that amply addresses the target practice needs of beginner shooters. Bag targets are geared to support repeated use and are designed to remain in one piece regardless of the huge number of strikes. Foam block targets are easy to carry, durable and fantastic for use with light bows. 3D practice targets offer the best means of honing target shooting skills thanks to how they come in virtually all likenesses of hunted animal species you can think of.
Morrell Double Duty Bone Collector 131
The Morrell Double Duty Bone Collector 131 is an awesome archery target for today’s shooter. It can take up to 400 fps amazingly from field points.
This model comes with 4 shooting sides and 6 bullseyes in all, so you can rotate the block to refresh the used sides for even wearing.
It even shows the midsection of a deer in full color, so you can learn how to shoot your actual target in the field intuitively. The nuclear core accommodates the pressure of penetrating arrows without shredding or breaking apart that easily.
The tough foam inside effectively stops field points while facilitating effortless removal of arrows. Projectiles slide out easily without tearing or ripping the foam.Buy from Amazon.com for ($66.39)
Allen Company Mesh
Uniquely designed for younger and smaller shooters, the Allen Company Mesh is capable of protecting the forearm of the user from injury caused by abrasion from the bowstring.
This model features an adjustable strap to ensure a comfortable fit every time.
The two straps with buckles can be adjusted using just one hand to keep the other hand free to hold your bow or other equipment.
The pink with gray mesh design ensures breathability so your arm won’t feel pain or discomfort even after extended periods of use.
The ergonomic shape ensures a slip-free fit while conforming to the shape and size of your arm for secure use.Click to see the price on Amazon!
What other items you might need when using a bow
You can’t head out into the wilderness to hunt without a collection of items that you need to have to guarantee a safe and successful trip. Primary among those items include a good quality bow and arrows or projectiles, as well as broadheads and more.
Deciding what to pack and what to leave in the car trunk can be a tough decision, especially considering how distant your vehicle will be from the actual hunting site. But tackling the outdoors means you have to pack light to support all the running and scouting you have to do. You will need some zipper-seal bags to store used lure and scent items including scent wicks and drag rags.
Zipper lock bags keep the smelly items from the rest of your hunting gear. Brush nippers are useful for clipping branches away from the lenses of your trail camera or for trimming twigs around your stand. Rope is needed to pull stuff up towards you in the treestand. You never know when zip ties, a medicine bottle with allergy, pain and diarrhea medication, wet wipes, a lighter and a plastic garbage bag can come in handy.
To be able to use a hunting bow effectively, you will want an arrow rest to secure an arrow in position, providing support till you release the projectile from the bow. An arm guard prevents your clothing from interfering when using your weapon, making sure the arrow does not fly in the wrong direction and miss the target entirely.
It also prevents injury to the inside of your forearm when you shoot the arrow. Other essential items include a quiver to hold your projectiles, and a stabilizer to prevent excessive vibration and noise, reduce hand shock and to keep the bow balanced and ensure accuracy. The bow case enables easy storage and transport of your shooting weapon. A bow stand allows you to lay your bow across the shooting rail, while a bow hanger is suitable for hunting from a treestand so you can get the bow quickly in your hands when needed, without noise and noticeable movement. You may also need a chest guard, a thumb ring, a safety harness and a finger tab.
Types of bows available for sale nowadays
Through the passage of time, archery bows have existed in varying forms, making them ubiquitous throughout history. Thanks to their incredible power, bows had been considered the most daunting projectile-based weapons for mounted warfare till the introduction of the revolving pistol.
The many technologies in and designs of bows demonstrate how far this weapon has evolved through the ages. Modern bows are now made of a variety of materials including carbon fiber and fiberglass, with some models outfitted with some pretty nifty shooting mechanisms. The best hunting bow available on the market today can have one of four designs.
The general performance of the best recurve bow for hunting is dependent on its shape. Wielded in earliest times by horsemen, recurve bows have become modernized for use in the Olympics. A recurve bow derives its name from its distinctive shape, with the central section of its limbs curved toward the shooter and the tips of the bow’s limbs contoured away.
Delivering a greater amount of power, this design requires less force from the shooter to propel the arrow towards the target. Useful for teaching archery, recurve bows are suitable for beginners to the sport. Popular among novice archers, a barebow recurve comes with an arrow rest, bow limbs, a string and a riser to help with bow balance. As the archery learner picks up more skills during training, some more elements are added including sights, stabilizers, clickers and pressure buttons.
The best hunting compound bow features a pulley system that provides the shooter a longer time for aiming once the bow is drawn. Introduced in the 1960s, compound bows are equipped with a cutting-edge system of cables, pulleys and unique cams that enable the shooter to hold a heavy draw weight when the bow is fully drawn.
Giving the shooter the opportunity to aim a powerful weapon, this configuration is engineered not to tire the muscles out excessively. That being said, this type of bow still requires a significant amount of force to draw. Bows constructed from natural materials tend to be more affected by humidity and temperature changes compared to compound bows of synthetic construction, which ensure more accuracy and greater arrow speeds and flight distance. It can be a real challenge to find the best compound bow for beginners owing to the complexity of the weapon’s design.
Longbows have existed far longer than any other types of archery bows. With their characteristic D-shape, longbows are recorded to have first been used in warfare in 1298 and were commonly used in battles until the middle of the 16th century.
The development of the English longbow, which was first employed in European battlefields during the 14th century, paved the way for the recognition of the bow-and-arrowj as a formidable weapon utilizing projectiles. What distinguishes the best longbow for hunting is its utter simplicity in design, which comprises a long and marginally arched piece of wood that is as tall as the shooter.
This type of weapon comes without any sights or arrow rests. A lot more challenging to aim compared to other modern bows, a longbow doesn’t deliver the same arrow speed as a recurve or compound bow. This means the weapon will need greater patience and practice to fully be proficient at using. That said, many users do find the learning experience quite fulfilling in the long term.
Out of all the archery bows, the crossbow has emerged as the tool with the most legal stipulations and regulations in the modern world. With its country of origin being China, the crossbow was popularly used in warfare during the Medieval and Greco-Roman periods. Already known in ancient times but developed fully during the Middle Ages, the crossbow also contributed to the eventual recognition of the bow-and-arrow as a powerful missile weapon in the battlefield.
The best hunting crossbow of today appears rather like modern firearms but with a short bow attached to the muzzle in horizontal fashion. A crank or cocking device is used to draw the bow. The string then attaches to the trigger system and gets locked in place until the shooter releases the projectile. A crossbow requires a heavier draw weight and delivers a short firing range to approximate the same level of performance as any recurve or compound bow. The crossbow is the tool of choice for target archery. The use of crossbows tends to be governed by legal stipulations and regulations that can be variable for every state, aside from being strict in many locations.
How to choose the best hunting bows
Archery is an interesting sport. In history, archery was primarily used for combat and hunting but in today’s modern times, it is primarily a recreational or competitive activity. Whether you’re a toxophilite (archery expert), or a novice or advanced bowman or archer (one who participates in archery), you will need to be equipped with the right set of equipment or bow. How can you tell you have the best hunting bow of all time and not some lousy and inferior throwaway?
The best bow for target shooting should have the appropriate draw weight
A longbow, as its name suggests, is a D-shaped weapon made of a long and slightly arched piece of wood that is as long as the shooter’s height. When on the market for the perfect longbow, you need to know your actual draw length at full draw.
This factor is essential since longbows are constructed to deliver maximum performance at a particular draw length. The taper of a longbow is geared to accommodate a specific bow length. This means, for instance, that a 65-inch bow taper is constructed to deliver maximum performance at a 25-inch draw, a 66-inch bow taper at a 26-inch draw, a 67-inch bow taper at a 27-inch draw, and so on with a 69-inch bow taper at 29-inch draw.
All recurve bows can be used for target practice but not for hunting purposes. It is the draw length that determines the bow’s suitability for hunting. People who’ve never shot a recurve bow before should make it a point to procure a weapon with a lower draw weight range. For small kids weighing between 70 to 100 pounds, the suggested draw weight is between 10 and 15 pounds. Larger kids between 100 and 130 pounds typically need a draw weight between 15 and 25 pounds.
Females with a small build should opt for a draw weight between 25 and 35 pounds, as should ladies with medium frames. Male archers with small frames or weights between 120 and 150 pounds need to go for 30 to 45 pounds draw weight, while medium-frame females weighing from 150 to 180 pounds need to look at recurve bows with draw weights between 40 and 55 pounds. For large-framed women of 160 pounds and greater, a draw weight between 30 and 45 pounds should be sufficient.
Large-framed males from 180 pounds and heavier need to try out bows with draw weights between 45 and 60 pounds. Hunting game requires a draw weight of at least 40 pounds, and anything less can result in plenty of botched shots especially considering that an arrow has to be shot at over 15 yards away. As you get to the upper limit of the bow’s specified draw length, you will have to upgrade to the next size to ensure a clean release and consistently smooth draw.
A compound bow can be drawn with the hands or using shoulder release (for handicapped shooters). The draw weight determines how many pounds the shooter can pull back or draw the bow. Just like any type of bow, a compound bow should be selected based on draw weight, but for those who have never drawn this type of weapon before, it is best to start with a low draw weight.
The more the shooting muscles get developed, the greater the weight one can pull back, which in turn results in longer shooting ranges. Fortunately, there are plenty of premium quality bows that feature adjustable draw lengths and draw weights. Many models are designed to grow as you grow, using paper targets to 3D targets and eventually going with you for bowhunting activities. As your shooting skills and archery muscles get developed, your draw weight and draw length also evolve accordingly.
Crossbow hunting also needs the proper draw weight for the weapon so you can be confident about your targets. Your choices vary between the 50-pound draw pistol crossbow to the full-size, 200-pound-and-over crossbow. The variation in resistance can spell the difference between an arrow speed of 130 fps and a projectile velocity of more than 330 fps.
For small game, such as rabbits up to foxes, you’ll need a draw weight up to 150 pounds, which will generally deliver a projectile velocity of 220 to 250 pounds and which should be more than enough to take down an antelope, a turkey or even a deer, depending on shot placement. At moderate ranges, any crossbow from 75 to 125 pounds draw weight should be enough to take down a whitetail deer.
Most premium quality crossbows feature draw weights between 150 and 175 pounds, with only few going more than 200 pounds. As a rule of thumb, bigger draw weights mean faster arrow speeds. Go as heavy as you want, except in Ohio where the maximum draw weight is pegged at 200 pounds.
The best bow hunting gear comprises a weapon with a high-quality riser
The handle part of your bow is called the riser. It comes in a variety of shapes, materials and designs. Naturally, the design and construction of the bow’s riser has a direct impact on the weapon’s price, overall functionality, and performance. Despite the many subtle differences in risers, there are just three types: reflex, deflex and straight.
Reflex bows feature the pivot point of the limbs in front of your hand or curving away from the limbs’ natural curvature. Producing faster speeds, this style makes it easier to see in front of the pivot point of your grip and thus reduces the brace height of the bow. Hunting bows of today are nearly always designed with reflex risers.
Bows with deflex risers have a design that is the exact opposite. The pivot point of the limb is behind the pivot point of the bow’s grip, so instead of curving away from the limbs, it follows the limbs’ curvature. This design raises the brace height and also delivers slower projectile speed, with all other elements being equal. Deflex bows offer a more forgiving configuration for shooting and generally provide greater accuracy, which benefits shooters with slightly improper form. Modern bows of today seldom carry deflex risers.
Straight risers are a cross between reflex and deflex ones. They have much less curvature than full-fledged reflex models and are relatively fast and quite forgiving. However, just like deflex risers, straight risers have become uncommon today.
Although the material used in the construction of the riser influences the weight, grip size or diameter and the cost of the bow, it has very little, if any, to do with the durability, accuracy, and performance of the weapon. Choose between cast aluminum or magnesium risers and machined aluminum ones.
Cast risers are cheaper than machined ones, but they are heavier than the latter, aside from being thicker in the grip section. For metal, machined risers are the lightest and they feature a smaller grip that offers a better fit in the hand. Take note, though, that machined risers cost more. Lightweight carbon fiber risers are also available but less common than the other two types, aside from having the most expensive cost.
A good quality bow offers the right elements for your purpose
When choosing a bow, you will also have to first determine your ocular dominance or dominant eye. This refers to which eye the brain prefers to have visual input from, more than the other. The input from this eye is what your brain will interpret as more ‘true’. Typically, your ocular dominance and your writing hand are the same side. Switch hitting or cross dominance, though rare, is possible. Some left-handed archers shoot right handed because their right eye is dominant. A left-handed archer would hold the bow in their right hand and pull back the string with their left hand. Make sure to choose a bow with the hand side that is right for you.
The International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) standard is used to determine the speed of the weapon, and this provides buyers with a straightforward basis for comparison aside from keeping the playing fields level. The IBO speed is determined by utilizing an arrow weighing 5 grains for every 1 pound draw weight. Most bow makers determine speed ratings by utilizing a 70-pound bow with a 30-inch draw length along with a 350-grain arrow. Added to the string are variables including arrow weight, bow weight, draw length and weight, which can influence the arrow velocity. The average hunting setup is likely to shoot 10 to 20 percent slower compared to the IBO rating of the bow.
How to take care of your bow
Your bow is one of the primary elements among your bow hunting gear that you spend a considerable amount of time choosing. Although there is little involved in the way of bow maintenance, the weapon still needs an extra dose of tender loving care if you intend to use it for many seasons to come. To ensure long-term functionality, remember to do these diligently and faithfully.
When not in use
When it’s going to take a long time before your next hunting trip, just unstring your bow. This is especially vital if the weapon is made of natural materials on the belly and back that can deteriorate over time. When the belly is left strung, there is consistent compression or pressure on it, which eventually makes the weapon grow weak as time passes. However, fiberglass models do not need to be unstrung.
The bow string needs to be replaced once every year. A broken or loose strand or a bowstring that shows excessive wear demands immediate replacement. Replacing the string regularly costs less than replacing a damaged bow. Rubbing some bowstring wax on the component will provide longer life due to moisture protection. It is unwise to leave the bow in the driveway.
Do not overtighten the limb bolts during assembly; all you want is a snug fit. A bow stringer should be used to string a bow. With proper use, a bow stringer helps prevent the limbs from getting twisted or deformed. The component also enables safe bow stringing since the limb tips are kept away from the shooter during the process. Recurves should not be strung backward, which is a common mistake for many shooters. Stringing a recurve bow backward can cause the string to pop off or for the weapon to dry fire, which can result in damage or worse, breakage as well as injury. You should never dry fire your bow. Shooting without an arrow is a no-no. It is the weight of the arrow that slows the string down and also cushions the shock from that event.
Don’t attempt to see how far the bow will bend. Neither should you overdraw it. Using your bow out in the rain entails that it be designed to do that. It should have a tough finish to allow use in wet weather but only for a bit of time so don’t leave the weapon out in the rain. Never use your bow for striking anything unless you run out of arrows and the target suddenly turns on you. The weapon will incur a great deal of damage when used as a beating stick.
Don’t allow a bigger person than you to shoot your bow. There’s a reason why we have draw weights and draw lengths for bows: they enable customized use. Your bow is definitely not made for a bigger hunting buddy to wield on your behalf. Use the specified bow string length and arrows for your bow.
Do not grease the weapon unless it was finished that way in the first place. Today’s bows come with an advanced finish designed to last, so no regreasing is required. Resting the bow on its tip and leaving it leaning in a corner are not good practices. You should not stick the tip on the ground either, much like what you’d do with a walking stick. It will wear the tips out faster.
Lay the bow between two pegs, on a shelf or on the floor horizontally, or use the string to hang it. A bow rack would be even better. If you have to store it for a long period of time, put the bow in a bow case or sock. This protects the weapon from cat hair, dust and damage. Store the bow in a cool, dry place without prolonged exposure to moisture and heat. Leaving your bow in a car trunk on sunny days is insensible. Never store a wet bow; dry it first using a soft cloth. Heat should not be used to dry the bow.
What you need to know about hunting with a bow
Bowhunting through time
The use of archery to hunt game animals is simply known as bowhunting. It has been proposed by archaeologists that humans began bowhunting activities between 10,000 and 9,000 BCE. It has even been forwarded by some archaeologists that arrows were made as early as 70 millennia ago, but their use remains unclear as to whether they were fired through a bow or thrown like small spears. Suffice it to say, the bow was used by our ancestors for quite some time.
There is evidence suggesting bows and arrows were produced on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. Archery was more valued in some cultures than others, but hunting and warfare were the most prevalent fields of use that showed extensive development of the tool. Plenty of cultural influences showed signs of how ingrained bowhunting was in the early time, with the Bible even mentioning archery a number of times.
Archery was held in high esteem in English society, and this is evident in the way archers are depicted as heroes in English literature. Robin Hood is the most popular among them. With the advancement of technology and the passage of time, archery was kept a cultural activity that the English engaged in during their leisure moments.
Eventually, it no longer served a military purpose but was turned into a sporting event in the late 1700s as it was taken up by the wealthy aristocrats of that time, which gave rise to modern competition archery. The noblemen got together for elaborate archery competitions, which they used to meet and show off to the local elite. Flirtation and romance also peppered the events since women were allowed to participate in the tournaments.
The English settlers in the 13 colonies of the US saw how the Native Americans still actively used bows and arrows for warfare and hunting, so it was easy to infer that the United States already had an instinctive interest in archery, which was first manifested via The United Bowmen of Philadelphia in 1828. The organization still clung to the use of archery as a contest by way of target shooting, which utilized the Imperial scoring system.
Although many Native American tribes eventually turned to rifles for warfare and hunting just like the Europeans, certain remote tribes maintained their distance from the Europeans. One of those was the Yahi tribe in California, whose last surviving member, Ishi, emerged in 1911 from the woods after a series of violent clashes with the European settlers drove him and his tribe to the remote wilderness. Ishi forged a friendship with Saxton Pope, his doctor.
The friendship bridged the gap between Europe and America in their love for archery and gave rise to what is now modern bowhunting. The Pope authored the book ‘Hunting with the Bow & Arrow’, in which he relayed the knowledge imparted to him by Ishi on traditional hunting techniques, including game calls, scent masking, the use of decoys, ground blinds and silencers, scouting and the study of wind direction when hunting.
Bowhunting serves several purposes, but the primary ones include food gathering, survival, skills development, as a form of leisure and exercise, to cull the population of animals and prevent them from multiplying excessively, to eliminate predators, to ensure ecological balance and as a means of creating relationships between hunters. The fees that bowhunters pay also support the maintenance of game preserves and the development of various modern bowhunting technologies.