Bow Hunting Tips
Bow hunting is an age-old skill that dropped out of popularity with the birth of the rifle but has recently been making a rather wonderful comeback. Purists are suggesting that actually getting out in the field with a bow and arrow is a more “noble art”. Whether it’s better or worse than hunting with firearms, there’s no doubt that using a bow to hunt effectively requires a certain set of skills that many people don’t have.
Perhaps the real appeal of bowhunting is that you need to get as close as possible, testing all of your hunting, tracking and shooting skills to the very limit. If you’re an avid bow hunter or a firearm hunter that would like to get into bow hunting, we’ve compiled some of the top tips to set you on the right path.
What Type of Bow?
There are several types of bows that you can purchase such as a compound bow, recurve bow or even a standard longbow. The matchup and debate is usually between compound and recurve models. The compound bow is typically the hunter’s weapon of choice for deer and game hunting. Compound bows are great for giving the hunter plenty of time to draw and take aim at their target, whereas with a recurve you don’t have nearly as much time to line up that perfect shot. The recurve is all about pulling and shooting in a quick motion, lacking the holding time that a compound bow offers. If you’re hunting for small animals such as squirrels, rabbit, birds etc. then you the recurve may offer the flexibility you need. We would only suggest a recurve for most experienced hunters out there. The main thing though is to take into consideration the type of bowhunting you will be doing whether that's going after some game or even bowfishing, this plays a major role in your choice.
Late Season Acorns
If there are acorns in your hunting area, it is likely that the deer will not be far behind. Although early in the season deer will have an abundance of forest vegetation to eat, but as the year wears on, acorns will become a more valuable food source.
By being aware of where acorns are dropping, you can know where to set up your tree blind. Big bucks especially will turn to acorns as they begin to build up fat reserves, so getting yourself set up well in advance will give you the opportunity to get close and take the shot.
Standing & Drawing
The more practice you get before the season, the more likely you are to make the right shot when the time comes. You’ll often only have one chance to make a clean kill shot and it really does come down to only one single shot. To make sure that shot catches your prey, you should be practicing whenever possible before actually heading out into the field.
Don’t just practice standing in one position and firing arrow after arrow, try slowly standing and drawing at the same time. While it’s incredibly important not to rush your shot, slow and balanced drawing whilst getting into position will ensure the shot is clean.
*credit to Team Wild TV channel for this video
All Weather Practice
Chances are that if you’re going out with a bow, then you’re trying to take advantage of an extended season. This can mean that you’ll be hunting in some fairly extreme weather conditions. Making a good shot when the wind is blowing harshly and the rain is getting in your eyes or making your hands wet is a completely different proposition to hunting in fair weather.
The more you practice in adverse conditions, the more likely you’ll be to make a good shot.
Wear The Right Gear
Wear some clothing that is light and matches the weather. The last thing you want is to have bulky and heavy clothing on that get in the way of your bow string, you want to ensure you can pull and hold the bow without any collisions. Also, the type of gear that you wear when using a bow can differ depending on whether you choose to hunt from the ground or up a stand. For some extra protection you can also purchase an armguard to ensure you don’t catch your arm with the bow string.
Practice on a 3D Range
Before going out into the field and firing arrows away at will, try to perfect your technique as much as you can on a 3D target range first. You can spend your downtime during the off season practicing away as much as you want. The 3D range has the advantage that it can prepare you both mentally and physically for when you have to land the right shot out in the field. Using one can also ensure that you keep your skills sharp when not actively out bow hunting. Although nothing compares to the real thing, you want to give yourself the best possible chance of landing an arrow on the right spot of your target.
When hunting deer and game you have to be focused and on you’re A-game at all times. The best approach to ensure that you don’t miss or potentially scare any of your targets away, is to eliminate any distractions during the hunting. Bow hunting, especially when trying to learn can be a steep learning curve, therefore it requires all your concentration and effort to get right. Things such as smartphones, music headphones etc. all should not be present when attempting to bow hunt.
Know Your Limits
We’re all different and all have different skills and capabilities. Make sure you know exactly how far you can shoot accurately; failure to do so may result in a shot that can injure without killing. It is incredibly important not to try and make a shot that you are not sure you can kill with. If you are hunting with friends, decide on how far your average effective distance is and be aware that as the day wears on, you’ll get more tired and your effective range will decrease.
Bow hunting is a wonderful skill that not only gives the hunter an earlier season, but can also become a lifelong passion. It is a true art form that requires dedication and practice. Taking the time to become good at bow hunting will not only give you an amazing sense of accomplishment, but make you a better all-round hunter.