Most of the hunters out in the field any given season will be hunting with firearms because they require less practice prior to use in a live hunt. They also have the advantage of being able to bring down game at a much greater distance. Archery Hunting with a bow is up-close and personal. Bow hunting requires highly trained hunting skills like stealth and tracking. If you're willing to practice and train, archery hunting with a bow provides a primal hunting experience like no other. Bow Hunting is an art that isn't mastered in a few days. True mastery is a lifetime commitment. It's not for everyone. But if it is for you, welcome to the brotherhood!
Naturally, you will need to find a place to practice. Even if you live on a large property, or near open land where you can practice, you should also join a local archery club. You can easily search for them online. Besides the fact they will surely have a club practice range, you will have the advantage of the other members who will certainly be eager to help you improve your skills.
Here are the eight essential tips for Archery - Hunting with a Bow--
(1) Carefully check all your equipment before every hunt. Be sure you have time to repair/replace/refurbish any equipment that isn't performing in top-notch condition. Of course the key to keeping your gear ready to go at a moments notice is always clean it and inspect it thoroughly after every hunt before you store it. Top hunters are always ready to go no matter what time of day or night the phone rings with the news that the hunt is on. Discovering that your bow is seriously out of tune when you're on-site is for tourists.
(2) Get and use a decent rangefinder. Maybe you have the perfect abilty to judge distance by sight and maybe you're smart enough to know you don't. If you're hunting from a tree stand or a blind, a ragefinder will allow you to set the sights on your bow with extreme accuracy and help insure a perfect shot. If you're stalking prey, a ragefinder will will help you guage how close you're getting to where you need to be to make the shot.
(3) If you're hunting from a tree stand or blind, use the rangefinder to determine the exact range to significant landmarks in your field of fire. Carefully chosen rocks, trees, branches, etc. can provide you with pre-sighted distance markers and help you quickly take advantage of opportunities as soon as they arise. Do this pre-sighting as soon as you get settled in your position. You don't want to miss a shot because you were too busy fiddle-farting around in your blind to be ready.
(4) Don't forget that accuracy will always count more than speed when you are hunting with a bow. Make sure your bow has a draw weight you can easily handle so you can take your time to sight your shot and not have to worry about holding the draw. If you hunt from a tree stand, you will be drawing from a seated position which makes drawing the bow more difficult so don't forget to adjust for this when choosing and setting-up your bow before a hunt.
(5) Archery hunting requires patience. If you can't sit quietly and calmly for hours at a time, bow hunting may not be for you. Even if you choose to actively stalk game instead of waiting in a stand or blind, it will likely take you several hours to catch up with any game tracks you find. Once you have sighted your target, you will need the patience to move into position with slow and easy movements.
(6) Deer are the most common game sought by bow hunters and the game I personally recommend for archery hunting beginners. You should try for a broadside shot to the heart or lung. If you can wait for a shot when the deer's head is hidden behind a tree, but his shoulder presents a perfect shot, you're in the best possible position! Deer are quick and wary and easily spooked so you'll need to practice changing positions in a calm and quiet way to be ready no matter where the game shows.
(7) Change your location every hunt. Repeated visits to the same location will only increase the amount of human scent you leave behind and game animals will quickly alter their habits to avoid your scent.
(8) The worst mistake you can make when archery hunting with a bow is missing the target kill zone. You must know the target kill zone of every animal you hunt. If you only manage to wound your prey, you are causing a lot of needless suffering, so practice often before a hunt with targets marked with the appropriate kill zones.
By preparing carefully and practicing often, bow hunting can offer a uniquely rewarding and primal hunting experience like nothing else you've ever tried.