Beginner’s Guide To Selecting a Bow

July 18, 2009 by Bowhunter  
Filed under Selecting a Bow

bow_hunting2There are many things you should know before you go out into the field on your first bow hunting trip. Many people are introduced to the sport by someone who can teach them the basics, but others must teach themselves. Either way, there is a lot of information you should know, more than I can provide completely here, but there are a few easy guidelines that will get you started in the right direction.Obviously, you are going to need a bow. The first guideline is that a bow should feel good in your hands. If the bow doesn't feel comfortable, you won't be able to get a true shot, or you simply won't use the bow at all because it feels awkward.
When it comes to draw weight, there is a popular misconception that it is best to buy the heaviest draw weight bow you can handle. This is definitely not true. The draw weight of the bow should be dictated by the type of hunting you will be doing. For most situations, such as hunting deer or turkey, a lighter, easier to carry bow will be the best choice. If you're going after big game, then you will need a heavier, stronger bow with more stopping power. But for most of us, the big game hunts are few and far between and you can always rent a heavier bow if you need one, so your "everyday" bow should probably be one suitable for smaller game.
Since you're not lugging them on long hauls through the bush, heavier and stronger bows are often used in 3-D target tournaments, where you want to shoot very fast arrows on a flat trajectory. Otherwise, when hunting whitetail, birds, or maybe even small black bear, a compound bow in the 50 pound weight range is usually the best choice. A bow in this size range can easily put an arrow all the way through the game, yet is still very comfortable for most hunters to handle. Women usually prefer a bow in the 45 pound range.

As I said before, the most important consideration when choosing a bow is finding one that fits you. Bows are not a one-size-fits-all piece of equipment, and different styles and brands will all have a different fit and feel. Be sure the bow you choose feels comfortable in your hands. It should feel balanced and you should be able to pull the bow to full draw comfortably.

Many beginners buy bows that are too heavy for them. They think the bow is going to loosen up and get easier to draw, or that their muscles are going to develop simply by using the bow a few times. Neither assumption is true. Using a bow that is too heavy for you will throw off your shot and ruin your accuracy. If you can't comfortably hold the bow at full draw, you will end up rushing your shots, or you will find that the shot presents itself just as you've let off because you couldn't hold the draw for the time needed.
Another thing you should definitely do when shopping for a bow is to look at a lot of bows before you buy. Don't buy the first bow you see that is in your price range and don't assume that a "big name" brand is automatically the best choice. Choosing a reputable brand with quality construction is important, but be sure to browse around and look at everything available. Ask questions. Read what the manufacturers have to say about their bows and read the reviews of bows you can find in bowhunting blogs and forums. Buy a quality bow and buy the bow that makes solid sense for you.

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Beginner's Guide To Selecting a Bow