Bow Hunting for Beginners

Outdoors Allie • August 30, 2023

Bow hunting is a passion of mine. It has taught me more than I could ever express, and for that reason I am also intent on sharing this lifestyle with anyone who cares to listen. It is tremendously challenging and with that comes many years of frustration, but as cliche as it sounds, nothing good comes easy. So, if you're new to bow hunting or possibly interested in getting started, here are a few things to keep in mind along your journey.


Choose a bow that reflects your style and capabilities.

Recurve bows and longbows are referred to as “traditional” archery equipment. They are much more difficult to become proficient with, but much simpler and more nostalgic. I have yet to take one into the woods, but I really enjoy practicing in the backyard. I have a ton of respect for anyone who has mastered this craft.

Compound bows are the most popular option for bow hunting these days and that’s what I choose to hunt with. They still require a lot of practice and persistence, but not nearly as much when compared to a recurve or longbow. They are also much faster and more efficient, especially at longer distances.

Crossbows are the last category widely accepted as archery equipment in most states. They are quite different from the bows I’ve previously mentioned because of the fact that they are shot more like a rifle. They are scoped, have a safety, and a trigger. They’re very effective and require less practice to become proficient. I’m not saying you should practice less, just stating the obvious.

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Accessories such as arrows, broadheads, sights, quivers, a release, and a rangefinder will also be necessary depending on the type of bow you choose.

Also, please keep in mind that you will need to match the equipment with your specific body type and needs. You can’t just grab your buddy’s bow and shoot it or use their arrows in your bow. You’ll need to have everything fitted to your specifications. Except for a crossbow, they are generally universally fitting. Visiting your local archery shop to get set up is a great way to ensure you have properly fitted equipment, especially when staring out.

Like I had previously mentioned. Practice is imperative to success. You owe it to the animal to understand your equipment, your limitations, and have confidence in the shots you take.

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In The Field:

For most serious bow hunters, off season scouting is key to success. Studying the behaviors and patterns of the animals you plan to pursue is really the only way to get better at finding them. Learn to identify what they like to feed on, where they like to bed, and why they use certain areas rather than others. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together ahead to time will enhance your experience in the woods. Trail cameras have been an essential tool in helping me understand what’s happening in the woods and why.

Finding a mentor and asking to tag along during scouting sessions has also really helped shorten the learning curve for me. I’d highly suggest utilizing such a resource if that’s available to you. If not, there are tons of podcasts and YouTube channels that can help you along and answer very specific questions relevant to the general areas and animals you plan on hunting.

With all of that being said, putting on the miles is still the most important thing you can do. Get out there, ask yourself questions, and think critically about what is happening around you. Not much in nature happens purely by chance.

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Safety & Regulations:

Always prioritize safety when in the woods. If you plan on hunting from a tree stand, please wear a harness. If you plan on taking overnight trips, please consider carrying a tourniquet and packable first aid kit. And if possible, let someone know the general area you are heading toward in case they need to come looking for you.

Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and avoid shooting in the direction of buildings, roads, and other hunters. Also be sure to positively identify your target. Mistakes could be lethal.

Lastly, make sure you understand the regulations and laws applicable to the area you are hunting in and purchase the licenses and permits required.

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--Outdoors Allie