Which type of bow best fit you? In this article, I attempt to help you decide which bow is the best fit for you. Before you attempt to hunt in the field, you need proper gears to get you started and help you successfully follow through our hunting guide.
There are some questions that you must attempt to answer yourself, like you intend to use it for? How heavy do you want your bow to be? After considering all these questions, you are one step close to getting a suitable bow.
In this post, I will compare a recurve bow, a compound bow and a crossbow, sharing my knowledge on each of them. To make this guide really comprehensive, I will put a list of accessories you need for your bow.
1. Recurve Bow
The recurve bow has been around since ancient days when warriors would use them when on horsebacks. Though riding on a horse would be an uncomfortable position to shoot an arrow, the energy and speed of the arrow made it easy to travel. The bow is also light and easy for the archer to carry.
The recurve bow lives up to its name because the ends of the bow’s limb, which is the body, curves away from the archer. This is purposefully designed to allow the arrow to travel at high speed when released. The bow does not require a lot of strength to draw as well, making it popular for archery sports.
A setback of this bow, however, is that your aim will likely waiver if you draw the string for longer than necessary, unlike the compound bow. Many buck hunters also say that the recurve bow is generally more difficult to master than the compound bow for deer hunting. This is because compared to other bows, they do not have mechanisms such as wheels and pulleys that will help in shooting. This means that you are left with your own skillset and strength in a hunt. This bow also requires you to be closer to your target, involving technique that will take time to grasp.
It is not impossible to start off with a recurve bow, but because of its minimalistic nature, a lot more practice will have to go into mastering it compared to the compound bow. Deer hunters will testify that the feeling of accomplishment when you have caught a deer using this bow after all the time put into practice is incomparable.
2. Compound Bow
The compound bow has limbs that are stiffer than a recurve bow which makes it more energy efficient. It also has a levering system that causes the arrows that are shot to carry more power, speed and accuracy. Hence, this is the reason why most hunters of large game prefer to use this bow. As this bow is also less likely to be affected by temperature and humidity, the shots are more likely to be accurate and precise.
Compound bows allow customization and add-ons. They can accommodate tools such bow sights and bow stabilizers to help in the hunt. You can also set the bow with customized draw weights. Draw weight is the force required to position the string stationary at a full draw. This reflects the power of the bow.
One thing that may be troublesome is that compound bows require maintenance to keep the moving parts working smoothly. Besides, using a compound bow takes strength to draw the arrow back. You will need to spend time training to ensure a steady draw. The good news is that the pulley system makes it easier to hold a drawn arrow in position for a long time before shooting compared to a recurved bow.
It is advisable to start off with a compound bow as a beginner, then after mastering it, transition into taking up the recurve bow if you are up for the challenge.
You can watch this video which compares both compound bow and a recurve bow.
The crossbow is rather different from the two types of bows mentioned above. A crossbow is a modernized form of bow and arrow. It is more similar to a firearm rather than the other bows. The projectiles that are shot out are known as bolts or quarrels. They are shorter in length compared to the traditional arrows. Operating a crossbow also involves pulling back a sliding piece and squeezing a trigger which is similar to operating a rifle.
Crossbows have recently increased in popularity among hunters. It is widely used because it is quieter than the other type of bows, which lessens the chance of scaring the deer away. Furthermore, using a crossbow can be cost effective because the bolts can be reused. Having that said, you can check out the best crossbow for bowhunting by Bow Grid here.
The largest advantage of using a crossbow compared to other bows is that once it is cocked, keeping it at full draw does not require any effort at all! Cocking your crossbow is done by pulling the strings equally all the way up to the trigger box to lock it until you are ready to release your arrow. This means that the crossbow can hold the tension of the draw for a long time while even the strongest hunter could only draw a traditional bow stably for a short period of time. Hence, you can use a crossbow effectively even with little training while other types of bows require far more skill for an accurate shot.
Crossbows do have their own disadvantages as well. For example, they are bulkier in size than other bows because they are constructed using more materials. This makes them a little hard to transport. Some manufacturers try to produce lighter crossbows by using lighter weight materials. However, these materials may cause the crossbow to be costlier.
Overall, apart from the compound bow, the crossbow is a good bow to start with for beginners in deer hunting. However, do note that while some states permit the use of crossbows all year round, some only permit them during certain seasons. Different states may also impose different requirements such as requirements on draw weight. Make sure you find out about the laws your state has implemented surrounding crossbows.
For beginners, I would suggest starting out with crossbows or compound bows. Recurve bows should only be used for hunting if you are confident that you have the skill to manouvre it, using it as an effective weapon to hunt down animals.
Now, let us delve into the accessories that you should have to enhance your hunting performance.
1. Bow Stabilizer
A bow stabilizer is a rod that is meant to be screwed into the front of your bow riser, that is the main part of the bow which you hold on to. It is a tool that provides great help in hunting deer when using a bow.
It is normal for archers to have some quiver in the hands to a certain extent at a full draw, especially for a beginner. A bow stabilizer adds forward weight to your bow which helps to balance it, keeping the bow steady in your hand. This helps in settling your sight when you aim at your target which of course results in a more accurate shot.
When your bow is drawn, energy builds up in the bow limbs. When you release the string, all that energy is released and absorbed by the arrow as it travels at high speed. However, some of that energy gets absorbed by the bow which causes it to vibrate. Having a bow stabilizer mounted on your bow helps to absorb some vibration produced by the bow stroke. This will reduce the shock felt in your hand on the bow grip. It also reduces the sound produced from your bow, allowing you to take a quieter shot.
Bow stabilizers come in different lengths and sizes. Since different bows vibrate at different frequencies, you will need to get a bow stabilizer that is suitable for the bow that you are using. The only way to truly find out which suits your bow best is to try out a few. There are many different kinds of stabilizers but what is important in choosing one is a matter of personal feel. When you find one that you are comfortable shooting around with, it can make a big difference in your shooting.
2. Bow Sight
A bow sight is a device that uses pins or markers to help archers hit their target. This device is mounted on your bow riser. It is very useful because it helps your aim by telling you where your arrow is pointed. Archers usually centralize the device in the middle of their target to provide a reference point to aim at. While it is possible to shoot arrows without using a bow sight, doing so is very difficult especially at long ranges. Bow sights come in different types. The major types are the fixed pin sight and the moveable pin sight.
A fixed pin sight gives you confidence when the time comes for your shot because you will not be stuck setting your pin to the proper distance. You will just need to draw your bow, ensure the proper pin for your intended distance, aim and release your arrow. You will have to take note not to let the pressure you feel in the moment cause you to use the incorrect pin for the distance needed.
Many bow hunters may prefer a moveable pin sight. This is because they often are designed with a pin that can slide up and down by simply moving a lever. There will usually be a reference guide that marks different yardages. You will just need to slide the pin into the correct position for your intended yardage, draw your bow, aim and release. This type of sight helps eliminate the chances of selecting the wrong pin. However, it does take more time to adjust.
When used correctly, a bow sight can make a large difference in your shooting accuracy and get you to the centre of your target faster. Choosing and using a bow sight may seem a little intimidating for a new shooter but once you understand the purposes and advantages of each sight, you will be able to determine the best match for you. Once installed, sighting generally comes easy.
Like bows, arrows come in a wide range of variety. Good arrows are made of high quality materials. The most popular arrow material is carbon because of its durability and accuracy. Furthermore, carbon arrows are available in a variety of prices.
What makes a good arrow is not only its material but also its match to your specific bow. An arrow that is mismatched to your bow can cause you to miss your shot and even worse, wound the deer. Hence, you will need to carefully choose your arrows according to your bow. A bow with a heavy draw weight will require a stiffer arrow while a bow with a lighter draw weight requires a softer one.
You will also need to consider the weight of your arrow during selection. A heavy arrow will generally penetrate the deer better than a light one. Unfortunately, it will also shoot slower. It will be good to get a shop expert’s advice to find the perfect balance between the arrow weight and speed that is suited for your bow.
Good arrows have fletching suited to the hunters needs as well. Fletching is the fin-shaped device that is attached on arrows or crossbow bolts. It is typically made from light and semi-flexible materials. Fletchings have an important job to stabilize the arrow in flight. A large fletching is good for close-range shooting because of the drag created which quickly stabilizes your arrow. Smaller fletchings have less drag which is suitable for shooting your target from a distance. Some hunters prefer to go for something in-between. Because fletchings face wear and tear, you will need to eventually replace them. Well-maintained arrows can last over a year but if you shoot at a greater frequency, you may need to replace your fletching sooner.
A broadhead is a point attached to an arrow that is sharper and larger than the arrow shaft, which is the body of the arrow. This makes the weapon more lethal. Broadheads come in different shapes with the most common one shaped in a triangular form with distinct cutting edges. Regardless of the type of arrows you choose, the broadhead is one of the most crucial hunting components for a bow hunter.
Broadheads are primarily used for hunting big game. Hence, they are good for hunting deer. The three basic types of broadheads are broadheads with fixed blades, removable blades and expandable mechanical blades. The function of these are quite self-explanatory to their names.
Broadheads with fixed blades come with blades that are fixed at the same angle to the arrow. They are designed to be glued directly onto the arrow shaft or screwed into ferrules. A ferrule is the cone-shaped part of a broadhead that fits over the narrow end of an arrow.
As the name suggests, the broadhead with removable blades have blades that can be removed and replaced on the ferrule. You will not need to discard the broadhead if only the blades are damaged.
Broadheads with expandable mechanical blades have retracted blades that expand to expose the cutting edges upon impact. The blades are retracted before your shot. Since they require more energy to open upon impact, these are recommended for bows of 50 pounds or more.
Hence, you will want to match your broadhead selection to your type of bow as well as its draw weight and your arrow size. For example, fixed blades are used by many bow hunters who shoot bows with lower draw weights. Make sure to get a broadhead of good quality because you need a sharp and durable broadhead that can penetrate through 16-18 inches of flesh and bone!
You will also need a wrench tool to screw on the broadhead. The wrench will cover the blades while you tighten the broadhead on your arrow. If this is not used, a slip can cause you a serious cut. Do also note that there are also hunting regulations on broadheads by each state! You will need to read up about it before proceeding to get your broadhead.
Therefore, remember to comprehensively review the gears you want to use for hunting. Only when you have the right skills and the right gears, you will be able to hunt effectively.