One of the biggest draws of bow hunting is that it has a longer season than other forms of hunting—usually before as well as after firearms season. Bow hunting’s biggest challenge is that it requires practice, dedication, and skill. Maybe you’ve decided to accept the challenge and take up bow hunting this year, or maybe you’re an experienced bow hunter with a friend who’d like to tag along this season and learn from you. Either way, here’s some good information on bow hunting for beginners.

Bow and Arrows

Choosing the correct bow is about fit, not cost. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your bow, but you do need to consult with an archery pro who will get you started by measuring your draw length and ideal draw weight. Choose arrows that have some flex during initial flight but avoid overflexing. Carbon fiber arrows are a good choice as they are readily available and offer a range of specifications. Your archery pro or an experienced hunter can advise you on the best broadheads for your quarry. Purchase three-inch vanes to help ensure your broadheads fly accurately.

Additional Equipment

You will need to purchase an arrow rest, a mechanical release aid, a peep sight, field points, a bow sight, and a quiver. Invest in an arm guard which will keep your clothing from interfering with your shot, and don’t forget a safety harness for tree-top or tree-stand hunting. As a beginner, you’ll find that a laser rangefinder significantly increases your shot accuracy.

Archery Basics

Not to put too fine a point on it (pun intended!) but archery does require practice and a real skill set. Work with an instructor or experienced bow hunter to develop the stance, grip, draw, anchor point, release, and follow-through that you’ll need to be successful.

Hunting Standards and Ethics

Be certain to achieve the recommended accuracy standard in order to hunt ethically. Keep practicing until you can hit a pie plate at 30 yards four times out of five. When in the field, don’t shoot any further than your practice distance.

Study the anatomy of your prey to ensure a quick, clean kill. It’s suggested that beginners wait for a fully broadside or slightly quartering away broadside shot to increase the odds of a quick kill. While learning, avoid the more difficult extreme angle shots or full-frontal shots.

As always, it’s your duty to make every effort to recover your animal. When tracking, be sure to knock an arrow in preparation for another shot if necessary.


You’ve recovered your animal, you have a great trophy, and a supply of healthy meat. You’re now a bow hunter!