16 Helpful Tips for the Beginner Bowhunter
Becoming a bowhunter isn’t for someone who lacks patience or demands instant gratification in everything they do. However, it is for those who want to learn the sport and are thrilled to be doing so. If you have never felt the thrill of bringing down your first hog, gobbler, or trophy buck with a bow, then you are in for a treat. Using a bow to hunt is in no way the same as using a gun, it’s just different.
While, other hunters will tell you, and it is true, that rifles and shotguns have ranges that are lethal and certainly travel further and faster than your arrow ever could, to serious bowhunters, it’s not about that. To a serious bowhunter, it’s the hunt, the fact that they are hunting their prey with a “primitive weapon,” is what drives them to get up every morning during hunting season, climb into that treestand or blind and wait patiently until their prey comes around the corner. Once that prey is in sight, they carefully take aim, draw back that arrow and send it singing through the air to hit your target. Not only that, it’s the fact that you can be close enough to count the hairs on your targets chin and still make the shot. That can’t be done with a rifle or even a handgun with any degree of reliability.
It is said that even the most avid and accomplished of sportsman finding bowhunting to be a challenge, but they also find it to be very rewarding. If you are a beginning hunter to the sport, all of this will come with time. In this blog, we will give you some helpful tips to get started on the best forms of hunting out there. With that in mind, read on below for a few of the top most helpful tips out there for the beginning bowhunter, so you will be ready and raring to go when the season begins.
Choose the Right Bow
The first thing you need to decide on, now that you have decided to give bowhunting a try, is the type of bow you are going to use for your hunts. Your choices are a Long Bow, A Recurve Bow, or a Compound Bow. It’s not the best idea, as a beginner to start with a crossbow, that can come when you’re more advanced. It is important to note at this point that most states have a minimum draw rate requirement of 45 pounds. Check the minimum requirements for your state before you head out to shop.
While Long Bows are easier to draw, because of their longer limbs, they are slower and have more recoil than a Recurve Bow. The choice of which bow you choose should be made by the weight and feel of the bow in your hand. As long as the minimum draw weight is met, you should be able to choose what you want, not what another hunter thinks you should have.
To wrap it up on choosing the right bow, these are the things you should look for. Remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to choosing your bow.
- Draw length
- Draw weight (minimum of 45 pounds in most states required)
- The type of game you will be hunting
Equipment You Need
To become a bowhunter the only thing you truly need is the right bow, the right arrows and broadheads, and the appropriate clothing. A treestand or a blind won’t hurt, but you don’t have to have them to get started. Once you have this equipment and the proper license, of course, you are ready to set out on your first hunt.
Go With An Experienced Hunter
It’s important that before you go solo, you learn in the field. The last thing you want is for your first hunt to end badly. Even though you are shooting with a bow, instead of a gun, it is still dangerous and arrows do kill hunters. It’s best to go with an experienced hunter, your first few times out. They have the tools to ensure you have a great time, but still stay safe while doing it.
Always Carry Your Hunting License with You
The proper authorities can request your hunting license at any time, and the last thing you want is to be caught without them on you. Telling a game warden that you left your hunting license in your other pocket isn’t going to cut it. Follow these tips for keeping your license, stamps, and permits on you always.
- Keep all license and documents on your person
- Have a compartment that is dedicated to holding your documents and license
- If you are tossing these papers in your hunting bag, make sure they are in plastic or a waterproof bag so they don’t get ruined. Hunting is messy work after all.
Scout Out and Know Your Food Sources
It’s not possible to have a good hunt if you don’t scout ahead and know what and where you food sources are. Whether it’s deer season, turkey season, or something in between, you have to scout ahead and figure out where your prey is going to be. This means, that you go out into your chosen area before opening day of the season to prepare and decide where to set up your tree stand or blind, not wait until opening morning and be out there tramping through the woods, disturbing not only the prey but other bowhunters as well.
A Little Bit About Scent Control
It’s extremely important to keep your human scent concealed from the prey when bowhunting. It’s best to play the wind in this respect. Never, set up your stand or blind where the wind will be blowing toward your prey, they will catch your scent and the area will be empty before you know and your hunt a dismal failure. Other scent control methods that work are scent free showering, in other words, don’t use flowery body washes and shampoos before a hunt, and always spraying down before you go in. Proper scent control is important if you want to not only land a buck but see some big ones as well.
Concealment in bowhunting is even more important in hunting where you use a gun. Because you have to be so close to your prey to make that fatal shot, you need to be concealed properly from the get-go. This is where a climbing stand comes in handy for a beginner, as you can use it, be concealed properly, and easily move it to another spot if you’re not having any luck that day. Camo is also a really good idea when bowhunting, so you blend in easier and are more difficult for prey to spot.
Learn to Read a Map
While you may be going into the woods on your first bow hunt with an experienced hunter the first few times, you won’t always, so it’s important that you learn to read a map. You also need to learn to read a GPS. The last thing you want is to be lost in the woods on the first day of hunting season.
Always Do Your Homework
As a bowhunter, you will probably want to hunt for different game in different seasons. Whether it’s a deer, a turkey, or a hog, no two game are the same. You need to study the animal you are going to be hunting. This means studying its patterns, it’s food sources, and getting to know everything about that animal before you set out on a hunt.
Never be Afraid to Ask for Help
As with everything else in the world, there is nothing wrong with asking for a little help and you never should be afraid too. There are a ton of organizations, clubs, like-minded people, and even events to attend out there for the beginning bowhunter. These things are even good for pro hunters, as there is always something to learn and besides, it’s always nice to gather with people that enjoy the same things that you do. Bowhunters are like a family, and you want to be a part of that.
Even the bowhunters that are the most experienced in their sport forget this at some point or another, but being patient is key to being successful in this sport. Always, remember that bowhunting means that more than half of the time, you will be sitting in a blind or stand, waiting, waiting, waiting, and possibly not even seeing a hint of the game you are there to hunt. The saying, “patience is a virtue,” has never been truer than when it comes to bowhunting or any type of hunting for that matter. Being patient means you will have a lot more fun, and bag the game you came for to boot, hopefully. After all, anything worth having is worth waiting for, isn’t it? That’s what our parents taught us, and in this case, it couldn’t be truer.
Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More
As with anything else worth doing, practicing is what makes you a more experienced bowhunter. This means to get out there every chance you get during hunting season, but it also means to practice in the offseason as well. Bowhunting is not like riding a bike, you can get rusty if you don’t practice. Set up targets to practice during the offseason, so you are on your game when the new season begins and ready to bag whatever game you are hunting.
Safety Tips for Beginning Bowhunters
With the fun of hunting with a bow, comes following the safety tips as well. Even though you’re not hunting with a gun, bow hunting can be dangerous. Knowing the safety tips before you ever even notch your bow is extremely important to your success and having fun during the hunt. Below, you can find some safety tips you should follow as a beginning bowhunter and from now on as well.
Store Arrows Properly, Until You Need Them
You should never have your quivers out unless you are ready to shoot. A proper quiver to keep your arrows in is essential and all arrows should be kept in that quiver unless they are being used. If you have arrows laying out everywhere, you are more apt to stab yourself or another hunter with the sharp points, and even up at the emergency room, instead of sitting in a treestand having fun.
Choose Your Locations Carefully
Always, research the access points to the hunting area you are going to be using. You want to know exactly how possible it is for hunters to be walking in and out of your area and into your field of sight. If you are going to be hunting on private property, make sure to contact the owners prior to opening day of hunting season. They need to know that you are going to be out there with your bow trying to hunt so that they don’t accidentally walk into the line of your arrow. These arrows can take down a full-grown buck or a wild hog, so they can certainly take down a full-grown man.
Always Look Before You Shoot
One of the biggest mistakes you could make, and one of the most tragic would be to shoot someone, thinking they are a deer or a wild hog. Always, always, look before you shoot, just to ensure that it’s not another hunter on the other end of that arrow. Safety first always, for a successful and happy hunt.
These are just a few of the top helpful tips and tricks out there for the beginning bow hunter. From following all the safety rules to having the right bow to fit your needs, following these tips will help you become the experienced hunter you want to become, and bag you some game as well. Happy Hunting, Everyone and stay safe always!
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