Bow Hunting for Beginners: What You Need to Know

Young Hunter With Bow Aiming
​Archery and, in particular, bow hunting, is a challenging yet rewarding activity that’s unlike any other form of hunting. It allows you to get out there is the heart of nature and all its glory at some of the prettiest times of the year. One of the many advantages of bow hunting is that it’s the longest of all hunting seasons, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to improve your skills. Whether you wish to go deer hunting or just want a little target practice, this article will help get you started. It will take you through some of the more important points of archery and bow hunting and what you need to know to make become a success.

Different types of bows

There are four different type of bow to choose from when it comes to bow hunting, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. They are:

  • Recurve bows: These bows get their name from their distinct shape. While the middle part of the limbs curves inwards toward one another the tips of the limbs arch away from the hunter. These bows are particularly good for power and require less strength to use them. For that reason, they make an excellent choice for anyone just starting out.    
  • Compound bows: These first came about in the 1960s and consist of a number of cables, pulleys, and cams that help the hunter in holding that hefty draw weight. However, to draw the compound bow initially takes a great deal of strength. Compound bows are very accurate once you’ve mastered how to use them, but are not really suitable for beginners.  
  • ​Traditional bows: Sometimes referred to as a longbow, this kind of bow is one of the oldest known to man. They’re very simple weapons that consist of one long, slightly curved piece of wood that is a similar size to that of the archer. However, because of their simple design, they’re also a lot harder to aim and don’t have as much velocity as recurve or compound bows. Out of all the different bows available, the longbow is probably the most difficult to master. So, again, like the compound bow, it’s best to get some practice in with another type of bow first.  
  • Crossbows: The functioning of the crossbow is the same principle as all the other types of bows, but they do have a different appearance. These bows are often the preferred choice for beginners as they’re much easier to learn. They’re also very accurate and have a much longer firing range than the other types of bow. The type of projectile that’s shot from a crossbow is different to that of the other bows and is typically called a bolt. Although shorter than most arrows, they still look very similar in appearance.  

​Bow Release Styles: Traditional vs. Mechanical

Traditional bow releasing involves you relying on your finger to hold the string in place until you’re ready to shoot. Then, simply relax your fingers, let the bowstring slide off and away goes the arrow. Many experienced bow hunters prefer the traditional release method just for the pure challenge of it.  

But, for anyone that’s just starting out in the world of bow hunting, it’s probably best to get a little help to begin with and this can be done in the form of a release aid. There’s no doubt about it that release aids improve accuracy. The most commonly used release aids used today are:

  • Back tension-hinge release: This is one of the most popular releases used. It’s often preferred as there’s no trigger to activate. The way the release is activated is by you rotating the handle around a pivot until it eventually fires. While there’s no way to accurately time when the shot will go off, the hinge release enables you to hold your bow steadier.  
  • Index finger trigger release: These come attached to wrist straps and are another of the most widely used releases in bow hunting. The main reason for this is that the hunter is always connected to the release; therefore, there’s no chance of it becoming lost in the woods somewhere. They’re activated by pushing your index finger onto the trigger mechanism. Some have spring-loaded jaws that open only once the correct pressure is applied. Others have jaws that remain shut, requiring the trigger to be pulled until the jaws are opened wide enough for the bowstring to be released.  
  • Thumb trigger release: These work in a very similar way to that of an index finger trigger release, but using your thumb instead. However, unlike index finger trigger releases, these don’t usually have wrist straps, most are simply handheld.

​Top Bow hunting Tips for Beginners

Hopefully, by now, you’ll feel a little more clued up about the kind of equipment you’ll be dealing with while bow hunting. The following are a few tips to take away with you that will hopefully help you become a better hunter:

  • Go against the wind. A deer’s sense of smell is incredibly more sensitive than a human’s, and unless you hunt against the wind, it’s unlikely you’ll be seeing any soon. You will need to adjust your direction regularly to ensure you’re always facing the wind. That way your scent will be carried away behind you.  
  • Conceal yourself. Animals can get spooked very easily. So, to increase your chances of catching your prey, it’s best to gear up, exposing as little flesh as possible. Hunting clothes or camos are essential, as are gloves and some form of face covering, such as a balaclava.  
  • Hide your scent. As well as hunting against the wind, you can also use cover scents to help mask your odor. Some types of hunting gear come with scent-control properties as standard.
  • Be aware of the hunting laws that apply to where you are. Different regions have different laws when it comes to hunting, so just make sure that you’re clued up and have the relevant license required.    
  • Be patient. The last tip we can give you is to be patient. Bow hunting is a skill that takes a lot of time and practice to master, so don’t become disheartened if you don't do very well in the first session or even the first season. Simply keep trying and it will come eventually.