Bow Hunting vs Rifle Hunting

Bow Hunting Vs Rifle Hunting

If you’re interested in hunting, you might wonder if bow hunting is better or worse than rifle hunting.

Some say that shooting with a rifle is much better, while others stick to their guns that bow hunting is best.

Is bow hunting more difficult than hunting with a gun?

It’s definitely tougher, but that’s a good thing for someone who’s interested in bows because it provides more of a challenge.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at bow hunting vs. rifle hunting in greater detail. First things first: what’s so great about hunting with a gun?

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the bow vs. rifle hunting, we got you covered:

Bow vs. Rifle Hunting

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Rifle Hunting – The Pros

Man Holding Hunting Rifle
  • One of the biggest benefits of rifle hunting is that you don’t have to get too close to your target or try to remain as quiet as possible when doing this, which can be tricky to master. With a rifle, you can easily take out your prey from hundreds of yards away.
  • Rifle hunting can be said to be cheaper than bow hunting in the long run. A rifle will set you back around $1,000 but hunting with a bow requires you to have may other accessories, such as camouflage and scentless clothing.
  • Once you’ve invested in a rifle, you won’t have to worry about replacing it for a long time. These guns undergo wear and tear at a much slower rate when compared to bows, and their value is maintained even after many years of hunting.

Rifle Hunting – The Cons

  • The bullets you need can cost a lot of money. When you go to shooting practice, you’ll have to pay much more than if you practice shooting with a bow, simply because of the use of bullets.
  • Guns can be loud, even with a silencer. This not only throws off the animal you’re hunting but can draw more attention to you than if you’re using a bow. While silencers do reduce the noise created by the pressure wave from the gun’s gases, as Today I Found Out reports, this is just one thing that makes a gunshot loud. The other cause of gunshot noise is its sonic crack that’s produced by the bullet. Only a few are actually modified so that they don’t exceed the sound barrier.
  • You miss out on the greater experience of hunting with a bow, such as the extra skills you will gain from it. These include learning how to stealthily approach the game, learning patience, and being physically fit enough to draw a bow.

Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of rifle hunting, let’s look at bow hunting.

Bow Hunting – The Pros

Bow Hunter

Hunting with a bow gives you a greater sense of achievement than hunting with a rifle. A rifle is usually easier to get the hang of using, whereas using a bow requires a lot of training and skill.

  • Bow season lasts longer. Whether you choose to hunt with a rifle or bow, you’ll have to stick to seasons in which you’re allowed to hunt. The good news for bow hunters is that it occurs when there’s more game available to hunt. In addition, a survey reported by Bow Hunter Ed found that 24 percent of bow hunters said that the main reason they use bows is that they have a longer season of hunting at their disposal.
  • You can be quieter. Although it takes time to master the skill of being stealthy and stalking your prey, hunting with a bow is definitely less noisy than using a rifle. In fact, even a gun silencer will make more noise than an arrow being shot from a bow.
  • You enhance various skills. Learning how to use a bow and arrow doesn’t just improve your shooting skills. There are other skills that can be enhanced, such as motor skills. In addition, bow hunting can be a good workout for you because of the draw weight, and not just for your arms. When you draw a bow, you work the muscles in your shoulders, back, and even stomach.
  • It levels the playing field. Not only is hunting animals with a bow instead of a rifle more challenging and therefore rewarding, but it levels out the playing field. It gives the animal a fair fighting chance to escape and survive, which feels more natural than if you’re quickly and easily shooting game with a rifle.

Bow Hunting – The Cons

It’s much more difficult to reload your arrows than it is to reload your rifle.

When hunting, this can result in missed opportunities because your equipment isn’t ready.

  • Striking an animal so that it’s wounded instead of killed is an unfortunate situation that bow hunters will probably find themselves in at least once. This can lead to the animal trying to escape but is wounded. The bow hunter will have to follow his/her prey, otherwise, the animal will be left to suffer in the wild.
  • Bow hunting can be expensive. Initially, it might seem like purchasing your bow, arrows, and other accessories you’ll need to hunt with isn’t that expensive. But the price can add up, especially because you’ll have to restring your bow every few years and purchase arrows and other accessories. Of course, sticking to just the essentials can save you money.
  • You have to take a lot of time to master bow hunting. It’s not just your money that you have to consider, but also your time. Learning how to use a bow can take up a lot of time and it can be frustrating because you need to practice with it and progress from not knowing what you’re doing to becoming more skilled. Shooting with a rifle, on the other hand, can be much faster to learn and you’ll get the quick fix you want from it.

Bow Hunting Vs Rifle Hunting: Which One Is More Ethical?

Two Girls Hunting With Bow And Rifle

As can be seen in the above, bow hunting has many benefits that aren’t shared by hunting game with a rifle.

But there’s also the question of which one is more ethical, which we should explore in more detail.

Whether you use a rifle or a bow to hunt game, you have to ensure that you understand what you’re taking an animal’s life.

You should know that you’re part of the cycle of nature and that you shouldn’t make any being on the planet suffer.

When you obey hunting laws and make sure that you are skilled when it comes to using your weapons, you can be more ethical.

One of the ways in which bow hunting can be seen as more ethical than rifle hunting is that it doesn’t give the hunter an unfair advantage.

Although the hunter is equipped with a powerful bow and sharp arrows, which the animal obviously does not have, the hunter still has to undergo various tasks in order to get the chance to shoot and kill the animal.

For starters, a bow hunter can’t just shoot the animal from five miles away in the same way that a rifle hunter would be able to do it.

In order to make a killing, you have to get much closer to the animal in question. You have to tread carefully through the bush in order not to frighten it away with the noise you make.

You have to ensure that your clothing and backpack also remain as silent as possible.

Being stealthy is an important element of the hunt, as is observing the animal and learning more about it.

Man Hunting With Bow

The animal that becomes aware of you can easily scamper away, leaving you without a shot. But fair is fair!

That’s the beauty of hunting with a bow: you’re not immediately the victor because you have a gun. You have to earn your kills.

This not only makes bow hunting much more enjoyable and rewarding, as many bow hunters will tell you, but it also ensures a fairer activity for all concerned.

People might say that shooting an animal with a gun is always more ethical because it ensures a quick, clean shot.

But this isn’t always the case. Hunters using rifles can miss their targets, in the same way, that a bow hunter can miss.

What makes an ethical hunter is someone who takes the time to become skilled at his/her craft so that this reduces the chance of not making a quick, humane kill.

Related Questions

How close should you be to the game to be able to shoot it with a bow?

It’s essential that you get within 20 meters of the animal, and ensure that your shot won’t be obscured by branches of trees or other things that can get in the way.

You want to make sure that you hit the animal’s vital organs, such as its heart or lungs.

What is the minimum draw weight for hunting?

The minimum draw weight is usually around 40 pounds. This is important because it ensures the ability to take down small game. 

What game can be taken down by a 40-pound draw weight?

You can kill various types of game with this weight, which includes hogs, turkeys, and even deer.

If you want a bigger game, you’ll have to increase your weight, such as by going above 50 pounds.


Should you hunt with a bow or rifle?

There are pros and cons to both forms of hunting. However, based on this article, it seems that there are more reasons why you should be choosing a bow instead of a gun.

From being more of a challenge to immersing you into nature, there are many reasons why bow hunting is a better choice

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