Bow Hunting: Everything You Should Know About Hunting

Bow Hunting: Everything You Should Know About Hunting

Bow hunting is a challenging, yet interesting, way of hunting.

It’s been around for ages, and yet there are always new and interesting things to learn about it.

What makes bow hunting different today from the past?

Bows have evolved a lot since the Stone Age! The bows you can find are lighter yet stronger, which is sure to give you an edge. However, it’s not just about the bow and arrows you have at your disposal, but also the ability to fine-tune your skills.

Bow hunting requires a lot from you, so even if you have the best bow, it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful.

Let’s take a closer look at the art of bow hunting and what it’s all about, starting with what defines it from other types of hunting. 

What Is Considered Bow Hunting?

Man Hunting With Bow

At its most basic, bow hunting is hunting with the use of a bow.

It’s also defined as using archery to hunt animals. However, it’s about more than just hunting game.

Bow hunting has various benefits, such as being good for the management of wildlife, being a challenging and stimulating activity for people who see it as a work of art, and improving the economic health of the country.

As reported by Bowhunter-Ed, bow hunting provides over $13 billion every year to U.S. retail sales.

If that sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to know that there are four main types of bows that you can use in archery. These are:

  • Traditional bow, or longbow. This is a bow with simple design: it’s straight and then curves when it is strung. This type of bow is not as powerful as the recurve bow, but it does enable your arrows to fly straighter through the air when released. Using this bow can make you feel nostalgic because it was used way back in the middle ages.
  • Recurve bow. This is a more powerful bow than the longbow. This bow has limbs that move away from the archer in an elegant design that enables it to maintain more energy and release more of it too, as compared to a bow that has straight limbs.
  • Compound bow. This type of bow is the most complex, as it makes use of cables and pulleys, but it’s also regarded as being really good for hunting prey. It’s great for shooting from further distances than the recurve bow. It has amazing speeds of over 300 Feet Per Second (FPS).
  • Crossbow. This type of bow is mounted on a stock. It’s a horizontal bow that shoots bolts. While it doesn’t require a lot of experience to use, a crossbow is also really easy to handle, which makes it great for beginners who want to enter archery but aren’t sure of what bow to get. Crossbows are best for leisure activities, such as target practice.

What’s The Best Bow For Hunting?

Compound Bow

If you’re interested in hunting, you’ll want to know which bows are best to use.

Although compound bows are considered to be good for hunting prey, the truth is that you can use different bows to hunt.

They all have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to hunting, which means you have more options at your disposal.

Let’s take a look at their pros and cons.

Compound Bows

Many hunters make compound bows their preferred hunting tool.

The reason for this is because they’re easier to aim and draw than bows like the recurve variety, and they’re more powerful too.

Compound bows make use of a pulley system with cables. While this makes them seem complicated, it actually makes them a better bow for hunting.

This is because their pulley system takes the pressure off the bow and enables the hunter to relax, which makes it a lot easier to shoot prey with greater accuracy, as Archery Warehouse explains.


This type of bow has remained unchanged over the years as it’s not really the type of bow to undergo many technological advancements, such as release aids.

This can make it difficult to master. When choosing a longbow to hunt with, you have to make sure you find one that caters to many draw weights.

It can be difficult to start with a bow that has high draw weights, and the thing about longbows is that they typically do have extremely high draw weights.

However, the longbow is a great hunting bow because your arrows will fly straighter, which increases your chance of striking your prey.

Recurve Bows

Hunting With Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are a lot simpler than compound bows. This makes them much more user-friendly and easy to understand if you’re a beginner.

As long as you choose a recurve that’s made well, you’ll only need to think about draw height.

Recurve bows benefit you as a hunter because they shoot faster arrows than a longbow. They’re also easier to adjust.

Their big drawback, however, is that you have to use your physical strength to use them to shoot arrows because they aren’t mechanized like compound bows.


These bows have become very popular over the last few years, but it’s good to know that they’re illegal in some places, such as Oregon.

The crossbow is known as the easiest bow to shoot. The good news is that you don’t have to learn a lot to be able to shoot this bow.

These types of bows are especially useful for people who have injuries that prevent them from being able to use other types of bows, or those who lack the physical strength to draw them.

What Game Can You Hunt With A Bow?

Bow Hunting

While you might think that having a bow and arrow means you can hunt any animal successfully, this is not the case!

The good news for you as a hunter is that you can hunt large game with a bow.

The large game refers to species such as bear, deer, wild boar, caribou, bighorn sheep, and moose.

That said, you’ll have to tweak your technique in order to make a kill.

The animals listed above either have a thin or thick hide. If the animal has a thick hide, this will usually mean they have heavier bones.

On the other hand, prey with thinner skin will have lighter bones.

This is important because it means you have to choose the right bow and arrow in order to make a successful kill.

It’s essential to choose an arrow that has a large head and is sharp when hunting thicker-skinned games so that it will be able to penetrate tough hides.

Let’s not forget about the smaller games. Animals such as rabbits, skunks, raccoons, and squirrels can be hunted with a bow.

For this smaller game, you’ll need an arrow with a smaller head, but it should obviously also be sharp so that you make a clean kill.

Whenever you hunt for animals with a bow, you want to use sharp arrows that increase your chance of killing the animal instead of just wounding it, as the latter will increase its suffering and you don’t want that.

It’s also a good idea to use special arrow points known as blunts if you’re hunting small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, and grouse.

On the other hand, broadheads are arrow points that work well for larger game, such as jackrabbits and pheasants.

Finally, consider your bow’s draw weight.

Most states require a draw weight of at least 40 pounds in order to hunt game such as deer, while the larger game will require over 50 pounds of draw weight.

Do You Need A License For Bow Hunting?

Holding Licence For Black Bear Hunting

The issue of bow hunting licenses can be quite overwhelming.

One of the reasons for this is because bow hunting rules will vary depending on the state in which you live.

If you think about it, it makes sense that different states will have different regulations because the population of animals will vary from one location to another.

In addition, bow hunting licenses will be issued by your state government.

Now, do you actually need a license to hunt? Yes, because it’s illegal if you hunt without one!

There are different types of hunting licenses.

A basic hunting license will give you the opportunity to hunt a few types of animals depending on the wildlife that’s found in your state and their numbers.

For example, if the population of a species is too high, the state might want to include that animal in a basic hunting license, meaning that you’ll be able to hunt it in order to bring down its numbers.

The thing about getting a hunting license is that you have to be serious and do the work in order to obtain it.

First things first, most wildlife agencies in your state will let you buy a hunting license online, from where you can specify to either print it out or receive it in the mail.

In most states, you’ll have to attend a bow hunting education course, which will teach you important things about bow hunting.

Man Showing How To Use Bow

These include hunting tactics, how to stay safe, the hunting laws, and more, which will be highly beneficial to you if you’re keen on learning how to hunt.

You have to pass this course in order to receive a certification card with an ID number. This number enables you to purchase a hunting license.

Choose the license you want. As mentioned earlier, there are different licenses you can purchase.

These include an annual or short-term hunting license, but most people will choose an annual license that enables them to hunt for one year.

If you choose a short-term license it will usually be less expensive because you can specify the short amount of time in which you want to hunt and only pay for those days instead of the whole year, so that’s something worth bearing in mind.

The type of license you get also depends on the type of game you’re hunting.

If you’re going for a big game, you’ll need a different hunting license compared to what you’ll require for hunting small game or fish.

Finally, if you’re going to harvest an animal, your state might require you to get what’s known as a “Harvest Record,” which is free.

If you harvest an animal that you’ve hunted, you’ll need to report the harvest to agency staff and for this, you’ll need to show your license ID number and provide information such as where you harvested the animal as well as information about the animal (such as its approximate weight).

Harvest records tend to be common if you’re hunting turkey and deer.

How To Be Accurate With A Bow

Aiming With Bow

One of the most important things you need to do before hunting is nocked your arrows.

This means attaching your arrows to the string securely.

It’s important because it enables you to stick to the same nocking point on your bowstring so that you maintain accuracy.

That’s one of the most important things when shooting! You can learn more by reading: “How To Nock An Arrow.

When it comes to accuracy, it’s also important to choose the right bow so that you can be as accurate as possible to kill, instead of just wound, your target.

If you’re an average shooter, you should choose a bow that’s a bit longer and heavier to make it more stable to use.

On the other hand, if you’re a good shooter, you’d do well with a faster and lighter bow.

The Accessories You’ll Need

Bow Hunting

There are tons of different bow hunting accessories.

Contemplating which ones you need can be overwhelming. The important thing is to keep bow hunting as simple as possible.

Don’t let accessories get in the way of what bow hunting really is about. You don’t need lots of different tools to be a good hunter, so don’t believe the hype.

Let’s take a look at two popular bow hunting accessories and if you really need them.

Bow Sight

Bow sights have one or multiple pins that are fastened next to the bow’s handle. They basically draw an imaginary line from your eye to your target.

You will likely use a sighting system that has many pins because your aim will obviously change depending on the distance you have from your target.

Bow sights can definitely benefit you as a beginner or skilled hunter.

They ensure that you can precisely line up your shots much better, and this has the extra bonus of making your shots much more humane.

They prevent you from missing shots, which can wound an animal and cause it to suffer.

Mechanical Release

Mechanical Release

This equipment works by securing your bowstring while you draw the arrow. It then releases the string smoothly and quickly when you shoot the arrow.

These types of accessories are great for boosting your shooting accuracy but they can also prevent injury to your fingers after many hours of practice.

While they have some benefits for archers, a mechanical release isn’t right for everyone.

For some archers who use recurve bows, mechanical aids can feel uncomfortable to use.

If that’s your experience, bear in mind you can always gear up with a shooting glove or finger glove to help protect your hands and prevent you from getting hurt, without making use of a mechanical release for your bow.

Related Questions

How can you reduce your scent for hunting game?

Use odorless shampoo and wash your towels with sterile washing powder.

It’s also a good idea to wear regular clothes until you reach your hunting spot and then you can put on your hunting clothes, Archery Power reports.

This prevents you from sweating, which can make you noticeable to your prey.

What is hunter orange?

This is a bright orange color that is often recommended for hunters. Out of the 50 U.S. states, 43 require hunters to wear this hue.

It enables you to be visible to other hunters and will keep you safe when you’re hunting outdoors. It’s also known as “blaze orange” or “safety orange.”


If you’re interested in bow hunting, there are lots you need to know before you can go out there and try your hand at a stalking game.

It can feel overwhelming, which is why we’ve started with some essential basics that will help you get the hang of the craft.

From choosing the right bow and learning how to use it accurately to everything you need to know about a bow hunting license, this article will ensure that you can learn faster and get out there hunting even quicker!

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