So you want to be Robin Hood, do you? Feel like splitting an arrow?
Friends, unfortunately it isn’t as easy as it looks. And if you remember that time in Kevin Costner’s movie when he tore fletching off two arrows and then fired them at the same time, you can rest easy knowing that this scene was pure fantasy.
Bow hunting is more than just challenging; it is arduous. However, if you want to take up a hobby that will give you immense satisfaction and great self-esteem, bow hunting may be the hobby for you. The problem is that there is so much to know about bow hunting that there is no way a beginner can become a master overnight.
So, for all you beginning bow hunters out there, here are the things to keep in mind as you get started.
While knowing what you are in for when it comes to prices doesn’t help you become a better bow hunter, at least having the knowledge now prepares you emotionally for the sticker shock that you are about to experience.
Bows and their accessories are expensive! A good bow, such as a Matthews or a Bowtech, will cost you over $500, with accessories coming in at another $500 or so. That’s right. Plan on spending about $1000 for your new hobby.
Okay. This section could probably be over a hundred pages if we wanted to get into all of the minute details involved in getting the right equipment. But for beginners who simply want to get started and hope to learn specifics as they go, here’s how to go about equipping yourself well.
*Go to a good sporting goods store. A big chain department store with a sporting goods department is not a good place to go. Sportsman’s Warehouse or some other place that specializes is better.
*Be careful about the size of the bow you purchase. If you are on the short side, get a bow with a frame of about 28 inches or even a little less. Taller bows are for taller archers. Also check the weight and be sure that you can hold it up and steady without too much problem. The truth is, compound bows these days are made of such heavy-duty but lightweight composite that this won’t be a big issue.
*Get a bow with enclosed bearings or some other system that won’t have the small, precision moving parts exposed to the weather. Nothing will trash a bow quicker than getting water in there. So bring this up to your store clerk.
*Most compound bows can be pulled by folks who are not necessarily the strongest in the chest. That’s the beauty of compound bows. Thus,
just be sure to get a bow that is not so powerful that it will get away from you when you release the arrow.
*Try and get a bow, like those by Matthews, that have vibration and noise dampeners. You want a noiseless, smooth-firing bow in order to increase accuracy and stealth.
*A final issue with the bow is to get one with a grip that fits your hand right. You want it to sit comfortably and easily in your closed hand, without you needing to squeeze it tightly. And make sure you have a grip that won’t slip when it is wet and that is durable.
*Accessories are a must. First, get a good sight and have the store expert help you learn how to install it, adjust it, and remove it.
*Other vital accessories include gloves that protect your fingers and hands as you pull back on the string and hold it. Get a wrist protector that you will wear on the wrist under the hand holding the bow.
*You will also need an arrow rest on the string; this makes it so that you don’t have to touch the arrow as you draw and release the arrow. This is usually part of the nock system that you will get with your bow.
*As for arrows, while wood seems fun and traditional, you don’t want it. Get a nice, fully straight, lightweight composite arrow that has quality fletchings. For hunting, get nice tips like broadheads with sharp edges.
Now that you are fully armed and equipped, you no doubt will want to get started shooting right away. Even with good sights and a cursory knowledge of how to shoot and how your bow works, you will want to practice. When you find a range to shoot on, keep in mind the following.
*Each arrow fired is an opportunity to learn. It can be fun to just fire like crazy, but taking your time and noticing your stance, where your draw hand is in relation to the side of your face, the motion you use as you draw the bow and how you release the string is how is how you become an expert.
*When you nock your arrow, take the string in your fingers and pull it back in a smooth motion while raising the bow. Take a deep breath as you do this. When you have completed your draw, release the breath and take a new one, holding it as you aim the arrow. While still holding that breath, release the arrow by extending your fingers straight. In other words, do not pull your draw hand back until the string pulls free from your fingers. You need to release smoothly.
*Only release your breath when you see your arrow has struck home. In fact, you shouldn’t move a muscle until you see your arrow hitting its mark.
*Once you feel comfortable with a certain distance, try new distances. Then go to a special range that has moving targets. Learning to lead your target is an art and a science, and it can only be done with practice.
#4 Getting out
When you are sufficiently familiar with your bow and can hit targets at various distances, you are ready to get out there and try to drop a good buck. Make sure you do not go out alone. Try to find a hunting partner who has plenty of experience with bow hunting, because being out in the field or woods is far different from being in the controlled environment of a shooting range.
If you are bow hunting it is likely that you have been hunting with a rifle before, thus you likely have all the equipment you need to stay dry, healthy and safe. You probably also have the gear necessary to clean and transport any kills you are able to get. However, if bow hunting is your first foray into the world of hunting, be sure to talk to an expert about the gear any safe, successful hunter needs.
Now go for it Robin Hood, but don’t shoot any of the king’s deer.