Nothing gets us quivering quite like the way the words ‘bow hunting’ does. There’s an element of skill involved. There’s an element of danger involved. There’s also a huge reward for those who know the right way to combine the other two elements.
Let’s just say that in order to be successful at bow hunting you need to use your smarts. As exciting as it may be to actually take on wildlife with a tool that won’t be as loud as a firearm, you need to have a firm grip on how to properly get the job done.
1 – Put On Stealth Mode
Okay, we know you probably already know this. Even if you don’t, you are probably going to say that you already know this. But on the offhand chance you don’t, remember you need to be able to get within striking distance of your target.
This means leave the ghetto blaster back in the truck. It also means keeping as quiet as possible. If you can’t do this, the only things you’ll be firing arrows at in the woods will be innocent trees. While that may be satisfying for part of the day, it won’t provide you with the kind of protein you went hunting for in the first place.
2 – Ready, Aim, Fire…Not Ready, Fire, Aim.
You’ve heard people being called straight shooters, right? That means that you can rely on them to tell you things without a lot of additional fluff. When bow hunting, you need to be a slightly different kind of straight shooter. It may sound easy enough right now, but most beginner’s fail this part of the test the moment a buck jumps out in front of them after an hour in the woods without sighting any other wildlife.
We get that there is going to be an adrenalin rush. It’s part of the package. However, you also need to remember that you are out there doing what you can to supply for your family and missing your target is not an option. Aim and fire for the win.
3 – Speaking Of That Crazy Adrenalin Rush…
There is gonna be a day where the thrill of flushing out scared animals into your sights will get old. We know, that’s a bit hard to believe. However, you really do need to find a way to keep that heart-pounding, sweat-inducing, knee-weakening reaction under control. It’s going to be important for a couple of reasons.
First off, if you happen to be out hunting with a few ‘seasoned’ regulars and you suddenly react like a little girl on Christmas morning when a prize-winning animal appears, you may not like their feedback. That is unless you’re okay with nicknames like ‘Sissy’ or ‘Pansy.’ Secondly, losing your cheese when you should be focused on the matter at hand is not only going to reduce your kill ratio, it’s gonna get dangerous out there, and you need to be able to react in a way that will keep you sane and not turn you into dinner.
4 – Timing Is Everything In Bow Hunting
Actually, bad timing in anything sucks. With bow hunting, it happens to suck slightly louder. Remember, you don’t have the advantage of explosive accelerants pushing your weapon to the target as you would with a rifle. Nor do you have the advantage of a couple of ‘do-overs’ as you would with a handgun with a magazine.
Oh, kind of ignore that last statement. We only said it to make the point that when bow hunting, you really only get one chance to send a perfect shot at the ass end of that deer. Again, that statement was just for comic relief. Timing is going to be your best friend or worst enemy. It really depends on how you get along with using it.
5 – There Is A Season, Turn, Turn, Turn.
Just like you can’t hunt deer during the summer, there also happens to be specific times during hunting season where you can go bow hunting. Plus, there are going to be some places that have many restrictions related to the sport. That’s okay. It keeps everything clean and on an even playing field for all the other bow hunters out there.
But how will you know when the time is right? All you need to do is get acquainted with the hunting regulations in your specific region. You can get help on this by visiting your local outdoor supply store. If that doesn’t help, reach out to your local or regional hunting and fishing regulatory body for some insight.
6 – Simon Says Switch It Up
There is nothing wrong with having a favorite bow. You can even give it a name if you’d like, but you may want to keep that part to yourself if you do. What we are trying to get at here is that you don’t have to stick with one bow for all your hunting. That is unless you can’t fire a shot to save your life with the others in your collection.
And, yes, you will have a collection. Try taking more than one out the next time you going hunting. Compare and see if maybe one works better for you when hunting grouse and another is slightly better for bear or whatever you shoot at.
7 – Practice In The Off-Season
There’s a reason why some bow hunters are better than others. It probably has something to do with the way they keep shooting during the off-season. This means that you can set up targets at home or go to a local target range and take in some extra time firing off arrows in controlled settings to work on such things as your aim, timing, and celebratory dance moves.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt you at all you see what kind of fitness routines the experts follow. A little bit of weight training never hurt anyone and at the very least, you may find it easier to carry your gear with a little bit of exercise building your muscles, stamina, and strength.
8 – Don’t Be Fooled By The Colors
When shopping for a proper bow for hunting and all the associated extras, look for function. The buck you plan to stuff into your freezer will not be all that interested in whether or not your bow has red or yellow accents. The same goes for all the do-dads.
Do your research and stock up on only the essential items you need to kill your next meal successfully. Do not get sucked into the marketing ploys used many manufacturers to up-sell you on stuff you really don’t need or won’t need. Here’s where contacts in the local fish and game club will come in handy. They may even have a member selling the exact set of gear you need to get started.
9 – Bow Hunting Isn’t For Everyone
It’s true. You may get more of a rush at shooting at animals with firearms. That’s perfectly alright and happens to be understandable. That being said, it also takes a special kind of hunter who can master the intricacies of bow hunting. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect thing for you, but it is truly not every hunter’s cup of tea.
However, don’t let that scare you away from at least giving it a try. You may find that if bow hunting isn’t exactly what gets you jazzed with a bow and arrow in your hands, maybe target shooting is in your future. You didn’t hear it from us, but there are some mighty fine athletes at the Olympics that use bows, and they are not hunting animals.
There is no doubt that bow hunting is exciting. It really puts you in a situation where your skills will have some impact on the outcome.
Plus, when you are bow hunting you reduce the amount of damage you do to your intended target if you are thinking of selling pelts or using as much of the meat as possible – minus the buckshot. You will never know if you have the skill to pull this off if you never give it a try.
Besides, those who whine about how guns have wrecked society have no idea how safe bow hunting can be in comparison. Mind you, there is always an opportunity for someone to be the first person to hold up a bank with a hunting bow although we don’t recommend that as the smartest way to get your name in the news.
Practice, learn from experts and start working on your skills. Even if you don’t bag a big one in the wilderness, you still may end up on a pedestal somewhere around the world with a gold medal dangling around your neck.