Bow hunting can be a pretty tricky business, especially if you are not too familiar with using the equipment or if it is your first season out there. In fact, it may take many seasons for a bow hunter to master the technique of hunting and land some big bucks in the sack.
However, even if you are a beginner, do not get disheartened. All you need is a little bit of knowledge about what you are going to do out there and what your actions should be in certain situations. The rest you will learn through experience.
The following are some of the most important tips that must be kept in mind while practicing bow hunting.
Pick the right equipment
It is important to have the right set of equipment to ace the skill of bow hunting. Not only should the equipment be of good quality, but it should also be such that it suits your requirements.
• Hunting Bow
Among all the equipment that you need for hunting, a bow is obviously the most important one. Nevertheless, choosing the right bow can be a bit difficult, especially if you’re a newbie. It is highly recommended to focus on the height of the bow. The bow’s size should be such that its height and weight suits your own body’s height and overall build.
Moreover, the selection of the bow also depends a lot on whether there are any restrictions regarding the height of the bow that can be used for hunting in your state. Many times, the height of the bow also differs depending on what kind of game you are going for.
• Bow release style
Apart from the height and weight of the bow, you also need to decide between the traditional style release bows and mechanical release bows.
Traditional release bows are those where you will have to rely on your fingers to leave the bowstring in order to release the arrow. As the name itself suggests, traditional release bows are those that have been used for hunting for centuries. The best part of these bows is that you have the trigger in your hands at all times. This allows you to aim the arrow before releasing it at the precise moment.
On the other hand, mechanical release bows are more popular over the traditional release bows, all because of the ease that it provides. Since the release contraption is mechanical, it increases accuracy and makes it easier for the shooter to aim.
Apart from bows, using the right arrowheads is also very important. You should always go for broad arrowheads which have a sufficiently wide diameter. This is because these arrowheads create a wide and deep cut which rules out any chances of deer escaping away after being wounded.
During practice sessions, however, you should choose to go for field point arrowheads as they equip you better while aiming and shooting. However, the field point arrowheads are designed like small bullets and should not be used on actual game as they can cause serious injury to the deer and allow it to run away. Deer may have an agonizing death in the course of the next few days. This is perhaps why these arrowheads are illegal in many states for game hunting.
• Safety gear
You will also have to pick out a set of safety harness that you can wear while you are out on the hunt. This harness will especially come in handy when you are hunting from a tree. Moreover, if you have kids or teenagers accompanying you, you will have to ensure that they are properly equipped to handle any kind of danger.
• Bow Hanger
This is another equipment that you will need if you are hunting from a tree. In most states, bow hunting is done by climbing up on a tree and waiting for the deer to show itself. If you carry the bow for hours on end, your arms will probably get too tired to aim properly when you do spot the deer. This is where a bow hanger will come in handy as you can just hang up the bow while you are waiting and give your arms some rest.
• Concealing equipment
Camouflaging is an integral part of bow hunting without which you would probably spook all the deer you spot and end up returning empty handed. Carry a pair of gloves and a cap or helmet that covers your face as much as possible so that you do not show a lot of skin. Alternatively, you can also make use of a face paint kit to cover your face before setting out of the house that will have a similar effect.
If you do not know how to aim properly, you will probably miss all your shots in spite of having the right equipment. However, you can improve your aiming during the practice sessions. You should see where your arrows are landing on the target.
For example, if you shoot three arrows, and all three hit the target slightly towards the left of the bull’s eye, you know that you need to sight your bow slightly towards the right of the target. Some other tips that will help you aim properly are as below:
• You must always choose a larger area to target rather than a small fixed area on the animal’s body. We recommend you to aim for the area where the animal’s vital organs are located in order to ensure a quick, clean kill.
• Aiming for the head, neck or rear are considered to be unethical shots. Therefore, these areas of the buck should never be targeted. Aiming for vital organs like lungs or heart are considered ethical shots.
• After taking the shot, you should wait at least a few minutes for the animal to breathe his last. You should approach the buck only after ensuring that the wounded animal cannot run away.
Some other pointers to help you out
Here are some additional tips that can make your bow hunting experience much more enjoyable and successful:
• Make sure that you hunt in an area where there is a good possibility of spotting deer. You can identify such areas with the help of trail cameras or just by speaking to other experienced hunters.
• Get sufficient practice before you actually go bow hunting. You should also ensure that the conditions for your practice sessions are as similar to those in the forest when you go hunting.
• Carry an odorless spray with you that will minimize the human scent that your body and clothes carry. To avoid alerting the deer with your smell, you should always aim to hunt in the opposite direction of the wind.
• Don’t let your attention stray when you are waiting to spot a deer. Many times, spotting a deer turns out to be a blink, and you miss the moment. Therefore, if you get distracted with your phone or start chatting with your companions at the opportune moment, you will probably end up missing the target.
• Before going out on a hunt, it is highly recommended to study the animal’s nature that you are planning to hunt. Having some knowledge about the animal will help you understand his movements and reactions more accurately.
• Another great way of learning about the animal as well as the basic techniques of bow hunting is to just tag along with an experienced hunter who will introduce you to everything related to bow hunting. Right from how to spot a deer, to taking aim and everything that comes after you have brought down the animal can best be learned through experience and practice.
• It is also vital to be patient when you are out hunting. There even are cases when you are unable to spot the dear for hours even when you’re sure that he is nearby. In fact, it is even possible that you may not spot any deer at all the whole day. However, this should not dishearten you. Patience, as well as perseverance, is the key to bow hunting.
• If deer are hard to come by in your hunting spot, you can also use an attractant such as doe in estrous or tarsal gland scent which will draw out big bucks. These attractants usually come in the form of sprays and are pretty convenient to use.
• If you are reasonably tech-savvy, you can even make use of Google Earth’s detailed imagery to spot the deer trails around your property.
Undoubtedly, bow hunting could be tough, especially if you’re a beginner. All you need to have is patience, and perseverance, and follow the tips that we mentioned above and you’re good to go!