I am SO ready for hunting season! I can almost feel the brisk air in the early morning as I sit in the stand or blind and take-in all of God’s incredible creations. Although I’ll have a newborn on my hands, I wanted to share some info and tips since bow season is just around the corner! (it’s already started in some areas!) Whether you’re a new archer or know someone who’s interested in getting started, this blog is for YOU!
Choose the Right Gear
There’s so much great gear on the market these days, it can be hard to navigate what’s best for YOU. I just posted an entire FRIDAY FAVORITES: Archery Gear post with allllll of my go-to gear if you want to see what I use!
You need to decide what sort of archery you’re interested in. Do you want to practice during the year and hunt with a bow? Grab a compound bow. Do you want to shoot a more traditional form of archery? Sounds like you’d need a recurve. Do you want to hunt with a bow during archery season, but don’t have time to practice with a regular bow? A crossbow might be the answer! Here is a great resource for the various styles of archery if you aren’t sure where you fall!
The most basic gear is a bow, arrows, a target, a range finder, and a release. There are tons of options out there–but if you want to see my favorites, check them out here.
I personally shoot the Eva Shockey Signature Series Bow, which is a compound bow from Bowtech. A few years ago, I was doing a LOT of archery and I realized that there weren’t any great options for bows for serious female archers on the market, so together with the experts at Bowtech, I got to design my signature bow and it is FIRE!!!! It comes in 40, 50, and 60lb draw weights (I shoot mine at 54lbs) and I combine it with my ES Release and it’s KILLER. When you’re selecting the bow, they’ll measure your draw length, and then they’ll have you pull a few bows to find your draw weight–this is something that can be increased over time, and pulling back will get easier as you practice and become stronger! It’s an amazing shoulder workout, hah!
People ask me all the time where to purchase the Eva Shockey Signature Series Bow (or other Bowtech bows) and here is the scoop. You can check the bow out here and then you need to “Find a Dealer” to see who carries it near you. You need to get it from an archery shop, because it’s not sold at Bass Pro or Cabela’s. Alternatively, you can call your local archery shop and if they aren’t Bowtech dealers, they should be able to direct you to another shop that does carry it.
At the end of the day, it’s all about shooting the gear that works best for you, so if you shoot another brand or a different style of bow than the next person, that’s great! The only thing that matters is that you’re picking up a bow and getting outside to shoot, shoot, shoot!
Get Set Up
If you have no clue where to start, I’d recommend heading to your local Bass Pro Shops or Cabela’s and visit their archery department to get properly set-up with your bow/arrows and get dialed-in! If you don’t live near one of their locations, you can also head to your local archery shop and they can almost always help you out!
If you’re looking for a really in-depth dive into setting up your bow yourself, here is a 40 minute video with EVERYTHING you need to know, by the expert archer himself, John Dudley. There’s also a really great intro guide from American Hunter here, with a lotttttt of great information! Getting set up also includes getting your appropriate tags and licenses (done at Bass Pro and Cabela’s!!) to continue the longstanding tradition of hunters being CONSERVATIONISTS, first and foremost! Even if you don’t think you’ll go hunt “this year,” get your license. You never know when the opportunity to tag along with a more senior bowhunter might come your way, and you want to be prepared! You’ll DEFINITELY also want to get a block or target of some kind. If you’ve got a big enough backyard where it makes sense, it’s super easy to get outside and shoot a few time a week that way: and THAT’S how you’ll get the results you’re looking for, which brings me to my next point…
I always make sure I feel confident shooting at much further distances than what I would really shoot in a hunting situation. So if I plan to shoot at 30 yards on a hunt, I try to practice at 50 yards out when I’m prepping for a hunt. This. Takes. TIME! Like, serious time. Don’t get discouraged, because even the best still need to practice and miss that ever-so-elusive kill shot.
Keyword Cheat Sheet:
Broadhead: This is a sharp and very deadly arrow point used for the purpose of hunting.
Cam: The compound bow has a limb that comes with a pulley, that pulley is known as the cam.
Cock feather: A fletch with a different color to signal proper arrow alignment.
Compound bow: A bow that uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, to bend the limbs
Field tip: An arrowhead used for practice as well as hunting for small targets.
Fletch: The attached end of feathers, rubber or plastic vanes to any arrow.
Kisser: This button is used for proper location of your anchor point.
Nock: The notch on the read end of an arrow.
Peep Sight: A metal or plastic device used to help aim your shots.
Quiver: The container used for arrows. It can be worn on your back, around your waist, or grounded.
Recurve Bow: A bow that has tips that curve away from the archer.
Bowhunting and archery in general can be extremely frustrating–lost or broken arrows go hand-in-hand with broken confidence sometimes, but if you stick with it, it’s SO rewarding. Shooting a bow basically feels like therapy for me now: it’s an opportunity to go outside, focus on ONE thing or target, and release my worries and anxieties with the release of an arrow. Drop your other newbie bowhunting/archery questions in the comments below, and SUBSCRIBE so you never miss a thing!
(Photo credit to Jennifer Wilson Photography!)