There’s no better time to dive into bowhunting or upgrade to a new bow than right now. The gear is better, pro shops are more knowledgeable and there is a bow that will work for anyone and almost any budget.
The First Step
There are lots of factors that go into the bow-buying equation—the brand, whether to use a single-cam, two-cam or hybrid. And what about split limbs versus solid limbs? Before you get overwhelmed, set a budget. Decide exactly how much you are willing to spend and stick to it. A good starting point is $300 to $500, which should get you a great midrange bow and maybe a few accessories. If you want the latest top of the line model, figure $650 to $850.
Next, do your research. Spend some time in chat rooms, looking at blogs and checking out bow company websites. Bowhunting.net, bowsite.com, archertalk.com and huntersfriend.com are great places to start. Make a list of features you want. All of the top companies make good bows, but there are some that will fit your needs better. To get the bow that best suits your needs best avoid a brand war and shop with an open mind.
If you’ve never shot a bow, shot only a little or just aren’t ready to setup and tune your bow, head straight to the local pro shop. By telling them your budget and the game you plan on hunting, they can help fit a bow to your needs saving you time and frustration.
If you’re a confident shooter that likes working on your own gear, spend time shopping online. Look hard at the features that interest you but make sure the bows are all compared fairly.
When bow shopping there are a few general rules that apply no matter what bow you’re considering. Speed costs, so expect to pay more for the faster bows. Also the faster a bow is the more critical it can be too shoot. A middle of the road bow in terms of speed, price and features is a good for an average shooter. They’re not difficult to shoot and have some really nice features. Plus they’re just as accurate. The biggest variable in shooting a bow is the shooter, so making sure it fits you is the most important step.
Key points to remember when shopping:
· Anytime a bow is “critical” the shooter has to have better form to achieve the best accuracy.
· A short brace height gives speed but makes the bow more critical to shoot.
· A 32-inch axle-to-axle length or less bow is considered short and can be more critical to shoot.
· A bow shooting 300 feet per second (IBO) is considered average these days.
· Fast bows generally make more noise.
· Hand shock has no bearing on the bow’s accuracy so don’t overrate it.
· If the grip doesn’t fit you or just doesn’t feel right look for another model.
Buying Local or Long Distance
Getting your new bow from a local pro shop is a great way to shop as you get to physically touch each bow that interests you. The downside is they might not have the model or brand you are interested in.
By shopping online or through a catalog you can order exactly what you want but you lose the chance to touch and hold before buying. Also some of the larger bow companies such as Hoyt, Mathews and Bowtech only sell through pro shops. Others like PSE have certain models that are limited to pro shops. To get their top of the line you have to go to a pro shop.
The website huntersfriend.com, which I mentioned earlier, is also a great retailer that specializes in bows and bow packages. Cabelas.com has a great archery selection as well. Before you buy determine what the return policy is in case something doesn’t fit you correctly.
Don’t expect your new bow to work miracles. Don’t shoot too much and don’t just shoot standing in your driveway. The more realistic the practice the better you’ll be come fall. Something to keep in mind this fall is a statement I heard Troy Ruiz of Primos Hunting Calls make on one of their new videos, “Bowhunting is about how close not how far.”