Hunting Bows

Bowhunting isn”t for everyone. Many hunters enjoy it because of its inherent challenge, and you can hunt without the mechanisms and noise of a shotgun. If you haven”t done it before, you”ll need some time to get the hang of bowhunting.

The two important measures in archery:

  • draw weight: the amount of effort required to pull back the arrow
  • draw length: the distance the arrow is drawn on the bow.

When you try out a bow, you shouldn”t have to pull with all your might to get the arrow to launch. Here are some basic draw weight measurements:

  • 35-40 is for beginners
  • 45+ is an advanced level
  • 35-45 is standard for tournament shooting
  • 45-55 is recommended for hunters.

Types of Bows

Hunting bows have differences that are subtle and even invisible to beginners, but are important to pros.

  • composite: This is one of the most advanced, and is capable of storing more energy than other types. The back of the bow is made of a material that resists being pulled, while the bottom of the bow is made of a material that resists being compressed.
  • compound: This bow can have many strings and uses a mechanical design with cables and pulleys that launch an arrow at a great speed. Some experts recommend this type for beginners.
  • longbow: The simplest type of bow, the longbow is nothing more than a bent stick with a bowstring.
  • recurve: While this has the same shape as the longbow, the lower portion of the bow is curved in order to provide more flexibility and forward thrust to the arrow. This is easier to use than the longbow, and therefore recommended for beginners.
  • reflex: This is a design that”s used to increase the amount of potential energy in a bow. The reflex bow, when launched, flexes its entire length away from the archer.

A compound bow for an adult could cost around $250 for a complete starter kit. A kit for a teenage hunter can run about $50 to $150. Listed below are common bow and arrow materials that make the difference in the cost.

  • aluminum: These bows are moderately inexpensive, but they eventually break or remain permanently bent. Aluminum arrows are precisely manufactured and used in tournaments; they can be quite expensive.
  • fiberglass: Extreme weather can cause these to warp, but they can launch an arrow very quickly. Fiberglass arrows may become brittle, but are good for hunting.
  • wood: Wooden bows are prone to warping with temperature changes and are generally not mass-produced. Wooden arrows are good for beginners, and they”re quite cheap.

How to Service Hunting Bows

Bowhunting equipment demands maintenance. Arrow tips have to be sharpened frequently and sometimes replaced. The bowstring should be tightened regularly or restrung.

Stringing bows is easiest when you use a bowstringer, a strong cord with a loop or pocket at each end. Simply attach the bowstringer to both ends of the bow, and stand on it while pulling it up. You can then use your other hand to string your bow.

For string replacement, you can purchase or borrow a bow press. The bow press holds tension on the limbs while the string is replaced. This procedure is not recommended for beginners.


New Zealand Bowhunters Society (n.d.). Bowhunting. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from the NZ Bowhunters Web site:

Think Quest (n.d.). Types of Bows and Arrows. Retrieved December 4, 2007, from the Think Quest Web site: