First you need a bow setup with a draw weight of at least 45 pounds. This is one of
the few hunting regulations common to all states. The 45# specification is
pretty much a moot point unless you decide on using a long bow or re-curve
because most compound bows you will want to own are adjustable in peak pull
weight and are usually much higher than 45#.
Since compound bows typically have a peak rate let-off of from 20 to 80% the
holding weight is usually less than 45#. For instance my oldest bow is a 70#
peak weight PSE which has a 20% let down at full draw. With this bow I am
still holding 56# at full draw. When I first got it I was a glove shooter so it was a
very tiring bow to do a lot of practice with. I bought the bow because I liked
the looks not for the bow setup, don't make this mistake as there are a lot more important things to
consider than looks. I now buy everything for it's function and usability and
that includes bows. Cost is also not a good indicator to use for bow purchase
either. Consider the following list.
Unique Considerations for Hunters:
The hunter has a couple of unique bow setup factors to consider the target shooter does
not and one of these is to obtain best accuracy he should not be in a strain.
This means that he should by a bow with a holding weight lighter than he thinks
he can handle because he will find many times during a hunt he has to draw the
bow when the deer is not looking and then hold it for some time while waiting
for the deer to get in the clear ant a good position.
The second thing to consider is that when fully outfitted in hunting clothes
and sometimes having to wear a coat his draw length tends to be shorter. By
choosing a hunting arrow length of 1/4 inch shorter than actual draw length he
can compensate for the slightly shorter draw and get better shots with faster
Your credible dealers will have a chronograph. This is a device
which can be shot through which gives actual speed which probably will not agree
with the manufacturers published speed. The reason is due to the way the bow is
set up, i.e. different draw length, arrow type and setup. Test each bow being
considered. Use the same arrow for each test. Have the shop technician set
all bows up to the same specifications of draw weight and length. Record the
speed of each bow. Again always use the same arrow, do not be conned into
using different arrows with different bows.
Bow Handle Grip:
Pay attention to the grip when shooting. Remember the bow should
comfortably sit in the relaxed "V" formed by the hand. It should return there
naturally without pain. The bow will be carried around for long periods of time
so weight becomes a factor. During carrying the grip required should not be
tiring to maintain. Remember the bow setup being tested might not be as carried due to
the addition of sights, stabilizer/shock absorber, quiver and etc.
Just as with guns the shorter the bow the harder to
achieve consistent accuracy. Longer bows are more forgiving of imperfect shot
form. If not already a good archer the hunter should plan on
spending a lot more time in practice if shooting a short bow. Another reason to
choose a longer bow is if the hunter has a draw length of more than 27 inches
and is a finger/glove shooter. Short bows will pinch the fingers and make smooth
finger release difficult. This being due to the sharper angle created between
the string and arrow at full draw with shorter bows. If using a mechanical
release though this problem pretty much goes away. Another point here is that
longer the bow is also usually the heavier.
Notice how the bow feels when drawn. The faster the bow the
harsher (jerkier) the draw. This may or may not affect accuracy but is may
affect the concentration. Short bows tend to be less smooth to draw with braces
of less than 71/2".
Noise: We have a whole section on
bow setup and shooting noise
and the bow is not the only noise maker but the quieter the bow setup the better the
hunter will do due to possibility of broken concentration. Bow noise can
normally be subdued but some noises can not be. Do not buy a noisy bow except
for target shooting.