Bow Setup Critical to Buying a Hunting Bow

Draw Weight:

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 arrow speed.

Arrow Speed:

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. 

Bow Length:

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.

Draw Ease:

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.