Another year is behind us with new opportunities in the distance. This is a pretty exciting time of year if you’re a bowhunter. It’s the time for planning, practicing, and testing new gear. This is also a great time for new beginnings. If bowhunting is something you’ve been kicking around and haven’t quite pulled the trigger on it yet, now is a fantastic time to do so. You’ve got roughly 6 months before Fall archery seasons kick off, which is plenty of time to get acquainted with your first bow. There are definitely a lot of options out there though. I’m sure if you’ve ever walked into a pro shop and seen the walls filled with bows, you know what I mean. And if you haven’t, this can be quite overwhelming. Where does one begin? Well, that’s what we’ll chat a bit about today. Here are 3 things to consider when buying that first bow.
Consider Last Year’s Model or “Ready to Hunt Package” for Your First Bow
If this is going to be your first bow, I’d strongly suggest checking out last years model bows. New bows are awesome, but for someone just starting out last year’s model might be a better option to save coin. Many pro shops have a used section in their shop and these are oftentimes much more affordable than the brand new models. Remember, you’re just getting into this, so in all honesty, you don’t even know if you’re going to like archery hunting. Why spend a grip of money right off the bat, before forming any of your own opinions on this stuff? There are many folks out there that buy a new bow every year. This means that a person like you could walk in and get a killer deal on a one year flagship model bow. A solid option for a first timer.
Something else to consider are the “Ready to Hunt” packages. Ready to hunt packages are fairly affordable. No, these might not be the crème de la crème of bow setups, but they are going to get you in the field, which is the most important thing. Know how out in the hills will far exceed top of the line gear. And on top of that, they come with a lifetime warranty. Get the gear to get you there, and then move up from there.
Size and Weight
Another thing to consider is size and weight. Longer ATA(axle to axle) bows are going to be better suited for taller individuals, but they also tend have smoother draw cycles and hold better at full draw. On the flip side of that, a longer ATA is going to be a bit harder to maneuver around. Hunting out of a ground blind could prove more difficult. For that, a shorter ATA bow would be better suited for the situation. Shorter ATA bows are also a favorite of treestand hunters. So, the style of your hunting needs to be in the equation. How are you planning to hunt MOST of the time?
Right alongside size, we also need to look at weight. In the beginning, it’s common for most hunters to think that they want the lightest bow possible. Thinking of carrying around that heavy bow all day weighs on their thoughts. We get it! Lighter bows are also favored by backpack hunters. Ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain! However, that ultralight setup has it’s drawbacks. Lighter setups are harder to aim and stay steady on target. In the wind, they can be a nightmare. To contrast that, heavier bows will aim much better and hold better in the wind. The rub is, well, they’re heavier. In these moments it’s important to look at what’s more important to you. If you’re, for instance, an ounce counter and don’t mind a little less stability at full draw, then go with the lighter option. If that accuracy and stability outweighs the weight concern, go heavier. You can always customize this as well with stabilizer and such.
Try Before you Buy
“The wand chooses the wizard Mr. Potter.” Sorry to drop a Harry Potter quote on you, but that quote absolutely applies to bows. We cannot stress how important it is to try bows out before you buy them. In the digital age that we live in where online shopping rules, this is an area where having hands on experience is key and also why having a good pro shop goes a long way. After going through the steps above and narrowing down the search, it’s time to try these bows out. This right here is when you’re gonna know and the bow is going to pick you. Don’t pick based off of brand or what your buddy told you to get. Bows are better than they’ve ever been and all of the brands make great ones. Go off of what feels the best to you. We are all individuals and what one shooter might like, another might not. That’s totally fine, because there are a lot of bows out there to choose from. Pay attention to things like how easy or hard it is to pull the string back to full draw. Does it feel like the string wants to shoot forward on you? Is there a ton of vibration on the shot? How quiet is the bow? Does the grip feel good and settle into your hand? All of these questions matter and the only way to get answers is to shoot. The bow chooses the bowhunter.
Starting a new hobby can be daunting, I know, but I assure you this bow thing is worth it. From the intimate experiences we get with animals to our extended seasons, it’s a blast and will make you a better hunter no doubt. Bowhunting has a way of making one pay attention to the little things. They might be little things, but added all up together, they can lead to big results and even bigger memories. Which is what this is all about right? Creating long lasting memories to tell our kids and grand kids, all the while soaking in Mother Nature at her finest? That potential freezer full of meat is an added bonus! So, we say pick up a bow and chase those adventures. You won’t regret it. If you assistance along the way, Ross Outdoors is here to help. Good hunting!
Written by Josh Kirchner of Dialed in Hunter