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While there are certainly many entertaining aspects of archery, there is nothing quite like the thrill of applying these skills out in the wilderness in an attempt to catch a living, mobile trophy.

Bowhunting is a great sport that teaches patience, appreciation, and responsibility, which are great moral lessons to learn as a beginner in this outdoor activity. But, one must first have a basic understanding of the nuances of this sport to find success.

Choosing a bow can be a little trickier than one may think. This should be approached with care, having researched all of your options to find the one that is best for you. There are four main types of bows typically used in bowhunting, those being a longbow, recurve bow, crossbow, and compound bow.

  • Longbow: This has the traditional crescent moon shape with a straight grip. Thinner than other types of bows but thicker in terms of depth, it may be difficult to bend the limbs when pulling back for the less experienced. However, its length allows for less friction on the fingers when drawing back, which makes it great for first-timers.
  • Recurve bow: When unstrung, this bow’s limbs curve away from you, thus allowing for more force when drawn back and released. Recurve bows are shorter than traditional longbows, making them optimal for navigating difficult environments. It is important to note however, that they are noisier than other bows; an aspect of bowhunting that spell the difference between failure and success. Drawing back and releasing creates much more noise than that of a longbow.
  • Crossbow: Typically reserved for experienced bowhunters, crossbows are considered the deadliest type of bow. Arrows released from these are much faster, and done so at the pull of a trigger. Crossbows are much more complex than other bows, and require a significant amount of knowledge and experience before they can be used in the field. This article provides a great in-depth explanation of their anatomy and function.
  • Compound Bow: This bow actually uses a levering system made up of strings and cables to bend the limbs back upon draw and release. Because of this, archers must set a draw weight, typically at least 45 pounds depending on a state’s requirements. The limbs of compounds bows are much stiffer than its bow relatives, which makes it more energy-efficient, and more accurate. Another bow with a complex build, compound bows do require a decent amount of maintenance in order to preserve their function, though.


Stay tuned for part 2 of my beginner’s guide to bowhunting, where we will dive into the knowledge required, arrows, and more!