Selecting Bow Hunting Equipment

National Archery in the Schools Program


A teacher by training and experience, Douglas “Doug” Grant enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time. Douglas Grant is an experienced bow hunter, primarily of feral hogs and predators, and has been certified as an instructor through the National Archery in the Schools Program.

When selecting equipment for bow hunting, experts suggest a bow with a draw weight of 50 pounds or more, though the primary concern is that the draw be comfortable. The archer should be able to pull back the bowstring while sitting, and without having to raise the bow above the head in order to get the string back. Whatever that draw weight is, archers are advised to choose a bow with a maximum draw force 10 pounds above that comfortable limit, then back it down until the archery muscles can be strengthened to handle the additional force; but any more of a draw weight could cause a serious shoulder injury.

The bow should have a draw length that allows the elbow on the shooter’s release arm to point parallel away from the target, and with the index finger close to the corner of the mouth in the case of finger shooting. The brace height, or space from the back of the grip to the string, should be approximately seven to eight inches, as this supports most hunters’ form while delivering adequate energy.

The archer will also need to choose a release, which may be a finger-triggered wrist strap release or a hand-held release with a thumb trigger. The choice between the two is a personal preference, as is the choice between a full-capture or drop-away arrow rest.

An archer will also want to have a high-quality sight, which should include spooled fibers and three pins. A bit of practice will help the archer to set the pins in a way that maximizes visibility. A large peep sight and round pin guard, however, can provide the archer with an advantage at the start.


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