There is something deeply primal and powerful about the feeling of stalking a giant bull moose with a bow in your hand. That feeling of nocking an arrow and knowing that it is all that stands between you and 2000 pounds of muscle and fur.
Archery hunting big game is one of the finest connections between gear, nature, and your own innate skills. The exhilaration and gratitude when your arrow hits home, and you know you have made a successful harvest, is something most modern men will never experience.
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It’s said that the bow and arrow were first invented by the Chinese around 600 BC. It’s not clear how long archery has been practiced, but it is one of humanity’s oldest weapons, with a history spanning thousands of years.
Archers can come from all sorts of backgrounds: some are hunters who use it to shoot prey, while others use it for target practice or as part of their hobby. Some people even do archery professionally on competitive circuits!
All in all, there are many reasons why someone might want to start practicing this sport or skill. That said, we are more interested in archery for hunting and how to use this traditional tool for modern-day hunting purposes.
An Overview Of Archery For Hunting
Archery is a sport that uses a bow to shoot arrows at a target or animal. I think we all know this, but what makes archery so popular for hunting when modern rifles are much more effective? As a long-time bowhunter, I can say that there is no feeling quite as primal and intense as stalking an animal much bigger than I am with just a bow and arrow in hand.
Archery takes skill in more ways than just the shooting of the bow. A good bowhunter must be able to carefully stalk their prey or figure out how to be in the right place at the right time in order to be in position for the shot while the animals go about their normal routines.
While many people may think of a bow and arrow as an outdated weapon for harvesting an animal, I think that it is an amazing way to experience the hunt. I also think, that by becoming a good bowhunter, the skills you will need to learn along the way will make you a much better rifle hunter as well.
Types Of Bows
There are many different types of bows, but for the purposes here we will focus on compound and recurve. The compound bow is a modern bow that uses pulleys to make it easier to pull back with less effort than traditional longbows. These pulleys also allow for what is called a “let-off” that relieves some of the force required to hold the bow at full draw when compared to traditional bows. This allows the archer the ability to hold the bow at full draw and wait for the perfect shot much more easily than with a recurve bow.
Recurve bows use more natural materials like wood instead of metal or plastic parts which usually makes this type lighter weight when compared to compounds. This is mainly because they don’t have all those extra pieces attached to their limbs making up part of the design, however, some modern compound bows are made of aluminum and plastic that can be very lightweight as well. The trade-off of these old-school designs is that it takes more strength to pull a traditional bow and fire a comparable arrow at the same speeds and energy.
Types Of Arrows And Fletchings
The arrow is the projectile that’s shot from a bow. It consists of three parts: The shaft, which connects to an end called “the nock”, A point or broadhead at one end, and Fletchings (feathers) on the rear in order to provide for stability during launch.
Arrow shafts are made out of many different materials and were traditionally made out of wood. Modern arrows are now made out of materials like lightweight aluminum alloys, fiberglass, and even carbon fiber. Arrow shafts can come in different weights and stiffness ratings that give the completed arrow different launch and flight characteristics depending on the type of shooting you are doing.
Traditional fletchings were made out of feathers and some arrows today still use natural feathers or synthetic materials designed to look and function like feathers. Modern fletchings are usually made out of smooth thin plastic which is flexible, cheap, and easy to repair or replace if damaged.
Types Of Arrow Tips And Broadheads
Arrows are usually fitted with a sharp metal tip called an arrowhead or broadhead. There is no standard for the shape of these tips and can come in a wide variety of shapes for different tasks. Target tips are usually made out of metal or sometimes plastic and are just a basic slightly blunted tip.
Traditional broadheads can come in two, three, or even four blades versions that have sharpened blades angled along the arrow tip in order to cut through the animal and create a large wound channel. triangular shaped 3 bladed heads are fairly common heads and designed specifically not only to penetrate well on impact but their design also allows them to fly straight without wobbling too much
Modern mechanical broadheads have multiple pivoting blades that open upon impact to create a larger wound channel than standard fixed blade broadheads. The blades usually fold forward and are secured with a small rubber band or similar system before being fired. This makes the blade head smaller and more aerodynamic so that it flies better than some wide-bladed broadheads.
There are a multitude of broadhead designs on the market and each one performs slightly differently. Check out our section specifically on broadheads linked above to learn all about the different designs, characteristics, and performance to find out which broadhead will work best for your next hunt.
Is Archery Hard To Learn?
No, it is not. Archery can be learned by anyone with a little patience and the willingness to learn the basics of how their equipment works. One of the most important steps in starting to learn archery is to make sure you have the right equipment for your body size and strength levels.
If you have a good bow that is the right draw weight and set up for your draw length correctly, it can be quite easy to start making shots on target fairly quickly. That said, you cannot expect to just buy any old bow from your local want ads without any knowledge and start plunking bulls eyes every time.
A quick trip to any reputable archery shop can get you set up with a reasonable kit that will fit your needs fairly quickly and be relatively cost-effective. Once you know your general draw length and weight of pull then you can start to delve into buying gear online or from the used market and make the right decisions and choices.
Our buying guides, gear reviews and tips, and other general archery information in the categories linked above can help guide your decision and make you well informed before you start dropping your hard-earned money on your new archery gear.
Can I Teach Myself Archery?
You can, but it is not the fastest way to learn. Archery requires a lot of practice and skill to master the basics before you start shooting for accuracy or hunting with your bow. I usually recommend taking an archery course or at least get fitted for your bow at a local archery shop before you start shooting to make sure you have a bow that fits you properly.
Archery is a fairly easy skill to learn but it can take years and a lot of practice to master. One of the most important aspects of archery from a hunting perspective is to practice enough to be confident in your shots and know exactly where your arrow will go once you release it. It is imperative to practice good form that will perform reliably and produce repeatable shots in the field, especially when you have that big buck or bull in your sights.
In my first year shooting a bow, I was able to consistently hit the 9″ circle out to about 40 yards. After a few years of regular practice, I was hunting gophers out to 60 yards and beyond with regular consistency. It sure makes it seem easy to hit the side of an elk at 40 yards when you know you can bullseye gophers at 60!