A Compound Bow Buying Guide for First Time Bowhunters

Although bowhunting is slowly dying out, those who still partake understand how much skill and knowledge is required to successfully take down game using one of the most ancient hunting methods. If you’re new to bowhunting, and are looking to buy your first compound bow and other archery supplies for your first hunt, you’re in the right place. With today’s archery market being flooded with countless bow manufacturers, it can be difficult to decide which bow is best suited for you. All models, regardless of make and name, have a few similarities that you need to take into account before buying. Considering the core aspects of compound bows before shopping will ensure you get the right model for your application, and here are some of them:

Compound Bow

Compound Bow Draw Length

Compound bows draw only to a specific distance before the string stops. This is known as draw length. Most compound bows have an adjustable range for their draw length, and they can be adjusted to fit the shooter for a more comfortable shooting form. Finding the right draw length is important for numerous reasons:

  • If the draw length is too long, you’ll get the natural tendency to lean your head back in order to properly see through the peep bow sight (divide used for aiming). This will cause many other issues such as poor back posture and therefore, poor shooting form. An improper shooting form can add torque and tension to the bow, which can lead to inaccuracy. To make things worse, this will cause the arm which you hold the bow with to extend more than necessary, putting the inner elbow in the path of the string.
  • If the length is too short, it will affect your accuracy due to the fact that maintaining reference points for aiming will get more difficult. At full draw, bowmen have an anchor point, and anything shorter than that will lead to a floating anchor point an ultimately, inconsistency between shots. Additionally, short draw length can also lead to increased torque on the bow, reducing accuracy.

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Compound Bow Draw Weight

When it comes to a compound bow’s draw weight, the most essential thing to understand is matching your strength to the compound bow’s draw weight. Heavier draw weights equal faster speeds, but something that’s more important than speed is finding a weight that you can steadily hold at full draw without too much stress. In other words, draw weight is the most weight you’ll pull as the string is drawn back before let-off. Let-off is a feature that lessens the weight you have to hold when at full draw. That being said, when looking at the draw weight of various compound bows in archery supplies stores, look for the let-off percentage as well.

Compound Bow Length

Compound Bow Length

The length of the compound bow you choose will play an important role in stability and maneuverability. Again, you have to consider the application. If you’re hunting, a shorter bow will give you more control in the field or on a treestand. If you’re target shooting, on the other hand, a longer bow will prove to be more accurate. Bow length is measured from axle to axle, and while there isn’t a set length, hunting bows are in the 30 to 32-inch range, whereas target bows a significantly longer. But at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference and the application you intend to use the bow for.


Compound Bow Speed and Noise

The bow speed and noise is something that’s really important for archers, and most modern bows can shoot with speeds upwards of 150 metres-per-second or more. Arrow speed is important simply because it translates to knock-down power, or kinetic energy. Compound bows that are capable of shooting heavy arrows at high speeds will provide a greater penetration potential, which is crucial for hunting. Faster arrows also shoot flatter, which helps downrange accuracy.

As far as noise goes, quiet bows are preferred over loud ones, especially for hunters. When a compound bow fires, the energy stored in the bow’s components is transferred to the arrow. However, some of the energy is lost to vibration, and vibration creates sound. Nowadays, there are bow designs that are specifically made to minimise energy loss, and you can even shop for extra archery gear, such as vibration dampeners, to absorb any leftover vibrations.

Ready-to-Shoot Compound vs Bare Bows

As a beginner, it’s important to know the difference between ready-to-shoot and bare bows. Compound bows are designed to use accessories when shooting, such as a bow sight, an arrow rest and bow quiver, among others. Bare bows, on the other hand, need to be equipped with the required accessories. Both types are alright, but keep in mind that bare bows require some extra work and money before you can go out and shoot with them.

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