Bowhunting for Beginners

Bowhunting For Beginners

In Archery, Archery Tips, Bowhunting, Compound Bows, Longbows, Recurve Bows, Traditional Archery by Vineet Jain45 Comments

Hunting is one of the most ancient activity in the history of mankind, influencing many facets of human life.

Over time though, it has evolved from an activity essential to human survival and as a means of procuring food, to a recreational and leisure sport.

However, this sport is still an integral component of managing wildlife population.

Today bowhunting is fairly popular tradition practiced by millions of people around the world.

Modern bowhunting is an exciting outdoor activity for more than three million people and contributes around $13 billion per year to U.S. retail sales.

Bowhunting is arguably better than riffle hunting as this challenging sport tests your physical and mental abilities.

However, only the overpopulated or state allowed species are hunted and endangered varieties are protected by the state.

Bowhunting requires precision, concentration and, most of them all, practice. This is because such an intense interaction with the wildlife can be dangerous if pursued without proper training.

Archery help you prepare for a hunt. 3D archery, especially, gives you a platform to practice.

Target archery also helps in improving your aim and form. Best bowhunters out there practice regularly to keep their skills sharp, even in the off season.

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1. What Is Bowhunting

Bowhunting (or bow hunting) is the practice of hunting game (animals) by bow and arrow. Many earliest humans have used bowhunting as their primary hunting method for thousands of years.

The practice of using archery for hunting has survived to this date, however archery as a sport has also been added to the menu.

Native Americans were considered as skilled bowhunters.

Although their bows and arrows were often primitive, they overcame the limitations of their equipment with their exceptional ability to chase within close range of wary prey.

The ability to get close to game remains the essence of all bowhunting today.

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2. Is It Legal?

Many regions have legalized bow hunting including North America, South America, Europe and Australia. Africa is a hub for big game hunting, with top destinations including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Big game hunting, as the name suggests, is hunting of big animals (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros) for meat, sport, challenge and experience.

Hunting regulations are laws passed by a country, state, city, province, or territory to protect resources & people, and to ensures fair chase and proper management of wild life.

Many countries follow the system of licensing or certifications to regulate and govern hunting. To name a few, USA, UK and Germany have their own system of licensing and certifications.

3. Is It Ethical?

Yes, bow hunting is ethical. Bowhunting is a state approved and controlled sport.

Hunting is not a right, but a duty and a privilege of hunters. They must honor this commitment by hunting and shooting responsibly.

They must respect the woods, wildlife, other hunters, and the state’s wildlife laws. They must try to achieve humane kills by practicing often and using quality gear.

Furthermore, the individual or state makes sure that they are not hunting arbitrarily. Only some species are available for hunting and the vulnerable ones are well protected.

3.1 What Is Ethical Bow Hunting?

Ethical bow hunters understand and respect the significance of animal they hunt.

They have a deep appreciation for nature and all of God’s creations. They understand their responsibility of serving the nature.

Ethical bowhunters obey the laws of hunting and avoid the unfair use of technology.

They do not waste, but treat the animals harvested with respect and gratitude.

How To Take Safe, Legal and Ethical Shots

3.2 Why It Is Not Unethical?

Hunting is not unethical because it follows the normal course of nature. It helps in wildlife management and population control.

Without hunting, animals would soon overpopulate and negatively affect their environment.

Unfortunately, this is because most of the large predators that help in maintaining ecological imbalance have been eliminated, mostly by human activity.

Other than this, hunters follow an ethical code of conduct; the taking of a life must be done swiftly and as humanely as possible.

The shot must be accurate and properly placed. There should be no shocking power in a bow when it comes to large game. Death should come by hemorrhage inflicted by a sharp broad head.

3.3 What Is Hunters Code?

Hunters must follow a mandatory Code of Practice to ensure ethical, safe and responsible hunting.

Their hunting shall uplift the image of the hunting community and highlight the vital role hunters play as conservationists.

The World Ethical Hunters Association promotes a code which each member has to abide by:

  • To tell the truth and be a hunter of your word
  • To stick to your sworn code of hunters’ ethics
  • To obey the conservation laws of the country or place you are hunting in and always hunt on foot and under the dictum of fair chase
  • Never shoot from a vehicle
  • Avoid shooting within 200m of the nearest vehicle
  • Never shoot at a waterhole
  • Avoid taking the shot you are not sure of
  • Only ever shoot at free and wild animals
  • Always treat the animals that you are hunting with respect
  • Never sit or stand on a taken animal or allow it to be handled badly
  • Try to avoid shooting pregnant or undersized animals
  • Avoid supporting such operator that does not fully support this code of ethics
  • Remember that a true hunter is a true conservationist

4. Different Ways To Bow Hunt

4.1 Tree Stand Hunting

It is a style of hunting where a hunter hunts from a tree, usually by fixing a platform on the tree to get elevation and better viewpoint.

There are four types of stands most commonly used for tree stand hunting:

  • Climbing stand: It consists of two parts – the bottom part is a platform and top part is a seat they both are attached to the tree in a different manner so that if one part falls one remains.
  • Ladder stand: It is a stand with a platform, a seat and a ladder to climb up to the stand.
  • Hanging stand: Hanging stands can resemble ladder stands without the ladder, and the hanging stand is also stationary.
  • Box stand: It is large enclosed box almost like a shed, elevated from the ground.
Bowhunting – 7 Treestand Tips Begginer to Advanced

4.2 Fair Chase

It is a practice done by most of the hunters. They hunt animal that is free and has reasonable opportunity to escape in a manner that does not give humans improper advantage.

5. Skills Required For Bowhunting

Modern hunters have a variety of weapons to hunt their prey, and perhaps the most interesting and challenging is the bow.

The equipment and devices we use for bow hunting today are far different from the tools that were used in the pre-historic times, however, the skills required to be successful at bow hunting are essentially the same.

5.1 The Aiming Process

Aiming process is one of the key components of any type of long-distance hunting. One of the common problems faced by archers, that mess up their shots, is target panic.

It is the inability to hold your pin on the target and squeeze the release at the incorrect time. It causes missing the shot, or losing the opportunity altogether.

This generally happens due to indecisiveness and moment of doubt you experience while taking a shot. Many hunters go through this problem and to overcome this you need to more and more practice.

5.2 Maintaining Pressure

Your focus and concentration are a key to the correct shot. Keeping your mind calm in disturbing situations and driving the arrow straight at the target is vital for good hunting session.

5.3 Drawing The Bow

It goes without saying that a good archer makes a good bow hunter as well. To be effective, you need to master the nuances of form, and have sufficient practice to execute it when you need it. We have discussed more on this topic in our articles on:

5.4 Finding The Animal

A hunter needs to be good at searching, locating and stalking the animal. All good hunters are good at tracing for any signs left behind such as feathers or scrapes and rub.

5.5 Conquering The Climb

Hunting almost always involves a relatively steep climb, it requires a certain level of physical fitness to climb hills with a heavy backpack.

Certain leg exercises are considered as most efficient such as variants of squats and lunges will help in building up the muscles.

6. Things To Remember While Bowhunting

Some of the things mentioned here will look like no-brainer, but you will be surprised how many bowhunters fall into complacency or carelessness.

Here are some of the things that will help you in your hunting:

6.1 Be Patient

It is the most important ability of a hunter to keep calm, your eyes and ears ready, mind always alert and wait patiently for your prey to come at most optimal spot.

Patience is the key to success. Be patient and continue your journey towards achieving your goals.

6.2 Stay Motivated

Don’t lose hope if you fail. No one likes to fail but even the most efficient hunters sometime end up with nothing in their hand.  

But coming home empty handed is inevitable in the pursuit of wild game.

Keeping your spirits up through the process of trial an error is vital, though often unspoken aspect of learning to hunt.

6.3 Determine Dominant Eye

Aiming with both the eyes open gives the widest field view. To narrow down your vision you have to ascertain eye dominance. Shooters determine their eye dominance and close or block their recessive eye.

6.4 Stop At Noise

Animals have exceptional senses. A deer can easily get alerted on the sound of walk through dry leaves.

If you make unusual sounds then deer might detect you and may try to ascertain any danger around it.

However, if no further noise comes, there is a chance that it may go back to its normal activity while lowering its guard.

Beginner Bowhunting Tips

6.5 Look For Signs

Most of the animals leave some traces behind like feather, skin, scrapes and robs, or footprint.

Animals sometimes leave a particular smell that can also help in detecting them.

Reading the signs an animal leaves behind is an essential skill for any type of fair chase hunting.

6.6 Confirm That The Animal Is Dead

When you shoot an animal, don’t go running towards it. There is a chance that it has only become unconscious because of the shock and may still be alive.

Make sure that it is dead, throw a stone at it and notice if the animal is reacting to it. If you are sure that it is dead only then move closer.

6.7 Look For Blood

No matter how responsibly and ethically we try to make a shot, there are times when hunters miss.

To locate a wounded animal, try to look carefully for blood and hair not only on the ground but also on the trees.

Sometimes we’re so intent at looking for traces on the forest floor that we completely miss clues off the ground.

6.8 Sleep In Comfort

Sleeping is very essential for an alert and focused mind. It enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day.

Use a good quality and padded sleeping bag. Make sure you sleep in a safe place where the chances of animal attack are minimal.

6.9 Hike Before You Hunt

Park as far as you can from your targeted location. Animals can sense your vehicle from far away if you’re in a remote area.

You can get away with parking close if you’re in a place where there’s plenty of traffic.

6.10 Don’t Give Up

Do not give up even if you have to come home empty-handed.

There are times that you may be very close to the target, and you may see signs like blood trail or other traces, but get nothing out of it in the end.

While you are trying to kill as humanely as possible, sometimes a struggling and injured animal may still get away. There are times when you may have to call it a day, it is part of the hunt.

However, there is always a new day and new opportunities waiting for you, so don’t give up.

7. Gear And Equipment Required

Following are the most basic and essential gear and equipment that a hunter would require.

CATEGORY 1: Bow necessities

CATEGORY 2: Additional tools required

CATEGORY 3: Basic hunting gear

8. Safety And First Aid Tips

There’s no doubt that bowhunting can be dangerous for a lot of reasons.

However, people still love hunting because of the challenge and experience it offers.

Hunting can also be life threatening if you don’t know what you are up to. Keep the following safety tips in mind to avoid the risk.

  • Follow the rules
  • Maintain your physical fitness by exercising regularly
  • Make necessary arrangements for worst situations such as weather
  • Dress accordingly and cover your things to prevent damage
  • Don’t go beyond your physical abilities
  • Carry additional equipment, flashlight, compass and maps
  • Don’t go too close to any animal
  • Always carry a waterproof kit and a water bottle
  • Replace any equipment if required and make sure all of your products are of good quality

Things to keep in mind before buying a first aid kit:

  • Carry a certified first-aid/CPR course
  • Make sure it has everything – repellent, sunscreen etc.
  • Verify that it has items for different types of injury including bleeding, fracture, sprain and burn
  • Carry a signal that will inform your companions if you get injured and are unable to move
Tips for new hunters: Safety

8.1 First Aid Tips

  • Bleeding: Cover the bleeding wound and apply necessary amount of pressure to reduce bleeding. If the pad is soaked with blood apply another pad rather than peeling the existing one.
  • Broken bones: Don’t try to move. Try to tie a thick padding on the fractured area. Call for help as soon as possible.
  • Burns: For closed blisters, cover the burned area with clothes soaked in cold water. For open blisters, a dry and loose dressing will help or apply the ointment if you have it in your kit.
  • Chest wound: Close the wound with the help of a sterile gauze or clean pad. Make sure the wound is sealed. Take the injured person to the hospital.
  • Heart attack: In heart attack the best thing you can do is give a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
  • Falls from tree: If injuries have paralysed you than wait until you are found, if you can move try to get help.

Conclusion

Hunting is not just a recreational activity or a means to supplement our diet but it is the essence of our culture and heritage.

It challenges our physical and mental abilities. Hunting has shaped our evolution and developed us to the humans that we are today.

Morden hunters have a variety of weapon and different methods of hunting. Bow hunting is exciting and competitive.

It is legal in most of the countries and is not considered unethical because hunters maintain balance in the ecosystem and act as conservationists.

References:

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