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Which Bow is Right for You


Archery is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. A lot of factors have contributed to this growth. Personally, I believe one of the best attributes to the growth of archery is the quality of equipment that is being produced. Currently there are dozens of high quality bow manufacturers and more are getting into the market each year.

So how does someone who is new to archery, or reviving a long lost passion decide which bow is right for them? Here are a few steps that may help to narrow the choices and help you find the perfect bow for you and your situation.

Before we start, a word of caution here, do not fall for good marketing – do your research. There are some marginal bows that have bigger marketing budgets than some of the highest quality manufacturers out there. Make sure you do your homework and find one that is suitable for you and your needs. A quality bow will last ten years or more, no need to get the newest each year unless you want to.

Many bows are designed for target archery. For a hunter, these can be cumbersome, and too expensive. Hunters need to narrow down the factors they are looking for in order to get a bow that you will be happy with.

  1. Set a budget: There are introductory bows that range in prices from $300 to $600 dollars. Mid-range bows will carry a price tag from $600 to a thousand and high end bows will be well over a thousand dollars- some are over fifteen hundred dollars for a bow alone.
  2. Determine what you will be using it for. For hunters who will be packing a bow through the high country, overall weight is a bigger issue than someone who will be sitting in a deer stand for hours. So too is overall length. (Which is measured from axel to axel) a lot of personal preference here, longer bows are more forgiving but shorter bows offer more versatility. Personally I like my hunting bow to be around thirty three inches others may like their bow to be a bit longer.
  3. Draw weight parameters. It doesn’t matter what brand, or how big or how much it costs if you cannot draw it. Contrary to common thought, you do not need a lot of pounds to effectively kill bucks. Many professional hunters I personally know shoot below fifty pounds. While some believe that seventy pounds is a minimum. You need a draw weight you can draw easily, without much effort.
  4. Shoot a wide variety of brands and models before you decide. Most quality pro shops will allow you the opportunity to shoot several bows before purchasing them. Word of caution here – some shops will start you out with the most expensive bow they carry to make more profit. Stick within your budget. Shooting a bow is similar to swinging a golf club, meaning, when it feels right, you just know it. What I look for when test shooting are these three elements. 1. Is the draw smooth? When the cams roll over there should not be a noticeable transition. 2. Is there a solid back wall? When I hit my anchor point the bow draw needs to stop hard. 3. When I shoot, is there any ‘hand shock’? I want to feel nothing when I release the string. If there are any vibrations at all, I want to shoot another bow.
  5. Consider the options: What rests will fit, sights, quivers, etc. When I add all of these can I still afford the bow I want. If not, consider buying one already set up with a starter kit. Sure you will upgrade, but why spend thousands only to discover that archery really isn’t for you after all?

Personal recommendations: Every year I attend the Archery Trade Association annual trade show. This show is closed to the public, but it is when every manufacturer introduces their new products. Each year, I shoot every new bow available, and while I am sure someone else may reach a different conclusion. I always try to select the three best bows. At the 2015 ATA show, I shot them all and here is my ranking of all of the bows. 1. Prime Alloy, 2. Hoyt Carbon Spider 3. Bear Arena. While all of these are in the high end of bows. These same brands are in my opinion the best in the mid-range bow also. The other brand that was close was Bow Tech, their technology is excellent and it will not be long before Bow Tech is reaching the top of all bow companies.

Do not let your lack of knowledge keep you from getting out there and taking up Archery. It is one of the grandest sports. Whether you target shoot, or hunt or as I do, both. You will not regret taking up the ancient sport.