Thinking of learning to bow hunt but can’t find enough motivation? Bow hunting is not just a sport or a skill, but a means of survival too. You might not need it every day of your life, but the day you do, you’ll surely thank us for saving your life. Now you might even think that it must be hard for a newbie like you. But with modern-day equipment, it is easier than you think. And how will it help you once you learn it? Well, you can never starve to death or get attacked if you have one in hand. Still not a good enough reason to learn it for yourself?
The Things You’ll Need for Bow Hunting
- A Bow
- Few arrows
- A dressing kit(Plastic gloves, knife and a rope)
- A little bit of confidence
- Some dedication
Learning the art of Bow Hunting
1. Choosing the right set of bow and arrow
For a beginner, it is suggested to buy a compound bow. It is not only easier to use but can perfect your skill with less practice. A traditional bow, either longbow or recurve bow are hard to use owing to its holding and shooting techniques. Rather than ordering online, go to your nearest archery shop and search the one which is easy for you to hold. You can test its draw length and weight there itself.
About the arrows, if you have purchased a compound bow, there are two kinds of arrows you can use with it- aluminium and carbon. Go for aluminium arrows if you want a broad-headed bow which is specifically for hunting unlike target shooting in the beginning. And choose the carbon ones otherwise as they are light and durable in comparison. If you’re still finding difficulty figuring out what is best for you, you can try using both of them and choose the one you are more comfortable with.
2. Find your Perfect Orientation
Done with choosing the bow and arrow, the next step is to learn how to use it. First of all, choose your dominant eye, the one which helps you see better while aiming. Your dominant hand and the dominant eye can be different and that’s not a problem. For a left eye, you’ll need a left-handed bow and vice versa. You can go for either type of bow if you’d like to keep both your eyes open. But it is still advised to choose one eye over the other for aiming.
The next thing to consider is the right draw length and draw weight. On an average, it would take 50-70 pounds to kill a deer. Anything below it would simply wound it. But the heavier the weight, the harder it would be to pull back. So choose the best mixture of the two for a perfect bow hunt. Talking about draw length, a great draw length would be able to bring the string of the bow close to your mouth. Consider these things before choosing your perfect combination.
3. Practice your Bow Hunting
Set up an artificial game in your backyard before you actually go hunting. You can start off with a board with concentric circles and try to aim at the center. It might start off with you hitting nowhere close to the board but once you start hitting on the board, in a few days you’ll learn the technique. And once you’ve perfected the board, you can purchase artificial targets from an archery shop depending on the animal you’d want to hunt. Start practicing on that target both, while sitting and standing. Bow hunting is like maths, practice is the only way to learn bow hunt.
4. Preparation for the Final Day
You need to scout for a few days before actually going hunting. Look for a spot from where you can look for your prey easily. Once you’ve agreed on a spot, look for a tree nearby. Ensure that the tree has a good width and height for you to easily build a tree stand. It is advised to build a stand at least a week before your bow hunt so that the animal gets used to it being there. Build it during the less active hours, probably noon. Clear off the branches that block your sight from that height.
5. The Bowhunting Day
Dawn is the best time for you to be at the tree stand. Settle there before the daylight and simply observe your targets all through the day. Be silent throughout the day, so that the deer don’t acknowledge your presence. You surely need to be patient. It takes time to spot your prey. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see it till very late. Prepare yourself as soon as it starts getting dark. You’ll only have a fraction of seconds the moment it sees you. So aim just behind its front leg so that the arrow penetrates through its lungs, killing instantly.
6. Securing and dressing
If it’s a shot, you’ve already successfully learned bow hunting. The final step to perfect is attaining the carcass. It involves securing the animal and dressing it. Follow where the blood trail leads you. The deer might be killed or if not, still wounded. Once you shoot, wait 5 to10 minutes before you follow the direction. Else the deer might just run off, hearing the footsteps. So it is advised to keep a buffer time of 5 minutes. And once you find the animal, you need to remove its internal organs. This has to be done quickly so that the meat is fresh and there is no fungal growth.
Cut deep into the animal with a knife and tear it slowly. When the arrow becomes accessible, remove it. Tie its front legs and head with a rope to transport it easily. Once you’re back to your home/camp, rinse it with water and hang it so that the blood dries out. After a while, you can place it in the freezer to avoid spoilage.
So far, so good?
Well, this was all you needed to be aware of before actually picking up a bow and an arrow. You’ll want to give up many times during this tutorial but don’t. If this was a skill you’ve waited to learn since long, do it now. And once you’ve perfected learning how to bow hunt, adventure trips, jungle safari, and hunting would be a piece of cake. Your dinner lies in the woods, go earn it!