Most Useful Bow Hunting Tips for the Beginner Hunters

I have been talking a lot about the ways of hunting and shooting of late. Many of my readers have been asking me to write something related to bow hunting. Bow hunting or archery is a totally different dimension used for hunting. Things with a bow and arrow are not as simple as they seem apparently. You can’t just be there to draw the arrow. You must have detailed info about its overall functioning and techniques involved. Here I have compiled the most beneficial bow hunting tips to make the procedure easy and fun for the newbies.


Hunting with a Bow

Hunting with a Bow - Photo credit: img-realtree.com

Basic Tips for Bow Hunting

1. Accurate Range Estimation

Hunting the game animals using a bow and an arrow requires the hunter to aim the target from a shorter range (bow and arrow are short-range weapon) as compared to the hunting with a shotgun. To know the exact yardage is the most important thing. A hunter should be within 30 yards or so, of the animal. If you are mistaken in your hunting position from just a 2½ yard, you can miss your target easily.

  • Note: Bow hunting is considered to have the highest ratio of archery inaccuracy. One of the reasons is the rainbow trajectory of arrows.

2. Practice Ahead of time!

To get the right yardage, the most reliable solution is PRACTICE. At least two weeks of a continuous practice are required to get a better ratio of the hits. Set out to an open land, preferably a place quite like the one you are going to hunt finally. Pick out any object as your target.

The next step is to judge the distance between you. I personally recommend to use a laser range finder to get the most effective calculation of the yardage (not only in practice but also in the real hunt down). It helps you determine the distance and effectiveness of the shot. If you are not satisfied, change the position for betterment.

Use of Rangefinder in Bow Hunting

Use of Rangefinder in Bow Hunting - Photo credit: toprangefinderreviews.com

  • Note: For bow hunting practice, always go for a sitting position. As in most of the cases, the hunters are sitting in the tree stand while taking their final aim.

3. Choose an Accurate Bow and Arrow!

A lot of your bow hunting adventure depends on the bows and arrows you are going to use. Remember, there should be difference between the bows used by a professional hunter and a beginner. Bows are available in these types;

  • Traditional long bow
  • Compound bow
  • Recurve bow

As I am addressing here to the beginners particularly, who seek my assistance and cooperation for learning bow hunting tips, so I recommend a compound bow for them. This type of bow is easy to handle. It offers a far better yardage and velocity. And that’s gonna help you a lot. Bows come in both right and left handed forms. Pick the one that goes right with your dominant eye. As far as the weight of the bow is concerned, it should be about 60 to 70 pounds.

Compound Bow

Compound Bow - Photo credit: southlandarchery.com

As far as arrows are concerned, especially with a compound bow, both aluminum and carbon arrows can be used. I always opted for the carbon arrows, for the reason that these are not only durable but lighter in weight. That makes them swift in movement.

  • Note: Each state of US has defined its own rules and regulations for using a bow. Before you pick one of those mentioned above, make sure that it’s not against the laws of the state, you are going to hunt in.
Types of Arrow

Types of Arrow - Photo credit: riggwelterfieldarchers.co.uk

4. Look out the Hunting Location Before the Season

Leases are the larger areas that are made to enjoy a lawful hunt. Once you have finalized the area for hunting, the next step is to scout it well to determine the number of species here, that you want to hunt. The scouting should be done months before the final hunting season.

Feces, foot tracks and scrapers are a few things that may prove helpful in determining whether that specific animal is around or not. Once you have made your mind on a single location (which is quite hard), now is the time to create your hunting set up here.

5. Use a Tree Stand to Hunt

Here comes one of the most important of all the bow hunting tips. For better results and shooting rates, always prefer a sitting position. As in most of the cases, hunters all across the US prefer using a tree stand. A tree stand is a great place where you can easily target the prey.

The tree should not be more than 20 yards from the animal-frequented area. Secondly, the tree should be about 15 feet in length and eight inches in width. In case, you don’t want to hunt in a tree stand, a blind, set up on the ground can also be selected.

  • Note: These tree stands are step up before the hunting season. This way the animals would get used to its presence.
Hunter Sitting on a Tree Stand

Hunter Sitting on a Tree Stand - Photo credit: lonewolfhuntingproducts.com

6. Choose the Right Time to Bow Hunt

As you already have arranged your hunting corner, now you have to wait till the final day arrives. Choosing the perfect timing to be there is equally important. Enter the area quietly before the dawn and get settled in your tree stand or the blind on the land.

This way, you will not come in the sight of any gaming animal. Different animals have different activity hours. You must have a prior knowledge of it. For example, deer are less active from 11a.m. to 3p.m. So you can opt for the after hours to hunt them down.

7. Patience is a Virtue!

Once you have made your mind and reached the hunting spot, it’s time to take a chill pill. No one can determine how long it would take you to sit there and keep waiting for the prey. There have been days, when I myself had to sit for hours, waiting for the deer. Remember to sit quietly and motionlessly. So, overall, it’s a game about patience, if you have it, you are half way through it.

8. Animal Study is Important!

It is very import to comprehend the psychology of the game animal; you are about to hunt. Other than learning from the experiences of the senior hunters (like I am doing here), it is very important to get yourself informed of certain behaviors, these animals are going to display, under specific situations.

Take assistance from web or the books about bow hunting tips, written by well-known authors. A couple of books that are my personal favorite include; “Mapping Trophy Whitetails” and “Strategies for Whitetail Deer Hunting”. Try these and many others like them. I found them really helpful and I am sure you will feel the same.

9. Let the Technology Guide you!

Google earth is a 3D Earth viewer. It is equally useful in case of finding and observing the best hunting areas in your state. The advanced technology used in it can display the deer trails, and it also lets you determine your tree for a tree stand or the area where you’d like to sit.

So, if any of you find it hard to go all the way to the hunting location (months before the hunting season), use google earth and do all that, sitting at your home computer.

A view of the Hunting Area from Google Earth

A view of the Hunting Area from Google Earth - Photo credit: community.deergear.com

10. Go Odorless!

Animals have immense capability to sniff and recognize any suspicious smell or odor. So, make sure when you are about to leave for bow hunting, you are completely odorless. There are a number of precautions that should be taken. It’s good that you don’t use any fragrant products for about 48 hours before the hunt.

There are many famous companies that are making the odorless products. Dead Down Wind and Hunter’s Specialties are best known for these, especially for the hunters. Other things that you can do include;

  • Avoid spicy edible items for about 24 hours before hunt
  • No alcohol intake
  • No smoking
  • Don’t go near a gas station particularly on the day of the hunt, your body can pick the odor of gasoline
Odorless Products for Bow Hunter

Odorless Products for Bow Hunter - Photo credit: hunterspec.com

11. Flow with the Wind!

It’s another great tip for avoiding the scent-detection by the animals. A perfect windy day is the best option for bow hunting. Wind helps in lessening the body odor. Make sure when you hunt, wind is blowing in your face.

  • Note: A whitetail deer has immense capability of sensing the scent. It has 200 million scent receptors.

12. Tarsal glands

Tarsal glands are one of the best attracters that can be used in bow hunting (for deer and buck hunting). These glands belong to bucks and does. It passes through a certain process and has a specific smell that attracts the other deer or bucks especially in and after the mating season. Each time I have made use of it, I hunted more than I expected.

The smell of tarsal puts strong impact on the animals around, arousing a curiosity about this new animal in the area. You can easily find these glands in a preserved form, both in stores and online. Once you are on your tree chair, spray the doe tarsal around and wait for the target. It really works.

Using Tarsal Glands as Attracter

Using Tarsal Glands as Attracter - Photo credit: deerlures.com

13. Use the Quality Game Calls

Each item that you are going to use in the bow hunting effects your performance. Do not compromise on the quality. Game calls are one of the most important hunting accessories. Local markets are filled with good as well as sub-standard game calls that sound really bad. And actually can horrify the animals.

If you can’t find high quality game calls in your local area, go for the second option, the web. Search the web and look for best game calls with the features that suit your hunting style. If you have a certain budget, you can choose the one that suits your pocket and make the best use of them while sitting in the tree stand.

14. Clean your Kill Soon!

Once you have attracted, shot and killed the game animal, do not waste time in transferring it to some other location. It is in your best health interest to clean and dress the animal there and then. For that you must have a good quality dressing kit.

While you are field dressing, you are supposed to remove the internal organs of the animal, as there are great chances of bacterial growth in the meat. And it is really harmful for everyone’s health. Once it is cleared and cut properly, you can transfer it to your place easily.

  • Note: Never jerk the arrow out of the body forcibly before you start to cut it. As it gets cleaned, it will be easier for you to get the arrow out.

15. Take Care of your Bow!

Lastly, it is very important to take good care of your bow after each adventure. Check your bow completely, if the hunt has damaged it in any way or not. Always use a microfiber cloth to get your bow cleaned of any impurity. If you are not using it, make sure that it is stored well in its case, away from any source of heat.

Bow in a Bow Case

Bow in a Bow Case - Photo credit: midwayusa.com


I hope that you would have found these bow hunting tips helpful and easy to follow. Whatever points I have raised here, are purely based on my personal hunting experiences. All the beginner and aspiring bow hunters out there, I hope you must have learned something useful from these, and would make a better use of them in your future hunting adventures.

How did you find my article? If you liked it, you can share it with your other hunter friends. Or share your thoughts with me in the comment box below.

Have a nice and adventurous Bow Hunting Trip!

Joseph Gleason

With a dedicated respect to the environment, I understand the importance of being an informed hunter who learns as he goes. I truly recognize the value in how things were done before and how things are done today. Born and raised in upstate New York, I grew up exposed to skilled hunters who taught me the importance of what responsible hunting can provide both to myself, my family, and to the environment. I continue today to work towards refining my craft and finding new ways to practice the time honored traditions that were passed down to me from those who came before.

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