Bowhunting is a tradition enjoyed by millions of Americans. If you’re unsure about where to get started, we have the tools and resources to help you on your way. Below are the seven steps to start bowhunting.
Step 1: Purchase Gear and Sign Up for Lessons
Buying a bow is a fun experience and it’s one of your first steps in becoming a bowhunter.
Step 2: Take Hunter Education and Get your License
Before you can buy a hunting license you have to take a hunter education class, which goes over hunting laws, ethics and safety. Hunter education requirements vary from state to state. For example, some states require a separate bowhunter education class and some states allow you to take an online course. Your state game agency website will have all the information on hunter education, licenses, hunting laws and public hunting land. Here is a link to a list of all the state wildlife agencies and more information hunter education.
Step 3: Find a Place to Hunt
Where can you go hunting? The United States has millions of acres of public hunting land that anyone can hunt. Your state wildlife agency will have information on public hunting areas. You can also ask permission to hunt on private property.
Step 4: Purchase or Borrow Hunting Gear
The gear you need for hunting will depend on the type of hunting you plan to do and where you are hunting. Your archery shop and experienced local hunters can help you narrow down exactly what you need and what you don’t need. The below articles will further help with your research.
What Gear to Take Hunting
Step 5: Practice and Research
Bowhunting requires one carefully placed shot that is made possible through hours of practice. It’s important to learn proper shooting form and practice it in realistic hunting scenarios..
Compound Archery Form 101
How to Shoot from a Ground Blind
How to Shoot from a Treestand
Shooting Tips for Bowhunters
Step 6: Choose Your Hunting Spots
How do you get within bow range of an animal? It’s a real challenge, which is half the fun of bowhunting. These articles will give you the knowledge necessary to see animals and close the distance.
Step 7: Go Hunting!
First, Have Fun! But here are some additional tips for you once you are out in the field.Shot Placement Unlike targets, animals don’t have scoring rings that tell you where to aim. Determining where to aim on animal for an ethical harvest is called shot placement.After the Shot All your hard work has paid off and you’ve made a shot on an animal. What do you do now? You’ll start by doing a small celebration then it’s time to blood trail, field dress and process your harvest. I've Shot a Deer, Now What?
If you know someone with private land, then you’re already ahead of the pack. Private land is a more relaxed atmosphere for novice bowhunters to learn the ins and outs of the sport, whereas public parcels can be competitive and over hunted. Don’t be afraid to ask for a landowner’s permission to hunt.
The U.S. has some fantastic public hunting grounds. As Americans, we have access to some 640 million acres of public land that houses abundant opportunities for bowhunters. With careful planning and hunter etiquette, public land hunting has the potential to create a lifetime of memories afield.
Guides and outfitters will operate on a mixture of private and public land. They are also a great resource to help you grow as a hunter. Men and women who’ve been guiding for years are experts in the hunting arena, and most are great teachers. A new bowhunter shouldn’t be shy about hiring a guide or outfitter.
Hunting is about much more than filling the freezer with wild game meat. Bowhunters work hard to ensure a future for wildlife and wild places. In fact, a portion of the money you spend on bowhunting gear goes directly to funding conservation programs.
POPULAR SPECIES TO BOWHUNT
Whitetail deer are the most sought-after big game in the U.S. No matter where you live, there will be opportunities to hunt deer within a couple hours of home. While harvesting a whitetail is no easy feat, most bowhunters will begin their education in the deer woods. Study their habits and exude patience, and you will do well.
How to Care for Venison
How to Field Dress a Deer
No creature sees or senses a danger like the wild turkey. Besides locating a gobbler, knowing when to draw back your bow is the most crucial element of hunting this bird. With eyes on the side of their head, they can see 270 degrees. Patience and resilience will you make you an accomplished turkey bowhunter.
Turkey Hunting 101
Turkey Shot Placement
Today, you no longer have to travel west of the Mississippi River to hunt elk. These big animals can now be hunted throughout the eastern U.S. As one of the toughest in the deer family, you’ll not only have to shoot tight groups with your bow, you’ll also need to be in excellent condition. These long-legged creatures will take you into some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.
Western Hunting Tips
Black bears are not dangerous and they’re fun to hunt. And contrary to popular belief, their meat is delicious. As the black bear population continues to grow around the country, more bowhunters are hunting them. This adventure will likely require an outfitter who can teach you the essence of hunting bears with a bow.
Few things are more fun than bowfishing during the warm months. This is a stress-free, no-pressure way to hone your shooting skills. You don’t need to make significant changes to your equipment to enjoy bowfishing either. A boat is handy to have, though walking the bank of a waterway has proven successful many times.
Get Ready to Bowhunt
The exhilaration that culminates during a bowhunt when an animal is within range is second to none. But before that moment comes, there’s plenty you’ll need to know, including the details on gear, tactics and knowledge of the game you’re pursuing.
Searching for bowhunting know-how? We’ve got you covered with instructional blogs to bring you up to speed for opening day.