Guide to Traditional Bowhunting

Traditional bowhunting is a method of archery hunting that takes game animals from close range. Beginners will benefit from a brief introduction to the gear, techniques and methods of the sport.

Equipment
Archery has been used as a method of hunting for centuries, and while the technology surrounding the bows has changed, the basics have not. Today, bowhunters generally use a compound bow, which is made up of pulleys and cables that cause the limbs of the bow to bend. It is more accurate than other bows (such as recurve bow or long bow) and can handle a greater velocity and distance. Arrows are generally made of a carbon-aluminum composite and work well with the force of a compound bow.

Each bow has a draw weight measured in pounds. The bowhunter should figure out how much weight he can pull and adjust the bow accordingly. The lower the weight, the more accurate (but less powerful) the shot will be. Most hunters find that between 45 and 60 pounds is the right balance.

Traditional Bowhunting Season
This season is generally set at a different time than gun hunting season. Different states regulate any bag limits on a specific animal as well as where bowhunters can go. Generally, bowhunting season precedes the gun season by a few weeks. Some of the most popular animals for this type of hunting are deer, moose, elk, turkey, boar and even black bear. Most hunting seasons are in the spring and/or fall, but some seasons (such as for wild hogs) are year round.

Traditional Bowhunting Techniques
Because bowhunters must get closer to the quarry than those hunting with a rifle, stealth and intelligence is key to a successful hunt. The top range of a bow is around 30 yards, so hunters must stalk animals that have superior hearing and smell. Many hunters find that traditional bowhunting is more challenging than using a rifle. The bowhunter must be very certain of where the vital organs are on an animal so that the kill shot can be made.

After the animal is hit, the hunter must track it through the terrain. Following the blood trail and understanding the behavior of an animal in distress will allow the bowhunter to find his quarry. Always wait at least 30 minutes before pursuing a wounded animal for safety reasons. 

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