The current pandemic has brought many activities to a halt, mostly due to public places’ various restrictions. However, it also shines renewed interest in many outdoor activities. Archery and bow hunting is a sport with countless numbers of passionate aficionados in the United States.
Millions such as myself take to vast acres of public hunting land. There we can enjoy sanctioned hunting of various wildlife.
Deer hunting as a sport or for meat gathering is an activity that dates back many centuries. Most state governments also regulate it. Mule deer or whitetail deer are the most common species hunted in the US. (Read Learning How to Hunt)
The Common Weapons of Choice
There are essentially two weapon choices for hunting: A gun (usually a rifle) or the more traditional archery bow. The latter include longbows, compound bows, recurve bows, and crossbows. Choosing the right bow significantly affects many hunting outcomes.
Some of the best compound bows offer many adjustable features like draw length and weight. There are also other customization features as well as add ons. When properly calibrated, the compound bow is more forgiving, especially for the novice hunter.
The compound bow came around in the 1960s. It is also the most modern archery weapon. Downsides to this bow are that they can be heavy and complicated. They also require more maintenance.
If you are a traditionalist like myself, I do not think the compound bow will appeal to you. On the other hand, if you like nobs, adjustments, and tuning, then the compound bow might suit you best.
Traditional Bows or Longbows
This is perhaps the most iconic archery bow design. Think Robin Hood. Their simple construction characterizes these bows (also known as straight limb bows). They are long with a curved piece of wood similar in height to the archer and are devoid of arrow sights or rests.
These bows also require the most skill. Due to their initial medieval-type design, these do not match the power of recurve or compound bows. Old as it is, many indigenous people still use this for hunting.
This archery bow version gets its name from its shape. The tips curve away rather than toward you. This also most closely resembles the traditional bow or longbow.
The best recurve bow choice I have ever made was to select a model that combines traditional sportsmanship and technique with technology. I also like them since they are lighter to carry and have fewer mechanisms. This all equates to less likelihood for equipment failure.
If you like the simpler appeal of the recurve bow, then you should commit to many hours of practice. This design requires more skill.
This one looks half gun, half bow. A crossbow is a compound bow that is fixed horizontally on a rifle-like stock. It utilizes a standard trigger akin to those found on guns. One arms this type by pulling the string back and setting it into a jaw.
These bows are believed to have originated around 600BC in the Asian region.
Compound Bow Draw Weight for Hunting
The draw weight is the poundage one must pull a bow. A compound bow 50 lbs. calibrated for draw weight may suit one hunter, while others may prefer a lighter or even heavier setting. I have also come across bows with a draw weight range spanning 50 pounds.
State Draw Weight Requirements
The draw weight will differ for each person, largely determined by skill and strength. Different states also have varying weight regulations. The majority of states, specifically 33 of 50, have a minimum draw weight. It ranges from 30 to 40 pounds. Make sure to check your state’s requirements.
Generally speaking, above 50 pounds is considered on the heavy side, whereas below is seen as light. If you prefer less resistance when pulling, what is usually the minimum draw weight for deer? My experience in this subject matter leads to a few considerations.
To be specific with a particular weight, can you kill a deer with a 35-pound bow? Well, the answer is yes, but I suggest you take note of the following factors for a successful hunt. A 35-pound resistance can undoubtedly, down a whitetail deer, but with these key variables in place.
Arrow Weight – An arrow on the heavier side will likely penetrate deeper, ensuring a fatal hit. A fixed blade broadhead design will also help your kill ratio. These can penetrate better and are a great choice for lighter pound bows. (Read Where To Shoot A Deer)
Draw Length – This is how much I can draw the bow to the anchor point. A longer draw length transmits more energy to the arrow compared to a shorter draw length.
Target Placement – Aim for the heart and lung area for a fatal and humane kill. You will not be successful if you aim for non-lethal parts such as the legs or torso. The animal will be hurt but will likely escape.
Distance – Naturally, a closer shot offers a bigger target. When you are nearer, you also get the advantage of a faster arrow velocity.
Solicit the Help of Expert Archers
Once you have purchased your choice gear, it is a good idea to enroll in archery lessons. I avoided many mistakes by learning from expert professionals. I likewise had to comply with hunter education requirements as mandated by each state.
Finally, get your hunting license. If you qualify, then you have been law compliant every step of the way. Now you can select from the many hunting designated areas where lots of primal fun await you outdoors.