Archery and Bowhunting Tips: Choose the Right Bow for YOU

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If you are someone who wants to get into archery and perhaps bowhunting, and have no idea how to get started…well it can be overwhelming. Pick up any hunting or sporting goods magazine and you will come across hundreds of advertisements and articles screaming that “THIS equipment” is right for you. In reality, they have no idea what is right for you.

Although it may seem confusing, getting into the archery world isn’t as hard as it may seem.

The first, and most important step is finding a bow that suits YOU. For someone just starting, you don’t need to run out and drop several grand on a brand new carbon bow. My favorite thing to do before buying a new bow is to go to every archery shop around and shoot as many different bows as possible. This helps you decide on which type of grip you prefer, different types of draw etc. If you are on a budget, many bow shops carry used bows that are in great shape and affordable pricing. I suggest not buying a used bow sight unseen as often they can be more trouble than they are worth. Several bow companies do have some very affordable bows completely setup and great for beginners, such as The Mission Craze ( and The Diamond Infinite Edge ( You may choose to go to a local archery shop, or to a larger store such as Cabelas (

Before I go any further…do not dry fire a bow! Dry firing is releasing the string with no arrow on it. This can cause the bow to “blow up”, strings to break, and can result in serious injury to you or others.

When shooting for the first time (at an archery shop is suggested) you will probably be handed a “wrist release” to use. There are various types of releases such as “back

tension” and “thumb releases”. For a beginner I would suggest a wrist release as they are easier starting out and you won’t have to worry about dropping it.

Once you have decided on a bow, you MUST make sure that the draw length and draw weight are set appropriately for you. At this point, a heavy draw weight isn’t a big deal. You can start small and work your way up as you get more comfortable shooting. You will also need to decide whether or not you will use a Peep Sight, a string loop, and a Kisser button

A peep sight (a small circle that is tied into your bow string for you to look through) helps you shoot more consistently as it allows you to reduce the size of your focal point and I have always used one. But, I also know several people who do not. A bow technician at any archery shop can tie a new peep sight into the proper position on your string in a matter of minutes. Peep positions do vary from person to person

The kisser button also helps with consistent shooting as it makes you continuously draw your bow back to the exact same position every time. It is called a “kisser button” as you anchor at the corner of your mouth.

A string loop is a small loop that is tied onto your bow string where you nock your arrow. A “loop” prevents wear and tear on your bow string, and also prevents “pinching” your string and the arrow popping off.

If ordering a ‘Bare’ bow (no arrow rest or sight), these things are fairly easy to buy and get set up. My suggested beginners arrow rest would be the Whisker Biscuit by Trophy Ridge. This is considered a “Shoot through” arrow rest, which holds your arrow in place and it is impossible for the arrow to fall off. The only downside is the whisker biscuits do wear down and will need to be replaced every year or so depending on how much you shoot .

When it comes to bow sights, I suggest a simple 3 pin sight from Apex or TruGlo. Too many pins can get confusing, and a one pin sight can be just as confusing for someone just starting out. Setting your pins at 10, 20, and 30 yards is a good start

If you plan on setting the pins yourself, you will need several small Allan wrench sets and a rangefinder. Your top pin will be the one set at the closest yardage. Always remember to “Chase your groups”, if your arrow is shooting high, move your pin higher. Up and down is called Elevation. Left to right is called windage. All bow sights come with instructions on how to move your pins.

Your bow may or may not have come with a stabilizer. A stabilizer is an oblong shaped piece of equipment that screws into the front of your bow just beneath the grip. The stabilizer keeps your bow quiet, and also helps to reduce bow vibration and hand shock when you release your arrow. Limbsaver stabilizers come in several sizes, work great, and are affordable.

Arrows: I highly suggest carbon arrows. Not many people shoot aluminum arrows anymore, but I recommend carbon for the light weight, the speed, and the indestructible quality. You can go to any arrow website or archery shop to figure out which size arrows you need depending on your draw weight and draw length. (

Now that you have your bow setup, the hard part is done and the fun can begin: shooting.

Stance and “release” are a very important part of being a good shot. “Proper” bow stance is something that is continuously being debated among archers. Some say it matters, others say it doesn’t. I was brought up learning to shoot “proper” form…feet set firmly shoulder width apart;.left arm extended with the elbow slightly bent, hand holding my bow but not in a death grip; release arm parallel to the ground at full draw. Finding something that is comfortable for you and staying CONSISTENT is key.

My last piece of advice is about release technique. If you are shooting a wrist or thumb release, it will have a trigger much like that on a gun, that you will need to pull to release your arrow. Many people think that just putting your finger on the trigger and pulling it is enough. Yes, it will release your arrow, but it will not be consistent. A proper release should surprise you. Squeeze the trigger slowly by tightening your back and shoulder muscles in your arm and slowly pulling your arm back. Doing this consistently will give you a proper release everytime and you will be a better shot. Setting your target at 5 yards and practicing your release is a great idea.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, archery is a continuous learning experience especially if you decide to start bowhunting. But there are many great people who are more than happy to help. Shoot straight and most importantly, have fun.

Beka Garris is a new contributor to “The Rubline” blog and will be sharing her struggles and successes with everyone.

Please follow her @Facebook Page: Proline Bowstrings Official Miss NJ Huntress USA Hardcore Huntress Top Shot 2013

Originally published at on February 22, 2014.

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