Bow Hunting Whitetails

Today's Bow Hunter

Today's hunters have numerous weapons for hunting whitetail deer, but by far, one of their favorite weapons is the bow and arrow. Bow and arrow hunting has a long history, and even though the equipment we use today is far different from that of ancient times, the skills needed to be a successful archer are besically the same.

Today's arrows fly faster and penetrate deeper. Bows are stronger and much lighter. The addition of blinds and treestands have given us an advantage over our bowhunting fore-fathers. But, proficiency, knowledge of wildlife, and the ability to outsmart ones prey is a skill that can take years to develop.

Bowhunters must be in close proximity of their prey while at the same time avoiding the animal's keen sense of smell, hearing and sight. Successful bowhunting takes a little more planning than just climbing into ones treestand, covered in camouflage, with a bow and a quiver full of arrows.

Bow Hunting In New York

The bowhunting season in New York State is a long one. It can run from late September to the middle of November with an added week in December after the gun season is over. Hunters are allowed a deer of either sex during the bowhunting seasons.

Types of Bows


Arrow shafts can be made of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, carbon and a carbon/aluminum combination.

Arrow heads or points come in various shapes and sizes and are chosen based on the archer's purpose. Bullet, judo, blunt and field points are all used for target practice and small game hunting. Bowfish points are used for bow fishing.

Broad heads are used for small and large game hunting, and types include fixed blade, removable blade and expandable blade.

Shooting A Bow

  • Nocking: positioning the arrow in the bow
  • Drawing - pulling the arrow into position
  • Anchor point - steadying the bow and arrow against your body
  • Release and follow through - releasing the arrow while maintaining your position

Judging Distance is one of the most important aspects of bow hunting. You adjust how you aim depending on how far away the target is. How far you can accurately shoot is based on your bow, your strength and the type of arrow you are using. Scouting the area where you are going to hunt and understanding your prey is very important. You will need to decide where to set up by recognizing game signs and understanding the lay of the land. If you are unfamiliar with the area, ask local hunters or your department of natural resources where to best bow hunt.

Learn How to Paper Tune Your Bow

Hunting From The Ground

Still method - moving around slowly before standing still for periods of time while waiting for a target to arrive

Stalking method - locating a target and then moving into position for the shot

Glass method - searching for targets with scopes or binoculars before moving on to stalking

Depending on your resources, you can also use blinds and tree stands. These are useful in getting above the hunting area, so you have a better view of the target areas and more time to prepare your shots.

Learn more about Tree Stand Hunting

Bowhunting is a sport that has really emerged and become popular in just the last 60 years or so. Many sportsmen enjoy bowhunting because it is far more challenging than simply taking a rifle out and shooting an animal at 100 yards or more.

Bowhunting Tips For Beginners.

Choose the bow that is right for you.

Bows come in different styles. Longbows have been in use since the dawn of time. Recurve and composite recurve bows were invented in the mid twentieth century. These do not have the effective range of a longbow, but within their range, they are more accurate and more powerful. Compound bows, the latest advance in bow making, use pulleys and cams to both multiply the force exerted on the arrow when the string is released and to provide a let off of tension when the bow is drawn to its full length that aids the hunter in aiming because he can hold the bow in firing position longer if necessary.

Choose arrows that are right for your bow.

Different bows have different draw lengths. It is important to choose arrows that are of a length that closely matches the draw length of the bow. Too long and the arrows will tend to drop off too soon after being fired. Too short and the archer loses some of the power of the bow by not being able to draw it to its full length.

Learn How to Determine Your Correct Bow Draw Length

Know the requirements for arrowheads.

Many states have specific requirements for broad heads to be used when hunting big game such as deer, elk, or bear. The fines imposed for not using the right heads on the arrows are too expensive to by justified by not knowing the rules.

Practice with your bow and arrows frequently.

It is impossible to put your bow away at the end of archery season and ignore it the rest of the year and hope to be able to hit where you aim with the first shot after an extended period. Practicing during the off season assures that if you are presented with an opportunity, you will be able to make a clean kill.

Spend some time in the woods where you plan to hunt all through the year.

If you only scout the areas right before the beginning of season and decide where to put a stand, you miss out on several opportunities to practice your stalking skills. These are essential to the bow hunter because the effective range of the bow is normally not over 60 yards. Optimal range is within 30 yards.

Scent neutralizers for your clothing and your body.

The sense of smell possessed by almost any animal that is hunted with archery equipment is hundreds of times more acute than a human's. They also have better hearing and many have sharper sight. This makes it very difficult to stalk an animal without him becoming aware of your presence. Deer are actually allergic to the smell of humans. This is why they snort when the scent you. They are actually sneezing.

Click Here To Read More About Scent Control

Play the Wind

Learn how to judge the direction the wind is coming from and always hunt across the wind or upwind. Any animal downwind of you will know you are there long before you could hope to know their whereabouts. Work hard on all your outdoors skills in order to become good at stalking.

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