Whats it cost to take up bowhunting/shooting?

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Well, I love to shoot guns. I have a couple rifles and a pistol and go out whenever I can. Things have grown up around here though to the point that the only thing I can shoot on a real regular basis without someone getting pissed about the noise is an air rifle though.
So I've been thinking about a compound bow, its something I've always wanted to learn anyway but now I'm looking at it more seriously. Seems like its pretty cheap once you get started since you re-use ammo and only need a couple straw bales (I got tons of that) for a target, and its relatively short range and no noise. But evertime I go to Gander mountain I see some guy dropping almost $1000 on a bow.
So my question is how much do you have to spend to get a good quality, no frills bow? Preferably one with enough punch to maybe take deer someday, but mostly one I can learn to shoot on that will last a long time and be accurate.
Draw weight shouldn't be much of an issue, I'm paying for college by baling hay and straw. I don't know about draw length though, I'm about 6'3" and have freakishly long arms(don't know exact armspan but its longer than I am tall).Will it be hard to find a bow that fits me?
What would you recommend I look at if I decided to buy one?
Thanks for any help.
 
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I just started bow hunting this year and am into it for about $500 so far and only half that was spent on the bow. And that doesn't include the camo clothing and so forth either:

Bow: ~250
Arrows: ~150 (2 dozen, because after tuning, my draw length changed)
Broadheads: ~40
Tuning & add peep sight: ~40
Foam Target: ~40

and on and on...
 
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That doesn't sound bad at all since starting out I wont' need the broadheads, camo, foam target and stuff. I could probably get by with cheaper arrows for target punching too, are yours carbon?
Was the peep sight an upgrade or did your bow not come with any sights?
Still not too bad all in all though. Sounds like it can be done cheaper than a lot folks get a rifle and scope set up for.
 

Daniel Koster

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I guess I'll probably be the lone dissenter....but feel compelled to give my 0.02


I bought my last bow for $40 - an old Martin compound. I can shoot a 4" circle at 40 yards and I'm not really that great. But I've spent a lot of time with that bow and the two of us have developed an "understanding"....;) Besides, I won't pull the string at anything beyond 30 yds anyway....

$10 for broadhead tips - a Must for bowhunters...and for the deer.
$10 ea. for aluminum arrows with practice tips (times 8)
$5 for a used arrow rest - picked up at a hunting shop.

Someday I guess I'll invest in a peep sight. But in the meantime I've made marks on my bow to give me a good idea.

Technique has made up for a lack of technology.


Bowhunting is more about stalking...it's a different kind of hunting. If you've handgun hunted, then you've got the idea.


Draw weight is not about strength, but speed. Anything over 60 is really overkill....or machismo. Or worse, compensation for lack of proper stalking technique. You don't need that much weight on the string. 55 lbs. will send an arrow right through the deer. Faster arrows also mean longer shots, which means more lost arrows.

The more important part is how long you can hold it actually....but with compounds....you're holding at much less weight.

I saw a new bow (name escapes me) where the holding weight is 15 lbs. or so. I picked it up and indeed, it was very nice. Could probably hold it a few minutes easy....someday, I guess. I think it was around $250. Ebay is a great place for bows.

At most hunting shops they'll have a draw-length bow where you can measure your pull length. I'm 6' even with a 6'-5" wingspan.....my pull length is 31". Average pull is 28". Look for a bow with an adjustable length. Most have nowadays.

Carbon flies straighter and flexes less. But if you hit a rock - they'll break. Course, aluminum arrows bend pretty easy. What I do know is that you can't practice on aluminum and then shoot carbon. Pick one or the other and stick with it. Most folks like the arrow to hang out one inch past the bow when fully drawn. I prefer 2 inches for a little more heft and ease in aiming. Again, do what works best for you.

I should say that I go hunting with friends that shoot recurves....they are each more accurate shooters than I am too.....ouch!.....I won't give up my compound though.....and I'm much calmer when the "time comes".
 
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Bowhunting rules once you can conquer the bow which is so darn complicated to gather what you need on it, for it to all finally come together but the experience is awesome. Help with what you really need can be difficult unless you go to an outdoor shop that actually knows what they are doing. Get those field points Matt and just keep practicing.
 
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Thanks alot guys
When I say possible hunting mean in the distant future. I won't shoot at game with anything I'm not confident I can call my shot with. Since I've never even shot a real bow, I'll want to do a lot of shooting before I think about hunting with it. I just don't want to have to buy a second bow when that day arrives.
So is shooting broadheads so much different that I should get them to learn with? I was kind of under the impression that you could just shoot regular arrows to learn and then switching to broadheads would just be a matter of sighting it in again and learning the new trajectory (I know that takes a lot of practice in itself)

Hey Daniel
Did you get your bow off Ebay? I'm not sure I know enough about them to buy one sight unseen.

Anyone want to recommend a bow?
 

Daniel Koster

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Yes - got mine off Ebay.

The best way to do it is to go to a hunting shop - find the bow you like...the one that feels best. Then find that model (or similar) on ebay. You can get them new on ebay too. Just be patient and wait for the right deal to come along.


They make practice tips that are specific weights. In other words, let's say you buy some 125g. broadheads. Well, you can also buy 125g. practice tips. Put them on the same arrows that you practice with. Try to keep the arrows straight - the best you can. If you're confident that you'll be practicing in soft stuff....go for the carbon fiber arrows. More consistent, less maintenance - and sometimes you can get them for the same price as aluminum.
 

glockman99

RIP Dann, you were a good guy.
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Damn, reading all this has got ME interested in a bow...Just for the "zen" of it...Good, consistant "bow control" is an art.:).
 
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glockman99 said:
Damn, reading all this has got ME interested in a bow...Just for the "zen" of it...Good, consistant "bow control" is an art.:).
And it makes you good looking too! I swear I've never seen an ugly bow hunter, I swear. :D
 
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Thanks for the link, they're maybe an hours drive away. There's a Gander Mountain right in town that seems to have more to choose from. I'm not sure how good the advice I'll get there is though, the bullshit is usually knee deep.
 

Klesk

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I just wanted to echo what Cindy said, that finding a good outdoor shop that can help you out is critical. Bow shooting is one of those things that seem ridiculously simple, but there are many fine points to it that you probably won't learn on your own. A good local shop can help you out here, give you pointers that will save you much grief.

I know Daniel mentioned finding a bow you like at a local shop and then buying it off Ebay, I'm sure all of us have done something like that at one time or another, but in this case I would stick with buying locally. In addition to the training I mentioned above, there is a bit of fine tuning that is necessary to get a bow that shoot right for you. Draw weight and letoff have been mentioned, but draw length is key. Compound bows have a small window in which they will shoot properly; if you under draw, or over draw, it will affect the accuracy of the bow. The bow has to be fitted to you, and may have to be adjusted in the future, as your form gets better. I started off with a 28" draw, maybe I was not holding the bow properly or not strong enough at that time, but after practicing the basics and working with the bow, I had to have the draw adjusted to 29".

You can probably find a bow like a PSE Nova for a couple of hundred bucks where you are, a bow like that will be good enough for you to learn on, and accurate enough to keep you shooting long enough to decide if you actually like it or not. You can always move up later, and if you buy decent accessories, like your sight and arrow rest, you can just transfer them to your new bow.

I hope I didn't add any confusion, have fun shopping have fun with your new bow. There is something very satisfying at a basic level about being able to shoot a bow.
 
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Archery is as full of nuances (or shall I say levels of madness) as knives are.
Before compounds came along 55lbs was a manly man's bow.
Now you hear that those same 55lbs are barely adequate.
Alot is market driven ie: to have the latest and greatest.

What you don't want to do is learn on a bow that has a heavy draw weight.
That will lead to poor form and in archery is all about form.
35-40 lb draw weight to start is good for a compound.
A re-curve should be lighter.
You shouldn't be sore after a shooting session when you're learning.
That will come later ;)
Once you have the basics down (read shot lots of arrows) and want to hunt, you can crank up the power on your compound bow or get another recurve.
One other thing. Compounds are more complicated and there is more to go wrong. Something to consider if you buy used. The owner could have "adjusted" it out of whack and that's why he's selling. Similar to an unaccurate rifle. You install your scope (properly) and it is a tack driver.
Bows are alot like rifles and knives. There isn't a perfect one, just "better" ones.
You can spend a little or alot.
Spend a little and see if you like it, then you can spend alot.
If it we me and I had the room to shoot in my yard I'd get a 30-40lb recurve (used ok, it can't be miss-adjusted) and just have fun. Later on if you want to hunt you'll be in fine shape to move up to a heavier bow, compound or recurve.
 
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Thanks again everyone. I might try to go look at a few this week. Maybe try to pick out what I'm getting for christmas :D

Does anyone have any experience with Parker Bows? They have a Buck hunter model that looks like a good value with a lot of the features of more expensive bows and an MSRP of ~$270 http://www.parkerbows.com/buckhunter.html.
They carry Parkers at the local Gander Mountain so I guess I'll take a look at one.
 

howiesatwork

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I think the Parker look okay, but I've not bought a new bow in about 10 years. I've got 1 compound, 11 recurves, and 3 longbows. Compounds are easier to hold at draw, but I like recurves, as any shot I'm going to make on a deer will be at 40 yds or less. Anything over that, and I'll pass on it. Not that I'm inaccurate, but I like to be absolutely sure I'm going to kill as clean as possible.
One thing about bow hunting. You need to be sure you can deliver a good shot from kneeling, up in a tree, leaning around brush to get the shot, or twisted around at the waist. It's not like shooting holes in a target.
I agree with almost all the advice above.
You should also start off with a lighter draw before coming up to hunting weights. Archery uses muscles in a different way than normal exercises, and like weight-lifting, you need to work up to the heavy weights.
Hope that helps a bit. :)

Howie
 
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I hardly ever shoot a rifle from a rest, just not as fun. So I'd definitely try the bow from different positions besides standing/sitting.
 
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Speaking of bows, I'm considering a Barnett Panzer V crossbow. Anybody here into crossbows? Is that a good cbow to learn with?

Also, why do some crossbows have a compound bow? I do not understand this, since a crossbow keeps itself drawn.
 
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My guess would be the huge draw weight they have. Even with 65-70% let off your still going to have quite a bit of tension there. I'd guess its alot easier on the mechanism that holds it drawn, and makes it a lot easier to give it a decent trigger pull etc. Thats just a guess though.
 

Daniel Koster

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be careful with that thing, ok?

Crossbows can be just as dangerous as a gun. A couple of years ago a hunter and his son were climbing a tree, passing the crossbow - it went off and hit the son in the chest - died in his father's arms. Should have never been loaded in the first place.

Some assume that since it's "bow-n-arrow" technology, it's not as dangerous as a gun. Still has a trigger.....and the bolt will go right through ya...




Matt - look for PSE, Bowtech, Hoyt, Reflex, Mathews & Martin....If you're going to spend $250 or more, might as well go for the best.

I don't agree with the "used=out-of-whack" idea. A bow is a bow. And there are hundreds on ebay. Why does anybody sell anything? Most do it for the cash. For every 100 of those, there's one that does it to scam....but it's rare, and a quick feedback check will clue you in.


For example....(not endorsing, just illustrating)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=20838&item=7114117538&rd=1

He's selling a $400 bow for $155. Says he never used it. I'm inclined to believe him based on his 100% feedback.

If you know what you're looking for (pick 5 or 6 bows to look for, try them out at the local shop) - it's really not that hard to find one that is new or like new.
 
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That auction is really tempting Dan
I may go that route still but I want to handle some bows and get a better idea of what I'm looking for and what will fit me. I know you can change the draw weight without replacing parts, but what about the draw length? It sounds like requires changing a module or something.

Just out of curiosity, is there anything particularly bad about parker? Thats one of the main brands they have in town.
 
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