Bowhunting––Hunting with Archery Equipment
Hunters today have a wide array of weaponry with which to hunt their prey, and many have turned to one of the most ancient weapon systems in existence to do so.
What is bowhunting?
Bowhunting, or the practice of hunting game with archery equipment (i.e. a bow and arrow), is one of the oldest forms of hunting and has been practiced for many thousands of years. While the invention and widespread use of firearms has made bows obsolete on the battlefield, bowhunting remains a popular sport among outdoor enthusiasts. The unique challenges associated with bowhunting make it an especially rewarding sport that requires lots of practice, skill, and patience.
A Brief History of Archery and Bowhunting
Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been making and using bows and arrows since the Paleolithic period. Historians and archaeologists have found that bow and arrows have been widely used for hunting and as weapons of war by people in many parts of the world for tens of thousands of years. The spread of firearm technology starting in the 1600s led to the gradual decline of archery for hunting and warfare in societies around the world.
Modern Bowhunting and Bowhunting Equipment
Bowhunting experienced a revival starting in the 1920s when Dr. Saxton Pope and his colleague, Arthur Young, learned the art of bowhunting from a Yahi tribesman named Ishi. Archery clubs formed around the country, and many chose to hunt with bows and arrows again. With superior knowledge and technology, bows and archery equipment underwent many advancements. Modern arrows can fly farther and penetrate deeper than their predecessors while bows are constructed with stronger and lighter material. Similarly, modern bowstrings are much stronger and more durable than bowstrings of the past and many accessories can be purchased to increase accuracy and success. While today’s bowhunters enjoy access to superior equipment than their predecessors in centuries past, many of the skills required to successfully stalk and kill game with a bow and arrow remain essentially the same.
Bowhunting is a challenging and rewarding sport that puts the skill and patience of a hunter against the superior sensory abilities of game animals like deer, elk, and bears. Bowhunters face a unique set of challenges compared to those who hunt with a rifle or shotgun that require exceptional skill in order to be successful. Bowhunters must be much closer to their target to shoot than do hunters with high-powered rifles. The motion of drawing a bow prior to firing can easily catch the eye or ear of a leery animal and cause it to run away. The frustration of unsuccessful attempts is made worthwhile by the reward of a successful bowhunt.
In order to successfully hunt with a bow and arrow, hunters must have proper technique. This involves being able to accurately judge distance, knowing how to properly nock arrows, properly drawing the bow and arrow into firing position, and releasing the arrow while maintaining position. It takes considerable skill and knowledge to be able to stalk prey and get within a safe firing distance without sending the animal into flight. For most bowhunters, a distance of no more than 45 meters is required in order to deliver an arrow with the accuracy and velocity required to down an animal.