Youth Compound Bows
A Guide To Buying Hunting Bows
Are you buying your first bow, buying one as a present for the hunter in your life, or maybe you need to upgrade to a bow that fits you better? No matter the reason you are shopping for a new bow, the factors you need to consider all remain the same. I personally don't recommend buying one as a gift for someone if you want to surprise them because you are going to need their input in order to buy the right bow for them.
Let's begin with the more popular, the compound bow. When purchasing a compound bow you need to consider several factors, speed, bow length, draw weight and draw length. Some less important things to consider, that fall more under preferences are the cams, limb style and risers.
Speed or how quickly an arrow reaches its target depends on several factors. Speed tests are conducted on each brand/style of bow by the Archery Manufacturers Association (AMO) and more recently also by the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO). Most manufacturers will list speeds from both organizations on the bows. Most experts will recommend a bow of a speed of AMO 235-245 or IBO 290-305. This speed is the feet an arrow is propelled per second. The faster the speed, the less drop you have over the same distance, but at the same time, the faster the speed, the harder it is to shoot. The speed you need will be determined by how you plan to use your new bow. A reputable bow dealer will be able to help you in this area.
AS bows length is very critical. There is nothing worse than being in your treestand, with a trophy buck coming up on your left side, you try to swing around to get a better shot and you too long bow hits a limb...ruining your shot and spooking the deer. The length of the bow is measured from axle to axle. A shorter bow will be lighter weight, which may come in handy if you plan to hike a good distance to your hunting spot. A longer bow, even though it is heavier, will be more stable and accurate. A shorter bow is not recommended for a novice or infrequent bow hunter. A bow length somewhere in the mid range (between 32 and 46 inches) is more suitable to a novice. For youth bow shooters you need to look into youth sized bows.
Draw Weight and Length
Draw weight is measured by the peak weight you pull the string at. Most adults will have a draw weight between 50 and 70 lbs, youth will be lower and you can find bow for your with adjustable draw weights they can grow into. A good way to test if the draw weight is right for you is to draw the bow and hold it for at least 30 seconds without shaking. If you shake, you need to go to a lower draw weight, if it is too easy for you; you may need to try a heavier draw weight to ensure more accurate shooting.
Draw length is determined by the distance from the end of your fist on your bow hand (the hand that you will hold the bow in as you draw it) and the point where your draw hand will pull the string. If you need to measure your draw length, simply stand as if you are drawing and aiming an imaginary bow. Have someone measure the distance from the end of you outstretched arm (fist closed around your imaginary bow) to the corner of your mouth, which is where the string should draw to.
When looking at the above factors you can understand why trying to surprise someone with a bow as a gift is not recommended. You do need the person available to make sure you are getting them a bow that is right for them. A 6'11", 230lb man is not going to shoot the same bow as a 5'11" 135lb woman.
There are some other factors that may need to be considered when purchasing a bow. These fall more under preference than need.
Do you want a bow with 1 or 2 cams? Beginners will benefit more from a 2 cam system, but an experienced bow enthusiast may prefer the challenge of a 1 cam system. There are several types of cams to consider. A soft cam will allow you to draw softer and smoother, which will allow you to aim better. This can be very desirable whether you are hunting or target shooting. An aggressive cam should also be considered by a hunter. It provides more energy in the draw, which translates to more penetration in your target/game. And finally a single cam bow can offer a big advantage over 2 cams, which relies on both cams staying in synch. A single cam bow is less likely to suffer from stretching over time, unlike 2 cams. Single cams can also be much quieter for hunting purposes.
Limbs come in standard or split. Standard, a one piece construction, usually laminated or molded, has been around the longest. Split limbs, are just that, two pieces, making the bow lighter and quieter.
The riser is the part of the bow you grip with your bow hand and comes in two primary versions, flex and reflex. Te main difference in the two is how the hands are positioned, making this a definite matter of preference.
The riser material can be cast aluminum, machine aluminum and magnesium. Cast aluminum is simply poured into a mold. Machine risers are more common as they are much more practical to the manufacturer. Magnesium risers are heavier than aluminum, but are cheaper to make and quieter to shoot, yet are much harder to find.
Now you have the essentials to consider when buying that new bow, whether it is for yourself or your favorite hunter. My best advice is to go to your local sporting goods store and test the different bows. Find one that will fit you the best. Don't just look at speed, weight and length; consider the construction and feel of the bow in your hands. This is not a cheap investment and you will want to buy a bow you will use for many years to come.
Crossbows do make it easier for almost anyone to try their hand at bow shooting. But I still recommend that you go to the store and try the different bows out to find the one that fits you best. Something to consider are. Do you have physical limitations that may make it hard to cock? If so you may need to look into getting bow with some type of cocking aid that fits you. How easy is it to cock? How much recoil does the bow have? Just a compound bow you need to consider the speed, weight and noise level of the bow. Crossbows can give you more speed than a compound bow, but the tradeoff for speed is a louder shot, more recoil and more difficulty cocking the bow. But keep watching, crossbow manufacturers are working on getting more speed without the less desirable side effects. You should also look at the trigger, you don't want one that is too easy to pull or too hard. Too easy can be dangerous in the woods and too hard can mean you miss that all important shot. You want one you can squeeze steadily, just like with your gun.
And finally, when purchasing any bow, you need to consider your state and local laws concerning firearms. Most places do have regulations concerning firearms and even bows specifically and you will want to be within the law when you purchase your bow. And above all, when using any firearm, always remember to stay safe.By Dawn O'Brien - I am just a southern girl with a passion for reading and writing. Coming from a small town, it is hard to find writing jobs, thanks to the internet, that has all changed.