Best Bows for New Hunters
There is much to get to grips with when starting out as a new hunter with a compound bow. It is possible to drop things down to the most important basics though to get an initial understanding of what’s required.
Compound Bows for Beginners
Compound bows look more daunting upon first observing them when compared to traditional long bows. However, the design takes care of the technical stuff leaving the new hunter able to focus on their aim and technique.
With compound bows, the amount of kinetic energy with an arrow release is higher and ensures the arrow will impact deeply into a target. Whether the target is just a paper one or live game in the forest, one never wants the arrow to hit the target and fall out seconds later. A compound model makes it easier to ensure impactful strikes even for new hunters once they get their motion and accuracy up to par.
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The speed is denoted by the FPS or officially by using an IPO rating for FPS. The actual FPS and the IPO rating will differ slightly, but it doesn’t matter.
Every bow is differently constructed using a variety of materials. Even though the parts often seem almost identical between products they’re not. While we’re often attracted to products that go the fastest, the reality is that shouldn’t be the main criteria for new hunters. Sure, it’s nice to have a bow capable of firing an arrow faster through the air, but other factors like shooting accuracy will matter more in the end.
Taking time to learn how to aim accurately and consistently is more important than rushing into position and firing quickly. While the fastest compound bows built for speed achieve upwards of 330 FPS, that is when everything else is in the balance. The same speed is not required for beginners.
What is Draw Weight and Does It Matter?
The draw weight is the pounds of pressure needed to draw the bow back to deliver a shot. The amount of weight depends on whether you’re a man or a woman, how your body is proportioned, and your arm strength. With a greater draw weight, a more powerful shot is delivered.
It depends on the bow what the range of draw weight is. A bow may have a draw weight between 40 and 60 lbs, in 5-pound incremental adjustments. In other cases, a full 70 pounds of draw weight (which is the maximum available on commercial over-the-counter compound bows) is an option.
What is Draw Length and Why Is It Important?
The draw length is the distance from center when fully extending back ready to fire. Usually, one should look for a measurement of 33-inches axle-to-axle or less, so the bow is not too cumbersome to manage.
Does the Weight of the Bow Matter?
Most compound bows fall below 4.5 pounds. Under this weight is acceptable, but one does not want to go heavier unless you’re particularly strong in the arms. A bow that’s overly burdensome will affect stability when lining up the shot, causing excess vibration and misfires.
Higher Let-offs Are Better
The let-off is set as a percentage and roughly stated, it allows one to aim at the target for longer before releasing the arrow. A lower let-off percentage affects the stability of the bow and the accuracy of the shot. Most bows are over 70%, and beginners should look for bows that fit this level.
Either aluminum or carbon arrows are recommended for use with the SAS Rage.
• ABS limbs for strength and durability
• Carbon accessories option
• Numerous models available with different patterns and packages
• Pro package includes extras like a 3-pin sight, wrist sling, and stabilizer
• Travel package includes a rugged case, 12 carbon arrows, stabilizer, and much more
• Draw weight is variable
• Draw length is variable
• Weights only 4.4 lbs
• Faster arrow speed of 270 FPS
• Draw weight on the low end may still be too much for new hunters who have less strength
The SAS Rage 70 Lbs 30” Compound Bow is an ideal bow for new hunters. It has a broad range of versions depending on requirements. The basic bow is available in either black or autumn camo green.
There is a full accessory package that’s either built from carbon or other heavier materials, which includes a wrist sling, 8-inch Aluminum stabilizer, arrow rest and a 3-pin sight. For the frequent traveler, there is also a travel package that includes broadheads, 5-pin sight, wrist sling, stabilizer, a dozen carbon arrows, and a robust case to hold it all.
The compound bow itself has ABS limbs for durability and a strong core. Its weight of 4.4 lbs is not too heavy for new hunters. The let-off is 70% which is good enough for holding the bow while getting the aim spot on before releasing the arrow. The draw length is adjustable between 25-inches and 31-inches which will suit people are different arm reach. The axle-to-axle length is 35-inches. The draw weight is adjustable also, between 55 lbs and 70 lbs. At the top settings, the maximum speed is approximately 270 FPS.
This model from Diamond Archery offers both power and the option for continual development to adjust for greater draw weights over time. The bow package is also needed here.
• Right-handed compound bow that’s only 3.1-lbs
• 310 FPS IBO rating
• Let-off is 75%
• Draw weight from 5 lbs to 70 lbs
• Draw length from 13-iches to 30-inches
• 31-inch axle-to-axle
• Bow package includes a Hostage XL arrow rest, an Octane quiver, BCY string loop, tube peep sight, and 3-pin sight
• No other camo pattern options with this package
The Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Bow Package is a delightful right-handed starting bow with an attractive camo to merge into the forest background during a hunt. The Infinite Edge bow is combined with a useful package for new hunters which includes the Hostage XL arrow rest, an Octane quiver, BCY string loop, tube peep sight, and 3-pin sight for greater accuracy. These are all accessories that usually would need to be purchased separately to go hunting with the right gear.
The bow has an adjustable draw length from 13-inches up to 30-inches (and a 31-inch axle-to-axle) which support hunters with a different arm reach. The draw weight is equally impressive with adjustable settings from as little as just 5 lbs right up to a healthy 70 pounds. The ability to go very low on the draw weight and boost up as the hunter gets more accomplished makes this an excellent choice. The let-off is 75% which enables hunters to hold the bow steady for longer which is good for nervous first-timers.
The weight is a pleasing 3.1-lbs; lighter than many compound bows. The speed when settings are optimized still reaches 310 FPS (IBO rating).
Two safety glasses are also provided to protect the young ones from forced errors.
• Sturdy compound bow in Realtree Xtra camo
• Draw weight up to 70 lbs
• Let-off 75%
• Draw length from 12-inches to 30-inches
• Two safety glasses included
• No choice of camo patterns
The Bear Archery Scout Youth Archery Set is a useful compound bow with some attractive qualities, like its Realtree Xtra camo. Intended first and foremost for younger archers, the model is quite helpful for people new to hunting who wish to give it a try.
The design is made from aluminum for sturdiness and has quad limbs that deliver greater power. The draw length is set between 12-inches and 30-inches in smaller 0.5-inch increments making this a good one for shorter or younger people. The let-off is 75%, and the draw weight is up to 70lbs.
The grip is molded to avoid the buildup of torque during the aiming and firing sequence and works with either left-handed or right-handed people. There are offset suppressors on the strings and a long stabilizer lower down. Arrows can be held within the frame for a smoother reshooting action.
• Lighter, quicker right-handed compound bow
• 320 FPS
• Let-off 70%
• Draw length from 19.5-inches to 30-inches
• Axle-to-axle length 32.5%
• Package includes a stabilizer, quiver, sling, Gemini sighting, nock loop, and other extras
• No other choice of camo coloring
The PSE Ready to Shoot Surge Bow Package is a complete package for new hunters. It has a sturdy looking setup with a draw length of 19.5-inches to 30-inches, an axle-to-axle length of 32.5-inches, and a let-off of 70%. The maximum speed is 320 FPS.
It is a right-handed bow with a package that includes a quality stabilizer, quiver, sling, nock loop, Gemini sighting, and more.
• Quality compound bow from PSE
• Skullworks cam, Planar Flex riser, and aircraft-grade aluminum
• Draw length 25-inches to 30-inches
• Draw weight up to 70lbs
• Weight 4.1lbs
• Let-off is 75%
• Up to 340 FPS
• A little less user-friendly for a beginner but it really delivers.
The PSE Prophecy 70-Pound Skullworks Bow is a left-handed bow with a Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity camo pattern. The frame is made from aircraft-grade aluminum (7075), with a Skullworks cam (inner), and a Planar Flex riser. Quality components all round here.
The draw length is between 25-inches and 30-inches. The second-generation cam drives the speed of 340 FPS. The let-off is 75%. The draw weight is up to 70 lbs. The weight is 4.1 lbs.
The most important thing with a new bow for an inexperienced hunter is to choose one that suits their needs. It isn’t always about speed or the look of the bow, but whether it will lend confidence during the learning process to becoming a better hunter. Rarely, is the first bow the last one ever purchased.