What are the main advantages of bow hunting?
As I walked in the dark that morning, my mind raced. As I focused on the tunnel vision provided by my headlamp, what had happened the night before kept repeating itself over and over again. A beautiful black bear stood under me just 18 meters away and I blew it away. Not just once either, but twice. Two arrows went over his back. I thought to myself, “Will I even have another chance?” Or was this my opportunity for the season? Just hours later a husky red boar fed on my side of the canyon and there was nothing I could do about it. Not with a bow at least. If a gun had been next to me, this story would have ended much differently. At times like this, the act of bow hunting seems insane. Why would anyone want to submit to this? Believe it or not, however, there are actually some benefits to this bow hunt. A light in the dark.
Hone your skills
One of the first things that come to my mind – in terms of the benefits of bow hunting – is honing your skills. Spend enough time hunting with archery, and your skills as a hunter are sure to skyrocket, especially if you are successful. Success with a bow is often described as “star alignment” and while I believe there is a little luck in any hunt, it is not just luck from afar. Year after year, there are people who are constantly filling out labels with their bows. There is a reason for this and that reason rhymes with “competence”. Please let me assure you: I am not downplaying rifle hunting at all. It’s hard enough in itself. However, one thing that cannot be denied is that there is a lot more that can be done to put an arrow into a creature. More things matter and being hyper aware tends to be a common trait among successful bow hunters. For someone who wants to learn, the challenge of bow hunting will absolutely sharpen their skills as a hunter in general.
No need to keep buying ammo
I’ll be the first to admit that shooting guns is just plain fun. Going out into the wilderness and blowing up produce or fine-tuning that litter for the hunting season is time well spent, especially with good buddies. For this to happen, however, a trip to the local sporting goods store to purchase ammo must take place in advance. Not only does it add up, but it also involves having to go to the store. You could say reloading is the solution, but is it really? Reloading requires an investment of time, not to mention the investment in equipment to do it. As for a bow, buy a dozen arrows and you’re good to start over and over again. As long as you don’t lose or break them, of course. Other than those cases, it’s as easy as removing them from your target. This brings me to my next point: practice.
Easier to practice on a more regular basis
Every year before the annual deer camp, my dad and I would go to the local shooting range to give rifle training for the season. It was something I always looked forward to as a kid because it was like an event for me. We would stop for a hot cup of coffee on the way, usually accompanied by a donut or two. It was a good time. Every time we went I always wished it was something I could do more often. For that to happen, however, we would be making a lot of trips, either to the shooting range or to the desert to find a safe place to shoot. It was an investment of time. With my bow I can just go out into the garden, throw a few out and go about my daily business. And if I wanted to do it several times a day, I could and always can. This is excellent in terms of familiarity with your weapon as well as the obvious aspect of shooting skills. We have so many more opportunities to become better shooters with our bows because we can train with them more often. Most of us anyway. If you live in the countryside and can shoot a rifle on your own property then you have done it in the shade on both fronts.
While both bow hunting and rifle hunting are inherently dangerous, I truly believe bow hunting is safer. Yes, broadheads are sharp and you can definitely cut yourself; However, the bows are not accidentally shot when walking with your hunting partner. Not unless you are walking around at full draw, which is not at all realistic. If you drop a bow, there’s no way he’ll shoot an arrow at your buddy. Of course, it all comes down to good gun safety practices, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t walk around with a bullet in the bedroom, but people do. If you have a bullet in the chamber, security should be on until you’re ready to shoot, but there are people who do the opposite anyway. And while accidents do happen from time to time in the archery hunting world, they happen a lot less. How often do you hear that someone accidentally shot their buddy or a complete stranger with an arrow? Not often, which is why I consider this to be another advantage of bow hunting.
More time in the field
The Arizona Department of Game and Fisheries was trying to advertise archery hunting in its main regulations as an opportunity for “more time in the field.” While bow hunting can be more difficult – without a doubt – there are many more opportunities to do so. It’s because it’s hard. The success rates are not at all very high with archery hunting, so more opportunities are available. When I first learned about how many other opportunities a bow hunter had, that alone was reason enough for me to really care about it. Growing up and only going hunting once a year wasn’t going to cut it when I got older. The answer to this question was bow hunting. With it, there is no excuse or lack of opportunity to go hunting.
As I sat there watching this gorgeous red boar hitting its local fruit stand, I have to admit: there was a bit of frustration. The bear of my dreams was right in front of me and I almost certainly knew he wasn’t going to take me back to camp with my bag. Instead, he would stay on my mind for years to come. Even as I write this this bear still keeps me moving, which in my opinion is another benefit I have received from bow hunting. If I had taken a gun that morning, I wouldn’t have spent 45 minutes watching the bear or had that longing that this experience gave me. Then there are the close encounters. The ones that make your hair stand on end and leave you still. Experiences that are at an all time high in the “almost” category. And when it all comes together, through the undeniable difficulty that passengers experience in bow hunting, that sense of accomplishment is unsettling. All because you have decided to take a bow and arrows. Invaluable.