Hi, today we’re going to clarify something. So, you’re looking at getting a bow. You might be imagining this epic camouflage bow that looks awesome and you just want to have it in your hands. And then you might, you know, I want to do some competition shooting.
So you look at these competition bows and you see these weird things sticking out, and you’re like, what are they? Are they important? Do I have to get them? You know, I come across a few people who want to get a bow for backyard shooting. And then they want to do some competitions and they want to do hunting as well. It’s quite important to understand that there are some differences between bows that are designed for target shooting and bows specifically designed for hunting.
To give this some context, let’s say that there are entry-level bows, target bows and hunting bows. The entry-level bows are the cheap wooden takedown bows such as the Fuse Focus, the Samick Polaris and the PSE Razorback. These bows aren’t really target or hunting bows. They’re somewhat small, have light draw weights which cap out at around 34# and are meant for people who are just getting into the sport and want a light bow to practice with. The power and performance don’t make them suitable for competitive target archery or bowhunting.
There are some exceptions. The Samick Sage, for example, can come in higher poundages, such as 45# or 60#. And they can be used as entry-level hunting bows. So if you’re moving on from entry-level equipment or you’ve chosen to skip that step and get intermediate equipment, you’ve got to spend quite a bit of cash and you want to think about what kind of archery you want to specialise in.
So, let’s take a look at some of the differences between target equipment and hunting equipment. Target bow are the kind of bows you would see in competition shooting. For most people, this is what you would see in the Olympic Games. As you can imagine, there are competitions at local, national and world level. Target bows are optimised for performance on the range and the accessories you put on the bow are designed to assist the archer in achieving long range precision and consistency.
Target bows have some distinct features. Firstly, their appearance is bright, metallic and feature large brand logos for that sporty look. The size is also quite obvious, with the typical target bow being 68 inches long, effectively as tall as the archer. The long stabilisers help with keeping the bow steady. The sight is a simple adjustable ring sight. Bow materials generally favour aluminium or carbon. The bows are typically rather heavy and balanced. If you’re thinking buying a bow with the possibility of going hunting, target bows aren’t really a practical choice.
Remember, when you hunt, you’ll be in the field. The size of a target bow make it rather cumbersome, and I’m talking about the length. It’s kind of taller than you are. It’s quite huge. You can’t use the long stabilisers because it’ll get in the way. The bright colours and the branding don’t really fit in the outdoor environment. It’s generally very clumsy. Remember, target bows are designed to consistently hit targets at 70, 90 metres. You’re not really going to be shooting beyond 30 metres when you’re hunting.
So, what makes a hunting bow different? For starters, the appearance is quite different. Most hunting bows are wooden or otherwise have camouflage patterns or just plain black. Unlike target bows, wooden hunting bows are a large part of the market, although you can get metal risers. Hunting bows are shorter and accessories are more compact.
Your choice of accessories also differs. Many hunters prefer to shoot with a glove rather than a finger tab. Whisker biscuits are commonly used. And string silencers are also normal. Modern bows often allow for bow-mounted quivers. Sights are often multi-pin sights for multiple distances, since your target won’t be conveniently standing at a set distance. And of course, the choice of arrows and arrow points will be different.
We’ve established that target bows aren’t very practical for the field. So does a hunting bow have a place on the range? From a practical perspective, you could use a hunting bow in a target competition from a technical perspective. However, it’s going to be out-performed by a target bow. Here’s the tale of the tape. In simple terms, a target bow, especially a high-end one, will squeeze out more performance. We’re talking about more efficiency for a given draw weight. Higher velocity, and more control over vibrations.
The light weight of a hunting bow is actually a disadvantage on a target range compared to a heavier target bow, because there’s less stability. Additionally, target bows can mount a variety of stabilisers and dampeners as well as other accessories, such as a plunger or clicker whereas hunting bows cannot. On the target range, colour and shape and noised don’t matter.
All things considered, a target bow should be able to get tighter groupings at longer distances. This underlines the unique requirements of bowhunters and target shooters, and how manufacturers design bows that suit these needs.
A bowhunter doesn’t need long-distance precision while a target shooter doesn’t have to worry about the size of their bow. As a footnote, while this mainly applies to recurve bows, these differences also apply to some extent to compound bows. This affects you, because you can’t really buy a bow that is suitable for everything. Bows are designed with these purposes in mind, especially at the higher end.
If you’re thinking of getting a bow, it’s worth keeping these limitations in mind. Anyway, this is NUSensei. Hope this video was helpful. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.