BowHunting 101


Bowhunting is a tradition enjoyed by millions of Americans. If you’re unsure about where to get started, we have the tools and resources to help you on your way. This microsite outlines how to start bowhunting in seven steps and lists helpful, applicable articles in each step to get more in-depth information. If you’re on the fence, read:

If you’re ready to dive in but want a high-level overview of what to expect, check out the following two articles. Otherwise, work your way through our seven-step process to become a bowhunter.  

Step 1: Purchase Gear and Sign Up for Lessons

Buying a bow is a fun experience and it’s one of your first steps in becoming a bowhunter. Visit an archery pro shop to find an archery expert who can help you select a bow that fits your body and budget. 

How to Buy Your First Bow

A Buyer’s Guide to Compound Bows

How to Choose a Hunting Arrow

Step 1: Purchase Gear and Sign Up for Lessons

Step 2: Take a Hunter Education and Get Your License

Before you can buy a hunting license you must take a hunter education class, which goes over hunting laws, ethics and safety. Hunter education requirements vary from state to state. For example, some states require a separate bowhunter education class and some states allow you to take an online course. Click here to check your state wildlife agency website for rules and information on hunter education requirements, licenses, hunting laws and public hunting land.  

Take a Hunter’s Education Course Now. Here’s What to Expect

Take an Online Hunter Education Course Today

How To Buy a Hunting License in 4 Steps

How to Understand Hunting Laws (Without a Law Degree) 

Step 2: Take Hunter Education and Get your License

Step 3: Find a Place to Hunt

The United States has millions of acres of public land available to hunt. Your state wildlife agency will have information on public hunting areas. You can also ask permission to hunt on private property if you don’t own land.  

Information about Public Land

Explore Unique Hunting Opportunities Near Home

Ask Permission to Bowhunt Private Property in 4 Easy Steps 

Step 3: Find a Place to Hunt

Step 4: Purchase or Borrow Hunting Gear

The gear you need for hunting depends on the type of hunting you plan to do and where you plan to hunt. To find out what you need, ask experienced local hunters or the pros at your local archery shop for their advice. Or, check out these helpful articles.  

Bowhunting on a Budget: The Bare Minimum Gear List

7 Must-Have Items for Bowhunting (and 7 More You’ll Probably Want to Take, Too)

Gear Up for Bowhunting 

Step 4: Purchase or Borrow Hunting Gear

Step 5: Practice and Research

To become proficient with your equipment, you must practice regularly. Bowhunters should learn proper shooting form and practice in realistic hunting scenarios. Making an ethical, lethal shot also requires an understanding of deer anatomy and shot placement. Unlike targets, animals don’t have scoring rings that tell you where to aim. Practice and do your research before pursuing game animals. 

Compound Archery Form 101

Shooting Tips for Bowhunters

8 Ways to Improve Your Shot

Life Hack: Practice Routines for Busy People 


Step 6: Choose Your Hunting Spots

How do you get within bow range of an animal? You must pick the right hunting spot. It’s a real challenge, which is half the fun of bowhunting. Understand your quarry’s basic needs and how it uses the terrain before you determine where to set up. This approach gives you the best chance at ambushing an animal. 

The 6 Best Spots for Bowhunting Whitetails (And When to Hunt Them)

Strategies for Finding and Hunting Whitetail Bedding Areas

Pick the Perfect Spot to Get a Bowshot 

5 Traits of Great Hunting Spots 

Step 6: Choose Your Hunting Spots

Step 7: Go Hunting!

Hunting for the first time is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, especially if you see (and get the opportunity to shoot) an animal. You’ll likely make mistakes, but as long as you learn from your mistakes and keep your chin up, you’ll be better positioned for future hunting adventures. Remember to enjoy every moment, adapt as you go, and only shoot when the animal is within range and you have a good, ethical shot. 

If you released an arrow and missed, try to determine what went wrong. If you hit your quarry, take a moment to relish the moment. Then, find the animal by following the blood trail. After tagging your harvest and taking a few photos, you should field dress and properly process the meat. These articles will help.  

Ted Nugent’s Advice for First-Time Bowhunters

What First-Time Bowhunters Can Expect Afield

Tips to Ensure Opening Day Success 

Blood Trailing Step by Step

Beginner’s Guide to Butchering Deer

Freeze it! How to Save and Store Venison

Step 7: Go Hunting!

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