Preparing for your 1st Bowhunting Season – Gear Recommendations
Megan Plete Postol 08.19.21
It may be hot now but the mornings are turning crisper by the day and you’re getting excited for your 1st bowhunting season. You’ve taken your bowhunter education course and it is time to get your gear ready. What do you need to get started? Read on for some expert recommendations.
Practice, practice, practice, and then when you feel confident you can’t miss – practice more. Respect the animal you are targeting enough to recognize that it deserves a clean and quick kill. The Bow Guru, Ian Brucker, preaches practice, too.
“Purchasing all the gear in the world is great but if you don’t practice with it you may as well not even use it,” Brucker said. “Shoot your bow year round while increasing your frequency as season approaches and continue practicing into the season.”
Brucker is a Level 2 USA archery instructor and New York State Bowhunter Safety Instructor with 30 years’ experience bowhunting. For twenty years he operated an archery shop in Holland Patent, New York. He is also the producer of the outdoor adventure television show, Off the Beaten Path Media, which chronicles the expeditions of a core group of hunters as they chase wild game and try to fill their tags and freezers. Practice shooting your bow the way you will while hunting.
“If you plan to hunt from a tree stand, practice setting up and shooting from your tree stand whenever possible,” Brucker said.” Always use a safety harness when hunting or practicing from your stand.”
Accubow is a training tool that makes staying sharp and consistent easier. It is a virtual archery practice system that consists of a compound bow tool and a mobile app. The draw weight of the bow is adjustable from 10-70 lbs in pulling resistance, making it usable for all ages and skill levels. The AccuBow can be used to gradually build up shooting strength. The convenience is what makes product unique. It can be used to stay consistent in the off-season when a shooter may not have the freedom or availability to be outside shooting their regular bow. As the parent of a young child, this reason alone makes Accubow stand out for me. I tried the Accubow Green Mantis and found that it felt very realistic and was extremely user-friendly.
The application has a variety of different features to try, including target shooting, hunting different types of game, bowfishing, tree stand hunting, online multi-player mode, walk-and-stalk bowhunting, archery golf, and a build-your-own archery range feature. The app is completely free to download and use.
Be consistent with practicing while planning out and acquiring hunting gear. Some important gear to have while bowhunting is good camouflage, sharp broadheads, a reliable range finder, a bow release, and a good scent control product.
“Lay out all you gear and get it situated in your pack,” Brucker said. “I designate certain pockets to hold specific items, such as calls, flashlight, a rangefinder or snacks. It’s easy to find things when you know where everything is. Saddle hunting is becoming more popular. You better know how to use it well before season. The same goes with tree stands – if you are hanging a run and gun or a climber, you don’t want to figure it out on the first hunt.”
Good broadheads are an important part of your gear strategy. I recommend Swhacker. Swhacker’s razor sharp broadheads are mechanical broadheads, which open up after contact with the game animal. Swhacker broadheads utilize two-slice technology, which creates the massive internal hemorrhaging, and thus, a quick, clean, ethical kill.
Another crucial element is concealment, which is where good camouflage comes in. Treezyn brand provides excellent coverage with exceptionally soft, comfortable material. The brand was built with sportsman in mind; first came the patterns, and then the clothing was designed around the camouflage, not the other way around. The early “seezyn” line is perfect for bowhunting. It is light, ventilated, and patterned to blend with early season whitetail hunting.
Scent control is a very important factor for success during the early season, too. A quality scent control product, such as No Scent, eliminates the pesky human scent that may deter your target deer from giving you a shot. No Scent’s trademarked Eco-Zyme formula targets and dissolves human stink on a molecular level. The brand has a variety of products, such as laundry pods, hair and body wash, and field spray. The products are skin, clothing, and gear safe, and free of harsh chemicals and heavy metals.
Make sure your bow is fit to you. Find a local archery shop – a simple Google search should be enough to help you narrow down some options for archery shops near you. Give them a visit to make sure your bow is in tip top shape before heading into the woods.
“Buying gear is one thing and buying gear that fits is another,” Brucker said. “Correct purchasing will separate bowhunting success and disappointment. Your bow should fit you, your arrows should be the correct spine and length. Clothing needs to be comfortable, functional, quiet, and properly sized.”
Keep It Simple
“KISS – the ‘keep it simple stupid’ mantra can go a long way,” Brucker said. “We all can get caught up in the catalogs, magazines, and videos with flashy ads, stating that ‘this is the best widget and you need it.’ Simply ask yourself this: Is this purchase going to accomplish what it intends or what I hope it will? Is it geared towards the type of hunting I am doing?
“For example,” Brucker continued. “A simple single or three pin bow sight may be all you need in a whitetail tree, but if you’re heading west to the open prairies chasing antelope, elk or mule deer you may opt for a sight with four – seven pins, a single pin moveable, or a hybrid which combines both for longer shot.”
Consider Doubling Up
“Two is better than none,” Brucker said. He suggests doubling up on select gear. “An extra release in your pack can go a long way when you have a malfunction or are in a rush getting to the stand and you realize you forgot to put it on – yes I’m guilty of that. Extra bow ropes to pull gear into the stand, extra hand warmers and socks, for when temps start to cool down, may take the edge off for that last hour of light when movement typically picks up.”
If the new bowhunter follows the suggested principles of consistent practice and meticulous preparation, they will set themselves up for success in their first season afield.