Hunting Archery Equipment

Archery equipment comes in many shapes and sizes. Some are gimmicks and some will stand the test of time. For example my drop away arrow rest is a Trophy Taker. I purchased it many years ago but it still performs very well. It does not have total arrow containment so you have to be careful when you draw so the arrow doesn’t fall off the arrow rest. That rest has been on my bow and taken many deer over the years. The old adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

Each piece is pretty much personal preference and most equipment can perform as long as you understand its limitations. I have tried a Whisker Biscuit arrow rest. It did not work for me at all. I could not get my bow to tune no matter what I did. With my setup the Biscuit just wasn’t right for me.

When it comes to equipment its pretty much try something and if it doesn’t work try something else. Of course there are certain things that usually just work. String loops are one such example.

Bow types even can be customized. Archery is one of the most customizable sports. You can shoot a recurve or you could shoot a compound bow. Fundamentally they do the same thing. You pull back the string with an arrow attached and when you release the string, it fires the arrow forward.

Most bows have sights to help aim but most recurves do not. Instinct shooting is what most people call shooting a recurve without sights. It takes tons of practice to get good at it, but can be very rewarding when you connect with a whitetail.

Recurve Bows

Recurve bows are pretty much a wooden or metal shaft with a string attached to both ends. The shaft bends when you pull on the string. The harder you pull the more energy is stored up and the faster the arrow will fly. That being said the harder you pull the harder it is to hold the bow with all the stored energy.

Recurve bows can shoot any of the modern arrows but many people will shoot wooden arrows out of them in a style called traditional archery. The broad heads are usually made out of a single blade or can even be made out of stone.

A person shooting a recurve bow will look down the arrow to help aim. The more you practice the better you will get. This type of bow takes a lot of time to master.

Compond Bows

Compond bows have wheels on the end of the bow limbs. The wheels are called cams and as they rotate they take a lot of the pressure off holding the string. Many compound bows have an 85% let off rating. This means that the bow holds 85% of the stored up energy and you have to hold the other 15%.

Sights can be mounted on the bow to help with aiming. With sights a compound is extremely accurate, provided that the bow is tuned correctly. I’ll add post on tuning in the future as that topic is fairly extensive. Basically tuning a bow get the arrow to leave the bow as straight as possible, with as little wiggle in the arrow shaft as possible.

Combine this with modern carbon arrows and modern broad heads and a compound bow is a deadly weapon. This style of bow does take practice to get the muscle memory and to get it sighted in properly but no where near as much practice as required by a recurve bow.

This style of bow is the most popular around. When I started hunting I started with a recurve and moved into a compound shortly afterwards. I currently hunt with a Diamond bow.


Crossbows are one of the newest bows used in hunting. A crossbow is the cross between a gun and a bow. The main part of a crossbow resembles a gun with a bow turned sideway.

Where I live, crossbows have just recently become legal to hunt with. It used be require a disabled permit. Now you just pay for the extra license and you can hunt just like any other bow.

A crossbow takes most of the human elements out of the process. The string is cocked and held. An arrow is knocked and ready to fire. The shooter just aims, and squeeze the trigger and off the arrow goes. There is not much form that needs to be mastered in this style other than being able to squeeze the trigger and not pull.


Arrows come in many varieties. Carbon, aluminum, wood, carbon wrapped in aluminum are the usual arrow materials. Carbon is becoming the standard due to its ease of use and rigidity. They can take a beating and keep on shooting.

Aluminum is usually lighter weight than carbon but also bend easier. I started hunting with aluminum as carbon really wasn’t an option. Once carbon came out and become affordable, I switched. Aluminum does have to strengths however. They fly good and are cheaper to replace.

Wood arrows can be purchased fairly inexpensively but I strongly recommend not shooting a wooden arrow out of anything other than a recurve. Most modern compounds and crossbows will shatter the arrow on release.

Each arrow type has its place and when used correctly compliments a hunters bow nicely. Used incorrectly they can become dangerous projectiles.

I suggest that you check your arrows after each shot. They can fail. I had a carbon arrow basically blow up on release. The arrow ended up in two main pieces and many tiny shards.

The only thing that happened to me was string burn where the string rubbed across my holding arm. I was very lucky that I didn’t get hurt worse.

I currently use Gold Tip carbon arrows.  They fly the best out of my particular bow.

Wrapping it up

Archery hunting can be very rewarding. This sport requires patience and lots of trial and error. Tuning a bow can be a long tedious process but one that should be taken if you want to become a “good shot”.

Equipment choice is one of personal preference for the most part as well as what performs for you the best. There are reviews on products all over the internet. I suggest taking the time to read some reviews on each product before you purchase it.

I wish you the best of luck if you choose to enter this rewarding sport. Hopefully I will to see you out there in the woods. If you happen to see me don’t hesitate to stop in and say hi.

I look forward to seeing any comments that you may have. I’ll respond to them the best that I can.

Thank you.

Dan Stevens

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8 thoughts on “Hunting Archery Equipment”

  1. Thanks for sharing this interesting post on hunting archery!

    To be honest i have never tried hunting archery as I haven’t really had the opportunity but I have done archery as a sport in the past. While I have done archery in the past I wasn’t aware of the different equipment involved so it was good to find out more about each type.

    If I get the chance to do hunting archery in the future I’ll have to bookmark this post so I can come back to it! 

    Just a quick question as its not highlighted is how much does this equipment cost to buy? Also if I was to start in this sport how much roughly would it cost to get started?


    • Hello Josh,

      Archery hunting is something that I really enjoy. The solitude of being in nature and watching how the animals interact with each other is interesting to say the least.  The cost of the equipment is really up the the person.  There are so many different options available to get started cost is something that is difficult to determine.  My setup costed about $600 new.  That includes everything needed to hunt (Arrows, rest, bow, broadheads, etc.). 

      My first bow all setup compound bow with aluminum arrows and cheap broadheads was about $100 but that was 30 plus years ago.  Deals can still be had if you purchase things used or buy a complete setup from someone. So to answer your question it can cost as much or as little as you are willing to spend.  The different equipment all had advantages and disadvantages. 

      Thanks for the comment. Dan

  2. I really enjoy archery, but I don’t hunt. In college I took a class that was mainly focused on learning to shoot at targets from an archery competition standpoint. We shot recurve bows and had to learn to shoot on instinct without sights. You’re right it was very rewarding to hit the middle of the bullseye. I have never shot at a moving target though.

    I didn’t actually know that people used recurve bows for hunting. I have a lot of friends who bow hunt and they all have compound bows. I guess it makes sense because most people don’t want to take the time to get good at instinct shooting before they can hunt reliably. 

    • Hello Maria,

      Hunting is not for everyone.  That’s cool that you learned to shot a recurve.  They are not easy to master and take tons of time practicing.  It is extremely rewarding to hit the bulls-eye especially at the further ranges.

      I hunt with a compound as well.  You can hunt with a recurve, but I want to make a quick and ethical kill.  I am much better with a compound then a recurve. Worse feeling in the world is knowing that you made a bad shot and the animal is going to suffer.  

      I have seen deer survive hits and once even found a broad head in the front shoulder against the bone.  It was all scarred over and the animal survived. Thanks for the comment. Dan

  3. Dan,

    Most females do not get into archery but I do and your article is point on.  Equipment is a matter of personal choice and getting used to it, learning how to use your equipment and safety.  I do not want to tell you how many times I wore arm burns from the string on my bow, and black and blue marks.  But practice makes perfect so they say and today I do not do too bad.  I prefer target archery just not into hunting guess because I seriously do not like cold weather.  We have a great Sportsman’s Club where I live and the target archery competitions that even the younger generation are finding awarding.

    Thanks for the wonderful information was great learning a few new tips looking forward to some more.


    • Hello Susan,

      Target shooting has become very popular over the years.  Sportsman’s clubs are a good way to learn archery as well as to socialize with other archery enthusiasts.  My wife is the same way.  She doesn’t like the cold so she doesn’t hunt. I’ve worn those arm burns over the years. Thanks for the comment. Dan   

  4. Good day! 

    I came across your site whilst researching types of bows as my son is interested in learning archery. I enjoyed your overveiw of the types and information about the arrows. I thought it best he learn with a recurve bow but wasn’t sure if is good to hunt with. Although recurves were used for hunting in history, it seems that crossbows and compound bows are the choice hunting bows. Would it still be best to start his archery journey with recurve bow and let him move up to a compound bow? Do people still use recurve bows for hunting big game? What type of bow would you suggest a 12y old to start with that will “grow” with him and still be of good use in 5 years? Thank you!

    • Recurves do work to hunt with but are also very challenging.  To be competent with then the shooter has to stay in practice.  For a young person to start out with I would recommend a compound that has the ability to grow with him as his arm length expands and he builds muscle.  Crossbow is also a option depending on the area that you hunt in.  

      For example Wisconsin has not had crossbows available for anyone that wasn’t disabled until a few years ago.  Now there is a crossbow season here.  

      Crossbows are the easiest of the three to learn and master.  Compound bows can be purchased fairly inexpensively but take practice to stay in form.  

      Thank you for your comment. Dan

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