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What is a Hunting Bow?

By Ken Black
Updated May 23, 2024
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A hunting bow is a bow used for the purpose of killing an animal through the hunting process. Most hunting bows are compound bows, which use a pulley system to make it easier to pull back on the bowstring. The system also helps propel the arrow faster than would normally be available with a simple bow, given the length of the draw.

For those who are new to the sport of bow hunting, there are a number of things to consider when choosing a bow. First, while each hunting bow manufacturer will try to sell hunters on the latest that technology has to offer, most bows will do adequately. A hunting bow is a relatively simple device that has not changed much in millennia.

The hunting bow is one of the biggest keys to success in what is a very difficult sport. Bow and arrow hunting is a sport that requires patience and skill. It is not a sport that is learned quickly. However, having a bow in proper working order can make a difference.

The use of a hunting bow is all based on energy. There is potential energy generated when the bowstring is taken back, which causes the limbs of the bow to squeeze inward. When the bowstring is released, the limbs spring back to their original position, releasing energy into the arrow and giving it its propulsion.

The engineering that goes into a hunting bow is designed to do one of two things -- increase its speed or other performance qualities, or both. The velocity of an arrow is measured in terms of feet per second. Most of the time, an arrow will come from the bow at speeds nearing 300 feet per second (90 meters per second) or a little faster. Many hunters demand at least this benchmark, though this demand may be more psychological than practical.

The other performance quality in a bow most often of concern to hunters is the noise factor. Due to the very nature of bow hunting, the animals must be within a close range for any chance of success. Therefore, the sound a bow makes, or does not make, is critical. If the target animal is spooked by the sound of a hunting bow at any point during the process, either on the draw or release, the chances of completing a successful kill shot are substantially decreased.

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Discussion Comments
By Terrificli — On Oct 16, 2014

@Logicfest -- The same is true of black powder hunters. You only get one shot with a muzzle loader, too.

Still, I wouldn't be so critical of hunters that use modern guns. You do have a few hunting accidents due to carelessness, but most of them know what they are doing and don't create a safety risk in the woods.

By Logicfest — On Oct 15, 2014

I have nothing but respect for those hunters that use bows instead of guns. It takes quite a bit of skill to actually bring down an animal with one of those things.

Also, you don't have as many hunting accidents from those. If you are a bow hunter, you have one shot -- one chance -- to kill your prey. If you use a rifle, you can squeeze off several shots in a hurry.

Of those hunters, which two are the most likely to make sure what they are aiming with before letting a shot fly? The bow hunter, every time.

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