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How to Start Hunting with a bow

Updated on February 21, 2013

Getting Started

There are many articles, hubs, and columns dedicated to helping hunters improve their hunting abilites. What I have noticed, is that there are not many that tell you exactly what you need and how to get started. I began bowhunting whitetail deer a few years ago and had to ask around to figure out everything I needed as far as gear and paperwork. It didn't take too long to get the information I needed, but I felt kind of embarrassed being a grown man and asking my cousins about the simple necessities of their deer hunting religion. So, I decided to throw this out there to help anyone looking to start bowhunting (for whitetail deer or whatever) maintain their "all knowing" status. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone you came here for advice.


First things first, get your license. I know things differ from state to state, but I'm positive no matter where you go, you'll need a hunting license. If you purchase a license for your state, it's usually no more than $10. Keep in mind that if you have to travel to the next state, you can normally purchase a 3 day pass or the license. These will be much more expensive than buying the license in your home state. Then, you will have to get your tags. The best place to check what tags and stamps you may need is with your state Dept of Natural Resources. They will have a list of all the required paperwork you need for deer, turkey, or anything else you can hunt with a bow and arrow. There's also Wal-Mart. You can pretty much go to the counter and say "I want to go bowhunting for deer gimmee everything I need." That should work too. In some states however, you may have to mail in for a tag. That is why you should check with your state's DNR.


You have to have a place to go. You can find out what parks in your area have public ground for you to hunt on. DO NOT go on private property without permission from the land owner. This is a sure fire way to get in trouble, or worse yet, shot at. Be sure to find out any rules the public places have and abide by them. You can also lease land or join a hunting club. Those are more expensive, but there will be less competition to drive the deer away.  I have found many land leases on craigslist in the sports equipment and farm sections. There are some people that will lease their land for a day and some that lease the land to you for an entire year.


There are obvious essentials you need for bowhunting. Those would be, a bow and an arrow. With the 2 objects you can kill a deer. (As long as you have all your papers!) However, there are some specifics even with these you must adhere to. Typically there is a minimum draw weight the bow must be set to. This is to ensure there is enough energy for the arrow to pentrate the deer and cause a kill wound. Also, there are usually limits to the size of broadhead you are allowed to use on your arrows. Once again, you can find this information at the DNR.

I recommend talking to a sales associate at your local sporting goods store to find what bow fits you and the method you plan on using. If you plan on being in a tree stand, you may want to use a more compact compound bow. You also will need to determine what your draw length is to ensure you get the best accuracy possible. I also recommend using carbon arrows. These arrows are strong and will not break or bend very easily, if at all.

Tree stand or ground blind? That totally depends on you. A tree stand is nice because it gets you higher off the ground and HELPS (not prevents) your odor in the wind. A tree stand isn't nice if you'd like to hunt many positions or if you're afraid of heights. Unless you have a climbing stand, it is really difficult to change your location. Climbing stands should be practiced with before using them in the field. I personally prefer the ground blind. It is easy to move around and is low to the ground. It's best used if you can leave it in place for a while so the deer get used to it, but isn't necessary. Paricularly nice if you hunt public ground where your stuff could get stolen. Be sure to get some scent killer spray to try to minimize odors in the blind material. You can pick up a blind or a tree stand for probably around $70 and up. If you go with the ground blind, I recommend getting some sort of little stool to sit on as well.

I also recommend having a good hunting knife with you. A knife with a fixed blade is probably best to ensure your knife doesn't fold and cut you while you are field dressing your deer. It would be very easy to cut yourself and not notice since your hand will most likely be covered in blood already.

Binoculars are another wise item to invest in. You don't have to get the most expensive brand on the market. I use a $10 pair I bought at Wal-Mart. They come in very handy for scouting while on site. You can see if there are deer heading your way or watch where they are going. Also can make for a little entertainment while on stand for long periods of time.

How to Use a Climbing Tree Stand


Honostly, the deer don't care. The better the camo, the less likely you are to be seen. But honostly, they'll probably smell you before they see you. You can pick up cammies at almost any respectable sporting goods shop OR a farm supply store (usually the most economical). Whatever kind of clothing you go with, be sure to get some kind of anti scent spray or wash. Also, you once again, need to check with the DNR to find out about the Hunter Orange laws. You may have to wear it in some states while others you don't.

Learn How To Field Dress Your Deer

It's also a good idea to know what you plan on doing once you do bag your deer. You can usually find a processor to grind and butcher your deer for you, but you should field dress it at least to help ensure you get the best flavor from your meat. Most processors will do this for you too for an extra few dollars, but the longer you wait, the more it can effect your meat. I found this article to have pretty good directions on field dressing your kill.


Happy Hunting!

These are the basics you need to get started. The most important thing to remember is make sure you're following all the regulations. The DNR is your friend! The LAST thing you need is your vehicle and gear impounded for doing something stupid!

Now, go and read all the articles on how to bag a big buck and drill one right in the pump station! Be Safe.


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    • TrophyDeerHunting profile image

      Keith 2 years ago from Maine

      Great hub. Very thorough, it is always great to have more info available for new hunters.

      Personally, I love deer hunting with a bow. I often go out with a bow even during rifle season.

      Thanks again for the hub.

    • Wayne Orvisburg profile image

      Kenneth Wayne 8 years ago from Alabama

      I copied the link that's supposed to go to the website. Any advice?

    • flread45 profile image

      Frank 8 years ago from Montana

      Why are you putting your clickserve I.D.on your hub?

    • donotfear profile image

      donotfear 8 years ago from The Boondocks

      I'll have to pass this on to my spouse. He's obsessed with bow hunting! I wrote a hub about it 'How to deal with a hunting obsessed man'.