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Many women believe they face far more unique challenges when it comes to bowhunting than men do. The reality, however, is that women face less unique challenges than they think to have a positive experience and get the most out of the sport of bowhunting.
We have compiled 21 bowhunting tips for women that are sure to help women enjoy the sport:
- Equipment is Everything
- Consider a Coach or Private Lessons
- Selection of the Proper Equipment is a Science
- Draw Weight is Important
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Stance is Vital to Success
- A Good Grip is Gold
- Master the Draw
- Practice How You Will Hunt
- Learn Animal Anatomy
- Pick the Right Accessories
- Work for a Short Release
- Learn to Watch the Arrow
- Practice in Different Lights
- A Level Helps
- Learn How to Fine Tune Your Equipment
- Master the Wind
- Learn how to Scout Hunting Spots
- Protect Yourself from Glare
- Pretty Fletching May Not Be Best
- How You Smell Matters
When getting into any sport, it is crucial to understand how to pick your equipment, what techniques to use, and how to get started. Women shouldn’t feel inadequate or less physically equipped to enjoy bowhunting.
The reality is that women simply need to do their research, pay attention to their technique and also make sure they pick the right equipment in order to have a great bowhunting experience. We’ve done the research, so you can get right to the best parts!
Key Things to Remember
It is important for women who wish to enjoy bowhunting to approach the sport methodically. Like anything else, the more you know about how to do something, the better you can be at doing it.
Remember that while these tips are listed as being for women, anyone interested in bowhunting can easily apply each item in this list of 21 bowhunting tips to his or her own situation.
1. Equipment is Everything
For women bowhunters, equipment is the most important factor to consider. There is specialized equipment for women bowhunters.
However, the most important thing to remember is that bowhunting equipment should fit the person and that some women are more comfortable with equipment specifically designed for women while others prefer men’s equipment.
Here are a few key factors to consider when it comes to equipment:
- Hand-me-down equipment won’t work if it was designed to fit another person
- Bowhunting equipment must work with your height, physical strength, and arm length
- Just because the equipment is expensive doesn’t mean it is better
- Don’t fall for fancy equipment designed for women if it doesn’t fit your arm length and strength
2. Consider a Coach or Private Lessons
Bowhunting isn’t an easy sport. Bowhunting has many specialized techniques and tricks that only an experienced guide or coach can help you with.
Don’t assume your husband, boyfriend, brother, or work colleague is the best possible teacher for you. If he isn’t a professional, consider using a professional who teaches people how to actually bow hunt.
Here are a few ways private lessons can help you:
- Repetitive training technique
- Skills taught to you by an expert in the field
- Tips and tricks that most people don’t know shared with you
- Individualized attention tailored to your strengths and weaknesses
3. Selection of the Proper Equipment is a Science
Selection of the proper equipment is more of a science than speculation, and it takes time. When you go to the sports shop to pick out your equipment, prepare for:
- Spending a good bit of time there – several hours is not uncommon
- Testing a lot of equipment
- Close contact—sometimes the best way to check and explain and measure requires another person touching you on the arm, shoulders, or forearm, so be prepared for it. If that makes you uncomfortable, let the instructor know. And you may want to go with a friend for additional support.
Two things will be key to helping you select the right equipment:
- measuring your draw length
- finding your draw weight.
All of this will take time and require you to try and shoot a lot of bows. Be careful to make the decision based on the equipment that handles best, and not what is on sale or what the salesperson promotes as a better brand than others.
Too, remember that as you become a more advanced hunter, and your strength on the draw increases, you may outgrow your equipment.
Like any other physical activity, the more you repeat the technique, the stronger your muscles will come, and the better your muscle memory will become for that repetitive action.
Also, depending on what you are hunting, you may need different equipment—especially as your strength on the draw increases. For example, as your draw strength increases, you may need a less powerful bow for close-range shooting.
4. Draw Weight is Important
When it comes to finding your draw length, that is easy—it is a simple measurement. Draw weight, however, is another matter entirely. It all depends upon how much you can pull back without straining yourself.
Don’t try to be Superwoman when you are trying out bows for draw weight, either. Don’t force yourself for a draw weight that is uncomfortable.
Do what feels natural and what you can handle without strain. Don’t try to do more than you can do comfortably because you can strain yourself badly and will not be able to consistently pull that much weight if you are on a hunting trip or excursion.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
In order to be a good bowhunter and hit your target consistently, it will take practice. You’ll have to practice drawing the bow, your stance, and focusing on your target.
Consistent practice involves either going to a range or setting up a target in your garage or your yard—depending on how much space you have. For practice consider:
- Paper targets
- 3-D Styrofoam targets
- Recording yourself so you can go back and watch what you did well when you make a good shot
- Practice under different lighting, wind, and weather conditions.
6. Stance is Vital to Success
How you stand is an important aspect of proper bowhunting technique. It is recommended for you to stand with feet shoulder-width apart, while you are facing the target at a 90-degree angle to the target. Your shoulder on the arm you use to grip the bow should point to the target.
Like everything else, a good stance requires practice. Practice your stance and practice holding it for long periods of time until it becomes both comfortable and second-nature to you.
7. A Good Grip is Gold
A good grip is very, very important when it comes to women bowhunters.
While you should rely on a private coach to advise you most on your grip, there are a few key things you should remember when it comes to a grip.
- You should use the web of the hand to support the bow, never your palm or fingers
- You should maintain a fairly loose grip on the bow
- Relax the hand and wrist or you may introduce too much torque to the bow which can lessen accuracy
- The goal is as little contact with the bow as physically possible while holding it to maintain aim
8. Master the Draw
How you drawback on the bow is the key to your success as a female bowhunter. There are many different techniques for drawing back the bow.
Most are generally the same but have a few subtle differences. The main thing is that you are pulling the string across the chest, not into it; the elbow on the hand you will release with must point upward when you are drawing the bow.
Remember, too, that as you become a more experienced bowhunter, your strength will increase, and your draw will change. Having a strong draw technique will help you understand exactly how you should adjust your draw to match your strength.
9. Practice How You Will Hunt
Practice doesn’t apply to simply shooting for accuracy. You will also want to practice how to hunt. Hunting requires some stealth behaviors that require you to move deliberately and with speed but also quietly and without disturbing the environment around you.
Because bowhunting equipment can be a bit bulky, you will want to practice the techniques you will use to raise your bow, secure an arrow, and get other equipment needed without making too much noise or too flashy of movements.
Practicing how you will hunt will make your hunting excursion better and more successful, and decrease the likelihood that your movements will inadvertently scare off your prey.
10. Learn Animal Anatomy
Believe it or not, you can’t just shoot an animal anywhere when you are hunting. There are many reasons for this:
- Hitting an animal in some places will not immediately take it down, meaning you must track it
- Hitting an animal in some places will make the animal’s muscles seize, making the meat tough even when processed
- Knowing where to aim on specific types of animals will result in quicker harvests
- It reduces the chance you will have to spend hours tracking your animals
11. Pick the Right Accessories
There are a number of accessories that will take your already hard-earned, honed skills and make them stand out.
Whether you are bowhunting with a compound bow or with a traditional bow and arrow, everything from arm pads to scopes to arrow weights can help you up your game as a female bowhunter.
Also, don’t fall for accessories marketed to women if they don’t work for you. As more and more women become bowhunters, companies seeking solely to make money off female bowhunters are devising more and more accessories marketed to women.
However, some of these accessories address problems that may not impact you or simply don’t work as advertised.
12. Work for a Short Release
A short release can make your arrow go farther and faster. However, a short, quick release takes lots of practice. Practice your release without an arrow and with an arrow. The release may mean the difference between a crack shot and a lost arrow.
13. Learn to Watch the Arrow
It may seem like common sense, but you must watch your arrow once it is released to see where it goes, how it travels, etc.
Not only does this help you see it as it hits your target, but watching its movement through the air can help you improve your stance, release, and other techniques to either replicate a good shot or correct your mistakes.
14. Practice in Different Lights
Shooting your bow in low light versus the bright of the day are two vastly different experiences. Also, if you are using night-vision (if legal in your jurisdiction) to hunt, that, too, takes adjustment and practice. Make sure you practice in all types of lighting conditions.
Remember that, depending on the time of sunrise and sunset, the sun can easily be in your face when the target comes in view, and you’ll have to be able to shoot with the sun in your face if necessary.
15. A Level Helps
If you are using a compound bow, and it doesn’t come with a level, you should consider adding one. The level will help you keep your bow level in order to maintain the best possible shots.
Having a level will help you ensure you are shooting straight no matter whether you are shooting in tough conditions or on a flat prairie.
16. Learn How to Fine Tune Your Equipment
Like a violin, a compound bow needs to be adjusted from time to time. Work with a professional to help understand the best ways to adjust your bow depending upon all the features of your equipment.
It is important for you to understand how to adjust and fine-tune your own equipment because you will need to adjust it the more you shoot. On a hunting trip, you need to be able to do this yourself, as the nearest sporting goods store may be hundreds of miles away.
Practice adjusting your equipment, too. When practicing, consider adjusting your bow differently to see how it works for you. As you become a more experienced hunter, you may need to adjust your bow differently to get the best shot.
17. Master the Wind
Wind plays a major role when bowhunting. It is important as a bowhunter for you to understand:
- Wind direction
- How to shoot into the wind if necessary
- How to determine how wind speed will alter your accuracy
Mastering how to make the wind your asset instead of your enemy will be a major asset to you as a female bowhunter. Just as indigenous people did, you too can use the wind to your great advantage when hunting.
Whether shooting into the wind, with the wind at your back, or against the wind, you can ensure that you will be able to master any different situation.
18. Learn how to Scout Hunting Spots
The best bowhunting techniques you can possess won’t help you if you don’t know how to pick a hunting spot that is where the deer, turkey, or whatever you want to hunt are there.
To scout the best hunting spots depending on what animals you are hunting, you will need to have some understanding of:
- Animal ecosystems
- What animals eat
- How animals travel (single, in pairs, or in packs/herds)
- How weather impacts animal presence
- How quickly animals can travel
Understanding how and where the animals you are hunting live will help you understand the type of spot you should pick to hunt. Picking a proper spot will help you have a more successful hunt.
19. Protect Yourself from Glare
The proper eyewear will be key to any female bowhunter when it comes to protecting yourself from too much glare from the sun, off a body of water, or off of nearby objects when you are trying to hit your target. Some specific types of eye-black are also useful for preventing glare.
Whether you use sunglasses, eye black, or a visor, make sure you are protected properly from glare. It will make your hunt go much better.
20. Pretty Fletchings May Not Be Best
Female bowhunters sometimes have a tendency to pick more flamboyant fletching for their arrows than make hunters. That can be a big mistake.
Make sure that whatever fletching you pick for your arrows is one that can’t easily be seen by the animal you are hunting. For example, deer can see some colors and, in spite of all the camo you may be decked out in, the fletching could give your position away.
21. How You Smell Matters
While you most likely know wearing perfume on the hunt is a bad idea, you may not realize that your regular deodorant, body wash, hair conditioner or hair shampoo—or even fingernail polish—may put off unnatural scents that can scare off the prey you are seeking. Consider:
- All-natural products
- Scent-free products
- Oil-free products
- No fingernail polish
- No hair spray, gel, or mousse
- Unscented laundry detergent
You can have tremendous success as a female bowhunter by following these 21 bowhunting tips for women. Just remember that it is important for you to take all of these items in to consideration when selecting your bow, practicing, and learning how to use your bow. There is no perfect recipe for women bowhunters, but a number of things every woman bowhunter can do to make sure they have a successful hunt.
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.