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When you’re out hunting with your bow, you need it within easy reach. But you don’t want to be carrying it for miles in your hand or catching it on branches. Thankfully, other carrying methods can help protect your bow whilst also freeing up your hands. The best of these is to carry your bow on your back. But how do you properly do so? Let’s find out.
So how do you carry your bow on your back? The easiest way to carry your bow on your back while hunting is to use a specially designed bow sling. These are readily available online and in archery shops, but you can also improvise your own using a towel. This may take some time to get used to, but it’s an easy way of lugging your bow when walking.
While carrying your bow on your back is not the only way (as we will soon discuss in a further section), it’s certainly practical.
So let us get into the details of how to properly do so.
Besides, you could be carrying some expensive gear – you don’t want to damage it!
What Do You Need To Carry A Bow On Your Back?
The main thing you’ll need to carry a bow on your back is some form of sling. This can be a proper sling designed especially for archery or it can be an improvised version utilizing a tea towel. You should also measure your bow and your arrow length to determine how big the sling needs to be.
Carrying a bow on your back while out hunting is all about comfort and convenience.
But you also have to keep in mind your own safety and the protection of your bow.
Simply slinging your bow over your shoulder or back is only going to damage or strain your bow and potentially injure you.
Bowstrings are pretty tough and having one pressed against your skin while moving in dense terrain can lead to scratches and sometimes deeper cuts.
This is especially dangerous around the neck area. To protect yourself from injuries like this, you should use a sling to keep the bowstring off your skin.
A sling also helps to protect your bow as well.
Carrying a bow on your back without a sling can result in the bowstring being stretched in the wrong way by the movement of your body.
This damages the bow and reduces its effectiveness. Slings are a way to keep the bow in a safe position while moving.
Commercial slings are readily available in specialist archery shops or online.
BassPro Shops is my go-to for bow equipment, and they have a range of affordable and high-quality slings to buy. You can check them all out here.
Wherever you choose to buy, a sling will consist of a series of adjustable or fixed crossbelts that allow you to safely carry the bow on your back or over the top of a backpack.
They can be used to carry both recurve and compound bows.
If you can’t get hold of a specialized bow sling, you can make your own in a pinch using a cloth tea towel.
This is wrapped around the bowstring to create a protective barrier between the bowstring and your body.
This helps to prevent injury to you and damage to your bow.
When choosing a bow sling, you need to know your bow length.
This helps you to choose the right size sling for your equipment.
Stretch out your arm and measure the distance between your chest and your fingertips in inches.
Then, add an extra inch to work out your bow length. Now, you just need to find a string that fits this length.
Carrying A Bow On Your Back
Carrying your bow on your back safely while hunting takes some practice. Using a specially designed bow sling will help immensely as long as you follow the instructions and get one with the correct measurements. For improvised, homemade bow slings, some care is required to carry the bow safely.
If you’re able to buy a commercial bow sling, the process of carrying your bow while hunting is pretty easy.
Clip the harness to your bow according to the instructions and then fasten the sling over your shoulder and back.
Your bow then gets nestled at a safe angle across your back, helping to avoid any unwanted injuries usually caused by the bowstring rubbing against your body.
You’ll then have both hands free and ease of movement through dense terrain.
If you aren’t able to buy a specialist bow sling online or from your local archery store, you can fashion a homemade bow sling.
To make an improvised bow sling using a cotton tea towel, follow the steps below:
- Take your cotton tea towel and wrap it tightly around your bowstring. For extra security, you can wrap it around a couple of times and tighten it. Make sure the fit is nice and snug to keep the bow from moving around too much.
- Keeping a firm hold of the towel, loop the bow over your head and under your arm, with the wrapped-up string across your body.
- Carrying your bow like this will take some getting used to. Practice moving around while wearing your improvised sling, adding in some small jumps and jogging. Check to make sure that the bow or the bowstring does not slip around too much while you’re moving.
- To remove your bow quickly, hold it at the bottom and lift it over your head and arm before gripping the handle.
This method works with bow recurve and compound bows, but with the latter you must keep in mind the additional cables, cams, and pulleys on the bow.
Make sure that these aren’t in vulnerable positions while you move around with your bow slung across your back.
Things To Consider When Carrying A Bow On Your Back
Even though carrying a bow on your back while hunting is a great way to keep your hands free and your bow safe, there are still some things to bear in mind. These range from keeping an eye on your bow while moving through dense brush to the size of the bow.
The most important thing to consider is that even the bow is slung across your back, it isn’t completely invulnerable to damage.
If you’re trying to move through dense brush in a forest, for example, there will be lots of branches and twigs that can still snag on your bow.
This can potentially damage your bow or cause injury if you get jerked back suddenly.
The limbs are especially vulnerable, along with the intricate components on a compound bow.
To remedy this, try and be as mindful of your bow as possible while moving.
If there’s a space that looks tight, try and find another way around.
Keep checking your bow every so often while moving through cover.
If your sling is fastened correctly your bow shouldn’t move around too much, so make sure to get a good position with it before setting off.
Another thing to bear in mind is that it’ll take some time to get used to carrying your bow this way.
It may seem unnecessary, but practicing various movements while your bow is slung across your back will help in the long run.
If possible, take your bow on a few hunting trips across more open terrain to help you get used to how the bow feels while it’s on your back.
Once you’ve found a position that keeps your bow stable while slung across your back, you can make some extra tweaks to keep the bowstring clear of your neck and other vulnerable areas.
Spend some time adjusting the bow before setting off to find the safest and most comfortable position.
Other Ways To Carry Your Bow
If you don’t want to carry a bow on your back, there are a few other methods that you can utilize to carry your bow safely on a hunting trip. By hand or over the shoulder are perhaps the two main other ways. Each method has its own pros and cons, so it may take some trial and error to find the method that works for you.
For covering short distances while hunting, carrying your bow in your hand is the most efficient option.
This allows you to have your bow ready for an instant shot because you won’t have to get it out of a sling or a case when you spot some game.
However, you must be aware of the terrain when carrying it like this.
Your bow can easily get damaged or snagged on branches or rocks while being held in your hand. Over longer distances, this can also be painfully uncomfortable.
Over The Shoulder
Carrying a bow over your shoulder is another common method, but can easily be done incorrectly.
This method often involves simply shrugging your bow onto your shoulder. However, you have to be careful with the bowstring when doing this as excessive movement can stretch the string too much and potentially damage the bow.
Shoulder slings are available and are a good option. You can still access your bow relatively quickly while carrying it like this.
You’ll also have one or both hands-free for other tasks.
Using a bow case is the safest method for carrying your bow through the wilds while out hunting.
Cases can have either a soft or hard construction, but either one offers the maximum protection for your bow during travel.
Many can also be carried on your back or over your shoulder.
Again, if you are in the market for one, I would thoroughly recommend you check out Bass Pro Shops. The case collection there is extensive, and they only stock the best brands!
So there you have it.
Carrying a bow on your back is pretty simple really.
So long as you have a bow sling.
Nevertheless, be mindful as even when using them you can run into issues, like accidental damage to your bow.
And that defeats the purpose, let’s be honest!
The best way to carry a recurve bow on your back is with a bow sling. This could either be a specialized bow string you purchase online or from an archery store, or a handmade sling. Either way, ensure it is the right size for your recurve bow and fastens securely.
The recommended way to carry a compound bow on your back is with a bow sling. Just be sure to either invest in an appropriately sized sling or make one that is the right dimensions for your particular bow.
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.