Whether you are new to archery or have been practicing archery for years, every archer is bound to have questions that have been left unanswered.No matter how skilled an archer you are, it’s never too late to learn new things and find an answer to a question you didn’t even know you had!
Today, I am going to address some of the top archery questions out there. I have scoured the internet to find out what questions people are dying to ask, and will answer each question right here.
Here are the top questions I found that I will be answering today:
- Do you need a license in archery?
- Does the weather affect archery?
- What type of physical fitness must I be in to practice archery?
- How should I store my bow when I’m not using it?
- Do I shoot with both eyes open or only one?
- What type of arrow is best to shoot with?
- How young can children start practicing archery?
- Is there a certain type of bow that is better to use than others?
- How should I dress for practicing or for tournaments?
- How do I prevent the string from slapping my arm when shooting?
- Is it legal to practice archery in public places?
- How far past your rest should your arrow be?
- How much does a bow cost?
- Can I tune my bow myself?
- Is a certain draw weight better than others?
- Can it hurt my bow to draw and shoot without an arrow loaded?
- How often should I replace my bowstring?
- Will cosmetic add-one affect my bow’s performance?
- What is the best distance to shoot from?
- Will a rangefinder help my shooting or hurt it?
- Do I need to understand animal anatomy?
- What is the best way to get your bow in the tree stand?
- Which is more important, technique or equipment?
- Is more expensive equipment better than cheap equipment?
- What is the best position to practice in?
Now that you have the list, let’s get started!
Do you need a license for archery?
This really depends on where you reside. For the sake of this question, we will assume you are from the U.S. In the United States, you do not need a license to own or shoot a bow and arrow. With that being said- you DO need a license if you want to hunt game with the bow and arrow.
It is also noteworthy that each local government system has its own restrictions on bow and arrows that can be used. For example-You may not be able to use a crossbow unless you have a physical disability that requires it. Refer to this post to find more information on your state’s local requirements and links to their websites.
Does the weather affect archery?
There are a few different ways that weather could affect archery.
For one- colder weather could make your bow shoot slower. This really depends on your bow and exactly how cold it is. Some bows are affected by weather more than others.
Some archers state that when it is colder- the bow may shoot high due to the limbs being stiffer than usual. Science and basic physics would show that colder air is denser, therefore making the arrows move slower through the air.
In either of those instances, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference.
Referring to shooting your bow in the rain or snow and it getting wet- the most important part is to thoroughly dry the bow off when you are finished using it. Most bow manufacturers expect you to shoot your bow during the coldest and most wet times of the year.
The bows are designed to withstand various weather situations. Now, that’s not to say nothing is needed on your part. A key part of keeping your bow in good working shape is to keep the strings waxed so they are weather-proofed.
Also, if you have arrows with feathers or softer fletchings instead of plastic, the rain or snow might cause them to soak up the extra water. This would weigh your arrow down and could mess up your shot.
Again, it may not make a noticeable difference, but it is still an easily avoidable situation. If you know you will be out in the weather, opt for arrows with plastic fletching.
What type of physical fitness must I be in to practice archery?
You do not necessarily need to be in great physical shape to be able to practice archery. However, you will need a little bit of both upper and lower body strength that you are able to pull back your bow and hold your form while shooting.
With that said, chances are that the more you practice archery, the stronger you will get. As you spend time pulling back your bow and standing firm into shooting form, you will likely get stronger. Over time, you may be able to up your draw weight.
Upping your draw weight can help put some strength behind your shots, and improve accuracy.
How do I store my bow when I’m not using it?
It’s very important to store your bow properly when you aren’t using it. This keeps the bow and arrows in like-new, working shape and prevents costly damage.
Some archers opt for a bow rack that is mounted on the wall. This option is used most often by recurve or longbow archers. The beautiful bows can be displayed in your home, and are up off the ground.
Be sure if you go with this option and have small children, you keep everything out of their arms reach.
It’s also important to note that if you are using a recurve or longbow- be sure not to store the bow where one limb is supporting the bow’s entire weight. This can cause damage to the limbs.
Other archers, like myself, opt for a bow case. You can choose either a hard or soft case. I prefer hard cases because they offer the most protection for your bow.
However, a soft case does a fairly good job at keeping your archery equipment safe from harm as well. Both options also keep your bow ready to grab at any time for easy traveling.
Wherever you store your bow, make sure its in a climate-controlled area that is not too hot, too cold, or prone to moisture.
Do I shoot with both eyes open, or only one?
This one might vary from person to person. In my experience, it is easier to shoot with only one eye open, and that eye being your dominant eye.
When you try to aim with both eyes open, it’s likely that your eyes will try to fight over who is in control. Add this factor in with possible low light conditions while hunting, and it’s probably not going to produce a good shot.
As with many things in archery, what works for one person might not work for the next, so try to practice shooting with both one eye open, or both, and see what works best for you.
Which type of arrow is best to shoot with?
If you want to stay low-price wise- aluminum or fiberglass arrows are best. These types of arrows are generally fairly inexpensive.
Assuming you are ok with spending a little more money, carbon arrows are the best option. They are very sturdy and can handle some tough shooting.
How young can children start practicing archery?
Well, every child is different(are you sick of me saying that yet?!). Some may start at a younger age than others. With that being said, according to my research, by the ages of 6-8, children can start practicing archery and playing around with a beginner’s bow.
Before this age, they likely don’t obtain the strength or the coordination needed for even the most basic youth/beginner bows.
Archery is a great sport to get your children into. Not only is it just plain fun, but its a perfect way for your child to make new friends, direct their energy into a sport and learn focus and self-discipline.
It is also a very useful skill. Bowhunting has put meat on the table for my family for years.
Is there a certain type of bow that is better to use than others?
I wouldn’t say that any bow is better to use than others. They are just each different in their own ways.
Crossbows are pretty easy to pick up on and don’t require a ton of practice. They shoot similar to a firearm and look considerably different from other types of bows.
Recurve and Longbows are often used for Traditional Archery and are very beautiful bows. You often see these types of bows in movies. They are the types of bows that have been around since the beginning.
Compound bows are the most commonly used bow for hunting. They work more mechanically, with a pulley system working the main parts. They are very strong and sturdy.
My recommendation is to use them all and see which you like better. Some archery ranges rent bows and you can try different ones. You may also have some friends that will show you how to shoot their bow and let you test them.
How should I dress for practicing or tournaments?
If you are dressing for a tournament, there is a dress code you need to follow. Some tournaments may have their own, so always call the location and check with them first.
If there is no dress code, you should follow these recommendations from the National Field Archery Association:
- Dress for comfort, prepare for the weather. If its hot, wear light clothing. If it’s pretty sunny, wear sunglasses. Wear comfortable shoes that you are fine to wear for several hours while standing
- Avoid open-toe shoes, as well as clothing that is too “relaxed” for lack of a better word. Don’t show up in cut-off jeans or your old high-school t shirt.
- Most places do not accept jeans and other denim material, and for the ladies- no shorts or skirts shorter than 2 inches above the knee.
- Your front, back, and midriff must be covered at all times, including while at full draw
How do I prevent the string from slapping my arm when shooting?
This usually happens to all archers at least once, so don’t let this keep you from practicing.
This problem usually is a result of improper form. Below are some things to look out for if you are having this problem:
- Make sure your elbow is rotated correctly (This is usually where my problem lies). Rotate your elbow so that it is out of the bath of the bowstring.
- Grip the bow with your hand in the deepest part of the bows grip. This is usually called the throat. Watch this video for a visual demonstration for how to properly grip a bow.
If need be, there are armguards available for protection. Recurve archers have to use armguards for protection as well. They are actually very popular and can be found easily at archery shops, or even Amazon.
Is it legal to practice archery in public places?
There isn’t really a straightforward answer for this one. The easiest way to find out is to reach out to your local government office for your city’s regulations.
In most cases, your backyard is safe, assuming you are not shooting anywhere near neighbors or the general public where a stray arrow could become dangerous.
How far past your rest should your arrow be?
If you are at full draw, your arrow should be a minimum of 1 inch past the rest. Most experts say that 1 inch is what they do, but never less than ¾ inches.
How much does a bow cost?
There are many various types and brands of bows out there. No matter the budget, there should be a bow out there for you.
Generally, a fair quality bow for beginner adults will be between $200 and $400. If you are just starting out, you may be able to find a gently used bow somewhere for about $150.
Higher-end, name brand bows can be closer to $700, even closer to $1000 or more.
You will also have to purchase arrows and other supplies that might not come with your bow. A Set of basic arrows will likely run around $50, and a fair quality bag target would be about $30-$40. These are just a few of the other purchases to consider when you are budgeting for a bow.
Can I tune my bow myself?
You can usually tune your bow yourself.
If you are a busy person like I am, you will probably agree that it’s worth paying an archery shop to do the tuning for you. My local shop only charges about $10 for a tune-up and he makes adjustments right in front of you.
As far as tuning the bow yourself, it’s probably easiest for me to show you how to do it. This video is for compound bows, but YouTube has many other great resources for all types of bows. You may even be able to search for videos for your specific brand of bow.
Is a certain draw weight better than others?
Your best draw weight will usually depend on the type of bow you use, and your frame and weight. A draw weight that works well for me, will not work the same for my husband. In fact, I can’t even draw my husband’s bow. Similarly, my draw weight for a compound bow will be more than my draw weight on a recurve bow.
Also understand that your draw weight will be different over time. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you might use a different draw weight after a few years than what you started with.
This website has a pretty good chart you can use for a suggested draw weight.
Can it hurt my bow to draw and shoot without an arrow?
Shooting without an arrow can damage your bow. Drawing it, probably not, but you definitely don’t want to release the string with no arrow nocked. And this is why:
When you draw a bow, energy is put into the bow limbs. When you release, that energy is transferred to the arrow to propel it forward. This is just the basic science of how a bow has been designed to work.
When you try to release your string without an arrow in it, aka, dry firing it, the energy has no place to go but into the limbs of the bow. This can cause a lot of damage. It would be similar to you jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Gravity is the force that is propelling you down and without a parachute, all that energy will drive you into the ground.
How often should I replace my bowstring?
If you shoot your bow often, keep it well waxed and maintained, and out of poor conditions, your strings should last about 3 years. If you see any damaged strands, it should be replaced sooner.
Here is a good video for how to maintain your bow strings so that they last a while:
Will cosmetic add-ons affect my bow’s performance?
They shouldn’t, especially if you are purchasing the accessories from quality brands. In most cases, all accessories that can be customized are normal bow items, they are just usually different colors and the colors should not affect how your bow performs. The manufacturer likely tests them to make sure they do not interfere with the bows performance when installed correctly.
What is the best distance to shoot from?
If you are hunting, the average shot distance is about 20 yards. Most professionals recommend practicing at twice the distance that you intend to shoot from , so you are prepared when you get to the woods.
For indoor range practice, the average shooting distance is between 20 and 32 yards.
The best thing to do is to practice different distances. When you find a distance that gives you trouble, practice and practice until you get that distance down, and then go up a few yards until you get that distance figured out.
Will a rangefinder help my shooting or hurt it?
A rangefinder could likely only help your shooting. I find that it is very helpful to me to judge the distance between me and what I am shooting.
For example, in bow hunting, it’s important to know the distance between you and the animal, so that you do not accidentally injure an animal and leave them alive.
Plus, with the different weather conditions you face while hunting, it can make it even more difficult to judge distances.
My husband has this rangefinder. It does pretty well, has held battery life for a while, and is very durable. It’s not too expensive either.
Do I need to understand animal anatomy?
If you plan on bow hunting at all, it is very important for you to understand the anatomy of the animal you want to hunt.
You need to know how to take game, without accidentally wounding them and leaving them to suffer. Furthermore, you don’t want to miss a prize animal, all because you didn’t know how to properly take it down and missed it.
It is not that difficult to learn basic animal anatomy. There are tons of charts and guides available out there. In fact, there are many 3D archery targets like this one that are shaped like whitetail deer, and are already marked for you with the animal’s best shooting locations.
What is the best way to get your bow into the tree stand?
Many archers say that the best purchase they made was a sling. You can wear your bow and equipment on your back, and they do not affect the safety harness. Some slings can even double as a deer drag for after the hunt.
This is the sling my husband and I use.
Another easy method is to just use a carabiner and some rope and pull your bow up. Parachute cord is strong and cheap, this would work great.
Which is more important, technique or equipment?
I would say definitely technique. It doesn’t matter if you are using a $200 bow, or a $1000 bow. If you don’t understand how to properly use it, they will both shoot just the same.
With archery, and many other things in life, it isn’t about the equipment so much as how much time you put into bettering your skills. Spend enough time practicing, and in most cases, even the cheapest piece of equipment will do what it needs to do.
Is more expensive equipment better than cheap equipment?
This is much like the previous question in that the result of a bad shot falls back to the archer in most cases. Many times, it’s better to spend a little more money on quality equipment.
However, lots of missed shots are not due to the equipment, it’s due to the skills of the person making the shot. So save your money, and spend more time practicing. High-dollar equipment does not take the place of practice by any means.
What is the best position to practice in?
If you plan on shooting from a tree stand, try to practice from similar angles as you would face in the tree stand. If you mostly plan on just doing tournaments, you may not need as much practice from higher altitudes.
The most important thing to remember when practicing is your form. Proper form is possibly the most vital component of a shot.
Well, there you have it.
The Top 25 archery questions answered. Now that you have these questions figured out, you can spend more time practicing. As always, stay safe out there and have fun!