If you are just starting out, the most important thing to wear while bowhunting is your trusty hunting buddy, “pieces of flair”. No matter what season it is in which we partake in the sport of archery and skeet shooting (minus winter), that’s right, I said pieces of flair. Hunting is a very popular sport that has been around for ages and it was started by hunters themselves who were looking for food on their dinner plates. However, when entering the world of hunting, it is good to know how to properly dress yourself depending on where or what you decide to hunt for. You see there are two major types of deer in America: white-tailed deer and mule deer. Each one of these species of deer has their own differences in the way they are dressed or what time of year they come out.
Hunting season for white-tailed deer starts in September and runs through November. It is when the weather shifts from warm to cool, and when bucks start growing their winter coats. This is when it can be quite difficult for hunters because during this time is when nature has carpeted the forest floor with fallen leaves giving us no room to move around in stealth mode. Another obstacle you will face while bowhunting is that bucks are rutty, which means they are running around chasing after does in heat that may seem easy prey, but please do not shoot at them! So if you’re one of those people who don’t want to spend $300 on a decent set of camouflage, you can always use the “Color Me Dumb” camo that was designed for hunters who didn’t bother doing their research.
While hunting in early rut for white-tailed deer I recommend wearing brown-colored clothing, and if you’re feeling extra adventurous throw in some yellow to break up your outline. Also, since it is just starting out be sure to dress warm because when the temperature drops down below 40° F (4° C) you will start shivering like there’s no tomorrow. If it is raining while hunting, make sure to not wear anything red or any other bright color; this will make it easy for deer to pick you out from your surroundings and spook them away.
When hunting during late rut (November) for white-tailed deer it is suggested to wear the same clothing as mid-rut, with some exceptions. They are as follows: instead of green clothing go with earth tones like browns, tans, or even light yellow which can be found in blaze orange coats or shirts. During this time bucks will have their antlers growing so they become extremely aggressive and looking for does walking around in heat. If you’re not familiar with the term buck fever, basically it refers to someone who gets excited at seeing a big buck walking out into the woods after scouting all season long. This excitement starts building up your heart beat slowly but surely until you pull that trigger on your bow releasing an arrow straight towards its target.
When hunting during early rut for mule deer it is recommended to wear green or brown clothing depending on the environment you’re hunting in. If you happen to be out west near a juniper tree forest, I would go with earth tones like green, brown, and even some purple which can be found in blaze orange coats or shirts. On the other hand if you’re hunting in a pinion pine forest go with dark colors such as dark purples, blues, and blacks because these shadows will help you blend into your surroundings especially when things start heating up throughout the day. When it comes time for dress in layers of expedition weight long underwear combined with fleece midlayers and windproof/waterproof outerwear topped off with a good warm hat, don’t forget to include your head, hands, feet, and neck.
There are three main factors to consider when choosing the appropriate bow for hunting. These are draw length, draw weight, and arrow speed. These factors will be determined by your age, physical size, and gender.
First of all let’s discuss how to find out what draw length you are most comfortable with. To do this simply put on a stabilizer on that has notches cut into it which indicates where your draw hand should start at each different length. Now comes the tricky part since everyone is built differently some people have longer arms than others so this may present a bit of a problem but don’t fret if you have short arms! Here comes one of my favorite tips which was given to me by my good friend Ryan Nelson who is a level 2 bowtech pro-Staff member. Instead of spending $40 on a new stabilizer which will most likely still be too long for you, go ahead and cut it down to size! After cutting off the extra length use superglue to put back on the weights that were originally attached so they can give you an accurate depiction of how your bow feels with the shorter stabilizer. The idea here is not to choose one that is too heavy but just heavy enough so when sitting in your treestand it doesn’t bounce around much while waiting patiently for your prey to appear. Next find out what draw weight you’re most comfortable at by doing what was described above but this time instead of using a regular arrow sight or plunger rest attach a whisker biscuit to the bow. Whisker biscuits were designed for hunters to be able to draw back and enjoy a day in the woods without having that nice buck wandering around with those huge ears twitching away as they try and locate your exact location.
Now it’s time to find out what speed you’ll be shooting. To figure this out purchase some lighted nocks (which will track all arrow flight info such as speed, distance, etc) and shoot 3 arrows into an inconspicuous spot on your target at 20 yards. Now go look at how far your arrow penetrated into the target. If you did not touch the original cork layer between each shot then you are shooting well above 330 fps which is what I would recommend for deer hunting. So if your 20 yard test shot is touching the cork layer you are shooting under 330 fps.
Now comes the fun part where I get to tell you what type of bow will be best for you! As a youth, regardless of physical size or gender it is recommended to shoot a bow that has between 25-40 lbs at draw weight. When choosing an adult bow which should not have any problems with pulling 45 lbs at 30″ draw length then pick one that shoots around 320 fps. If you’re somewhere in between these two age groups then go ahead and find out what poundage you need to pull and do some quick research on bows which meet those specifications and compare their price range if this is something that applies to you.
When it comes to shooting well in general there are a few things that every archer needs to practice. First is practicing your form and consistency. If you don’t already know how to shoot then find an experienced bowhunter that will be able to show you the proper way. Hopefully this person will also have some videos and other resources for you to practice with at home if they can see you’re dedicated enough and willing to work hard enough, which brings me to my next point. Secondly, once you learn how to shoot properly make sure everything about your shot is consistent; from where your release contacts the string, the draw length/weight/draw angle (vertical or slightly forward), down through when and where your arrow hits the target. If you do not have access to a range and can only shoot in your backyard then go out into the yard before dark and look up at where you’re shooting. If the arrow is hitting around eye level then you know that if it was sunny outside you would hit exactly where your aiming. This practice will also help with judging distances (shooting further than what’s on your target) as well as building muscles for bowhunting season!
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