If you’re like me or millions of other people who have entered the sport of bow hunting, then this is probably a question that you’ve taken into serious consideration. We all love our sports and will go the extra mile to getting all the best gear and gadgets to make our game better, but at the same time, we don’t want to break the bank, and rightfully so. So, with that said, here comes the question you’ve been wondering about.
How much does it cost to start bow hunting? Honestly, it depends, but you can expect to spend over $1,000 for a decent setup. Your bow plus other gear such as clothing, food, stabilizer, arrows, etc., can get costly when added up. And when it comes to hunting, it can hurt your game by skimping on gear and going the cheaper route.
There are thousands upon thousands of different pieces of gear out there to choose from, so giving a solid price is impossible. But, I can point you in the right direction by letting you know what I recommend, have used personally, and where you can expect to spend most of your money at. On top of that, I’ll also go into the differences between the most common hunting grounds and what you can expect as a new bow hunter. So, with that said, let’s get right into it!
It’s easy to walk into a shop and think that you need to get all the gear off the racks in order to be the best bowhunter to ever live, but any experienced bow hunter will tell you that all you need to be great is skill, tons of practice, and the essentials that you need to do damage while you’re out in the field.
Before you even worry about all the gear you’ll need, though, keep in mind that there are legal requirements that have to be met before you can even begin to hunt, and this usually consists of a hunting license and participation in a hunter training course. Just like taking a test for a driving Learners Permit, you will be asked a series of questions to which you will have to pass in order to get your license followed by a small fee.
Most hunters are required to take this test, so study as much as you can beforehand and don’t stress yourself out too much over it and you should be fine. The good thing is that for some states, there are practice tests online that you can take to better prepare yourself and also that you can take the test and print your certificate at home without having to visit a testing location.
If you’re interested in taking your test online, check out this link here. This is a hunter education website that provides online tests for over 45 states!
While you don’t need a ton of equipment to have a successful hunt, there are pieces of gear that could be recommended that could definitely make your hunt easier, but as stated above, you can get away with just the bare minimums.
If you want to take it a step further and really up your game in the field, then I would also recommend a good rangefinder and a good sight, which can be found here on Amazon, but I understand that these are costly, especially for someone just starting off, so if you want to just get away with the basics then you definitely can.
If you want to step your game up to the next level in the future, though, then these are two pieces of equipment that I would definitely recommend. Also, if you plan on hunting with a spot and stalk approach, then I would recommend a decent pair of binoculars as well. They are pretty much vital when it comes to spotting animals from a distance unless you have superhuman vision.
But, with that said, here are the essentials –
If you want to bow hunt then obviously, you will want a bow. This piece of equipment is the heart and soul of your hunt and the primary piece of gear that you will need to slay the field as a beginner and as a seasoned veteran.
Just like pretty much any other piece of equipment, there are many options you can choose from when picking out a bow. But with years of experience in the field, I have picked out a few here from Amazon that you might be interested in.
I personally don’t believe that one type of bow is better than the next, so on that page, you will find a compound bow, recurve bow, longbow, and even a bow for youth hunting. These bows are beginner friendly and will also be a good pick for hunters a little more experienced as well.
Don’t stress yourself out too much over which bow to pick, just choose one that you believe will be a good fit for you. I’d say most hunters choose either the crossbow or recurve bow, but it all comes down to preference.
If you have a buddy or a family member who owns a particular bow type or different bow types, then I recommend seeing if you can practice a bit with theirs so that you can get a better feel for what you like.
You can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000 for a decent bow, but at these price ranges, you can assure that you are getting a good quality bow that will last you for many years to come.
Another essential piece of equipment, the arrow. Paired with the bow, your arrows will be the driving force that takes your targets down. The type of arrows you choose will be completely dependent on what you intend to use them for and also dependent on weather conditions.
Since we’re hunting, we’ll want something as sturdy as possible. If sturdy enough, which shaft you choose will not matter that much. Wooden arrows will break and warp easier than carbon arrows, for example, but with a good arrowhead, they can hold up well and perform just as good as an arrow with a stronger shaft.
Wooden arrows will always be the cheaper option and can be made at home, but if you want something that you know for a fact will hold up with little risk of breaking easily, then I recommend a good carbon arrow. They will need to be replaced over time due to normal wear and tear just like any other arrow but will do a lot better in the long run compared to wooden arrows.
If you want to get your hands on a good pair of carbon arrows, then I highly recommend these arrows here. Here you will also find arrows for target practice and a good broadhead as well. Please keep in mind that the arrow you use will depend greatly on your setup, so check in with your local archery shop to ensure that you’re choosing the right arrows for your bow.
If you don’t have a shop nearby or cannot make it to one, then a simple call will be good enough to give you the information you need when picking out your arrows. Arrows are not one size fits all, so determining which ones you need is very important.
If you want to save money, making your own wooden arrows at home would be the best way to go. But, if you want good quality arrows that will last you for a long time without breaking or wearing, then expect to throw down about $100 to $200 dollars.
Your release is what you’ll use to draw your bow back with. Without one, your shots will be inconsistent and your fingers will be in a great deal of pain from pulling the string back the old fashioned way.
Also, most bows made nowadays aren’t made to be shot with fingers. If you prefer this style of shooting over shooting with a release, then there are still some bows on the market that will allow you to do this, but, in my opinion, will just make your hunt more difficult by making your shots less accurate and can even cause tons of torque and wear on your string from repeated bad releases.
If you want a good, comfortable, dependable, and durable release, then I highly recommend this one here from Amazon. It’s easy to use, doesn’t make noise when moving around, and can fit either hand comfortably.
Releases can range from anywhere to around $30 to $200, but you can get a decent one for about $70. The release above is one of my personal favorites and I use it almost every time I hunt. Get your hands on one and save your bow string a lot of wear from torque while also keeping your shots consistent.
To me, this is one of the most important pieces of gear, and for a few reasons. The stabilizer not only absorbs a lot of the shock from a shot arrow and reduces vibration in the hands, but it also helps with reducing noise and stabilizing your shot by absorbing some of the torque from your bowstring as well.
Staying as silent as possible is one of the most important aspects of hunting because if there’s too much noise being made, you could lose game just like that. So make sure you equip your bow with a good stabilizer all while taking the extra necessary steps in order to stay quiet and unseen while you hunt.
I’m constantly trying and testing out different stabilizers for different bows, but if there’s one stabilizer that I would highly recommend over any other stabilizer that I’ve used in the past, then it would be this one here.
This specific stabilizer is made for the recurve bow and will give you exactly what you need to get the job done. It’s lightweight, comes in at a good length of 8 inches, and runs fairly on the cheaper side compared to a lot of the other stabilizers on the market.
Stabilizers and Dampeners will run you anywhere from about $20 to $200. But, we’re not trying to break the bank completely, so $30-$40 will be more than enough to get you one of good quality.
The quiver will be solely used for holding your arrows and arrowheads. It’d be dangerous and messy to try to hold your arrow equipment in anything other than a quiver because loose arrowheads can cause rips and tears through softer material such as cloth and leather and can be riskier to grab if not tightly secured.
Arrowheads are very sharp and can easily cause a deep cut if one is accidentally picked up without caution. With your quiver, you will be able to tell how many arrows you have, where they are exactly and don’t have to worry about being injured from blindly picking one up out of a loose bag.
Your quiver will be either carried on your body, the ground, or the bow itself. However you want to carry it doesn’t matter, it all just comes down to personal preference and how the quiver is designed.
Whatever you do, though, remember to face your arrowheads down to avoid deep cuts on the hands.
A good quiver will usually go for about $20 to $40 dollars. Here’s a hip quiver that is very comfortable and easy to use. It can fit up to a 42″ waist.
There are all kinds of different things that cover the hunting grounds, so a good pair of boots is definitely a necessity when it comes to my hunting gear. Hunting boots can be used to keep your feet warm, keep bugs (such as mosquitoes and chiggers) from biting your toes, and also keep your feet clean and dry from blood, animals guts and feces, and water.
They’re also good for the winter months when walking back and forth from your stand in the thick snow. There are many different kinds of boots, but I personally recommend always choosing a pair that are water resistant.
Not only will they keep your feet clean, but will also keep them from getting soaked as well. There’s nothing more uncomfortable and nasty than having a long hunt ahead of you with soaking wet feet. Not only is this nasty and uncomfortable, but dangerous during freezing temperatures in which frostbite can set in as well.
These right here are my go-to’s when it comes to hunting boots. They’re waterproof, very durable, and will get you through the ickiest of hunts. Pair these up with a pair of wool socks in the winter and you’re in for business. I’ve found these to be great in the winter and summer.
For a decent boot that will last you for years to come, you’ll be looking into prices of anywhere between $80 to $200 dollars. Keep in mind that you really do get what you pay for with hunting gear.
Hunting clothes will serve a few purposes and these are to help you stay concealed from animals with it’s camouflaged material, provide thickness to keep you warm and stop bodily fluids, mud, and rain from soaking through so easily.
Some are made to hide your natural humanly odor while others can be designed to be resistant to wind and water, but what all of them usually have in common is the ability to keep you hidden. Many hunters do their hunting during the colder part of the year, so usually, a good pair of overalls, a gillie suit, or thick outerwear is usually what you’ll see a hunter have if you’ve ever been out hunting.
But, if you’re someone who likes to bow hunt off-season during the warmer weather conditions then wearing a lightweight pair of camo pants, a short-sleeved shirt, and a loosely fitted hat will be just fine.
There are safety risks that come with wearing the wrong gear during the wrong part of the year, so make sure to properly assess the weather so that you can determine what makes sense for you to wear for your hunting day.
I almost always only hunt during deer season, so this is what I wear to keep myself nice and warm in the cold and harsh winter weather.
It’s usually cheaper to go with a set that comes with a jacket and pair of pants when it comes to buying hunting clothes, but if you want to mix it up and buy a pair of pants from one brand and a shirt from another, then you should be able to get away with a decent outfit for under $100 dollars.
Not everyone hunts to eat their kill, but if you do, game bags are absolutely essential. I’ve covered this before in previous articles, but when it comes to bagging up your game after a kill, you’ll want to have on hand bags that are made specifically for bagging dead game.
These bags are usually made of a netted or mesh material so that bacteria can’t harbor on your meat from trapped heat and ruin your meat. I’ve seen hunters try to get away with using various bags such as trash bags and grocery bags, but this is not safe because these bags are not breathable, and eating game with loads of bacteria on it is not safe by any means.
So please do not listen to anyone who advises you or anyone else to use anything other than bags that are designed specifically for bagging your game up.
Luckily, you can get game bags for fairly cheap. This is where I get mine. Like many other bow hunters, I do most of my hunting during deer season, so these bags definitely get the job done for the type of game I like to go after.
You can expect to dish out around $10 to $40 when it comes to purchasing game bags, which isn’t bad compared to some of the other items on the list.
First Aid Kit
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a safety freak, so if I’m out on a hunt, you will not, and I repeat will not catch me without my first aid kit. But, if you’re careful and safe, then you should have nothing to worry about.
Just in case, though, it’s always good to have a kit on hand if anything would happen to occur. Kits can not only be used for your own safety, but for your partner’s safety or even a strangers safety as well.
Trips, falls, cuts and general accidents can happen while out in the field at any given time, so make sure you have a fully loaded kit on you so that you can be prepared in the occurrence that something does happen, even if it is unlikely.
If you’re looking for a kit that has everything from a compass to sewing needles for quick stitching, then I recommend checking this kit out from Amazon It’s lightweight, durable, designed for rough conditions, and can be easily carried around.
Ranging from about $10 to $40, a kit is an item that you should have on you at all times.
Breakdown Of Bows
This is one of the bows you will likely see most commonly used by hunters all over the world. Aside from the crossbow, this bow is very mechanical with various pulleys and cables that help bend the limbs of the bow.
Although any bow is good for target practice or hunting, this bow is usually a first choice for many newcomers.
Crossbows are similar to traditional bows, but with a little less effort involved when it comes to loading them. Instead of pulling the string back with one hand, it usually takes two hands on each side of the string in order to properly prepare it for a shot. This drawback can be hard for women or children.
Instead of arrows, the crossbow shoots projectiles called quarrels or bolts. This bow is one I personally enjoying shooting around with for fun in my backyard.
Just as the name implies, this is a very long bow. So long that it usually stands as tall as the person shooting it. The limbs of the bow are thin and narrow enough to provide sufficient flexibility. This bow can be used for hunting, but because of the length and size of it, it might be a little more of a hassle lugging it around.
This bow is curved at the limbs and unlike a straighter limbed bow, it can shoot a lot more effectively and powerfully because of this curve. Although this is not a bow I see being used often in the field, I think with enough practice, it can take down game just as good as any other bow.
Aside from attending training sessions at your local archery shop, you can also practice your skills at the comfort of your own home. You’ll see a lot of skilled archers tagging big game animals all while making it seem effortless, but what you may not know is that a lot of that skill came from hours upon hours and years upon years of practice outside of the field.
It may seem a little intimidating to watch and you may think that you’ll never get to that level, but with enough practice, you will, not you might, but you will be as good as they are. If you’re serious about archery and really want to hone your skills so that you can be the one tagging and bagging all the game animals that you set your sights on, then I recommend checking out this page here.
On that page, you’ll find bag targets, foam targets, and my favorite, 3D targets. I like feeling like I’m shooting at the real thing when I hunt, so what better way to do that then to get a replica of what I’m shooting most (deer).
Private VS Public Land
You’ll find that most hunters will do their hunting on public land because it is easily accessible compared to private land, but, unfortunately, it has its drawbacks. A common issue I see with hunters who hunt public land is that there is always a worry of gear safety.
There a lot of dishonest and untrustworthy hunters who do not follow the rules or have much respect for other fellow hunters, so a lot of the times hunters will get their gear stolen if left unattended and retrieving it can be difficult if your hunting grounds lacks surveillance.
Also, chances of you tagging a nice, big bull and finding decent sheds are slimmer simply for the fact that you’re sharing land with a lot of other people.
With private land, you don’t have to worry about this, but unless you own the land yourself, hunting on it can be difficult unless you run into a fellow hunter nice enough to share their land with you.
Sometimes, hunters will type up a proposal letter if they see a nice piece of land that they want to hunt on and give it to the owner in hopes that they will let them hunt on it.
Keep in mind that private land hunters still have to follow most of the same laws when it comes to hunting as well, such as only hunting deer during deer season, for example.
What To Expect Your First Hunt
Bow hunting for newcomers can be a nerve-racking thing at first, but once you’re familiar with the laws and get comfortable with the land, you’ll find that it gets a lot easier. For your very first hunt, you can expect to be forgetful of laws, safety precautions, and buck fever, but the fever is something that even the most experienced hunters go through while hunting.
As a new hunter, you are not expected to get a kill your first hunt, or even your second or third, but if you stick to it long enough, you’ll get that prized game animal that you’ve been dreaming of.
Patience, perseverance, and commitment are key to being a great bow hunter from the beginning all the way to the very end of your career. And if you have these traits and qualities about yourself, then you’ll become a skilled archer in no time.
Getting Better With Time
The more you hunt, the more you’ll realize how much better you’re getting. There are definitely perfectionist out there who want to out game everyone else and expect to be better than they think they should be without putting the time in, but if you just enjoy the process and realize that bow hunting is a sport to have fun with and not a competition, then in time you will naturally get better and better.
Yes, bow hunting gear can be costly, but don’t be discouraged by the price, because if you start off with a cheaper setup, that will give you enough time to better your skills until you’re ready to drop bigger bucks (no pun intended) on better. more quality gear.
Many new hunters try to find the cheapest and most money-saving ways when buying their first setup, and I don’t blame them because who doesn’t want to save money, but the saying “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to hunting gear, so it’s best to either use cheaper equipment to hone your skills, or wait until you have a little more dough to invest in gear that will not only last you for a very long time, but that will make your game a lot better while out in the field.