Moving to Archery - Suggestions and Help

Northernlilywhite

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Jun 27, 2016
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Hi All,

So I am considering moving to archery for several reasons including (1) longer seasons all around (2) easier draw odds in the West (3) additional tags for meat purposes at home in the East and (4) I love new gear!

I am looking for some suggestions on bows around $500 bare or $600-700 packages. I am also looking for advice on draw weight.

We have very little support as far as serious bow shops in my area of northern NH so I would like to get my draw weight and bow choice correct from the start (or at least close enough that I can adjust it as needed) so I don't need to mess around with driving back and forth several hours to a bow shop several times.

As far as hunting method, I highly doubt I am going to move to tree stands just because I move to Archery. I am a ground sitter (moving every hour or two) or spot and stalk, likely because I am not that old and don't have the patience for 6-8 hours in a stand.

I am 30 years old and a pretty big guy with good power in my upper body, but ZERO bow experience. I am just wondering if 70lb draw weight is silly to think of starting with. I know physically I am strong enough but is my total lack of bow time going to mean 70lbs is a bad idea?

I am looking at some of the Cabela's packages and also some PSE packages to get me off and running relatively quickly and then I can tinker from there.

Thanks for the help in advance
 

Speeddmn

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Personally I would stay away from a "box" store for a bow. Not saying they ant be helpful. but the bows you typically get in that price range are not the best. Again not saying they cant or wont work, but for a few bucks more you get a better all around bow. This is box store talk.

When it is time for me to upgrade I will be getting a Bowtech Carbon Icon, bare bow from them should be around the 500 bones area, 750 if you get it RAK equipped. That is basically ready to shoot, just add arrows, and release. You say your a big guy, and feel 70#'s is a good start. If you feel that way, buy a bow that goes from 65-75 or 60-70, start low, get used to it. Your form needs to be right or you can hurt yourself, pulled muscles, hamburger forearm, etc. If you start lower and get the form, then moving up to more poundage you can keep the form.

Adjusting the bow for weight is simple, the user manual tells you everything. Adjusting draw length is where a bow press would and needs to be used. Again it is simple but you need additional equipment.

Best advice I can give you, find friends with bows (if you cant get to stores), shoot as many brands as you can before you settle. Buy mid range, vs beginner, if you decide it's for you the mid range bow will last longer then the beginner, and if you don't like it, you get more money back.
 

JLS

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A few thoughts:

1. 60 draw weight is plenty for anything in North America. I doubt you'll have any trouble shooting 70 pounds, but you don't need to. I used to bottom out my limb bolts when I was younger, now I shoot about 62-65 pounds because it's easier on shoulders.

2. Package bows from box stores are okay. That said, it would be worth your time to drive somewhere where there is a reputable shop and spend some time shooting bows. You can get a lot of bow for a discounted price if you buy from someone that is unloading last year's model. Big Fin sold a Bowtech last year that was a screaming deal.

3. Don't get hung up on brand. I shot a Mathews for many years, and always got pleasure out of making fun of Bowtechs. When I upgraded, guess what I got? Shoot the bow and let that drive your decision, not the logo on the riser.

4. Start shooting at as low a weight as your bow will allow and concentrate on form and using back tension to release the arrow. You can even do this with a standard trigger release. There are some outstanding threads on the Bowsite about shooting technique and form. Read them and learn to shoot right the first time.

5. Learn to tune your bow yourself. This has gotten much easier with fallaway rests and the ability to yoke tune bows. Again, lots of info out there to read.

6. Most people end up with a draw weight that is too long. Have a good shop measure you, and pay them to help set up your bow if you don't buy from them.

7. Be flexible with your hunting methods. If you try to bowhunt like you rifle hunt, you may end up frustrated. I don't like sitting for long periods, but tree stand hunting can be very enjoyable. I don't do it all the time, but make sure you have as many tools in the tool bag as you can, don't be a one trick pony.

8. Buy a fetching jig and fletch your own arrows. Square the ends and spin test them. Be OCD about your broadhead flight. I don't accept anything less than perfect in terms of broadhead flight. I will shoot them out to 80 yards, and have a spotter watch the arrow for ANY wobble.
 

mplane72

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Iowa
I bought my first bow online and figured it out myself. If I can do it so can you. That being said a visit to a quality bow shop is worth it. There are new bows from most of the manufactures in your price range and for the most part they are very good. I would stay away from the ready to shoot packages. If you get into it you will be replacing those accessories quickly.

Archery Talk classifieds can provide some great deals.
For your first bow I would lean toward something with and adjustable or replaceable draw module, especially if you buy online.
Your best to shoot everything you can before you buy.
Get a tree stand and shoot the first legal animal you can.
Have fun.
 

JohnCushman

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I bought my wife a Hoyt Ignite package. It's one of those wide range of draw length and weight bows like the Mission bows. I got the bow, sight, rest, and quiver for $400 at a local bow shop. I always support the local shops instead of the big box stores since the techs actually know what they're doing and most archery shops will offer lessons and advice to a new archer. It is worth a longer drive to get good service in my opinion. Also, big guy or not, start at a low draw weight and work on your form first. You can adjust draw weight up as you get more comfortable with your shooting ability. Plus, you don't want to stress your shoulder out and it'll make you shoot erratically.
 

TRS_Montana

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My only advice is to go back and read JLS's post 5 more times.

I will also say that a large part of archery hunting is about personal preference and confidence. Sure, some things don't make that much of a difference in the field, but confidence makes a HUGE difference. Do what gives you confidence. There are some universal confidence builders (practice, conditioning, experience, etc...) and there are some individual confidence builders (superstitions [if you're into that], routines, brands, etc...). Do what you need to do.
 

barefooter19

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Jan 18, 2005
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180
Road trip time !! Get in you truck and head to a good bow shop, talk to them, shoot some bows. There are a lot of good bows today Hoyt, Bowtech, Martin, Mathews to name a few. Get the correct draw length and weight. A lot of bows are draw weight and draw length adjustable. Get your arrows cut to the right length, get a good release (Scott) go home and start practicing. Good luck.
 

RobG

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A few thoughts:

1. 60 draw weight is plenty for anything in North America. I doubt you'll have any trouble shooting 70 pounds, but you don't need to. I used to bottom out my limb bolts when I was younger, now I shoot about 62-65 pounds because it's easier on shoulders.

2. Package bows from box stores are okay. That said, it would be worth your time to drive somewhere where there is a reputable shop and spend some time shooting bows. You can get a lot of bow for a discounted price if you buy from someone that is unloading last year's model. Big Fin sold a Bowtech last year that was a screaming deal.
Yes he did and some fool bought it ;)
One thing I learned, you can be "strong" but the muscles are not commonly used and I found it better to start lighter, like 50#. That way you can concentrate on form. It wasn't long before I got stronger and could do 65#, but to be honest my accuracy suffered more than my ego did at 50#. The guy at the bow shop said modern bows are so fast you can get away with less than 60#.
 

RobG

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5. Learn to tune your bow yourself. This has gotten much easier with fallaway rests and the ability to yoke tune bows. Again, lots of info out there to read.
Some likely notsogood. Can someone recommend reputable sites?
 

JLS

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Some likely notsogood. Can someone recommend reputable sites?

Your Bowtech is one that you can yoke tune. Do a quick search on it. Basically it involves putting in/taking out twists in the cable yokes to achieve straight arrow flight instead of moving off of centershot for the rest.

I've seen methods with the Hoyts that you can do this without a bow press by inserting a screwdriver in the cam. I've never looked into whether you can do this with the Bowtech or not. All you have to do is relieve tension a little bit, so a portable bow press is usually sufficient. You can also find a friend that has a bow press to help you also.

I personally think that a lot of tuning issues end up being form issues. With dropaway rests, fletching contact is pretty rare.

I'd recommend either Archery Talk or the Bowsite for researching tuning information. Also, download the Easton Tuning Guide, and realize that much of the stuff about being overspined is no longer relevant for your type of equipment.

My tuning procedure consisted of:

1. Buy the bow.
2. Shop paper tunes the bow (easy to make a stand and do at home)
3. Shoot broadheads
4. Fine tune broadheads
5. Go hunt

You can French tune, walk back tune, whatever other method you want. These will help identify if there is a form issue. If your form is correct, screw a BH and shoot it and tune those to shoot with field points.

Edit: Even though I know what I'm doing, I don't mind taking my bow in for yoke tuning, etc. However, I think it is important to know how to do just in case you live where the shop is not very reputable, or you need to do some in the field tuning because of equipment breakage, etc.

Also, if some guy named "x-man" on the Bowsite writes something about tuning, you'd be well served to heed his advice. The guy is the Yoda of bow tuning.
 
Last edited:

Northernlilywhite

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Jun 27, 2016
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Thank you so much for all the useful info!

Based on the replies I think I am going to go with what my gut was telling me and check my ego at the door and go for 60lb draw. Unfortunately it looks like the truck and I are going to have to hit the road to find a bow shop as almost everybody has said that it is more than worth it to go to a pro shop.

I am not going to move one way or another on brand or model until I shoot a few models. Multiple people have mentioned personal comfort and confidence being key (vs performance reviews) whereas in a rifle this is also true but it doesn't seem to be at quite the same extent. However... I am looking at the Bowtechs and they seem to be a hell of a deal, which is fairly important. I would rather use my money for tags!
 

Tkaldahl2000

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I had a Bowtech Carbo Icon that I sold on eBay for less than $500. It would be a good choice for a beginner in my opinion, because you can switch the module around to get more speed, or adjust it to have a smoother draw. I'm not a fan of the Hostage rest that comes with the RAK package. I personally like the QAD HDX rest, but it is the only drop away rest I have used. I still have a Carbon Overdrive, and I love it, but it is more expensive. Archery is great fun, and makes a great lifetime activity. For the record, I never shoot more than 60 pounds, and have only failed to get a complete pass through on three or four whit tails. Those were all less than optimal hits.
 

TrickyTross

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Leicester, NC
my only advice is to go back and read jls's post 5 more times.

I will also say that a large part of archery hunting is about personal preference and confidence. Sure, some things don't make that much of a difference in the field, but confidence makes a huge difference. Do what gives you confidence. There are some universal confidence builders (practice, conditioning, experience, etc...) and there are some individual confidence builders (superstitions [if you're into that], routines, brands, etc...). Do what you need to do.


x1,000,000
 

Northernlilywhite

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Jun 27, 2016
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Hey all,

So I drove the 2 hours each way and shot several bows with the pro shop and got set up! I am going to be working with a Bowtech Carbon Icon. I have a 29 in draw length and a 70lb draw weight... Now hold on before you jump up and down about starting at 70lbs. I tried 3 x 60 draw weight bows first and then without even knowing it, the pro handed me the carbon icon set up at 70 and I pulled it without a hitch, no sky aiming, no grunting, etc. I was able to do that 6-7 times without any issue. The pro shop staff then mentioned that it was 70lbs and I knew it felt more difficult but it definitely wasn't an issue. My thought was it is a 60-70lb range and I can dial it back if necessary.

Now here is my question: they set me up with Easton Bloodlines which are 8.7 grains per inch and arrows are 28.25 inches so 245.77 grains (is it weird that my draw length according to bowtech settings is 29 and my arrows are 28 .25but still easily clear the rest?). My nock (9) insert (23) and blazer vanes (18) come to 50 grains. My field point is 100 grain and so are the Montecs I purchased. therefore the total arrow weight is 395 grains. This is just slightly above the minimum of 5 grains per draw weight lbs. Am i going to damage my bow shooting this light of arrows?
 

Speeddmn

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Aug 1, 2013
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Helena, MT/ Opheim, MT
Hey all,

So I drove the 2 hours each way and shot several bows with the pro shop and got set up! I am going to be working with a Bowtech Carbon Icon. I have a 29 in draw length and a 70lb draw weight... Now hold on before you jump up and down about starting at 70lbs. I tried 3 x 60 draw weight bows first and then without even knowing it, the pro handed me the carbon icon set up at 70 and I pulled it without a hitch, no sky aiming, no grunting, etc. I was able to do that 6-7 times without any issue. The pro shop staff then mentioned that it was 70lbs and I knew it felt more difficult but it definitely wasn't an issue. My thought was it is a 60-70lb range and I can dial it back if necessary.

Now here is my question: they set me up with Easton Bloodlines which are 8.7 grains per inch and arrows are 28.25 inches so 245.77 grains (is it weird that my draw length according to bowtech settings is 29 and my arrows are 28 .25but still easily clear the rest?). My nock (9) insert (23) and blazer vanes (18) come to 50 grains. My field point is 100 grain and so are the Montecs I purchased. therefore the total arrow weight is 395 grains. This is just slightly above the minimum of 5 grains per draw weight lbs. Am i going to damage my bow shooting this light of arrows?

Those do seem a little light, I shoot 9.3's from my Hoyt at 63 lbs. and 125 gr broad heads. As for length, I think my arrows are in the 28.5 range for my 29 inch draw. Just make sure you have a good 5/8 inch in front of you knuckle so you don't catch it.
 

HSi-ESi

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Nov 1, 2012
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Corvallis, MT
Congrats on the new bow purchase - sounds like you will have fun with it.

In my experience on the faster bows (yours has IBO of 335) can be frustrating when trying to shoot fixed blade broadheads when the arrow speed is greater than 290 fps. I ended up going to a heavier arrow and using the GoldTip FACT system to really get my arrow flight tuned.

I switched to Carbon Express Piledrivers this year (11.3 gpi). I have an assortment of broadheads (G5 Montec, SlickTricks and Solid) all in 100 gr. I noticed better arrow flight right away - I haven't adjusted the rest / tune setup from "center-shot". I was able to get all 3 broadhead types to shoot with my field points. My current arrow setup weighs 500 gr.

Have fun shooting - it's a great past-time.
 

JLS

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It looks like they sold you a 330 spine, so that's good.

I like a little heavier arrow, but I think anything between 400 and 500 grains is going to be in the sweet spot of balancing speed and momentum. You could just go to a 125 grain tip for a little more mass and better FOC, which you should be able to do with the spine you are shooting.

I have switched to Easton FMJ arrows, which are 11.3 gpi. I used to shoot Carbon Techs, which were 9.7 gpi.

I doubt you are going to damage your bow, if you're worried about it dial it back about 5 pounds and shoot 125 grain tips to bump you up a bit. Or, you could ask them to swap you out arrows. It's common for pro shops to want to sell you lighter arrows because it enhances the "speed" feel of the bow, which really wows folks and creates the "gotta have it" feel. Folks that have shot for a while typically have discovered on their own that a little heavier arrow, while slower, will typically give better flight and better hunting results.

All that said, it just dawned on me that you are back east and are going to be hunting whitetails. I am speaking from the context of elk hunting, so a lot of what I'm spewing might not be all that relevant.

Nothing wrong at all with going to a 70 pound bow. If you don't do the herky jerky while drawing it then everything is fine.

Do some reading on how to use back tension with a trigger release (assuming you bought a caliper/trigger release).
 

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