If you are starting out in the sport of archery or bowhunting, the equipment that you choose will depend on the goals that you have set for yourself.
Whether you plan to shoot in competitive archery competitions, hunt with your bow, or just shoot for fun in the backyard occasionally, your decision will influence what equipment you choose to acquire to pursue your new pastime.
Even though those pursuits are different and will require some variations in gear, there are some items that are universal to archery and those are what we will focus on in this article.
The nuances of gear selection are better addressed via a conversation with a reputable professional bow technician at your local archery shop, or with an archery mentor.
A Quality Bow
When you are starting out in the sport of archery or bowhunting, you want to be sure that you have quality equipment. Quality doesn’t mean the most expensive option on the market. In fact, there are many quality options that are suitable for hunting or target shooting that fall within a “blue-collar” budget.
What should be a priority when selecting your first bow is choosing a bow that can grow with you as an archer, and a bow that is comfortable and forgiving to shoot, whether it be a compound, recurve or a longbow. Choosing a compound bow that has a range of adjustability in draw weight and draw length will allow a younger archer to use the bow over the course of several years as they grow.
Selecting a recurve bow that offers multiple limb options will allow a new archer to start with a lighter draw weight so they first perfect their shooting form, and then progress to heavier limb options if they wish to gain arrow velocity, flatness of shooting, and increase kinetic energy for hunting applications.
Recurve bows like the OMP Mountaineer 2.0 offer multiple limb options, or for a truly smooth shooting and customizable option, the OMP Night Ridge ILF features a long riser that, when paired with long Reaper Limbs, provides a forgiving recurve platform.
More accessories are typically added to a compound bow than a recurve, however in either case, selecting quality accessories can enhance your archery experience.
Compound bows usually feature some kind of fiber optic pin style sight, whereas many traditional bow shooters opt to shoot instinctively, or, without a bow sight. If you are starting out with traditional archery, you may opt to have a pin sight installed on your recurve. This can shorten the learning curve and help you stay more consistent with your shots before you progress to instinctive shooting if that is your goal.
String accessories are also something that you may opt to add to your bow. One of the most important string accessories is a string peep. We highly recommend adding one to your bow setup. After that, string silencers are a close second must-have bow accessory. String silencers help to reduce the vibration of the bowstring after the shot and can also dampen noise. There are many options available, including monkey tails, cat whiskers, and wool. If you are shooting a recurve, OMP Remedy Limb Dampeners are a good way to reduce shock and vibration that is transferred from the string to the limbs of the bow.
You will also need to have a nock bushing or string loop installed on your bow for proper and consistent arrow placement. You can discuss the best option with a bow technician at your local archery shop. If you are shooting a compound, most shops will recommend the installation of a peep sight on your bowstring, which will help to enhance your accuracy and shot consistency.
Other bow accessories are also something to consider. These include items such as a bow-mounted quiver and a stabilizer to help balance your bow and provide additional vibration reduction from the bow’s riser. If you wish to keep extra weight off your bow, you can also opt for a hip quiver to hold your arrows. You will also want to consider a release aid if you are shooting a compound bow. Choose something within your budget that has a crisp trigger, and optimally some adjustability to the triggers tension and travel settings. If you are shooting a traditional bow, you will want to consider some options such as finger tabs or a shooters glove.
Bow Maintenance Accessories
Picking up a few accessories that will help keep your bow protected and in good repair is also worth consideration. OMP String Serum is a great product that helps to clean and condition your bowstring, leading to greater longevity by protecting it from the elements.
Our Traceless Bow Lubricant is also a good item to have on hand for compound bow shooters. Finally, a quality bow case is a must-have. A bow case provides your bow and accessories with the protection they need during transit to the hunt or the shooting range.
There are hundreds of options of arrows on the market, and what arrow and point combination you choose will depend upon the type of bow you are shooting, the kind of game animals you will be pursuing, and your draw weight and length.
The best thing you can do is head to a trusted bow shop and get some recommendations for their professional bow technicians. You don’t have to “break the bank” with your arrow selection, but having quality arrows of the right spine selection, that are cut and built properly, will be a big part of your shooting success.
You will need a target that can hold up to hours of shooting practice. Bag style targets are incredibly durable and are able to take thousands of shots. They are also an economical option as well.
Foam and layered targets may not provide as much longevity, but they allow you to shoot both field points and broadheads into them, making them a great choice for bowhunters who will be doing broadhead tuning prior to their hunt.
It’s Time To Shoot
If you’ve recently decided to pick up the sport of archery or bowhunting, be sure that you don’t get overwhelmed with gear “requirements”.
There is nothing wrong with building your inventory overtime and upgrading as needed.
Prioritize the items that are absolutely necessary to get you to the shooting range or the treestand, and then go from there.
Remember, bowhunters and competitive archers spend their entire lives perfecting their bow and gear setups, so it will also be something that you will fine-tune as you discover what works for you.
For more information on the sport of archery and bowhunting, be sure to check out our full blog archive.
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