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Has anyone else tried bowhunting, but didn't enjoy it all that much?

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Has anyone else tried bowhunting, but didn't enjoy it all that much?

Old 05-09-2017, 08:30 AM
Typical Buck
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Default Has anyone else tried bowhunting, but didn't enjoy it all that much?

About seven years ago, I decided I wanted to try bowhunting for the first time. I had hunted extensively with a rifle and a little with a muzzleloader, so I felt the natural progression would lead me to archery equipment. That summer, I bought my first bow and practiced extensively.

Fast forward to today, and I haven't touched my bow or crossbow in two years or more.

I tried hunting with a bow. I tried hunting with a crossbow. I've had several deer within range, and even killed a decent buck. In spite of this, neither method really connected with me. Everyone I talked to, whether bowhunters I know personally or those on Facebook hunting pages, said once they started bowhunting, it became their favorite method. But, that wasn't the case for me.

Why not? I guess there are several reasons. While I always made sure to practice extensively, there would inevitably be those stray shots that, even at 20 yards, would mean the difference between a dead or wounded whitetail. The absolute worst example occurred the evening before the bow season opener. In spite of a good practice session the previous evening, suddenly my arrows were hitting more than 8" to the left at only 20 yards. Even my crossbow would do that. At one point, I shot a deer at 30 yards with my crossbow, a distance at which I had practiced regularly. In spite of this, my bolt wound up in the deer's throat, rather than behind its shoulder, for reasons I still can't explain. I don't know, maybe it was just me causing those issues, but regardless, my confidence that I could cleanly kill a deer with archery equipment ended up being pretty low. I definitely want to be confident in my ability to quickly put a deer down when I go hunting.

Another downside I found to bowhunting was that I'd end up spooking the deer early on in the year to the point that deer sightings during muzzleloader and gun season had decreased noticeably from previous years. In the years since I've quit bowhunting, I've seen more deer during those seasons than before I quit.

The biggest downside? For all the effort, it just never felt that much more rewarding to me. I was always told killing a deer with a bow was vastly more rewarding than doing the same with a rifle. For me, that just wasn't the case. True, it was always more thrilling to have them up close, but it didn't really matter to me which weapon I had in hand if they were 30 yards or closer.

Has anyone else tried bowhunting, but just didn't get into it?
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Old 05-09-2017, 08:56 AM
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I have bowhunted since I was 12 and I am 46 now. I have hunted with both the bow and crossbow.

I enjoy it more because of when the season is. Better weather, deer are less spooked and they are easier to pattern. Then, the tail end is during the rut.

But, if you asked me whether I wanted to take my bow or rifle out on any given day, I would probably take the rifle. For me, it's not the weapon, it's the hunt. I hunt with whatever I am allowed for that given time of year.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:09 AM
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I tried it, didn't really enjoy it. It was fun shooting targets but the actual hunting didn't excite me.

I haven't touched a bow in probably 10 years.

I'm thinking about picking it up again just because my new house has a couple acres so I could shoot a deer in my yard...lol
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:31 AM
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What motivates me to get into archery (hopefully this season) is being able to hunt deer earlier than November. That's it. I too love getting crazy close to deer, but you said it well: it's the distance that makes it, not the method.
Also, I know I'm a sucker for walking through the woods with a "pretty" rifle at the ready, whether I see game or not. Compound bows just don't have that same elegance and finesse that a well-balanced rifle does. They also don't have that wondrous, thundering roar that breaks the stillness of the woods.
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:12 AM
Nontypical Buck
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As I am sure most of you all know, the old man was an archery fanatic. I would sometimes wonder if given the choice between bowhunting or breathing what choice he would make. I on the other hand can take it or leave it. I practice consistently throughout the year but that is just because it was instilled into me at a very young age to master any weapon I was going to hunt with. The animals you hunt deserve the best one can give. My sister on the other hand, the oldest sister, took after the old man in that department. She even takes her bow out during rifle season. Rarely even takes a rifle hunting anymore. I do enjoy the benefits of the earlier starting season with archery but the heat and the bugs in most of the states I hunt in kind of makes it not worth it. How the old man tolerated the heat part I don't understand since he hated heat worse than me.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:39 PM
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I never really cared for it. I hunt for meat and I can fill the freezer a lot easier with a rifle. After taking over 90 deer so far I'm to the point where I view most deer hunting as little more than grocery shopping.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:52 PM
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Flags that is sad, I mean no ill will to you, If I had the same emotion as you towards hunting I would turn to something else. I have read a couple of times , The old time buffalo shooters got burned out quickly and had to switch to something else. I am now partaking in 50 years of bowhunting, Still a thrill, But different, the chase is what I now enjoy, Getting up close and personal, Although I still enjoy fresh venison each year, its no longer the killing that turns me on, its the chess game ! H H
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Old 05-09-2017, 01:27 PM
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To each his own. I hunt every season (arch, muzz, and gen gun). But I live for bowhunting. To me gun hunting is just a grocery run. I'm efficient well out to 500 yards. Though my longest deer kill is 266 yards. Pigs and yotes are much much further. But something about the proficency it requires to make that clean kill with a bow is what keeps my attention. I don't even get excited for a doe in my crosshairs, but heart will nearly pound out of my chest when a nanny is in bow range. I practice a minimum of 4 times a week outside of hunting season. Most weeks I'm out every night.

I'm not saying this is your case, but you can't pick up a bow twice before season and expect to 12 ring a deer everytime. To add to that if you have never taken lessons or got pointers from a pro I would suggest you do. sticking foam is one thing, but if you don't have perfect form the excessive adrenaline and oddball shooting positions in hunting scenarios make a good shot very difficult. I'm sorry you had a bad encounter, but that is hunting. Their is no difference in the guys that buy a new rifle from wally world the night before season opens and think because they hit a can at 50 yards they can go sling lead at deer 250+ yards out.

Last edited by Tufrthnails; 05-09-2017 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 05-09-2017, 02:31 PM
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Maybe you just root for the cowboys in all of those westerns?

it could come down to what your preferred hunting style is. A buddy gave me a bow & hunting arrows because he got racked up and couldn't use it anymore. To this day, I still haven't shot it. I like to hike when I hunt and and really enjoy heading out in the field with my rifle and a pack.
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by CalHunter
Maybe you just root for the cowboys in all of those westerns?

it could come down to what your preferred hunting style is. A buddy gave me a bow & hunting arrows because he got racked up and couldn't use it anymore. To this day, I still haven't shot it. I like to hike when I hunt and and really enjoy heading out in the field with my rifle and a pack.
I broke down and got a really nice crossbow(Scorpyd) last year. It's accurate up to 100 yards and I got a decent buck in Ohio with it at about 20 yards. I would have enjoyed it more with my new 444 even more just because I like rifles & shotguns.
The instant knockdown and the smell of gunpowder is just cool to me.
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