• A Wild Lass

Bow Hunting for Women: Beginner Tips

You already know that women hunters are in the minority--up to a whopping 11% like I mentioned in my last post about hunting. That doesn’t mean you have to exclude yourself from extending the season, though. Bow hunting is a great way to extend the season. Rather than starting the hunting season with your firearm, midway through November, why not learn a new sport?


This year I’m starting my bow hunting journey (and considering muzzleloader season, which runs later, after firearm) so that I have more of a chance at getting some venison for our family.


Here are the most important beginner tips I’ve learned along the way for women who want to start bow hunting.


Photo by Angie Gade on Unsplash

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.


Cross Bow or Recurve?


If you follow hunters like Eva Shockey or Kendall Jones, both big names in the women’s hunting industry, you’ll mostly see pictures of them with recurve bows (even their own line). Some people say that a cross bow is too easy, and it’s the cheater’s way to bow hunt.


I disagree. I’d say if you’re coming from firearm hunting experience and want a way to extend the season, there’s no shame in starting with a crossbow. Get one that’s easy to set up, just a frame and a string. I’m using an Excalibur this year, one I borrowed. Once you have a season under your belt, you can move on to another style of bow if you want to.


Seize Every Opportunity


I’m embarrassed to say this is the third year in a row someone has offered to let me borrow their crossbow if I wanted to try bow hunting. I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to get started, but if you know someone who’s been offering to help you learn this new skill, now’s the time to take them up on it.


If you’re shooting the breeze or making small talk about hunting, take it deeper. Don’t just nod your head and thank them for the offer. Make a date in your calendar to get in some learning experience.


Best of the Beginner tips for Bow Hunting for Women: Practice


This seems like a no-brainer, but this will be different from shooting a rifle or shotgun. You need to get used to how it feels to cock your crossbow and how to disarm it. Women can do it; don’t let anyone tell you you’re not strong enough. There’s a string with hooks on it that you connect to the bowstring, and then pull straight up to cock the bow. With tools like that, you shouldn’t have trouble.


Make sure you know the difference between practice arrows and hunting arrows. The hunting arrows are pretty expensive, so you don’t want to lose one. Practice with a foam target and those practice arrows. Don’t shoot too many at once, because you don’t want to damage the arrows already stuck in the target.


If you have trouble getting the arrows out of the foam, try pushing from one side and pulling from the other. Be careful not to damage the fletches.


Camouflage Is Important


While you’re required to have hunter orange on during firearm season, that’s not the case for bow season. You have to be a lot closer to the deer to hit them with an arrow, so camouflage is important for bow season. If you can find a ghillie suit, that will help.


It’s also a good idea to set up a tree stand. You need a bigger opening for a crossbow, so an ordinary deer blind may not work. You also have to be a lot closer to the deer, so sitting in a tree makes it easier not to scare them away. Tree stands are more open, so it’s easier to use a crossbow, too.


Dress Warmly


Sitting in a tree stand means you’re more exposed to the elements. While the weather isn’t usually as cold in October as it is in November, you’ll still want to make sure you stay warm. It’s easier to sit still if you’re not freezing. Be sure to put leggings underneath some roomy sweatpants, and then put on your wool hunting gear. I recommend the same thing on top, with a tank or short sleeve shirt under a warm sweatshirt, followed by your wool hunting gear. Remember your clothes need room to breathe, because the trapped air between layers is what keeps you warm. Don't wear layers that are too tight. If you need it, buy a heated vest or pair of pants.


Keep Learning


The more you practice something, the more you’ll learn. If you don’t have any luck this bow season, don’t give up. Besides for the above beginner tips for bow hunting for women, you’ll find lots more information out there to help you get into the sport.


For more on hunting for women, check out these other posts from A Wild Lass. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for hunting updates and bonus adventurous mom content!


The Best Meatloaf Recipe (Especially for Wild Game)

Hunting Is A Family Activity


*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.