Finding a bow that works for you can be hard and easy at the same time. There is a lot that goes into selecting the right bow for you individually.
The best way I can give advice on finding the right one is to go to a local archery shop and have a tech fit you. They will measure your draw length and weight. The weight can be adjusted to your liking after you make your purchase. They will also get it all tuned and ready to shoot. If you think just because you just went and spent $1,500.00 on a new bow you made the best decision on a bow, you may be wrong. And just because your friend says the bow he or she shoots is the best thing since sliced bread doesn't mean that is the bow for you. There is a true difference in a high end expensive bow from a low end bow, but just because of the higher price tag doesn't mean it is a better bow for you individually.
I myself used to figure the more I spend the better the bow will be. I went to a shop and had them measure me and fit the bow to my liking. I had a price range I was interested in and shot 3 different bows. The first one I shot was the Hoyt AlphaMax 32. It was lightweight, very durable, super quiet, and had a very smooth draw. It just felt right. It's hard to explain, but when you feel it you know. Up until I had tried this bow I had shot an older Browning, that I traded for. I was never measured for it and never shot it before I purchased it. It was a lesson I learned the hard way. The other two bows were Bowtechs. I liked how they shot, but just not as much as the Hoyt. Nothing personal against Bowtech as they are making some of the better bows out there. The Hoyt just felt more comfortable to me personally. I felt more hand shock with the Bowtechs, and their draw just wasn't quite as nice. In the end I walked out of the archery shop a satisfied, $1,000 less in my pocket, customer. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.
Going from my old bow to the Hoyt I shoot now showed me just how far the archery world has progressed. There is a reason more and more people are getting into archery hunting. With new technology comes nicer more durable equipment. I have thought about upgrading many a time, but have been very satisfied with my current bow I just can't put it down. It also gives me a greater appreciation for older archers who have had success with older equipment and guys that are still shooting traditional. I will give some pointers on finding that right bow for you personally.
After picking up your bow the next thing is to practice, practice, practice. If you think you can just pick up a bow and go kill an animal, it just isn't that easy. I don't shoot near as much as I should, but I make sure and get out two to three times a week and shoot at least 30 to 50 arrows each outing around a month or two months before season. Ideally its best to shoot everyday to perfect your form, which will make you that much better of an archer. Also don't just practice the same distances every time. Shoot at odd yardages as well as shooting positions from standing, kneeling, and sitting in a chair. The farther distance you can become accurate at the easier the closer shots become. 90 yards isn't anything you should try and kill an animal at, but practicing at that range will make you that much more effective at 40 and 50 yards.
Getting into archery hunting can be the most rewarding thing you can do. It takes a lot of patience and skill to be able to kill an animal at under 50 yards, and even greater skill at under 30 yards. Be prepared to be frustrated as archery hunting is not for someone who thinks it is an easy thing to do. Today's outdoor shows may make it look easy, but the people on those shows put in the time and effort it takes to become a successful archer. It will test everything you thought you knew about hunting.
Have you ever wanted to hunt away from the road? Go a little farther from the pickup or main camp? Growing up in South Dakota I never really got to experience this very thing. I would generally go out with friends and family and spent a lot of time in the pickup or walking draws, and getting picked up at the other end.
It wasn't until I moved to Montana I got to experience hunting from a camp. My first experience was finally in 2008 when I drew a very coveted rifle elk tag on the Custer National Forest. I was lucky enough to score on a great bull the first morning out. I also had camped out of a small tent a couple of times with my brothers if we ventured a long ways from home, but elk camp was the first time in a large canvas tent.
In 2010 it would be my first trip to the mountains of Montana, when my Brother Todd drew a mountain goat tag. This was also where I figured out when you think you are in decent shape, try going after mountain goats and you will find out what kind of shape you are actually in. It will be a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. Although it wasn't my hunt it was still very special to me getting to share time on the mountain with my brothers as Kirk came as well. We backpacked in around 8 miles. After hiking in we set up camp. This is where I got my first true taste of a camp away from any amenities. After this trip I began to collect gear that would be vital to make camping like this just that much more comfortable.
In 2012 Todd and I went elk hunting and did the same sort of set up camping away from the pickup and trail head. I scoured the internet looking for sources for backpacking, and found a great source at www.kenetrek.com. They have an equipment list on there that assisted me greatly as I began the process of getting ready for the fall hunt. Some items I had and some I did not. I will list the things I take along for a hunt that can sustain you for approximately 5 to 7 days.
My list consists of the following:
This pretty much sums up what I will pack for an extended stay. It may seem like a lot, but it isn't bad when you get everything packed up. It also helps if you are hunting with other people as you avoid doubling up on items and you can split the weight. With everything in my pack it weighs roughly 45 to 50 lbs.
I hope this will help anyone who has ever wanted to hunt a little farther from the road. I'm not an expert at backpack hunting, but enjoy doing it and gain more experience each year. One of the biggest keys to hunting away from the road and main camp is to find water. If you can't find water your hunt will be over before it gets started. Here are some pictures of my empty pack and equipment and then what it looks like fully loaded.