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The Truth About Bow Draw Weight

In some circles the topic of bow draw weight can become a heated debate. The truth is it's not worth arguing about.

[caption id="attachment_6192" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The bow draw weight you choose is a highly personal decision. The bow draw weight you choose is a highly personal decision.[/caption] Why does everything in this world seem to have to be black and white? It's either one view to one extreme, or the opposite view to the opposite extreme. One topic that pops into my mind is mountain lions. In my home state of Nebraska we are beginning to see more and more of the critters. Some people want to shoot all the lions and some want to shoot none of them. Few voices seem to be heard that argue for shooting the few lions you see every now and then to keep these vicious predators hemmed into the hills. Perhaps they are not there, or possibly they just don't get the publicity. This mess pervades nearly all aspects of our lives. The same goes for a few discussions in archery circles. One topic people often debate in these circles is bow draw weight. Some argue in favor of super heavy draw weights and others argue for lower draw weights to get the job done. I recently read a thread in a popular archery forum in which a two gents were going back and forth because one shot an 80 pound bow and the other shot a 45 pound bow. For some reason the two archers, and a number of others who chimed in, couldn't come to an agreement on the topic. The truth about draw weight is the right fit is totally personal. There really is no right or wrong answer. In the end, archery is all about accuracy. Unlike a rifle shot, you must hit a vital organ in order to bring down your prey in a quick and ethical fashion. If you can do this with a heavy bow great. If not, no big deal. About any game animal on the North American continent can be hunted with a bow of 45 pounds or more. There are exceptions on other continents where animals are simply so tough skinned they cannot be ethically hunted with lighter poundage bows. I've personally never hunted these species, but have read enough to understand that if I were to bowhunt, say a cape buffalo in Africa, I would need a heavy poundage bow. Both heavy draw weights and light draw weights have advantages as well. Heavy draw weights for example have more flat trajectories that can make close range shots easier to shoot. Light weight bows on the other hand are typically quieter and are easier to draw and hold. I read a story a few years back about a fellow who cranked up his bow poundage during the summer and was shooting lights out. Once the fall hit he took his bow out to the woods to arrow a big buck. The temperature dropped on the day of his first hunt and as deer approached his stand his cold muscles were unable to draw the heavy weight of his new bow. This is a case where the hunter would have clearly benefitted from a lighter draw weight. Successful hunters in all regions of North America have been successful with both heavy poundage bows and light poundage bows. Two guys that come to mind are Fred Eichler and Cameron Hanes. Fred Eichler is a traditional bowhunter who shoots around a 55 pound recurve, while Hanes is a compound bow hunter who shoots around an 80 pound compound. Both fellows have taken their fair share of animals, including grizzly bear, with their respective equipment. The key is they are both highly skilled hunters and extremely accurate within their hunting ranges. At the end of the day each archer must shoot a poundage they personally feel comfortable with. This may be a 45 pound longbow, or a 90 pound compound beast. If it makes you a better hunter why worry about what the other guy is shooting? NEXT: 3 COMMON ARCHERY INJURIES AND PREVENTION TIPS
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