Ancient Practice, Modern Archers
Bowhunting consists of harvesting game animals using a bow and arrow. It is the oldest style of archery, as well as one of the most ancient methods of hunting. Although many modern hunters may use state-of-the-art equipment, some also hunt with traditional bows and aiming methods. Out of an estimated six million archers in the US, roughly one-third participate in bowhunting, according to a 2010 survey by the Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association.
Many people who want to hunt are drawn to bowhunting because they feel it requires more skill than hunting with a rifle. As in field archery, the bowhunter may simply enjoy the beauty of nature or the solitude of wooded areas. Whatever their reasons, bowhunters face challenges and enjoy benefits which are unique to this form of archery.
Bowhunting Seasons and Rules Vary by State
Bowhunting requires a state-issued license and is allowed only during certain seasons. These typically start in September or early October, and can span a few weeks or over four months. Bowhunting seasons are typically longer than gun hunting seasons because the harvesting, or success rate, is much lower for archers than for rifle shooters.
The rules and regulations are different for each state, so it is best to get in touch with your state’s official Department of Natural Resources which can sometimes be referred to by other terms such as the Fish and Wildlife Agency. To search by state for the right organization, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services page. There you will find more information on licensing, restrictions, and any other resources to help you discover archery through bowhunting.