Whitetail Bow Season: Picking a Draw Weight

Whitetail bow season is here and for a bow hunters at any level it is imperative to choose a draw weight that allows for a slow, smooth and steady hold at full draw to make an accurate shot.

One of the key ingredients to a finely tuned bow is the adjustment of draw weight. For a bow hunter at any level it is imperative to choose a draw weight that allows for a slow, smooth draw as well as a steady hold at full draw to make an accurate shot. Adjusting up the draw weight of a bow will increase both velocity and energy of the arrow as well as flatten the flight trajectory. These are definite benefits for a capable archer but bow hunting success is more dependent on other aspects. If an increase in weight significantly hinders the draw and shot process, the negative effects are going to outweigh any benefits.

Hours of time and many dollars are invested into the little time that we actually spend in the woods, so why do anything to decrease the chance for success? An archer's main goal is to have a close range shot at a particular animal. Wild game is called wild because they have every sense keyed in on survival and are almost always on alert and ready to bust.

When an archer is in a situation to shoot, the first step to take is drawing the bow. The movements done to draw a bow have a great possibility of making an animal bust. If the bow is too heavy it will require a twitch or jerk to pull back which increases the possibility. Even once the bow is at full draw, animals do not usually pose like a silhouette target. An archer has to be prepared to hold the full draw position for as long as it takes the animal to get back into some form of broadside. This takes strength and endurance to do. The higher the pound setting on the bow the less time the archer can stay steady at full draw. Once the animal is in position, the archer should still be in a steady state, capable of making the shot.

There are so many uncontrollable factors that can affect these different steps. Having the correct draw weight will cut down the chance that these factors ruin a hunt. With today's technology a bow does not need to be set at 65+ pounds to be lethal. The state of Texas has the legal draw weight as anything over 40 pounds. Even though this is the state minimum, my recommendation would be that any draw weight over 50 pounds will get the penetration necessary to achieve a fatal shot, assuming that the shot is placed in the vital zone.

Being able to easily draw as well as place the shot correctly is more important than having a bow that can sling an arrow through an armored tank. With practice, the majority of archers should be capable of shooting a bow with 50 pounds or greater of draw weight.

The process of finding the correct draw weight is very simple. Take advantage of the range at the local archery shop and the knowledge of the pros working it. Have the pro set the bow at an average weight and work from there. If you can go through the steps of drawing smoothly, holding for a period of time, and making the shot, then you are able to bump up the draw weight.

Shooting a bow will fatigue muscles that most do not use on a regular basis. It is important to take your time and rest so that you are fresh for every shot. Find a draw weight that fits your current physical condition then stop adjusting and keep practicing.


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