It wasn’t that long ago that women interested in bow hunting would have to borrow their husband’s bow to go out, because there were simply too few bows on the market designed specifically for women. Years ago, most bows were manufactured with the longer male arms in mind, and that made comfortable operation difficult for females. Now, however, with the rise in popularity of bow hunting coupled with increased interest from females, many more compound bows are being designed to accommodate a broader range of sizes.
This is a very important point in bow selection, because the selection process for a woman is basically the same as for men – the right compound bow must be highly personalized to your physical characteristics, as well as the way you go about hunting. When you’re looking to buy a new bow or replace an old one, here are some of the bow features you need to consider and match to your own capabilities.
Draw Length and Draw Weight
One of the most important considerations in making the right bow selection for yourself is the bow’s draw length, which is the distance between the bowstring at rest and when fully drawn back. The reason for its significance is that unless closely matched to your specific physical dimensions, you’ll never be able to achieve the shooting potential the bow is capable of. The draw length of the bow must be closely matched to your own arm length in order to achieve optimum operation. To be most accurate, have your arm length measured at the store where you’re purchasing your bow.
The draw weight of a bow is the amount of weight felt when you draw the bowstring back to you, with higher draw weight resulting in greater speed and penetration. As a rule of thumb, the draw weight needed to kill a deer is roughly 40 pounds, but the right draw weight for you should be determined by personal criteria. If you can draw the bowstring back fully without jerking, and you can hold that drawn position for one minute, the bow’s draw weight is not too much for you.
Bow Length, Weight, and Speed
The length and weight of a bow are important to personalize because these two characteristics affect shooting accuracy, and they also have an impact on how you intend to hunt. For instance, a long, heavy bow might be awkward to hold in a tree stand where space is limited, or it might be difficult to carry during a stalk through heavy foliage. Shorter bows, on the other hand, can be much easier to manage in tight quarters, but you may sacrifice accuracy if shooting at targets beyond 30 yards or so.
The arrow speed generated by a bow is never what its advertised speed is in feet-per-second (fps), because manufacturers routinely hype this number to attract buyers. For most hunters, an arrow speed advertised at somewhere near 300 fps is probably about right, even though the true speed will be considerably less than that.
The Right Bow Selection for You
There are more bow characteristics than these of course, but for each of them the idea is the same – match them to the style of hunting you intend to do, along with your physical attributes, to make the bow an extension of yourself. When your bow can be operated as though it were a natural part of your body, you’ve made the right bow selection.