LG and I both enjoy archery shooting and hunting. LG shoots in archery competitions and we both bow hunt. Since we are different sizes and have various needs, we use different archery equipment.
LG currently shoots a Mission Menace, by Mathews. We chose this bow for her because of its capability to adjust as she grows. Compound bows can be quite pricey, and if you are purchasing equipment for a youth shooter, you want a bow that will last through his or her developmental stages. With a suggested retail price of $269, the Mission Menace is affordable and will last LG for years to come.
LG was no different than any other new shooter. She had to start out at a lighter draw weight and, over time, developed her muscles and increased the weight. Knowing about this growth period was one reason we chose the Mission Menace for her. In Colorado, a minimum 40-pound draw weight is required for hunting. We wanted to make sure to purchase a bow that would eventually meet this minimum.
The Mission Menace offers a wide range of flexibility in draw weight that changes in correlation with the adjustment of draw length. Over the years LG has grown and we have adjusted the draw length by 3 inches. By moving set-screws in the upper and lower cams, adjustments are a breeze. We are able to make these changes at home, without taking the bow into a shop.
LG now uses her bow in competitions and for hunting. It is a smooth-shooting bow and has very little vibration. We have added a rest, dampener and sight to the bow and it weighs in at a mere 4 pounds. She is able to carry it around 3D courses and during hunts without it weighing her down.
Mama Mia’s bow
My bow is an entirely different story. I’ve been shooting for a number of years and also have owned a number of other bows. Since I am finished growing, I look for different characteristics in bow than those we wanted for LG. I need a bow that provides the maximum amount of performance.
Other than practicing and having fun with LG, my primary use for my bow is hunting. I prefer a bow that will give my arrow the largest amount of kinetic energy. With a draw length of 23 inches, my options for a high-performance compound bow are limited. I tried several bows before settling on my Mathews Jewel. The Jewel provided optimum performance for my short draw length.
On a side note, LG is a lefty, and most manufactures produce right as well as left-handed bows.
Other than performance, some things to look for when purchasing a bow are size, weight and construction. As a hunter I look for a compact bow that is fairly light and easy to maneuver through the brush and trees. LG likes a bow that is light so she can maintain a steady shot during competitions where she may be shooting as many as 60 consecutive times. Minimal vibration also plays a significant role for someone who will be shooting repetitively. Another factor that is very important to me is a smooth draw.
Ultimately, the bow you choose is a matter of personal preference. LG and I recommend trying a variety of bows to see what feels good to you.
This year I will be hunting antelope, bear and elk. LG will be hunting coyotes, raccoons and rabbits. The variety of animals an archer may hunt varies from state to state.
Other aspects of bowhunting
Always try to be in shape when for the hunt. General fitness is important. We work on balancing muscle strength with flexibility. Using latex exercise bands to add a little resistance, we perform exercises to develop back and shoulder muscles. We suggest incorporating your practice shooting into your fitness workout. Try sprinting up a hill to a target. Nock an arrow and aim as though you were hunting. Practicing with an elevated heart rate helps simulate a spot-and-stalk situation in the field. Another fun thing to practice is shooting from your stand or blind. This will help determine angles and turning radius you may have in a confined situation.
Remember to practice, practice, practice!