Hunting Bow Hunting

Busted: Bowhunting’s 10 Biggest Myths

Don't believe everything you hear at the archery range or bow shop
Tony Hansen Avatar
Shoot tight groups in no time Tony Hansen

What do archery and the Sasquatch have in common? Both have more than their fair share of myths, misconceptions and old wives’ tales.

Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest myths and why I think they’re bunk—the archery myths, that is. I’m still not convinced Bigfoot isn’t real.

bowhunting myths whisker biscuit
Ever had an arrow fall off the rest at the moment of truth? Yeah, me too. Tony Hansen

A biscuit-style rest offers plenty of advantages including full, secure capture of the arrow at all times. They’ve proven to be accurate and I’ve shot plenty of arrows through a chronograph using both a biscuit and fall-away style rests. I’ve yet to notice any appreciable difference in arrow speed.

Speed does not kill. Tony Hansen

Sharp blades that sever arteries and lacerate organs kill. I’m far more concerned with penetration than overall arrow speed. Thus I opt for heavier arrows and stout broadheads. Speed certainly helps bump kinetic energy and momentum numbers, but speed alone is not enough.

There was a time when taking a 30-yard shot at a deer was unethical – for me. Tony Hansen

I was shooting a traditional recurve and wasn’t that great of a shot to begin with. Ethics are a funny thing. There is no one-size-fits-all rule. A “long” shot of 50 yards might be a gimme for someone else. With today’s equipment, the lines of “too far” need to be drawn by individual shooters after an honest evaluation of skill and conditions.

Efficiency matters. Tony Hansen

Today’s lower-poundage bows are more than capable hunting weapons thanks to efficient cam systems that maximize every inch of draw length. When choosing a low-poundage bow, pay more attention to the cam system than how much weight you’re pulling. Choose any modern compound with a proven cam system, and you’ll be happy with the results.

Make no mistake, repetition breeds success. Tony Hansen

But does that mean you need to fire hundreds of arrows this summer to kill a deer this fall? No. If your time is limited (and whose isn’t?) you are much better off to shoot a few quality shots rather than dozens of rushed ones. Your first arrow in the woods is the one that counts. Practice the same way.

We have taken this “lightweight” thing too far. Tony Hansen

We have taken this “lightweight” thing too far. Don’t believe me? Head to a bow shop. Shoot the lightest bows there. Then shoot the heaviest bows. See which one you shoot better.

A “heavy” bow is almost always quieter. It’s likely going to have less vibration.

You’ll almost certainly shoot it better at longer ranges. How many top-notch 3D shooters do you see shooting the lightest bow they can find? None.

expensive bows
Competition in the archery world is fierce. Tony Hansen

More and more companies are churning out top-notch bows at value prices. Outdoor Life‘s annual bow test is testament to this as each year newcomers and lower-priced options are standing toe-to-toe with the big, expensive names in the business and faring quite well.

level sight bowhunting
I'd wager that a hefty percentage of deer hit “too far back” were the result of a canted bow. Tony Hansen

Yes, you do. I’d wager that a hefty percentage of deer hit “too far back” were the result of a canted bow. It’s so easy to do. Grip the bow a little too hard and you lean the bow left or right – which means you’ve now moved your sight pins as well. A sight-mounted level keeps things where they need to be. Use one.

anchor point archery
Hogwash. Back tension is certainly an excellent method for releasing an arrow. Tony Hansen

Hogwash. Back tension is certainly an excellent method for releasing an arrow. But some guys just can’t get the hang of it. And that’s fine. A finger-activated release works just fine and is plenty accurate so long as you pull through the shot and don’t slap the trigger.

The term “forgiveness” is one of the most overused phrases in all of archery. Tony Hansen

There is no such thing. You can either shoot a bow well or you can’t. You might struggle with a particular bow because of its design and, yes, brace height may have something to do with it. But I’ve shot plenty of bows with very short brace heights and shot them well. Conversely, I’ve shot bows with longer brace heights and couldn’t get them to group for anything. It’s more about the bow’s overall design than it is about one singular measurement.