How to Choose Between Shooting and Bowhunting, Part 1

Hunting has been an integral part of human history since the very beginning. The weapons we use to hunt today, however, are far more advanced than rocks and sharp sticks. Guns and bows each have strong support in the hunting community and you will meet hunters with very clear opinions about which is better. Copper Ridge believes there is no right answer, and we want to provide the products that make your hunt better no matter what method you choose. Try our ladder or hang-on deer stands, made with extra wide seats for your comfort on those long days spent waiting for the right prize. Browse our collection today to find the right hunting platform for you and read on to learn more about the differences between shooting and bowhunting.

Guns are often the default first weapon for people who are new to hunting. Some may never realize there is another option: bowhunting. Using a bow to hunt is a truly unique experience that comes with its own pros and cons. While it’s up to each hunter to choose the method that works best for them, archery does have its own specific challenges and rewards. In part one of this series, we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of archery.

Advantages of Bowhunting

More Opportunities

One of the biggest draws of bowhunting is the fact that, in most places, the hunting season is much longer than the season for gun use. Bowhunters have more flexibility in deciding when to go hunting if they need to schedule around work and family time, and they have the chance to avoid the worst of the weather and choose better conditions. The season for bowhunting also often starts before the more general hunting season which means archers have the first shot at prize game. There are also some landowners who will allow bowhunting on their property but not guns, so archers have more choice as to where they hunt and more access than hunters who choose to use guns. Lastly, there is one specific advantage of archery that can lead to more success — bows are quiet. While loud gunshots will frighten your quarry and keep them on alert, bowhunters have the opportunity to hunt while the animals are still unsuspecting and unafraid.

Build Skills and Strength

Many will point out that it takes skill to shoot guns with accuracy too, but bows provide a unique challenge. You need the experience and ability to shoot with accuracy and enough strength to draw the bow in the first place. It’s a workout and a pastime. Bowhunting also requires more precision, stealth, and patience. You need to get far closer to your target when using a bow as your weapon of choice, and you need to carefully choose your shot. Arrows are dangerous, but not as deadly as bullets, which means bowhunters need to aim thoughtfully in order to make it a quick, clean kill.

Easier to Practice

One of the biggest assets of bowhunting is that you don’t necessarily need an archery range to practice. Depending on local laws, the size of your backyard, and nice neighbors, you may even be able to practice at home. Archery isn’t nearly as disruptive as firing guns, so you can do it quietly and in your own space. It also won’t cost you money to train, because your arrows are reusable. It takes a lot of effort to master bowhunting, but you won’t need to buy ammunition for every training session.

Disadvantages of Bowhunting

It Takes Time

The advantages of a bow can also be flipped as disadvantages. While archery does help you build strength and skill, it takes a lot of time to learn. You will have to commit a lot of effort and free time to honing your skills. Even when you’re ready to go hunting, it will take longer to prepare than it would if you were hunting with a gun. Keep in mind that it wouldn’t just be an investment of your money — learning to bowhunt is also a big time commitment.

Relearn How to Hunt

Leave your bright orange hunting gear behind! The range of bows is much shorter than that of a rifle or shotgun, which means you have to be much closer to your target. This means camouflage and often gadgets or specialty clothing to hide your scent. Arrows are also less likely to bring down your target than bullets unless you really know what you’re doing. You may miss the exact spot you were aiming for or a stray branch may knock your arrow off course — there’s a good chance you seriously wound the animal without killing it, and you may lose it and your arrow. You need to be very sure of your skill in order to make a good, clean kill. If you commit to bowhunting, you may also have to adjust what you hunt. Archery simply isn’t effective enough to bring down a big bull elk and it’s not meant for small moving targets like quail.


Depending on your standards, you will probably be able to find a bowhunting kit for around the same price as a mid-range gun. However, you may also need to buy camouflaged and scentless clothes if you want to be a truly successful hunter. You won’t have to replace your ammunition every time you practice, but there is no way to avoid losing a few arrows during a hunt and it will cost you to replace them. Bows also don’t retain their value the same way guns do. They will put up with a lot of wear and tear, but eventually you will probably have to replace the bowstring or a cam or two.

Why You Should Try Bowhunting

If you talk to bowhunters, many will talk about how archery feels like a return to nature. Today’s modern hunting bows are a far cry from what our ancestors used, but they do give you a more intimate hunting experience. It’s unlikely you’ll ever get to look your prey in the eye when hunting with guns. There is an undeniable thrill to such a primal competition of human skill against animal instinct.

To keep learning about the differences between bowhunting and shooting, keep an eye on our blog. In the next part of this series, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of hunting with guns. In the meantime, Copper Ridge has products to make any hunt better, no matter your weapon of choice. Find the right hunting platform for you, whether you’re looking for a simple ladder deer stand or you want to try our ultra comfort man-and-a-half stand. Shop our hunting collection now!