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1152 W. 8th Ave
Chico, Ca 95926
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Chico, CA 95926 1152 W. 8th Avenue
Open hours: Tues-Fri: 10am - 5:30pm Sat: 9am-3pm

What bow should I buy?

If you are thinking about buying a bow and getting into archery, you may be overwhelmed by all the information available and unsure of who to trust. This article is designed to explain the four things you need to decide before shopping. Once you have the answers to these questions, you will know what kind of archer you want to be and you will be ready to do some real research regarding your new interest!

1. What is your purpose for wanting to shoot? You might choose casual fun for you and your family, competitive shooting, hunting or maybe all three. Rank them according to their importance to you.

2. What is your preferred archery style? You might want to shoot instinctively with traditional "stick and string" (recurve) equipment only. Or you may choose a fully outfitted high tech compound bow, which employs pulleys to assist with holding the draw weight while you aim.

3. How committed do you see yourself in pursuit of your goal? This may influence the choice you made in number 2 above. If you are not sure, that's ok. Read on and you will have a better idea when you are done.

4. How much do you feel you want to spend on your new found hobby? Starter recurves are generally less expensive to purchase than a starter compound bow.

Still not sure? Let me help by giving you more information. Take your time with the above questions. It will save you a lot of research later.
Casual archery is very enjoyable. I love watching my arrows fly when I shoot my recurve. When I want to go to a tournament or go hunting though, I always reach for the bow I am most proficient with - the compound. I can aim more carefully, shoot longer distances and be far more accurate. I am not really able to see my arrows fly. They are at the bullseye before I am done with my shot follow through! If you are more interested in becoming accurate in the shortest amount of time or if you wish to use your bow for hunting, a compound is a better choice. That said, some people are very much mesmerized by traditional archery. They feel that holding the string back with their fingers gives them more of a connection to their shot. They love to see the arrow arc through the air.

Recurves and longbows take more consistent practice to really become proficient and maintain the skill. It is sort of like learning to be a baseball pitcher: you have to throw a lot of baseballs before you can expect to consistently throw strikes. If you do want to be a hunter but only use a recurve, don't be discouraged. Some archers are amazingly accurate with traditional equipment. I have seen video of a man who can hit an aspirin out of the air! And one of the most famous archery hunters I know of used a recurve for everything: Fred Bear.
We've covered the first three, so let's think about cost. You can set yourself up for casual archery pretty easily with a reliable recurve or longbow including all the necessary accessories like an armguard, finger protection and a half dozen arrows for around $180. A truly good compound bow can be had for a few hundred dollars, but to set it up the way most people do will just about double that price. You can buy less expensive equipment, but when it comes to bows the old adage applies: there is no such thing as a cheap tool.

A word of caution regarding on-line and used bow purchases--bows need to be sized to the specific individual shooting them and like cars, bows can be invisibly damaged in an accident. Remember, if you buy the least expensive bow you can find, you will likely end up replacing it soon with a better one. Or you might become frustrated with the whole experience and give up early. If the only way you can get into archery is on a tight budget, or you just can't wait to play, do it! You can always upgrade later.
In the next article, I will discuss the different decisions you will face regarding where and how to spend wisely to get what you are looking for...
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