Whether you’re getting a hunting bow as an upgrade to an existing one or have just recently gotten into the sport, it always pays to know what aspects to consider when purchasing this kind of equipment. If you are serious about the sport, having the best hunting bow on hand will help you maximize the entire experience. These elements ensure exactly that.
The wheels or cams in hunting bows are of various styles and shapes and also come with different features. However, despite the large variety of designs available, hunting bows can simply be classified into just five main types. Each type has its own set of qualities that distinguishes the best application for the device. An archer can go for the specific cam style that answers their need for comfort, speed, usability, accuracy and noiseless bolt delivery.
A bow with a round cam may be the slowest among compound bows but it does offer smoothness and accuracy. A round wheel is relatively quiet, is quite easy to tune and doesn’t vibrate too much. It provides a rainbow-curve trajectory that doesn’t favor use in hunting applications.
Matched with a round idler wheel, a single cam is quite popular among hunters for its ease of tuning, thanks to just one cam to roll over.
A dual cam can deliver more quickly than a single cam style, while entailing greater maintenance and tuning.
Both a single and a dual cam bow can be maximized to their potential once they have undergone synchronization prior to use.
A more recent addition to cam styles is the 1.5 hybrid cam, which combines a single and a dual cam. A hybrid cam offers a speed comparable to the dual cam while functioning most the same way as a solo cam in which another cam replaces the idler wheel. This redesign is responsible for reducing nock movement that is an issue with single cam styles.
Similar to the dual cam, the binary cam has the same degree of rotation during drawing and shooting. This makes the binary wheel style practically maintenance-free once it is tuned.
Bow Adjustability and Let-off
Today’s bows are made with adjustable draw lengths. The level of adjustability and its degree of difficulty can vary from one model to another, however. Experts suggest having personal draw lengths measured prior to making a purchase for a hunting bow. This becomes even more essential when one changes their shooting style, and for youngsters, to accommodate growth. Adjustability of both the draw weight and draw length has to be assured so the weapon can be used into the future.
To get a customized bow for one’s needs, the let-off also has to be provided for. The cam reduces the effort needed to keep it there during full drawing of the bow. The percentage of the peak draw weight that is released when at full draw is denoted as the let-off. Typically, let-off percentage varies between 65% and 85%. Holding your bow at full draw for a prolonged period while waiting for your target to appear will necessitate a lower holding weight with a high let-off cam. Take note: a higher let-off will decrease arrow speeds a bit.
IBO Speed Rating
To enable consumers to enjoy a level playing field and enable more effortless comparison of hunting bows, the standards set by the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) have been adopted to determine the speed of the weapon. IBO speed levels use an arrow weighing 5 grain for every pound of draw weight. Generally, hunting bow makers get speed ratings utilizing a 70-pound bow with a 30-inch draw length and a 350-grain arrow. Draw length and weight, along with arrow weight and the weight added to the string are variables that directly affect arrow speed. For an average hunting bow, expect a 10 to 20 percent slower speed than its declared IBO rating.
Axle-to-axle Length (ATA)
The distance between the axles of the cams is called the axle-to-axle length. This can also denote the distance between the cam and the idler wheel. With a longer ATA, it will be easier to hold the weapon steady in a vertical position. However, stalking your prey through thick brush or waiting for it to show up while you’re on a tree stand or in a ground blind may require using a bow equipped with a shorter ATA, which will prove to be easier to maneuver in confined spaces. Generally, hunting bows offer an ATA ranging from 31 inches to 34 inches.
The distance between the resting position of the string and the groove in the grip of the bow is called the brace height. This element has much to do with the power stroke of the weapon, or the distance of travel of the string, aside from also influencing arrow speed. Expect faster arrow speeds with a shorter brace height, which may, however, magnify any errors in the hunter’s form. The slowness of a longer brace height is compensated by the arrow being in contact with the string, resulting in reduced distance and errors in form being less noticeable. A brace height between 6 and 7 inches is common.
Much easier to hold steady, heavier bows can cause hunter fatigue rather quickly. A lightweight hunting bow does take a greater amount of practice to wield precisely, but it can be easier to carry if you have to trudge through the hunting terrain for extended periods of time. Without accessories, a typical hunting bow weighs about 4 to 4.25 pounds.