I get asked this question a lot, and my answer always is that hunting with a bow is at least 1% better than hunting with a rifle. I can feel the pitchforks coming out, so please let me have the chance of explaining myself.
Why is hunting with a bow better?
The main reason that I stand by what I said earlier is the fact that hunting with a bow is a much more personal experience than when using a rifle. You are usually a lot more up close when you use a bow, and that gives you a different sensation than shooting a deer with a rifle at 400+ feet.
If this was a question of usability or straight-up killing power, then without a doubt the firearm would win every time. But it’s not, I’m answering this strictly from the perspective of a hunter, and what he would experience out on the hunt. Seeing as the majority of bowhunters also use guns, the fact that most prefer the bow rather than the gun should let you know all there is to it.
Because having strong arguments is the foundation of any good conversation, here are a couple more that I feel give credence to what I just said:
- Hunting with a bow requires more skill: There, I said it. I know most people are thinking this, but no a lot of people say this. In general, most people could use a gun and hunt pretty efficiently, but not a lot of people will be able to use a bow for the first time and even manage to hit their target, let alone hunt something.
- Fair changes: Because using a bow requires more skill and it’s easier to mess up, your prey has a better chance and the overall hunt is more challenging.
- Quiet: Bow hunting is quiet, and I think a lot of us enjoy this aspect of hunting. Shooting guns give you a more visceral audio experience, but if you miss there is zero chance that your prey will stick around, while with a bow you may have second chances.
- Longer season: There are states where bow hunting is allowed for extended periods compared to traditional hunting season, which means more opportunities to hunt.
What are the cons of bowhunting?
No respectable list would be complete without also stating the negatives that come into play when we are talking about bow hunting.
So, in no particular order these are the main cons:
- Physical effort: Using a bow that a big toll on you physically, and some people can’t/won’t do that. And I entirely respect that call, because at the end of the day if you want to relax during hunting then you do you.
- Skill barrier: The same reason that I gave earlier, is a double-sided argument because it also presents a sizable barrier for newcomers to the sport. Before you can even think about bow hunting, you have to start with target practice, get into shape, and improve your overall skill level which will take some time. In comparison, using a rifle is much simpler.
- Accuracy: Even with all the training in the world, it’s still easier to be accurate with a rifle than with a bow. Again, being accurate with a rifle is much easier than with a bow.
I could list more of them, but I think you get the overall gist of it. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice and that has to be respected.
What is more efficient, using a bow or using a rifle?
If we are just straight-up comparing what has the best killing power, then the winner is without a doubt the rifle. A bullet has more speed than an arrow, albeit it also has less mass but depending on the caliber can cause massive internal damage, which is something that an arrow can’t usually do.
The firing rate also goes to the rifle, because let’s face it, if you aren’t Hawkeye, then you won’t be shooting arrows like a machine gun.
The rifle also takes the accuracy trophy and the ease of use one, so in all honesty, it is the superior killing machine (history also proved that for us).
In a nutshell, I believe that bow hunting is better than rifle hunting because it’s up close and personal, it gives your prey better odds, and the amount of skill you have makes a big difference.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to message me using the contact form on my website. Happy hunting.