Having a hard time picking the right bow? These bow selecting tips should help with that decision.

Are you trying to decide on a new compound bow? Everyone has a hard time picking the right bow; I get questions all the time, which is better, which do you like more, which is better for hunting. With all these questions, the guide below will help you look at your selection in a different way. When asking friends and family what to buy they tend to lean towards the brand they know or have heard of. Let’s face it, if you have not heard of a brand you are more likely not to try it. You also might not be willing to spend your hard earned money on it. However, what you could be missing is at risk. 

Let’s say that, marketing set aside, which of the current bow companies (Bowtech, Mathews, Diamond, Darton, Athens, Limbsaver, Prime, Quest, Parker, Obsession, Bear, PSE, Hoyt, Mission, and Xpedition) produce bows that get the job done? ALL OF THEM! Yes, you heard me right every bow on the market shooting 55lbs and up will take your game down. We have tested most the bows in the archery industry and out of all of them we have not had one that would not get the job done in the field.

Let’s start with the most basic question; price, what is your budget? That is the first step, you have to have a full budget price in mind. This includes bow, sight, rest, stabilizer, quiver, arrows, broad heads, field points, release, peep, case, kisser, target and any extras.

Once you have a budget in mind, the next step is deciding if you want the fastest bow on the market in that price point or the most comfortable. Let’s look, for example, at the Pro Series market bows. The PSE Full Throttle vs. the Elite Synergy. The PSE is boasting 370FPS, while the Elite is around 335FPS. However, if you shoot these bows you will notice a major difference in the back wall and draw cycle. You will also notice a major difference in grip and overall feel. So back to the question—do you want SPEED or COMFORT?

 Length changes many things when buying a bow. In my experience, the longer the bow the more accurate and forgiving. Now, I can’t say that is always the case but from my experience that holds true. So that being said, are you looking for a longer bow? This would be 36”- 40” axle to axle. Usually when you get a longer bow you move up from 4.1 to 4.5-4.8 LBS for bare bow weight. You also have to consider brace heights. Brace height is the distance from the handle to the string. Normally for speed bows you will see a 5” to 6-1/2” brace heights.  For bows that are slower in speed 340-300 FPS you will use 6-1/2 – 8” brace heights. If you have not guessed it yet, the longer the brace height the more forgiving a bow. What is forgiving mean? That means the bow gets the arrow out of the bow faster meaning that any movements you make as the archer are less dramatic. 


• SMALL (25”-30” Axle to Axle)

• MEDIUM (31”-34” Axle to Axle)

• LARGE (35”-40” Axle to Axle)

The length of a bow is usually determined by what you want to achieve with the bow. Many bow hunters I know that hunt in tree stands prefer a MEDIUM type bow. Many archers that hunt and shoot 3D targets prefer LARGE bows. SMALL tends to be very tiny and is great for spot and stalk or long journeys. In my opinion I would choose a MED for most deer hunting applications. 

 How heavy do you want your bow to be? Are you looking for a heavy steady type bow or a light moving bow? Lots of archers add weight to a light bow to stabilize it, but it is really against the purpose of buying a light bow when you think about it. So the question for you is heavy or light? Generally people who do lots of walking or overnight packing trips prefer a lighter bow. 

Most bows are available in Black and camo. Which camo pattern varies among archery companies. If you choose black, you can get that in most any brand and it generally works well in both ground blinds and tree stands. Black also blends very well with any accessories even camo.

About The Author

Midwest Hunting & Fishing

Midwest Hunting and Fishing magazine is a bi-monthly magazine providing relevant and timely content to our readers throughout the Midwest through our high-quality print and digital magazine. Fisherman and hunters alike find MHF there one stop shop to find the latest news and information on the hottest trends, fishing and hunting reports, destinations and quality content only found in MHF issues. We bring real-time outdoor news to our readers and viewers through our many digital formats such as this website, social media channels and our bi-weekly e-newsletter. To stay up to do date with all things Outdoors subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages.