Bows vs Firearms: Hunting White Tail Deer

February 17, 2021

September 6 marked the first day of Ohio’s Archery deer hunting season. As hunters began preparing for what is arguably the best time of the year, the age old question arose once again. Which is superior: hunting with a gun or with a bow?

Two white tail bucks fight during the rut

While both have their advantages and disadvantages they both have a long and rich history in the hunting world. The first evidence of bows were found in ancient Egypt around 3,000 B.C. Although, it is believed that they were invented during the stone age. Guns were first invented in the 1300’s and quickly became a popular option for hunting. This gap between their beginnings is one of many aesthetics that lots of bow hunters enjoy.

It brings hunters back to ancient times and technology and helping some feel connected with their ancestors. Another popular reason for hunters to choose a bow is the silence aspect. When shooting a bow at an animal it is almost completely silent, not disturbing the other animals in the forest. This is one of my favorite parts of hunting with a bow, when you shoot at an animal with a gun the woods goes deathly silent. Every animal stops what it is doing, and lays silent hoping that it is not the next target. I have never enjoyed this part of gun hunting, and it has really turned me away from it. This seems to be a pretty common theme in this area. As I interviewed two of our teachers they both said about the same thing. Mr. Riggs said, “I enjoy bow season more because the season is longer, letting you spend more time in the woods and it is more personal to hunt with a bow.”

I prefer bow hunting because it is old school and more primitive, I would use a slingshot if I could.”

— Mr. Lones

Although this type of hunting has its advantages it also comes with its drawbacks. One of the major ones is the movement involved with shooting a compound or re-curve bow. Because you have to draw the bow to shoot it, one of your arms has to completely move and can easily be seen by deer. Compared to shooting a gun where you just have to put the deer in your sights. This issue can be avoided by hunting with a crossbow, but that takes away from the enjoyment of old school style hunting. The other issue is that arrows do not fly well through brush. This is where gun hunting shines because your shot does not have to be completely clear and can travel a further distance.

Mr. Lones and his buck that he shot this year with a crossbow

Both forms of hunting have their perks and shortcomings but the important thing is that people are still going out and enjoying hunting. Spending time in nature and getting to enjoy some of the leanest and best tasting meat in the world.

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