About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed California Bowhunter Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your California Bowhunter Education Certificate.

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Proper bow selection and fit are essential for maximum accuracy and performance when bowhunting.

When purchasing a bow, it's best to consult a reputable retailer in the business of selling archery and bowhunting products. The first decision you need to make is whether you need a left- or right-handed bow. This decision is based primarily on your dominant or master eye. For example, if your right eye is dominant, you would be best served by a right-handed bow, which allows you to pull the string with your right hand. Before buying, it's best to test the equipment and experiment with various bows and other tackle.

A first-time bowhunter draws the bow
First-time bowhunters should be measured for their "draw length."

Matching Your Bow with Your Physical Capabilities

First-time bowhunters should be measured for their "draw length" and "draw weight" to help with selecting a bow. The staff at a professional archery shop will help you take these measurements.

  • Draw length is how far an archer draws the bowstring. While a short person may pull the bowstring back 23 inches, a taller person may pull it 30 inches. For optimum performance, the bow must be fitted to the proper draw length.
  • Draw weight is determined by the ability of the archer to pull a certain amount of weight on the bowstring. Younger shooters may draw 25 to 35 pounds; adults may pull 50 pounds or more. The bow you select must match your strength.
    • Don't choose a draw weight that's too heavy. You should be able to fully draw the bow comfortably while holding your bow arm parallel to the ground and pulling straight back. If you have to raise your bow arm, you're trying to pull too much weight.
    • In general, use the heaviest draw weight you can shoot comfortably and accurately in all weather conditions, shooting positions, and hunting situations (blinds, tree stands, still-hunting, and stalking).