Rifle vs. archery, different sports
Archery hunts and rifle hunts have their seasons right around the corner. They have similar end goals but are two completely different sports.
There are several reasons people hunt and several other reasons why a hunter chooses different types of animals and seasons to hunt. Some people hunt to put food on the table, some people for the challenge and others just enjoy it, exploring nature, hiking while traveling to different places.
What makes hunters specifically choose rifle or choose bow?
Rifle season comes with knowing you can hit a target from a much further distance. Rifle season is after bow season and is much shorter. Rifle season only lasts about two weeks, while bow seasons lasts around a month.
This usually means there are more hunters because of the limited window and time. You see more orange vests in your hunting unit than animals.
The positives about rifle hunting is, rifles are usually easier to use, more accurate from further distances. Around 75-125 yards for shooting a rifle is considered an "easy" shot" and can be fairly accurate to around 400 yards.
A bow has a much shorter range of shooting, from around 20-80 yards. You can shoot a gun from about any position, crouching, laying down, sitting, where for the most part you can only shoot a bow while standing. The likelihood of hitting your target is far more greater with a rifle than with a bow. Relax, exhale and squeeze the trigger slowly.
Archery requires a lot more skill, becoming more of a hunter. There is more dedication, time and patience, patience is a key factor. There are several strategies that go into bow hunting, from setting up a blind, tracking, using a call, figuring out where the animal is going or will be going. You can follow a trail or hang out by a stream, find a deer bed and several others.
A archery hunter needs to think about how close you are going to get to these animals. The way the wind is blowing, your scent, even the landscape you are standing on and what kind of noise it makes. All these things go into just getting close to an animal, let alone pulling back your bow and shooting.
I am not sure there can be a way to describe being so close to an animal. Every hunter has probably either had buck fever or heard of it. But seeing velvet falling off a big buck or a loud lung-collapsing blow through the nostrils, warning other deer of a possible danger. It is quite an unnerving experience, especially at close range.
Another positive about bow hunting is the length of the season and the fact that it's before rifle season. As you can imagine the sound of a gunshot puts animals on edge and more likely to be spooked. The sound of an arrow being shot does not have quite the effect. Animals are a bit more at ease than during rifle season, when they're literally running for their lives.
Unfortunately, the challenges can be extremely frustrating, especially when you miss a big buck so close to you. Even though you practice looking down the distance pins on your sight a thousand times, you still miss. Any hunter who has been both rifle hunting and bowhunting has the same thought after shooting your bow and missing a monster buck, "if only I had my rifle, would have been the easiest shot."
Another skill you need for archery is tracking an animal that has been shot. When you shoot an animal with a gun, the animal usually either drops immediately or travels a small distance. Bow hunting is much different because the animal does not usually drop immediately; it can travel far distances in a very short amount of time.
Hunting not only creates many skills and a chance to bag some meat, it also creates memories and stories that will be talked about and shared with your family and friends for a long time. The bragging stories, the funny ones, the heartbreaks and the triumphs, none of those will occur unless you go out and create them.
So, whether you are a first time hunter, trying to put meat on the table or challenging your hunting skills, remember to be safe, enjoy the hunt and good luck.