Walmart - Take Aim - A field guide to bowhunting and archery basics.
Selecting hunting bows & arrows
Choosing additional equipment
Introducing kids to target archery
Hunting bows
Hunting arrows
Bowhunting resources
X

Bow basics

Common bows and how they work.

Compound bow

These rely on a pulley system to draw the arrow to its holding weight, which is 20-30% of the draw weight. Compound bows generally have draw weights less than half that of crossbows as well as longer draw lengths.

Crossbow

Attached to rifle-like stocks, these short bows are held horizontally. Once an arrow is loaded, the trigger mechanism holds the string until the shooter releases it.

Draw weight and draw length

Draw weight—or poundage—is the maximum weight an archer will pull while drawing the bow. Draw length refers to the distance the bowstring travels from a resting position to full draw—the longer the draw length, the faster the arrow at the same poundage.

The “let-off”

A bow’s “let-off” capability reduces the amount of draw weight the hunter must hold before releasing the arrow. This reduced weight is also called “holding weight”.

All about arrows

Get to the point: The four parts of an arrow.

Shaft

The most common arrow shafts for hunting are made of carbon fiber or composite materials, which make for faster, lighter arrows.

Arrowheads

Broadheads are the most popular for hunting. Made of two to four sharp blades, they come in two main formats. The blades of fixed-blade broadheads do not move. The blades of mechanical broadheads deploy once the arrow hits the target—they’re more streamlined but offer less penetration.

Fletchings

Located at the end of the arrow to help stabilize it in flight, fletchings can be made of real feathers or soft, flexible plastic.

The nock

This small notch helps keep the arrow in place as it’s drawn. Nocks are also used on each end of the bow for attaching the bowstring.

Crossbows

This type of bow uses arrows that are shorter than traditional ones but similar in most other ways. Less commonly, arrow-like projectiles called bolts are also used with crossbows.

Resources

The hunt for information is over.


The Complete Guide to Hunting: Basic Techniques for Gun & Bow Hunters

Features 300 photos and illustrations and techniques for hunting 28 game species.

Learn More

Bows, Does & Bucks: An Introduction to Archery Deer Hunting

An instructional guide presented as the story of young Johnny’s first bowhunting adventure.

Learn More

Deer & Deer Hunting’s Guide to Better
Bow-Hunting

Created for beginning and expert bow hunters by one of America’s top whitetail magazines.

Learn More

Arrowheads by species
Accessories
Safety
X

Advanced arrows

Picking the best broadhead for the job.


If arrow placement is king when it comes to bowhunting, then using the right broadhead for your target is queen.

Deer and mule deer

Pick strong mechanical or fixed-blade broadheads that can tackle bone but fly efficiently at both fast and slow speeds.

Elk

Use a fixed-head or cut-on-contact broadhead to conserve energy and increase penetration power. Two blades take less force to penetrate than more blades.

Turkey

Choose a broadhead that will pierce the shield of feathers and create a wide cutting diameter rather than pass clean through. An arrow that remains in the bird will help prevent flight.

Get geared up

Beyond the bow and arrow.

Quivers

When not in use, arrows are kept in quivers, which come in five basic formats: solid mount, detachable, backpack, shoulder and hip. When choosing a quiver, consider the noise it produces, how it will affect the balance of your bow and its ease of use while you’re in motion.

Targets

Practice targets can vary from realistic 3D versions to different game animals to bag, burlap and foam-block targets.

Safety tips

Stay-safe strategies for beginners & experts.

Match your arrows

Make sure that the draw weight of your bow corresponds to the arrows you use.

Use a covered quiver

To protect your broadheads and yourself when hunting, use a covered quiver.

Never “dry-fire” a bow

Do not draw and release the bowstring without an arrow. Doing so can damage or break your bow.

Target archery
Choosing a kids’ bow
Kids’ starter kits
X

Get on target

All about archery equipment.

Target archery bows

Longbows, recurve and compound are the most common bows for archery.

Recurve bow

The name comes from curved tips at each end of the bow. Most recurve bows are “takedowns” that disassemble into three parts when not in use. This is the only bow approved for Olympics competitions.

Longbow

This simple bow doesn’t rely on sights, stabilizers or other accessories to assist the archer. They’re typically fashioned as one single piece that cannot be taken apart.

Arrows

Target archery arrows are normally fitted with field points, which are the same diameter as the shaft and are not as sharp as hunting arrowheads.

Field archery

While target archery is done on level ground at set distances, field archery uses targets set at varying distances and over a course of rough terrain.

Young archers

How to choose a kids’ compound bow.


Determine your child’s draw length

(before you choose a kids’ bow)

  • Have your child stand with arms outstretched at shoulder level, palms facing front.
  • Measure from the tip of middle finger to the other middle finger.
  • Divide that number by 2.5 to determine the draw length, and adjust as needed once your child starts using his or her bow.


Approximate your child’s draw weight

(based on his or her body weight)

  • 50-70 lb. child: 10-15 lb. draw weight
  • 70-100 lb. child: 15-25 lb. draw weight
  • 100-130 lb. child: 25-35 lb. draw weight


Best of the bows

Kids’ archery starter kits & resources.


Bear Archery Scout Youth Archery Set

16-24” draw length and 8-13 lb. draw weight

Learn More

Barnett Lil Sioux Pink Recurve Archery Set

18-22” draw length and 15 lb. draw weight

Learn More

Barnett Vortex Lite Bow Package, Right-Handed

Adjustable draw length

Learn More

Archery Fundamentals

This thorough introduction to archery techniques and equipment includes instructions and photos.

Learn More

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