Gun vs Bow Hunting for New Hunters

Guest Post by Norman Bobby

If you are just starting out as a hunter, you must be confused about gun and bow hunting.

Check out this comparison of the two options and pick one that you think works the best for you:

Gun Vs Bow: Which Is Better?

Both these weapons have their upsides and downsides. In fact, it often boils down to personal choices. Some hunters enjoy holding guns while some enjoy holding a bow and an arrow.

Also, the right weapon also often depends on the circumstances. Let’s get into the details:

When To Use A Gun?

Long Range Hunting With A Rifle: The first thing worth considering when hunting is the range. If the animal is at a distance of some 300 yards then a bow won’t do much good, you need to use a long range gun such as a rifle.

A bow, in this case, might not be the right option as it cannot cover much distance. On the other hand, a rifle can shoot up to 300 yards in range, therefore, it is the best option for long range hunting.

Rifles contain barrels and inside this barrel, there are grooves cut lengthwise. These grooves are responsible for giving the bullet a spin when it is fired. Hence, it travels in a straighter path at a much faster speed. This allows you to kill the prey in a single shot.

Moving Creatures: A moving creature is not easy to kill. Here, you need to cut the distance, move closer, and use a weapon that can fire spread of pellets such as a shotgun.

The bullet fired from a shotgun are quite deadly and will instantly kill the animal if shot with precision. However, you must be close to the animal – about 30 yards is said to be a good distance.

When To Use A Bow?

Stationary Creatures: A bow can be a good choice if the animal is not moving. It incorporates a quick firing mechanism that goes in straight as a single projectile. It does the job in seconds, killing the standing animal.

However, as mentioned earlier, a bow cannot make a long range kill. You must be close to the animal – 30 yards is again a good distance – to make the shot.

Moreover, a rifle can also be quite effective in this case. But, use it only when you have excellent skills. You must be able to aim well. This is because a long range shot is a one time shot. You will rarely get a second chance if you miss the first time.

Short Range Hunting: A bow is the best option when you want to hunt in a close range. You can use a shotgun, too, if the animal is at a distance of only 10-50 yards.

Stealth Animal: Animals can camouflage, crouch, or move at a speed that can be hard to follow. This is why you need to be very careful. Experts suggest to opt for a weapon that is super quiet, making bow a good option.

A gun, even with a silencer, makes noise and can alert the animal. On the other hand, an arrow shot from a bow makes no sound and can be a good pick when you want to hunt deer and other fast moving animals.


Now that we know which weapon to use and in what condition, let’s find out the costs associated with both the options.

You can get a used rifle for under $1,000 along with the necessary accessories. A bow, however, will cost you almost double. Also, you’d be needing a camo to get closer to the field where you want to hunt the animal.

Camo is referred to camouflaging and is recommended by the QDMA as well.

It is better to wear scentless clothing when using a bow to hunt. This is because your scent might give it away and the animal will scram off before you take the aim.

Remember Legal Requirements

Hunting laws differ from state to state, hence it’s important to consider ‘methods of take’. It may not be legal to use a specific weapon to kill certain animals in some states, so make sure to do a bit of research.

Moreover, tags may also not be available easily if it’s a high season. If you’re just starting out, you must first study the laws and regulations to be on the safe side.

Which One Is Best For New Hunters

Let’s compare a few factors:

The Learning Curve

It can take months to learn to use a bow. It can be tough to wielding it and perfect firing mechanism. This is a major reason why many new hunters stay away from bows. On the other hand, you can perfect a gun in just a month.

Note: Archery is easier to practice but you will need to go to a range to practice shooting.

The Ease Offered

Rifles offer good precision and can be used from a variety of positions (lying, sitting or standing). You will not have much trouble in finding your sweet spot. This ease is not available when it comes to bows. You can only stand and shoot or get on one knee and fire the bow.

Handling and Maintenance

If you’re just starting out, you wouldn’t want to have a weapon that is hard to carry and difficult to maintain.

Professional bows can be quite heavy – starting from 35 pounds. The right weight depends on your height and weight but a 35 pound weapon can be difficult to carry. Comparatively, rifles only weight about six pounds but can be more complicated to maintain.


We can say that guns are a better option but it’s best to get your hands on both and see what works for you. As mentioned earlier, it often boils down to personal choices and what you’re good at.

How Is A Gun Better Than A Bow?

  • You don’t need to apply force to fire the weapon.
  • Minor deviations may not cause much loss.
  • Easier to excel.
  • You can get more precision, accuracy, steadiness, and range.
  • Offer multiple firing shots in seconds.
  • Cheaper than a bow.
  • They are considered to be more ethical than bows. A properly timed and directed shot will kill the animal instantly without making it suffer and die a slow death.

How Is A Bow Better Than A Gun?

  • A bow is silent and hence results in less missed shots.
  • It’s more fun thanks to the adrenaline rush.
  • Easier to maintain than a gun.

All in all, we’d say that a gun is a modern tool capable of making hunting easier. It is cheaper, more accurate and precise than a bow. This is the reason why 75% of hunters prefer to use a gun.

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