Times have sure changed from when I first started bow hunting. The equipment is better and the knowledge exchange is much better. There are so many ways now through social media that allows hunters instant information on what’s working and what’s not. Still today I prefer to test theories out myself only because equipment may work better for one person, but differently for others.
My 11-year-old son, has had great exposure to the outdoors that recently he has truly come to appreciate. Although he’s taken several does with his 20 gauge shotgun in his very young years, he has never been a fan of the bang when a gun is fired. He would always watch me practice in the backyard with my bow and was very drawn to bow hunting at an early age. About 3 years ago I decided it was time to get him his own bow and with that the research would begin.
Selecting a bow:
Most retailers have a shooting range in the store, so whomever the bow is being purchased for, I would highly recommend that person go in and shoot several brands. They all have a different feel and balance to them and what I like may be different then what my child likes when it comes to shooting. Realizing that Hoyt is our show sponsor, it would be naïve to think there are no other quality products out there. With that being said, I have always been a Hoyt fan growing up. Nonetheless, when selecting a bow for your child, you really need to take them to a retailer and have them shoot several youth bows. Don’t let your preference dictate what may work best for your child.
Identify the purpose for the bow, will it simply be for target shooting or hunting. This will help the retailer narrow down what your child should shoot. Several brands have come out with youth bows that are adjustable from 15-50 lbs. This is a huge benefit as it allows your child to grow into the bow as they get stronger. You end up paying a little bit more, but the bow will last much longer and make the price worth it.
Here’s what we found:
Bows we tested – Hoyt Ruckus, Matthews Mission, Bowtech Diamond
Choice – Hoyt Ruckus (keep in mind this was before they were ever a sponsor), Great versatility and range, crank up to 50lbs, is very accurate and deadly.
Again, there are several quality products out there, the Hoyt was a better feel for my son and he really enjoyed shooting it.
“Selecting a Broadhead”
This is very, very, very important; your child will be shooting at much lower poundage then an adult. Please learn from my mistakes as we ended up wounding several deer to realize the error of our ways. Last year my son was pulling his bow at 40lbs, which is ample poundage to take a deer at the right range and angle. He was getting great penetration with his target practice, but fell short on the first two does he shot at. Placement was great; he was just not getting proper penetration to recover either deer.
Broadhead’s tested –
Rage 100 Grain – I would highly discourage any mechanical blade for a lower poundage bow. When the blade opens on impact it kills the momentum and does not have the power to penetrate deep enough.
Muzzy 90 Grain (4 blade) – To much restriction on impact with the lack of poundage again, it will not generate enough force to penetrate appropriately for an ethical shot.
Magnus Stinger 100 Grain (2 Blade) – This became my sons “Go To” Brodhead. Last year when the other two we tested gave us 6-8 inches of penetration, with no changes to his bow, this blade was giving him complete pass throws.
I personally have used the Rage and the Muzzy and feel they are both great Broadheads for specific situations, but for the sake of your child enjoying the hunt and making a clean ethical kill, the Magnus is where all youth and ladies should probably start.
In conclusion we did learn a bit by trial and error, but hopefully this article allows you to expedite your progress with your child. As always, it is important to practice before and during season. This year I allowed my son to pursue his first buck only if he committed the time to show he was ready. We have several Glen Del bucks off our back deck and my son would practice shooting at least 12 arrows a night before season and during season. This gave him the confidence to take his first Pope and Young this year and allowed for a very special Father/Son moment I can only hope everyone gets a chance to experience.
Just remember it’s not about the kill, it’s about the quality moments you spend with family. Enjoy your next moment!
Posted by Terry Sedivec