Hunting with a low draw weight bow doesn’t need to be a crutch.
I’ve hunted whitetails with a low draw weight bow, between 45 and 55 pounds, for the last seven years. I’m confident and comfortable with my setup. Understanding what your setup is capable of and maximizing your bow’s efficiency is key. Here are a couple principles and tips that’ll help you understand how to best leverage your low draw weight setup.
With a low poundage bow, your arrow doesn’t fly down range with the same amount of energy as a bow with a higher draw weight. Obviously! So as a result, your potential for arrow penetration decreases. And when it comes to deer hunting, maximizing penetration is extremely important.
Also, the trajectory of your arrow won’t be as flat as an arrow shot out of a high poundage bow. The sizably arched arrow path associated with shooting a lower draw weight results in greater pin gaps and a decreased overall effective range.
So what does all of this mean in a hunting scenario and how can we alleviate some of these potential issues?
1. Keep a Rangefinder at Hand
I’ve learned through experience that guessing the distance, especially with a low poundage bow, will lead to misses. Because of the arched arrow trajectory, if you try to shoot a target at 30 yards with your 20 yard pin your arrow will land significantly lower than your intended target. Higher draw weight bows with flatter arrow trajectories might be able to get away with a scenario like this, but us low poundage folks can’t take any chances.
Because of this, my rangefinder is always easily accessible while bow hunting. The first thing I do when I get into a tree is range objects around me to use as markers so I have a mental map of distances before I even see a deer.
2. Limit Your Shooting Lanes
Sometimes it can be helpful to hunt areas with limited shooting lanes so you know exactly where the deer will be when it’s time to take a shot. This takes away the anxiety of miscalculating the range, which can lead to missed opportunities or wounded animals.
3. Use a Fixed Blade Broadhead
Expandable broadheads are great, but they require force to open and any bit of energy lost with a low poundage set up can hurt. Find a razor sharp fixed 2 or 3 blade option for increased penetration.
4. Install a Drop Away Arrow Rest
Drop away rests cut down on contact and drag with the arrow, which in turn mitigates energy loss. A whisker biscuit is an affordable option, but probably not the best for maximizing a low draw weight hunting set up.
5. Choose a Small Diameter Arrow
Small diameter arrows have a lot of benefits when it comes to low poundage set ups. The thinner the arrow shaft, the less resistance it will have passing through the hide and flesh of an animal.
Smaller diameter arrows maintain more of their speed downrange, store more kinetic energy, and reduce wind drift which makes them an excellent choice for low poundage bows.
It’s important to note that most states have minimum draw weight requirements as well as other bow, arrow, and broadhead related restrictions for big game hunting.
Be sure to check your state’s hunting regulations in order to verify your set up. Rules vary from state to state.
Don’t let a lightweight setup hold you back this season! Use the steps mentioned above to maximize your opportunity for success this year – even with a light poundage setup.