If you’ve been reading the articles here on Archery Guidance, then you’re either an archer or someone who’s looking to get into it. As a hobby, archery is one of the most enjoyable outdoor experiences. Whether you’re shooting at targets or at your supper, there is a lot to enjoy about this fantastic practice.
However, those looking into the practice all have an extremely important question they need answered: just how much does it cost to get started with archery? To answer this, we will be looking at the costs of hunting with a bow, as these are slightly higher. That way, you can come in under-budget with target archery rather than over-budget with hunting.
Hunting with a bow can be a fairly expensive hobby to pick up. You will definitely need to purchase a bow, and you also need to buy the arrows. If your bow doesn’t come with a good sight, rest, stabilizer, or quiver already, then that will be another purchase you will need to make. There are other costs involved as well; however, bow hunting is also a hobby that won’t necessarily require a start at the most expensive end. If you are conservative with your purchases, then you could get started with purchases roughly a total of $500-$600. If you absolutely must have top-of-the-line gear and every single possible piece of equipment you could buy, then the overall cost will range in the thousands.
So there you have it—archery is pretty expensive, but it doesn’t need to completely break your bank account. If you are looking to save money, then start by purchasing what you need for target archery first, then get your hunting gear later.
To learn what gear you need to get and how much you can expect to pay for it, stick around. We’ll look into where you can cut costs and where you can’t, the costs that will sneak up on you if you aren’t prepared, and how to enter into this hobby slowly, rather than jumping straight into the deep end.
The Costs of Bowhunting
The first piece of gear you will need to buy is a bow. If you’re looking into new compound bow models, then you shouldn’t be surprised to see price tags for $2000 or more. For beginners who are just getting into archery, this probably isn’t reasonable.
Your best bet is to find a bow that was made within the last five years and purchase that. This kind of purchase can often be bought used. You can expect to purchase a bow, along with gear like the sight and quiver, for $200-$350. This will give you a bow that is ready to be used for hunting.
If you aren’t able to purchase the additional gear used along with your bow, then you will probably want to purchase it yourself. This can be rather expensive, so try only to purchase what you need. A quiver, an arrow rest, and a bow stabilizer will all make hunting easier. Those links will lead you to some high-quality gear available on Amazon, but remember that purchasing new will increase your expected costs.
Arrows are the next big purchase. Set aside about $100 for arrows, though you may not be spending all of this money. In fact, you are more likely to spend around $50, but if you want to experiment with arrows of different spine ratings, then you’ll likely end up spending the full amount. We talked more about how the thickness of an arrow’s spine affects your shot here.
If you’re hunting, then it is always a smart idea to get a treestand. You don’t necessarily need one, but it can make your experience a thousand times easier. The more you move when hunting, the more sounds you make, thus the more likely you are to scare away a trophy. A treestand allows you to stay still and let them come to you. Don’t expect to spend less than $100 on a treestand, however, and always remember your treestand safety.
Finally, don’t forget that bowhunting is still a romp through the woods. You will want a great pair of boots. These can be as expensive as your bow, depending on what you buy, but they also can be used in your everyday life more readily. What can’t be used as much is your cameo. Hunters wear bright orange camouflage because dear usually have a harder time seeing that color range. It also makes it easier for other hunters to tell you’re a human and not prey.
It always pays to spend a little more on your clothing and boots. Purchase these new rather than used and make sure they are of high quality and comfortable, so you don’t end up sore and miserable while out on the hunt.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Go Hunting?
Along with the gear mentioned above, you should keep in mind that you will need a hunting license. This will typically cost you under $100. Without a license, it is illegal to go hunting, and the fine if you are caught will cost you much more than the license would have.
Keep in mind too that you will be out in the woods for long periods of time, and you will probably want to bring along some snacks and drinks, things like that. These aren’t often considered as part of the cost, but they could be considered a hidden cost. Thinking about them ahead of time will help you to create a more accurate budget for your bowhunting excursions.
Is It Safe to Use Cheap Arrows?
This is not so much a matter of expensive vs. cheap. For example, these arrows will work just fine for most purposes, and they’re relatively inexpensive. The problem here is that cheaper arrows are more likely to have problems when compared to expensive ones. This isn’t necessarily a case of always being worse though.
Rather than judging an arrow based on its price, it is probably a better and more accurate idea to judge an arrow based on its reviews. These will tell you the issues people have had with them. Some issues are possible to get around, such as purchasing arrows only to find they didn’t come with tips or inserts (which we talked about in depth in this post).
Other issues include poor shipping practices that result in broken arrows, or just poorly designed arrows that shouldn’t be used in the first place. It is safe to use cheap arrows if they are of quality and undamaged but it is never a good nor safe idea to shoot an arrow that has been damaged in any way. This should be one of the rules you follow to keep your archery practice safe.
How Much Does It Cost to Practice at an Archery Range?
Depending on where you live, you may not have access to ground to practice your archery. If you don’t have a backyard, then you would need a field or some woods to practice, and most of the time, this isn’t actually legal.
To get around this, you should Google “nearest archery range.” I can’t promise that there will be one nearby, but if there is, then that’s great. If not, then you will want to calculate how much it will cost you in time and gas money to get there.
Most archery ranges charge based on an hourly rate. This tends to range between $10-$20, though there are places that fall on either side of this cost. If you are bringing your own gear, then you will have a cheaper experience. Many places will rent gear to you, but this is an additional cost on top of the hourly rate.
When Is it a Bad Idea to Purchase Used Gear?
If you can’t judge the condition of a bow, then you shouldn’t purchase one used. This is really just practical advice for most transactions in life. For example, if you don’t know much about cars, then you probably shouldn’t judge whether a used one is safe to drive. In that example, it may be a good idea to bring a knowledgeable friend or a mechanic along to help you.
This approach is also a smart idea for those getting into archery. If you have a friend who is already into archery, then you should ask them to inspect any used bows you are considering buying. If you don’t have any friends, then I would recommend arranging to meet a seller at your archery range and asking the opinion of the employees. Most will be willing to help you make your purchase because they understand how important it is for a beginner to use a bow that passes a safety check.
With all of that said, purchasing used can be a great way to save money. More often than not, people aren’t trying to pass off junk. Most have upgraded to new equipment and want to make a little money off the old gear they don’t plan to use anymore.
Bowhunting is an expensive sport to get into, but it isn’t any more expensive than other forms of hunting. In fact, it is often more affordable. We can at least reuse our ammunition, which is something that hunters with rifles can say.
You should expect to spend at least $500 when you are first getting started. If you can set aside even more money, this is always a smart idea. Just try to remember that you don’t need to buy it all at once. If you are new to using a bow, then you probably won’t need all this gear. You will need a bow, some arrows, and a target for practice.
Until you have the accuracy to nail the target, you won’t be able to nail a deer. Make sure you get plenty of practice before hitting the woods and remember that you can purchase gear one piece at a time until you have the skills to use it.