If you are serious about your archery experience and want to be as successful as possible, you are going to want to invest in some good equipment.
Of course, you want to have some great basic items, like a good bow, the right arrows or bolts, and a good selection of broadheads.
These are a good place to start, but if you want to improve your chances for success, you probably want to invest in some additional gear.
There are numerous ways that you can improve your hunting success with add-ons for your bow and handy extras.
A good base is important for creating a successful bow hunting experience.
Sure, you can buy all the cool accessories, but if your base is mediocre, you’re likely to have a mediocre hunting experience.
Before you go investing in the six awesome items that we think, you can’t hunt without, make sure that you spend a little cash on the basics.
Some bowhunters likely consider this a basic, but in reality, an arrow rest isn’t necessary for hunting, and some bowhunters prefer to not use an arrow rest.
You have some options when you are selecting an arrow rest for your bow.
Some bows come with an arrow rest, or have coordinating arrow rests that are made to fit your bow specifically.
However, these are often basic rests and if you are looking for an arrow rest for a particular purpose, game animals, or to match your style of shooting, you are likely to want something a little fancier.
The ideal arrow rest won’t affect the travel of your arrow. In theory, it should have limited contact with the arrow’s feathers, shaft or vanes.
Hunters generally prefer a rest that can hold an arrow on target, in a variety of hunter situations.
It is important that an arrow rest not only be durable but also limit noise when the bow is raised or being drawn.
While they contact more of the arrow than other styles of arrow rests, a Whisker Biscuit type of rest is a great option for many hunting applications.
These rests have more contact with the arrow than other rest styles, but they hold your arrow on target, have minimal noise, and don’t interfere with arrow travel when using hunting weight arrows.
While Whisker Biscuit rests are great, some hunters prefer drop-away rests. These rests move away from the arrow at some point after release.
These rests have minimal contact with the arrow and can provide better accuracy with each shot.
However, they do have more moving parts, so attaching them to your bow requires a bit more time and patience.
There is also more opportunity for the rest to fail while in use.
To minimize this potential, make sure your bow is well cared for and the arrow rest is maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
This is another one of those accessories that some hunters would consider a basic.
However, many hunters don’t like the feel of an arm guard, so they prefer not to use one. An arm guard protects your forearm from the string slap during release.
If your bowhunting seasons are during colder weather months, an arm guard may easily be replaced with a heavier jacket.
However, you may find that many archery ranges will not allow you to practice at their facility without an arm guard.
We think that contusions from string slap are no fun, a good arm guard is a must-have accessory for every bowhunter.
Many experienced hunters will try to skip the arm guard, however, as your skill grows, you are likely using a more powerful bow.
Higher poundage bows can hurt a lot more if you make an error during release. An arm guard is especially necessary if you are buying accessories for a child bow hunter.
Arm guards come in a variety of styles, sizes and materials and of course prices. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get good protection.
When you are shopping for an arm guard, make sure that you select a guard that is made of sturdy material and fits well.
The type of guard you select whether it’s a simple slab of leather, compression sleeve or a full coverage guard, is dependent on your preference and the look you prefer.
Quivers aren’t a necessary accessory, but when you’re out in the woods hunting, and you’re carrying a pack, your bow, and maneuvering through the brush, you want to have a way to carry your arrows, but still have easy access to them.
Quivers come in a variety of styles and materials. Their most important job is to protect your arrows from damage while also protecting you and your clothing and gear from sharp broadheads.
You can find quivers that are carried on your bow or attached to some part of your body. Many hunters prefer the traditional style quiver that is carried on your back.
If you don’t want a separate quiver from the pack, look for packs that have a built-in quiver, or straps for holding a quiver.
It is important to keep in mind, while quivers are handy to have, and they serve a useful purpose, if you don’t practice drawing from your quiver, it can be more of a hindrance than a help.
Make sure that you practice drawing from your quiver when you are at the range. This will ensure that you can be quick and quiet when that trophy animal is in your sites.
You’ve likely made a decent monetary investment in your bow and arrows.
Don’t let that investment be damaged because it wasn’t stored properly.
A good case should protect your bow when you are traveling or keep it clean and free of dust and debris when you’ve got it in storage.
Your case is also a handy way to carry your bow while you are in the field.
Cases come in a variety of styles and materials and have a variety of options and accessories.
You may want to invest in a couple of cases, one for storing your bow when hunting season is done, and one for transporting your case during hunting season.
For out of season storage, consider a hard-sided case. This will allow you to store your bow in a closet or your garage without worrying about it being damaged.
Hard-sided cases also can provide you space for storing your bows and other accessories like sights, arrows, and broadheads.
Being able to store all of your equipment in one case is not only space-saving but also allows you to stay organized and not worry about misplacing gear you need.
For hauling your bow and equipment during hunting season, or for transporting to the range, consider a soft-sided case.
These cases will protect your bow from damage but are lighter and easier to carry. Some cases come with added quivers for carrying arrows or straps to hold a quiver.
Bow Sight or Scope
Sights and scopes are not just for guns anymore.
Adding a sight or scope to your bow will significantly increase the likelihood of a successful hunt. Sights and scopes will allow you to you accurately view and target an animal.
Sights are generally made for compound bows and are similar to rifle scopes. Archery scopes use pins, lenses or other markers to help you aim at a target.
Sights will help you adjust the placement of your bow so that you can hold your bow for the best results.
There are lots of bow sites on the market. Some are very simple, while others are more complex, and offer you more accuracy in aiming.
Remember, when you’re using a sight it needs to be adjusted specifically for you.
If you’re borrowing a bow or if you’ve let a friend or family member borrow your bow, adjust the sight before you use the bow, or you’ll find that your shot is off.
Scopes are most often used with crossbows. Like sights, scopes are used to help you accurately aim your crossbow.
Scopes generally have magnification like binoculars that can help you see your target better.
And like sights, scopes have markings that will help you adjust the position of your crossbow to improve the accuracy of your shot.
Most crossbows will come with a multi-reticle scope. For most people, this scope should be sufficient for regular hunting situations.
For more power or to improve accuracy at longer distances consider a variable power scope instead.
Our last accessory that you should have when bow hunting is certainly not a necessary item for hunting, but it will make your life in the field much easier and can save you money in the long run.
Lighted nocks are a relatively new feature for arrows and bolts.
The idea behind lighted nocks is to help you locate your arrow and hopefully the animal you were targeting after the arrow or bolt has left your bow or crossbow.
Without a lighted nock, finding your arrow and kill, means following a trail of blood or guessing the location of fall.
While you may still have to rely on this tried and true method to start, a lighted nock will make it easier to find your bolt or arrow from a greater distance or if your arrow gets lost in the brush.
Arrows aren’t an inexpensive investment, and while you can expect to lose one occasionally, a lighted nock will reduce the incidence of loss.
This is not only good for your wallet, but it also allows you to be a more humane hunter.
Of course, there are lots of other accessories on the market that will make your next bow hunting trip easier, more fun and more comfortable.
We think that these six accessories are the best ones for improving your success by protecting you, your equipment and making each shot more accurate.
What accessories are your favorites? Did we miss an accessory that you like?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!