It’s always hard to decide on where to spend your hard earned money when getting your little guy or gal a bow to shoot archery with. Your local archery shop doesn’t always carry a lot of youth equipment for you to examine and try out. If you don’t belong to a club where you can try out other member’s archery equipment, choices are getting short. This leaves just the matter of going by specs. But first, lets go over some of the foundational information on just exactly you need to be buying.
WHY A COMPOUND
I’ll assume that you know whether you’d like to purchase a compound, a traditional, or an Olympic recurve bow. I’ve even created a short quiz that might help you decide on whether a compound bow is right for you. Check that out first.
WHAT TO BUY
There are some things that are required, and other items that are optional, and other items that can be left for much later as the youth gets more serious about the sport of archery.
Here is a list of items that I would consider to be required:
(1) Bow – Obviously. Compound bows are purchased, riser and limbs as a combination deal.
(2) String – Unlike recurve bows, all bows will come with the string already installed on the bow
(3) Arrow rest – Will often come with a compound bow set.
(4) String nock – Some bows will come with this already on the string.
(6) Release loop – A string or metal loop attached to the string that your release attaches to
(5) Arrows – I’ll leave arrow selection for another article however.
(6) Sight – Helps with the aiming of the bow and arrow.
(7) Release – Provides a more consistent release of the string during the shot than just using fingers. Can also spread out the pressure of the string across the hand, compared to fingers.
(8) String Wax – Helps maintain string integrity and extend the life of the string.
Bow equipment that can optionally wait until the youth knows they’ll stick with the sport of archery:
(9) Peep – A small circle tied into the sting that when aligned with the sight, provides greater accuracy of the shot. Please have an archery technician install this for you. It’s hard to do.
(10) Stabilizer – Helps steady the bow while aiming and shooting.
(11) Bow case – Compound bows are built tough. Not indestructible, so a bow case can help protect your investment.
(12) Bow stand – A mechanism that helps hold the bow while out in the field, whether practicing, in competition, or hunting.
(13) Bow Sling – A strap that goes around the riser and connects to the fingers or wrist. Keeps the bow from hopping out of your hand.
WHERE TO BUY
Let me pause here and plug your local archery shop technician. Compound bows often look like the archers are holding equipment from NASA. These technicians and bowyers can be invaluable in getting your equipment in shape and tuned for the individual archer. Please purchase locally when possible and all things being equal. I know I’m linking to Internet web sites, and they can be very helpful when you call in, but there’s nothing like having a good technician tune your bow for your child. If you are in the North Georgia area, I recommend TimberGhost, or you could check out our other archery shops listing.
You’ll see from the pricing that there is typically two ways that the bows are listed: plain and as a package. Make sure that you understand what is included in the package deal and what isn’t.
IMPORTANT FACTORS OF BOW COMPARISON
As far as youth goes, draw weight may be the most important. Many parents purchase “too much bow” for their child. Shoulder injuries are the most prevalent injury in archery. Attempting too much draw weight on a growing shoulder can lead to an injury. A compound bow’s draw weight can be adjusted by a twist of an allen wrench on the two limbs of the bow.
Another related factor of compound bows along with the draw weight is the “let off %”. What this means is what the “hold weight” of the bow will be. If you purchase a bow with a 40 pound draw weight, and a 75% let off, the hold weight will be 10 pounds.
Draw length is also very important. Young archers are growing rapidly so a wider range of draw lengths, will often lengthen the life that the bow will last with your child. There are several ways of measuring the draw length of an archer. I’ll leave this up to you to do the research and measurement of the draw length. Try to leave extra growing room for the bow that you’re looking to purchase.
Here’s the bottow line for you: Bear makes a great youth bow called Pioneer II and Odyssey II. The price is right too. Lots of settings to adjust the draw length, quality metal cams. High arrow speed (IBO Speed) for the draw weight. There’s a lot to like with these cousin set of bows. Recommended. I heard recently that Bear is discontinuing these bows and are releasing the Young Gun bow, however I haven’t seen pricing yet for this bow. There appears to be good draw length adjustment, so lets hope that the prices on these bows are reasonable.
The Matthews Genesis and Genesis Pro bows. These bows are great learning bows for families, although I don’t recommend these bows as a “Tournament Quality” bow. The first thing you’ll notice on the stats is that there is a 0% let off. This isn’t a typo. Along with a huge draw length range, these bows are unique in that they don’t have a specified draw length. What this means is that the bow has unique qualities to fit into a family of new archers: Father, mother, big sister and little brother. This one bow can fit the whole family and the whole family can practice and learn archery at the same time.
Good luck. If you have questions, contact someone from your archery club, or contact someone that will help you find the right bow for you or your child.
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