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Practice bow hunting

Originally, archery bow was practiced for war, but also for hunting. Then, firearms replaced this ancestral weapon and this led to the end of its use for military purposes and hunting.

Bow hunting was forbidden for a long time because it was considered poaching. Legalized since 1995 in France, and revised by a decree dated August 18, 2008, bow hunting now attracts more and more young hunters because of its sporting and ecological side.

Do you want to know more about bow hunting? That's what we'll find out in this article.

Bow hunting: why go back to this ancestral practice?

Currently, there are about 17,000 bow hunters in France and this number is growing. Here are some reasons to try bow hunting.

A silent practice

Silent or stalking hunting aims at discreetly tracking an animal in order to get as close as possible to shooting it. This practice is generally done from a stand placed in a place frequently used by animals. It is an effective way to hide in order to hunt game more easily.

Know that the silent practice is only possible after a long period of observation of the animals and its environment.

A practice closer to our roots

Historically, it was the Amerindians who created the practice of bow hunting for a living. They had the knowledge and skills to successfully approach animals at very short distances to release a bolt and hit the target. Modern bowhunting was inspired by this ancient practice to be effective.

Nowadays, bow hunting is taking an important place in the French national hunting landscape and attracts more and more young enthusiasts. They aspire to be one with nature and to be predators among predators without artifice or sophistication.

A more ecological practice

To be good at bow hunting requires a perfect knowledge of the territory and the animals that live there.

The hunter must remain silent (scentless, invisible). In fact, it is the only way to get close enough to the game to be able to shoot a winning bolt. Unlike hunting with rifles or crossbows, this practice requires great effort and self-control. In addition, the bolt is not as fast as a bullet, which gives the animal time to react. It is normal that the rate of animals killed in bow hunting is low compared to rifle or crossbow hunting.

In addition, bow hunting is quiet, and will not leave powder and bullet deposits like with a rifle. The bolts can be reused. Indeed, bow hunting must be carried out with the greatest respect for wildlife.

What are the rules for bow hunting in France?

The practice of bow hunting on the hunting grounds requires the possession of a specific permit. For more information, it is advisable to contact the hunters' federation.

Obtaining a hunting license

The hunting license is an examination that covers all hunting practices. It is a mandatory step for a hunter, no matter what type of hunting he or she wants to do.

Taking out a hunting liability insurance policy

The hunting liability insurance contract allows you to hunt and validate your hunting license.

When hunting, the hunter must carry his insurance certificate in addition to his valid hunting license. The subscription to optional insurances depends on your profile (individual accident guarantees, legal protection...).

Validating your JFO (Mandatory Training Day) in archery bow

The JFO "Compulsory Training Day" is a mandatory training organized by your Federation. It is a one-day training, open to all hunters and non-hunters, so it is not necessary to have a hunting license to participate.

At the end of this training, you will receive a "Certificate of participation in a bow hunting training session".

What equipment should I choose to learn bow hunting?

Hunting bows must meet regulatory standards.

A bow adapted to the level and type of hunting

According to the type of bow

IThere are different types of hunting bows:

Traditional bows: The preferred weapon of hunters, it is a classic bow made from wood species. The traditional bow is both difficult to master and not upgradeable, which penalizes beginners,

Recurve bows: similar to traditional bows (often made of one piece), recurve bows can be disassembled, so they are upgradeable depending on the model. For beginner hunters, opt for a 40-pound bow.

Compound bows: this is a jewel of mechanical engineering. This modern weapon is ideal for those who want to learn archery bow or bow hunting. This type of bow has a lot of power and is at least easier to manage (cocking, aiming, etc.). Depending on the model, its power can go up to 75 pounds (for more experienced hunters).

According to the legislation

For bow hunting, the only ones allowed are those with a cocking and holding position that are due to the archer's strength alone.

The law does not impose a minimum power for bow hunting. However, it is recommended to take a bow of at least 50 pounds for deer and 60 pounds for other big game in France.

The best hunting bows

Model Type Power Min/max draw length Weight Price
Recurve Bow Ek Archery Take Down Recurve Bow 30 lbs. 23 to 32 inches 104,90 €
Pro Stinger Max SS Compound Bow Pack Compound Bow 55 - 70 pounds 21.5 to 30 inches (54.61 to 76.2 cm) 1724 grams 454,90 €
Ragim Cobra 64 inch longbow Longbow for competition 25 to 60 lbs 740 g 255,00 €
Bear Archery Fieldbow SuperMag Recurve One Piece Bow One piece recurve bow 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs 379,00 €
Compound bow V3 31 from Mathews Compound bow 60, 65, 70, 75 lbs 26 to 30,5 inches or 66,04 to 77,47 cm 2041 g 1 109,00 €

The right type of bolts

Bolt weight

Practically speaking, a heavier bolt provides better penetration, but requires more power. This balance takes time and depends on the physical condition of each hunter.

For a traditional bow, it is recommended to have 8 to 10 grains for each pound of draw weight. Be aware that the weight of the bolts is expressed in grains (1 grain = 0.0648 g).

Tube diameter

A smaller diameter allows for better penetration on game and less wind drift on longer shots. The choice of wood species and sizes can be dictated by the diameter of the bolt (wood and aluminum tubes).

Then, sometimes the heads are slightly larger than the tube diameter, but they should never be undersized or they will reduce penetration, slightly reduce accuracy or even damage the tube in a target.

The right type of hunting tip

According to the law, the permitted bowhunting points are those:

Stunting, not cutting or piercing, including those with claws or multiple points;

Cutting (when shooting);

Equipped with a wide tail to slow down the speed of the bolt (non-flashing shots). Make sure the widest part of the arrow does not exceed a 6 centimeter diameter circle.

For big game bowhunting, only sharp points with at least two blades are allowed. They must have :

·Either a cutting diameter greater than or equal to 25 millimeters;

·Either a cutting length of each blade greater than or equal to 40 millimeters.

For all forms of bow hunting, the following are prohibited

·Target practice tips;

·Tips or bolts with toxic devices or explosives.

A quiver

A quiver is a belt-mounted device that gives hunters more convenience in the wilderness. It optimizes aerodynamics and stores bolts close to the body while keeping the silhouette unobtrusive. Since shooting is very casual, the hunter won't need to carry many bolts.

When hunting, the archer will not always be safe from a possible repair. The quiver will be ideal to put repair tools, hang awards, etc.. This accessory is sold in different shapes, colors and materials.

Optional: a release tool and a breastplate

For those who use compound bows, the use of a release is very practical. These accessories allow for easier cocking. It promotes safety, cocking and trigger pull to release the bowstring. The effort for the aiming is optimized and the precision improved.

As for the breastplate, it is placed at the level of the chest to protect the chest or clothing from friction with the bowstring. It is not a mandatory accessory, but it can be useful. The hunter can choose different colors in order to integrate effectively into the hunting environment..


A survival technique practiced since prehistoric times, and an instrument of war, the bow has gradually lost its reputation to firearms. More focused on hunting, the use of the bow has undergone many legislative battles, because it was assimilated to poaching. It was around 1995 that bow hunting was legalized in France.

Before practicing bowhunting, the beginner archer must take note of many information. There is the part related to his equipment (beginner hunting bow) and those related to the legislation in force with bow hunting.

Hunting with a bow is a return to an ancestral, authentic and patrimonial cultural way of hunting. It requires a strong knowledge and mastery of the use of a hunting bow. Above all, it is practiced with respect for the law, the hunting environment and the animal.

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