Bow Hunting Small Game: Tips and Techniques You Need to Try

Matt Johnson
Matt JohnsonPublished: November 9, 2023
Bow Hunting Small Game: Tips and Techniques You Need to Try

For hunters worldwide, bow hunting has become a great way of finding a new challenge out in the wild. The thrill of the hunt, mixed with close connections to nature, makes bow hunting an exhilarating experience. While bow hunting is a fun activity for all hunters, it still requires great skill, patience, and perseverance to bring home the game. Archery hunting small game takes the challenge to the next level.

Hunting small game with a bow and arrow is a difficult art that requires you to use all of your senses and ensure you’re ready for the hunt as it arrives. Fortunately, we have some tips you should try if you want to be successful.

Choose the right equipment.

The first step to having a successful hunt is choosing the right equipment. Sure, start with your bow, but you’ll need more than just that.

When bow hunting small game, you’ll need a bow with lower draw weights, shorter arrows, and smaller hunting points. We like to use a mild 30lb draw weight when hunting rabbits, squirrels, and birds. You can go as high as 35 lbs, but we typically stay away from weights of 40 lbs or more. We like to reserve those for larger game such as deer or elk.

These types of equipment are designed for small hunting trips and will help you maintain accuracy and precision. They allow you to draw the arrows smoothly and efficiently with minimal struggle.

On top of a lightweight bow, you’ll need quiet, scentless clothing and use advanced stealth techniques to remain unnoticed by small game.

Don’t be fooled by small game and think that any low-quality bow or hunting gear will do. It’s crucial to invest in high-quality equipment that is specifically designed for bow hunting small game.

Know your area.

Before you start any hunting trip, it’s important to know your area well. This goes for any hunting, not just small game. However, it’s especially important for small game.

This includes knowing where small game can be found, understanding the local weather patterns, and taking note of structures or areas that may affect your hunting experience. 

Learn the local flora and fauna by checking the local maps and scouting the area to look for natural sources of water and food that small game is likely to gather around.

Fortunately, the living area of small game is rather limited. They don’t typically travel vast distances like their larger counterparts do. So once you have the area scouted and you’re familiar with the patterns of life, you should have a successful hunt.

Patience matters.

As with all hunting, bow hunting small game that requires immense patience. Even more than that of a rifle.

You may need to wait long periods, move quietly, and maintain your distance when pursuing small game. We’ve waited upwards of four hours before for a squirrel to show up. That was painful.

The same comes to scouting an area. 

Use your binoculars to scan around slowly and in a circular motion without making any sudden noises or movements that may startle the small game. 

Since small game is so versatile in their movements and can escape quickly, hunting them requires you to be more patient than ever.

Focus on your shot.

When you spot your game, remember to focus sharply on your shot. 

With small game, a clear shot is often limited. On top of that, time is of the essence. Small game is quick and quiet.

So, to ensure a precise hit, aim your shot and then strengthen your instinct for the right moment to fire. This will ensure accuracy and precision in your shot placement. As a result, it will help you bring home the game while avoiding any animal suffering.

We like to draw our bow well in advance before the rabbit or hare gets into the kill zone. You may need to hold it steady for a minute or two, which makes that 30 lbs draw weight even more important than ever.

Think you’re ready for a small game archery hunt?

Bow hunting can be an incredibly fulfilling and challenging experience for any hunter. No, you don’t get to mount a massive rack like you do with a buck, but the hunt itself is rewarding.

Although hunting small game is more demanding, the best practices mentioned in this article will ease your hunting process. 

Making yourself aware of your equipment area, eliminating scents, filtering your shot, and remaining patient and safe is the best way to start a successful small game hunt. 

After all, bow hunting is not something you can learn overnight. It is a skill that requires time and practice, but when approached diligently, it can provide you with memories worth cherishing for a lifetime.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Master Outdoorsman

Matt is a seasoned outdoorsman with expertise in fishing, hunting, and wildlife. With a Master's degree in Wildlife Science, he combines his passion for nature with conservation efforts, sharing his knowledge through his writing for Fish and Game Report.