What's in a bow? Great (and stylish) compound bows for newbie women - by Erica Cartner; ReelCamoGirl Contributor

With all of the bow options on the market these days, it can be difficult and intimidating to narrow down your decision. What do you look for? What is the lingo? Do I really have to spend thousands just to get started? The first things you should know are the parts of the bow. The lingo for compound bows can be confusing if you're not sure what you are really looking at. There are a lot of extra bits and pieces, but here is a basic diagram of a compound bow.

Basic Diagram of a Compound Bow.

When you go in to test and purchase your new bow, you'll need to know which eye is your dominant eye. Your dominant eye is the eye that you will aim with. Usually it is the same side as your writing hand, but that is not always the case. I am right-handed, but I'm left eye dominant. Basically I can't wink with my left eye, only my right eye, so when I look through my peep sight I am looking with my left eye open making me a left-handed shooter. To determine your dominant eye, place a finger on an object across the room with both eyes open. Close each eye one by one and whichever eye kept the object in the same place will be your dominant eye. For example, if I place my finger on a light switch across the room, when I close my right eye the object stays in place, but when I close my left eye and keep my right open my finger looks like it is on the wall to the left of the light switch.

The next things to consider are draw length and draw weight. The draw length is how far you pull back the bow string and will be different for every person. When you buy your bow the sales person will set this up for you, but to figure out the measurement you will stand with your hands outstretched and your palms facing forward. Measure from middle fingertip to middle fingertip and divide that number by 2.5 to get your final draw length. My personal draw is about a half an inch too long according to standard anchor points, however since it is comfortable to me, doesn't hurt my shoulder, and I shoot consistent groupings so I have decided to leave that half-inch alone.

Draw weight is the peak weight you are pulling back on your bow string, which affects how much force it will have once you shoot. To determine what weight you should be pulling, again, have the bow sales person set it at a weight that is relatively low (especially for a new bow hunter) and you should gradually raise it as you practice and gain muscle strength. When I purchased mine, I had the weight set at what I thought was 30lbs, the 2015 legal limit for white tail hunts (at least in Oklahoma-check with your state for regulations), but found out when going to a local archery shop that it was only set at 27lbs. I had been shooting that weight for a couple weeks with ease so I had him take my draw weight up to 37lbs. After shooting at the 37lbs for a couple of months and doing some at home work outs to build my core strength, I went ahead and raised it to 44lbs. Resist the urge to be a tough girl with draw weight right off the bat! You can hurt yourself pulling something too heavy and it's more important to get form correct first and work your weight up over time.

Here is a round-up of great bows for women new to the industry that will not only get the job done, but they will also look cute while doing it. I am a huge supporter of shopping local stores so please check your area to see what kind of archery shops are close where you can get personalized help. I have linked to some of the big box chain stores for those who don't have an archery shop close or that need to order online. These links are not sponsored and I have read negative reviews about the archery shops in these types of stores, but there is one sales person at my local Bass Pro who is an amazing help and I have had a bad experience at our local, small shop. Just make sure you deal with someone who makes YOU feel comfortable and doesn't try to rush you or push you into a product that you're not happy with.

My personal favorite, and the one I own, is the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro by Bowtech. This bow has a great draw weight and draw length range which makes it a favorable option for women of all shapes and sizes. Easy to use and adjust, this makes for easy growth as your archery skills develop. The best part is it comes in Pink Blaze camo!

Diamond Infinite Edge Pro by Bowtech


Draw length: 13"-31"

Draw weight: 5lbs to 70lbs

31.5" axle to axle

Comes with: sight, arrow rest, quiver, peep, and string loop

Cost: Available at Bass Pro for $380

Not a pink kinda gal? Maybe you'll like the Purple Cruzer by Bear Archery instead. The Bear Archery Cruzer series is another bow that has a huge draw length and draw weight adjustability. This bow is also lightweight, weighing in at only 3.6 lbs, which makes it an optimal choice for women and children alike. The Cruzer series also comes in 5 additional colors.

Purple Cruzer by Bear Archery


Draw length: 12"-30"

Draw weight: 5lbs to 70lbs

32" axle to axle

Comes with: sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer, peep, and string loop

Cost: Available at Cabela's for $400

Another cool purple compound bow on the market is the PSE Stinger X: Stiletto Edition. You read that right, Stiletto Edition. Props to whoever came up with that name! The sleek design on this bow features a split limb and adjustable cam design. The gloss finish on this bow makes for a classy look for that classy woman hunter.

PSE Stinger X: Stiletto Edition


Draw length: 21"-30"

Draw weight: 23lbs to 50lbs

32.5" axle to axle

Comes with: sight, arrow rest, quiver, stabilizer, sling, peep, and string loop

Cost: Available at Cabela's for $400

Want to show off your girly side, but not be so in-your-face about it? Maybe the Bear Archery Bounty would be the better choice for you. This bow comes in Realtree Max-1 camo, but with pink accents on the arrow rest and cables. The Bounty boasts 80% let off which will help the smaller gal with shooting accuracy.

Bear Archery Bounty


Draw length: 23.5"-27"

Draw weight: 30lbs to 40lbs or 40lbs to 50lbs

29.5" axle to axle

Comes with: sight, arrow rest, stabilizer, peep, and string loop

Cost: Available at Bass Pro for $600

The most important thing for newbies to remember when going to get your first bow is to not be afraid to let them know that you are new to this. When I bought mine, we went into the range and I told him I had never picked up a bow before and had no idea what I was doing. I was able to learn about stance, anchor points, and how to help stabilize using your fingers on your front hands. I never would have known about those things had I not asked. There are plenty of bow options out there. There are bows built specifically for women and these are just a few. I already have my eye on the Mathews Jewel in teal. Hello gorgeous!

Make sure to follow my journey on Instagram or Twitter and let me know you came from RCG!


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