top of page

Archery Starter Giude

Are you thinking about getting into archery, specifically with a compound bow,  or do you have a bow but don't know where to start? Kootenai Country Archery is here to help. Below are some tips to help anyone with questions they may have about starting out in archery.  

we do not have any rental equipment, but we would be willing to schedule an appointment at the course to help you get started shooting compound bows.


First things first you’ll need a bow, but that doesn’t mean you need the most expensive one on the market. It does, however, mean you’ll need one that fits you. No matter how tempting it is to buy a used bow from Facebook or Craigslist if the price is right, do not buy any bow that doesn’t fit you perfectly. With that said, you first need to know about bow fitting so that you can properly test bows before buy one. Here are some tips to get started at home.

Draw Length


Draw Length

Draw length is the distance you pull back the string for comfortable and proper shooting form. This measurement matters because compound bows have a mechanical stop that is set to a specific draw length.

To measure your draw length at home, stand with your back to a wall stretching your arms out against the wall. Measure the distance from the end of your middle finger to the end of your other middle finger, basically the length of both arms, hands and chest. This measurement, minus 15 then divided by 2, is your draw length.

Here is a link to an online Draw length calculator. 

Draw Weight

Draw weight, or poundage, is a measurement of the force needed to draw a bow. A bow with a higher draw weight will produce faster arrows, but it will also require more strength to draw the bowstring back, Too high of poundage can lead to fatigue and reduce accuracy. Having the correct draw weight is an important factor in starting out.   There are many variables when trying to guess your draw weight, a simple equation to get a starting point is divide your body weight by 200, then multiply by 70.

     for example- a person weighs 153 lbs.

   153 / 200 = 0.765   ----

   0.765 X 70 = 53.55

so they would be looking for a bow that can adjust to 53.5 pounds

   Look in the product description to find the Bows draw range weight. All compound bows have adjustable draw weight, but they all have different ranges of weights the bow can handle. They will give a range such as             30 lbs-70 lbs or 5 lbs-50 lbs.  look for a bow that can support your draw weight. *keep in mind that as you shoot, you will become stronger in the muscles needed to pull your bow back, and may want to up the poundage.

Choosing a Bow

Now that you have a baseline for draw length and draw weight you can start shopping around for a bow.  here are some things to look for when choosing the right one for you.

#1- RH or LH (right hand or left hand) - If you're right-eye and right-hand dominant, buy a right-handed bow. Likewise, buy a left-hand bow if you're left-eye and left-hand dominant.

#2- Does it fit - is it adjustable to your specific draw length and weight? make sure the range of the bow fits with your specific numbers or draw length and draw weight. the majority of bows have a wide range of adjustment, you can often find the specs in the description portion of the product page.


#3- Equipment - many companies sell bows that come RTH or RTS  which is Ready To Hunt or Ready To Shoot. these types of bows are a fantastic option to start with, because they come with all the necessary equipment on the bow.(rest, sight ,quiver, stabilizer, wrist strap)   

"Bare" bows are bows that come with no equipment on them. this option is good for anyone who wants to customize their equipment. 

#4- Not included. To make sure you are ready to shoot here are a few things that you need that are not usually included.

--Release-- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  these are used as a trigger to fire your bow, either handheld or wrists trap. it will save your fingers and make you a more accurate shooter.

--Field Tips-


Now that you have a bow, you need to get some arrows. First off arrows are wildly confusing! with so many options to choose from arrows can be overwhelming. If you would like to have the best chance of becoming a successful archer follow these tips and choose the correct arrow and arrow spine for your bow.

#1- what grain (gr) of practice tip (field tip) will you be shooting.

75gr  100gr  125gr 150gr

I would recommend 100gr 125gr for draw weights over 40 lbs

75gr or 100gr  for draw weights under 40 lbs

#2- Length of arrow.

 To determine the length of your arrow take your draw length and add

1-3 inches,  an arrow that is too short is extremely dangerous, make sure the arrow is cut at least 1 inch longer than your draw length. Most archery shops offer arrow cutting.

#3- Spine

The spine of the arrow refers to the flexibility of the arrow. an "under spine" arrow will flex too much and cause erratic flight.  An "over spine" arrow wont flex enough to stabilize in flight and cause erratic flight.

with that said here is a Arrow Spine Chart to help you find the correct spine for you. 

If you have trouble following this chart here is an example of how to choose a spine.

#1. I am shooting 125gr tips

#2. My draw weight is 67lbs

#3. My arrow length is 28"

The number in that Box is 300 so i will be looking for arrows with a 300 spine

Now that you have a bow that fits you, and arrows that fit your bow, you are set to start shooting. 

The practice range is set up for beginners to take the time to sight in their bow form

10-60 yards. Kootenai Country Archery is here to help. contact us for range session.

bottom of page