The initial results from a study in Finland were presented last week and confirm that hunting with a bow
and arrow is just as effective as using a rifle. The detailed scientific study, which was conducted over a
period of four years from early 2019 to early 2023, analyzed the comparative aspects of harvesting whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with both bullets and hunting bows. The study was presented at the
2023 wildlife seminar in Jyväskylä, Finland, and it revealed that modern hunting arrows and bullets have
similar, if not the same, effects on harvested deer. The project was led by veterinarian Mikaela Sauvala,
who performs the analysis as a part of her PhD study.
The study, where 130 deer were harvested with the bow and arrow and 100 animals with a rifle, found
that the average flight distances of non-immobilized deer differ by less than one meter between rifles
and hunting bows. The results of this study demonstrate that hunting with a bow and arrow is not only
effective but also in line with modern animal welfare standards.
The study’s lead project manager, Antti Saarenmaa, said in a statement, “Our preliminary results show
that these findings are similar to our experiences that hunting with a bow and arrow is comparable with
other hunting methods. This is an important step towards the understanding of the use of bow and arrow
in hunting. I am looking forward to analyzing the rest of the data and will answer many of the questions
asked about hunting with bow and arrow and perhaps will encourage game managers to consider
including bow and arrow as a valid hunting method in modern game management programs.”
In addition to its effectiveness and animal welfare benefits, this study has important implications for
legislators and politicians in European countries. The results of this study demonstrate that hunting with
a bow and arrow is a viable alternative to hunting with a rifle. The use of bows in hunting can lead to
quieter and a hunting practice on the natures terms, which can help to reduce conflicts between hunters
and non-hunters. Moreover, the study findings can be used as evidence that bow hunting is a safe,
responsible, and sustainable practice that should be considered for legalization in European countries. It
is crucial that legislators and politicians take the findings of this study into account when making
decisions about hunting regulations and laws in their respective countries.
Anders Gejer, the president of the European Bowhunting Federation, stated that “This study is a
significant milestone in the hunting community, as it demonstrates in a scientific and well-controlled
manner the effectiveness of a modern hunting bow. As a long-time hunter who has used both rifles and
bows, I can attest to the accuracy of these findings based on my own experiences. The study also
highlights the suitability of the bow and arrow for the regulation of wild boars, particularly in urban and
peri-urban areas, due to the quiet nature of the bow and its short range, making it an extremely safe and
effective method. The proposed urban wild boar management program aligns with the proven success of
similar initiatives where bows and arrows are used, such as the urban wild boar regulations program that
has been implemented in Madrid, Spain for over a decade and has since been adopted in multiple cities
across Europe.”

Media contact: Anders Gejer, EBF president;

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