While an arrow moves considerably slower than the speed of sound,
bowhunters are aware of this situation and accept the rules that come with it.
For instance, bowhunters avoid shots at alerted game.
Modern bows are very quiet and significantly faster than bows of just 10 years ago.
It should also be noted that this consideration is a ‘de facto’ part of any wounding study.
Hunting with bow and arrow is more demanding.
Statistically a bowhunter needs considerably more time in the field (5-10 times more)
to get within a range were he or she can successfully execute a good shot,
usually around 20 metres and definitely less than 30.
Good hunting ethics actually strongly support the practice of archery hunting!Hunters who choose the bow and arrow show great respect for game by hunting on nature’s terms without utilizing the superiority of human technology.
The fact that it is necessary to closely approach the game hunted – typically under 30 meters – means that animals have ample opportunity to detect the hunter and escape.
Getting close enough to hunt game with a shotgun is certainly a challenge.
However this is ultimately an entirely different methodology from bowhunting
and therefore lacks the crucial aspects that many seek in bowhunting.
EBF´s official policy is that all hunters should have both a theoretical and practical hunter
education to form their knowledge base. In addition, to be able to hunt with bow and arrow,
each hunter should also complete a specialised course, such as the International Bowhunting Education Program (IBEP) or equivalent.
There are no restrictions on the use of bow and arrow in the European regulations that govern hunting.
A competent bowhunter is quite accurate out to about 30 metres (an approximate maximum). This accuracy is comparable to a firearms hunter at his or her functional range, for instance using arifle at 100 meters. Statistics indicate that the average bow shot on game will be taken at less than 25 metres, and bowhunters seldom shoot moving targets.
Again, Danish statistics indicate that 85% of the harvested roe deer were standing still at the moment of arrow release. The same study shows that 77% of the roe deer were shot at less than 20 metres.
A modern hunting bow using arrows fitted with razor-edged broadheads is so effective that all game species in Europe can be ethically harvested. In nations with long bowhunting traditions, such as the USA, the primary species harvested with bow are deer (In 2011 1,1 million mostly white-tailed deer). However, thousands of bear, wild boar and moose are also harvested annually.
While each hunter has his or her own answer to this question we can draw from the experience of sport fishing. Some fish with nets, others with casting rods, some with spinning rods and still others with fly rods. Those using a fly rod are usually highly dedicated and more interested in the catching process versus the catch itself.
We see very similar lines of reasoning among bowhunters – they love to hunt!
Even today we do not use the most effective hunting tools available. For example: magazine capacities are restricted on all sporting guns and hunting from vehicles is prohibited as is the use of fully automatic weapons, night-vision sights, spot-lighting, silencers, etc.
Tracking game after a shot is always complicated, and many experts
consider this to be the hardest task in hunting. If the
situation allows, we always recommend choosing the most effective
means to recover game and guns are often used in these cases.
These images are almost always the result of youthful archers
shooting low-poundage target equipment and using arrows with
simple target points. A hunting arrow has a specially designed
head with multiple razor-edged blades that usually passes
completely through the game animal
There’s is no indicaton that injury resulting from a hunting broadhead
is worse than a wound from another source, when the shot is not lethal.
It is often stated that an arrow creates a cleaner wound with less
risk of infection, however there are no known studies to support this
or to indicate which shooting method results in the most
destructive injury or difficult-to-heal wound.
In normal situations the arrow will penetrate the body of the game animal and is often found just beyond the point of exit. Exceptions occur when the arrow strikes major skeletal structures, like the spine. Danish statistics show complete penetration of the entire body on roe deer in near 90% of all cases. In those unusual cases when ahunting arrow does not pass through the animal the arrow typically works itself out.
It is worth noting that modern broadheads are designed without barbs of any sort.
The Danish study we refer to was gathered during five consecutive
years and is compiled from 533 shots at roe deer by well educated
gun hunters who have also taken the Danish Bowhunter Education course
(mandatory 1-day theory) and passed a shooting-proficiency test
(renewed every 5th year). This study was crosschecked
with results from mandatory tracking on bow-shot animals that
were not immediately recovered. This tracking was provided by
government-sanctioned Danish trackers and their registered dogs
to verify data.
A study from Sweden 1998-2002 made in fenced enclosures on
fallow deer and wild boar shows a wounding rate of 3.3%. In
this example the hunters were selected for their depth of
experience and skill.
The South Carolina study by Morton was conducted by experienced
bowhunters (average 8 yrs) and resulted in a wounding rate of 2%.
This study is interesting because it involves the extensive use of
tracking dogs to recover game, which is not typical in the USA.
The Minnesota study by Wendy Kruger, et al showed a 13% wounding
rate over 8000 hunting days.
This high number may be due to a lack of mandatory bowhunter
training, and/or the limited time the hunters could spend in the
field (2 days) with no possibility to pre-scout or use tracking dogs.
No hunter can hope for a controlled second shot with any type of weapon.
EBF knows of no research indicating that a controlled second shot is better
with a rifle. Some hunters even state that the ability to make a controlled second
shot is actually more likely due to the quietness of the bow and arrow.
It is important to mention that it is legal in all nations in Europe to
hunt with single-shot rifles and shotguns.
The killing potential of a multi-edged, razor-sharp hunting broadhead is equal to an expanding bullet. Hunting arrows provide excellent penetration in soft tissue. The extremely low frontal area and narrow cutting edges effectively deliver a high amount energy resulting in very effective penetration. The arrow’s lethality is related to a rapid drop in blood pressure, i.e. clinical shock. The razor-sharp edges cleanly cut arteries resulting in minimal arterial constriction and less release of blood-clotting substances. The opposite is true for the blunt trauma caused by a bullet, which bursts through tissues and causes the considerable release of these blood coagulants while also triggering arterial spasms, thus slowing the effect of circulatory collapse.
No, the statistics from Denmark clearly show that this is not the case. The Danish study conducted between 1999 and 2004 reports 533 roe deer hit by arrows. Less than 5% of the roe deer reported hit were not recovered or were labeled as wounded.
A similar study made in the U.S. on white-tailed deer in South Carolina, showed only 2% losses (tracking dogs were used to aid recovery of downed deer). Comparable studies for rifle or shotgun show similar or higher losses.
President: Elected by the general assembly
Vice Presidents: Chosen from each national bowhunting organisation
Secretary: Elected by the general assembly
Treasurer: Elected by the general assembly
EBF is working to enable the use of the bow and arrow as a hunting tool
and support its wider acceptance in the nations of Europe.
It is our goal to educate the general public as well as conventional hunters
in bowhunting-related issues.
EBF also assists authorities and organisations in questions related
to the use of the bow and arrow as a hunting tool through
seminars, meetings and printed matter.
2003, in Helsinki, Finland.
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