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Used bows

Pearson TX-4 (Used)
Pearson TX-4 (Used)
Cindy Lavender

This is the perfect time of year to learn to shoot a bow.  With regular practice over the summer, you should be ready for deer archery season on October 1st.  Times are tough and you want to get into archery or bow hunting but don't have several hundred dollars for a new set up.  The lowest amount of money an average adult can get away with for a new bow and set of arrows is just over $600.00.  Here is a common list of what is needed to get started in archery and bow hunting:

  • bow
  • arrow rest
  • bow sight
  • peep sight
  • stabilizer
  • quiver
  • string silencers
  • release
  • arrows
  • practice tips (field tips)

That's just the basics.  Some bows comes with some of the above items in a package deal for one price, but a mechanical release and a set of arrows (which are rarely included in a bow package) can still add another $100.00 or more to the overall cost.

To complete your archery set up, you may want to buy:

  • bow case
  • arrow case
  • arm guard
  • foam or layered target
  • broadheads
  • Allen wrench set
  • lighted nocks
  • accessory bag or box
  • archery club membership

Many new archers soon learn how expensive archery and bow hunting can be.  This does not even take into account all the latest gadgets out there that are on the market that you would like to try.  To make things worse, once hunting season gets here, there is more gear you need to buy:

  • tree stand
  • ground blind
  • cover scent
  • hunting knife
  • camouflage clothing
  • hunting licenses

With all of the endless expenses, some of you may consider buying a used bow.  Here are some considerations and things to be aware of when you choose to purchase pre-owned archery equipment and accessories.

  • Know your draw length.  To determine your draw length, measure your wingspan and divide by 2.5.  This will get your very close. 
  • The used bow you intend to purchase should have adjustments to change the draw length to fit you.  Some bows more than 10 years old have limited adjustment ability, meaning the string and/or cables only allow draw length changes of a half an inch longer or shorter than the specified draw length of the bow, or no adjustments at all.  The most common misconception of the novice is that any bow will fit any particular person.
  • Know the pulling weight of your bow and your ability to pull that weight.  Bows usually come with limbs that can be adjusted in 10 lbs. increments.  That is, if the bow has 60 lbs. limbs, you could turn down the pulling weight to 50 lbs.  Some bows come with wider draw weight ranges, from 30 to 60 lbs., or 45 to 60 lbs., depending on the model.
  • Check the limbs, make sure there are no hairline cracks.  Inspect the riser and cams to make sure that overall, the bow is in good condition.   
  • Inspect the string, and if the owner of the use bow is present, ask how long this string has been installed on the bow and why he/she is selling the bow.  Check the string for wear, fraying or broken strands.  Bow strings can be replaced; if the manufacturer or archery shop does not carry the strings for your bow, you could have custom bow strings made.  Determining how old the bow string is will let you decide if the bow is something you want to shoot prior to replacing the string. 
  • Sights, arrow rests and other accessories or parts can be replaced or upgraded if you really want to buy a used bow, but keep in mind the additional cost of replacing accessories.
  • If you are purchasing on eBay or an internet site, research prices for the same model to make sure you don't overpay.   

When you purchase your used bow, bring the bow to an archery pro shop and have a bow technician professionally inspect the bow and make sure it is in tune.  Bow technicians can double check the center shot, square up the arrow rest, and replace nocks or string loops if needed.  

The more research you do about what you are buying, you will avoid purchasing a bow that you will not be able to use.  Used bows can be a very good investment for a beginning archer.  


  • Chuck Douros- Boy Scouts Examiner 5 years ago

    Seems like a lot to know.. .to remember. thanks for the details.

  • Scott 5 years ago

    Great article. Very useful information and great links. I would further add that if able, shoot the bow (new or used) prior to purchasing as not all bows will fit or feel the same to the shooter while shooting.

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