Archery 101: Finding a Pro Shop

Archery 101: Finding a Pro Shop

Archery hunting has become increasingly popular in recent years. Thanks to longer seasons, easy-to-draw tags and a surge in archery technology, bowhunting has captured the hearts of many hunters.

However, archery is not a simple sport to get into. Many people who have never shot a bow or hunted before can be intimidated by the thought of taking a bow afield. These totally reasonable fears can be eased by going to your local pro shop. Archery pro shops are owned and operated by folks who have a passion for the sport and want to help others get into archery.

Finding a Pro Shop
With the growing popularity of archery, I can almost guarantee there’s a pro shop somewhere near you. A quick Google search will tell you where the closest, best-rated shops are located in your area.

Here’s where it gets tricky: pro shops don’t sell every brand of bow that’s on the market. Most will have a selection of only two or three brands. If you know what brand you want, go to a shop that carries that maker.

If you don’t have your heart set on a certain company, I’d highly recommend “dating” multiple shops. The more shops you go to, the more mindsets and archery fundamentals you’ll be exposed to. If you happen to have two or three shops in your area, plan on taking a whole day and exploring them to gain as much information as you can. Try shooting bows at each shop if possible. This will all help you land on which bow brand and model you want to buy.

You need to feel comfortable when you go into the shop and if the folks behind the counter are too busy day dreaming about the elk woods, you may not have a pleasant experience buying a bow there.

A Wealth of Knowledge
Many of these shops are include a shooting range where archers come to spend their weekends honing their skill. Some of the best information that I’ve picked up regarding archery has come from citizen experts at the range. You can learn tips and tricks about archery hunting that you never would have come close to finding on the internet—not to mention some of the best stories you will hear.

Besides the great folks that seem to replace their local watering hole with an bow targets, you will have access to the minds of people that decided to make their living around archery. The original owner of the shop I went to growing up held two state record blacktailed deer and molded my archery philosophy into what it is today.

The Dumber the Better
Our own egos can be terrible things. The fear of looking or sounding stupid keeps many people from trying new activities, and archery is no exception. This a big mental block for many people getting into bowhunting. I can assure you that the staff at a pro shop will be thrilled to work with you no matter your archery knowledge level.

Usually, the less you know, the better. The opportunity to impart knowledge to someone who has not already formed their own archery philosophy is usually welcomed by pro shop staffers. Don’t be alarmed when you are approached by employees as if they were used car salesmen. But when you find the right shop, you find folks that are eager to start working with you. Listen and ask questions.

Don’t pretend to know more than you do. Go in willing and eager to learn, and you’ll be rewarded with a better understanding of the art of archery.

Don’t Buy a Bow Yet
You might feel pressure to buy a bow right away, especially when the staff drops an information overload on you. I’d suggest holding off, though. Take your time, listen to their suggestions and take notes on bows that they like. This will be good information to recall when you’re serious about buying.

It is perfectly fine to accept the first shop you visit as your go-to shop. However, I think it’s a better idea to visit multiple shops to ensure you’re getting the best service around.

The process of purchasing a bow should be a long one. The archery market is flooded with many great bows, and while you may think you fell in love with the first one you shot, you owe it to yourself and your wallet to explore more options. Finding the right archery pro shop will help you feel confident to make the right decision.