Should First Time Hunters Start With Bows or Shotguns?

So you’re a first time hunter. You’re new to “all of this,” but you’re eager to start and you’re wondering, “bow or shotgun?” Should first timers start with bows or shotguns? What do most hunters use/do?

Experienced hunters often use both bows and guns regularly. But for those just starting out, what are the pros and cons of the two?


Cost-wise, there isn’t much difference between the cost of purchasing a new bow or gun. You’d probably pay between $300 to $600 to get started in a reasonable way. Shotguns are normally cheaper than rifles since there’s no scope involved. If you’re thinking of buying a used bow, keep in mind it might be worn out and in need of new strings/cams.

With guns, you’ll have recurring costs involved– bullets and shot add up! With bows, though, you can use arrows over and over again (or cheaply replace them).

Type of Hunt

Consider what kind of animal you’d like to hunt. What’s legal to use on that animal? Rifles are best for long range options (50 to 300 yards) while shotguns and bows work best for close range (10 to 50 yards). For animals on the move, guns work best. For stationary animals, use a bow. In general, hunting with a bow is harder than with a gun, especially for small targets in motion… How much of a challenge do you want?

Is it easier to learn to shoot a gun than use a bow? Yes. It’s also less physically demanding. Bow hunting requires a person to use both force and tension. With guns, you just aim and shoot them. Therefore, it’s probably best for first timers to start with shotguns and later try bow hunting.

If you are new to hunting, why not try elk hunting in Colorado? Samuelson Outfitters offers guided elk hunts. These foot/horseback hunts include home cooked meals, a tent camp where you can eat/sleep, and more. It’s a wilderness experience in a primitive area where no motorized vehicles are allowed. For more information about elk hunting in Colorado, please call Samuelson Outfitters at 970-726-8221.