Teaching a child to shoot a bow is a way to teach them a great hobby. It gets them outdoors and teaches them patience and persistence. These are things that can benefit them later on in life.
In order to do so, you need to set them up with the proper equipment, and unless they’ve hit their growth spurt early you’ll need to get them something smaller so that they have the ability to not only draw the bow back but are also capable of holding.
If the bows brands below don’t meet what you’re looking for, you could also check out crossbows. These are great for children who want to get into bow hunting but can’t quite pull back a compound yet.
You can also find great recurve bows if a compound does not fit your child’s needs. Also, it helps if the bow comes equipped with a finger tab which helps you with the bowstring.
First, let’s dive a little deeper into why youth bows are such an important tool when first learning how to shoot.
Why a Youth Bow?
Many youth bows are scaled-down versions of the adult bows, and some are even adjustable. This can benefit the teenage hunter who needs a yearly, or even a mid-season modification.
Some of the best youth bows with a smaller draw length which benefits their shorter stature. Along with the shorter draw length, they also make bows with adjustable draw weight, as well as a good brace height which enables them to easily pull back and fling an fiberglass arrow.
You’ll find that there is an abundance of low poundage bows out on the market right now. These are perfect for getting them into the actual hobby of shooting. However, if you’re for a bow that is strong enough to hunt with then you’ll have a more difficult time.
Choosing a Draw Weight
This will all depend on your child and what they can pull back. You’re looking for a draw weight that they’re able to pull back but can still give them a slight challenge as they get bigger.
A 6-10-pound draw will work best for younger kids who are just now looking to get into archery.
These are not recommended for hunting but can get your child comfortable in the outdoors with a bow in their hand
The next range would be a 10-30-pound draw. These can be used by kids usually until the age of 9. After that, you can start looking at bows with a draw range of 30-55 pounds. The higher draw weight can be used by older kids and teenagers in the 9 to 18-year-old age range.
It is not recommended to hunt large game with anything below a 40-pound draw weight, and many states have regulations on what the actual draw weight can be. Keep that in mind if your child wants to take their 30-pound draw weight bow deer hunting.
Just like choosing your draw weight, your draw length will be determined by the size and age of your child. For children 4-10 years old look for something in the 14-25-inch range.
Once they start growing and getting bigger you can check out the 15-30-inch range. These will work in the age range of 10 years and up.
Many bows are adjustable and some don’t even need a bow press in order to change the length. All you need is a hex key that you can use to make the length longer so the child can continue shooting.
While it may not look like it, holding and shooting a bow can become tiring after a while, especially to a child. So, when picking out a bow you should take the weight of it seriously.
A 4 to 9-year-old should be able to handle a 1.2-2-pound bow. While kids who may be larger in that age range would be able to manage a 2.3-3-pound bow.
Keep in mind that if you select the lightest possible option for your child then they could outgrow it very quickly.
What To Look For When Purchasing a Youth Archery Bow
When selecting a bow it can be a little overwhelming, as there are a lot of different factors that need to be figured in. check out some of the aspects below.
Selecting the draw weight, length, and weight of the bow itself is all dependent on how big your kid is. If they hit an early growth spurt then you can go ahead and go up a size. The numbers above are recommendations on what might work best for those sizes.
Quality of Materials
Many of the newer bow models are made from the latest designs in technology and materials. Because of this, you’ll find many of the models on the market are made of high quality materials.
So no need to worry about handing your child a cheap and brittle riser. If you’re buying a new one then don’t fret too much about buying something that is poorly made.
Some of the older models you might find out they might be flimsier and not as durable, and for those, you should be more careful.
Look at models that have composite limbs. This ensures the bow will be as durable as possible. Also you should be taking into account the axle length with the bow, you want something shorter for the youth shooter.
A bow with a dual cam system is nice but if you just want to introduce them to the sport than a single cam system is just fine.
Once your child is big enough to pull back a bow that can take down an animal then you can start thinking about the noise level that it emits. In the beginning, when they’re just shooting out in the yard it is a non-factor.
Once you’re ready to hit the woods there are a few different accessories you can use to make your shooting quieter.
If you’re new to hunting you may think that the noise a bow makes is reasonably quiet and why would it matter. Think of it this way. The fastest arrow used for hunting flies around 300 fps, which is roughly ¼ the speed of sound.
This means that the noise produced from the bow is arriving well before the arrow actually does. Giving the animal time to duck the arrow or move off-target causing a wounding shot.
Also, your child will not be shooting anything close to 300 fps, which means the animals will hear the bow even sooner.
If you want to mute your sound you can hunt from a ground blind which absorbs some of the noise. Also, you can ensure that all bow attachments such as your pin sight are tight.
Any loose accessories will cause extra noise on the shot. If you want to silence your string you attach a rubber silencer to it.
The most important noise-cancelling device you can use is the stabilizer. Stabilizers absorb a lot of the vibration that is caused when a bow is shot. Many of these stabilizers can reduce noise by up to 50%
Left-Handed Youth Bow
A left-handed youth bow may be a little more difficult to find in a typical bow shop, but larger spots such as Bass Pro and Cabelas should carry some. If you’re having a difficult time finding one in a shop then looking online will be your best bet.
Top Youth Bows
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what you might need for your bow, below we have some of the top-ranked bows that you can use to help get your child in the woods.
This is the official bow for the National Archery in the Schools Program. When at full draw the weight of 10-20 pounds and a draw length that can be adjusted from 15-30 inches. It also carries a total weight of 3.5 pounds.
This is perfect for the beginner because the bow can grow with the child, and can be used for quite some time.
Because of the draw weight, it is not recommended for hunting large game, but could possibly be used to hunt small game such as squirrel, and rabbit.
If you do take this hunting for small game remember to check your local regulations to ensure you can use this draw weight.
Slightly larger than the Genesis Kit, the Barnett features a 19-45-pound draw range and has the capability to grow with your child from practicing at a young age on the 20-pound draw weight to growing into and hunting with the 45-pound draw.
The max draw length is 26” and depending on how big your child grows could potentially be using this as an older teenager. The bow package also comes with three aluminum arrows.
Be careful when shooting these because aluminum can bend which can make your shooting inaccurate.
A great little bow to get your kid started shooting in the yard. It comes with an 18-pound draw and comes with an 18-22-inch draw length. The 18-pound draw might be too much for a younger child, but should be perfectly fine for older kids.
You’ll also get two arrows for target shooting as well as a sight pin. The grip is a soft touch which will help alleviate any slips you may have, and also features a five-year warranty.
This could make a great gift to a child in your life who wants to start learning how to shoot a bow and potentially get into bowhunting.
Featuring a zero let-off feature, the Genesis Mini Bow helps make shooting easier by pulling the string from the finger of the shooter once it is released.
The draw weight can be lowered all the way down to 6 pounds, making it perfect for the young archer, and can be raised up to 12 pounds. The draw length can be adjusted between 14-25 inches making it a good bow for a young child to grow with.
As opposed to the full-sized Genesis this is what the youngest archer should be shooting. The small size and light draw weight will allow them to practice and develop good shooting habits which they couldn’t do with a heavier bow.
Similar to the Genesis Mini, this bow is a good setup for the young archer. Featuring an 8-13-pound draw and draw length of 16-24 inches the Bear Archery Set is a perfect starter bow.
The bow also includes a hand-grip with an arrow rest or a whisker biscuit, sight pin, as well as an arm guard, arrow quiver, 2 arrows, and finger rollers to allow the string to safely slide out of the shooter’s hand when released.
It’s also an ambidextrous bow meaning that both right hand or left-handed shooters can shoot this.
Getting a child into archery, and potentially bow hunting can be a great thing. Whether they decide to hunt or not you’re giving them something that allows them to outside and enjoy nature.
Feel free to go to your local outfitter, sporting goods, or even Amazon for your new bow.
Remember that hunting large game with a youth bow is not recommended unless you are able to safely and effectively pull back a draw weight of at least 40 pounds.
Anything lower than that can be used to hunt small game, but remember to check the rules and regulations for the state that you hunt in, as hunting with anything less than 40 pounds is illegal in some areas.