Fish and Wildlife Economics and Statistics

A Quick Look at Bowhunters

Curious about bowhunters? Read here for a few insights into their practice habits and decision-making when it comes to how far they will take a shot.

Bowhunting remains immensely popular. According to Southwick Associates’ bi-monthly panel of more active hunters and shooters, over 85% of bowhunters practice their skills by shooting from a variety of distances. Most bowhunters reported working from a distance of 20-30 yards (79.1%), followed by 10-20 yards (71.2%), while only three percent reported practicing from a distance of 80-90 yards in the past year. Respondents could select multiple distances they shot from in 2018.

Bowhunters often practice to improve their skills, capability, and confidence in the field. also found that bowhunters’ confidence in their skillsets varied across respondents. On average, bowhunters reported that if the conditions were perfect, they would feel comfortable taking a shot from a distance of 37 yards. Over eighty-two percent of bowhunters reported feeling comfortable taking a shot between 20-50 yards, while only three percent stated they could attempt a shot securely from over 70 yards away. Bowhunting provides an opportunity for close interactions with nature, as bowhunting requires shooting from shorter distances than hunting with a firearm.

To help continually improve, protect and advance angling, hunting, shooting and other outdoor recreation, sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the bi-monthly surveys at,, and/or These surveys provide insights to help companies and management agencies better understand the reasons and motivations behind participation and spending trends. Every other month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.


Bow hunting