Hunting game animals by use of bows and arrows and archery techniques is called bow hunting. It has been widely practiced through history in all countries where bows were made and used. Hunting was considered a sport of royals and nobles in ancient through medieval times, and a matter of prestige for those who practiced it. It is a reason why cheetahs became extinct in India. Recently due to lethality of weapons available, diminishing populations of wild animals, and increasing animal rights campaigning, bow hunting is regulated in most countries and banned in quite a few.
Nowadays, bow hunting is often practiced and regulated legally in many countries. Animal rights organizations such as PETA are working hard to ban hunting of all kinds for animal rights reasons. Bow hunting in particular has a 58% or greater wounding rate, that is, for every successful kill, there is a wounding. Nevertheless, hunting is considered as a sport even in modern society. It takes a lot of practice and a permit too to become a decent bow hunter.
Bow hunting may be done with several different types of bows. The range of a kill may be 20-30 yards depending on level of expertise, equipment, target and weather. Beginners using bows meant for beginners usually have a lesser range and accuracy. Smaller and faster targets are more difficult to kill. Weather affects the shoot by means of mist and fog. On the other hand, rifle hunters’ range could be more than 200 yards. Also, the lethality of rifles is more. ‘
Nowadays modern compound bows are the preferred weapon for hunting, because of their greater durability and speed and accuracy of the arrow. Recurve bows are also used and often legal. Traditional longbows are usually quieter and slower than modern bows. Crossbows are sometimes allowed but are controversial due to their similarity of operation with guns.
The hunting seasons are usually different for bow hunting and rifle hunting, since riflemen have a significant advantage over archers with respect to accuracy, range and shot lethality. Bow hunting also has a different set of restrictions than firearm hunting.
Bow hunting is considered by some to be cruelty against animals since it involves killing healthy animals in wild populations usually for pure pleasure. However, it is also a way of controlling animal populations and interacting with natural habitats, especially for urban people. In Australia, native species which are not usually killed as game may be killed by bow hunters during government authorized culls.
Some European countries like Germany, Croatia, the United Kingdom and Ireland have banned bow hunting. Others use it as a hunting tool in modern game management. In the United States and Canada, it is regulated by individual states and provinces. Hunting regulations are quite meticulously written, determining hunting season, hunting grounds and animal type, including species and gender. To improve shot lethality and recovery, technical guidelines determine parameters of equipment involved, such as minimum draw weight, especially for big game species.