Buying A Used Bow

| Last Updated October 18, 2021

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Every bow hunter would love to pick up the latest and greatest bow to hit the shelves of their favorite pro shop. Unfortunately, it’s not in the budget for many hunters. Bow hunting and archery are two of the fastest growing sports in America. There are lots of new people getting involved everyday. For the budget conscious and newcomers, buying a used bow can be a good choice. But buying a used bow is like buying a used car. It’s important to get a good look before making a purchase.

Dan Ellyson of A-1 Archery in Hudson, Wisconsin recommends finding out your draw length and choosing your poundage before even looking at specific bows. Your local archery shop can help you with this. There are great deals on sites like eBay but Ellyson says buying online can be risky. He recommends closely inspecting a bow before buying.

The first thing to look at is the strings and cables. Fraying is a good indication that replacement is needed. If the bow is more than five years old, it’s a good idea to replace them anyway. The bolts and other hardware should be in good condition and rust free. Rust on the bolts is a clue the bow has been used in the elements often or perhaps it was stored in a damp area. If there is visible rust, there is most likely rust in areas you can’t see. Ellyson recommends a tune up and lube for any used bow before shooting it.

Take a look at the accessories as well. Things like sights, rests, quivers, dampeners, etc. can add to a bow’s price tag. Will they work for you? For instance, is the sight right for what you plan to use the bow for? The person selling the bow may be adding dollars to the price for a particular accessory that you are going to replace. That’s not a good value. In some cases, buying a bow without any accessories is a better value. In that case, you will have to pay for the accessories. But you will be paying for what you want.

In this edition of Biglogic’s Archery Journal, Dan Ellyson walks you through the finer points of buying a used bow.

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My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.