How do I know if I'm shooting the right draw weight?
It is no secret that most archers think that they need to shoot a lot of weight to be able to hunt with a bow. The only advantage to a heavier draw weight is the trajectory of the bow and arrow combination. This means that with the right set-up you can shoot a flatter arrow—faster. Is it always a good thing to shoot a lot of weight? In most cases, no. Two factors should be considered:
1. Being a proficient shooter requires a lot of practice. Can you shoot 20-60 arrows at 70 pounds without struggling at the end? Would it be easier for you to shoot more practice arrows if you were to shoot even 5 pounds less? The more you shoot the more accurate and therefore the better archer you become. If your bow is too heavy to shoot a lot of arrows, then wouldn't it be better to shoot less weight?
2. "Point and Draw” You should be able to draw and hold the weight comfortably. This means that you should be able to point your bow at the target and draw straight back without struggling or aiming at the sky or ground (which are both dangerous to do). A good question to ask yourself is, "If my draw weight is too heavy am I going to be able to draw back and hold my arrow for the right shot on a deer, turkey or bear when it is 20 degrees outside and I have already been in my treestand for 2 hours?”
When it comes to hunting---you should check with your local DNR's game regulations as far as what the minimum draw weight is for the species you are hunting. Keep in mind that new, sharp broadheads and your shot placement on an animal is key. You need to consider your archery abilities and equipment.
If you are hunting and shooting low poundage, you should shoot with a fixed blade broadhead. A mechanical broadhead should be shot using a higher poundage bow so that the kinetic energy can open the broadhead and get good penetration. Elk and other large game require a higher poundage draw weight because you will need to be able to send the arrow out further for those longer shots and arrow penetration is at a premium.
Lastly—you need to consider your shoulder. Will your shoulder succumb to fatigue and exhaustion if you are shooting a lot of arrows? What if your shoulder is feeling exhausted after only a few arrows? It isn't worth losing technique and proper form or worse yet, a shoulder injury, just because you think you need to shoot a lot of draw weight. Keep archery fun! Draw a weight that you are comfortable and accurate so that you can enjoy the sport for many, many years to come.