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Carrying a bow to and from your hunting location isn't necessarily rocket science, but there are better and worse ways to do it.
I'm going to walk you through some of the most popular ways carry a compound bow while hunting, and in that, tell you about some things to keep in mind.
People underestimate how important a good bow case is. They think that just because it's not a gun, you can throw it around a little more - Wrong!
Bows are just as sensitive as guns. Knocking a bow sight, bumping a rest, or bending an arrow can be costly.
Of course, if you're a hunter that can step out their back door and walk right into the woods, then maybe you don't need a case. However, most hunters routinely travel decent distances, in and out of vehicles, to get to their final destination. For this reason, it's best to protect your weapon at all costs!
Some hunters have to take multiple forms of transportation to their hunting spot. And one of those modes might be an ATV.
Let's get the easy part out of the way. DO NOT carry a compound or recurve bow on your lap while driving an ATV. This is a lose-lose situation with an endless amount of things that might go wrong.
ATV manufacturers have recognized the need for ATV bow cases and racks, and today's designs are now very reliable and safe. Of course, some of these cases are quite expensive, but they do ensure some peace of mind that you just can't put a price tag on.
Having a do-it-all hunting backpack is essential for bagging the game you're going after. And having one that also carries your bow makes it even better.
Some hunters like to take a standard backpack and strap their bow on it. While there's nothing wrong with this, if you're going to jerry-rig something you might as well just go out and buy one with a bow pocket.
When I purchased my bowhunting backpack, I made sure it had enough room for my standard gear, and the bow straps and pockets in the back did not get in the way of me going to and from my stand.
Carrying a bow in your hand is probably the most popular, go-to option for taking a bow out in the woods. It's easy, convenient, and you're always ready in case you spot something on the trail.
From my standpoint, carrying a bow gets a little awkward after some time walking. Today's bows are outfitted with so many accessories that there's not a ton of room on the riser to fit your hand and arm.
If you're a hunter that carries a lot of gear or someone that needs both hands free to go up and down mountains I would avoid this method and look at a hunting backpack.
Personally, I don't really understand why you would want to carry a bow by the string when hunting.
From time to time, I've grabbed onto my cables for a brief moment, but I've always avoided grabbing the string directly.
If I can suggest avoiding any particular method, it would be this one as it's somewhat uncomfortable and you want to do your best to avoid pulling and moving your bow string. Constantly moving around your string might cause it to come off your cams and/or begin twisting, eventually leading to accuracy problems.
Utilizing a bow sling seems to be popular amongst hunters out West and those that pursue turkeys in the Spring and Fall months.
Today's bow slings provide a lot more than just an easier way to carry a bow, they also provide protection from unwanted brush scraping across your string and cams.
While a strap is a little more comfortable than just carrying by hand, it's still caters to a very small subset of hunters that don't want to purchase a bow-specific backpack. For this reason, it's almost a hybrid solution between the two.
When I first started hunting, I would place my bow over my lap or over the guard rails so I could be quick to pull of a shot. Unfortunately, there's cons to this. First, it's very uncomfortable, and second, it doesn't leave you a lot of room to move around.
I've found the best solution to be a folding bow hanging rack that extends off of the tree. This give you plenty of room to move around and allows you to put the bow at the right height for easy access once you stand up.
And for those archers that are new to the sport, try to practice getting in, moving around and shooting when you're in a stand. You don't want that new beginner compound bow falling to the ground!
Also, we have a great blog summarizing How To Store Your Compound Bow At Home!