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.

1. Carrying A Bow In A Case

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!

Hard Bow Case vs. Soft Bow Case

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Soft bow cases are cheaper... and less protective.
  • Measure your bow (and its accessories) before buying a case.
  • Keep your broadheads and arrows in a case, tightly secured, and away from your strings.
  • Check airline regulations if you're flying with a case.

2. Carry Your Bow On An ATV

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.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • ATV bow cases are more reliable than racks.
  • I would not recommend leaving a standard bow case on your ATV, especially if you're on public land.
  • Make sure to check your rubber bindings on bow racks - they tend to break over time.
  • Never nock an arrow while driving an ATV.

3. Carrying A Bow In Your Backpack

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.

Bowhunting Backpack

Things To Keep In Mind

  • An external pocket and strap is essential for a good bowhunting pack.
  • Make sure your bow doesn't hang too low after strapped in as it might hit your boots or ground brush.
  • Avoid strapping your bow on a hunting fanny pack as they can be uncomfortable.
  • These are great options for hoisting your bow and pack up in a stand or walking through uneven ground and mountain terrain.

4. Carrying A Bow In Your Hands

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.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • As a simple tip, I'll sometimes use weightlifting straps and wrap it around the bow to take pressure off my hands.
  • Do not carry your bow by your stabilizer, sight, or bow rest.
  • Avoid using your bow as a makeshift hiking stick when traversing uneven terrain.

5. Carrying Your Bow By The String

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.

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Carrying a bow by the string is probably the least popular way to do it.
  • If you have to, carry it by the cable - not the actually bow string.
  • Avoid using this method if you have anything that might cut or slice your cables and/or strings.
  • This method, when used with a string accessory sling, might be beneficial to target shooters.

6. Carrying A Bow In A Sling

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.

Top Bow Slings

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Make sure the sling's anchor point is on the limbs or riser, not the cams or the string.
  • Many slings come with full covers to protect your cams and strings.
  • A bow sling might get in the way of a quick shot if you spot something on the way to your blind or stand.
  • Top hunting brands like Badlands, Sitka, and Primose make reliable bow slings.

7. Carrying A Bow In The Stand

Once you've successfully hoisted your bow up in your climbing stand or ladder stand, you're going to want to figure out what to do next.

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!

Things To Keep In Mind

  • Bow hanging racks are the best option for stand hunters.
  • Leaning your bow across your stand rail may produce unwanted noise when getting up to shoot.
  • If possible, try removing your quiver and placing it in your bag while holding your bow in the stand.
  • Always check your bow holder if you leave it up year around.

Also, we have a great blog summarizing How To Store Your Compound Bow At Home!