What Is the Difference Between Archery and Bowhunting?

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To most people, bowhunting and archery are exactly the same. After all, they involve someone firing an arrow. How different could they possibly be?

Well, this guide will help you to understand the many intricate differences between archery and bowhunting. Though they look the same, they are, in fact, two completely different sports. Here’s everything you need to know about archery and bowhunting.

What Is Archery?

Essentially, archery is a sport that requires participants to fire an arrow at a target. These arrows are launched using a bow. Archey has a long history of being used in warfare and hunting. Nowadays, archery is mainly a sport that people participate in for recreational purposes or to compete in tournaments.

There are many different types of archery, such as field archery, 3D archery, and traditional archery. The type of equipment that is used also differs depending on the specific type of archery being undertaken.

The winner of an archery match is the person with the highest score. This is determined by where the arrow strikes the target.

The closer to the center the arrow lands, the higher the points the archer will receive. The center of the target is known as the bullseye.


What Is Bowhunting?

As the name implies, bowhunting is the practice of using a bow and arrow to hunt game. Game animals, such as deers, are the main targets of bowhunting. Like archery, bowhunting has a rich history.

Bowhunting is very popular in the US, with almost 5 million people participating in the sport every year.


The main difference between bowhunting and archery is that, in bowhunting, the focus is on taking a game animal rather than simply hitting a target.

What Are The Differences Between Archery And Bowhunting?

Though both sports use bows and arrows, there are several key differences between archery and bowhunting. Among these numerous differences are:


Archery is an accepted sport in most countries and is, therefore, legal. In comparison, bowhunting’s legality is much more divided depending on the country or state.

Many countries have permitted bowhunting, such as Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the sport is banned in other countries such as Germany.


Archery is all about hitting the bull’s eye, while bowhunting is about taking a game animal with the most ethical shot possible.


Many people have ethical concerns about bowhunting, arguing that it is cruel to the animals that are hunted ( bullshit). On the other hand, archery is seen as a humane sport.


Archery is a sport. Consequently, there are tons of competitions based on archery. It has even been included in major sports events, such as the Olympics. In contrast, no such competitions are held for bowhunting.

Many people participate in bowhunting for food or game management. Therefore, the two sports have different purposes.

Different Bows

Different types of bows are also utilized in these sports. This is because the archers have different needs. In hunting, a smaller bow might be more beneficial because the archer must travel through terrains filled with trees and bushes or shots out of confined spaces such as tree stands.

Meanwhile, the bows used purely for archery tend to be longer. This is because longer bows often improve the control of the archer, so those who participate in archery often choose bows based on how well they can control them.


Bowhunting is associated with camouflage patterns and muted colors that allow them to blend into the environment, such as green and brown.

Meanwhile, archery is linked to vibrant colors. Some archery tournaments won’t even allow any usage of bows with camouflage patterns.



Both bowhunting and archery require incredible skills. However, the two sports tend to have different techniques.

In bowhunting, archers are often required to be speedy and stealthy. Otherwise, they might frighten the animals, causing them to escape.

In comparison, stealth is not a consideration in archery. Speed rarely matters in this sport, too. This is because archers normally take a long time to align their shot so that it is perfect.

Arrow Speed

Having a speedy arrow is essential for bowhunters. Though arrow speed is useful in archery, it is not imperative and will not affect the ability to hit the target. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Type Of Bow For Bowhunting?

Many hunters opt for compound bows. These bows are much more mechanically advanced than other types of bows. You can also find many bows that have been designed specifically for hunting.

Is Bowhunting Legal In The United States?

Yes, bowhunting is legal in the majority of States. On the other hand, you should bear in mind that each state will have its own regulations surrounding bowhunting.

Therefore, it is recommended that you research what the rules are beforehand.

Final Thoughts

Archery is the practice of shooting arrows at targets, while bowhunting is the practice of using bows and arrows to hunt animals. Both activities date back thousands of years and have been enjoyed by people around the world. While there are some similarities between archery and bowhunting, there are also some significant differences.

Archers, for example, usually use lighter bows and arrows, and they compete in formal tournaments with set rules. Bowhunters, on the other hand, typically use heavier bows and arrows, and they follow a different set of guidelines. Therefore, each activity requires a different set of skills and equipment.

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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