HELENA — Empty store shelves were a hallmark of COVID-19's spread across the country.
With that fresh in our minds as we near opening weekend of archery season (September 5th) for deer and elk here in Montana, many of us are thinking that having a source of food other than the supermarket might not be a bad idea.
But if you think getting a bow is an easy way to cheaply fill the freezer, think again.
Like any outside pursuit worth doing, the cost of entry into archery hunting doesn’t have to break the bank, but have that wallet ready.
“Probably between the arrows and setup, somewhere around the $500-$600 range probably,” archery shop manager for Capital Sports in Helena Shaun Boese told MTN.
That’s on the low end for a bow package solid enough to take down an animal. The cost could double for higher-end bows.
Let’s say that bow package comes with a sight, stabilizer and quiver to hold those arrows. You’ll still need to buy a release, broadheads, a range finder and knives.
Making the overall price of just being prepared to ethically harvest an animal between $700-$800. All this could be much more expensive or less if you can find a deal.
Add on the price of your resident hunting tags. Let’s say just for a general deer license. The list, and price, goes up for other species you could hunt.
And you are going to have to get to that animal, so you’ll need boots, camouflage, and gas for your truck.
All that doesn’t take into account the gear you’ll need if you are backcountry hunting or camping. Or if you plan on having your game professionally processed.
So, roughly $1,000 later and you are ready to hit the woods.
But that money isn’t even the biggest investment you’ll need to make.
You could buy the best and most expensive equipment in the world, none of it will matter if you don’t invest the time and practice.
“Make sure your equipment is working properly," added Boese. "You’re hitting your target on a regular basis at different yardages. Know where on the animal to shoot. Know where their vitals are.”
So, if you are looking only for a cheap and easy way to get food, archery hunting might not be a realistic option for you.
But if you are looking for more of a connection to the outdoors and your food, stop by your local archery shop.