I wish it was that easy. I wish I could give you a formula or a list, but I can’t. Women have been shooting bows throughout history, in battle and even the Olympics in 1904. Women have been competing and hunting successfully with bows that were basically a stick and a string.
As time progressed and the first compounds were developed bows became more complicated and more specific to individual shooters needs. However, this meant that bows designed by men were made to fit the average man. While many companies first reaction to the recent influx of women archers was to make a mini men’s version and splash on pink, more and more companies are listening to feed back that women want what fits and what works and we won’t settle for anything less.
Fortunately, companies have stepped up to meet these demands of an ever increasing influx of new archers that require more options than your average bow on the rack. The sheer variety of needs that challenge these bow manufacturers include being able to have a bow that can accommodate women of varying heights and strength. Height has little to no influence on an archer’s draw weight ability. Strength comes from muscles, not from height.
Unfortunately, I think that marketing has lead women new to the sport to believe that their only option is the pink accented bows with feminine names. The buying experience for women in an average bow shop is totally different from a man’s experience. Women will herded to the “ladies” bows verses being sized and shown all the options in that range. A bow doesn’t have a gender, don’t limit yourself.
One of the biggest mistakes a new archer (female or male) can make is thinking that they have to pick the perfect first bow. Ask most archers and they aren’t shooting the first bow they owned. The more you learn, the stronger you get and the more skills you acquire will usually require an upgrade or change. After shooting a beginner bow you will become more educated on what features of a bow will suit your needs.
The second biggest mistake is limiting yourself to brand name or gender specific bow names. Although bows with shorter draw are rarer, they are out there, there is no reason to settle for a bow that doesn’t fit you perfectly. You will often hear seasoned archers say that the perfect bow picks you. The right bow becomes part of you, you shouldn’t have to fight it to shoot accurately and comfortably.
Don’t forget there are aftermarket options if there are features that make a bow a little less than perfect. Grips can be changed, colors can be changed, and accessories can create endless choices as well.
Ladies, don’t sell yourself short. Once you know what you need out of a bow, do some research and find the bows that fit those needs and shoot them all. Visit several shops and don’t be pressured to buy a bow just because you took a “test drive”. Visit online archery forums and seek the advice of women that have been shooting for many years.
Everyone has to begin somewhere, my first bow was a used youth bow that fit okay and I could shoot decently. It had wheels not cams and wasn’t quite my draw length. I still have it and use it for a back up bowfishing bow. Today, there are so many choices and bows that can adjust to fit anyone, those bows make excellent first bows.
Consider your first bow as an investment, no matter what the price tag says, the lessons you will learn are priceless. Once you find that first bow, don’t get stuck on a brand name. Every year that goes by the technology in bows grows and you should shoot everything you can get your hands on.
In the end, only you can choose which bow is right for you. Women are just as serious about archers as men are and don’t buy a bow from someone that doesn’t treat you that way.