*Phase III is licensed, guided hunting. Once a participant has completed Phases I and II and demonstrated adequate proficiency shooting a bow and arrow, he/she will be taken on a "real" hunt on a private ranch. The license from the CPW is a reward for satisfactory completing Phases I and II. A parent/guardian must accompany the mentor and a youth (12-16) on a hunt.
Figure 2 — CBA Becoming a Bowhunter Program Organization Chart
Phase I of the Colorado Bowhunters Association's (CBA) Becoming a Bowhunter Program is designed as a true introduction to the growing sport of archery. Boys and girls, men and women are all welcome. Ten years is the minimum age and there is no senior limit. All the CBA asks is that you make a serious commitment to learn to shoot a bow & arrow. We would like you to be a member of a family that is a member of the CBA, but it is not a requirement.
Phase I of Becoming a Bowhunter is in response to youngsters who are attracted to the sport of archery and to adults who have that feeling "I wish I had taken up archery; I love to hunt, but I am tired of the rifle." Also, there are young adults who lament "I learned to shoot a bow, but I never learned to hunt with it."
One of the key objectives of Phase I is to acquaint the beginner with no knowledge, or a senior with 20 years of recurve experience, with today's archery materials and designs - bows, arrows, targets and accessories.
No serious equipment purchases are required in Phase I. The CBA and program sponsors (partners) have provided the teaching equipment. The participant must provide the commitment to learn - some of the sport's history, to shoot with some competency and to practice the safety factors involved.
A secondary objective is to make the beginning archer aware of the importance and effort put into conservation of wildlife and their habitat. Without these management activities there would be no opportunities to hunt, with a bow or a rifle or anything else. Bow hunters are significant supporters and contributors to conservation activities and ethics.
Phase I participants must pass written tests and bow & arrow shooting accuracy tests before they can "graduate" to Phase II. The Phase I graduates should also make up their minds that they really want to learn to hunt, and are willing to put in the time and practice before entering Phase II.
There are typically 8 - 12 hours of instruction in Phase I, plus additional indoor shooting practice time depending upon the individual. There is a $25 fee for Phase I to cover administration and documentation costs.
B. History of the Sport
Archery has a fascinating history going back some 5000 years to the ancient Egyptians. Participants in Phase I will learn how the Chinese and Japanese used the bow and arrow; how and why the Assyrians changed from a long bow to a recurve in the 1500's BC, and finally how the compound bow was conceived and patented in 1969. The heritage of the bow and arrow is truly amazing.
C. Equipment Review & Defining Factors
The following equipment will be presented, discussed and demonstrated with an emphasis on safety factors and conditions:
Bows: Long bows, Archery accessories, Recurve bowsm, Selecting a bow, Compound bows, How they vary
Arrows: Shaft, Pounds of Pull & You, Fletching, Draw length, Nock, Matching an arrow, Point, Length and strength
D. Learning to Shoot the Bow and Arrow
The compound bow has been in development for over 40 years and today's beginner models have made learning to shoot much easier. The National Archery in the Schools Program is having great success with the single cam Genesis bow built by Mathews. Phase I will introduce archery shooting with this same equipment using a systematic technical approach to select and learn to use today's equipment. Below is an overview of the steps in learning to shoot.
- Determine a participant's dominant eye. A "right eyed" person will hold a bow with their left hand. A "left eyed" person will hold a bow with their right hand.
- Determine bow weight (pull) by comfortably pulling the string straight back to the side of the face and holding it there.
- Measure the draw length when the string is pulled back to the anchor point on the side of the face.
- The draw length will determine the arrow length the individual will be shooting.
Once the proper bow and arrows have been selected (sized to the individual), shooting practice will begin, teaching the participant how to see the target with both eyes open and how to smoothly pull and release the string.
Safety factors will be stressed on how to shoot from a "firing line" with several other archers and when & how to retrieve arrows from the target. Paying attention and following instructions are considered extremely important in learning to handle and shoot a bow safely.”
After a newcomer to archery has learned to approach the shooting line, nock an arrow, draw the bow, aim and release the string . . . and hit the target at 10 - 15 yds. fairly systematically, they will be introduced to today's archery accessories; what they accomplish, why and how they contribute to becoming a better bow hunter. These include peep sights, string loops, and string silencers. Fall away arrow rests, bow stabilizers, bow sights and string releases. Deciding on accessories will become increasingly important as the participant progresses into Phase II training.
E. Advancing to Phase II
Phase I is the "first step" in becoming a bow hunter, and it is essential to learn the facts and skills presented. Should the participant decide at the end of Phase I he or she does not want to become a hunter, that is OK. Archery is a fun sport, an Olympic event, and hours spent in the outdoors on a 3D range can be exciting and satisfying. "I got 8's & 10's and did not miss an animal!"
However, if you now really want to learn to hunt with a bow, Phase II is the "next step"! This is an important commitment. In Phase II you must select and purchase your own equipment, a bow, arrows and accessories. Although an archery shop may allow you to try out different makes and models in the early stages of Phase II, you must learn and practice with your own equipment to become effective enough to pass the shooting tests required to move on to Phase III. The Phase II instructors will give participants all the help they need to select the proper equipment, sized to each, specifically. Phase II is challenging, exciting and very rewarding. Go for it!
An archery student entering Phase II of the CBA’s Becoming a Bowhunter Program must have successfully completed all classes and tests in Phase I of the Program, or if the participant has had some experience in shooting a bow and arrow and wants to learn how to hunt with a bow, he or she must take and pass the written Phase I Equivalency Test to enter Phase II.
Phase II is specifically aimed at teaching the Bowhunter Education Course, archery hunting skills, wildlife habitat and conservation plus wildlife management, all critical to today’s bow hunter.
Successful completion of Phase II includes the National Bowhunter Education Foundation/Colorado Parks & Wildlife (NBEF/CPW) Bowhunter Education Course (BHEC) and will earn the participant a BHEC Certificate, an important step in becoming a bow hunter.
To successfully complete Phase II, the student must attend all classes, participate in all activities identified by the instructor, show an understanding of how important safety precautions are in handling a bow & arrow, pass the BHEC final examination, plus pass the Phase II 3D range shooting skills tests.
It is anticipated that many participants will require several seasons of 3D target shooting practice to achieve shooting competency to be able to move on to Phase III, a licensed, private ranch, guided hunt of Colorado game animals/turkeys. Earning the Phase III opportunity is the ultimate goal of the CBA’s Becoming a Bowhunter Program.
B. Bowhunter Education Course
Unit I Introduction to Bow Hunting
Unit II Wildlife Conservation and Management
Unit III Safe & Responsible Bow Hunting
Unit IV Know Your Bow and Arrow
Units V Preparation Before the Hunt
Unit VI Methods of Bow Hunting
a .Shot Placement
b. Game Recovery
c. Field Dressing
Unit VIII Outdoor Preparedness
a. Range estimation, shoot, no shoot
b. Broadhead shooting and effective range
c. Elevated stand shooting
d. Blood trailing and marking
e. Shooting from a blind
The BHE should take a minimum of 14 hours to complete, 11 hours in the classroom and 3 hours for field exercises.
This is a written test to determine if participants have acquired the knowledge to become an ethical, effective bow hunter, who can appreciate this exciting and rewarding opportunity in Colorado.
C. 3D Target Practice and Shooting Competency Testing
Participants are expected to practice and practice shooting at 3D targets to develop adequate shooting skills. Colorado’s big game animals will not go down and be recovered unless the arrow deeply penetrates the kill zone. To accomplish this takes PRACTICE! A local 3D range supporting Becoming a Bowhunter Program is highly recommended.
When the student feels he or she is ready to take the 3D targets shooting tests, they will notify their instructor and arrange a date and location. These shooting tests may be taken multiple times, until the instructor decides the student has adequate shooting ability to move on to Phase III.
D. Earning the Phase III Opportunity
A participant moving on to a Phase III hunt is intended as a reward for his or her effort to learn all the essentials to become an effective bow hunter. After Phase I has presented the fundamentals, Phase II is critical in mastering the needed techniques and skills, judging distance, shooting from a tree stand, setting a ground blind, decision to shoot or not, etc. Possessing knowledge of the Colorado habitat and the game animals is vital. Demonstrating adequate skill with the bow and arrow is a must. When an “archery student” qualifies for Phase III, they have earned the opportunity to hunt and experience “excitement for a lifetime.”
Phase III is the final Phase of the CBA’s Becoming a Bowhunter Program. This is when everything a participant has learned in Phases I and II needs to be integrated and applied. Participants have earned the license and the chance to harvest a game animal with a bow and arrow by their performance in Phases I and II.
Phase III hunts are conducted on private ranches under partnership agreements between the CBA, CPW and the ranches. Hunting regulations and requirements are spelled out in these agreements; many are unique and distinct to the ranch. The hunts are three days long, specific to the species of wildlife (deer, pronghorn or turkey, occasionally elk) and limited in quantity per ranch. When the hunts will be conducted is scheduled during the first quarter of the calendar year. Nearly all the hunts are planned before or after the regular State archery seasons. The Region schedules may vary based upon wildlife factors.
Hunting conditions may vary ranch to ranch, Region to Region. Participants are expected to hunt in the same Region in which they took their Phase I and Phase II training. Many of these instructors in the two Phases will continue and become mentors in the Phase III hunts. When they already know the participants, they become even more efficient/effective; a real advantage to the hunter. Hunting times and ranches will be assigned to participants as early as possible after their satisfactory completion of Phase II.
B. Preparing to Hunt
At the conclusion of Phase II participants will be given several “check lists” designed to help prepare for the Phase III hunt. The Archery Equipment List is obviously important; use it and add to it for future hunts. The Campsite List is useful too. Most ranches will have a large tent and cooking facilities, drinking water, porta potties, etc. The instructors/mentors will provide specific lists based upon ranch assignments. Campsites will have a 3D target so instructors can check out participants and their equipment to assure both are “ready to hunt.” Some ranch locations will have the option to stay in a nearby motel and eat restaurant meals. Food (3 days worth) is the responsibility of the participant regardless if they camp out or stay in a motel. You will be told if you have a choice.
A Clothing-Personal Hygiene list will be provided. Minimizing human scent is important in any big game hunting, and it is critical in archery hunting. “If they smell you, you will not get a shot.” The instructors will advise you on bathing, use of deodorants and changing clothes. Appropriate camouflage clothing is another very important ingredient in successful bow hunting. “You can fool their eyes but not their nose!” The ranch habitat can influence the color and pattern of the camouflage you wear. In a blind you wear black; in a tree stand you try to blend in with the branches. Be prepared!
C. Scouting - Mapping Your Area
Familiarity with the area you plan to hunt is another key ingredient to successful bow hunting. Trail locations, water sources, feeding and bedding areas are conditions you should know about. Trailcam images and times can be extremely useful. Phase III hunts are 3-days maximum and participants will be given maps of their assigned ranch with the important data plotted as if the hunter had scouted the area carefully before the hunt. Learn to read and use the map; it is a part of the Phase III training.
D. Selecting a Hunting Method
Depending on the Region and the ranch assigned, one of three hunting methods may be favored; a ground blind, a tree stand or spot and stalking. Whether you have been assigned a mule deer, a whitetail deer, a pronghorn or a turkey will affect your method choice. The instructors will discuss the pros and cons of the methods for a given ranch location. Recent trailcam data will be considered.
E. Finding and Caring for Harvested Animals/Birds
Every effort will be made to recover a deer, pronghorn or turkey hit by a participant’s arrow. The techniques learned in Phase II for blood trailing and field dressing will be used. “Learn by doing” is an effective strategy. A bow hunting success in Phase III will not soon be forgotten and should lead to continuing “excitement for a lifetime.”
Click HERE to download the application. Then pick the PM in the Region where you live and either e-mail or post mail him the completed application. (If e-mailing application, bring your check to the first class meeting, otherwise, please include it in your envelope when mailing.)
Program Managers by Region:
- Walt Krom <- LINK
- Fred Turner <- LINK
- Paul Navarre <- LINK
- Tim "Tiny" Thompson <- LINK
- Charlie Ooley <- LINK
- George Williams <- LINK
Metro Denver Region: