In today’s world of technology, children often miss the benefit of outdoor activity. Archery is an ideal sport for children. Many people think it may be too dangerous for children, but as long as they are properly supervised and taught, it is a sport and skill that may carry over into adulthood. There are many bows on the market with a wide range of draw length and weight adjustability. They are made so that you don’t have to go out and buy a new bow as they grow, which can become expensive.
When starting your child out in archery, the goal is not so much to be accurate, but getting them accustomed to shooting and the proper form. There is no right age to start archery lessons, and it just depends on a parent’s preference. However, in some states, there is a legal age that is mandated for hunting. For example, in Maryland, a child has to be 12 to go hunting. But, if you are just looking at archery as a sport, some people start their children as young as four years old. According to the National Safety Council, archery is safer than many popular sports which require balls, and when taught properly, it is considered one of the safest sports for children.
How to Choose a Compound Bow for Kids
Choosing the right bow for your child will make all the difference in their experience with the sport. There are several things to look at when selecting bows for children.
- Make an assessment of the child’s draw length by measuring wingspan. Take a measuring tape and measure from the tip of the right hand to the tip of the left hand while both arms are spread out. Take that number and divide it by 2.5. The result will be the draw length that the bow should be set to.
- Determine which eye is dominant. To do this, extend your arms in front of you – palms facing away. Then bring the hands together and cross the thumbs and forefingers to form a small hole. Select a small item approximately 15-20 feet away. Focus on the object while you look through that hole. Close one eye and then close the other eye. When you close one eye, the item will stay in place. When you close the other eye, the item will go away from the hole or jump to one side. If the item does not move when one eye is covered, that eye is dominant.
- Draw weight should be based on the weight of the child. For example, a child who weighs 50 – 70 pounds, will generally require 10 – 15 pounds draw weight.
Compound bows are ideal for children. A compound bow uses pulleys and cables to bend the limbs. This leveraging system makes the compound bow advanced technologically, which provides a small advantage for children when drawing and shooting. Below are 5 compound bows for children that will be a good investment for your child.
Top 5 Youth Compound Bows of 2017
Below are the highest-ranking youth compound bows available on the market.
#1: Barnett Outdoors Lil Banshee Jr. Compound Review
Barnett Outdoors was established over a half century ago. Not only are they considered the world’s number one manufacturer of crossbows, but a leading international producer of youth archery and slingshot products. Their compound bow, Lil Banshee Jr., with its Realtree Camouflage, and black and pink color finishes, is a definite appeal for children. The reinforced handle has a soft-touch grip, is easy to handle, and accommodates left or right-handers, giving your child more stability when handling the bow. It has an 18-22 inch draw length, and an 18 pound draw weight. This is a complete archery set with finger rollers, two arrows, and an adjustable pin sight, The adjustable pin sight package can also be used as a carrying case. The Lil Banshee Jr. is an excellent starter set. Because of the small draw, it is not really for shooting animals but is perfect for teaching your child the dynamics of handling a bow and shooting at targets. Weighing in at 1.8 pounds, this bow is lightweight and easy to carry. The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty on this product.
#2: Crosman Elkhorn Jr. Compound Bow Review
This bow looks just like Dad’s with its composite cam system supported by heavy-duty, all weather strings, cables, and cable guard which are designed for excellent shooting performance. It has heavyweight, durable composite limbs, and an integrated composite center-shot riser with a large sight window. The Elkhorn Jr. is made for young archers who are beginning compound bow users. There is some discrepancy in the recommended user age according to some websites, but Crosman recommends that the Elkhorn Jr. is for use by young people 16 years or older. They also state that arrows that come with this bow, should not be shot with any other bow.
The Elkhorn Jr. weighs approximately 3.3 pounds and has a brace height of 8.0. It has a draw of 26 maximum and is 33” axle to axle. The draw provides flexibility for using this bow for years to come. This compound bow also has a draw weight of 17-21 pounds. The Elkhorn Jr. also comes with 2 composite arrows, sight, arm guard, rest, 2 piece quiver, and finger tab. It has a right-hand grip with an integrated design that provides for optimum hand placement.
#3: Barnett Vortex Youth Archery Bow Review
This compound bow has the same function and design as Barnett’s full-sized bows, but in smaller packages to accommodate young archers. Made in the United States, the Vortex has adjustable draw modules which allow easy weight changes without bow press. This is ideal for beginners to change draw weight as their skills improve. The package that is included with this compound bow can also be used as a carrying case, which makes it easy to store or transport. The Vortex has an aluminum riser, is lightweight and has a 21 – 27-inch draw length with 60 – 70% let off. It also has an adjustable weight between 16 and 45 pounds. Product dimensions are 35x13x3 inches, with a weight of 5.8 pounds.
Additional items included with this kit are a 3 pin fiber optic sight, 3 arrow quiver, 3 target arrows, and an arrow rest. It has a high definition camo finish and is designed for the right-hander. This bow is made to comply with Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization (AMO) standards and comes with a limited five-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.
#4: Bear Archery Brave Bow Set Review
Bear Archery Brave Bowset is recommended for young archers ages 8 and up. It is 26 inches from axle to axle and has a 13.5 to 19-inch draw length. Brace height is 5.5 inches and peak weight is from 15 to 26 pounds. It features durable riser and composite limbs and has a 65 percent let off.
The Brave Bow set comes with two Safetyglass arrows, an armguard, a finger tab, a 2-piece arrow quiver, a Whisker Biscuit Arrow Rest , one pin sight, and a temporary tattoo. It is for right-handers only. The set comes in several colors including green, orange, pink, camo, and black, which makes it even more appealing to the young archer.
Children should always be supervised when handling a bow. Be sure to inspect arrows and nocks for damage regularly, and do not draw the bow beyond the maximum draw length. All Bear Archery youth bows have a 90-day limited warranty.
#5: Barnett Tomcat Junior Archery Set Review
Your child will enjoy the Tomcat Junior Archery set that includes a bow with a soft touch. This fiberglass draw compound target bow is great for beginning archers because of the easy draw lengths and weights. As your child becomes more comfortable handling the bow and skill level improves, you can increase the draw lengths and weights. This bow is only for right-handed use. The rounded cams and soft touch reinforced grip make it easy for your child to grip the bow, and focus on the basics of shooting.
The Tomcat Junior Archery set also includes soft touch finger rollers, quiver with two arrows, and a 3-pin fiber optic “Brightglo” sight. It has a draw length of 20-22 inches. It has a durable riser and compound limbs, with an adjustable 60-70% let-off. The draw length is 20 – 22 inches and the draw weight is from 17-22 pounds. The package can also be used as a carrying case.