The Pope and Young Club has established the following standard definitions of bowhunting equipment.
I. Hunting Bow
A. A hunting bow for big game shall be a longbow, flat bow, recurve bow, compound bow or any combination of these designs meeting the following requirements and restrictions:
1. A device for launching an arrow, which derives its propulsive energy solely from the bending and recovery of two limbs.
2. The bow must be hand drawn by a single and direct, uninterrupted pulling action of the shooter. The bowstring must be moved from brace height to the full draw position by the muscle power of the shooter’s body. The energy used to propel the arrow shall not be derived from any other source such as hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical or similar devices. These limitations shall not exclude the mechanical leverage advantage provided by eccentric wheels or cams so long as the available energy stored in the bent limbs of the bow is the sole result of a single, continuous, and direct pulling effort by the shooter.
3. The bow must be hand-held. One hand shall hold the bow and the other hand draw the bowstring. The bowstring must be moved and/or held at all points in the draw cycle entirely by the muscle power of the shooter until release. The bowstring must be released as a direct and conscious action of the shooter’s either relaxing the tension of the fingers or triggering the release action of a hand-held release aid.
4. The bow shall be no shorter than 30 inches.
B. Exceptions: Physically handicapped bowhunters shall be excepted from the requirements of holding or shooting the bow with their hands.
1. The following shall not be considered a hunting bow:
a) A crossbow.
b) Any device with a gun-type stock or incorporating any device or mechanism that holds the bowstring at partial or full draw without the shooter’s muscle power.
c) Electronic or battery-powered devices shall not be attached to a hunting bow.
d) No portion of the bow’s riser (handle) or any track, trough, channel or other device that attaches directly to the bow’s riser shall contact, support, and/or guide the arrow from a point rearward of the bow’s brace height.
D. Let-Off for Compound Bows:
1. Definition of let-off: That characteristic of a bow that results in a reduction of the force necessary to increase the draw length after the highest level of draw force has been reached. This is characteristic generally associated with, but not restricted to, compound bows.
2. The maximum let-off on a compound bow shall be measured at a point in the draw cycle after the peak draw weight has been attained. It shall be measured near the end of the draw cycle where the minimum holding force is reached. This point in the draw cycle on a compound bow is known as "the bottom of the valley."
3. Determination of the percent of let-off: The values of the peak draw force and the let-off force shall be used to calculate the percent of let-off. The peak force is the maximum force obtained during the draw cycle. The let-off force is the lowest force reached following the peak force during a single uninterrupted draw cycle. In all cases, both the highest and lowest force shall be read from a scale during a single and continual pull condition, without relaxation. This technique eliminates the introduction of hysteresis, which can distort the reading.
% Let-off = 100 X [(Peak Draw Force) - (Minimum Holding Force)] / (Peak Draw Force)
II. Hunting Arrow
A. A hunting arrow shall have the following characteristics:
1. It shall be a projectile at least 20 inches overall length. The length of the arrow shall be measured from the rearward point of the nock to the tip of the broadhead.
2. Fletching shall be attached to the aft end.
3. A broadhead shall be mounted on the fore end.
4. The arrow shall weigh no less than 300 grains with the broadhead attached.
1. No electronic or battery-powered devices shall be attached to the arrow.
2. No poison, drug, or explosives shall be attached to the arrow.
III. Hunting Broadhead
A. The broadhead for big game shall meet the following requirements:
1. Possess two or more sharp cutting edges, fixed or movable, that can be sharpened and/or replaced.
2. Be at least 7/8 inches wide at the widest point of the sharp cutting edges.
3. Weigh no less than 70 grains.