Hunting is one of the oldest forms of consumptive use of natural resources and has always been an integral part of the cultures and traditions of European society. Sustainably managed hunting contributes to the conservation of biodiversity, the preservation of rural lifestyles and local economies.

Hunting with bow and arrow goes back tens of thousands of years and forms part of a common culture and history. Now, its popularity is increasing and both the number of bowhunters and countries allowing bow hunting are growing.

FACE recognises any legal and sustainable form of hunting which contributes to wildlife management. The 6th Annex in the “Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC” does not forbid any member state to allow the use of bow and arrow to hunt game. The European Charter on Hunting and Biodiversity and FACE recognise therefore bow hunting as a hunting method that fulfils all these conditions. Within FACE bow hunters are represented by the European Bowhunting Federation (EBF) which is an Associate Member of FACE. FACE encourages people to try out bow hunting and defends the rights of bow hunters in a positive and pro-active way.

FACE recognises that in a much modified rural and urban landscape where some animals adapt with ease to suburban living conditions, bows can form a safe alternative to regulate these species which cause danger to people and the environment through damages to the habitat, crops or the spreading of diseases.

Furthermore, FACE understands as all forms and methods of hunting, bow hunting can be captivating. Where firearms give you the advantage to shoot over a much longer range, the bow restricts you to a much shorter distance. This demands a stealthy approach where the natural elements play a bigger role. It is this aspect of bow hunting that awakes the passion of some hunters or makes non-hunters decide to take up bow hunting.

Ultimately, FACE regards bow hunting as an equivalent alternative to hunting with firearms with its own characteristics. When hunters know and respect the limitations of the equipment they use and even more important of their own limitations, firearms and bows are placed on the same level as they comply with the two factors that enable a responsible shot. They are accurate and possess enough energy to take a lethal shot contrary to the prejudice of what some people still believe.

After a close collaboration with EBF (European Bowhunting Federation) and with strong support from its Members, FACE adopted a position on bow hunting on the 7th of September 2020.


Finnish Study Puts Bow Hunting on Par with Rifle Hunting for White-tailed Deer

The initial results from a study in Finland led by veterinarian Mikaela Sauvala, as a part of her PhD study, confirm that hunting with a bow and arrow is just as effective as using a rifle.

The detailed scientific study was conducted over a period of four years (2019 to 2023) and analyzed the comparative aspects of harvesting White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with both bullets and arrows. Among other parameters, the fleeing distance was compared for 130 deer harvested with the bow and arrow and 100 deer harvested with a rifle.

It revealed that modern hunting arrows and bullets have similar, if not the same, effects on harvested deer as the average flight distances of deer differed by less than one meter between rifles and hunting bows. These results demonstrate that hunting with a bow and arrow is not only effective but also in line with modern animal welfare standards and represents a safe, responsible, and sustainable practice.

The study’s lead project manager, Antti Saarenmaa, stated: “Our preliminary results show that these findings are similar to our experiences that hunting with a bow and arrow is comparable with other hunting methods.”

For more information and read the study see EBF’s press release.


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