While most bowhunters strictly pursue whitetails from 20 feet up or spot and stalk elk, chasing small game with stick and string is a great way to extend your hunting season and gain some valuable archery practice.

Squirrels, rabbits, birds, and even frogs — with a long list of possible prey, there’s something to hunt virtually any time of year. 

Aiming for these small moving targets will make you a better bowhunter, and you won’t have to worry about chomping down on a pellet when eating your archery kill.

Small Game Gear

Using the same setup for small game as you use for big game can help you get more comfortable and proficient shooting. 

But if you’re choosing a rig specifically for small game hunting, consider a traditional bow over a compound. While recurves and longbows aren’t quite as fast or accurate at longer ranges, they’re lightweight, less likely to wreck your arrows on missed shots, and allow you to get off quick shots with instinctive shooting.

Either way, you’ll have a blast with a bow.

If you go with a traditional bow, flu-flu arrows are great for shooting at close-range small game and will make it easier to locate them following a miss. Depending on the animal, you can hunt with blunts or a broadhead specifically designed for small game. But beyond that, the necessary gear for bowhunting small game is minimal.

Even Fred Bear enjoyed hunting small game with traditional tackle and praised it as a skill-building yet humbling hobby.

“The additional challenge of small game besides actually hitting the little rascals is sneaking up on them. I have often been humiliated by animals with a brain the size of a marble,” he said. “The great thing about being an avid small game hunter is that it makes you a more successful medium and large game hunter.” If it’s good enough for the father of modern bowhunting, it’s good enough for me.