The German word for gloves is “handschuhe” literally means “hand shoes.” When you think about it, isn’t that exactly what they are? Your hands are involved in almost every aspect of the hunt, from climbing into your tree stand to taking a shot. You should equip them accordingly.
Like everything else, the market is full of not only different gloves, but different styles, materials and features. Figuring out your best option can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together a guide that goes over just about every aspect of glove design and use you can think of. On top of that, we’ve found four great gloves that have something to offer any bowhunter.
Our Top Bowhunting Glove Picks
- ScentLok Men’s Full Season Bow Release Gloves – “These gloves shot to the top of our list for meeting all a bowhunter’s needs”
- Manzella Convertible Mittens– “The heat pack pocket make these a great cold-weather option”
- Bow Ranger Touchtip– “A favorite because of the antimicrobial fabric”
- Neet Suede Leather Glove– “We can’t say enough about the stylish leather design”
Why use gloves?
The obvious reason is to keep your hands warm. Depending on where you live, most of the bowhunting season takes place during cold weather. Plus, you probably head out to your stand at the coldest part of the day, early morning before the sun comes up. You don’t move much either, since you’re trying to stay as still as possible up in your stand.
But why keep your hands warm? It isn’t just a matter of comfort. Cold hands get stiff and numb. If that happens, you can’t control your bow like you need. You certainly can’t draw and release it correctly.
Gloves have other benefits too. As a bowhunter you have to make a lot of movements with your hands to get your shot off. If you have paler skin, that movement might be easy to see. Camo gloves could keep you from spooking your quarry at just the wrong moment.
What to look for
Gloves might seem like a simpler part of your gear, but think about it. Your hands are everything when it comes to bowhunting. Consider what features you need before you buy.
Your gloves have to fit right. If they’re too small, you lose mobility in your fingers. If they’re too big, you have loose fabric getting in the way.
Aside from sizing, gloves employ different methods to get the right fit. Elastic, stretch fabric and adjustable fastening are all options that can make a glove snug without hindering mobility.
A good hunting glove doesn’t have seams on the sides or fronts of the fingers. This is because seams can pinch between your fingers when you draw the string and disrupt your shot.
Hands produce a lot of chemicals. Not only can they sweat, but they produce oil as well. In fact, this is what you’re leaving behind when you leave a fingerprint. This scent can catch the wind, or you can accidentally leave it on trees, your stand ladder or other inanimate objects as you pass them. Any of these might ruin your chances of getting your trophy buck.
Many modern gloves employ innovative technology to control the scent produced by your hands. It’s a great feature to keep your eye out for.
Camouflaging your hands may be just as important if not more so than the rest of your body. You move your hands a lot when you’re bowhunting, so you at least want to cover them with an inconspicuous color.
Your gloves don’t need to match the rest of your camo, but they should match your area. You don’t want bright green gloves if you’re hunting in snow.
You can find gloves made from a lot of different materials: polyester, fleece, leather and others. Different materials have different advantages and disadvantages. Fleece, for example, is really warm, but it’s thicker and less durable. Leather is extremely durable but not as warm. Polyester’s biggest benefit is how well it stretches. Think about what you’ll need most when choosing a fabric.
Like we talked about before, keeping your hands warm is for more than just your comfort. You want your fingers as nimble and quick as possible.
What that means for you personally depends on your situation. If you hunt in especially cold environments, you need a thick glove that insulates well. If you deal with rain and snow, moisture wicking is also important. Take into account other factors, too, like wind and humidity.
Types of Bowhunting Gloves
Fingerless and convertible
Fingerless gloves cover your palms but leave the tips of your fingers free. Of course, you get maximum dexterity this way, but it also means your fingers might get cold. The solution is convertible mittens.
Convertible mittens feature a flap that you can flip over your fingers to keep them warm as well. Then, when you need your fingertips for your bow, phone or whatever, just take it off. Make sure if you pick a convertible mitten, the flap fastens open so it doesn’t get in your way.
Full gloves completely cover your whole hand with individual slots for your fingers. A good glove even covers your wrist. If you get the right fabric, these kinds of gloves should give you full mobility.
Three-fingered gloves are what traditional archers use with their recurve and longbows. They protect the three fingertips you need to draw the bowstring and give you a stable grip.
Normal three-finger gloves look like regular gloves but are open on the sides and only cover three fingers. Traditional three-finger gloves, on the other hand, are basically just three fingertip covers that fasten to your wrist with three thin strands of material.
If you’re a traditional archer, and warmth isn’t a major concern for you, three-finger gloves are stylish and to the point. As an added bonus, they take up less space, so they’re easier to pack.
Why not use a tab?
Tabs are a great method for protecting your fingers if you’re using traditional bows, but they lack some of the other qualities of hunting-specific gloves like warmth and camo. If you like using a tab and are used to shooting that way, don’t worry. Good hunting gloves should work with any tab. That way you get the best of both worlds.
Our Top Picks In Detail
ScentLok Men’s Full Season Bow Release Gloves
We have to say, these gloves come with pretty much everything. Cabela’s clearly kept a bowhunter’s needs in mind when designing them.
Most importantly, these gloves allow for great bow control. The lightweight polyester fabric doesn’t hinder your mobility or dexterity, and silicon-printed palms give you an excellent grip.
The fabric is also smooth and comfortable and has full coverage to keep your fingers warm so you can react quickly and accurately. It’s even moisture-wicking, which means your fingers won’t get slick whether from rain, snow or sweat.
Another really nice feature is the Carbon Alloy technology. This contains any odor produced by your hands. This is really important for gloves because even if it’s cold, they might start sweating.
These gloves are durable and even have touch tech fingertips so you can use your phone.
- Unrestricted mobility
- Silicon-printed palms
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Carbon Alloy odor-controlling technology
- Touch tech fingertips
Manzella Convertible Mitten
The warmth of these gloves–or mittens–earned them a place on our list. Not only are they made of a warm fleece fabric, they have a built in heat-pack pocket. This is great for those early winter mornings or long hunts when you’re up in your stand staying as still as possible.
These gloves manage to be super warm without getting in the way of your fingers. The mitten flips back to reveal half-finger gloves, so you can shoot your bow just like you practice in the off season. Now, the mitten fastens open with a magnet. This way it doesn’t flop around and get in your way, and it also doesn’t make any noise. The wrist does fasten with Velcro, though, so you have to careful with that.
The fabric itself is lightweight, and the gloves have a synthetic suede palm for bow control. There’s a built in bow release collar as well. We suggest these gloves for stand hunters in really cold climates, especially if you’re going all season into January and February.
- Really warm
- Heat pack pocket
- Convertible mitten/half glove
- Magnetic mitten attachment
- Synthetic suede palm
- Bow release collar
- Velcro wrists
Bow Ranger TouchTip
If you’re a new bowhunter a bit overwhelmed by all the equipment you’re having to get, these are definitely your economical glove option.
For a great price, the Bow Rangers also come with great features. The four-way stretch fleece keeps your hands warm without getting in the way. Not only that, it’s antimicrobial. If your hands sweat, the gloves keep them from giving off any unwanted odors.
Watch out for the Velcro wrist straps because they make noise when pulled. Also, these are great beginning gloves, but if you consistently hunt in cold weather, you may need a more durable pair after a few seasons.
These gloves come with a bow release collar and a Control Trax palm. Together these mean you can maintain excellent control of your bow. Plus, they’re touch-screen compatible, so you can maintain excellent control of your phone too.
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- Four-way stretch fleece
- Antimicrobial scent control fabric
- Bow release collar
- Control Trax palm
- Touch-screen compatible
- Velcro wrist straps
- Wear quickly
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Neet Suede Leather Glove
This glove looks cool. It’s classic archery suede for that traditional bowhunter mystique.
The Neet isn’t specifically for hunting, so if you need something camo or something to keep your hands warm on long stand hunts, this isn’t the way to go. It is, however, a great option for traditional long or recurve bowhunters who want a high-quality glove to protect their fingers.
The fit on this is great. It has an elastic back, so you’re guaranteed a comfortable fit. The leather fingertips preserve your skin and still give you an easy and clean release.
- Stylish leather design
- High-quality craftsmanship
- One-size-fits-all elastic back
- Comfortable fit
- Leather fingertips
- Velcro wrist attachment