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As someone who has only really used the rifle I wondered why most people seem to prefer the bow? For me I think the rifle is more accurate and from real life I know how much damage they can do!  So which is the best?

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Rifle shots scare wildlife so they scatter whether you hit or miss. 
 

Missed bow shots that fly over the target don’t startle the animal, giving you a second shot. 

 

Critical hits also don’t alarm the animals, making it possible to kill multiple deer in the same location in rapid succession, especially after you’ve reached archery 5 and can fire while crouching. 

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I've never managed to get to Archery 5, but if I ever manage to get a survivor to that skill level (probably using books and arrows), I think I'll end up switching over the the bow permanently for hunting, given its shots are silent. Before level 5, the bow's biggest weakness is you can't fire when crouched, making hunting rather hard. This doesn't matter if you're trying to shoot a charging wolf, on the other hand... remember, just don't shoot til you see the whites of their eyes!

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Not had much success with the bow myself! Got some levelling up by killing bunnies!  I didn't even see the arrow marker - white dot on white snow with my eyesight!! The main problem is chasing after a deer just to try and get the arrow back! Lost quite a few doing that!  Only time I tried on a bear ( how big)  and 4 out of 5 missed! He was not a happy yogi! Good job I'm on pilgrim!

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