Bows only become "worthless" as investments, like the vast majority of cars, but you have to ask yourself whether you are buying it as an investment or a tool. I do sympathize with you somewhat, which is why I always buy used bows a year or two old, like the Elite Pulse I shoot now. I could sell it for not that much less than what I bought it for two years ago, which would not be the case if I bought new.
I would visit more than one pro shop because most shops focus on one or two brands. And, the advice to start out with less poundage and a forgiving bow are both good.
You probably will change bows or at least change out components as you get more into it. Also, hanging other archers and doing things like 3D shoots will really accelerate your learning curve.
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
MM im excited for you man, youll love it!!! when it comes to let off, you mentioned youd be hunting idaho... obviously the higher the let off the easier itll will be to hold your bow at full draw for longer periods of time, in idaho you cant have any let off higher than 85% look for year old even 2 year old modles, still top of the line and you get for so much cheaper. this is a touchy topic for alot of guys on here that buy the best and newest every year the the most expensive bow wont help ya shoot better, your form helps you shoot better. i shoot just as good with an old alpine from the 90's as i do with my new pse. the new pse just looks a hell of alot cooler..... please direct any negative feedback on what i said to my pm haha
Fink, You sound like a pro-shop owner... lol.
All shops pro-shop or box/sports stores let you try them out for free. The last friend of mine I helped set up on a bow, we saved him $340.00 by shopping out the components and bow he wanted over the same exact pieces at the pro-shop. The pro-shop owner wasn't upset at all when we came in with them, he just charged him $50 for set up time, and my buddy bought a membership to the range while he was there.
How is paying the higher price at a pro-shop worth the loss in my wallet or anyones worth it? If pro-shops would not charge full MAP retail price for their product, it would make more sense, but they don't, and I like my money to stretch. My friend saved $290 overall even after paying to have it set up correctly. That is not chump change in my books.
If your worried about warranty work if something goes wrong, any registered pro shop, as is registered with the manufactures of the product needing attention, can do the work under warranty and get paid, they should not care where you bought it from.
I hunt because......
I'm like the others I could talk on this forever!!! I started at 14 and I'm 48 now and love it.
One thing to check on the let-off is make sure you check the states your planning on hunting as some it is not legal to use 80% let-off. If you decide on a compound a longer bow is a bit more forgiving than a real short bow (axle to axle)
See if there is any bow-hunting clubs in your area. Is there a state organization that has anything planned? Best bet is to get along side someone that bow-hunts and learn from them. Shooting the bows (like said above) is a BIG help.
Bows are like trucks (Chevy, Ford, Dodge) everyone like theirs for different reasons and all the ones that are out there today are good. You don't have to spend a fortune to get out there and experience bow-hunting.
Unless you are willing to jump in way over your head, I would buy the bow at a good local pro shop, and then all the accessories wherever you get the best deal. By buying the bow from your local pro shop they will be able to help get it tuned and fix any issues, usually for free. I an not sure you would get that from a box store. I used to spend hours at my local shop shooting, picking his brain for tips and tactics and learning how he tuned the bow. I give him credit for my success this last fall. It was my first year I took off time for archery and scored.
Another note on pro shops. If cabelas or the other big stores are not close and you need your bow worked on I know some bow shops that will really drag there feet if you didn't get the bow from them.
Don K is right about state regs. If you plan to hunt Idaho with your bow, forget any cam with 80% letoff. I had to swap the 80% cam for a 65% in my Switchback when I elk hunted there in 2006.
Live to hunt, hunt to live.