I to agree with the going to the proshop.
Once you find a bow you like look it up on ebay or archery talk. You can probably find one for half of a new price if it's a year or so old. Buy all the accessories from the pro shop and have them install everything. They usually install everything for free. They will help you with technique and form.
Most of them have several releases you can try. Get to know your pro shop people and they will help you out.
Sign up for a league and shoot a lot.
Musket Man (02-05-2014)
Go to a pro shop and make sure you get fitted to your bow. The most important part of being a good shot is having the bow fit. The right draw length is essential!! Secondly don't get fooled into thinking you need a 70# bow to get the job done. There is more value in a bow that can be drawn easily and be held longer than a greater ke number. It is like asking a deer what bullet made him more dead, the 30-06 or the 300 magnum. The brand of bow is not that important as most companies are making good bows with good warranties. Having said that I would still stick to the better known brands as they should be around 5 years later if you have problems with your bow and your resale value would be better. Best of luck to you.
Musket Man (02-06-2014)
MusketMan I strongly recommend the mission line. I bought a new X4 three years ago for like 800 bucks and I love it. The draw length is set at 60-70 pounds and while it was tough at first after a couple weeks of practice it felt like nothing. On the draw length you really don't have much of a choice on that; go into a archery shop and they will measure your draw length. The longer your draw length is the higher poundage bow you will be able to get. Also most archery shops will have bows you can use to try out. At 70lb setting I notice a significant drop in my arrows flight path at 40 yards. If you are looking to shoot long distances like 40+ yards you want the highest poundage you think you can handle. Also another important thing is "let off" this means how much loss in draw strength there is when the bow is fully drawn. Now the higher this is the easier it will be to hold the draw longer to wait for the best shot. Though the higher this goes the more power you lose on your shot. Also certain states have laws on how much let off your bow can have.
The last thing I would say is practice practice practice. I would recommend practicing at least 2-3 times a week for 6 months before you even think of hunting with it.
I would just encourage you in that up to a point, you get what you pay for. I've been a bowtech guy and had absolutely no trouble with any element of the bow. The further down the quality spectrum you go, the sooner you'll see small things start to wear, tear and unravel. There are a number of "package" set ups out there. Don't be afraid of those. Updating a sight or arrow rest is a hell of a lot cheaper than not liking how the bow pulls back.
The nice thing about buying a new bow, opposed to a gun, is you can shoot it before you buy it! So shoot a bunch of different bows and see what fits you best. Good luck in your search!