Righto. First decision is trad (recurve or long bow, both of which have multiple options) or compound. Compound is easier to gain proficiency relatively quickly. Trad is a LONG journey but very rewarding.
There are a number of dedicated forums for bow hunting including the Australian bowhunting forum http://www.bowhunting-forum.com/search.php?searchid=4096483&pp=&page=2 which is a great resource.
There are heaps of clubs around and most offer beginner courses and ongoing coaching. It’s well worth going even if just a few times to get yourself started on the right foot.
The following is related to compound bows…
Stay away from cheap gear as you will only regret it. There is a high turnover of gear and absolute bargains on well set up quality gear can be had if you buy a second hand bow that is a couple of years old. The turn over is driven by a combination of people losing interest and manufacturers bringing out new models every year: some people just like to have the latest. The general consensus is that really big advances only occur every few years, so a bow that is 5 years old is far from out dated technology. My main hunting bow is a 2012 model… My target bow is 2014.
The biggest risk with second hand bows is if it has been dry fired which is being drawn and shot without an arrow. The energy from the limbs that should be pushing an arrow has nothing to push and that energy is extremely harsh on the limbs and cams. Some bows are designed to withstand this abuse, but it’s definitely not something that’s good for bows, and often destroys limbs and cams. Buy from someone you trust or get the bow checked over by someone who knows what they are looking at.
There are left hand and right hand models. Most people shoot right handed, but the choice shouldn’t be made based on general handedness, but on eye dominance. Google this. If your left eye dominant, you “should” shoot a left handed bow, but rest assured, there’s plenty of left eye dominant archers that shoot right handed for a variety of reasons.
If you want a compound bow, your draw length is absolutely critical. It that’s not right, your wasting your time and will never ever shoot well. All compound bows have some level of adjustment for draw length but the amount of adjustment varies from 1/4" on super high performance target bows, to several inches on some hunting bows. On some bows changing drawlength requires nothing more than a couple of Allen keys. Other makes need a bow press for small changes, changing the cam modules for moderate changes, and changing changing cams and/or cams and strings plus cables for large changes. As a highly generalised statement, adjustability always comes at a performance cost.
Re poundage, some bows have wide poundage ranges, 10 pound is typical on Hoyt bows. A 50-60# bow with 75% let off is a good place for most people to start, but 40-50# is better for lightly built people. 60+ is too much for most people when starting out, and won’t help with learning good form. Some guys use 70-80# bows but that’s not a good place to start.
Different cam shapes alter the amount of let off (the difference between the full draw weight of the bow and what you hold at full draw) and speed. High let off is easier to hold which can be great when hunting, but can lead to form error. Target archers typically prefer lower let off (high holding weight). Fast bows are generally less forgiving of errors in the archers form and a slow hit is better than a fast miss
If you want to hunt, you will need to learn how to tune your bow. Without tuning a bow, it is extremely unlikely that a broadhead will hit at the same spot as field points. Mechanical rather than fixed broad heads are one way to buy your way out of needing to tune your bow, but your bow won’t be performing at its best so I can’t see the point. Either way, broadheads need to be razor (shaving) sharp. Near enough isn’t good enough.
Hope this gives you a starting point.