Here are the best recurve bows for hunting. I’ve made sure to diversify the price ranges these bows were from, so no matter what your budget you are going to find one that is right for your particular needs.
I would really appreciate it if you would read all the information on this page to get a better understanding of why it is I chose these specific hunting recurves to list here. This will help you make a better decision that will allow you to enjoy your bow for many years.
Also, please be aware that all the models below can be used equally well for target practice; basically any hunting recurve is good for target shooting as well, though the opposite does not apply. This has to do with the draw weight: a hunting bow must be a minimum of 40#, while target shooting can be rewarding with even a 15# bow if shooting from a small enough range.
Top recurve bows for hunting (2021)
- Bear Grizzly – best traditional hunting bow overall
- Deerseeker – best hunting bow on a tight budget
Top hunting bows (2013-2020) – legacy rankings
The list below compares recurve bows that received top rankings between 2013-2020. Many of these bows are no longer on sale or are temporarily out of stock due to COVID-19-related problems, but I decided to leave the table here for the record.
|Hoyt Buffalo Recurve Bow|
See on Amazon.com
|Bear Grizzly Recurve Bow|
See on Amazon.com
|Martin Saber Recurve Bow|
See on Amazon.com
|Martin Hunter Recurve Bow
See on Amazon.com
|Bow length||60 in||58"||64 in.||62 in.|
|Bow weight||3.2 lbs||2.3 lbs||3.4 lbs||2.2 lbs|
|Draw Weight||45, 50, 55 lbs.||50, 55, 60 lbs.||30, 40, 45, 50, 55 lbs.||40, 45 50, 55 lbs.|
|Our Review||Our Review||Our Review||Our Review|
What Makes a Recurve Bow Great For Hunting?
I don’t want to simply “force” some specific bows down your throat; I want you to actually understand why it is that I’ve chosen the bows listed above. With that in mind, here are the things that make a recurve great for a hunter.
1. It needs to be quiet
This is likely the most important thing to keep in mind. Nothing is more annoying than setting up for that perfect shot after an hour or two of tracking or luring your prey, only to have them run away due to the noise generated by drawing the string on your bow. So how do you solve this?
By choosing a bow that is specifically designed to minimize this kind of noise. These will include limbs made from specific, “quiet” material. They will be well tuned. They will include dampners or other elements designed to silence the string.
All of the recurve bows in the list above meet these criteria – they are quiet and reliable. Obviously though, being “quiet” is not enough.
On a side note, scent elimination is also an important aspect of recurve hunting, due to the relatively closed-quarters shooting you’ll be doing (as opposed to a rifle hunter, for instance). You might therefore want to consider getting a scent eliminator to give yourself better odds. A lot of them come in spray form and are very cheap to get. For those of you hunting from a blind however, an electronic scent eliminator – one of the more recent wonders of hunting technology – might be a better choice. I recommend reading this Ozonics HR-200 review by John McAdams and then deciding whether it’s an appropriate purchase for you.
2. The draw weight needs to be just right
This one is a bit of a variable, but nothing we can’t handle.
I strongly recommend that you never use a recurve bow for hunting unless it has a drawing strength of 40 pounds or more. The reason being that, during hunting, you will want your arrow to pierce your prey and penetrate the body deeply enough. Unless your recurve has a draw weight of 40 pounds or more, and especially if you are shooting from further than 15 yards away, chances are you will just injure the animal without actually killing. It will then run away, needlessly suffer, and you’ll even lose your arrow. That’s not all though.
You need to choose a bow with a draw weight that you can handle. When hunting, you often need to draw your bow and then hold for a minute or longer before actually firing. If the draw weight is too much for your muscles, you will start to shake and your aim will suffer greatly. So how do you know what draw weight is enough for you?
Simple: if you have never fired a recurve bow before, simply go for 40-45 pounds draw weight at most. The vast majority of males can handle this quiet well, and I guarantee that you will only get stronger as time goes on, making it easier for you to handle considerably more draw weight. So to sum it up:
- If new/uncertain, go for 40-45 pounds draw weight.
- If experienced/have strong back muscles, go for 45+ pounds draw weight.
- If you’re a teenager / have a small frame, go for 40 pounds, tops. You’ll improve soon enough.
3. It needs to be long
This one is simple: the longer the total lengh of the bow (from tip to tip), the more accurate your shots will be. How long exactly?
The best recurve bow for hunting will have a minimum length of 58 inches. The longer the better. You will notice that almost all of the recurves in the list above have a length of 60 or more inches – you now understand why.
4. Ease of transport should be considered
This may not seem like an issue for you now, especially if you have never used a bow before, but believe me – transporting a 60+ inche bow in a safe manner (you don’t want the limbs to get bent or worse – broken, do you?) can be a real hassle. Now, if you have a big enough car to transport your bow easily while avoiding damage to it in route, that’s great. Otherwise…
You need a takedown recurve bow for hunting. In case you didn’t know, a takedown bow is one where you can quickly detach the limbs from the riser by unscrewing a few screws. This makes storing and transporting your bow so much easier.
That’s why I’ve included the “Takedown?” column in the chart above.
Recurve Bow Hunting Outside Of The United States
When it comes to recurve bow hunting outside of North America, the vast majority turn their attention towards South Africa. It’s abundance in a huge variety of wildlife, including the largest game in the world, makes it an ideal destination for the most ambitious trophy hunters. Beginners should note, however, that hunting lions, rhinoceros or cape buffalo is strictly regulated in the country, and that it is illegal for foreigners to do any tracking or shooting without strict supervision from certified specialists. Moreover, taking down the largest game in South Africa requires some heavy pulls (draw weights no smaller tan 50 pounds) and exceptional skill and precision; and even then, taking certain species is just too dangerous with anything other than a long-range firearm. As such, if you decide to visit this beautiful country, you should most certainly ask for assistance, and we’re happy to recommend our friends over at Big Game Hunting Adventures, who offer one of the finest safari services; their South Africa Hunting page has all the details.
You Must Know Your Prey
Do you plan to hunt rabbits? Turkey? Deer? Bears? Elk?
For instance, a 40 lbs draw weight bow will be enough to kill rabbits, turkey and deer even from a 30 yard distance (assuming your aim is on point, of course!). That same bow, however, may not prove as effective on that same distance if hunting for larger game, such as black bear or elk. With that in mind, here are some guidelines on how to make a decision:
- If you want no constraints at all, pick a 50 lbs. draw weight bow.
- If you are only going for smaller game (rabbits, turkey, deer), 40 lbs. will be more than enough.
- If you’re not sure what you want to hunt for and/or have no experience, a 45 lbs. bow is the “sweet spot” you should go for.
You shouldn’t worry about it too much though. Even a 40 pounder is well-capable of taking down a bear for example, providing you shoot from a close enough range. You need to keep in mind though that often it won’t be possible for you to get too close to your prey, and that you’ll need to keep a distance of 20+ yards minimum in order not to scare the game away. The advice above keeps that in mind: it assumes you are shooting from a 20-30 yard distance.
Where to go from here?
I’d like to believe that I’ve done all the work for you in the hunting bow chart above. Basically, all you need to do is this:
- Decide on a budget.
- Refer to my advice above and specify what kind of draw weight you need on your bow.
Now just use to the chart above and pick the bow that meets your needs.
32 CommentsAdd a Comment
Very helpful and educational. An easy read and answered all my questions.
You are very welcome.
Very insightful. How do i choose draw length? Theres no archery clubs where i am and the local hunting shop dont seem too competent at the task
Take a look at this article: http://www.bestrecurvebowguide.com/how-to-choose-arrows-for-your-bow
There are two ways described there which will help you determine your draw length.
Great Info and well delivered. I’m in the beginning of my process to hunt recurve style and this helped.
Thank you, very glad it helped.
Thank you very much for this information. It is very thorough. I have been looking everywhere and now I don’t have to look any further.
Thank you very much, this article was so useful.Now I can decide easily what to buy.
Great Shot Mark!
What kind of bow did you use for this shot?
Which shot do you mean?
Great advice. I hunt with a compound but I had a few concerns. No more due this article so thank you.
You’re welcome Gary.
Hi I’m interested in a more traditional bow but i don’t know where to start.I’m 16 and I shoot a compound bow now and my draw wat is 59lbs and my draw lehgth is very short at 24.but thats on a compound bow.I just want to know what I need for a recurve and I love to hunt and I’m looking for a good hunting and shooting bow. Thank you.
I recommend you take a look here, as this article will guide you through the whole process of choosing a recurve: http://www.bestrecurvebowguide.com/buy-recurve-bow-ultimate-guide/
Thanks mark! I found a pro shop that let me try some bows out. it took a hour to get there but it was well worth it . I ended up getting a hoyt its 45″ and I love it. Thank you for all the info on the site you helped me a lot! 🙂
Is the BearPaw take down field star 62 inch and 42 lb of power good for small game hunting??
Assuming you mean 42 lbs. of draw weight (the word “power” was somewhat misleading to me), then absolutely yes.
You wrote, ‘You want a bow (recurve) that you can draw and hold for a minute before firing…’
I don’t know anyone who holds a drawn recurve or long bow for more than 5 seconds,including myself.
My intention was not to imply that you are going to be holding it for a minute. I was simply pointing out that unless you are ABLE to do it, then chances are the draw weight you got is too heavy for you. So if you can only hold the bow drawn for 10 seconds you are definitely drawing too much in my opinion, regardless of whether you only tend to draw the bow for 2-3 seconds tops. That said, there are plenty of situations where you’ll be holding a bow drawn for much longer than 5 seconds (while hunting), although that is beside the point.
This is exactly what I needed to begin my search of what I need. I drew an Arizona bull elk tag this year and plan on using the recurve on this hunt. I’ve killed many elk with all kinds of weapons and this is on my bucket list.
Hi there. Your website is very helpful for the beginner. Thanks for that.
Am 5′ 11″ tall and draw about 30″. Am a beginner looking to purchase a recurve. It seems to me after much research that I should go with the Samick Sage as a starter. Thing is the Sage has a length of only 62″ while I understand that a 68-70″ is better suited for my draw length. How important do you think this is? 2) Which bow would you recommend instead of the Samick Sage?
Your input on this matter is much appreciated. Thank you.
A 68-70″ bow is massive and not ideal for hunting. A 62″ bow would do the trick. At 5’11 at 30″ draw is also an extremely long draw, I’m 6’2 with quite long arms. I shoot a 29″ bow quite comfortably maybe get it back to 29.5 at full draw
Anyone have any experience hunting with the Martine Diablo (Panther)? Would love to know.
Can a 15lb draw back bow kill an animal ? And if it can. What might the animal be ?
can a 13 years old handle a 40 pounds pse stalker takedown recurve bow?
Me and my friend want to go hunting soon but we only have 2 bows that have a 25ibs if we both target a dere will we be able to kill it with 1 shot each
Might seem like a silly question but can i use a right handed bow to take shots from the right hand side?
What I mean is, is it as simple as guiding the arrow form the top of my left hand finger?
This is such an informative post. You have a lot of really great points. I wish I had this post as a resource when I started blogging.
Thank you so much for writing up this article! I just started archery a couple of weeks ago with the intention of bow hunting during next year’s season. This was immensely helpful. Currently using a Night Hawk recurve 35lbs (soon to be 40.)
In my life I have taken 7 deer and 4 elk. All with a Ben Pearson 709 Hunter. I love the challenge of hunting with a recurve. It requires stealth and patience. I have been tempted to hunt with a compound bow. I have shot several at the range. I am seduced by the ease of being able to hold your shot longer. All that said, I am 53 years old and still don’t feel the overwhelming need for that bow yet. I am not criticizing those who hunt with them. I have hunted with others all those time and I have always been the only single string in the group. I respect bow hunters of all kinds. We are a family of Hunters, with a capital H.
Thanks a lot. It was quite useful for a beginner like me.