How Much Draw Weight Should You Get?

What is draw weight?

It’s the amount of force you must apply to the bow string in order to pull it through it’s full range of motion. It’s usually calculated in pounds.

What draw weight should I choose?

  1. If you want to use the recurve to hunt for the most popular game (deer, elk, turkey), you need 40 lbs. draw weight or more (preferably 45)
  2. If you want to hunt for the largest game (grizzly bear, ox, cape bufalo), you’ll need 55 lbs. or more
  3. If you want to use the recurve for target shooting, any draw weight will do – even 25 lbs.
  4. If you want a recurve for both hunting and target practice, go for 40 lbs. or more.

You will adapt to higher draw weights very quickly; what may seem somewhat difficult one day, will become much easier after shooting a few hundred arrows. Stay patient and don’t push yourself – your muscles¬†will¬†adapt rapidly. See a list of our recommended recurve bows for hunting.

Very Important Note

If you’ve never shot a recurve bow before, then you probably don’t know what kind of draw weight your muscles can handle. The smaller your frame, the less of a draw weight you’ll be able to work with. For this purpose, I’ve created a recurve bow draw weight chart – simply look up your body type in the chart and see the corresponding draw weight range to know what you will be able to handle. Also, you might want to read up about the capabilities of different draw weights on a recurve bow.


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  1. Im 6’5 Hoyt recurves suck since they added the support bar on the rear frame my hand doesnt fit it rubs my wrist and unfornately their the only one that makes a 64 inch bow. I want at least 65# pull. Id like to buy a Bear recurve but all the pros tell me for the draw length which is 31″-32″ on a compound i need the longer recurve. I dont know what to do I want a recurve but cant find one that has the draw length or poundage can u help?

      1. because he’s a big man obviously. nothing wrong with doing as much as comfortable and easy for the guy. I’m only 6’2 but I can shoot my 50# hoyt buffalo all day. I wish I ordered 65#. my draw length is 30″.

  2. Hoyt Tiburon, I am also tall 6’6″ and require a longer bow, so the Tiburon at 64″ with 55# at 28″ with your extra length, it would be higher than 55.

    At the 65# @ 28, you could be really pulling 75+ @ 31/32 and risking hurting yourself.

    1. Thanks! One last question I forgot to ask: do you know what the draw weight was on the bow your son used at summer camp?

        1. Hi Thomas,

          It’s somewhat of a tough call. I definitely think he should be getting a takedown because he’ll probably outgrow whatever draw weight he gets pretty quickly and replacing the bow will allow him to upgrade the draw weight without needing to buy a whole new bow. I think that the Martin Jaguar: or the Samick Sage: would be great choices for your son. I would get him a 30 lbs. bow (35# tops).

          As for arrows, please take a look at this and give it a read:

  3. I am 16,5.9″and weigh around 131lbs and according to your draw weight chart I must have a bow with a draw weight of 25#-35#.But I am quite confident that I can handle a draw weight of 65# because I used to make the rubber of my catapult with the tube of a cycle tyre and it was extremely hard to pull it back as a result my strength eventually got increased and that is why I came up with this argument .As I found your site is interesting and very informative ,therefore I want your suggestion about my statement.

  4. I started on a 60# longbow and I wanted to move up to an 80# recurve. I wanted to move up to a 120# recurve, but I read that anything above 80# would shorten the lifespan of the bow. How much tougher is shooting a recurve than a longbow and is the increased poundage advisable for me? I usually shoot with a 30″ draw.
    I was also going to get one for my sister that also uses the 60# longbow. She’s pretty strong and can hold it at full draw for a while. I figured the shorter bow length would make it easier for her to shoot with her bust. She just wants a 60# one. Do you think she could handle it?

  5. Hi there,
    I am buying my grandson are curve bow for Christmas. My dilemma is because of his ‘Extra Activites’ I want to be sure to get Te right type (weight) for him. He only 16 years of age — BUT has extremely well developed muscles, in back, arms and chest. He is a competive swimmer. His fav distances are 800 & 1500 meters. (He does 2.5 k swims in open water). As it is he stands 6ft and is still growing.
    I feel he would be suited to at least a 40-45 lb bow. I do need confirmation and your input on this matter.
    I will wait for your reply,
    Ellen DEMPSTER

  6. I am looking for a recurve for target archery in the category: The Best Bow If You Have a Little More Money To Spend. My height is 6 feet, and I’m pretty strong. I have some experience in archery.

    Greetings / Kent


  7. Im extremely new to any and all types of archery im looking at getting a compound bow for hunting/survival thats just something ive been interested in for a while while i have my rifle hunting permit and am currently going for my bow hunters licence i feel that a bow id be more connected to our ancestors anyway im looking for a ready to hunt compound im 5’7″ and 215lbs any suggestions as far as brand price range draw weight? I have a son and as per having kids on a fixed budget any and all help would be awesome

  8. I’m looking for a new recurve to retire my old darton compound. I just can’t stand the look of the new compact compounds and I’ve been wanting to go back to recurve for a while, so no time like the present. I’m 6’0″ 190 lds and I’m looking for something lightweight that I don’t destroy a nipple with that I can get 60# on. I like the look of the Fleetwood Knight takedown but that tops at 55# and for some dumb reason I want that 5# extra. Any suggestions on what would be good for me without having to Frankenstein one up?

  9. I have a bow listed at 35 lbs. but my draw length makes it more like 40 lbs. what game can I safely and ethically hunt with that bow?

  10. Hi thank you all for nice tread. Hello from Sweden and excuse my bad grammar!

    The efficiency of a bow is not measured in the bow’s draw weight. It just doesn’t tell the truth.
    The power of a bow is measured in the speed and weight of the arrow. You can have a brutal heavy bow and still have poor speed out of it.

    I have been shooting at a range of 3D for 20 years.
    I use chronograph and arrow weight to measure the efficiency.
    Especially with ILF bows you can shift limbs. It’s easy to see that how the limb is built affects the outcome of arrow speed at the same weight, same goes for the string you use.

    65# bow at 27 draw length is slower than the same bow at 28 or 29`. So you gain nothing if you draw shorter because of a heavier bow..

    75# pound traditional longbow is easily slower (less power) than a 50# short modern takedown recurve with carbon limbs.

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