Recurve bows are a popular alternative to compound bows and crossbows among hunters. The best recurve bow for hunting won't be as easy to use or as powerful as its more modern counterparts, but it does offer a significantly more traditional style of archery that requires technique and patience.
While this isn’t what every hunter wants, many archers appreciate the challenge of these simple and lightweight bows for hunting game big and small. As a result, the market for recurve bows for hunting is alive and well and hunters have several options to choose from.
Choosing the Right Recurve Bow for Hunting
Not every recurve bow is suitable for hunting, and even those that are can vary widely in how easy they are to use and what game you can hunt with them. To help you find the right recurve bow for whatever game you’re after, we’ll take a closer look at some of the important differences among these bows.
The draw weight on your recurve bow should be directly tied to the game you’re planning to hunt. After all, your arrow needs to hit with enough force to pierce the animal’s skin and fat and even to break through bone to be effective.
Recurve bows with less than 40 pounds of draw are primarily suitable for small animals like rabbits and birds. For deer and elk, look for a recurve bow with 40 to 45 pounds of draw weight. If you plan on using your recurve bow for even larger game, like buffalo or bear, you’ll need at least 55 pounds of draw weight.
Keep in mind, though, that more draw weight isn’t necessarily a good thing. Unlike for compound bows, you’ll need to hold your arrow drawn until you’re ready to fire with a recurve bow. While you may be able to draw 45 pounds easily on a compound bow, holding 45 pounds on a recurve bow while you take aim can be quite a challenge.
Finding a recurve bow that draws back just enough to where your arm, shoulders, and the bow remain aligned is incredibly important for comfort and accuracy. With a bow that draws too far back or too short, it will be nearly impossible to shoot consistently no matter how much you practice.
The best way to find your ideal draw length is to have it measured by an expert at a pro shop. At home, you can roughly estimate draw length by stretching out your arms and measuring the distance from the top of your chest to the tip of your middle finger. Add one to that measurement to find your draw length.
The draw length you need will also determine the size of recurve bow that is right for you.
Keep in mind that your draw length will change over time as you get better at shooting. If you’ve shot with a recurve bow for some time and are looking for a new model, it’s a good idea to re-measure your draw length.
One of the other major things to consider when choosing a recurve bow for hunting is whether it is a takedown bow. Takedown recurve bows allow you to separate the bow into two or more pieces by removing the limbs from the riser. These bows are much easier to transport and hike with, with far less chance of breaking them before you reach your blind or hunting ground.
- Total bow length: 56", bow riser length: 17", bow limb length: 53", Max draw length: 30". Aluminum / Carbon Arrows are recommended.
- High Strength Casting Aluminum Riser. The Bow is very Nicely Polished and offer Excellent Performance.
- Limb: It is strong fiber glass with a maple core. Limbs can be purchased separately to increase or decrease weight as need, or to share with friends and family, and Save on continuously purchasing...
This takedown recurve bow from Toparchery comes at a budget-friendly price point, but there’s nothing cheap about it. The bow is versatile and well-designed for hunting, with fiberglass and maple limbs that are durable enough to last for years of use. The metal riser includes a comfortable rubber grip and the bow is compatible with most models of arrow rests.
The takedown of this bow is extremely simple and fast, which is a major advantage for hunting. On top of that, the bow is available in multiple draw weights from 30 to 50 pounds depending on what game you are after. The draw length is adjustable up to 30”, which is enough for most archers.
Note that this bow does not include any extras other than a string, so you’ll need to buy an arrow rest and arrows to make shooting easier. In addition, this bow is only available in a right-handed model.
- Durable limb construction
- Simple, fast takedown
- Multiple draw weights available
- Does not come with any accessories except bowstring
- No left-handed version
2) Southwest Archery Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow
- SPECIAL PRICE FOR LIMITED TIME – We’ve combined four naturally sourced wood to create this beautiful compact, accurate, lightweight bow that is the perfect choice for just about anyone looking for...
- SPECS & USES – Available in both Left Hand and Right Hand with draw weights of 20lb – 60lb 5lb increments . Features preinstalled threaded bushings for various accessory upgrades such as...
- KIT INCLUDES: SWA Spyder Bow, Bow String, Arrow Rest, Hard Case, Stringer Tool, Armguard, 3 Premium Carbon Arrows
This premium takedown recurve bow from Southwest Archery is the ideal bow for many hunters. It is built with a durable wooden riser, which includes a redwood cedar plank in the center to give the bow a stylish pop. In addition, the riser edges have been rounded to cut down the weight slightly and make it more comfortable to hold. The fiberglass and wood limbs are simple to remove from the riser during transport.
What really sets this bow apart is the backing that Southwest Archery puts behind their product. The company readily replaces broken parts at no cost within the one-year warranty period.
While the price is somewhat high, the bow comes packaged with everything you need to hunt. It includes an arrow rest, a stringer tool, and arrows, all contained inside a hard plastic carrying case.
The bow is available in two draw lengths (maximum draw lengths greater and less than 29”) and in draw weights up to 60 pounds.
- Wooden riser constructed with redwood center
- Simple takedown mechanism
- Excellent customer service
- Multiple draw weights and lengths
- Comes with arrow rest, arrows, and hard case
- Higher price point than other options
3) Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
- This 62" Bow Includes: B-50 bow string and arrow rest
- For future upgrades: pre-installed brass bushings for brass plunger, stabilizer, sight, and quiver, will fit Sammic Sage hunting kit
- Design: Imported wood, limbs are hard Maple with black fiberglass; single tapered knob and metal limb pocket design; limbs can be purchased separately to increase or decrease weight as needed
The Samick Sage recurve bow is a classic for hunters with a draw length less than 29”. The wooden riser features a hand-molded grip for unparalleled comfort. While the riser doesn’t have a spot for an arrow nock, it has pre-installed brushings for accessories such as a sight, stabilizer, and quiver (not included with the bow).
The takedown design of this bow isn’t ideal given the limb fit on the riser. In addition, the string that the bow comes with is a bit too long for shorter brace heights. So, smaller hunters will want to plan on replacing the string.
That said, the bow is durable thanks to the maple and fiberglass limb construction. It’s also priced at an attractive level for novice hunters (and a great option for Preppers to keep in their stash). The Samick Sage is available in draw weights from 25 to 60 pounds. For draw lengths 29” or greater, hunters will want to look at the slightly larger but similarly designed Samick Sage Journey bow.
- Comfortable wooden riser
- Affordable price
- Durable limb construction
- Multiple draw weights up to 60 pounds
- Limbs fit sloppily on riser
- String is too long for short brace heights
4) SinoArt 62” Takedown Recurve Bow
- Designed for RIGHT HANDED shooters.HAND ORIENTATION: A right handed bow will be held in your left hand and the string pulled with the right hand. Left handed bows are held in the right hand and pulled...
- Bridged Riser.
- HIGH-QUALITY - Metal Riser. High-strength composite raw materials to produce the surface layer, sandwich layer with double hard wood chips bonded together.
This modern recurve bow from SinoArt features a lightweight metal riser that resembles the riser of a compound bow. The edges of the riser and the limb pockets have been rounded to make it more comfortable to hold, but it doesn’t match the natural feel of wooden risers. The limbs are made from maple and fiberglass and are easy to take on and off the bow.
This recurve bow is somewhat loud compared to the other hunting bows we’ve reviewed, but the noise can be tamped down easily by adding some string silencers. You’ll also want to upgrade the arrow rest, as the stock rest is easy to knock loose. Beyond those minor deficiencies, though, this bow shoots highly accurately and consistently.
The SinoArt bow is available in draw weights from 30 to 60 pounds. However, taller users and left-handed hunters will want to beware as the draw length is noticeably short and the bow is only available in a right-handed version.
- Lightweight metal riser
- Highly accurate and consistent
- Available in draw weights up to 60 pounds
- Somewhat loud when shooting
- Arrow rest should be upgraded
- Short maximum draw length
- No left-handed version
How to Shoot a Recurve Bow
Assume the proper stance or position
When shooting a recurve bow, its essential that you have a solid foundation. Stand with your legs positioned shoulder width apart with your whole body (hips and torso included) placed perpendicular to the target.
Right-handed shooters stand with your left hip pointing towards the target, while left-handed shooters stand with your right hip pointing towards the target.
Finally make sure you keep your balance with your body vertical. Relax your shoulders and place your front foot slightly ahead of the other foot and at 45 degrees to the shooting line.
Assume a comfortable grip
Most recurve bows come with handles to help assist with your grip. Using the guides on your bow, hold the bow comrportably yet firm.
Next, relax your wrist as you prepare to shoot. Holding your bow too tightly can lessen your accuracy. Start relaxed, and stay relaxed!
Finally, with your other hand form a 3 finger hook. Position your index finger above the arrow and the middle and ring finger below. Your pinky and thumb should stay relaxed.
When you draw your bow, place your 3 finger hook along your jaw line to serve as an anchor point.
Draw the bowstring to the center of your nose making sure that you maintain your proper stance. Do not twist when you draw back, just keep your steady stance with your body positioned towards the target.
Try to use your back muscles as you pull back. Proper form is mostly back work, with the remainder coming from your arms.
Align your head towards your target
With a proper stance, turn your head towards the target - looking at it directly.
Make sure to align your body perpendicular to the target and avoid moving from this position as you draw your bow.
Keep your shoulders down and your chest in - avoid hunching your shoulders.
Take an arrow, place it on the arrow rest, nock it and lift the bow to shoulder height. Please do not draw the bow string when you nock your arrow - rookie move!
Hold your bow arm straight and locked that way when you release the bowstring, your arm is safely away from it.
Set your sight on the target
With your dominant eye - take aim at your target while keeping the other eye shut. Using your dominant eye for aiming ensures greater reliability for hitting the target.
If you plan on using a sight or scope, use the notches to help you line up the target.
Finally, when you are sure that your arrow is pointing correctly at the target, you are ready to release the bow string.
When ready - Release the string
Releasing the bowstring is a subtle and gentle movement. Do this slowly and let it slide out of your fingers. Do not release the bowstring abruptly or jerk it quickly.
The action of releasing the bowstring should be smooth and simple. Envision the bowstring sliding out with a smooth motion to drive the arrow towards the target. If you make a sudden movement, you will certainly impact the flight path of the arrow and not hit your target.
After releasing the bowstring, your hand should end up behind your neck as the pressure is relieved.
Hold your bow up until after the arrow has hit the target. Hold your proper position, much like a golfer in their backswing.