Recurve bows are a popular alternative to compound bows and crossbows among hunters. The best recurve bows for hunting aren’t as easy to use or as powerful as their more modern counterparts, but they 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 is alive and well and hunters have several options to choose from.
Choosing the Right Recurve Bow
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.
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
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
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
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