The sport of bow hunting feels like stepping into the past, to a time when humans hunted animals only for food and skins rather than recreation. The bow was invented thousands of years ago, and yet, even in this modern age, it uses the same principals to fire an arrow, and ultimately take down a game animal.
Bow hunting also requires the hunter to get up close and personal with the animal being hunted, and usually necessitates some tracking once the animals been struck by the arrow. It requires a more methodical thought process and a greater understanding of your prey’s instincts. All of this combines to make the sport more fun and a greater challenge once you’ve mastered hunting with a rifle.
If you need one more reason to pick up the sport, the season usually starts a little sooner than rifle season, allowing you more weekends out in the woods. In any case, you’ll need to buy a bow, and just like with buying a rifle there’s a lot to consider; these hunting bow reviews will help you make the right choice.
Want something with more power? You might prefer a hunting crossbow instead!
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Best Hunting Bows
Top Hunting Bows Table
1. Bear Grizzly Recurve Bow
The Best Hunting Bow Reviews
Bottom Line: A hunting bow with great power and accuracy, more than capable of taking down large game. It's also a really great looking ornate bow to show off.
Bear Grizzly Review
The Grizzly is a classic; Bear Archery has been producing this bow since the 1960s and has changed almost nothing about it since. It’s a little different from some of the other bows reviewed in that it’s incredibly simple. It has no sights, stabilizers, or any other sorts of gadgets.
Accouterments aside, the Grizzly is a very fast and accurate bow. There’s almost no vibration after a shot and very little hand shock (no stabilizers needed). The fiberglass-coated maple limbs are extremely resistant to twisting and will provide a great shooting experience for years and years.
The Grizzly is designed for the intermediate to expert recurve hunter market and it’s disadvantages are all related to that fact As a bare bow, it doesn’t come with a sight, which could be problematic for beginners. It’s also not a takedown bow, so you won’t be able to replace the limbs as you gain strength and can handle a heavier draw. It’s also somewhat expensive. That said, it’s an incredibly well made bow and a perfect option for more experienced recurve hunters.
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Bottom Line: A great compound bow for hunting at a great price, the ability to change the draw weight is a plus, you can give it to your kids to shoot too. It works well for target shooting as well as hunting
Diamond Archer Infinite Edge Review
This bow from Diamond Archer is an example of compromise in the sense that most hunters do not need the very best bow with exotic materials and advanced technology. Most hunters need a reasonably good bow that will last for many years and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The Infinite Edge, while not the finest in any category, is the best overall compound bow for the money.
Starting off with the draw, even at its highest draw weight (70 lbs.), the Infinite Edge is not going to be a superfast bow. You’ll probably want to use some heavier arrows to ensure a clean kill with it. The bow simply does not have the complex mechanics that would allow for a faster shot. That said, the riser and limbs are well constructed and have excellent stability. It’s not a superfast bow, but it will still be accurate shot after shot.
One of the other complaints users have made with this bow is that the riser’s rubber grip can feel a bit cheap. While that’s a valid complaint, it’s expected that the Infinite Edge won’t have the same crafting that a $1000 bow would have. It’s just not in the same class, but it’s still an excellent bow for the price.
None of these complaints are intended to suggest that the Infinite Edge is a bad bow, but rather than it’s everything that you need and nothing you don’t. It’s a reliable bow that’s reasonably priced, and is probably the ideal choice for most hunters looking for a compound bow.
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Best Recurve Bow for Hunting
Recurve bows are the original hunting tool, used by our ancestors for millennia. In the past several decades they’re popularity amongst hunters has been eclipsed by the compound bow, but many hunters still choose to use this ancient tool, usually with only minor modifications from its original design.
The biggest reason that recurve bows have become less popular for hunting is that they require a large draw weight (the amount of force required to pull back the bow string), all which needs to be harnessed by the hunter with no mechanical assist. Recurve bows require some muscle to use. With repeated use, you can build up that muscle and become adept a making a smooth draw. That takes time though, which is why most people start off with a compound bow and then some move on to recurve.
To take down large game, your arrow needs to have a lot of kinetic energy, a function of the arrow’s weight and speed when it strikes its target. To get the necessary speed, you need a high draw weight bow. While it would be fine to shoot low speed arrows from a “low draw weight” bow in target practice, it would not be acceptable when you need to be a clean kill on a large elk with a tough hide. Strength is a necessity to properly shoot a recurve bow.
Top Recurve Bows for Hunting - Table
1. Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
2. Martin Archery Hunter Recurve
The Best Recurve Bows for Hunting
Bottom Line: This is a top notch recurve bow for hunting at a fantastic price, choosing the draw weight when you buy means it is a great bow for beginners to advanced bow hunters
Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow
You’d be hard-pressed to finder a better budget recurve bow than the Samick Sage. It’s a takedown bow, meaning that riser, limbs, and string can all be disassembled to fit in a smaller case (great if you’re flying to your hunting destination). It also means that the limbs can be swapped out to change the draw weight, with the Sage having the option to draw between 25 and 60 lbs. The limbs can also be customized to change the draw length for comfort and to smooth out the draw cycle.
The bow comes pretty basic, but allows for a certain level of customization. While it doesn’t come with any stabilizers, sights, quiver, or arrow rest, it is pre-drilled to add these things later as you see fit. The limbs are constructed of maple wood with a fiberglass coating, which is very resistant to twisting and will last through years of use.
For anyone that is new to recurve bows, this is going to be a great choice. It’s inexpensive, well made and easy to use. It won’t be as nice to shoot as bow that costs three of four times as much, but it’s the best hunting bow for under $300.
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Bottom Line: A truly beautiful bow but don't let that full you, this is no ornament, it has great power behind it and is one of the best recurve bows for hunting
Martin Archery Hunter Review
If you want to take your recurve shooting to the next level, the Martin is the perfect way to do. The limbs are constructed of fiberglass-coated hard maple, but the riser is built from exotic Shedua and Bubinga woods, giving it an incredibly artful appearance. Many people who have shot this bow says it’s the most comfortable they’ve ever used, with the riser providing an amazingly smooth and comfortable grip.
Unlike the Sage, this is not a takedown bow – you cannot remove the limbs from the riser for transport. However, most users have reported that it’s comfortable enough to carry, weighing just over 2-pounds and 62-inches long.
While it might seem like this is a bow designed for longtime recurve enthusiasts, its actually really easy to master. With only a few hours, you can be shooting dinner plate-sized groupings at fifty yards. The draw is unbelievably smooth and vibrations after the shot are minimal.
The biggest disadvantage to this bow is it’s cost at over $500. This is the type of bow you should be buying when you are sure that you love shooting recurve. It’s a great investment and will provide thousands of hours of joyful shooting, but it’s not for someone just getting into the sport. However, if price is not considered, it’s probably the best recurve hunting bow you could buy.
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Best Compound Bow for Hunting
While recurve bows have been used to hunt for several millennia, compound bows are now the most common. Instead of storing energy in the tension of the bow, it’s held in a series of mechanical cams. At full draw, your arm needs to only hold a fraction of the total tension required to fire the arrow, which is expressed by the “let-off”. An 80% let-off on a 60 lb. bow will have you holding 12 lbs. of tension. Higher let-offs are easier to use, but using the cams to store more energy also makes for a bow that doesn’t shoot as straight; the more energy released through the rotating cam the more variation in the draws release (and the less accurate it will be).
Top Compound Bows for Hunting - Table
1. MARTIN ARCHERY Carbon Featherweight Bow
2. Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow
The Best Compound Bow for Hunting Reviews
Bottom Line: This compound hunting bow consists of some great materials and craftsmanship to create a powerful bow that is easy to get to grips with, you will be taking down game like a pro with this.
MARTIN ARCHERY Carbon Featherweight Bow Review
For anyone that hates carrying a heavy bow, the Featherweight is going to be the best compound hunting bow for you. Utilizing composite materials, Martin was able to get the weight down to just 3.5 lbs, which is ideal if you plan to haul this up into a treestand.
That lightweight material and the bows features make for a quiet shot, the carbon riser doesn't vibrate loudly after a shot. If you purchase this bow, you’ll see how silent it can be, add some silencers and it will be in audible (limb dampeners, string silencers, etc.).
The riser’s contoured grip provides a stable and comfortable platform, making it feel like a much more expensive bow than it’s price. The limbs are highly adjustable to give a draw weight between 55 and 70 lbs, which is accomplished by incrementally lowering the draw length. Taking the draw weight to zero also allows the bow to worked on without a bow press, which can be really handy.
This bow is one of the fastest, highest performing bows you’ve ever seen and it was built with that intention. It also focuses on flexibility – the cam system has tons of enjoyment to create a draw cycle that perfectly fits your preferences. It shoots pretty well out of the box, but once you’ve properly tuned it to your needs and found some arrows that work well it will perform even better and rival a much more expensive bow.
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Bottom Line: The package includes everything you need to get out hunting straight away. It includes six trophy ridge accessories - a four-pin sight, a Whisker Biscuit, a 5-arrow quiver, a stabilizer and sling, a peep sight, and a nock loop, overall this is a great compound hunting bow from beginners to advanced shooters
Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow Review
Bear Archery makes some fantastic bows, and any of their models would be a good choice for a serious compound bow hunter. The Cruzer is one of their latest offering and incorporates some of the best technology that the company has to offer.
One of the first things you notice about the Cruzer is how low the left off is, 70%. High left off bows are often lacking in speed and accuracy so this bow doesn't compromise on power – when the cams are storing that much energy, it can be difficult for all of the tension to release smoothly. The MV dual cam systems moderate design makes the draw cycle smooth and easy. The cams are locked to each other with cables twice to give an incredible amount of stability and completely synchronized motion between the cams. In a few words, this well-engineered bow has a let off that is comparable to the smoothness seen in recurve bows.
All that technology comes at a cheap price but is still high quality, with the Cruzer being priced under $400. It has the adjustment ability that would please a novice in the sport, the bow is anything but amateur. Buy this bow whether you have some experience or are a complete beginner, it's great for all levels.
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The Best Bow for You
For many people starting out the sport, finding the right bow can be a real headache. Purchasing the right bow for your needs can be just as challenging (if not more so) as buying a rifle. The technical information can be overwhelming.
Hopefully these review have helped you to consider what features you’d like in your next bow, but always remember that the success of a hunt is about far more than the gear you carry. A bow is just a tool, like a hunting knife, a tool that you would like to have tailored to your needs, but a tool nonetheless. Experience and the better understanding of your pretty that comes with it, will ultimately be what determines the success of a particular hunt.
And remember it is harder to hunt with a bow so will ultimately make you a better hunter, hunting with a rifle fitted with a rifle scope will be a breeze after you master bow hunting