Although the level of technology is not as advanced as that used in compound bows and crossbows, a large number of archers still choose to use the recurve bow in hunting, target practice and sports competitions. Due to high demand, many established manufacturers include recurve bows in their line of production. There is a wide range of modern, traditional, specialty and custom-made recurve bows from which to choose. They come in various makes, models and in different prices. Here, we’ll try to help you find the best recurve bows for hunting.
Recurve Bows vs Other Bows
It is difficult to imagine archery and hunting without the compound bow and the modern crossbow. Technology has made these two bows more efficient, effective, accurate, and easier to use by mounting sights and other accessories like pulley systems, crank cockers, and locking devices to reduce the force needed when you draw the bow.
On the other hand, the recurve bow is simple and has limbs that curve outwards away from the shooter to store energy and give the arrow greater force and speed when released. The main difference between the recurve bow, compound bow, and crossbow is that compound bows use a pulley system and crossbows use a crank or rope cockers and a locking device to reduce the force needed to hold the draw. Recurve bows depend on the outward curve of the limbs on the bow to provide the force that will propel the arrow. Consequently, they require additional effort to aim.
Considerations for Spotting the Best Recurve Bows for Hunting
Choosing a good recurve bow can be a daunting task due to the numerous models that are on the market. Before making a purchase, any interested archer will need to know which recurve bows are available. Also, they should consider the price range, their benefits, draw weight and quietness of the bow. This article intends to give you tips and details that will help you choose the best hunting recurve bow that is suitable for your needs.
1) Draw Weight
You will need to purchase a recurve bow with a draw weight of 40 pounds and above to get a bow with enough force to kill game as big as say a whitetail deer. A draw weight of less than 40 pounds will probably just injure the animal without killing it. Thus, weaker bows allow it to run away with your arrow and needlessly suffer in the process.
The higher the draw weight the further your arrow will travel and have enough force to penetrate and kill your prey. You have to choose a draw weight that will not be too much for your muscles to handle when you draw the bow.
Most adults can easily handle a draw weight of 40-50lbs. You can use the points below as a guide on the draw weight to choose when you buy a recurve bow:
- If you are not sure of how much draw weight you can handle or a beginner, buy a bow with 40-45lbs draw weight.
- Experienced archer with strong arm and back muscles should choose a bow with a draw weight of 45lbs and above.
- If you have a small build or happen to be buying the bow for a teenager, choose one with a draw weight of not more than 40lbs. You will eventually get stronger and be able to handle bigger draw weights.
2) Length of the Bow
The length the bow will determine its accuracy. A longer bow delivers a more accurate shot. The length of a bow is measured from tip to tip and the minimum length of the best recurve bows for hunting is 58 inches. Top recurve bows have a length of 60 inches and above. In addition, long bow lengths result in less pinching of your fingers when at full draw.
It would be more convenient to purchase a takedown recurve bow for hunting. The best hunting recurve bow can measure 60 inches and above and transporting it in a small car may cause the limbs to bend or even break. With the best takedown recurve bow, you can detach the limbs from the riser by unscrewing screws on the bow to make transportation and storage easier.
4) Know your Prey
The size of the prey you intend to hunt will determine the draw weight of the bow you purchase. If you want to hunt small game like turkey, rabbits and deer from a distance of 30 yards, a 40lbs draw weight bow will do the job. A bow with a 40 pounds draw weight may not be enough to kill bigger game like black bear or elk from a distance of 30 yards and you will need to move closer to the animal in order to get a fatal shot. It should go without saying, but typically you are either set up in a ground blind or tree stand. The distance you will get to the animal is how close they come to you.
Sometimes, extremely proficient hunters will stalk prey but more than likely you will be in a stationary spot and allow the animal to move in its natural environment.
Draw Weight vs Prey Type
The guidelines below will help you choose the draw weight that is best for your hunting excursion:
- A bow with a draw weight of 50lbs is sufficient for all your hunting needs. Usually it can shoot big game from a distance of 20-30 yards
- If you hunt small game, a bow with a 40lbs draw weight is more than enough
- If you are undecided on the size of game you want to hunt or have no experience in hunting, bows with 45lbs draw weights make the best recurve bows for hunting.
Hunting recurve bows are divided into different classes depending on how they are constructed. Modern recurve bows are made of either wood or metal risers. Wooden risers are lighter, more attractive, come in laminations of different high quality hardwood colors and they are less stiff compared to metal risers. Risers can also either be deflexed or reflexed. This means that on a deflexed riser, the point where the limb meets the riser is behind the grip of the bow while on reflexed risers, the point is in front of the grip.
Deflexed risers are more forgiving of minor archer flaws whereas reflexed models tend to be more sensitive to the archer’s minor flaws. Deflexed risers have a bigger brace height (the distance from the back of the bow to the string when the bow is not drawn). Thus, this results in a shorter power stroke and less arrow speed. Reflexed risers have less brace height, a longer power stroke (the distance over which the limbs push the arrow forward after you release the string) and this facilitates greater arrow speed.
Modern recurve bows have either limbs that are permanently fixed to the riser, or limbs you can detach from the riser for takedown models. Some archers are of the opinion that fixed limb recurve bows tend to be more attractive than models with removable ones. We actually prefer the takedown model because of its adjustability.
While the draw weight for fixed limb bows cannot change, you can fit limbs of different draw weights to takedown bows. When you buy a recurve bow with fixed limbs, you should choose the most suitable draw weight for what you want to do while with takedown limbs, you can buy extra sets of limbs with different draw weights and use the bow for target shooting, hunting or 3-D archery.
The price range of a good quality hunting recurve bow is between 200-1000 dollars. Most importantly, you should make sure the bow fits comfortably in your hands. It is always prudent to go for the highest quality bow you can afford keeping in mind that cheaper bows, especially those made by unknown manufacturers, are usually of poor quality and do not last. Note that some bows are more expensive simply because the come with accessories.
Expensive high quality bows tend to last longer and will eventually save you money. You will end up spending more on repairs and replacements of worn out parts for cheaper low quality models. There are also cheaper second hand models of high quality recurve bows sold on the internet.
The Best Recurve Bows for Hunting
Examples of recurve bows available in the market are the PSE Mustang Recurve Bow, the Courage Takedown Recurve Archery Bow and the Sage Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow. Comparing these three models is a good starting point if you are in the market for a recurve bow.
PSE Mustang Recurve Bow-Right-Hand
This takedown recurve bow measures 60 inches long, weighs 2.2 pounds and is easy to assemble by attaching the limbs to the riser using screws that come with it. You can use your hands to tighten the screws and a stringer to string the bow. The PSE Mustang Recurve Bow is designed for hunters. This model has a maximum draw weight of 55lbs and can shoot very accurately to a range past 30 yards. Pros and cons include:
- Equipped with a Black Walnut and Cherry Riser with pre-drilled holes for screwing on the limbs, stabilizers, sight and other accessories
- Bow features a set of limbs made of Maple wood and fiberglass, draw weights of 45-50-55lbs
- Affordable and made with quality durable material
- Has a Berger button-hole on the riser for installing a spring loaded cushion plunger to correct the bend of the arrow when it is released.
- Its description reads that this bow comes in camo. Perhaps not truly a con, it instead looks like beautifully marbled wood.
- This model only comes in 60″ bow lengths.
Courage Takedown Recurve Archery Bow
The Courage Takedown Recurve bow is ideal for beginners as well as advanced archers. It has a fiberglass protection on the limbs and is easy to assemble and transport. The bow has a draw weight of 35-55lbs and it is 60 inches long. It’s the right length for both beginners and advanced archers. Pros and cons include:
- The bow is sturdy yet lightweight, making it easy to transport and store
- It is easy to assemble/disassemble and you can screw on the limbs using an Allen wrench provided
- Has a hard wood riser and wooden limbs with fiberglass face for added protection, comfort, stability, precise shooting and greater arrow speed
- Pre-installed Brass Bushings for installing Stabilizer, Brass Plunger, Sight and Quiver
- It is sold at an affordable price and comes with a 3 year limited warranty for defective parts, replacements, repairs and damaged products
- The bow is available in only one size, 60 inches
- The bow lacks a “ready to use package”. Therefore, you will have to buy accessories separately, including the arrows.
- Minimum recurve bow draw weight when hunting is often 40lbs. The 35-pound model may be inappropriate for some hunters.
Sage Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow
The Sage Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow is an improved version of the outstanding Samick Sage model. It is becoming one of the favorite recurve bows on the market. With its elegant red wood riser finish, improved limb pockets and rounded edges, strengthened limb tips, and flush limb bolts, it looks like most top recurve bows.
This top quality Takedown bow is very efficient and versatile. Interestingly, it is the bow that most Olympic Games archery athletes choose. Its removable limbs and lightweight design allows for easy transportation and storage whether you are doing outdoor sports, target shooting or bow hunting.
The Sage Spyder recurve bow is 62 inches long, weighs 2.7 pounds, has a draw weight of 20-60lbs and it is ideal for beginners as well as advanced archers. Pros and cons include:
- A free arrow rest, Allen wrench and optional stringing tool is provided
- Has a comfortable grip and an elegant sleek durable red wood finish riser design
- Removable limbs for easy transportation and storage
- Riser has pre-drilled holes for attaching accessories
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Available for both right and left handed archers
- The manufacturer provides a one-year warranty.
- The arrow rest is made of questionable plastic material and may need quick replacement.
Among these recurve bows for hunting, the PSE Mustang Recurve Bow and the Courage Takedown Recurve bow both have risers made of wood with fiberglass limb lamination. It protects their limbs and provides a durable, elegant finish. Both recurve bows have pre-drilled holes for attaching other accessories like stabilizers and sights. The Sage Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow also has an elegant wood riser finish and pre-drilled holes on the riser for attaching limbs and other accessories. All three are lightweight takedown bows. As such, they provide the benefits of being easy to assemble, disassemble, transport and store.
The PSE Mustang Recurve Bow has a draw weight of 45-55lbs and is perfectly suitable for hunting. It is, however, not ideal for small-framed persons and beginners. It can shoot beyond a range of 30 yards effectively.
The Courage Takedown Recurve bow has a draw weight of 35-55lbs and can be used for both archery competitions and hunting. Also, it is a good idea for beginners as well as advanced archers.
The Sage Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow is an all-round high performance, top quality archery and hunting bow. It has a draw weight of 20-60lbs making it very versatile and is ideal for both beginners and professionals. Its performance and appearance is at par to some of the more expensive high-end recurve bows.
Choosing the best recurve bow for hunting can be a difficult task. Different bows are used for specific needs. Some bows are suitable for beginners. Others are ideal for archery competitions, target practice or bow hunting. Whatever bow you decide to settle for, always make sure that its specs match your needs. Happy hunting!