Which hunting bows are best?
There are many different types of bows, so deciding which bow is best for hunting can be challenging, especially for beginners. Things like stability, material, draw weight and draw length are all factors when choosing a hunting bow.
Besides that, there are different types of hunting bows, such as the recurve bow and compound bow. If you’re a beginner looking for a good, compound hunting bow, check out the Bear Archery Cruzer G2 Adult Compound Bow.
What to know before you buy a hunting bow
Types of bows
Two of the most common types of hunting bows are the compound bow and the recurve bow.
- Compound bows: Used in hunting and target practice, compound bows offer a lot more power than most recurve bows. They also have an easier draw and increased aim accuracy. Some compound bows come with a riser, which is the core foundation of the bow where accessories like sights and stabilizers are positioned. These bows also have limbs that flex when the user pulls the drawstring. Compound bows are more rigid and energy efficient than other hunting bows.
- Recurve bows: Recurve bows are highly popular with beginner archers for their fast shooting, accuracy and stability. They have minimal to no handshock, so they don’t hurt the user’s hand. Recurve bows come with fewer features than compound bows, which may make them easier to use.
- Other bows: Crossbows are popular for modern archery and target practice, but they can be used in hunting, too. Some people consider longbows hunting bows, but most people use them for archery instead.
Compound bows are usually made from a combination of aluminum, carbon fiber and fiberglass. A carbon fiber riser, which is the middle part of the bow, is usually stronger than an aluminum riser. Aluminum, however, may be lighter.
The bow’s limbs are often made from composite materials or fiberglass. They may be laminated with various materials or layers to add to the strength and durability of the bow.
Recurve bows, on the other hand, may consist of maple, hickory, bamboo or another type of wood. Maple and hickory are among the strongest options.
As for bowstrings, most bowstrings are made from synthetic materials such as:
- BCY 452X, a common, stable bowstring that offers a lot of speed when shooting.
- BCY D97, a more economical and more common option for recurve bowstrings that helps absorb the shock of a finished draw.
- BCY 8125, which is considered the fastest bowstring, but may stretch in high temperatures.
Feet per second (FPS)
Feet per second refers to the speed of an arrow once shot. Several factors play into calculating the FPS, such as draw weight, draw length, weather patterns and the weight of the arrows.
Most modern compound bows have between 270 and 340 feet per second, which is enough to take down bigger game like deer. Recurve bows can also be measured with FPS, but they may offer less speed than compound bows with an average of 150 to 200 FPS.
Depending on the type of game, arrows and general conditions, anything above 270 FPS is considered enough for hunting deer or similar game.
Each state has its own requirements when it comes to using a hunting bow. Some states have a maximum draw weight, for example. Others may allow a bow to have certain mechanisms like automatically loaded arrows, while others don’t. Check with your state’s guidelines before purchasing and using a hunting bow to hunt game.
What to look for in a quality hunting bow
Bow length and height
The bow length is the measurement from the topmost to the bottommost part of the limb. This measurement is usually taken when the bow is unstrung. It’s important in determining how forgiving the bow is when used. In most cases, the longer the measurement, the more stable the bow. For example, a bow length of 35 inches is more forgiving than a bow length of 28 inches.
Bow height is the distance between the bow grip and the bowstring. This is also known as the bow’s brace height. Hunting bows that are between 6 and 7 inches long are best for beginners or those who want to fire arrows at a higher velocity. The main downside of a shorter brace height is that the bowstring may slap or hit the archer’s arm.
The draw length is the distance from the throat of the grip to the nock point, plus an additional inch and three quarters.
To determine your ideal draw length, stand straight against a wall and stretch out your arms horizontally. Then, have someone measure the distance from your middle fingers. Subtract 15 from this measurement and divide it by two to get the draw length.
The average draw length is 30 inches. This doesn’t mean the archer must pull it back exactly 30 inches though. Rather, it’s best to choose a draw length that feels right.
Draw weight refers to the number of pounds needed to pull back and hold a fully drawn bow. When a person says they shoot a 60-pound bow, for instance, they’re referring to the draw weight.
The draw weight is important for several reasons. For one, it influences the speed in which a bow can fire an arrow. For another, certain draw weights are needed to effectively hunt and kill certain game. When hunting deer, for example, you may need a 40-pound draw weight or above.
A bow technician may be able to adjust the draw weight if it’s unmanageable. Another option is to build up strength by doing certain exercises like push-up or band lateral raises.
Some compound bounds have cams, which allow for the transfer of energy into the limbs of the bow. Cams also manipulate the draw weight and release of an arrow. Depending on their shape, they can influence the ease at which an archer fully draws an arrow.
Single and dual cams are the most common types of cams. Single cams allow for a bow to shoot with more precision and reduced noise. However, the potential for over-drawing an arrow is higher. Dual cams are better for competitive shooters and prevent over-drawing, but they are often less accurate.
For beginners, it may be better to start off with a single cam to help improve accuracy and precision.
Handling and grip
When handling a bow, it’s important to properly grip it to avoid injury or missing a shot. The grip should be comfortable for your hand. Most grips are made from plastic, wood, rubber or certain types of metal. Some customizable grips offer additional flexibility.
When it comes to hunting, arrow weight is another thing to consider. Lightweight arrows are faster than heavier ones and are ideal for long-distance shooting. They may be louder than heavy arrows, however.
Medium-weight or heavier arrows are usually better for hunting game, since they can better penetrate vital organs.
- Light arrows weigh around 350 grains
- Heavy arrows weigh 600+ grains
- Medium-weight arrows weigh 400 to 500 grains
Every hunting bow makes sound when in use. A bow that’s too noisy can scare away any game, so it’s important to properly tune it to keep the noise to a minimum. Beginner archers also tend to make more noise when shooting, due to a lack of practice and proper form. Higher-end bows are the quietest option, but a sound dampener or string silencer can also help cut back on sound.
How much you can expect to spend on a hunting bow
The average hunting bow that comes with a few arrows and quiver will cost between $500-$800. Hunting bows for beginners may cost only a few hundred dollars, while higher-end models can be $1,000 or more.
Hunting bow FAQ
What accessories do I need for my hunting bow?
A. Along with the bow itself, make sure you have a good set of arrows, hunting clothes, boots and a first-aid kit in case of injury. Other optional accessories include a different grip or sight, stabilizers and string silencers.
Where can I adjust and tune my hunting bow?
A: Archery shops and ranges can adjust or tune a bow for you. You can also practice tuning it by following an online tutorial. Some beginner hunting bows come with a guide on routine maintenance and care for the bow.
What’s the best hunting bow to buy?
Top hunting bow
What you need to know: This midrange hunting bow is customizable based on the user’s style and skill, which makes it ideal for beginners.
What you’ll love: With an adjustable 12- to 30-inch draw length and maximum draw weight of 70 pounds, this bow is ideal for hunting medium and larger game.
What you should consider: Some upgrades and accessories are not included.
Top hunting bow for the money
What you need to know: This is a great option for all skills levels.
What you’ll love: This hunting bow offers 320 FPS, a stabilizer and replacement strings and cables. It fires fast and has a draw weight of 70 pounds, is 100% adjustable for adults, youth and teens, is made in the U.S. and comes with various accessories.
What you should consider: There are higher-end hunting bows out there, though at a higher price point.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With an adjustable draw weight from five to 70 pounds, this hunting bow is great for those that want to tune their archery skills for maximum accuracy.
What you’ll love: Along with a seamless draw and integral stabilizer, this bow is perfectly balanced and offers a steady shot. It also has several replaceable or upgradable components for ultimate customization.
What you should consider: This bow is best for beginners, rather than professional hunters. It could have a better sight.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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