Recurve Bow Hunting Tips

Archery has been popular for millennia, with bowhunting providing an important way to source food from the stone age onwards. But despite technological advances in traditional archery, bowhunting remains popular as a recreational hobby. 

Today we’re going to go through some helpful tips for hunters and keen archers, but before we get to it; it should go without saying that you should always consult and abide by local bylaws when it comes to hunting.  Remember that laws and hunting seasons can vary by country and by state.

Why use a Recurve bow? 

Though the crossbow is favored for taking down big game and a compound bow is considered more advanced in some regards, Recurve bows aren’t typically considered ideal for beginners, with them more often favoring a compound bow or longbow, there are still clear benefits to using a traditional bow like a recurve bow.


 Recurve bows are more versatile than comparable traditional bows, such as the longbow. It is easier to transport  as most are takedown bows, and it can achieve a high draw weight on a short-arm pull. 


 Recurve bows are faster than crossbows and other bow types, with good accuracy making them perfect for hunting as well as competitions and activities that rely on speed. This is why they’re the bow of choice for Olympic competitors. They also have a faster reload speed than Crossbows. 

Ease of Use 

 Recurve bows are usually lighter and thinner than their counterparts, making them easier to use, carry and maneuver. These bows are brilliant for all purposes being versatile, lightweight, and easy to use once you get the hang of them. 

How to choose the best recurve bow

Choosing the best archery equipment is crucial, especially for traditional bowhunters. Your archery gear could affect your success in hunting. 

Draw weight 

Draw weight is the measurement of the power put away in foot-pounds when it is at full draw. Draw weight is an estimation of the effort taken to draw and shoot the bowstring. 

Draw weight is a crucial thing to consider for hunters; you’ll want a higher draw weight in order to dispatch your prey quickly and humanely. It is advisable to select a bow with a draw weight of 40lbs or more to reduce the chance of merely injuring game animals. This is another reason why hunting with a Recurve bow isn’t advised for beginners, as beginners may want to begin with a draw weight of 15-20lbs which isn’t effective for deer hunting. 

Draw length 

Draw length refers to the number of inches an archer must pull a bow in order to reach full draw. 

The importance of draw length is often overlooked but should never be underestimated; it is crucial to maintain accuracy and proper form in archery. With correct draw length, shooters can maximize their draw weight – particularly important for bowhunters since this directly affects how the arrow will penetrate the prey. 


After potentially hours of still hunting and lining up a good shot, you don’t want to lose your prey by making too much noise. Not all recurve bows are quiet, which means you’ll want to pick one that is made with lighter, quieter materials and/or invest in a string silencer. 

Takedown Recurve vs. Traditional Recurve 

Even though a traditional bow can also be a recurve bow, the difference between traditional recurve bows, and modern recurve bows is quite significant. Traditional recurves are made of one piece of wood and don’t come apart, but a takedown bow can be broken down for easy transport/storage (most often into three different pieces).

 Most recurves available today are takedown models, which provide many benefits. The reverse curve of the limbs will allow you to gain maximum force without having to draw the string too far, and they are compact, transportable, and easy to maneuver.

In this day and age, it is rare to find a hunter that uses a traditional recurve bow, as this would be very challenging. Traditional recurves are mostly used for target shooting and competitions. Traditional recurves don’t make use of any modern advancements like stabilizers or high-tech arrow rests. 

Arrow choice 

Choosing the right arrow for bowhunting is important, and while carbon arrows are usually considered the best these days, each arrowhead has its own advantages/disadvantages and ideal uses, too. Let’s go over the core types. 

Broadheads: Broadheads aren’t legal everywhere, but they’re an ideal arrowhead for bowhunters, particularly mechanical bowheads. They’re ideal for shooting long distances and are best paired with bows with higher poundage; they’re particularly suitable for big game.

Blunt point: A blunt steel point used for small game hunting and legal in most states, this arrowhead isn’t designed to penetrate your prey but is designed to kill/stun via blunt force trauma. 

Target arrowhead: Though not as commonly used in hunting, but these arrowheads can be used as they are easy to pull out of your prey (no barbs, etc., obstructing the process).

Hunting Kit Tips

Now that you’ve got your bow and arrows set up, we’ll go over some important hunting gear suggestions that you can integrate into your hunting toolkit, along with your new bow before the next whitetail hunting season. 

Tree stand 

Tree stands are primarily used when hunting deer and can give you an elevated platform, which serves several purposes. Firstly, it can keep your scent away from the deer better. Secondly, it  allows you a greater view of the landscape which can help you score the perfect shot. Both can help you retain the element of surprise. 


A rangefinder is a handy piece of tech that calculates the distance between you and your target, so you hit the bullseye every time. The effective range of most archers will be in the range of about 30 yards, so it’s even more critical that your distance is accurately calculated to keep your prey in your bow sight. 

Field Sprays 

It is a good idea to apply a field spray, soap, or shampoo to yourself and/or your hunting gear before you set off on a hunting trail, as this will disguise your scent and prevent the game from detecting you. Some brands also offer field wipes, which can be used on the go to keep on top of your scent. 

Ground blind 

 A ground blind is almost like a popup camouflage tent that you can use to conceal yourself from your prey, most of which can detect movement quite easily. A ground blind lets you be at eye level and get closer to your prey without being spotted, which is a pretty cool experience and will work well with a recurve bow with limited effective range.

FAQs Recurve Bow Hunting

What type of bow should I use for recurve bow hunting?

The type of bow you should use for recurve bow hunting depends on your preference and skill level, however a traditional or Olympic style recurve is recommended.

What safety precautions should I take when hunting with a recurve bow?

When hunting with a recurve bow it is important to always wear safety glasses, ensure that arrows are not dry-fired (released without an arrow), and make sure the shooting area is clear of any obstructions or bystanders.

When should I replace the string on my recurve bow?

Depending on how often you shoot with your recurve bow it may need to be replaced every couple years; however more frequent replacements may be necessary depending on usage and maintenance habits over time.

What kind of maintenance do I need to perform to keep my recurve bow in good condition?

Regularly inspect all components of the bow for signs of damage or excessive wear, clean off dirt and debris after each use, wax the string regularly to reduce friction, replace worn out strings before they break, store in a cool dry place away from sunlight when not in use, and service at least once per year by an experienced archery technician to maintain peak performance levels are all part of proper maintenance steps that should be taken when caring for a recurve bow.

How can I practice shooting accurately with a recurve bow?

Practicing shooting accurately with a recurve requires practice just like any other sport but there are some additional tips one can do specifically related to archery such as focusing on form while shooting, releasing consistent shots at different distances, investing in quality equipment, sighting consistently through each shot, practicing visualization techniques prior to release, following through after release etc.

Summing up 

In conclusion, a recurve bow is ideal for intermediate to advanced hunters, and my recommendation is that you should look for good quality, lightweight takedown bows if you’re in the market for a new bow. Some other bows, such as the Compound bow, may be better for a beginner (due to the let-off benefit), and though crossbows are slower, they may be ideal for those with lower upper body strengths. In addition to this, there are a wealth of different hunting accessories and products on the market right now to help you become a better hunter. 


About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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