While expert archers already know that only certain recurve bows can be used for hunting, many novices and new archers may not. Hunting requires a recurve bow that’s been specifically designed for taking down game. By choosing the wrong one, you can end up with an underpowered shot, a broken bow, and a major safety risk!
Recurve bows designed for hunting have specific features which allow the hunter to hit a target mark from a safe distance. They’re powerful, hit hard, and have features to cut down on noise which can startle prey just as the arrow’s about to hit. We’ve put in the time and energy to properly research the best models for hunting, so you can be sure you’re prepared this season!
Let’s look at the our favorite recurve options for hunting. We chose them based on their draw weight, level of accuracy, potential for making noise, price point, and user reviews. In our in-depth reviews, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about each of these models. After looking at the top 3 best recurve bows for hunting, we will help you select the one that’s best for you!
First, take a quick look at :
The Best Seller
Top 3 Best Recurve Bows for Hunting
3. Martin Archery Panther Take Down Bow, Next G2 Camo, #30
The Panther is our favorite takedown bow for hunting. It’s an adaptive, agile model with plenty of opportunities for customization and modification. We really like the machined aluminum riser, as well as the special vibration absorption system. This one’s a great choice for new hunters, since it can be modified to grow with you! Plus, many hunters who bought the Panther as a beginner model ended up keeping it, since it performs so well!
The takedown design makes the Panther extremely adaptable. Being able to switch the draw weights around makes this one ideal for people who hunt multiple types of game. It’s also perfect for younger or beginning hunters, who want one that can grow with their abilities.
The riser is machined from aluminum for a great combination of lightness and strength.
It’s pre-drilled and socketed so you can mount accessories, like a quiver, sight, or other extras. The factory sockets are a big plus, because they ensure that your sight works perfectly with the bow itself.
There’s a special “Vibration Vortex” system built into the riser. It’s there to absorb and dampen vibrations and sound from the limbs. The result is a faster, quieter than other takedowns, like the Martin Jaguar.
Previous buyers were very impressed, especially when they compared the Panther to others they had shot. We heard lots of archers with large collections say that the Panther was their favorite, go-to bow. Many wrote that it was the smoothest and quietest they’d ever fired.
The smooth, quiet shot is especially important when you’re after game. This one won’t startle your prey, and you won’t have to worry about any wobble or friction in the shot.
It’s the most affordable choice for hunting. This one costs $100 less than our next recommendation up the price scale, the Grizzly from Bear.
Previous buyers said that the included arrow shelf felt cheap and wasn’t quite as nice as the rest of it. They recommended replacing it.
We did find a couple isolated complaints about quality control from buyer who received products with warped limbs. However, it doesn’t seem to be a widespread issue at all.
2. Bear Grizzly Recurve Bow
This classic choice is a solidly built, hard-hitting bow for serious hunters. It has beautiful wood construction, with fiberglass and a special pressure treatment for added durability. Previous buyers said it shoots very smoothly, and absorbs any vibration in the limbs. You won’t get any kickback in the handgrip, which makes the Grizzly feel both solid and powerful. We love it for its looks, as well as its impeccable reputation for quality.
It comes in a range of draw weights, from 30# to 60#. That makes it easy for most shooters to find their ideal Grizzly. Plus, you can choose the draw weight you need for the game you want to hunt! Be sure to check the legal hunting weights for game in your state before you buy.
The limbs are double-faced maple and fiberglass. They provide the best of the old world and the new-the beauty and flex of wood with the durability of fiberglass. We couldn’t find any reports of breakages or damage from previous buyers, which is very impressive.
The 58” length makes for a manageable size for most archers.
The riser section is cut from a solid block of red maple. It’s incredibly hard, thanks to the special vacuum process Bear use to pressurize and seal the wood. We’re very impressed by its combination of beauty and durability. The glossy finish emphasizes the grain very nicely.
The wood surfaces are finished in a satin gloss to prevent warping and moisture damage, as well as to protect the bow from scuffs and scrapes.
The Dacron Flemish string is super reliable, and fires true every time. Many previous buyers wrote in their reviews that they were very impressed by the Grizzly’s performance out of the box, and said they were surprised to feel no urge to change the string.
The shelf and arrow nock are cut past center, for the smoothest release possible. The shelf is covered in real bear hair.
You know you’ve got a good design when it hasn’t had to change for 40 years! The Grizzly has been exactly the same since the ’60s. It’s beloved by longtime archers, and always makes the top lists for recommendations in archery and hunting periodicals. If you’re an advanced archer, you can’t do much better.
While this one’s still at the affordable end of the hunting spectrum, it’s still more expensive than many other bows. The Grizzly will cost you almost $400.
Since this is a traditional bow rather than a takedown design, you have to choose a weight and stick with it.
1. Bear Archery Super Kodiak Recurve
The Super Kodiak was the favored bow of Bear Archery’s founder, Fred Bear. Mr. Bear took this one on countless hunts, taking down lions, buffaloes, polar and grizzly bears in the process. This is a premium bow, made from great woods, smart composites, and with plenty of punch for taking down the biggest game you could be chasing. For the lifetime archer with grand hunting ambitions!
It’s made of premium woods, with a stunning design. This one uses layered maple, like the Grizzly, but adds some accent pieces made from Brazilian rosewood. The limbs are maple backed with fiberglass, just like the Grizzly. The Kodiak adds some cool black and white styling which make it stand out from the pack by a long shot.
It’s a bit more powerful than the Grizzly. This is a bow you can use for hunting the largest game out there. The best part is that it still feels manageable and smooth. The Super Kodiak also comes in just as many weight options as the Grizzly, with limbs from 30-60 pounds.
The riser adds a few big upgrades, for aesthetics and function at the same time. There’s a double-layered wood design, which adds character without weakening the structure. The arrow rest is extra wide, and lined with leather for smooth takeoffs. There’s also a feather rest for achieving faultless flight.
It’s just as reliable as the Grizzly. All of the wood pieces are treated with the same pressure system, so they can withstand huge amounts of tension without weakening.
We challenge you to find a single complaint about this bow. While it’s premium-priced, the Super Kodiak is spectacularly well-built, easy to shoot, and perfectly accurate. You really can’t do any better. As experienced hunters will tell you, this one’s worth every penny.
It’s very expensive. The Super Kodiak will cost you over $500, easily. That’s certainly not an accessible price point for the casual hunter. The Super Kodiak is really only a bow for the serious archer to whom money isn’t an object.
Now that you’ve had a closer look at our recommendations, which one should you buy?
The Martin Panther is the best bet for archers on a budget. It’s the most affordable of our recommendations, by a fairly big margin. The Panther is light, agile, and packs a surprisingly powerful punch. We also think it makes an ideal bow for new archers and younger hunters who need a bow that will grow with their fledgling abilities! The takedown design makes it easy to change the draw weight as you get stronger and more accurate. We also love the pre-drilled accessory sockets, so you can add on as you size up!
For lifelong archers, we’d look at either one of the Bear models. The Grizzly is the more affordable choice of the two, and it provides some great performance. It’s been one of the top selling bows on the market for 40-years for a reason! We love the solid wood riser, with its unique grains and lustrous finish. It’s also a very reliable performer. It’s more powerful than the Martin, and has much fewer weak points because of the set limbs. The Grizzly also has a higher-quality feel, thanks to the treated woods. While this one might cost you a bit more than the Martin, it’ll last you for years and years with no issues. The only real downside is the set limbs, which mean you’ll have to choose a permanent draw weight.
If you’re an experienced hunter looking for the absolute best recurve bow on the market, look no further than the Bear Super Kodiak. It’s even better than the Grizzly, and has a very unique visual character, with the two-tone woods and contrasting fiberglass. The Super Kodiak is the most powerful of our recommendations, and it’s absolutely an heirloom bow that you can pass down for generations. However, it’s got a pretty hefty pricetag, and it’s probably overkill for the casual hunter who won’t take it out every day or two.
How to Select the Best Hunting Bow for You
While every recurve on the market can be used for target practice, they cannot all be used for hunting. As a result, there are certain aspects to consider when choosing one for hunting. Before you make any decisions, think carefully about the type of hunting you’re planning on doing. Think about range, animal, and conditions. These will all help you figure out your answers to the prompts below.
The Most Important Features to Consider When Purchasing a Bow for Hunting
Now that you know which ones are the best hunting recurve models, and you’ve thought about your own hunting goals, let’s look at how you can narrow down your options to find your ideal weapon.
Establish Your Appropriate Draw Weight
When choosing a bow for hunting, you’ll need to stay above a threshold of 40 pounds. That’s the minimum force you’ll need to hunt whitetail deer and other smaller game. The higher the draw weight of your weapon, the further your arrow will be able to travel with the force that is needed to penetrate your prey.
Keep in mind that novice hunters may have a difficult time handling a draw weight of 40 lbs. or more. As a result, we always recommend that you work to build up the standard draw weight of 40 lbs. before you head out in the woods to hunt. That can seem a bit daunting, and we know it can seem like a long process. However, if you participate in regular target practice, you should find that the amount of draw weight you can handle increases quickly.
If you’re going to have to grow into your hunting bow, it’s best to either have another bow with a lower weight, or a hunting bow with takedown limbs, so that you can increase the weight as you get stronger.
Check out our chart of recommended draw weights based on age, gender, and weight.
The Quietness Factor
When hunting, the noise level of the bow is the second most important thing to consider after draw weight. If your bow vibrates or twangs loudly, it will definitely startle your game, and throw off your hunt. Your prey will jump out of the target area while the arrow is in flight! We’ve taken care to recommend quiet models here.
While every bow makes some sort of noise, they can be quietened further by using a stabilizer or silencer. These kits are fairly inexpensive, and can make a big difference in helping you bag the big one! Vibrations can also give your hands and wrists some serious shock, so it’s worth spending the extra money to stabilize the weapon.
First, you should know that your new hunting bow shouldn’t be cheap. While you don’t have to spend $1,000, you should plan on investing at least $250. Get the highest quality bow that you can afford, and spend the extra money to get one that fits comfortably in your hands. Cheaper bows, particularly those manufactured by unknown brands, tend to be poor quality and not very durable. They also fit awkwardly, which can keep you from developing your natural form and balance.
If price is an object, keep two things in mind: first, that high-quality bows like these usually work great even decades after the purchase date. That means that while you’ll have to shell out a bit more at the outset, you won’t have to spend extra money on repairs or replacements. Second, that there are used models of all these bows for sale on the internet. You can often find them significantly cheaper than the brand new models.
If you are new to hunting and to archery in general, it is a good idea to head over to our main Best Recurve Bow Reviews page to gain a better understanding of what you should consider prior to purchasing any recurve bow. You’ll also get a better sense of the market as a whole.
Want to see the rest of the most popular recurve bows for hunting? Check out the best sellers on Amazon!