Best Recurve Bows For Hunting

The thrill of being out on the hunt is exhilarating. You against nature, seeking to out-pace, out-maneuver, and out-smart your prey, taking home a trophy to immortalize your success. Incredible! But when using so much modern tech and gadgetry to take down your kill, is it really fair? Why not really prove your skills by dropping all the accessories and using a recurve bow for hunting?! We’ve reviewed a heap of recurves from the best brands and took many out on hunts with our friends and are happy to bring you our list of top 7 best recurve bows for hunting!

It is important to recognize the recurve bows, sometimes called traditional bows, are almost always very light-on when it comes to technology and accessories, favoring a more raw approach to hunting. It is not uncommon to purchase a recurve bow as a barebow, meaning it comes with no bells and whistles at all and is basically just the bowstring, limbs and riser.

While picking our top 7, we considered price/value as a primary factor, as this is critical whether you’re a beginner or seasoned pro. Our reviews cover all the factors your should keep in mind when you consider the recurve bow that is best for you. Check them out!

Best Recurve Bows For Hunting 2022 Reviews:

Model

Draw Weight

Price

best recurve bow for hunting

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

25 to 60 pounds

best recurve bows

Cabela's Warden Recurve Bow

45 pounds

Cabela's Thundor Recurve Bow

29 pounds

best takedown recurve bows

PSE Archery Pro Max Traditional Takedown

25 pounds

best recurve takedown bows

Southwest Archery Spyder XL Takedown Recurve Bow

30 to 55 pounds

best budget recurve bows

OEELINE Airobow Takedown Hunting Recurve Bow

25 to 55 pounds

best recurve bows 2022

PSE Archery Night Hawk Traditional Bow

20 to 40 pounds

1: Samick Sage Recurve Bow – Best Beginner Recurve Bow

samick sage recurve bow

Samick Sage Takedown recurve bow is highly regarded as one of the best recurve bows for beginners. This was one of the first recurve bows I ever used, so I can vouch for it as a beginner recurve hunting bow.

Samick Sage comes in the right, and left-hand options and has an excellent design that will look good and perform even better!

Pros and Features

  • Maple riser for a lightweight and durable experience
  • Fiberglass laminated limbs for durability and weather-proofing
  • Threaded brass bushings to allow for any add-ons such as a bow sight
  • 62 inches from tip-to-tip with a 28 inch draw length
  • Huge draw weight range from 25 to 60 pounds means this traditional bow will suit all skill levels and builds
  • Ergonomic design for comfortable shooting
  • Comes with arrow rest pre-installed, but no other accessories
  • Takedown bow design means it can be deconstructed for transport, storage or modification
  • 14 dacron bowstring

Cons and Risks

  • Several reports of poor quality control in manufacturing and packaging leading to occasional defects such as loose bushings and incorrect string lengths

The Samick Sage has become a bestseller for many reasons. It’s highly reliable design and lightweight materials make this recurve bow an awesome choice.

Barebow hunters will love the no-frills offering (you can even remove the pre-installed arrow rest if you like!) but the threaded brass bushings and take down design mean those who enjoy some of the modern technology available on the market today or plan on future mods can also enjoy this bow.

The bow is easily adjustable and offers both hand orientations, which a massive plus for left-handers!

All this and the price of this recurve hunting bow is well short of $200! You will love this bow, and it will last you a long time!

Check Current Price and Rating on Amazon

2: Cabela’s Warden Recurve Hunting Bow

trad bow hunting

The Cabela’s Warden Recurve Bow is an excellent choice for traditional bowhunters and another great beginner choice. 

This premium quality recurve bow will ensure a good time at the range when you head out for target practice but is also super reliable even on a serious hunting trip in the challenging conditions which we sometime face.

Pros and Features

  • Durable design with laminated hardwood riser and fiberglass limbs
  • Draw weight of 45 pounds, giving it great power and effective distance
  • Tip-to-tip length of 62 inches
  • Lightweight at only 2.7 pounds
  • Centre cut-away riser
  • High-quality Dacron string
  • Accessory slots for quiver and stabilizer, but nothing pre-installed

Cons and Risks

  • Some reports that the bow is a little noisy when fired, which could be a problem when hunting skittish prey

This hunting bow is dependable and durable, and the best part is that you can learn archery with this bow without spending a lot.

Overall good value and a low price – Definitely worth a try!!

 Check Current Price and Reviews at Bass Pro Shops

3: Cabela’s Thundor Recurve Bow

traditional bows for hunting

The Cabela’s Thundor Recurve Bow is similar to the Warden, but with some more modern features that have optimized the bow for smaller game hunting. 

This premium quality, modern recurve bow will ensure a good time at the range when you head out for target practice but is also super reliable even on a serious hunting trip in the challenging conditions which we sometime face.

Pros and Features

  • Reinforced aluminum riser with fiberglass wrapped maple limbs – Super durable
  • Draw weight of 29 pounds
  • Draw length of up to 28 inches
  • 66 inches at full length
  • Centre cut-away riser
  • Ergonomic design with form-fitting grip
  • Arrow rest built in

Cons and Risks

  • Slightly large handle on the wooden riser may be a little awkward for people will small hands
  • Draw weight not likely to be sufficient for larger game

The Cabela’s Thundor Hunting Recurve bow is light weight, easy to hold and maneuver with, and will allow you to stealthily take down small to medium sized game.

Another candidate for best beginner bow, particularly if your aren’t going after larger game like deer or elk.

 Check Current Price and Reviews at Bass Pro Shops

4: PSE Archery Pro Max Traditional Takedown Recurve Bow

traditional bows

Here’s an option for those looking to include a little bit of tech when using a recurve bow for hunting. 

PSE Archery Pro Max recurve bow is a great weapon to own as it has the strength and accuracy that go a long way. I loved the accuracy of this recurve hunting bow.

It comes with all the accessories and is ready to go for the first hunting trip!

This weapon is easy to handle and does not weigh a lot. Here are some features:

Pros and Features

  • Engineered dymondwood riser with maple wood and fiberglass risers
  • Includes bow and all the accessories you need to get started
  • Accessories include stick-on arrow rest, recurve stringer to attach string, adjustable bow sight ,arm guard, hip quiver and finger savers
  • All the above plus three 28 inch carbon arrows!
  • Available in 20 or 25 pound draw weight
  • 62 inches in length
  • Centre cut-away riser
  • Right and a left-hand orientation option
  • Draw weight of 25 pounds
  • Tool-less design, no allen key to take down or reconstruct the bow

Cons and Risks

  • Several reports that the accessories which come with the bow are poor quality
  • Low draw weight will not be suitable for large game

Straight up incredible value. You get all the bow hunting essentials tools to get you started straight out of the box! As soon as it arrives, put everything together (the stringer will help with putting the string on) and your ready to go to the archery range to start practicing shooting some targets (maybe even some targets you built yourself!). 

The finger savers help with manual shooting if archers do not want to use the mechanical release.

Unless you had planned on going after big game, or you’re a real pro looking for some serious power, you can’t really go wrong with this recurve bow for hunting. The value is just too hard to ignore!

Check Current Price and Rating on Amazon

5: Southwest Archery Spyder XL Takedown Recurve Bow – Best Bow For Pro Hunters

recurve traditional bows

One for the seasoned recurve bow hunters and would have to be a strong contender for best bow I’ve ever shot!

This thing is a beast! Although it offers lower draw weight options, at the upper end of the draw weight range it has serious firepower and will let you take on big game like deer or even bears.

It’s made by a USA-based company and is designed with recurve bow hunting as a priority. Sturdy, efficient and gorgeous to look at, you’ll love this traditional bow!

Pros and Features

  • Hand-crafted solid wood riser made from white oak, dymondwood and podouk
  • Hard maple wood laminated in fiberglass
  • Reinforced tips are suitable for flemish or fast flight strings
  • Draw weight of 30 to 55 pounds, providing options for power and effective range
  • 64″ in length – Great for taller hunters
  • Centre cut-away riser
  • Available in both left and right-hand orientation
  • Threaded bushings ready for various attachments such as sights and stabilizers (none included)
  • Comes with a one year manufacturers warranty!

Cons and Risks

  • Really not anything to complain about here, but there are cheaper options if you’re on a budget

This bow screams quality and value. It’s obvious that Southwest Archery have lived up to their goal of producing higher quality bows but what’s so amazing is that they still do it at such a great price!

Although this bow can be used by beginners by selecting a lower draw weight model, where it really shines is in the hands of a pro going after a big target! It’s lightweight, maneuverable, flexible and downright powerful.

This recurve bow for hunting is designed to exceed your expectations, stand up to rugged conditions, and stay with you for years.

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6: OEELINE Airobow Hunting Recurve Takedown Bow – Best Budget Option

bare bow archery

Here’s a traditional bow for archers on a tight budget! Don’t worry though, the quality is still there. This is a great value traditional bow and would be a worthy contender for the best cheap recurve bow for hunting.

The OEELINE haven’t been on the market long, but they’ve quickly scored a very good reputation, reflective of their great value and the options they provide for hunters of various strength, sizes and hand preference. 

Pros and Features

  • Limbs are made from super strong maple wood and glassfiber sheets and the riser is solid wood construction
  • Comes with an arm guard and finger guard for your safety
  • 62″ in length
  • Offers fantastic optionality with large draw-weight range, from 25 – 55 pounds
  • Draw length of approximately 28″
  • Centre cut-away riser
  • Thumb screw construction doesn’t require tools to take down or rebuild
  • Offers models for right-handed and left-handed recurve bow hunters
  • Offers a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty

Cons and Risks

  • Nothing major to note here, but some very minor manufacturing defects have been pointed out on rare occasions

Wow! Easily the best budget recurve bow for hunting that I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting. But its not only a low price, they offer a 12 month warranty too – How can you go wrong!?

Equally effective in on the archery range or for some target practice as well as out on a serious hunt, this traditional bow is for beginners through to pros, hunters and archers, casual shooters or obsessive woodsman. Just choose the draw weight that meets your skill level and right hand or left handed recurve bow, and you’re good to go!

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7: PSE Archery Night Hawk Traditional Bow

barebow

Lastly, a bare bow for the traditional recurve bow hunting community.

Our previous PSE recurve bow came with all the accessories, whereas this one comes with none, except for a stabilizer which can be removed at your preference. It’s solid wood construction does away with modern materials and really gives you the traditional bow hunting feel as you hold it in your hand.

It still provides some options to introduce a little bit of tech, but this bow is really designed as a trad bow. It looks super slick in black green and yellow, and will help with camouflage out in the wild.

Here are some features:

Pros and Features

  • Completely wooden construction with both riser and limbs made from hand-selected woods for durability and strength
  • Threaded bushings ready for cushion plunger and stabilizer
  • Stabilizer included
  • Good draw weight options from 20 to 40 pounds
  • 62 inches tip-to-tip
  • Centre cut-away riser
  • Tool-less design with thumb screws allows for easy assembly
  • Well crafted and super comfortable grip

Cons and Risks 

  • A little noisier than expected, but manageable

PSE has produced a quality, well-priced barebow with the Night Hawk. The construction is solid wood, perfect for true barebow hunters but PSE Archery offers upgradable limbs if your want to move towards more modern materials.

The stabilizer included in the package is nice bit of added value (can be removed if trad bow hunters prefer) and the options in draw weight will help you find your fit and give the pros a chance to go after the big game.

Check Current Price and Rating on Amazon

Amazon out of stock? Looking for a better price? Check out Bass Pro Shops!

 Check Current Price and Reviews at Bass Pro Shops

A brief history of the recurve bow

A recurve bow is one of the earliest design of bows for arrow shooting, remaining very effective for thousands of years. 

Since the early times, warriors and hunters used a bow and arrows for hunting and warfare, with the some of the earliest known historical evidence of bow use dating back over 50,000 years. Wow!

However, the early model of the bow primarily depended on the string length and tension for thrust and power. The shorter the string, the shorter the distance the arrow flew and the weaker its stopping power.

Two different types were typically seen. The first is the longbow, which featured round limbs and was typically found in Europe. The second is the flatbow, which had flat limbs and was more commonly used by North American indigenous groups. Shortbows also seen but were basically just shorter bows primarily used for mounted combat and hunting.

A bunch of olden-day smart dudes then introduced “re-curved” limbs to bows, this curving back of the limbs at the extremities of the bow creating additional power. History indicates that the Mongols came up with this design in the early 13th century, but less concrete evidence suggests it could have been much earlier.

This innovative design became known as the recurve bow, and the additional power made it possible to shoot over large distances and still cause fatal damage.

Why choose a recurve bow?

In the hunting world, recurve bows have a huge following of woodsmen and woodswomen that seek the challenge of taking down wild animals with limited assistance from modern technology, experiencing the traditional feel of the hunters from centuries before. 

Traditional bow hunting, as hunting with a recurve bow is sometimes called, is typically considered more challenging than using a compound bow or crossbow and not usually a great place to start for a beginner. However, if you are committed, you can go straight into traditional bow hunting, it will just take a little more practice.

The artform of recurve bow archery is even an Olympic sport, with many passionate and talented hunters showing a lot of promise in the archery range.   

The main advantages of recurve bows are their simplicity and affordability. With less complex tech, set up is easier to understand and there are less gadgets to purchase.

Nevertheless, the gadgets and complexity do assist with aiming, precision and consistency, and without them accurate shooting and target take down is definitely more difficult. This is proven by the typical scores in Olympic recurve bow archery being lower than Olympic compound bow archery.

If you:

  • are a seasoned hunter, and looking for a real challenge
  • are excited by the thrill of traditional bow hunting
  • love to use stealth to stalk your prey
  • are low on budget but willing to invest time and practice

then recurve bow hunting is perfect for you!

Choosing the best recurve bow for you

From the reviews you may have noticed there’s not a great deal of difference across the various recurve bows.

This is largely because of the very nature of recurve bows, which are built to replicate traditional bows without modern technology, although the options for gadgets and gizmos is available.

It therefore largely comes down to your build, strength, skill level, whether you’d like to accessorize your bow, intended use of the bow and, as we raised at the beginning, value.

To that end, here’s a little guidance for you.

• The purpose of the bow

Are you a hunter? Or do you want a recurve bow to test your skills in the archery range?

For target shooting purposes, any traditional bow is good. However, if you want to hunt down animals, you must specify the prey first.

For thick-skinned or larger animals such as white-tail deer, you will need to use a more powerful and speedier bow. Any recurve bow with a higher draw weight than 40 pounds should be good for this purpose.

For smaller prey, you can opt for bows with a medium draw weight of up to 40 pounds.

The right draw weight and draw length

Any archer or hunter must be comfortable with the recurve bow so that the results are best. But before we discuss this in detail, let’s recall what draw weight and draw length are.

Draw weight is the amount of force needed to draw a bow. It defines power and effective range of the bow.

Recurve bows have a higher draw weight than compound bows as they do not have cam and pulley systems to assist you, meaning you will typically need to exert more force to draw the bow. However, if you are more comfortable with a lower draw weight then these options are available, they just might limit the prey you can hunt.

Draw length is the distance from the nock point to the throat of the grip. Keep in mind the point where you hold the arrow to the traditional bow on the string, and then measure the distance from this point to the point on the arch where you hold the bow, typically the center of the ‘D’ formed between the archers bow and the string.

People with taller and heavier builds and archers at advanced levels can work with higher draw weights and draw lengths. Beginners can use recurve bows with lower draw length and weight.

Is your recurve bow the right size?

Apart from the draw weight and the draw length, the length of your recurve bow must also be right for you. 

Imagine a young or short archer holding a recurve bow that’s almost as tall as they are. It’s just not gonna work! Similarly, an adult or taller hunter might require a bigger recurve bow to suit their height and strength. 

As a guide, adults of average height will go for around 62″ and children usually use 54″ bows.

Bow weight is also worth considering. Although it doesn’t vary a lot between models, half a pound less weight to carry can make a difference on a long hunt.

Accessories or barebow? Modern riser/limb materials or solid wood?

This one is down to personal preference.

Some recurve bow hunting groups enjoy some modern accessories to aid their hunts. Off the bow, this might include rangefinders,  hunting cameras, night vision or clothing with advanced scent reduction, waterproofing and camouflage. On the bow, this might include arrow rests, mechanical release mechanisms, bow sights or composite materials such as metals, fiberglass or carbon fiber.

You can drop all of the bow accessories and go barebow, have just a few little gadgets, or take advantage of everything that is available on the market today.

Whatever your preference, make sure to consider this in your purchase.

How to use a recurve bow

Start with target practice before you go on a hunt

The recurve bow is simple to learn but difficult to master. Most of us have already gotten some idea from movies and shows depicting awesome archers, hunters and shooters or seen some archery in the Olympics. 

Before your get excited and race out into the wild, you need to start with target practice. The basic principle is simple enough, but it’s harder than it looks and honing your skills on the range is a much easier way to learn.

Although its not very technical, using a recurve bow requires you to keep a few things in mind to make your shots.

Form and technique

Posture is key – Wrong posture can lead to a strained back, fatigued arms and even injury! As you stand with the bow in your hands, you must put the opposite foot from your hand that you will be using forward. For example, if you are right-handed, put your left foot forward.

Now hold up the recurve bow and grab an arrow. First try to place the shaft of the arrow on the shelf of the bow or the arrow rest, mainly using your free hand but assisting with your fingers on the hand hold the bow riser. Keep in mind that the next step is to nock the arrow on the string, so try to keep the nock of the arrow near to the string while you do this step.

Now use your off-hand to slide the arrow slightly back or forward along the shelf or arrow rest so that the nock of the arrow can be slotted on to the string and then firmly hold it with your off-hand, ready to pull the string. Adjust yourself as necessary to stop you dropping the arrow and try to place it in the center of the shelf before you pull the string back. Arrow rests are very helpful here and basically do this step for you.

Once you are balanced and your arrow is centered, slowly pull back the string, trying to pull it such that your string hand is near your cheek with your bow hand directly out in front of your eyes.

Steady your balance, aim and release your fingers!

Practice, practice, practice!

If your aim is not accurate, don’t worry. It takes LOTS of practice. Take a deep breath and go again. If you continue to struggle with accuracy, a bow sight on your recurve bow is likely to help. 

Keep practicing in the range or with archery targets, and you’ll be ready for a real hunt in no time!

Recurve bow vs. Compound bow

A recurve bow strips back all the modern technology and returns to a much more traditional feel. In contrast, a compound bow is full of modern gadgets and gizmos. There is an immediately obvious difference when you look at the two side-by-side.

The complex look of a compound bow comes from its cam system, which uses a pair of wheels and a series of pulleys to somewhat reduce the amount of force which needs to be applied to the bow to draw it, and to also hold the weight of the draw once the bow is drawn. This then allows for much more stability, precision and accuracy as the shooter can almost entirely on aiming.

Compound bows also tend to come with lots of accessories. These include stabilizers, bow sights, noise and vibration reductions systems, in-built quivers, arrow rests and plungers, and other more specialized tools that optimize your hunting and archery game.

Recurve bows look far simpler, in part due to the removal of the cam system, but also because they are typically stripped back to little or no accessorize. Even when tools are added to a recurve bow they are often simpler and smaller.

Consequently, recurve bows are not considered to be as accurate or as powerful at their full potential when compared to compound bows. However, they are considerably lighter and more maneuverable and its much easier to understand the setup, install or construct the bow and maintain them over time.

Beginners will typically learn to shoot accurately more quickly with a compound bow, and younger archers will be more comfortable with the lower draw weights and support provided by the cam system of a compound bow than needing to hold the draw and aim as is required with a recurve bow. However, some recurve bows are designed for beginners and young archers, so if you really want that traditional feel and are just starting out, you still have options.

I mentioned earlier that while personal choice plays an integral part in the right bow for you; the size, body type, gender, and kind of prey also matter.

The Best Recurve Bows For Hunting: In a nutshell

Recurve bows are a good weapon for archers on the range and hunters in the wild. Before you pick out the best recurve bow, remember to consider the different things that matter to you and determine your best option. 

Our list of the best recurve bows for hunting in 2022 will help you in finding a recurve bow that will be by your side for years to come!

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