I still remember the first time I shot an arrow to living prey. Excitement mixed with fear. I didn’t want to hurt the animal, but the desire of walking home with a trophy was higher. That arrow was shot from an old recurve bow I got from my father, but for a long time after that I kept tormenting myself with the question - are recurve bows good for hunting?
Like with anything else, opinions are divided. Some bow hunters claim they would never start a quest with a recurve in their hands. Others praise the recurve’s capabilities. What’s the truth?
Are Recurve Bows Good For Hunting?
A question that lacks a universal answer. It depends. Is wine good for drinking? Is a cordless lawn mower good for your purpose?
The same goes for the recurve bow. It comes down to preference. For me? Yes, a recurve bow is good for hunting. However, this doesn’t mean all recurve bows are fit for the purpose. Some are better for target practice, and some models address beginners alone.
But if you choose the right bow, the recurve comes with many advantages over all other types. The foremost important, it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. Two things that ensure portability and shooting speed, both of which are important when wandering the wilds.
That said, a good recurve bow for hunting must come with essential features. Here’s what to look for.
How To Choose A Recurve Bows For Hunting
1. Draw Weight
The most important thing when picking a recurve bow for hunting is the draw weight. This weapon is built with the novice in mind and is really easy to use, but it also comes in multiple draw weights ranging from as little as 10 pounds to over 60 pounds.
For hunting purposes, the minimum you want is 40lbs. That’s because anything lower than that won’t give the arrow sufficient power to pierce the animal’s skin. And if the arrow does pierce it, it would most probably only injure the prey instead of killing it.
This translates into suffering for the animal and frustration for you.
But just because you selected a 40lbs bow, it doesn’t mean you can hunt all game. Before hitting the forests learn your weapon’s limitations. A 40lbs bow is only suitable if you’re going for small game like turkey or rabbit, but it’s improbable to kill an elk with it.
Larger prey needs larger draw weight. For versatility, a minimum of 50lbs is required. But in this case, you should make sure the bow is not too heavy for you to handle.
2. Dominant Eye
Every individual in this universe sees better with an eye than with the other. This is called the dominant eye and determines whether you need a left- or right-hand bow.
Determining which eye is dominant is simple. Just stretch your hands in front of you at head height and form a triangle with your palms. Fix with your eyes an object at about 2 feet away, and focusing on it pull your hands towards your face.
The triangle will align with your dominant eye, letting you know what type of bow you need.
A hunting bow has to withstand adverse weather and harsh environments. That’s why it is essential to invest in a weapon made from resilient materials.
Most recurve bows on the market are made of maple wood coated in fiberglass. However, pay attention to the product’s description before buying. Some manufacturers advertise their bows as maple and fiberglass, but the fiberglass has a decorative role solely.
You should also check the raiser. The best recurve bows for hunting come with a metal raiser that lasts years of use. But again, you should pay attention to how reliable the material is for your purpose.
Check the metal to have an anti-rust coating. Steel is your best bet, although galvanized aluminum can also work well.
Recurve bows are of two types, one-piece, and takedown. I prefer the latter for their versatility. A takedown bow is more comfortable to transport and store when not in use, but most importantly, most models have interchangeable limbs.
This means you can start with a lightweight bow as a novice and just upgrade its heft to match your new skills. This will save you in the long run.
Another thing to check regarding the construction is the flexibility of the bow. Rigid limbs can easily break, so you should make sure the bow can withstand bending without getting damaged.
On no bow are the accessories more critical than on a hunting recurve bow. And you’ll need plenty of them. Luckily, the market is full of bow hunting kits comprising the weapon and a bunch of needed accessories which are great for beginners.
However, creating a custom kit is more appropriate for an experienced hunter. Here are a few things you’ll need:
If you also like the idea of bow fishing, make sure the weapon you choose is compatible with your preferred model of fishing reel and line, to ensure a positive experience.
So, are recurve bows good for hunting? I believe they are. Couldn’t advise though on what may or may not work for you. But since most archers start with this type of bow, my advice is to give it a try. If it doesn’t work for you, at least you can say you’ve tried.