Bow hunting games or prey is something that has been done since the Stone Age.  Sometimes bows are used to hunt for food, and sometimes they are used for recreational purposes.  Whatever the reason for hunting with a bow, it is important to have the proper bow that will fit your needs and skill level. It’s not easy to find a good bow, believe me, I’ve been there. But you can use our guides on what types of bows are there and what are the best bows for your budget, at the very least they will guide you in the right direction.

After you have chosen a bow, you can never practice enough!  The more you practice, the more successful you will be when you are actually hunting prey.  In this article we will talk about types of bow hunting games and the best bows for hunting them.

Bow Hunting Large Games

The following species are considered to be large game: white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, caribou, bears, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, boars, and javelina. Having the proper bow and using the right technique will determine if you succeed in killing your prey. Large game have three different types of skin.  Some have thick hides with heavy bones, others have thin hides and light bones, and some just have very tough skin. In all of these cases your bow has to be very-very powerful, bows with 50-70lbs draw weight will be the most suitable as they will send arrows with higher speed. Also, you need to choose proper arrows, with broadheads sharp like a knife and a little more weight to them. This is because kinetic energy is critical when bowhunting large prey and it is the arrow weight and speed that determines kinetic energy and the power of the penetration.  For thick skin you will need an arrow that can produce 40 – 80 foot pounds of energy, and for thinner skin 25-39 foot pounds.

Hunting Deer

bow hunting gamesThe most popular (and safe) large bow hunting game is deer. The best time to hunt deer is early morning, around 1:00 or 2:00am or in the evening.  Deer are most active during those times. Nobody likes to see an animal suffer, even if you are hunting it with the intention of killing it.  A “clean kill” is the preferred method of bowhunting.  There is an area on a deer called the kill point or boiler room.  It is behind the shoulder and a little under halfway up the chest. The best way to hit the deer is from a side angle.  The arrow should enter into the heart under the lungs.

 Best Equipment to Hunt Deer:

Crossbows are one of the bows recommended for deer hunting because of their power.  Compound and recurve bows are also highly recommended.  Bows for deer hunting need to be very quiet. The drawing strength should be 40 or more pounds to be able to pierce deeply through the body of your prey.  Deer do not have very thick skin, so bows and crossbows with forty pound draw weights will be good for hunting them, as well as smaller game like rabbits and turkey. Be sure that you can handle the weight as you may have to draw and hold for a few minutes before you fire.  The bow should also be long enough.  The longer the bow is the more accurate your shot will be.

Bow Hunting Small Game

Many hunters think hunting small games is slightly easier than going after large prey.  Hunting small game helps hone your shooting skills. Small game includes rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, porcupines, skunks, oppossums, ring-tailed cats, and armadillos.  With larger game you often have to wait to get a good shot at the prey, but smaller prey are easier to find because they are all over the place. Hunters often say they like the thrill of hunting smaller game.

bow hunting games blunt

Arrows and Bows

A smaller sharp tipped arrow is required for small prey.  Small blunts or game points are essential for clean shots. Rubber blunts are often used for knocking a small animal down. Solid steel blunts do well in difficult terrain.  Broadheads are not always recommended because they cut the animal and cause it to bleed. Blunts deliver the deadly blow.

Crossbows can be used for small prey, but some hunters prefer the traditional recurve bows.  Recurve bows work well because they are shorter and you can maneuver through brush better, and they are more forgiving. Longbows are good if you are in open space.  Of course the modern bows are more accurate and faster and that is often due to new technology and aids available like pulleys, cams, etc.


It is a good idea to check the regulations in your state before you decide to go bow hunting for games.  In my state, in New Jersey the regulations state that “Bow” means any long bow, recurve bow, compound bow or crossbow, and hand held release devices are permitted. There are also restrictions on crossbows, and there are specific requirements for arrows and heads. Also, New Jersey regulations state that all bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds at the archer’s draw length, except compounds, which must have a minimum peak draw weight of 35 pounds and crossbows which must have a minimum draw weight of 75 pounds. Bow and crossbow regulations differ from State to State so, before you purchase bowhunting equipment, make sure you know what is required and prohibited in your state.

image source: Bill Ebbesen