It is believed that the Mongolians invented the recurve design and used this type of bow for hunting. Recurve bow is one of the most effective and famous bows for hunting even today.

Traditional bows such as the recurve and longbow are famous for hunting. Recurve bow is more popular among beginners and intermediate archers. But first, you need to know how to hunt with a recurve bow. This article is a step-by-step guide for recurve bow hunting. You will also get to know the benefits and drawbacks that recurve bowhunters face.

So, let’s get to it!

What Type of Bows are Used for Hunting

A smooth hunting experience requires a bow with accuracy, silence, power, and decent range. In general, there are four types of bows used for hunting.

A Traditional Bow or longbow is the oldest bow for hunting. It has a D-shaped laminated wooden pole and a flexible string. This bow is popular among traditional bowhunters, but it takes a lot of practice to master this shooting style.

The Recurve Bow is suitable for target practice and hunting. Both the tips (limbs) in a recurve bow curve away from the archer. The central part (a.k.a. the riser) stays flat or curves inwards. Recurve bow can store more energy than a traditional bow and deliver arrows more efficiently.

A Compound Bow is perfect for hunting any game animal due to its power, wide shooting range, speed, and accuracy. It features mechanical strings with a pulley system, cables, and rotating wheels.

Lastly, we have a crossbow, which is perfect for bow hunting as it’s easy to use and has high accuracy. Like a firearm, a crossbow uses a trigger release mechanism and can accommodate heavier draw weights.

How to Hunt with a Recurve Bow

The recurve bow is well-suited for hunting a wide range of game animals, from small rabbits to white-tailed deer. You can also bag game like birds, quails, chukar, and pheasants using a traditional recurve bow. All you need is high quality recurve bows. Below is a step-by-step guide for traditional bowhunters to learn how to hunt with a recurve bow.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Kit

Choose a recurve bow that matches your age group, sex, body weight, and structure. This is due to the draw weight. For example, a large-frame male archer (120-150 lbs) may require a 45-pound minimum draw weight for large game animals. However, smaller games require reduced draw weights.

Besides, your hunting arrows should match your draw weight and length. Use helical fletching as it is more stable for short-distance shooting. Also, you can use flu-flu fletching arrows for hunting birds.

Selecting your broadhead is tricky as different heads work differently. As a beginner, you can use pyramid style or bone bursting style tips for better penetration.

In addition, takedown designs are the best option as you can disassemble them (if needed).

Step 2: Holding the Perfect Stance

The stance is an essential part of bowhunting. For recurve bow, you have to pull the string with your dominant hand facing side by side with the target with the opposite side of your body. Keep your body upright and your shoulders aligned with your back and hips.

While drawing the arrow, keep the bow steady with your non-dominant hand. And then, push the other hand all the way to create a straight and parallel line between your dominant arm and the arrow. Use your index, middle, and ring finger as drawing fingers. 

Step 3: Maintaining Precise Distance

Recurve bow hunting is a close-range sport. But the shooting range you need to maintain depends on your experience, skill, and effective range. However, you can get proper shot placement from a shorter distance. For example, white-tailed deer is best shot from 15 to 17 yards away to avoid a bad shot.

Step 4: Shooting a Recurve Bow

The first thing to remember is that you need an accurate broadside shot. So, it’s better to study the anatomy of the game animal you plan on hunting beforehand. 

Wear a finger tab or gloves if you are a beginner archer. Now, maintain your stance and pull the string close to your face. There are different shooting styles, but you can follow the Olympic style for a starter. 

Whether you are instinctive shooting or using a sight window, point the arrowhead straight towards the game. Keep your focus, and then let the arrow fly!

Step 5: Following the Regulations Guide

Every US state has a set of rules that you must follow. For example, you can not shoot an arrow within 150 yards around a school building. There are many other rules and regulations you need to study precisely before going on a hunt.

In addition, never leave your wounded game unattended. Generally, a game can travel 50 to 70 yards away from the spot, even if it’s a clear shot. But it may go even farther if wounded. It’s an ethical duty to track down any wounded animal.

Advantages of Hunting with a Recurve Bow

You may be wondering, “why should I choose recurve bow hunting instead of other shooting styles?” So, here are some of the benefits you’ll get from hunting with a recurve bow.

  • Recurve shooting style is comparably easy for beginners. It takes some practice and strength, but not as much as with a longbow or compound bow.
  • Takedown recurve bows are highly portable and easy to maintain. Besides, the takedown design always leaves some room for upgrades and additional accessories such as arrow rest and arrow shelf.
  • A recurve bow stores more energy than a longbow and supports a wide range of draw weights.
  • Recurve bow is shorter than a longbow and lighter than a compound bow. It is also quite fast due to its efficient recurve design. 
  • This shooting style offers a wide shooting range perfect for hunting small to medium game animals and game birds.

Disadvantages of Hunting with a Recurve Bow

Despite all the benefits of a recurve bow, there are some disadvantages too. Some of them are mentioned below.

  • Recurve bows are not suitable for larger game animals like the grizzly, black bear, elk, moose, etc.
  • As this bow is not a mechanical device, recurve shooters always rely on their upper body strength. It takes a lot more practice to master recurve shooting than a crossbow and more force than a compound bow.
  • Recurve is not great for long-distance shooting. So, you need to be close to the target and be more precise and silent.


“Practice makes everything perfect”- it is not different when it comes to bowhunting. The compound bow may be the most preferred tool for experienced bow hunters. Still, a compound does not deliver the aesthetics of a recurve bow. 

It’s true that recurve bow is suitable for beginners. But that doesn’t mean you can just aim and shoot. It takes time and lots of practice to master the art of recurve bow hunting. Just keep in mind to follow the state rules and regulations. Recurve shooters go through a lot of trial and error, mistakes, and frustrations. But it’s all worth it in the end.