Guns & Weapons

Best Hunting Bow on The Market: Hunting with Style

Best Hunting Bow

Any bow that can be used for hunting can also be used for archery and sport-shooting but not all bows that can be used for sports applications can be used for hunting. It doesn’t go both ways. When choosing the best hunting bow you first have to consider what you are comfortable with because this is the best way to hunt humanely. You need to have lots of practice with whatever bow you choose and you need to know the most effective way to kill your target game.

From there you can then work out which is the best type of bow for you and how much power you will require to take down your chosen game. But of course there are other considerations such as ease of use, maintenance, durability and accuracy just to name a few.

Below we will take you through the basics of the different kinds of bows available for hunting as well as those recommended in each category at a variety of price points and experience levels to help you choose the best option for you.

Humane hunting

First things first when it comes to using your bow while hunting, and as with all hunting, the most important aspect is that the hunting remains humane.

Bow And Arrow Training

So, you should always focus on implementing these points

  • Practice. Practice, practice, practice and then some more practice. You need to be comfortable and confident in the use of your bow because not only do you not want the animals to suffer needlessly you also usually only get one shot. If you spend the better part of a day tracking down your prey, following it, watching it, staying hidden and remaining silent you don’t want to go home empty handed.
  • Prey. As in “know your prey”. Every animal has its own ‘sweet-spot’ of where a single shot will kill it instantly. Not only that but you want to make sure your arrow has enough power to do the job and this will rely not only on the arrow but power of the bow too, so always use the appropriate tools and even if you don’t quite get it right the first time locate the animal and kill it as quickly and as humanely as possible the second time.

Arrows and bolts

Arrows consist of a shaft usually made from aluminium or carbon fibre, although composite arrows are now becoming more popular. At the top end of the shaft the arrowhead is attached, at the other end the nock, usually slit or curved, is attached along with fletchings or vanes which are generally made from plastic and placed in a three vane configuration.

Other configurations can be made, as well as using bird feathers, but this usually implies a particular circumstance or situation where you need the arrow to behave in a different way. The nock stabilizes the arrow while it is on the bow being aimed and shot, the fletchings provide the stabilizing spin to the arrow for better accuracy.

Arrows used in non-mechanical bows are similar to those used in mechanical bows being made predominantly from aluminium or carbon fibre or even a composite of the two. However, they generally cannot be interchanged as the non-mechanical bows release the arrows much harder, compared with the gentle release of a compound bow, and therefore require a stiffer arrow so that it does not flex as much during release and flight.

Arrows are manufactured with varying weights, shaft lengths, and stiffness (known as spines) as they have to be matched to the archer’s shooting style, preferences, draw weight and draw length.

The arrows used in crossbows are referred to as bolts. They consist of a shaft with a flat or moon shaped nocking system at the base near the fletchings and the target heads (used for target practice only as they are not sharp) or broad heads (used for hunting) are screwed into the tip. When it comes to using bolts always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations however you can use slightly heavier and longer bolts but never less as this will lead to crossbow malfunction.

Do you want a DIY PVC bow and arrow that you can make with your family? Then click on our piece on the topic to find out more.

Bow basics

The bow is a tool, or weapon, with deep ties in human history as well as spanning many cultures. Hence there is a wide variety of design and construction elements. At its most basic, a bow consists of a flexible limb, known as a stave, connected at either end by a string.

Bows were traditionally made from wood and horn, and can still be but modern bows are also made from fibreglass, plastics and various metals.

The bow works by storing mechanical energy, which is provided by the user when they draw the string backwards into tension. There are two distinct methods of draw that split all bows into one of two broad categories; mechanical and non-mechanical.

Non mechanical bows

The first category of bows includes the non-mechanical bows, or directly drawn bows. These are the bows where the user must provide all the force to pull the string back. The most commonly used non-mechanical bows you will find in use today are longbows and recurve bows. Longbows are just that, long shaped bows. They are straight when unstrung and form the classic D-shape once the string is in place.

Recurve bows on the other hand have curved shapes. At the end of both the upper and lower limbs of the stave the bow curves away from the user. This is just a general rule however, as some long bows also have bow tips that can curve away slightly. The material the bow is made out of determines the size of the bow.

Traditional longbows made of wood are often made to be the same height as the user; this is the only way to get enough drawback to produce enough power. New materials along with laminate and composite constructions allowed longbows to become shorter while still providing the same power. The recurve bow is often favored over the longbow because it can provide more power than a longbow of the same size. Therefore, you can use a smaller bow once again as well as with modern take down constructions that allow bows to be assembled and disassembled.

Non Mechanical Bow

These days, most of those people that use longbows recurve bows and other non-mechanical bows tend to be the purists or traditionalists, and they are usually already experienced hunters. This is probably because there is a much steeper learning curve with these bows, however, once experienced, hunting with a traditional weapon is said to be more “aesthetically pleasing” than the contemporary counterparts available.

Samick Sage takedown recurve bow

While Samick is not the biggest name in archery they are quite reputable and rightly so. The Samick Sage is probably the most popular as it is a low-range price level and has highly customizable options. This makes it the perfect entry level bow for those beginning with direct draw bows as you can start with lower pound limbs and work your way up, the benefits of a takedown bow.

But it is also a good quality bow for a more experienced archer and with the amount of customizations available including stabilizers, sights, arrow rests, some of which are recommended add-ons even for beginners.

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve

The design is simple and, therefore, effective, and its made from highly durable laminated wood, fiberglass and phenolic plastic for reinforcement, also the limbs do not twist at all. The Samick Sage is touted as being the best recurve bow available in the less than $200 range.

If you like this product you can find and buy it here.

Martin archery hunter recurve bow

This bow is dubbed the number 1 recurve bow for hunting and having been in production for over 50 years it probably has good claim to it too. The Martin Archery Hunter Recurve is built for speed, accuracy and stability thanks to it’s longer than average length, lighter than average weight and a very straight flight path. It is suitable for all weather conditions and is extremely comfortable with zero stacking issues.

This bow again is perfect for beginners and experienced archers alike, however, the price tag will probably only attract serious buyers, probably not for those just wanting to “give it a go”. Also worth noting is that it is not a takedown bow and so the limbs cannot be adjusted to change the draw weight, or for easy transport. The bow is remarkably quiet and vibration free. Being a powerful and consistent shooter, the Hunter is a great bow for small and large game hunting.

If you like this product you can find and check its price here.

Bear archery grizzly recurve bow

Another bow that has been in production for over 50 years, it is not uncommon to hear from people who purchased their Bear Archery Grizzly as far back as the 70s and 60s and are still using it today, and will describe as still being like new too. While those who have purchased more recently describe it as being a natural extension of themselves and second nature to use.

The release is exceptionally silent and wonderfully smooth with little to no vibration and noise. It is extremely comfortable in both carrying around and using. Being easy to use, powerful and accurate you will get consistent shots with this bow. Not only that, but the construction is durable and suitable for use in all weather.

All of which makes for an excellent hunting bow. However, this bow is designed for intermediate and advanced archers. Beginners may choose to buy this bow because of its durability and performance, however, it is not a takedown model and so you have to commit to the draw weight for a very long time considering how much you will pay for a quality bow of this standard.

If you like this product you can find and purchase it on Amazon.

Mechanical bows

Mechanical bows were designed to reduce the effort required by the user to hold the string in full draw. This allows the user to spend more time setting up and aiming without excessive muscular fatigue. It also means that a greater amount of power can be achieved which is useful when hunting larger game or shooting from greater distances, a big plus if your stealth is not quite as good as your shooting just yet.


Crossbows are one type of mechanical bow. Rather than a vertical assembly as with most bows, they have a horizontal construction. When the crossbow was created, it was designed for the lower class, i.e. the majority, of soldiers. It is designed to be simple to use and physically undemanding.

The crossbow works by a stock mounting and when drawn has a device that holds the string at tension. This means that the user does not require any excess exertion beyond holding the weight of the crossbow, aiming and shooting.


Note that as crossbows have shorter draw lengths they require heavier draw weights to achieve a similar power of an average sized. Another note is that some locations have more limited times when a crossbow can be used for hunting.

Despite this, the crossbow is usually far more powerful than what can be handled on a regular bow, is very accurate, shoots very similar to a rifle if you are looking to expand your skill-set, or tool-set, and is quiet. The crossbow is a great choice for hunting but generally the consensus is that you would not show up to an organized ‘hunt’ with one. However, for basic survival hunting you wouldn’t be so picky.

If you’re a beginner, check out our tips and guidelines on crossbow hunting – it’s a great resource tool.

Excalibur Matrix 355 crossbow

If you are after a crossbow dedicated and designed for hunters then the Excalibur Matrix 355 is probably one of the best options. As far as comfortability goes it is well balanced, ergonomic, and importantly, low maintenance. As for usability, it is powerful (355 feet per second when shooting as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, 18 inch carbon bolts), accurate and consistent and, hence, produces great results at very large distances.

Matrix Hunting Bow infographic

As this crossbow is at the powerful end of the spectrum it can be used for the largest game at closer ranges as well as medium and smaller game at further ranges with the help of the scope. This crossbow is at the upper spectrum of the range and the price tag suits accordingly.

If you like this product you can find and buy it on Amazon.

Barnett Jackal crossbow

Probably what would be considered the best entry-level crossbow is the Barnett Jackal as it comes with great reviews but is also on the more affordable end of the price spectrum that it will appeal to those who are new or still not sure. Additionally it is easy to assemble and comes with all the basic essentials needed, another bonus for beginners. Although it is cheaper it still delivers the performance that is expected of higher priced bows.

The Jackal shoots 315 feet per second with the manufacturer’s recommended 18-20 inch carbon arrows with half moon nocks, which is good enough to take down most game from over 40 yards away. Distance is good here as the release is not so silent.

Another great feature is the automatic safety, which really adds to the ease of use. Barnett is well known for their hardwearing, long-lasting product and this one is also sleek and convenient with very few negative reviews to be found.

If you like this product you can find and check its price on Amazon.

Barnett Penetrator crossbow

Accuracy, power, portability, the Barnett Penetrator ticks all of these boxes. The weight when loaded is roughly 9 pounds which makes it comfortable to carry but it is also robustly built as it has been specially designed for and to be handled by hunters.

Barnett Penetrator crossbow

This bow shoots the bolts at 350 feet per second out of the box with the bolts provided so beware that when shooting it does have powerful recoil. This higher power will allow you to shoot bigger game from greater distances too up to 40 yards and as far as 70 yards in some cases. While the penetrator comes with 20-inch aluminium bolts, those who plan to hunt are advised to use carbon bolts, which are less likely to bend and last a lot longer.

When shooting, it has a smooth release and is remarkably quiet due to a high-energy whiplash cam. This is the option that works well for beginners and more advanced shooters but will most likely appeal to the more serious, or those looking for good value, as the price range falls around the middle of the market.

If you like this product you can find and buy it here.

Compound bows

The compound bow is the most popular contemporary bow for hunting as it has the smallest learning curve and the best advantages for hunting applications, and in some cases even outperforms firearms.

Rather than relying on the user for power the compound bow uses levers, pulleys, cables and cams which means that the user only requires exception force to begin the drawback initially but then requires less effort afterward to pull the draw back to full and hold it there. This creates a couple of benefits to the user. First there is more power when shooting and second is that you have more time to set up and aim without worrying about muscle fatigue.

The compound bow is an exceptionally high tech tool, however, considering their popularity as well as proficiency they are better value for money than recurve bows. Being popular means that spare parts and additional items are easier to come by and are more affordable as will be the arrows.

Because compound bows are made from modern materials they can be used in all weather conditions and are resistant to issues caused by temperature and humidity. These modern materials also mean that the bows are extremely lightweight, so light to carry and hold and light to shoot.

Another benefit is that compound bows have a more guided and smoother release and so have minimal noise, vibration and recoil on release and some types of compound bow are even designed with horizontal limbs, as opposed to angled, and this reduces noise, vibration and recoil even further. All these benefits mean that compound bows are the most highly recommended of hunting bows for anyone, from complete newbies to the highly experienced.

Martin archery threshold compound bow

For an affordable entry into the market you cannot go past the Martin Threshold for its value for money but above expected performance. It has interchangeable components so it can be adjusted for use by youth and teens as well as adults. The bow is simply constructed and even simpler to use, it is a straight, consistent and accurate shot, and it is dead silent too, shooting at up to 305 feet per second. Although the price is cheap the construction is not and you can feel how durable Martin makes all their products.

Even with a sturdy construction the bow only weighs in around 6 pounds thanks to lightweight aluminium and exceptional ergonomic design making it comfortable to carry and use for extended periods. This bow is best suited to medium game such as turkey, deer and antelope but can be used for larger game such as elk, moose and bear.

If you like this product you can find and check its price here.

Bear archery attitude compound bow

Accuracy and speed, yes. Impact, definitely. The Bear Attitude is a single cam bow with a smooth draw cycle and shoots at speeds up to 310 feet per second. This bow is for the serious beginner or seasoned hunter who doesn’t want to pay for top of the range but also does not wish to sacrifice in reliability and performance.

It’s easy to shoot, even described as forgiving for the less experienced shooters, to make hitting your target that much easier.

Bear archery attitude compound bow

It is exceptionally accurate at up to 30 yards and even more if the user has the experience and skills. Thanks to great power, this bow is suitable for big game hunting too, all the better with near silence, as well as no noticeable recoil or vibration thanks to the spring suppression system. Bear are a top brand for bows and their products are valued for their durability and reliability. That’s what you get with this bow, a great product that been designed and built to work well and work for a long time.

If you like this product you can find and purchase it on Amazon.

Diamond archery carbon cure compound bow

If you want top of the range performance with no comparison or if you want a really good hunting bow that requires as little tinkering as possible so you can spend more time actually hunting then the Diamond Archery Carbon Cure is most likely the best option for you. This bow is ridiculously light.

Made from forged carbon composite it weighs in at under 4 pounds but is still as strong and rugged, if not more so, than other constructions. Matched with ergonomic design, a smooth draw, no noticeable recoil, and a string stop for deadening vibration this bow is an outstanding tool and it comes ready to hunt in the box, however, additions and modifications to suit your preferences are perfectly fine too.

Although it’s not as quiet as expected, that is not to say it’s not quiet at all, it is, this bow has enough power to sends arrows through the air at up to 325 feet per second so sound is not as much of an issue when you still have accuracy and power from greater distances.

If you like this product you can find and buy it on Amazon.

Before going to any hunting trips, make sure to read our piece on how to get a hunting and fishing license to help you.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the information in this post has been helpful, please consider purchasing through one of the links in this article. Thank you.

About the author

Andrew McKay

Andrew McKay is a seasoned hunter and fisherman from Anchorage, Alaska. Andrew thinks that he is the luckiest person in the world, as he lives in the most gorgeous place in United States and does what he loves to do. As a member of Alaska Professional Hunters Association and International Hunter Education Association, he is always looking for the ways to improve his skills and to teach people around him.


  • Bows are my favorite. I have a handmade one that I got from a local shop; it is good enough for my purposes. I use it for hunting small game. At some point when I need to upgrade, I’d get a crossbow.

  • If you are just simply looking a bow for hunting a deer or bird, the Diamond Archery is best for you. Not too expensive yet still looks great! And I think this is excellent starter bow for target and hunting.

    • Diamond archery is a good pick, includes sight, quiver, sling, rest, stabilizer, peep, string loop and string dampening components; a good choice for hunting.

  • The Bear Archery Cruzer is one of the best bow in the market especially for starters. It is flexible in pull weight, very easy to adjust. With this bow, you can win in a shooting contest. Seriously!!

  • Hi guys I am writing a novel where one of the main characters hunts deer with a bow and arrow in Philadelphia in the 1980s. I know absolutely nothing about bows and arrows but have been reading this website to learn a bit. I want him to be using a very purist, very expensive non-mecahanical bow – whatever was top of the line back in the 1980’s. Can any of you help me with the name and details for such a bow and arrow? Many thanks Geoff Weir

  • There are several good collections from the 80s, including Martin Pack Rat take-down compound (1987), Martin Cougar Pro Series (1982), Browning Archery with X-Cellerator Cams (1982), and York Archery (1983).

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