Hunting for whitetail deer is an american tradition. Since service members came back from World War II, whitetail deer hunting has exploded and they have quickly become the primary game animal in North America.
For years, bow hunting was not nearly as popular as hunting with a rifle, but things have changed. Harvesting a whitetail with a bow is growing more and more popular, and if you’re looking to try it out yourself then you should check out some of the bows below.
There are several different types of bow that you’ll find out on the market today. They are
There are a few others, but these are the main three that people use for target practice, or deer hunting.
The compound bow is the most popular. This is because it takes little effort to keep it at full draw (let-off), and the draw weight can be altered based on the size and strength of the hunter. It works by using a series of pulleys, cables and cam systems that work together to create an accurate and fast shot.
When purchasing, make sure to take into account the brace height. This is how fast an arrow will travel but also how forgiving the string will be. The brace height is something you should always take into consideration.
Crossbows are perhaps the easiest to shoot. These work similarly to a rifle or shotgun. You aim through the scope and pull a trigger to release the bolt (arrow).
The recurve bow is a more traditional bow. It is simply string and wood. More difficult to shoot, but can be great fun once the hunter has learned how to aim properly and deliver consistently accurate shots. When picking out a bow, make sure to pick one with a good riser. Most shops will allow you to try out a riser before purchasing.
Benefits of Bow Hunting for Deer
The most obvious benefit of bow hunting for deer is that the season is a longer season. In some states the season can begin in September and not end until January. Where as rifle hunting may begin in November. Having this extra time in the woods could be the difference between harvesting the buck of a lifetime or just missing out.
You can also bow hunt for deer on smaller pieces of land. Instead of needing tens to hundreds of acres for a rifle you could easily hunt on 5 acres since many bow hunters rarely shoot beyond 40 yards. Being able to hunt these small pieces of land quietly and effectively will allow you increase the amount of places you could hunt.
Also, many areas near cities have urban archery seasons. Since many people don’t hunt in the suburbs you’re going to find an abundance of deer that you can take. Urban archery seasons are usually during the springtime, but hunting these extra months could help load up the freezer and you;d be doing a service to local residents.
Considerations before buying a Bow
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that you should think about before buying a bow.
The majority of compound and crossbows are going to be made of either aluminum or carbon fiber. Your more expensive models will be made of carbon fiber due to the fact that they are stronger, lighter, and are warmer in your hand. Which is an underlooked aspect when hunting in chilly conditions.
Recurves are usually made of multiple layers of fiberglass, wood, or carbon. A traditional recurve will be made of wood.
Arrow speed plays a crucial role in deer hunting with a bow. If your arrow is not flying fast enough then it could only wound the animal instead of killing it. When shooting a compound bow you’ll need at least 40 pounds of draw weight to take down a whitetail deer. Or roughly 170 feet per second. Make sure you purchase the proper arrow rest, as an improper one can slow down the speed.
Crossbows have the fastest FPS of all bows on the market. Any adult sized bow should shoot fast enough for deer hunting, but it’s always best to check first.
Recurves typically shoot around 190-220 FPS. This is a fine speed, but your distance from the deer needs to be taken seriously. A show from too far away could cause the arrow to slow and you could wound the animal.
Make sure you pair your arrows a good broadhead. Having improper broadheads could result in disaster for your hunt
Recurve Vs. Compound
Hunting with a compound bow is much more efficient and the advancements that they’ve had over the last decade have been stunning. Compounds are now shooting at and over 300 FPS. Meaning clean pass throughs and quick kills on deer.
Advanced hunters are more comfortable taking longer shots, and the ability to hold back the string without much strength makes the experience easier and makes you a more effective hunter. Compounds also have a smooth draw cycle.
Now, hunting with a recurve is essentially bow hunting with a hand tied behind your back. While they have the ability to take down deer, they are simply not as efficient as a compound. Aiming is almost instinctual, you’re shooting 100 fps slower, and you’re using all your strength to hold this string back.
Long story short, it takes a lot of practice to be a good hunter with a recurve. However, it can be a very satisfying experience to harvest an animal with this piece of equipment.
Bow Sights for compound, recurve, and crossbows are all going to be different. Crossbows typically have a sight on them that resembles a rifle scope. It is magnified and has crosshairs on the inside that allow for consistently accurate shots.
Compound bows will have pins set up that are set to different distances. For example, you may have three pins set up on your sight. The top pin is set to 20 yards, the second sight is set to 30 yards and the third sight is 40 yards. You will place appropriate to the distance of the deer.
Recurves have pin sights as well, but some people choose to shoot without them. This is where hours of practice will come into play when hunting.
When people first get into deer hunting with a bow, they may be surprised to find out that deer can actually duck the arrow. If the shot is far enough away and the arrow is not traveling fast enough then the deer can hear the string as its being released and as they turn to run off will duck down and the arrow can fly right over their backs.
Luckily, this is less prevalent than ever before thanks to advancements in bow technology. Crossbows shoot with such force that it is almost non existent for a deer to duck a bolt.
With compounds you have the option to add on any number of accessories to help cut down the noise for those long shots. You can apply grease to limb rockers or cam bearing. You can also use limb dampeners, or string dampeners.
For recurves, you need to make sure you have the right arrows for your bow. Check and see that your spine and weight of the arrows match up the bow you have. After that you can apply a string silencer or limbsavers that can help quiet the bow. Hopefully now you can have the quietest bow in the woods.
Many of the modern day bows are made of strong and durable carbon fiber. As long as you treat the bow well, then you’re going to have a product that lasts you a long time. Ensuring you take it in for service before and after your hunting season ensure it stays in tip top shape.
The biggest liability is usually the bow string. These typically are what breaks the quickest and you’ll usually need to replace them.
The size of the bow all depends on how big the hunter is. Crossbows can be great for just about anyone but can also be heavy. This can be mitigated by the use shooting sticks or a rest. This way if someone is not large enough or strong enough to pull back a compound or recurve they can still get out and hunt.
Companies also make bows especially for kids. Whether it be a compound or a recurve, you’re going to find something that matches up to their ability. It’s best to go into a local bow shop and let them see what is most comfortable in their hands and what poundage they are able to draw back.
Best Budget Bow for Deer Hunting
When you first start put hunting its best not to drop $1K on your first bow. Best to take it slow at first. So below we have the best budget deer hunting bow for either the budget conscious hunter, or the novice.
Bear Archery Limitless
Bear is a name that is well known in the archery hunting world. They make great products and this is no different. Coming in at under $200 this is the perfect product for a hunter on a budget. It comes already equipped with a peep sight, whisker biscuit, 3 arrow quiver, 3 pin sight, as well as nock loop.
What is the best compound bow for deer hunting.
The best compound bow for deer hunting is the bow that you’re most comfortable shooting. Whether it be compound, crossbow or recurve. As long as it provides proper arrow speed, and you’re confident shooting it.
That’s why it’s best to always try out bows before purchasing. Many bow shops have have archery lanes where you’re allowed to try out bows. It’s always recommended you do so. Same goes if order from Amazon. Make sure to practice with it quickly and return it if you’re not comfortable shooting.
Top Bows for Deer Hunting Reviewed
Below we’re going to go over some of the top bows on the market for deer hunting. Feel free to use these reviews to guide you when purchasing your own deer hunting bows.
Diamond creates great bows and this is no different. It has an adjustable draw weight between 5-70 pounds which means just about anyone can pull this bow back. Same with the draw range, it can be adjusted from 13-31 inches.
The Infinity Edge can shoot arrows up to 310 FPS, which is more than enough to take down whitetail deer. It also has one of the smoothest drawbacks for a bow in this price range.
This could be a great new bow that could be easily used by almost anyone in the family, and could make a great starter bow for someone new. As long as it is well taken care of it could last the user for quite a while.
The SAS is another great budget bow. Coming in at just under $200, this bow is equipped with a 5 pin sight, arrow rest, stabilizer, Braided bow sling, as well a peep sight.
The draw length can also be adjusted to shoot between 26 – 30 inches, and the poundage ranges from 55-70 pounds. The bow also can shoot up to 270 FPS. while slower than the Diamond, is still fast enough to use for whitetail deer hunting.
When you first purchase the bow make sure to go over it and check to see if any of the screws are loose. This is not unique to this bow, but is good advice when buying something from the store or online.
First off, this is not a bow that you should be using for deer hunting. This is a great set up for a child who is shooting for the first time and would like to get involved in archery.
It features a 15-25 pound draw weight range and has a 13.5 inch draw length. It comes equipped with a 1 pin sight, whisker biscuit, arm guard, finger rollers, and an arrow quiver. The perfect setup to get a child into archery and eventually into hunting.
The first crossbow on this list. It has a fully adjusatble AR style butt stock that will help you be more comfortable while shooting. The bow will easily sit on the rest of your tree stand. The bow also has anti dry fire, and a safety to make sure you’re as safe as possible when in the woods or target practicing.
The no frills compound bow. The iGlow is just good enough to go out and hunt successfully. It features a 40-55 pound draw weight range, 27-29 inch draw length, can shoot arrows at 220 fps, and is a shorter bow.
Coming in at under $100, this is ideal for anyone who wants to get into the sport but don’t want to drop a lot of money in order to do so.
Deer hunting with a bow is more labor intensive than using a rifle. There is more practice time involved, and since you can shoot a deer at 200 yards away, there is a chance you’ll be skunked more than normal.
However, when all of your practice and patience plays out in the perfect scenario where a buck crosses your path, you’ll be thankful you did it with a bow.
Read over the list above and let that help you pick out a high-quality bow for deer season or when hunting for big game.