If you are looking to get into bow-hunting, and want to go the traditional route with a recurve bow, your next step is deciding which of the many wonderful models is right for you. There are plenty of options out there, but here’s an adage you need to be aware of.

While any hunting bow will be good for target shooting, not all target bows will be good for hunting.

There’s a lot more that goes into choosing a good recurve bow for hunting, but let’s give you some choices first. Any of these three bows will be outstanding for harvesting that buck, elk, or maybe even a Cape buffalo. At the end of this article, we’ll go over what makes a recurve great for hunting.

The Hunter’s Best Recurve Bows

PSE Mustang
(Editor’s Choice)
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Bear Archery Grizzly
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Samick Sage Takedown
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Our top pick: PSE Mustang

PSE Mustang Recurve Bow Right Hand, 55#
1 Reviews
PSE Mustang Recurve Bow Right Hand, 55#
  • 41576R6055 11 mustang takedown recurve 60" 55# right hand
  • 11 mustang takedown recurve 60" 55# right hand
  • recurves/longbows

The PSE Mustang is a mid-range takedown recurve bow that was designed with the hunter in mind. This 60-inch bow is extremely well-made, as long as you’re a veteran archer, but it might not be for you if you’re new to the game. It requires a fair bit of tuning and adjustment to get the dead-on accuracy the Mustang is known for, but once you have it properly set it, it’s an absolute beast. While it comes with a standard bowstring, the limb tips are reinforced for use with FastFlight or other Flemish twist strings. Relatively affordable, the PSE Mustang is also durable, and mind hasn’t required any servicing at all in the five years that I’ve owned it. The main drawback is the loudness, but string silencers do a good job of keeping this puppy quiet enough that a 20- to 40-yard shot will take down your prey before it has a chance to string-jump on you.

  • Great quality and design
  • Dead-on accuracy once properly tuned
  • Amazing look with great colors and finish
  • Requires a fair bit of initial tuning and adjustments
  • Somewhat loud
  • Not for beginners

The runner-up: Bear Archery Grizzly

Bear AFT2086150 Grizzly Recurve Bow, Right Hand, 50#
9 Reviews
Bear AFT2086150 Grizzly Recurve Bow, Right Hand, 50#
  • Built for high performance
  • The pinnacle of fit and finish
  • User friendly design

Bear Archery, founded by Fred Bear, has been around since 1933 and really knows bows. Since 1950, the Grizzly has been proving itself, and the company keeps making a good bow even better. The recurve features a one-piece riser crafted from red hard-rock maple, with limbs made from clear maple backed and faced with high strength black fiberglass. You’ll definitely be able to rely upon the Grizzly to harvest that elk, moose, dear, or Cape buffalo. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran shooter, the Grizzly should be easy to set up and use. It offers superb accuracy, one-shot deadliness, and it can handle whatever weather you throw at it. The only drawback to this 58-inch bow is that it isn’t a takedown bow.

  • Excellent for beginners and pros alike
  • Superb accuracy and deadliness
  • Very weather-resistant
  • Not a takedown bow
  • Price point may be out of some archers’ budgets

Honorable mention: Samick Sage Takedown

Martin Archery Saber TD 55# Recurve Bow, Camo, Right
6 Reviews
Martin Archery Saber TD 55# Recurve Bow, Camo, Right
  • Aggressive styling
  • Ability to mount sight, rest, and quiver
  • Two integrated VEM's mounted in the riser
  • Longer metal riser with Italian wood limbs
  • Brace heights 6.75"-7.5"

A very well-known archery equipment manufacturer, Samick builds some highly affordable and accurate recurve bows. The Samick Sage Takedown might not be the cheapest recurve bow in the business, but it’s definitely known for maintaining a balance between price point and practical usefulness. The Samick Sage Takedown is accessory-ready, with the aluminum riser featuring the holes for a stabilizer, sight, and Berger button. Naturally, you don’t have to use these accessories, but it’s nice to have the possibility there for you. Newbies and veterans alike love the Samick, and I’ve used my 60# model to take down some fairly large game in my time. The biggest drawback is that this recurve is 64 inches long, which might make it difficult to maneuver in a tree stand or ground blind. Also, the rubber arrow rest wears out easily, so you might want to replace it early on.

  • Accepts all the most popular accessories
  • Affordable and accurate
  • Durable and lightweight, with a vibration-dampening riser
  • Quite long at 64 inches AMO
  • Rubber arrow rest can wear out quickly

What Should I Be Looking For In a Recurve Bow For Hunting

While many of the same factors will go into selecting a hunting recurve as you’ll think about for any other bow, there are a few more considerations to make. You’ll be using this tool to try outsmarting game that have better senses than you have, and you want to take them down in as humane a way as you can. That one shot you get on a 14-point buck needs to drop the animal in its tracks, not maim it and make it miserable and sick for the rest of its life. Here are the most important characteristics to look at, if none of the three recurves listed above fit the bill for you.

It should be quiet

There’s always an exception to this rule (such as the PSE Mustang above, which is fairly loud but so fast it makes up for it), but generally speaking, a hunting recurve bow should be quiet. Deer especially have a tendency to string-jump, so if you’re shooting further than 20-40 yards, you want your bow to be as quiet as possible. The other thing that helps with the Mustang is that the recurve makes its noise on release, not as you’re drawing the string back.

The draw weight should be right

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t ever hunt with a recurve bow that has a draw weight less than 40#. You want your arrow not only to pierce the skin of your prey, but drive deep enough into the animal to go through as many vital organs as possible. Ideally, your arrow will pass through the heart and both lungs. That dispatches the animal quickly and efficiently, minimizing the amount of suffering the beast has to go through before it drops. If you’ve got the strength and experience to handle a higher draw weight, do it. This is especially true if you want to tackle larger prey like moose, elk, or Cape buffalo.

It should be long, but not too long

The longer the limbs are on your bow, the better your accuracy will be. That means get as long of a bow as you can handle, right? Wrong. While you shouldn’t ever drop below 58 inches in a hunting bow, you should also steer clear of recurves that are too long. The reason for this is the amount of space you’ll need to maneuver a long bow in your ground blind or tree stand.

Transportation concerns

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you can easily transport your bow. Unless you drive a pickup truck or van, you want to make sure you can easily fit your bow into your car for transport to and from the hunting field. This might mean opting for a shorter bow, but you can also choose to buy a takedown bow instead of a one-piece design. Takedown bows are easy to transport, since the limbs come off the riser. Just make sure you always carry your bow stringer with you so you don’t find yourself out in the woods with no way to hunt.

Let’s Wrap It Up

There you go. I’ve given you a list of three amazing hunting recurves, along with the criteria you need to consider when you’re getting into bow hunting. If you keep all of this in mind, you will find the art of bow hunting to be very fulfilling and enjoyable.