Best Recurve Bow for Hunting 2020 [Buyer’s Guide]

By | Last Updated December 3, 2020

Archery has been a part of human society for tens of thousands of years. For a long time the bow and arrow was one of the best tools around for hunting and warfare. Recurve bows are one of the best ways to keep in touch with the ancient roots of archery while benefiting from the advances of modern materials and design. Today we’re covering some of the best recurve bows on the market to help you find one that works well for your needs.

Best Recurve Bow

Best Recurve Bows

Recurve bows offer an excellent compromise between the traditional bows of the past and the latest compound bows. They offer excellent accuracy and power without giving up the feel of a classic wood bow and arrow.

If you plan to go into competition archery recurve bows are the only way to go. Just about every major competition, including the Olympics, requires the use of a recurve bow.

Our list was put together with some of the best recurve bows across a range of features. You’ll find beginner bows, hunting bows, and recurve bows that seasoned archers would be proud to own.

Bear Archery Grizzly Recurve Bow

Bear Archery Grizzly Recurve Bow

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The Bear Archery Grizzly is a one piece recurve bow designed for hunting and target shooting. It’s been available continuously since the 1950’s and offers a piece of living archery tradition.

It’s made from a combination of natural maple with fiberglass reinforcement. This gives it a truly gorgeous natural wood grain without sacrificing strength and power.

You can choose from either a left or right handed version and take your pick from draw weights starting at 30 lbs and going all the way up to 60 lbs. This also changes the bow length and draw length, giving you a fit for just about any archer.

It comes with a Dacron Flemish bow string and a bear hair arrow rest with leather side plate. Because it’s a one piece bow it isn’t quite as easy to store or transport as newer recurve designs.

What you get with the Bear Archery Grizzly is a reasonably priced traditional recurve bow that’s really nice to look at and provides you with a good starting point all the way up to a workable hunting bow.

PSE Razorback Takedown Recurve Bow

PSE Razorback Recurve Bow

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The PSE Razorback is a value priced takedown style recurve bow. It’s made from walnut, burma White, and beech Wood with limbs crafted from fused natural maple and fiberglass.

This gives it great resilience and strength plus a really attractive fusion look. It’s 62” long and offers between 25 and 50 lbs of draw weight. This lets you customize your bow for your strength and shooting style.

As a takedown style bow the limbs are attached to the riser with an easy to remove limb bolt for easy storage and transport. It comes with predrilled holes for sights, balancers, and other accessories.

All in all the PSE Razorback is an excellent starter bow for archers just getting into the sport or those who want an inexpensive bow to practice with.

Buffalo Hunting Bow

Buffalo Hunting Bow

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The Buffalo Hunting Bow is a one piece heritage style bow designed to look and function like the composite bows of the past. It’s an ambidextrous bow with a multi toned appearance.

You can choose from a draw weight of 35 lbs on up to 65 lbs and change the length as well. The riser is much more traditional than on most modern recurve bows and doesn’t have an arrow nocking position. It also lacks places to attach things like sights, balancers, and other accessories.

This is a good bow to use for target shooting or other practice archery but isn’t really as versatile as more modern hunting bows. If you’re just looking for a fun recurve bow to practice with though it’s a good and affordably priced option.

Samick Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

Sage Takedown Recurve Bow

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The Samick Sage is a 62” long takedown style recurve bow designed for beginner to intermediate archers. It’s made from laminated maple, olive, and dymondwood with fiberglass reinforced maple limbs.

It comes in a variety of draw weights and lengths to fit any skill level. On feature we really love is the ability to buy more powerful limbs as you improve your strength and technique. The riser is available in either a right hand or left hand version. It also includes copper bushings for mounting various accessories.

Overall the Samick Sage offers great value for your money and is especially useful for beginning archers.

Southwest Archery Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow

Southwest Archery Takedown Recurve Bow

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The Southwest Archery Spyder is a takedown style recurve bow designed for target shooting and hunting. It’s available in draw weights ranging from 20 lbs all the way up to 60 lbs.

This makes it usable for everyone from new archers just learning the sport all the way up to experienced bow hunters. The riser is made from white oak, dymond wood, and padouk. It’s prefitted with bushings for a range of in demand accessories like stabilizers, quivers, sights, and bow fishing rigs.

You can choose either a right hand or left hand riser and pic from various packages of gear. One of the most basic includes a stringer tool to help you quickly and safely string the bow.

The Spyder is a versatile bow that will work for a lot of different archers. It’s also pretty affordable, especially given how many features it provides.

Southland Archery Supply Spirit 66″ Take Down Recurve Bow

Archery SAS Take Down Recurve Bow

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The Southland Archery Supply Spirit 66” is a takedown recurve bow designed for beginner archers. It’s available in both right hand and left hand variants and offers draw weights of between 20lbs and 34 lbs.

That’s right where your average adult archer should look for a first bow. It gives you acceptable power for target shooting and lets you get the fundamentals down without straining your body.

The Spirit 66 is made with laminated fiberglass and maple limbs that attach to a riser made from chuglam, gmelina arborea, and beech wood. These give your bow a lovely creamy yellow look and help it stand out from the dark browns and mahogany hues common to traditional recurve bows.

If you’re looking for the perfect bow to introduce a teen or adult to archery, the Southland Archery Supply Spirit 66 just might be it.

Southland Archery Supply Explorer Metal Riser Takedown Recurve Bow

Explorer Metal Takedown Recurve Bow

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The Southland Archery Supply Explorer is a beginner bow fitted for archers with longer draw lengths. It uses a machined aluminum riser and is available with draw weights of 22 lbs to 34 lbs.

It’s available in right hand draw only and comes in either red or blue. The limbs are easy to slot into place and are made from fiberglass reinforced maple. This gives them plenty of strength and a very nice snap to each shot.

Overall it’s got a really nice look to it and is easy for beginners to get used to archery with. The lower draw weight allows them to practice hard without immediately getting worn out.

The Southland Archery SUpply Explorer is an alternative to more traditional recurve bows. It’s aluminum riser gives it a really cool futuristic look that’s great for younger archers.

Buyers Guide to Buying the Best Recurve Bow

Archery is an extremely precise sport, and not just when it comes to accurately shooting your arrows either. There are several key measurements that will determine what bows will work for what archers.

The most important ones to keep in mind are draw weight, draw length, and your intended use of the bow. Once you get past that you’ve just got a few preference type choices to make.

Price

We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is you can start shooting with a recurve bow for a very affordable price. Entry level bows are right around $100 to $200 and offer pretty good performance, especially at the lower draw weights common to beginners.

For a quality recurve hunting bow you’ll need to spend a bit more. Think on the order of $500 or so to get a pretty good bow.

The bad news is that once you really get into the sport you can expect to drop some serious money. Competition recurve bows consistently cost over $1,000, with olympic level ones going as high as $2,000+.

Draw Length

The draw length of a recurve bow refers to the distance from the nock point to the throat of the grip plus 1.75 inches. It plays a major role in how comfortable and safe you’ll be when using a bow.

If you’ve never shot a bow before you probably don’t know what the best draw length for you is. Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to find out.

Start by extending your arms out to either side of your body with your palms facing forward. Have someone else take a length of string and measure from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other across your chest and divide this total by 2.5.

This gives you the approximate draw length that will work best for you. It’s never a good idea to try and force yourself to shoot a bow with too great or too short a draw length.

A best you’ll reduce your accuracy and at worst you can hurt yourself.

Bow Length/Height

The overall size of recurve bows starts at about 48 inches and goes up to around 72 inches. That’s a pretty big range and can be confusing for new archers.

Thankfully it’s a lot easier to figure out than you’d first think. The length of your bow is going to be heavily dependent on your draw length.

As long as you know what your draw length is, it’s easy to convert that into the correct bow length/height.

Draw Weight

Draw weight is just about the most important factor to consider when choosing a recurve bow. The draw weight of a bow refers to the pounds of force it takes to effectively draw and shoot.

The best draw weight for you is heavily dependent on your age, size, and physical condition. For children just starting out with archery we recommend a draw weight of no more than 15 lbs.

Most women of small to medium build will be able to handle a bow of at least 25-35 lbs, while larger women and most average men can use one of about 45-55 lbs.

Not able to draw a bow powerful enough for your intended activity?

Start with a lower draw weight recurve bow and work your way up. As you practice your arm muscles will get stronger and stronger.

Riser

The riser is the heart and soul of modern recurve bows. It’s the centerpiece of your bow that the limbs connect to. It’s also where you grip and nock an arrow.

You can choose from a variety of different materials and styles for your riser depending on your activity and budget. They’re available in wood, composite materials, aluminum, and carbon fiber.

The riser is also where just about every archery accessory goes. If you plan to add on a sight, stabilizer, or a quiver this is where it will attach. Look for risers that come pre drilled for common accessories.

Limbs

The limbs of a recurve bow are what most laymen would think of as the bow itself. These are the curved strips of various materials that bend and snap back to provide the actual power behind your shots.

They’re made from a variety of different materials such as laminated fiberglass, carbon fiber, or wood. The more exotic the materials the greater the cost goes up.

When choosing a recurve bow there are two major varieties; take down bows and one piece bows. Take down bows have limbs that screw into place on the riser and break down into three or more pieces for easy storage and transport.

One piece bows look very similar to take down bows but are a single continuous piece of material from limbs to riser. These are a lot less common than take down bows but are still used by some bow hunting traditionalists.

Bow String

Bow string plays an important role in how effective a bow is. The vast majority of modern recurve bows use twisted polymers such as Dacron or Dyneema. They provide significantly greater rigidity and strength than natural materials and don’t stretch out nearly as quickly.

If you’re using a traditional recurve bow you can sometimes find heritage bow strings made from things like linen, hemp, flax, etc, though these are far weaker and less effective than modern bow strings.

Hand Orientation

Most recurve bows aren’t ambidextrous. Make sure you double and triple check that the bow you order is available in either a right handed or left handed version.

Intended Use

When we’re talking about recurve bows how you plan to use them is a big part of picking the best one. If you’re just looking for a bow to shoot at targets you can pick just about any recurve bow on the market.

Draw weight and isn’t a major factor if you just need an inch or so of penetration. For hunting bows you need something with more oomph.

It’s very important that you be able to penetrate the fur, skin, muscle, fat, and sinew of your game animal. The minimum draw weight you should consider is 40 lbs, with 45-50 more appropriate.

If you’re hunting large game or game with an especially thick hide it’s important you scale up your bow’s power accordingly.

Extras

Once you’ve picked out your favorite recurve bow it’s time to customize it! The bow itself is just the starting point of a prepared archer’s kit.

Some of the most important accessories to consider include bow sights, bow slings, and bow releases. These all significantly improve the effectiveness, accuracy, and safety of your archery.

Once you’ve gotten deeper into the sport you’ll find that the accessories just get more and more interesting. Ever wanted to try bow fishing? We know we did.

Final Thoughts

Archers searching for the best recurve bow have no lack of excellent choices. Hunters can benefit from the power and traditional styling of one piece bows while modern competition archers will love the convenience of take down bows.

Make sure you keep your desired draw weight, length, and intend use in mind and it’s easy to find the best recurve bow for your skill level and needs.