Is it Legal to Hunt with a Recurve Bow?

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I was recently asked if it is legal to use a recurve bow to hunt deer and other game animals. Generally speaking, yes, it is perfectly legal to hunt with a recurve bow! The answer also depends upon where you live and if it’s archery season. You may legally use a recurve or compound bow to harvest game if you are hunting in archery season.

A hunting license, archery stamp, hunter-ed courses, etc., will be required for the specific area of your state/province. Unless you’re hunting during archery season, you can’t use a recurve (or any other) bow to hunt.  

It is legal in the United States to hunt with a (recurve) bow, but laws governing it vary from state to state. Make sure to check your local regulations.

Will a Recurve Bow Take a Whitetail Deer?

Absolutely! A draw weight of 40-pounds is what most states require as the minimum draw weight for hunting deer. Check your local regulations. If it’s 40-pounds – ok! Hunting recurve bows easily reach 40-pounds of draw weight or more.

Hoyts Satori Limbs, for example, are available from 35 to 65-pound draw weight. I strongly advise you to learn what the minimum draw weights are in your state for whitetail hunting.

Experienced hunters will tell you that you should probably aim for more than 40 pounds, but the draw weight isn’t the only factor. Arrows are just as important, so is draw length. Plus, accurate shot placement is critical! Many states require hunters to use broadheads, no matter if you are shooting recurve or compound. 

Ensure that your equipment matches the state laws you are hunting in and the game sought. 

What Is The Effective Range of a Recurve Bow?

If you are a hunter, you are probably talking about distances around 20 yards. Hunting with recurves can be pretty successful at closer ranges. Of course, depending on your setup and your personal experience, longer distances are also possible. Proper shot placement (as mentioned above) is key here. And naturally – the closer the deer, the better for a bowhunter.

If you compare recurve bow ranges (read.. takedown recurve bows) to compound bow ranges, the effective kill range will improve considerably. It is not unheard of that deer were taken at 50 yards. However, bowhunting is more than just taking the perfect long-range shot. It’s also about getting as close to the game as possible without being noticed. 

Recurve vs. Compound Bow: Is a Recurve Bow Better for Hunting? 

It will depend on your personal preference. These bows have different designs, and they appeal to different people. I am not saying that one is better than the other. If you are new to archery, I would suggest that you shoot both and decide for yourself.

The best bow for you is the one that you can shoot comfortably. The one that feels right, even when shooting at a controlled distance. The initial purchase of your equipment will more than likely be an investment in years of (hopefully) successful archery!

I personally love the look and feel of recurve bows; I’m a traditionalist. Compound bows are more compact and easier to operate when hunting in the backcountry. There are many hunters of all different skill levels who prefer either one or the other. Ultimately it will come down to personal preference.

How Much Do Recurve Bows Cost? Is It Worth It to Purchase a Recurve? 

The price of a recurve bow will vary depending on many factors such as brand, model, and quality of components. But I would say that if you are a beginner, you could get something decent from around $300 upwards. The sky is the limit… 

5 Reasons Why Hunting With A Recurve is the Best Way To Do It

  1. Hunting with a recurve is the purest form of archery. There are no complicated mechanisms, just a bow, an arrow, and your hunter’s instinct. 
  2. Hunting with a recurve bow is more affordable than compound bows.
  3. Hunting with a recurve bow is very satisfying because of its simplicity.
  4. Recurve bows are easier to transport and carry in the field.
  5. The feel of a recurve bow is incomparably smooth. It almost feels alive in your hands. 

Expert Tip: Here’s How to Find The Right Draw Length for Your Recurve Bow.


As long as you have the right equipment and stay within the legal limits, hunting with a recurve bow is perfectly legal. However, it is essential to make sure that you know the local laws where you are hunting (read.. barebow equipment). I hope this article has provided some helpful information on the legality of hunting with a recurve bow.


Q: Is it legal to hunt with a recurve bow in my state?

A: It is important to check the regulations in your state before hunting with any type of archery equipment. In most cases, hunting with a recurve bow is legal. However, there may be restrictions on the types of arrows that can be used or the minimum draw weight that is allowed. Always consult your local wildlife agency for the most up-to-date information.

Q: What is the effective range of a recurve bow?

A: The effective range of a recurve bow will vary depending on the shooter’s experience and setup. However, it is typically much shorter than the effective range of a compound bow.

Q: What is the difference between a recurve and compound bow?

A: The main difference between a recurve and a compound bow is that a compound bow has additional mechanisms that make it easier to draw and hold at full draw. This allows for a longer effective range. However, many hunters prefer recurve bows for their traditional look and feel.

How much does a recurve bow cost?

A: The price of a recurve bow will vary depending on the brand, model, and quality. But beginners recurve bows are available from $150.00-$350.00.

Q: What is the legal minimum draw weight for hunting with a recurve bow?

A: The legal minimum draw weight for hunting with a recurve bow will vary from state to state. However, it is typically around 30 pounds. Always check with your local wildlife agency for the most up-to-date information.

Q: How do I find the right draw length for my recurve bow?

A: The draw length of a recurve bow should be matched to the shooter. The arm-span method is one way to determine the correct draw length. If you are a beginner, go and check with your local bow shop! They will be more than happy to help you get set up with the right equipment.

Q: What are the benefits of hunting with a recurve bow?

A: There are many benefits to hunting with a recurve bow, including its affordability, simplicity, and portability. Additionally, the feel of a recurve bow is unmatched and provides a more natural shooting experience.

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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